Critical review on What Did the First Christians Think About Jesus? / Gathercole

Simon J. Gathercole, in his article What Did Christians Think About Jesus? explains thoroughly why the approach taken by Bart Ehrman, author of How Jesus Became God, does not correspond to the truth of the Bible. Gathercole analyses the arguments presented by Ehrman in which he questions the preexistence of Jesus and argues for a Jesus whose divinity and existence begins at the moment of his conception. For him, a key element in understanding Jesus’ identity is the resurrection, by which they come to believe that Jesus has been adopted son of God and becomes a divine being.

He argues that the Christologies in Matthew, Mark and Luke that show the preexistence of Jesus are very well rooted. Gathercole argues against Ehrman’s assertation that Jesus becomes Son of God at birth, by showing the use of phrase “I have come.” He is in favor of the argument that Jesus ‘came’ from heaven to carry out his mission. Gathercole’s treatment of the ‘tunnel period’ is rather systematic and argues against the idea that Jesus became Son of God at the resurrection. The Fragments from Romans 1:3-4; Acts 13:32-33 and Acts 2:36 cited by Ehrman, show a reputed earlier Christology of exaltation and adoption that is faulty. Finally, Gathercole critiques the interpretation of the exaltation of Jesus and the words “made” and “appointed” as a result of the new role of Jesus after his redemptive act.

The critique made by the author about Ehrman’s point of view is well rooted and explained using the sacred texts and the context in which they were written.  

2 thoughts on “Critical review on What Did the First Christians Think About Jesus? / Gathercole”

  1. It seems to me that an overarching problem in Ehrman’s argument (as presented by Gathercole) is that only a few passages of scripture or segments of passages on their own, actually lend toward an authentic Christology. Does he not believe that all of Scripture we have is divinely revealed, or the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church? The very fact that the passages he uses are completely out of context and within a narrow purview of an adoptionist doctrine would certainly make them doubtful to any practicing Christian.

    1. It seems to me that he isolates some arguments and make them absolute ignoring the overall sense of Sacred Scripture.

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