Did Jesus have to be a perfect human being?

I started reading Geza Vermes book ‘The Authentic Gospel’. It claims that the original teachings of Jesus can be discerned from the text itself, but they are alien to what the gospel writers themselves believed, and later Christians. For one thing, Jesus was only concerned with the salvation of Israel.

For me, it doesn’t matter. Jesus’ importance is ‘primarily’ in his role in atonement, not in his role as a moral teacher.

In Jesus, all that matters is faith expressing itself through love.

If it’s not inspired then yeah, whatever. He - Vermes (British Hungarian Jewish former Catholic Jew!) - isn’t certainly.

Might one ask your take on the atonement?

I very much resonate with your final line; in His fully human ignorance Jesus fully exercised divine love where they meet: in faith.

I suspect that many would claim to be legalistically sinless. Now as then. I’ve had an ontological metaphor for Jesus for some decades: prince trumps frog. His divine nature outshone, shone through, suffused, transformed, directed His human nature always in love, never knowingly in abuse of power from below (as a child, a subordinate, under higher status individuals) or above (over lower status individuals), gave Him a perfect moral compass in His perfectly fully human, enculturated imperfection.

1 Like

Before Jesus came, humans were enslaved to the elemental forces (Galatians 4:3), so the son, who upholds the cosmos (Hebrews 1:3) had to die, in order for the previously corrupt cosmos to die (Galatians 6:14) and be reborn upon the resurrection (Galatians 6:15).

Most original yet textually orthodox, thanks.

1 Like

Did Jesus have to be a perfect human being?

“perfect human being?”
We are living organisms. We start out as a single cell and grow. Thus it is by development and learning we acquire whatever power and knowledge we have. And we learn from our mistakes. Jesus’ constant refrain was, “you sins are forgiven, so go and sin no more.” Thus the point has always been to learn from our mistakes and change. Thus when Jesus said we must be perfect even as our heavenly, he meant that our self destructive habits, whether in action or in thought, must be left behind. There is no place for such things in the kingdom of God/Heaven. A perfect human being is not one who never makes mistakes but learns from those mistakes and doesn’t make a habit of it. And if we do manage to acquire a bad habit then we do whatever it takes (such as divine assistance) to get rid of them.

“have do be?”

  1. Does the fact that Jesus is God compel Him to be what someone (even God) might describe as a perfect example of a human being? No. God’s omnipotence means that God’s choice always comes first. God does as He chooses. God is as He chooses. Nothing can compel God except God Himself. That would make God a helpless victim of something other than God and that would contradict His omnipotence.
  2. Did the purpose or task for which Jesus came to Earth compel Him to be a perfect human being? Why did Jesus come? John 10:10 “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” I think this task requires that Jesus be the example of a perfect human being. Why? I think it is in order to show us how we can have life more abundantly. I do not think it is because such perfection is required to make some magic of human sacrifice more powerful. And I certainly do not buy into the nonsense that God requires such magic in order to forgive, let alone that any such magic could compel God in such a way.

Yes! In another discussion I have really like the following description of divine simplicity, “There is nothing which is not God which makes God be God.” I think this includes power and knowledge and thus there is no contradiction that in becoming fully human 100% man, Jesus left behind all the limitless power and knowledge of God to become a helpless human infant. And yet that infant was also 100% God because power is not God and knowledge is not God and “nothing which is not God makes God be God.”

While atonement is vital, I find it hard to follow someone whose primary role was to die (and rise). Though I don’t think this idea is uncommon in evangelicalism, as the way the gospel is described in some places, you would think all Jesus came for was his own death. I don’t see why Jesus’s moral teachings should be separated out from his atonement role, as they are the basis of many Christian teachings. Paul’s mission to the gentiles fleshes out our current idea that anyone can be saved, but I think Jesus planted the seeds with his treatment of the Samaritan woman, commending the faith of the Roman centurion, etc.


Did Jesus have to be a perfect human? No. How just had to be a sinless human. He probably made just as many mistakes as us he just did not sin. Which is probably what you meant anyways but just in case.

I also strongly disagree that Jesus only cared about Israel. We see God caring about gentiles throughout the Bible. We see Jesus pointing out that it was first for the Jews, then the Samaritans, and then the gentiles. We see that also reflected through what the apostles did. But that was not new. The Torah does too.

1 Like

Definitely agree.

Plus how he even ordered the apostles to carry out the great commission to the whole earth. He also said first to the Jew and then to the gentile, and mentioned taking it to the ends of the earth meaning gentiles and so on.

1 Like

Geza Vermes argues that was not part of Jesus’ original message

I call it ‘Cosmic Atonement Theory’.

Don’t really care about their opinion I guess. It does not seem scripturally logical at all.

We can see God caring not only for jews, but also for gentiles throughout the scriptures. It would be weird if Jesus suddenly did not. Look at the positive interactions God had with gentiles throughout the Old Testament

Jesus caring about gentiles lines up to the promises made to “Adam and Eve” and is seen throughout the the stories of the Torah. It also lines up with the actions and worlds of the apostles. It flows seamlessly with the biblical narrative.

This topic was automatically closed 6 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.