Wednesday, April 29, 2009


What you see above is the visual equivalent to my book The Many Faces of the Christ which surveys the various images and titles of Jesus in all the NT witnesses.


JM said...

Dear Prof.,

Do you think it's OK to draw Jesus face while our Bible (the second law) not allowed it?


Nathan said...

Brilliant clip Ben - some excellent morphing in that. Thanks!

Ben Witherington said...

Hi JRRM30: You have misinterpreted the second commandment, which has to do with graven images, that is images carved in stone or metal and used for idolatry (e.g. the golden calf). This has nothing to do with the display of the human face of Jesus. God in the divine nature is Spirit, and has no face (hence no images allowed), but the Son of God in the Incarnation has a human face, and there is no prohibition in the Bible about displaying it, depicting it, or imagining it. If the first disciples of Jesus had had cameras and had taken pictures of Jesus, would they have violated the second commandment? Certainly not. You have to be able to distinguish between the humanity and the divinity of Jesus.


Nathanael King said...

Prof Witherington,

This is not regarding this current post. I was wondering if you could do a brief review of the film Zeitgeist? Specifically, I'd like to see someone of your caliber address the ideas it promotes regarding Jesus and mythology. I know you're busy, but I thought I'd throw the request out there. Thanks!

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Brother King:
I already did a length post on it. Just go to the search feature at the top of my blog and type in Zeitgeist.

Ben W.

Steve Todd said...

Did you notice how in so many of the images of Jesus, he looked like a woman with facial hair?

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Steve

This is hardly a surprise. After all his only human parent was a woman :)


Steve Todd said...

I wonder if that's how the artists thought of him.

Rob Penn said...

"I wonder if that's how the artists thought of him."

That may be a compliment more than one thinks.

I just got hit with this thought, so I don't know how the dates line up, but if you think about the rock stars of opera and music back in the day - the castrati - they had very feminine features because of... um... the nature of their work.

Maybe they were equating Jesus to some one who's really really cool?

Ben Witherington said...

Ray we have a right to believe in whatever the Bible says, and no right to believe in what it does not say. The Bible's concept of election is a corporate one, in Israel and in Christ. This does not tell us how they got into Israel or Christ, it tells us about the locus of salvation, for Christ is the elect one. Election has nothing to do with predestination to salvation. Lots of elect Israelites didn't make it. Election has primarily to do with God's purposes for a people while on earth.

And as for 'hope', Heb. 11.1 is clear enough that any genuine Christian who has faith in Christ has the assurance of things hoped for. This of course is the same book that tells us in Heb. 6 that apostasy is possible for Christians. As I understand Calvin's Institutes he provides no assurance about others, any more than your caricature of the hope Arminians believe in it. In fact Calvin is clear-- you can never know with certainty whether another person is elect or saved or not, but you can experience assurance and be confident about your own salvation. This differs not at all from what Wesley would say. So I am afraid Calvinism certainly offers me no better assurance about my loved ones than Arminianism. As for damnation, I see no reason why I should not be appalled with a theological system that connects predestination and election with damnation in at least the sense that some are deliberately left out by God's own choice. This frankly does not comport with the character of God as revealed in the Bible, and Rom. 9-11 is no rebuttal Read my Romans commentary.


Ben W.