Denial leads to further denial.One non-Christian belief holds that Christ Jesus is not God the Word come in the flesh (John 1:1, 2, 14). One symptom of this is the denial that their Jesus took part in his resurrection. They hold that their Jesus was entirely passive. Conceding that Christ had a part in raising Himself would imply His deity. Therefore, they must contradict the evidence.
My convention: The human Jesus of the deniers of Christ is he. The Christ Jesus of the Bible is He.
He really did say it.
Christ claimed to have the power to rise from the dead (John 10:17-18). Before the fact, He demonstrated the truth of His claim by raising others from the dead. This is crucial to us because Christ promised that He would raise believers from the dead in the Last Days.
If Christ lacks such power, then He is a liar. Even worse, He is a blasphemer because He promised to do what only God can do. But if Christ can do what God can do, then He must be God. This is the truth that anti-Trinitarians must deny.
In Mark 8:31, Mark 9:9, John 2:19, Christ used active voice, meaning that he would do the raising -- I will rise or I will raise; and in Luke 18:33, He used middle voice, meaning that He would perform the raising on Himself -- I will raise myself. (1)
One cannot deny that Christ Jesus said He would raise Himself without either treating the gospels as unreliable and non inspired or else contradicting Him. And one cannot contradict Christ without implying that He was a false prophet who did not keep his word.
Non-Trinitarians would not openly call their Jesus a false prophet. They would not openly call the gospels non inspired. But their doctrine requires either one or the other.
If God says I will, does He need to say I did?They argue that nobody in the New Testament says, after the resurrection, that Christ had an active role in raising Himself. This is false both factually and logically.
It is true that throughout Acts and the epistles, the authors do not use active voice (He rose). They usually state that God raised Christ from the dead. Grammatically, however, this is not a solid claim. Many occurrences of the verbs are ambiguous; they could be translated as either passive voice (He was raised) or middle voice (He raised Himself).
To a Trinitarian -- or to a Jew -- the statements that God the Father raised Jesus illustrate the Father's seal of approval on the Son. Christ stated that the Holy Spirit bore witness to His identity through the miracles He performed. Similarly, the Father's involvement in Christ's resurrection validated Christ's identity, so a Trinitarian expects many references to the Father's involvement. Congruent actions of Christ and the Father give evidence of Christ's divine nature. Admitting to this would undermine the non-Trinitarian view, so they must deny it.
Factually, Mark wrote that Christ rose (active voice in Mark 16:9), and the resurrected Christ Jesus Himself explained to the disciples that the Old Testament prophesied that the Christ would rise out from the dead (active voice in Luke 24:46; see also John 20:9). If only the Father were involved those sentences would all have used the passive voice (he was raised).
Logically, if Jesus Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), then He cannot lie; neither can He prophesy falsely. If He said something before the resurrection, it stands, regardless of whether somebody else later confirmed that He kept His word. To say otherwise is to call Jesus a liar, to call Jesus a false prophet, or to deny the reliability of Mark, Luke, and John.
Pitiful LogicAnother facet of their contradiction of what Christ said points to the many statements in Acts and the epistles that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. According to their faulty reasoning, if God the Father raised Jesus, then Christ did not.
Such pitiful logic follows an either-or relation and rejects, without justification, an either-or-and relation. In logic, or does not preclude the possibility of both propositions being true. (If one and only one out of two alternatives can be true, it is call an exclusive or.) Their reasoning is like looking at a quarter and concluding that it either has the face of George Washington or it has the image of an eagle, but it cannot have both. Their logic is faulty because both descriptions are true.
A Trinitarian can reconcile saying both that Christ does something and that God does it because Christ is God the Son. God the Son can raise Jesus' body from the dead, God the Father can, and the two Persons can do it cooperatively. Thus, Trinitarians do not have to attack the character of Christ or the gospels, nor do they have to use faulty logic as the non Trinitarians do.
WarningChrist's involvement in His resurrection has an importance greater than that regarding the future resurrection of believers. According to 1 Corinthians 12:3, one who does not confess, Lord Jesus -- which implies His deity -- does not have the Holy Spirit. Rather, according to 2 John 1:7, the person who denies that Christ Jesus came in the flesh -- which is meaningless if we do not accept His pre-existent deity -- is guided by antichrist.
Beware Unitarians, liberal mainliners, Jehovah's Witnesses, or any other theological cult that denies the deity of Christ. You don't want to follow that spirit.
Copyright 2015, Richard Wheeler