The person of Jesus Christ C/B grade summary notes


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Jesus as the son of God – miracles & resurrection 

  • Jesus is often seen as the son of God because he did miracles. His resurrection was also a miracle and also suggests he was the son of God. 
  • Human beings don’t have miraculous power, nor do they ever rise from the dead.


  • Old testament prophets actually did do miracles. 
  • E.g. Moses parted the red sea to help the Jews escape from egypt.

Further evaluation:

  • However, Moses did that miracle under direction from God – God told him to ‘raise’ his staff, and then the sea parted. 
  • Jesus is different – he clearly has full control over his miracles. For example the first miracle Jesus did was turning water into wine. He was at a party where they had run out of wine, Mary encouraged Jesus to do a miracle to help them, but Jesus didn’t want to at first saying it was not time to reveal his powers yet. 
  • However, eventually Mary persuaded Jesus to do it. 
  • This shows Jesus has total control over his miracles – he doesn’t need direction from God, so he must actually be God (the son).
  • Furthermore, old testament prophets were not resurrected – that is also unique to Jesus. So, Jesus is the son of God in a unique sense.

Jesus as the son of God – the Bible

  • The Bible seems to support the trinity view – that God is three persons in one substance – father, son and holy spirit. Jesus is the son of God and Jesus is God.
  • At the start of John, it says that Jesus is with God and is God.
  • Later John, Jesus himself says ‘the father and I are one’.
  • So Jesus himself clearly though he was God.


  • Hick counters that jesus was just a ‘guru’ – a human teacher of wisdom, not the son of God.
  • Firstly, Adam was called the son of God, but that clearly wasn’t meant literally.
  • Also, the gospel of John was written last, which makes it the most unreliable because it was written so long after Jesus lived. There was lots of time for humans to add things to it.
  • Hick also doubts the miracle and resurrection stories. He claims the gospel authors just used mythological language in the Bible. 
  • The miracles of Jesus and the the spreading of the early church are just symbolic stories teaching us a deeper truth about the power of Christian moral teaching and the spread of the early church.

Teacher of wisdom – lost son & sermon on the mount

  • Jesus is clearly a moral teacher, because of his teachings.
  • The parable of the lost/prodigal son. A son asks his father for his inheritance in advance, and then goes and wastes it all. 
  • He then comes crawling back to his father begging for forgiveness and a job, and his father accepts.
  • The father’s other son is annoyed, saying it’s not fair, but the Father explains that he still has his inheritance and it is good to forgive because his other son was lost but now is found.
  • Jesus is clearly recommending forgiveness as a moral virtue.
  • During the sermon on the mount, Jesus recommended non-violence. 
  • Jesus said do not resist an evil person – if someone slaps you, turn the other cheek and let them slap you again.
  • Jesus said that the meek, downtrodden and oppressed people are the blessed ones.


  • C.S. Lewis argued that it can’t make sense to view Jesus as only a teacher of wisdom/morality.
  • This is because Jesus claimed to forgive people’s sins.
  • No mere human has the moral right to forgive sins people did to others.
  • If a mere human tried or claimed to forgive sins, that would not be morally good – they would either be evil or insane, Lewis argues.
  • So, Jesus cannot be only a teacher of morality/wisdom – he must also be the son of God. Only God has the right to forgive sins like Jesus claimed to do.
  • So, Jesus is either liar, lunatic or the lord.

Ruether’s ‘golden thread’ argument for reforming Christianity 

  • Ruether views Jesus as a liberator of women – she thinks his actions were aimed at freeing people from oppression.
  • Ruether accepts that the Bible is full of sexist passages, which suggest God is not in favour of liberation, but she argues that it is also full of positive pro-feminist passages, especially those involving Jesus.
  • Ruether says Jesus was “pro-feminist” in his actions and teachings. He saved a women from being stoned for adultery (countering the patriarchal punishment of the time) & healed a woman who had been menstrually bleeding for 12 years (also going against the patriarchal view that menstruating women were unclean).
  • Ruther’s point is that the Bible has some pro-feminist passages and some sexist patriarchal passages – so they can’t both be the genuine word of God!
  • So, the sexist parts of the bible must have been written by humans influenced by the patriarchal culture of the time. So, we should get rid of the sexist parts of the Bible.


  • However, there are passages where Jesus indicated that he was non-political – had no interest in political liberation or changing society. 
  • ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ – Jesus’ focus is the kingdom of heaven, not earthly kingdoms.
  • Also: Jesus was asked whether the Jews should pay an unjust tax which had been forced on them by the romans. Jesus answered by pointing out that the coins had Caesar’s face on them – saying  ‘Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s’
  • Jesus was saying to pay the tax, which suggests that he did not see political injustice as God’s concern. Jesus seems to see a disconnect between politics and religious matters. 
  • So, Jesus can’t be viewed as a liberator who aimed to change society. 

The biblical basis for liberation theology & its interpretation of preferential option for the poor

  • Jesus said things about wealth that seem to justify liberation theology and suggest he was a liberator of the poor.
  • “It is harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven”.
  • “If you want to be perfect, sell all that you have and give it to the poor”.
  • Jesus seems to be against people being rich, and in favour of radically changing society to liberate the poor. 

Kloppenberg’s response

  • Kloppenberg disagrees.
  • He points out that Jesus only ever spoke about the sin and salvation of individual people. 
  • Jesus’ teachings were never aimed at the structure of society or the economy itself.
  • So, there’s no way to view Jesus’ teachings as challenging capitalism or anything like that.
  • Jesus is only recommending that rich people give to charity. So, he’s not a liberator.