The skeptic argument of the development of Christ's divinity


#1

If you have ever studied apologetics and skeptic apologetics you are aware of the skeptic argument which states that the divinity of Jesus appears to have developed as the Gospels were produced from Mark to John.

Most scholars would agree that Mark was the first gospel written, followed by Mathew, Luke, and then John. And that in this sequence, we can see Jesus’s “Christology” become more full and developed as time goes with these books. I have to admit that the argument is not completely without merit. It seems plainly obvious that Marks portrayal of Jesus, while obviously magnificent, is not as grandiose in its theological claims as the two following gospels and, certainly, much less than in John. In the Gospel of John we see very grand, blunt, and strong theological language portraying Jesus as strongly divine. Whereas, in rewinding, we see Jesus as somewhat of a “Minister of the poor and downtrodden” or something of that nature. It seems like He increases in stature steadily up until the Gospel of John.

HOWEVER, and this is a point that I do not see raised in light of this issue, we do have the letters of Paul, which probably precede the writing dates of each Gospel, stating in plain language what Jesus is and what He means. To me, this seems almost fatal to the skeptics argument of this topic.

What do you guys think?


#2

I agree with you. Just because the books have that progression doesn’t mean the faithful did. St. Paul’s writings show that Jesus was considered divine from the beginning of Christianity.


#3

You are right in your assumption that Paul’s letters predate the gospels.

I agree with the poster above me.


#4

If Mark was the first Gospel written, there is still a strong indication that Jesus is God very early in his Gospel. Jesus forgives sins and they say “who can forgive sins but God alone?” To prove that he had the power/authority to forgive sins Jesus then heals the man (Mark 2:1-12).

Mark 2:28 also records Jesus saying that he, “the son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath”
Compare to Exodus 20:10: “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God”

Just two simple examples.


#5

It arguable that St. Mark even testifies against the divinity of Jesus Christ in 10:18:

Jesus said to him, Why dost thou call me good? None is good, except God only.

In Catena Aurea Theophylact argues that Our Lord teaches we should not flatter people:

But He also implies another thing by these words, that when you have to converse with a man, you should not flatter him in your conversation, but look back upon God, the root and fount of goodness, and do honour to Him.

Haydock Commentary says this simply means only God is principally good:

None is good. Of himself, entirely and essentially, but God alone: men may be good also, but only by a participation of God’s goodness. (Challoner)


#6

Maybe He was saying, “if only God is good, and you say that I am good…therefore…who am I?”

Just a thought…


#7

Maybe He was saying, “if only God is good, and you say that I am good…therefore…who am I?”

Just a thought…

That is the interpretation of Bede the Venerable and also of Theophylact:

[Bede:] The Lord, therefore, does not deny Himself to be good, but implies that He is God; He does not deny that He is good Master, but He declares that no master is good but God.

Theophylact: Therefore the Lord intended by these words to raise the mind of the young man, so that he might know Him to be God.


closed #8

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.