Bart Ehrman, often mentioned by the Muslim apologists, challenged Christianity and asserted that John’s gospel was unreliable. He wrote:
“Without a doubt, Jesus is presented as God in the gospel of John,”
Yet he then added:
“But since this gospel was written 60 years after Christ, it cannot be trusted. The belief of the divinity of Jesus was invented after his death. It is for this reason that it is absent in the other gospels. If Jesus has indeed claimed to be God, why should we wait for the fourth Gospel, that of John, to learn this news?”
Muslims believe that Jesus was declared to be God only after his death. Many Islamic sites quote Ehrman regularly. They adopt his approach, arguing that if Jesus had claimed to be God, we would have found evidence of his divinity in the first of the four gospels to be written, that is, Mark’s Gospel.
Yet, after further and more serious research on this subject, he changed his mind! Here’s what he wrote on his blog:
“Here, I believe, is my last message on a question that changed my point of view while I was doing my research on How Jesus Became God. This last message is very important … for me, at least. This is what we are talking about:
Until last year, I would have said (and I have often said, in classrooms, in public lectures and in my writings) that Jesus is clearly presented as God in the gospel of John but Not, absolutely not, in the other Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. I would have demonstrated that only in the gospel of John, Jesus said things such as, “Before Abraham was, I Am” (John 8:58, taking upon himself the name of God, as was said in Moses in Exodus 3); His Jewish enemies knew very well what he was saying: they took stones to stone him. Later he says: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). There, again, the Jews took stones. Later, he taught his disciples, “He that saw me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). And in one of his prayers he asked God, “And now, Father, glorify me with yourselves for the glory that I had with you before the world was” (John 17:5).
None of these phrases, or anything like it, can be found in other canonical gospels. John undeniably presents Jesus as God, in John and only in John (I would have argued).
But …, doing research, and thinking more and more about this issue … I finally gave in. These gospels, indeed, present Jesus as God. Being the only Son of Man who can heal, cast out demons, raise the dead, grant divine forgiveness, receive adoration … All this suggests that even for these gospels Jesus is God, not a mere man …
So yes, now I recognise that Jesus is presented as God, made man, in all the gospels. But in different ways, according to the Gospels. “
All Christian teachings describe Jesus as God. For Christians in the early church, Jesus is much more than a prophet. He is Yahweh, the LORD God himself.”
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