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Existence of God

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Jesus Used Logic

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Jesus was undoubtedly the Master Logician. He demonstrated unsurpassed logical prowess on every occasion. One such incident occurred when He was preaching to a group that had gathered in a house. So many people were crammed into the house that four men were unable to bring a paralytic into contact with Him, so they carried him onto the roof, punched a hole through the ceiling, and lowered him down through the hole into the presence of Jesus. The text then reads:

When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go your way to your house.” Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:5-12).

Observe that in their private thoughts the scribes accused Jesus of blasphemy, since He claimed to forgive the man of his sins on the spot—an act that only Deity could rightly perform. By asking the question, “Which is easier…?,” Jesus was urging them to reason correctly and think through what was taking place. If Jesus had the power to cause a bedfast paralytic to stand up and walk, instantaneously healing him of his affliction, then He either had divine backing or He, Himself, was God. Anyone can verbally say, “Your sins are forgiven” (cf. Catholic priests). That is what Jesus meant when he used the word “easier.” For a mere human to pronounce forgiveness upon a fellow human does not make it so. How, then, can one determine whether sin is actually forgiven, i.e., that God forgave the individual? Answer: The one making the claim would either have to be God in the flesh, or he would have to have divine authority for his action, and that divine authority would have to be verified, i.e., proven and shown to be authentic.

The purpose of miracles throughout the Bible was to authenticate God’s spokesmen. To verify that his words and claims were authored by God, the speaker would perform a miracle (see Miller, 2003; cf. Hebrews 2:3-4). When an observer saw a bona fide miracle performed before his very eyes, he could know, i.e., have complete certainty, that the speaker was a genuine representative of God. Jesus, therefore, prodded the scribes to face up to the fact that if Jesus could merely speak to the paralytic and cause him to be healed, then Jesus possessed divine credentials and had every right to also forgive the man of his sins. Follow the logic:

  1. If Jesus can perform miraculous feats, then His claim to be the Son of God Who can forgive sin is true.
  2. Jesus can perform miraculous feats (He healed the paralytic on this occasion).
  3. Therefore, Jesus is the Son of God Who can forgive sin.

Having pressed this remarkably logical handling of the situation, all that remained was for Jesus to perform a miraculous feat, thereby validating His power to forgive the paralytic man of sin. So Jesus healed the man, prefaced with this logical conclusion: “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” (vs. 10). Jesus’ logic was impeccable, powerful, and perfectly consistent with Deity.

REFERENCES

Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation—EXTENDED VERSION,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1399.




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