Most leading historians, archaeologists and linguists don’t believe that the four official Christian Gospels can be relied upon as accurate records of historical fact. Most Christians aren’t aware of the inconsistencies in the scriptures because they have never read them from cover to cover. The gospels are riddled with factual errors, contradictions and unsupported statements that challenge the very basis of the religion.
This series presents ten myths about the Easter stories drawing on Gospel sources and historical records from the period.
Myth #10: Yeshua’s contemporary followers believed he was G_d’s messenger
There is no concrete evidence that Yeshua was seen as G_d’s unique messenger around the time of his death, let alone the Messiah or Son of G_d.
But beliefs about him continued to evolve. As the 1st Century CE progressed, Christians began to experience his memory in new ways. His followers came to believe that he was more than just a great prophet and teacher, but the very incarnation of G_d. By the time the Fourth Gospel was written around the turn of the century he was no longer seen as a person of flesh and blood, but a supernatural being free of restrictions in time and space. He had become G_d.
Today, Easter – the day he is said to have come back from the dead – is unquestionably the most important day of the Christian calendar, although Christmas is celebrated more enthusiastically. Christians believe it because the gospels say it happened, or so they think. But the gospels are far from clear on the nature of the ‘resurrection’ or the timing of the ‘Ascension’, and most Christians aren’t even aware of the inconsistencies in the scriptures.
The Easter stories transformed Yeshua’s abject shame and defeat into a noble sacrifice, the triumph of life over death, victory over the Romans and his ultimate vindication before G_d. Easter became the crux of traditional Christianity, marking the beginning of the process by which a humble but brave teacher and religious zealot from Galilee became transformed in the minds of his later followers into their saviour, Messiah, judge, way-shower and G_d.
©David Lawrence Preston, 11.2.2017
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Balboa Press 2015