Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Paul's Familiarity with Christ's Life and Teachings

Brian Flemming's independent documentary, the God who wasn't there, was recently added to Netflix's instant viewing, so I watched it to see what atheists are up to these days. The movie is filled to the brim with blaspemous lies, so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone exept perhaps mature Christians who know their bibles well and are interested in defending their faith.

One of the many lies that caught my attention was that Paul did not know the historical details about Christ's life, and he doesn't even view Christ as a human being. This is absurd, given Saul dedicated his life to killing Christians, and Paul knew the apostles, traveled with Mark and even met Christ. And while his letters are not focused on giving a historical account of Christ's life, Paul does show he knows many of the details of Christ life.

Paul knew Christ was the descendant of Abraham and David (2 Timothy 2:8, Romans 1:3, Galatians 3:16). Cross reference Matthew 1:1.

Paul knew about John the Baptist's ministry of the baptism of repentance and his saying he was unworthy to untie Christ's sandals:

Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie. (Acts 13:23-25; also see Acts 19:4) Cross reference Mark 1:1-8.

Paul knew Christ had siblings (1 Corinthians 9:5, also see Galatians 1:19). Cross reference Mark 6:3 and John 2:12.

Paul knew Christ's teaching on marriage and divorce:

To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (1 Corinthians 7:10; also see 1 Corinthians 7:25). Cross reference Mathew 19:1-12).

Paul knew about Christ's teaching that the laborer is worthy of his hire and more importantly by the time Paul wrote 1 Timothy, he was aware this saying of Christ's was written in scripture:

Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:14) and For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18) Cross reference Luke 10:7 and Matthew 10:10.

Paul knew about Christ's end times prophecies:

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess 4:15-17) Cross reference Matthew 24.

Paul knew about Christ's teaching on the Lord's Supper:

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the samenight in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said,“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25) Cross reference Mark 14:22-25.

Paul knew about Christ's trial by the Jews, their bringing Him to Pilate and Christ's death, burial and Resurrection and of the witnesses to the resurrected Lord:

For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. (Acts 13:27-30) Cross reference Luke chapters 22-24.

Paul even knew about events and teachings from the life of Christ that are not recorded (or at least not obviously recorded) in the four Gospels.

I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)

After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:6)

Descent from Abraham and David, meeting with John the Baptist, siblings, teachings, prophesies, instituting the last supper, trial by the Jews and by Pilate, and His death, burial, resurrection and post resurrection witnesses -  how much more would we reasonably expect Paul to write about Christ?  Should we assume great Aristotelian philosophers, like Thomas Aquinas or Francisco Suarez didn't believe Aristotle was human, given they don't give copious historical accounts of Aristotle's life?

Flemming probably rejects the biblical witness that Paul knew about Christ but then his argument boils down to that he rejects the bible because he rejects the bible.  We already knew that, but that's not a reason or an argument for rejecting the bible.   

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