…But Was Jesus God?

One famous thought regarding Jesus’ divinity is called the “trilemma”, originally formulated by Scottish preacher John Duncan but popularized by C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. . . . Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God. (Mere Christianity, 55-56)

Put simply, Jesus was either a lunatic, a liar or he was genuinely Lord.

Jesus seemed remarkably coherent for a lunatic; indeed, if that were the case, it would lead us to the startling reality that much of western culture has been built off of a singular crazy man who lived 2,000 years ago! To the writer, this does not seem a feasible option. It also seems highly unlikely that he, along with his disciples, would be willing to die so brutally for a lie. Furthermore, it is of very little benefit for Jesus to have lied, living a nomadic life of poverty and exemplifying a seemingly true heart of servanthood. This also seems unlikely.

Given the way in which Jesus lived, the way he fulfilled Old Testament prophecy and the multiple Biblical eyewitness accounts confirming similar miracles, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that Jesus was exactly who he said he was: the Lord of all creation. But why did he have to die? This will be our next focus.


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