Talk:Christological argument

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I removed the following: "If you believe your parents existed and that their claims are valid, and that they claim Santa Claus exists, and if they never said otherwise, you should accept that Santa Claus exists."

If the author would like to reword this as a fallacy of this "arugment", s/he can put this back. Samw 03:20, 11 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Trilemma?[edit]

Is there a reason this article hasn't been merged with Trilemma? It seems to cover alot of the same ground and even points out that the "Lewis Triumvirate" is the same thing. Lewis Triumvirate points to the C.S. Lewis page under the heading "Trilemma". TheIncredibleEdibleOompaLoompa 03:04, 2005 May 6 (UTC)

I added a paragraph distinguishing them. Samw 03:14, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Bah. Looking at the paragraph that refers to the Triumvirate I now see it begins with "A related line of evangelical argument..." which answers my question quite nicely. Sorry about that. TheIncredibleEdibleOompaLoompa 07:35, 2005 May 6 (UTC)

Prophecy of Jesus reinforces his claims of the existence of God?[edit]

There are several evangelical arguments that reinforce their claims of Jesus's divinity by mentioning Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament. [1] Does mention of this belong here with the Christological argument? johnpseudo 18:13, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Trilemma as a Christological argument[edit]

The 'trilemma' as used by Lewis and others is not an argument for the existence of God. Is there any evidence that it has been so used? Have any notable writers used it as such? At the moment there is only a convoluted reference to the trilemma argument and how it is not necessarily an argument for the existence of God. How is this useful? Rbreen (talk) 12:46, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

"The 'trilemma' as used by Lewis and others is not an argument for the existence of God" - The version quoted in Lewis's_trilemma contains an argument with a premise 'Jesus was a great moral teacher' and the conclusion 'Jesus was the son of God', with the simple, direct entailment 'God exists'.
A reference to the trilemma argument is useful because it can form part of a Christological argument. A mention that it can be used in other ways is just useful background information that helps the reader cement his understanding. I don't see the problem. Ilkali (talk) 12:20, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Firstly, the argument is presented in this article as an argument for the existence of God. But no evidence is presented that it has ever actually been used in this way, only that in principle it could be. I have seen it used on numerous occasions but as far as I can recall it is always used to argue only for the incarnation. There was a reference to Josh McDowall's Evidence That Demands a Verdict but as far as I know that book also uses it only to support the incarnation. Granted the idea of the existence of God is indeed entailed by the argument, but is the drawing out of that conclusion being done in the real world, outside the opinion of the Wikipedia editor who originally wrote this article? The article says that the argument 'exists in several forms'. Does it actually exist, or has Wikipedia invented it? I am, of course, perfectly willing to accept a citation here that proves that it has been so used, if it has.
Secondly, as currently presented it muddles two approaches - that of McDowell and others who include the claims about Jesus accepting the title 'Son of God', and C. S. Lewis, who avoids that particular one. This point is central to the detail but not to the logic of the argument, and I think it best left out of this reference and discussed instead in the more detailed specific article.
Finally, a casual reader of this article, if unfamiliar with the subject, would surely assume that this is primarily an argument for the existence of God, when in fact it has rarely, perhaps never, been so used, and I suspect some of those who use it would balk at seeing it so used. That it 'can be used in other ways' is not a 'background argument' - it is, historically, the main way it has been used and to present it in any other way risks misleading to the reader. Any reader wishing to understand it in its proper context ought to be made aware that this it is primarily advanced in support of the incarnation. Rbreen (talk) 23:11, 7 December 2007 (UTC)
Having looked back over the details, I'm going to shift my stance a little and agree that there's room for improvement. I want to emphasise that there are two distinct arguments involved here:
  1. The trilemma, which asserts solely that Christ could only be a liar, a lunatic or a messiah.
  2. The associated Christological argument, which presupposes that: 1) the trilemma is accurate and 2) Jesus was a great moral teacher, and concludes that God exists.
The article doesn't make sufficient distinction between these two, and I think that should be attended to. Once the distinction is made, I think most of the problems you mention evaporate.
"Firstly, the argument is presented in this article as an argument for the existence of God. But no evidence is presented that it has ever actually been used in this way, only that in principle it could be" - Do we agree that the argument presented in the article (argument #2, above) is a valid Christological argument? If so, are we only disagreeing (on this point, at least) on whether it has ever been used?
"Secondly, as currently presented it muddles two approaches - that of McDowell and others who include the claims about Jesus accepting the title 'Son of God', and C. S. Lewis, who avoids that particular one" - Fair enough. We only really need a summary of the trilemma here, so I think we can reasonably prune some of these details.
"Finally, a casual reader of this article, if unfamiliar with the subject, would surely assume that this is primarily an argument for the existence of God" - Well, argument #2 is primarily an argument for the existence of God. The trilemma can be used for other things, but the Christological argument can't. Ilkali (talk) 16:48, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I am not disputing that it can in principle be used that way, only whether it actually has, and the existing wording doesn't make the difference between the two uses as clear as it needs to be. I also think it's useful for readers to be aware that this is not the context in which it is most usually found.Rbreen (talk) 08:53, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
We're not talking about two uses, we're talking about two arguments. If the trilemma is distinguished as a separate argument then I'm not sure we need a note saying it's often used in other ways, but I wouldn't particularly object to one. I'll try to reword the section later today if I remember, and we can see what modifications might be useful from there. Ilkali (talk) 12:05, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

I think the new version is much clearer, but I have edited it to change all the references to 'son of God' to 'God'. Two reasons: one is that the claim to be 'son of God' is only relevant if it amounts to a claim to be God, and that is arguable (and if it does, then why not focus on the underlying claim); and the other is that the supporters of the trilemma do not necessarily base their arguments on statements by Jesus identifying himself as 'son of God' but rather on other, indirect claims (such as, pace Lewis, the ability to forgive sins). Rbreen (talk) 20:31, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

"the claim to be 'son of God' is only relevant if it amounts to a claim to be God" - I disagree. If X is the son of Y, then Y must have existed at some point. That's all the argument needs to show. Equating 'Jesus' with 'God' causes conflicts with non-trinitarian Christianities, but calling him the son of God is completely uncontroversial.
Yes, but Equating 'Jesus' with 'God' is the whole point of this argument. If the title 'son of God' is taken to mean only some sort of assumed spiritual relationship (as any Christians might describe themselves as 'children of God'), that does not prove the relationship, or the being associated with it exists (since one could be mistaken about such a relationship). The whole thing centres on the assumption that Jesus was claiming to be equal and identical to God, in the narrow Trinitarian sense that "Son of God" is equal to "God the Son". If (the argument goes) you believe yourself to be identical to the creator of the universe you must be either insane (since that's not something you could be mistaken about) or actually be God. And if the latter is true, then it would imply that God must exist. Rbreen (talk) 23:27, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
"supporters of the trilemma do not necessarily base their arguments on statements by Jesus identifying himself as 'son of God' but rather on other, indirect claims (such as, pace Lewis, the ability to forgive sins)" - But I think that's only relevant insofar as it implies that he's the son of God? "I can forgive sins" doesn't take you to "God exists". Ilkali (talk) 22:21, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
"I can forgive sins" doesn't take you to "God exists". Again, this is exactly what C S Lewis argues - anyone who claims they can forgive the sins must be claiming to be God. Here is how he puts it in Mere Christianity:
"Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a man forgives offences against himself. You tread on my toe and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobbed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading other men's toes and stealing other men's money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give of his conduct. Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offences. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can regard as a silliness and conceit unrivaled by any other character in history."
Unless 'son of God' here is taken to mean, 'God the Son', the argument doesn't work. I'm not saying it's convincing - only that that's how it works. Rbreen (talk) 23:27, 10 December 2007 (UTC)
So Lewis' argument is that by claiming to be able to forgive sins, Jesus implicitly claims to be God, yes? And in Christianity, it's uncontroversial that Jesus, if divine, is the son of God. Lewis might not be using those terms, but would they be inaccurate within his belief system? Ilkali (talk) 08:32, 11 December 2007 (UTC)
First question: yes, that is, as I understand it, Lewis's claim (he also mentions Jesus as claiming to have always existed, and to be coming back to judge the world, in support of his view).
Second question: yes, but that formulation sort of presupposes the conclusion. Lewis believes he has proved that Jesus is God, and he understands that to mean Son of God in the Trinitarian "God the Son" way; if Jesus is divine, the term is uncontroversial. But what's controversial is whether that's what Jesus believed. A crucial point in analysing the argument is whether Jesus claimed to be God or not. Many people not familiar with the details assume that Jesus called himself Son of God, and intended this as a statement of Trinitarian identity, and they therefore assume that this premise needs no proof. In fact, there is no clear evidence that Jesus used that title for himself, nor that in the context of the time that it would inevitably imply a Trinitarian "God the Son"; which is why Lewis and others who use this argument need to find other arguments to support this premise. To say that Jesus is divine implies that he is the Son of God; but to say that he is the Son of God does not necessarily imply that he is divine. Rbreen (talk) 11:51, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Citation Inquiry for Premise 1: Argument from the wisdom of Jesus[edit]

On the principal objection to the aformentioned argument, the article states that a citation is needed for the following premise:

    "The reports of Jesus' character in the Bible are not reliable[citation needed]."

However, if a citation is needed for the first premise of the objection, should not the first premise of the argument require one as well?

    "The character and wisdom of Jesus is such that his views about reality are (or are likely to be) correct."  — Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.119.166.246 (talk) 05:54, 6 February 2012 (UTC)