I have a couple of general questions below I wanted to ask:
1.) How can Jesus be a Divine Person when He had a literal human body made of flesh. Wouldn’t His fleshly body violate His divine nature and status?
2.) Why did Jesus have to be a male in physical terms to begin with? Would this demonstrate that since Jesus was a male, that God in a way is actually of the male gender as well? Does this give off a sense of male superiority over the female gender, especially in the first century?
3.) How does fruit from a tree supply the ability to tell the difference between good and evil to two ancient individuals that existed around 4000 BC?
4.) Do Christians simply worship the Israelite god rather than worshiping just a God in a general sense? Isn’t monotheism simply the result of a nomadic tribe that happened to be the ethnic ancestors to the Jews?
Lastly 5.) Did the Israelites manipulate the concept of a single monotheistic God to enforce their status as a Holy nation. Is God simply an excuse for the destruction of the Canaanites and Midianites used by the Israelites as justification?
- That is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith. How can this be that the infinite, unchanging God could take on flesh? My answer is that it is because God made it that way. I cannot explain this wonderful and amazing mystery. I can merely share it. Like it says in John 1:14, “The Word of God (a reference to the Son) became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” Many conceptions of God would reject the idea of the fullness of God taking on human form (Colossians 2:9). Islam denies this, as does Buddhism and Hinduism, but this is the Christian claim. The question is not how can it be true, but whether it is true. This man Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be God (John 8:58-59) and proved his right to make this claim by raising Lazarus from the dead and by himself being raised from the dead. I do not claim to be able to explain this mystery, but I believe it to be true and I believe it is consistent with all I know about God.
- This is a really interesting question. Obviously, God is not male in the physical sense. He does not have male genitalia and he does not have high levels of testosterone coursing through his body, given that he does not even have a body (except temporarily in the form of Jesus). In order for God to take on flesh, there were really only two options: male or female. In the context of Jewish/Greek/Roman culture in the first century the only practical way for God to take flesh and to be heard by people was for him to take on male flesh. This a plain, inescapable fact. We should never take this to mean that God is male or that he values females less than males. In fact, the behavior of Jesus lifted women up far above any of his peers. His closest friends were women. His traveling companions included many women. It was women at his side when he was killed and it was to women that he appeared first after his resurrection. Everything we know about Jesus says the exact opposite of him believing in some sort of male superiority.
- I am afraid I cannot answer “how” the fruit of this tree had this ability. My guess is that the fruit itself had absolutely no ability at all. The principle quality this fruit had was that God had told them not to eat it. It was the process of taking the fruit, and the rebellion implied, and the change made in Adam and Eve, not because of the physical fruit but because of their willful choice to rebel against God that caused the change. In that sense, the fruit itself may have been symbolic. It is the willful choice to rebel that caused Adam and Eve to be aware of evil and led to their eventual fall into much evil.
- Christians worship the God who created the universe and who created life and who came in the flesh and died on the cross. This God revealed himself to the Jews and through the Mosaic Covenant. Because of the faith of Abraham he chose to send his Messiah through the Jews and to reveal himself in a special way to the Jews. Monotheism is the result of individuals recognizing that there is one God and choosing to worship that God. Such individuals may have had a better or worse understanding of that one God, but God chose to reveal himself more directly and accurately to Abraham and to his descendants. For this reason, the Israelites had a more accurate understanding of the one true God, but they were not the only ones who realized that there is a single, personal God. We know historically that the Jews are not the only people who have understood that there is a single God/Creator, but my faith informs me that their understanding was clarified by direct revelation from God to Israel through Abraham, Moses and the prophets.
- The Israelites became a holy nation because God made them one–because God chose then. God chose them and, as he had promised Abraham because of his faith, he gave them a covenant and a land to dwell in. That land was Canaan, which is the land he gave to his people, both through their military exploits, but also through his miraculous intervention. I understand how one might think that this was just a story made up as an excuse for military exploits. Human behavior throughout history would justify this suspicion. But if we can rely at all on the Old Testament record, then this was not the case with Israel. They were poor, powerless slaves in Egypt but by the miraculous intervention of Jehovah they were able to escape from Egypt and occupied the Promised Land. It is not a common thing that a group of powerless, impoverished slaves rebel, leave their country and go conquer a neighboring land, and the evidence leads me to believe that this was the provenance of God, not the manipulation of cynical political leaders.