This is to state what is controversial of the metaphysical implications of the historical facts as V.J.M.de Silva states in his article in the Island of 24 March,2016.
I liked reading the article, because Dr. V.J.M. de Silva writes what he believes to assure himself of his faith, without forgetting the controversial issues which an ordinary Christian will not pay heed to lest he would be disappointed, “ ..blessed are those who have not seen, but yet believed.”
There is no problem accepting a historical Jesus. Crucifixion of Jesus is not a debated issue. But the problem is in accepting a God let alone a historical one. That is important as it is to that God in the Holy Bible that the New Testament turns to give Jesus a paternity. Therefore more than the resurrection the selling of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver by his beloved disciple Judas Iscariot is more relevant as a corner of Christian faith.
If not for that betrayal, there would not have been a resurrection. It is to push their own point of view as historical and correct that the Christian writers take such painful efforts to deny other probable historical facts as incorrect insinuations against Christianity.
The disciples willingness to die for the truth of resurrection cannot be adduced as historical proof of the appearance of Jesus after Crucifixion, as we know that there are many who actually die to prove their love for God. Could that be taken as proof of the “historical” existence of a loving God ?
At least one amoung the disciples did not believe in the truth of resurrection . Disciple Thomas was an ordinary man not naïve and easily tricked. When his friends said that Jesus had appeared to them he refused to believe, and the writer of the New Testament cleverly makes Jesus appear in to the room through the locked door to face the group of disciples, to tell Thomas that “ … blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” That is what the writers of the New Testament want all faithful Christians to do-to believe without questioning what appears to be improbable.
More than a historical Jesus, the question is why it was necessity for a “Jesus” to affirm Christian faith, when there was the God Almighty , unless of course there was a problem with the God of the Bible, who was only the God of the Jews the Israelites. The rest of the Europeans could not claim God as theirs or of everyone as God had his chosen people and turned away from others.
Therefore, is it not correct to assume that to correct this anomaly the rest of the Europeans down from early Romans had to move away from the Bible as the Old Testament, and accept the story of the New Testament giving the God of the Bible a son to create a whole European Christian faith around him ?
Even the empty grave cannot be made a historical issue without making it a part of the miracle of resurrection. Because it is said that “Christianity would never have got off the ground if Jesus’ corpse was still in the tomb. All that the Roman and Jewish authorities had to do, was to go to the tomb and view the corpse and debunk the resurrection.” See how well the Greek writers of the New Testament had imagined to meet every possible arguments against casting doubt about their story.
The Israelites do not accept that the God had a son, nor do the Muslims as a matter of fact accept Jesus as the son of God. There is so much to explain but my intention is not to prove one and disprove the other but to speak of the thoughts that arose in my mind as I read the Bible and the New Testament in search of an existing God.
Early Greeks and Romans had no God, Zeus was their God. But it was the later Roman Piso family that got the New Testament written in Greek, trying to distance the God of the Bible and accept Jesus as their saviour to make it a spring board for a new Christian faith for non Israelite Europeans. The New Testament was written 100 to 300 years after the death of Jesus.
That was convenient for conquering European nations, beginning with later Romans to take with them a new faith to replace those of the conquered people. Historical Jesus was a man born to a man and a woman-Joseph and Mary. Those days the men lived for a long time, and they may therefore have had strong spermatozoid. Abraham was 100 when Sarah conceived Isaac. Mary was perhaps 12 or 13 when she gave birth to Jesus, and Joseph was 100 years.
There is therefore good reason to believe Joseph was the father of Jesus. The Roman writers of the New Testament had to make Jesus the son of God and wrote passionately about an immaculate conception. The New Testaments uses miracles - 37 of them reported to have been performed by Jesus to make the faithful believe he was the son of God. Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead. He turned water into wine so on and so forth. There had to be miracles performed by Jesus to prove to the faithful he was the son of God.
But God who created man in his own image never showed himself to man. When Moses asked God to show himself to him, the God said no man can see his face and live. When the Christians say they believe in God, what they say is they believe in the Prophets, because the God of the Bible did not speak to any one directly. He spoke through his prophets.
There were about 72 prophets in the Bible. And it is only through them that God “spoke” to the faithful. The God did not appear directly to the prophets either , but spoke to them only in visions and in dreams. Therefore the faithful have to believe the Prophets to believe that the God appeared to them in their visions or in their dreams. If they do not believe the Prophets they cannot believe in a God. Therefore what Christians believe are the Prophets.
It is to the credit of Dr. de Silva that he mentions, “….The metaphysical implications of these historical facts are no doubt controversial. Christians accept this as a miracle. Once God’s existence is accepted as a possibility, miracle cannot be dismissed out of hand; they become matters for investigation.” He writes to the Christian faithful and not to convert or convince others of the truth about Christianity.
But I disagree when he says that, “Ancient people rellied on verbal transmissions for passing along what happened, until it was written down. When there is a long interval between the occurrence of events and their recording, distortions could easily occur. This cannot be said of the Christian gospels.” This depends on how verbal transmissions had been organised, there is atleast one religion which has its religious philosophies intact despite verbal transmission.
Then there is also the Swoon theory referred to by Dr. de Silva, according to which, “ Jesus did not die on the cross, but was taken for dead, and later recovered. …….It was first propounded by the anti-Christian philosopher Celsus I the 2nd Century AD….”
But one important fact about the New Testament and the life of Jesus have been carefully left out by our learned writer. It is the missing years of Jesus. The New Testament is completely silent on the 18 lost of years of Jesus or the so called hidden years of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The ministry of Jesus lasted only for three years, that is from his thirtieth year to the 33rd.
What Dr. de Silva had left out is perhaps historical evidence of Jesus of Nazareth spending his “ lost years in the New Testament” in a Hindu Temple Jaganath in Puri and then in a Buddhist Monastery in Himalayas in Ladakh, India where there is said to be written evidence in an ancient scroll “The life of Saint Issa, the Best of the Sons of Men”which answers the questions on the missing years of,Jesus. This ancient scroll some say mysteriously disappeared later. Issa is how Jesus had been called in the Muslim and Hindu worlds.
This ancient scroll has even mentioned how Jesus had exhorted the Hindus to stop worshipping idols and give up the Caste system. Has that journey of Jesus to the East been conveniently omitted from the New Testament ?