We’re using the “Handbook of Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli to go over the arguments for the existence of God. Today, we will be covering the above referenced subject in relation to the existence of God. Dr. Kreeft teaches logic in two major universities, so his arguments tend to be clear, concise and very helpful.
The Difficulty of Understanding Who Jesus Is
Christians ought to realize how difficult, how scandalous, how objectionable, how apparently unbelievable and absurd this doctrine is bound to appear to others. They ought to realize this for two reasons: for apologetic purposes to understand the state of mind of prospective converts; and for purposes of appreciating their own belief in all its astounding character— something that dulls with familiarity.
The difficulty is a double one. First, there is the immediate, instinctive, intuitive shock. Everyone who met Jesus was shocked. No one understood him—his disciples, his enemies, Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, Romans, Sadducees, Pharisees, the pious, the impious, the learned, the unlearned, liberals, conservatives—no one. No one had ever met anyone like Jesus before. “Never has anyone spoken like this” (Jn 7:46).
Second, on the reflective, rational level his claim seems patently absurd. It is the claim of a man who came from a woman’s womb, grew from a baby, got hungry and tired and angry, suffered and died—to be divine! It is not only intuitively shocking, it seems logically self-contradictory. Humans by essence are temporal, finite, fallible and mortal; God by essence is eternal, infinite, infallible and immortal. How can one person have two opposite essences simultaneously? It sounds like a round square.
The answer to this latter question required many centuries and many church councils, and can hardly be adequately explained here. But we note that it is not a simple self-contradiction to say that one person can have two natures, though it is a simple self-contradiction to say that that person is both one person and two persons, or one nature and two natures, at the same time. There is even something of an analogy in ourselves—we are both material and immaterial, spatial and nonspatial, visible and invisible—for we are both body and soul.
Our argument for the truth of this doctrine consists of two steps. The first step is preliminary and consists of six clues. These clues merely show the possibility of God becoming man. The second step attempts to demonstrate that this actually happened in Jesus. In other words, the second step will be so unfashionably ambitious as to attempt to demonstrate that Jesus is indeed God and do so by rational, logical, philosophical argument.