JESUS IS THE ONLY GOD
THAT CLAIMS TO BE ALL OF THE THINGS GOD MUST BE.
Most gods are claimed to be loving, good, and just; many are even claimed to be personal; and a few monotheistic religions claim their God to be all-knowing and all-powerful, but not one of them claims that their God is so good, so personal, so loving, so just and so sacrificial that, despite His omnipotence and infinity, He Himself came and died for the evil in His creation, that they might be saved. But any true God that exists must have done so. Only Jesus is claimed to be all knowing, all powerful, perfectly good, just, personal, loving, and sacrificial of Himself to save those who depend on Him. Jesus, by default, is the only existing God that fulfills everything God must be [see rest of essay for those proofs], and therefore God must be Jesus.
Christ in the Wilderness — Briton Riviere (Matthew 8:20, Luke 9:58)
Let us begin with the first main thrust of this discussion, whether a God must necessarily exist, the second being whether the Christian God must necessarily exist.
Without addressing the fact that something cannot come from nothing, the discussion can go no further. I don't expect the atheist to explain exactly how anything was created, but I do expect him to explain how it is even possible in his worldview. Without an uncaused first cause, he cannot. And if it's not even possible in his worldview, then it certainly doesn't matter how well he could explain the manner of its creation: it's still impossible.
Here's an example to begin with: DNA is impossible to have come about as a result of unguided, unintelligent forces. DNA is a series of apparently random protein pairs that, when read, inform every absolute and minute detail of the living organism it corresponds to. DNA is made of only four proteins, Adenine (A), Guanine (G), Thymine (T) and Cytosine (C), and depending on their order, they create all life. There is nothing at all intrinsic to these proteins (which individually would be scientifically impossible to have arisen unguided as well), nor to any possible random circumstance, that would have led to the random formation of these exact four proteins being attached in pairs and the pairs formed together in an entirely random series that would have resulted in even the simplest viable and reproducible life. Not one cell that has ever lived could arise randomly, given a billion billion years. This is all leaving out the fact that the matter that makes up the proteins that makes up the DNA has its own beginning to explain (which cannot be done without an uncaused first cause).
Everything that has a beginning has a cause. Something cannot come from nothing. Believing it can requires far more faith than any reasonable person should have. So either you believe all of everything has no beginning (a position held by almost no scientists whatsoever, that is nearly as impossible to justify: that everything *just* exists and has forever, but is still 1) bounded by time and space and 2) capable of producing a fine-tuned universe [strong and weak forces, speed of light, gravity, uniquely positioned Earth to sustain life and observe the universe, the balance of an atom, intelligibility and beauty of mathematics, etc.] with not just life, but intelligent, self-actualized life) or you believe there was a uncaused cause, i.e. a God for our purposes here.
A God must exist. In fact, the Christian God must exist.
0. If something exists, an uncaused thing caused it (we will call it God).
1. If an uncaused God exists, He must be all knowing.
2. If He is all knowing, He must be all powerful.
3. If He is all powerful, He must be perfectly good.
4. If He is perfectly good, He must be just, personal, and loving.
4a. If He is just, He must punish evil by removing it.
4b. If He is personal, He has revealed Himself to us clearly.
4c. If He is loving, He must not want us to be removed from Him.
5. If He does not want us to be removed from Him, He must provide the way for us to be saved.
6. If He provides the way for us to be saved, He must be sacrificial of Himself.
7. If He is sacrificial of Himself, He must be Jesus the Christ.
8. If He is Jesus the Christ, He is the Christian God.
1. If you believe that an uncaused God must exist (and I have shown you must), He must be all knowing.
Why? Because intelligence exists. A God could not have created intelligence or thought or information at all and have no intelligence Himself. In fact, he would necessarily have to transcend the intelligence found in the Creation qualitatively (not merely quantitatively), and being uncaused, transcendent, and Creator, He must therefore be infinitely intelligent.
2. If an uncaused God exists and He is all knowing, He must be all powerful.
Why? Because He transcends creation and everything that is or was or will be caused. Because He is uncaused (and therefore eternal) He must be infinite, and therefore he is qualitatively infinite in power over what is created (or caused), which is everything but Himself.
3. If an uncaused God exists, and He is all knowing and all powerful, He must be perfectly good.
Why? Being infinite and uncaused, He cannot change and therefore His very nature defines what is good. It will be the first and it will be the last. What He is, being the only uncaused and unchanged thing, is what defines everything that is good. And everything in creation that is not in accordance with Him is necessarily not good, because if God is the only infinite, eternal, uncaused thing, everything must be defined by Him, as He defines and creates all things except that which is uncaused, which is and can only include Himself. He does not choose what is good, nor does good just exist above Him making Him bounded by it. What is good is defined by what He is necessarily, and it is neither chosen by nor chosen for Him (cf. Euthyphro's [False] Dilemma). Being the only uncaused thing, a perfectly good God must exist.
4a. If an uncaused God exists, and He is all knowing, all powerful, and perfectly good, then He must be perfectly just.
Why? If God is purely and only good, He cannot tolerate evil, even the smallest amount. If God is infinitely good, He will at some point judge every created thing for every bit of evil in it, and even the smallest amount of evil (a moot point because every one of us has done untold evil both outwardly and in our hearts, not least me) would be unable to be tolerated in God's presence and is therefore punishable by exile to a place devoid of God's presence (the only source of all good). If I have done one evil thing, I cannot stand to be in God's presence, which is infinitely good. And since there is no good outside His presence because He is the only uncaused thing, so a place devoid of Him is necessarily full of evil. That is why Hell is a punishment. If God is just He must remove evil and also us if we are evil.
4b. If an uncaused God exists, and He is all knowing, all powerful, perfectly good, and perfectly just, He must be personal.
Why? The deistic, impersonal god cannot exist because he makes no sense. No infinite and infinitely good God could ever be impersonal and distant, sowing confusion, loneliness, and selfishness into His creation by the mere act of not participating in, speaking into, or being present in Creation. Even if Creation is evil (and in our case, it is), it would be evil for God to withdraw from it and leave it to its own devices, unresolved. If God is good and just, He will be intimate with His creation and He will deal justly with them. Neither would he be clandestine, unclear, or contradictory in how He revealed Himself to us, because that would be evil, confusing, and unfitting for the character of God which is all knowing, all powerful, perfect, and good. If God is personal, He has revealed Himself to us clearly.
4c. If an uncaused God exists, and He is all knowing, all powerful, perfectly good, perfectly just, and personal, He must be loving.
Why? If God is good, He desires to love His creation infinitely and eternally. There is no goodness without love. A God that is good but not loving is unthinkable and impossible. All of goodness is contained in love, and all of love contained in goodness. That is why Scripture says God is love, and that the greatest of faith, hope, and love is love. Therefore if God is good and loving, He does not desire His creation to be away from Him and thus away from all that is good. He does not desire us to be removed from Him. If He loves us, He wants what is best for us, which is Himself, because He is the uncaused and perfectly good Creator.
5. If an uncaused God exists, and He is all knowing, all powerful, perfectly good, perfectly just, personal, loving, and does not want us to be removed from Him, He must provide the path to salvation.
Why? Each of us has done some evil; no one is perfectly good. And if we have done evil, no amount of good that we could ever do could make us perfect. We've already become imperfect and evil compared to infinite goodness. It would take infinite good in us for God to see us as good once we have sinned (acted in discord with what is good, which is defined by God's uncaused nature), even if only once. And since God is the only one capable of infinite good, He is the only one who could provide the path to salvation. And because He's good, He'll want to, to redeem us and be with us, knowing we'll never be able to do it without Him. Since God wants to save us, He must have provided the path for us.
6. If an uncaused God exists, and He is all knowing, all powerful, perfectly good, perfectly just, personal, loving, does not want us to be removed from Him, and provides the path to salvation, He must be sacrificial.
Why? If the only one who can provide the means to salvation is Him and the only means to salvation is an infinite amount of goodness to cover up our evil, God must atone for our evils with Himself, the only thing that is infinitely good, and He must enable us to partake of this means to salvation in a way that is not dependent on our own goodness (because we would fail every time, and that is unacceptable to God who wants us to not be removed from His presence). This requires that God himself take on the punishment for our sins that we might be saved. The way to be saved, therefore, is only possible by choosing to depend on God's sacrifice of Himself, and necessarily NOT depending on ourselves and our own actions any longer. If God required any more for salvation, it would be impossible for anyone to be saved, because they would be depending on their own actions, which are fallible. If He required any less, He'd be repaying evil with infinite goodness with no obligation on us to choose it for ourselves, which is unjust. Since God's justice means that he repays evil with punishment, He must take the punishment Himself if He wants us to be able to be saved. Him being punished in our place, being infinite, would be enough to atone for, or cover up, every evil thing that's ever been done if He is perfectly good, which I have shown He must be. In fact, it's the only way to save us. Nothing else is big enough or good enough. If God provides the path to salvation (which He does because He is loving and wants no one to be apart from Him), He must be sacrificial of Himself. And we must respond with dependence on that sacrifice (or "faithfulness"; that's all it is) to escape that just punishment or else willingly be removed from His presence.
7. If an uncaused God exists, and He is all knowing, all powerful, perfectly good, perfectly just, personal, loving, does not want us to be removed from Him, has revealed Himself clearly to us, and provides the path to salvation by being sacrificial of himself as the only way, He must be Jesus the Christ.
Why? The historical Jesus is the only one that fits all that I have shown God must be if there is a God at all (and there is).
7A. Jesus' Godhood is affirmed by his contemporaries, both believers and non-believers.
Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Josephus, Lucian, and even the Babylonian Talmud (all non-Christian sources) attest to the historicity of Jesus' miracles and death, and some even affirm the resurrection miracle. Most condemn Him as a conjurer and not God, but they all acknowledge that He did things no man can do. More important are the men who believed in Jesus. Their testimonies are more valuable as they were intimately involved with Him and nearly all gave their lives for what they fully believed to be truth. Here's why their testimonies are valuable: First, the historicity of the Bible is without question. It is the single most reliable ancient text on Earth, with nearly 25,000 manuscripts (50 times more than the second highest ancient text at around 500 [The Iliad]) and a 99.5% accuracy rate, nearly all of the "inaccuracies" being different punctuations and variations on "Jesus Christ" or "Christ Jesus." Of the 50 or so non-"negligible" differences in the manuscripts, there is not one ideological, doctrinal, or significant narrative contradiction. The testimony of the believers that we have written down today is the same that they wrote down shortly after Jesus' death and resurrection. Second, the disciples had every reason to give up the lie about Jesus if His divinity was truly in doubt. Nearly every Christian shortly after Jesus' death was persecuted, and every apostle except John (who was exiled) was killed for not recanting their belief that Jesus was the resurrected, sacrificial, one true God. Not one changed their mind, though they had every reason to reveal the lie or else lie and say that they didn't believe when they did. Yet still they didn't. There was no power in it for them. There were no riches or women to win in their lives. Their written testimonies, then, are trustworthy, meaning they are not lies. They may be wrong, but they did not lie. They really believed the miracles Jesus performed, they really believed He was sinless, they really believed He died as God and rose again for them, and they really believed it was worth being killed for. Third, there is no evidence that Jesus did not perform miracles or that he was not sinless. The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, but when both those who believed Jesus was an evil liar and those that thought He was God agree that he performed miracles, even resurrecting Himself from the dead, there is little argument that his contemporaries thought that Jesus was anything other than a man of supernatural power.
7B. Jesus died and was verifiably resurrected, as only God can do and, as I laid out, God must do if He is God.
Three truths every historian on either side of the isle agrees to:
1) The tomb in which Jesus was buried was discovered empty by a group of women on the Sunday following the crucifixion,
2) Jesus' disciples had real experiences with one whom they believed was the risen Christ, and
3) As a result of the preaching of these disciples, which had the resurrection at its center, the Christian church was established and grew.
The resurrection of Christ is the best explanation for these three truths. If the tomb was not empty, the people of Jerusalem (where the tomb was plainly observable) would have known and rejected the preaching of the disciples who preached there immediately following Jesus' resurrection. Instead, many in Jerusalem believed. It being discovered by women shows that the disciples were concerned more with honesty than creating a narrative, as women's testimonies then were not valued. This would have been discounted as not evidential of the tomb being found empty. Further, the stone in front of the tomb could not have been moved by anyone but a team of men, and the only team of men who would be interested in an empty tomb would be the disciples who again would have died for no personal or apparent gain later in life for what they knew was a lie. Absurd; the Jews had no motivation for an empty tomb, the Romans had no motivation for an empty tomb, the Samaritans, the Greeks, the Pharisees, etc., etc., all had no motivation for an empty tomb, only the disciples, and they would not have died for what they knew to be a lie. This leads right into addressing the second truth. Though the disciples may not have lied, another explanation is that they may have been hallucinating. However, it is untenable for them to have hallucinated it all. They record eating and drinking with Jesus, touching Him even. Touching someone does not happen with hallucinations. Hallucinations don't happen to groups of people either, not with exact similarity and not over many days. Jesus appeared to over 500 people plus the disciples, and there is no discrepancy between accounts of his post-resurrection appearances. Hallucination also does not explain why Paul, the man who so hated Christ that his job was literally to go about killing Christians, would suddenly be visited by Jesus on the road to Damascus. You may argue the disciples had motivation to believe a hallucination if they had one (though it is still an impossible position to hold), but Paul had no reason to believe a hallucination. Jesus' resurrection is the only tenable explanation for those three universally accepted truths, meaning Jesus did what only a God could do, and, as previously established, the only possible God is one who would do as Jesus did.
7C. Jesus fulfills hundreds of prophecies that no one else could and even some that are apparently impossible to.
There are roughly 350 messianic prophecies, all written hundreds of years before Jesus was born, and He fulfills all of them. I will not post each one here (the full list is at the end), but I will share 12, the odds of fulfilling which are worse than 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000:
1) He would be in the lineage of King David.
2) He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.
3) The money would be used to purchase the potter’s field.
4) People would cast lots for His clothing.
5) He will come from Bethlehem.
6) He will come from Egypt.
7) A messenger would be sent to herald Him.
8) He would have His hands and feet pierced.
9) He would die a sacrificial death for us.
10) He would die with criminals but His burial would be with the wealthy.
11) He would be born to a virgin.
12) He would rise from the dead.
Jesus fulfilled all of them, He even came from both Egypt and Bethlehem, fulfilling two prophecies that stumped the ancient Jews for centuries. Imagine the odds of fulfilling even a hundred of the prophecies written in the Bible by a couple dozen men over a couple thousand years all across the Middle East. Each of those 350 prophecies was written centuries before Jesus was born. Collusion is impossible and fulfilling all of them impossible for anyone but God. Jesus can only be God, and God can only be Jesus.
7D. Jesus is the only God claimed to fit all of the things we established God must be.
Most gods are claimed to be loving, good, and just; many are even claimed to be personal; and a few monotheistic religions claim their God to be all-knowing and all-powerful, but not one of them claims that their God is so good, so personal, so loving, so just and so sacrificial that, despite His omnipotence and infinity, He Himself came and died for the evil in His creation, that they might be saved. But any true God that exists must have done so. Only Jesus is claimed to be all knowing, all powerful, perfectly good, just, personal, loving, and sacrificial of Himself to save those who depend on Him. Jesus, by default, is the only existing God that fulfills everything God must be, and therefore God must be Jesus.
7E. Jesus Himself claims that He fits all the things we established must be if a God exists.
Jesus claims to be uncaused: John 8:58, Revelation 22:13
Jesus claims to be all knowing: John 16:30-31
Jesus claims to be all powerful: Matthew 28:18, Matthew 26:53
Jesus claims to be perfectly good: John 8:29;46
Jesus claims to be perfectly just: Luke 5:20
Jesus claims to be personal as God: Matthew 28:20, John 15:15-16
Jesus claims to have revealed Himself clearly as God: John 15:15, Matthew 13:11
Jesus claims to be loving as God: John 15:9
Jesus claims to want no one to be removed from His presence: John 3:17, John 15:5-8
Jesus claims to be the atoning sacrifice for the world: John 3:16
Jesus claims to be the only path to salvation: John 14:6
Jesus claims to be God Himself: John 10:30, John 14:7
By all accounts, He is right. Because God must be all of those things, He must be Jesus the Christ; because Jesus the Christ is all of those things, He must be God.
8. If an uncaused God exists, and He is all knowing, all powerful, perfectly good, perfectly just, personal, loving, does not want us to be removed from Him, has revealed Himself clearly to us, provides the path to salvation for us by being sacrificial of himself, and is therefore Jesus the Christ, He must be the Christian God.
Why? Because if God is all of those things, He is the one, true coherent God from everlasting to everlasting spoken of in the ancient Scriptures passed from generation to generation over thousands of years, spread to every end of the Earth, with dozens of writers, several languages, describing the history of all of time and all peoples with no contradiction in ideology, doctrine, or narrative. Jesus is the God of Christianity, and the only coherent God that ever was or ever will be. No other will exist. Death comes for each of us; what will you say when you stand before the God that must exist and He says, "No one comes to the Father except through me"?
God must exist, and the only kind of God that can exist is the Christian God.
Full List of Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled (with the centuries-prior verse, and the fulfillment verse right beside it):
Evidence for the 99.5% Accuracy Claim and the Reliable Manuscripts Claim:
Copyright 2020—Valley Scharping