That’s a provocative title, isn’t it? Or maybe not. Either way, let me explain where it came from.
Jesus left no writings about his life, his father, the Church he founded, nothing. Not a diary, no letters to anyone, nada. Paul had no problem writing to all of his acquaintances. But Jesus? Nope.
What spurred this to a post was that The Exterminator, over at No More Hornets, has started a little reading group consisting of what he calls Nonbelieving Literati. (Check it out and join us if you’re so inclined.) The first book to be discussed is going to be Julian, by Gore Vidal, which I ordered but which has not yet graced the interior of my post box. So, I was in Borders today, and, while partaking in some therapeutic browsing, or what I call “bibliotherapy“, I pulled the book off the shelf just to get a sense of what I was getting into. I started reading the introduction, where the author mentions that Julian was an actual historical figure, a Roman Emperor, and that there was a lot of material out there that acted as sources for this book, a novel. He mentioned a three volume set of Julian’s own writings, which of course made me think about the dearth of writing we have supporting the existence of Jesus as an historical figure.
Of course, much has been written about the possibility that Jesus did not exist, or that he was an amalgamation or hodgepodge of a number of actual historical figures, or that if he did exist, his “story” was the stuff of myth, blown well out of proportion to the actual man.
So if a relatively insignificant historical figure, such as Julian, could manage to leave us three volumes of his writing, none of which has had much impact on human civilization, other than acting as source material for a 20th century author, and perhaps keeping some historians happy, why didn’t the Son of God, arguably the most important historical figure ever, think it important enough to leave us some evidence of the workings of his mind?
As the Son of God, Jesus certainly must have known that people might question his divinity, his teachings, his very existence. He was, after all, omniscient, wasn’t he? Why not leave some proof, some brain droppings? What better proof than writings , documents, in his own hand, if possible, that clearly and unequivocally demonstrate his existence, his superior knowledge, his intention for the future, his relationship with his Dad, etc.
I’m sure many Christians will say that he did, and point to the Gospels. But that’s unsatisfactory for any number of reasons.
- First, the Gospels were not written by him. (They weren’t written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John either, but that’s another topic for another day.) They were written by unknown authors anywhere from 30 to 100 years after he allegedly died. Why didn’t he write his own memoirs?
- Second, they are incomplete. They have little biographical information in them about his first 30 years, for instance, dwelling on his last three, and between the four Gospels, they contradict each other in many respects. Where’s an editor when you need one?
- Third, the fact that he was supposedly a carpenter’s son, and hence relatively uneducated, should not have prevented him leaving some evidence of his own existence. He was god (for god’s sake)! He could do anything he wanted. To point to his apparent illiteracy is a non-starter of an argument or defense. What’s the point of having someone else write his biography, when an autobiography would have been far more convincing?
So why did he not leave some evidence of his existence? A lock of hair would be nice. Maybe a photograph? (he could do it, he was GOD after all.)
The obvious answer is…well…obvious, isn’t it?