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Pre-Existence of Jesus

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The Preexistence of Jesus:

Jesus’ Divine Origin and Identity in the Gospel of Mark

Andrew Kutz

REL 371 - New Testament

Dr. Jason Bruner

February 27, 2015

Introduction

Bart Ehrman, a New Testament scholar and author of The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Church Writings, was once a strong proponent of the view that the Gospel of John, alone, presents Jesus as divine:

Until a year ago I would have said – and frequently did say, in the classroom, in public lectures, and in my writings – that Jesus is portrayed as God in the Gospel of John but not, definitely not, in the other Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Nevertheless, over the course of writing his book How Jesus Became God, Ehrman admitted to a change of perspective, saying, “These [Synoptic] Gospels do indeed think of Jesus as divine.”As far as this statement, Ehrman and I agree. He does, however, clarify his position, as he posits a viewpoint that I will attempt to refute.

For Mark, Jesus was adopted to be God’s son at his baptism. Before that, he was a mere mortal. For Luke, Jesus was conceived by God and so was literally God’s son, from the point of his conception. (In Luke Jesus did not exist prior to that conception to the virgin – his conception is when he came into existence). For John, Jesus was a pre-existent divine being – the Word of God who was both with God and was God at the beginning of all things – who became a human. Here he is not born of a virgin and he is not adopted by God at the baptism (neither event is narrated in John – and could not be, given, John’s Christology). So yes, now I agree that Jesus is portrayed as a divine being, a God-man, in all the Gospels. But in very different ways, depending on which Gospel you read. I believe it to be a fair summary to say that the crux of Ehrman’s argument is that while each Gospel...

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