Who Is Jesus Christ? A Challenge to Christians
by Andrew A. Snelling, Ph.D. *
The central question of Christianity, and of history itself, is: Who is Jesus Christ? Indeed, the Bible makes it clear that, whether we recognize Him now or not, all must one day stand before God and answer that question.
Jesus Christ the Creator
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:1-3, 14). Paul reminds us: "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:16-17).
Jesus the Word (Greek, logos), the ultimate communication from God, is declared to have been, and still is, the Creator of the universe and everything in it. When He came to this earth and laid aside His heavenly glory He didn't lay aside His power. He was fully human. He suffered weariness and fell asleep in a boat. He suffered pain on the cross. He was tested in the wilderness but without sin. But at the same time He never ceased to be the Creator. How do we know that? Because of the miracles He performed to convince people that He was who He claimed to be, the Creator.
Jesus Did Miracles and Quoted from Genesis
Jesus stilled a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23-27). He stood up in a boat, gave an order, and instantly there was a great calm instead of a raging storm. Of course the wind and sea had to obey Him instantly, because He created them! Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11) -- a miracle of creation. Where there had been water (hydrogen and oxygen), now there was wine (complex organic molecules). It happened instantly at His command. He fed 5,000 people, and 4,000 men plus women and children. As He broke the bread and fish, He kept on multiplying them by creating more as His disciples watched.
When Jesus healed a man born blind (John 9:1-7, 32), the man could not only see physically, but could understand what he was seeing. Jesus had not only healed his eyes but had programmed his brain to instantly recognize things he had never seen before. On several occasions, for example, Jairus's daughter (Matthew 9:18-19, 23-26) and Lazarus (John 11:1-46), Jesus, the author and Creator of life who thus had power over life and death, brought people back to life again. When we understand, appreciate, and comprehend what Jesus did before witnesses in the Gospels as the Creator when He walked this earth, we should have no doubt about His ability to create the universe and everything in it as recorded in Genesis 1.
Jesus also spoke the truth, because He is the truth: "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). If He told us a lie He couldn't be the truth, and therefore the way. In Mark 13:19, Jesus said "the creation which God created." In Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6 He said: "From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female." At the beginning of creation, not billions of years later, God created them. So Jesus was a young-universe, six-day creationist! Jesus spoke of the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37 and Luke 17:26-27), recognizing Noah as a literal man who lived. He spoke of Noah and his family entering the Ark and the Flood coming and taking them all away. So Jesus recognized the Flood, the Ark, and Genesis 7 describing those events as real history.
The Appearance of Age at Creation
At the marriage feast in Cana (John 2:1-11) Jesus commanded servants to take huge water pots and fill them with water. He then told the servants to draw from the pots and take it to the Ruler of the Feast, who deemed it excellent wine. However, the Ruler of the Feast had used the assumption that the present is the key to the past! He used his own reasoning based on what he knew happens in the present. He assumed, based on everyday experience, this wine had come from grapes grown on vines, grapes that had been harvested and crushed, fermented, and bottled. He thought it had taken a long period of time, but he was wrong. Jesus had, in fact, created this wine. This then is the characteristic of anything God does in creation. From our experience it has an apparent age, an appearance of a non-existent history. And why did Jesus do this? He did it to meet an immediate need.
When God commanded the fruit trees into existence He created them already bearing fruit. If we went back in time, we would have looked at those trees and would have said that they had taken years to grow and mature. But God created a mature, fully-developed creation, because it was meant to be in existence immediately so that when Adam and Eve walked the earth three days later, their food needs would be met.
What do many people say today? They say the world "looks old," therefore the Bible is wrong or God has deceived us. No, God has not deceived us, because He told us what happened in His eyewitness account in Genesis 1. God saw what He made and said it was very good. He was present. He was fully capable of recording and preserving for us His eyewitness account so we would know what happened at creation with absolute certainty. The Gospel accounts give Jesus' stamp of approval on Genesis 1 as the historical record of the earth's beginning. God's timetable for the creation was that He spoke the earth into existence. Yes, the earth has an appearance of age. But if we use the wrong assumptions to interpret the evidence, we come to the wrong conclusion that the earth is very old, when God clearly says it isn't.
If we assume uniformity, that geologic processes have always operated the way they do today, then of course, we would conclude it took a long time to form the rock layers. But Peter reminds us in II Peter 3:15 that the latter day scoffers will be "willingly ignorant" that the present is not the key to the past. They will be willingly ignorant that God created the earth, during a period of six days when all the processes we are familiar with today were suspended. And Peter says there was another period during which the rates of all of today's processes were suspended. The scoffers also will deliberately ignore the evidence for the Flood. We often think of Jesus being only present and active during creation, but He was also present and active during the Flood. Who closed the door of the Ark? God did. Noah didn't start the Flood. God was in charge of what happened during the Flood. We can have our geologic explanations, but ultimately God was present in judgment overturning this world, then restoring it with a new surface and a new biology afterwards.
Why Jesus Christ Came to Earth
Genesis is not about our salvation. However, Jesus said in John 5:46-47, "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" Which book of the Bible, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, did Moses compile? Jesus said if you don't believe what Moses wrote in Genesis how are you going to believe what I tell you? Jesus said in John 3:12, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?"
Jesus Christ came to earth because of what happened in the Garden of Eden. When man chose to rebel against God, He cursed the ground for man's sake, and death and suffering resulted. Many say that Adam only died spiritually. But did Jesus come to just die spiritually? Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 15:21-22: "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Jesus had to physically die, because Adam began dying physically at the Fall (dying you will die Genesis 2:17).
How marvelous! The love of God for us, His grace and mercy, are so magnanimous, that none other than Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe, stepped down from heaven's glory to come and die for us (Philippians 2:5-8). The reason He could die for us was because He is the Creator. One man can die for one man (Romans 5:7), but only the Creator of the universe could die for all people, in all places, throughout all time. That's why we can be confident all our sins were nailed to His cross. Furthermore, as the Creator, He has power over life and death. No man could take His life so He laid it down willingly and had the power to take it up again. If He wasn't the Creator, how could He do those things?
Evolution Not Compatible
If the Creator Jesus Christ used the evolutionary process, as some Christians maintain, then it means that He had to use death and destruction to create man, because evolution is said to have involved death and struggle over millions of years before man. This would have meant He really didn't have the ultimate power over death. He would thus have had to allow death to happen so that He could finally evolve man after millions of years of the deaths of "misfits" and imperfect biological experiments! So how could Calvary and the empty tomb then be accomplished? If Jesus had power over death when He walked the streets of Israel, and He had power over death when He rose from the grave, then He didn't need to use the evolutionary process. And Genesis tells us He didn't!
Adam and Eve weren't walking on a fossil graveyard in the Garden of Eden, because "God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31). What God declares "very good" is measured against His own holiness, for as Jesus said: "There is none good but one, that is, God" (Matthew 19:17; Luke 18:19). Death and violence came as a result of the Fall (Romans 5:12; Genesis 3:17-18; Romans 8:20-22), and the wholesale destruction of life by God in judgment came later at the time of the Flood (Genesis 7:21-23). It was sin, not evolution, which brought death into the world. The Gospel's salvation message is built on the foundation of who Jesus Christ is, and on what happened back in the Garden of Eden, as recorded in the historical account in Genesis.
A Personal Challenge
In Romans 14:10 and II Corinthians 5:10 Paul states we all must stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Paul is speaking to Christians, not about a judgment for our sin. Rather, it's the same as in the parable Jesus told about the Master who returned and His servants had to account for how they had faithfully served him (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-24). So one day we have to stand before Jesus and give an account. How can any of us stand before Jesus and respond when He says something like: "You had my written and spoken Word, and my life's testimony, so why didn't you believe? I declared when I walked the streets of Israel that I was the Creator. I spoke the truth. Why didn't you believe what I told you in Genesis?"
Do we really believe who Jesus Christ is? When we really believe that He is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the universe, it must revolutionize how we live, think, and understand the world. Yes, there are many scientific questions we don't know the answers to, because we are finite, fallible, and subject to mistakes, misunderstandings, and faulty reasoning. But when we accept that God's authoritative Word and the living logos are His communication to us, then all those unanswered questions pale in significance to fully knowing Jesus Christ.
However, so many Christians still choose the "tree of knowledge" (Genesis 3:6) rather than the Word of God (Genesis 2:17). We fear man and man's knowledge, forgetting that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7), and "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10). As Jesus said, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). Indeed, consider the "everlasting gospel" (Revelation 14:6). "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters" (v.7).
*Dr. Snelling is Professor of Geology in the ICR Graduate School.
Cite this article: Snelling, A. 2007. Who Is Jesus Christ? A Challenge to Christians. Acts & Facts. 36 (6).