Biblical Common Sense by Ron
Common Sense, what is it? Well according to Merriam-Webster the proper definition is as follows:
Common Sense: sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.
Wow. What an easy to comprehend definition. The very definition of common sense almost seems like “common sense”. To be able to make a sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts sure sounds right. It sounds like what we should always strive to do. And people do exactly that all the time, everyday. When we drive to work and see that the sky is overly cloudy and looks like it might rain, we know it wouldn’t be wise to leave our car windows down. If your battery powered flashlight starts getting dimmer, you understand that you might need to put new batteries in it. Part and parcel of common sense is paying attention to the obvious. It is using the knowledge and experience of life to see and comprehend accurately what is right in front of us. Again, common sense is plain ordinary good judgment that is not based on any specialized knowledge.
Like everything else in life, I try to use a common sense approach to Scripture. I feel that it has to make sense at the most basic level. If God is communicating to humanity throughout the generations of time through the written word (which I firmly believe He does through The Bible), then having it make sense to people is of primary importance. Of course right here the skeptic or the Atheist could chime in and say that the Bible defies common sense. They would say that tales of the supernatural and miracles are contrary to logic and rational thought, much less common sense. From the viewpoint of a non-believer that can appear to be true. But once the existence of God is recognized and faith in Him and His Holy Scriptures becomes your axiom, then miracles and other supernatural occurrences become not just possible, but entirely logical. However the point of my presentation is not a defense of theism or The Bible, but is that within the framework of God’ written word, what practically all of believers of Scripture feel is the truth given to us from God, common sense still must be applied to it in order to properly understand what God is communicating to us. What God articulates to us as rational cognitive thinking beings must make sense to us in order for us to understand Him. Common sense is a part of how we think and make logical judgments about life and the world around us. That is how God created us. Common sense was made into our mental makeup by God. Hence the popularly heard term “God-given Common sense” is very accurate. And if God gave it to us, we should definitely strive to use it as a proper guide through his written word. His instructions throughout the Bible – beginning to end, should be read using God’s gift of common sense.
Understanding who Jesus is and how the Bible presents him is not all that difficult when one stops and uses good ol’ common sense to recognize the meaning behind many of the words of Scripture.
As a child growing up in a strong, Bible-believing family I learned about Jesus from a very early age. Frequently my mother would read to me from my storybook bible and from it I came to learn about all the great characters of Scripture. From the start, I recognized that of all the characters in The Bible, Jesus was extremely important and special. After all, he was said to be the Son OF God. And this is the beginning of where God-given common sense comes into play. Like every other child who learns that Jesus is the Son of God, I had no problems figuring out that Jesus and God were two different beings. The very words Father and Son let me know that God was the Daddy and Jesus was His son. Human fathers and sons do share being related, but they are ALWAYS two different individuals. Using father and son as descriptor nouns is incredibly easy to understand because we have that example provided for us in our own lives. A father and a son (or a mother and daughter if you’re female) are two different individuals. This is easy to see and is simple common sense!
Another detail that is easily grasped is that a Father is ALWAYS older than his Son. When one hears that this person is the father and this person is his son, no one would think for a second that they both have existed for the same amount of time. Fathers are always older than their sons because fathers bring them into existence. Sure a young child doesn’t get all the nuances of this and parents hope the reproductive details of how human fathers “create” their sons & daughters is something that comes when the child reaches an appropriate age, but it is still something that a registers in the brains of children as a part of common sense. Fathers are older than children because once again that is how the example works. Throughout all of humanity, not to mention all of the animal world, fathers are older and are in existence longer than their sons because in order for a father to have a son, he must already be in existence and then be able to conduct a creative act to bring a son (or daughter) into existence. This is how God designed things. For God to make such a design and then use the easily identifiable terms “Father” and “son” to communicate to us in a way that totally contradicts His design defies common sense at its most basic level.
There are two different events recorded in the New Testament where God himself vocally indicates that Jesus is His son. First at his baptism we have the accounts the three synoptic gospels.
Matt 3:16-171 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Mark 1:10-11 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens:
“You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
Luke 3:21-22 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
The second account occurs at the transfiguration and is also recorded in the three synoptic gospels.
Matt 17:5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said,
“This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”
Mark 9:7 Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”
Luke 9:35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!”
In these six accounts of the two different events, we have a voice calling Jesus “His son”. Common sense should tell us here that this voice belongs to God and that Jesus is NOT that God doing the speaking. The voice of God calls Jesus His Son. The overall aspect of these two events much less the words given “My beloved Son” should easily provide common sense clues that Jesus and God are two separate entities. If not we have a deception on our hands of the highest order. If Jesus was God – especially in an Oneness/”Jesus Only” sense then we are being tricked by a great act of ventriloquism. God would be performing an outright ruse to fool everyone into thinking that God and His Son were separate Father and Son entities. It would be a charade performed for the audience’s benefit (both to the people present to those events and to the many more who have read the record of those events since then in the written form of Scripture.
The term Messiah is the English translation
for the Hebrew word “Moshiach” (or “Mashiach”), which means “God’s
anointed, or “the anointed one (of God)”. The term was used to describe
anyone who was “anointed” with holy anointing oil (e.g. Israel’s Kings,
prophets, & priests) to signify being chosen for a task ordained/authorized
by God. And in a deeper eschatological sense, Messiah also stood for the
coming of THE final “Moshiach” from the Davidic line who would usher in the
Messianic age (the “Olam Ha-Ba” or “the world to come”) and whose “kingship”
would reign forever.
But let’s go back and look at what is being said here with the word itself. If we are to honestly examine the actual, basic definition of the word, common sense should tell us that if the Messiah is someone whom God “anoints”, then it is someone OTHER THAN God. God is anointing/authorizing somebody else to perform a task. This is a very simple concept that seems to be lost or ignored by those promoting the Trinity belief that Jesus is the Messiah who is also God. If the word “Messiah” is to have any true meaning at all either Jesus is God and is NOT the Messiah. Or Jesus is the Messiah who is someone other than God. There is no other option. It is totally absurd to say God “anoints” Himself.
Then there’s the Biblical expectations regarding the Messiah.
The Hebrew people have historically viewed (as Judaism still does to this day)
the Messiah as someone that would be a real human being directly
descended from the lineage of King David. And they have this view point
because that is just what Scripture clearly describes
– a real human man was promised, not God acting as a man.
The “Original” Testament starts such a path almost from the beginning with God giving a prophecy that one day a literal descendant of Eve would defeat the Serpent (Satan) in Genesis 3:15.
Gen 3:15 – “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
Later in Deuteronomy 18:15 & 18, God promises to bring up a future prophet like Moses from among the people of Israel’s own “brethren”.
Deut 18:15-19 “YAHWEH your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. This is according to all that you asked of YAHWEH your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of YAHWEH my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’
“YAHWEH said to me, ‘They have spoken well. ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.’
Isaiah 11 promises the Messiah will come out of the human line of Jesse and that God’s Spirit “will rest on him”.
Isaiah 11:1-2 “Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of YAHWEH will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of YAHWEH.”
Isaiah 42:1 describes the Messiah as God’s “servant” His “chosen one” whom God places (anoints) his Spirit upon.
Isaiah 42:1 “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. ”
Isaiah 52:14 again states that God’s servant will be a man.
Isaiah 52:14 “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
In the book of Jeremiah the Messiah is declared to be “raised up” as David’s “righteous branch” (23:5)
Jer. 23:5 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares YAHWEH, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land.”
And that this “leader shall be one of them and their ruler shall come forth from their midst” (30:21).
Jer. 30:21 “Their leader shall be one of them, And their ruler shall come forth from their midst; And I will bring him near and he shall approach Me; For who would dare to risk his life to approach Me?’ declares YAHWEH.”
Of course it couldn’t be said any clearer than in 1st Chronicles 17:11-14, where God promises that the Messiah will be one of David’s “descendants” and “shall be of your sons”.
1 Chron 17:11-14 “When your days are fulfilled that you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up one of your descendants after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. “He shall build for Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. “I will be his father and he shall be My son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. “But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.”
Then we have the Messianic promises that David himself wrote in the book of Psalms. Starting in Psalm 2 saying that God’s anointed will be “begotten” at a point in time (2:7) and will be established from David’s “seed forever” (89:4).
Psalm 2:7 “I will surely tell of the decree of YAHWEH: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.”
Psalm 89:4 “I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations.” Selah.”
Psalm 89:27 has God making the Messiah “My first-born”. This doesn’t make sense if Jesus were God, how would God make himself his own first-born?
Psalm 89:27 “I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.”
And finally we come to Psalm 110. Here all doubts are erased and the precise
declaration is provided that God’s anointed Messiah would be a human man
and absolutely not God himself.
Psalm 110:1 is THE verse in the Original Testament that shows the clear distinction between God and the Messiah.
Psalm 110:1 “The LORD [YAHWEH] says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” ”
It shows that there are TWO Lords. One is the LORD God
Almighty and the other is addressed with the honored but fully human title of
No wonder it is the most quoted verse in the New Testament from the Hebrew Bible! To explain further, I’ll quote Anthony Buzzard as he says this better than I ever could.
“It tells us that the relationship between God and Jesus is that of Deity
and non-Deity. The Messiah is called adoni (my lord) and in
every one of its 195 occurrences adoni (my lord) means a superior who is
not God. Adonai on the other hand refers exclusively to the One God in
all of its 449 occurrences. Adonai is the title of Deity and adoni never
designates Deity. If the Messiah were called Adonai this would
introduce “two Gods” into the Bible and would be polytheism. Psalm 110:1 should
guard us all against supposing that there are two who are God. In fact
the Messiah is the supreme human being and agent of the One
God. Psalm 110:1 is the Bible’s master text for defining the Son of God
in relation to the One God, his Father.”
(Sir Anthony Buzzard – Focus on the Kingdom – article “Adonai and Adoni (Psalm 110:1)”)
Again here is where common sense should keep us straight. Scripture promised a real, human man that would be a literal descendent of Eve, a literal descendent of David, a great human prophet “like Moses”. If this is what was promised by God, then this is what it had to be. Anything else would be deceptive. To have this be a divine member of the Godhead, or God appearing in human form, makes all these written promises from God not really mean what they say. A pre-existent, unbegotten being just isn’t human. And such a being is not an actual descendent of anyone since by definition that being would have existed BEFORE they ever did.
Throughout the “Original” Testament God goes out of his way to say over and
over that He is the one and only God of the universe and that He alone is
responsible for all of creation. But God also reveals something else there and
then confirms it later in the New Testament. God says that he CAN NOT be
seen by man. In Exodus 33:20 God flat out tells Moses that “no man can
see me and live”. Then in the Gospel of John we have collaborating texts like
“No man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18) and “You have
neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form”
(John 5:37). And in 1st Timothy we have the added facts that God is “invisible” (1 Tim 1:17) and that He “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim 6:16).
Yet according to all the biblical records, Jesus was seen and heard by thousands of human beings and was perceived totally as a fellow human. How could Jesus be God in human form if God has made it abundantly clear that he can NOT be seen? Sure the typical Trinitarian response tends to be something along the lines of that since Jesus put on “human nature” that allowed him to be seen and heard just like a normal human being. So perhaps the more important, critical common sense question here would be WHY? Why would God state that he couldn’t be seen, yet then turn around and come down into human form TO BE SEEN? It seems illogical not to mention totally contradictory.
The fact of this is amplified even further when one looks at the record of
the events at Sinai. In Deuteronomy 4: we find God making the concise effort to
tell the Israelites that they
“saw no form” (verse 12), and that they needed to “watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day YAHWEH spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a grave image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female” (verse 15 &16). Here God specifically went to the trouble to prohibit the Israelites from attempting to worship him in human form (or any form for that matter). Yet according to the Trinity belief (as well as Oneness), God turned right around and did this EXACT thing by appearing in human form as Jesus. This seems absurdly contradictory and well beyond the realm of good common sense.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans and 1st Corinthians detailed comparisons of Jesus and Adam. Paul even termed Jesus the “Last Adam”. This is because he recognized critically important parallels between these two individuals. Adam, the father of the human race brought death upon everyone because his disobedience took away the ability for humans to live eternally. The perfect obedience of the Last Adam, Jesus the Messiah, gave humanity a way to overcome death and live eternally as originally planned.
Romans 5:12-19 (NRSV)
(12) Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all, because all have sinned—
(13) Sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law.
(14) Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.
(15) But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many.
(16) And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.
(17) If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
(18) Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
(19) For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23
(20) But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep
(21) For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
(22) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
(23) But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,
(45) So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
For Paul’s two Adam analogy to work, Jesus must be on the
same level as the original Adam. For a “Last Adam” to logically
be in the “Adam” category then he has to be a man just like the first.
God or the 2nd member of The Trinity coming down to earth in human form just isn’t an “Adam” at all. He would be God – the creator of Adam. Sure, God could come down and get it right. But it was a man that got us into this mess in the first place. Shouldn’t common sense tell us that if a man that was created perfect by God and used his free will to disobey God and bring sin into the picture, then another perfectly created man with free will should be the logical counterpart to obey God and provide an escape from sin?
Common sense and the plain meaning of words makes it easy. Jesus is called a man and is referred to as the last “Adam” because he is a MAN on the same level as the original MAN that Paul compares and contrasts each to the other. Both were perfectly created by God. Both were without sin but with the capacity to sin. Adam chose to disobey and brought sin and death to his race. Jesus chose to obey and brought about a new future for his race – eternal life instead of ... death. The simple bottom line is that Two Adam analogy posits that Adam and Jesus were both men – both real human beings. Both were called son of God because God was their Father more so than any other humans that ever existed. Yet only one lived up to the name and expectations of his Father and Creator! None of this analogy works properly if Jesus is God.