Contents for Why Believe in Jesus?
Unit 2 - Why Believe in Jesus?
This Unit is a transition Unit from the first part of the encyclopedia (Why Believe in God?). It gives a summary of the evidence for God from Physics and philosophy, shows why reason must be complemented by revelation, and makes the transition from a Creator to Jesus.
A brief summary of the four sets of evidence for God.
a. The evidence from physics.
b. The evidence from the logical proof for the existence of God.
c. The evidence from philosophy of mathematics.
d. The evidence from near-death experiences and human transcendentally.
The mutual corroborative effect of these four sets of evidence.
The complementary picture of God given by these four sets of evidence.
If reason can probe so deeply, why do we need God to reveal himself (revelation)? There are five basic areas into which reason cannot probe deeply.
a. The heart of God.
b. How to pray and worship.
c. Specific ethical precepts and attributes of God that cannot be known by reason (e.g. the trinity).
d. God’s inspiration, response to prayer, and redemption of suffering.
e. The dynamic of sacred community.
Six reflective questions manifesting the unconditional love of God and his desire to be with us empathetically.
What is the historical evidence for Jesus outside of the New Testament?
What are the rigorous historical methods used to verify historical claims in the New Testament?
Why did the early Church proclaim Jesus to be divine when it was apologetically disadvantageous?
Is there anyway of verifying the historical veracity of the resurrection accounts from non-gospel material?
What could be a necessary and sufficient cause of these five mutations?
Do the explanations of skeptics and minimalists (e.g. the Jesus Seminar) provide an adequate explanation of the five mutations in their historical context?
The case for the resurrection as described by Wright, Brown, Fuller, Jeremiahs, and others.
How could the Christian Church have grown so rapidly without the impelling presence of the Spirit?
Does the Spirit inspire and operate in the same way today?
What did first century Judaism believe about miracles?
What are the unique aspects of Jesus’ miracle working (compared with others of His day)?
How do Jesus’ miracles in the Canonical Gospels compare with those recounted in the Gnostic Gospels?
The application of historical criteria through Jesus’ exorcisms.
The application of historical criteria to Jesus’ healing miracles.
The significance of Jesus raising from the dead in His own name and by His own power.
How do these three claims relate to Jesus’ specific ministry of miracles?
The significance of the eschatological son of man (Daniel 7).
Jesus’ claim to be exclusive son of the Father – the parable of the wicked vintners, and the stone rejected by the builders.
Did Jesus know He was divine? If so, why did He keep His revelation of it so low key?
Was the primitive Church justified in declaring Jesus to be the “Son of God,” “equal to God” and “Lord”?
What are the persons of the Trinity doing? How can they be understood in relation to each other?
The meaning of “Abba”.
The Father of the Prodigal’s Son – explained.
How is God’s true nature revealed by all of the above?
Jesus’ love of the poor.
Conclusions about “love one another as I have loved you.”
Is God Unconditional Love? – the Eucharist.
The original Eucharistic words.
Is God Unconditional Love? –the Passion
The Marcan Text and the tradition underlying it.
The unconditional love of Christ manifest in His self-sacrificial death.
Conclusions about the unconditional love of God and the divinity of Christ.
Is Jesus Really Emmanuel – “God With Us”?
The love of God and Christ in the writings of St. Paul.
The love of God and Christ in the writings of St. John.
Conclusions about the unconditional love of God and the divinity of Jesus.