"THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Transformation By Beholding (3:18) by Mark Copeland


                   Transformation By Beholding (3:18)


1. What is the goal of the Christian life? What is it we are to become?
   a. In Ro 8:29, we learn what is the ultimate goal of the Christian
      as predetermined by God
   b. It is simply this:  "...to be conformed to the image of His Son"
   -- To become like Christ is our ultimate goal!

2. But how does this take place? How does one become like Christ? Take
   a look at these words of Paul:

   "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the 
   glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from
   glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.  (2 Cor 3:18)

3. In this verse, with the help of its context, we learn how it is
   a. To reach that ultimate goal as predestined by God
   b. To be  "...conformed to the image of His Son"

[The passage which serves as our text (2Co 3:18) is not an easy one,
but since it reveals important insights into the goal of the Christian
life, it is worth taking the effort to carefully consider what it says.
For example, we first observe that...]


      1. The word "transformed"...
         a. Comes from the Greek word metamorphoo {met-am-or-fo'-o}
         b. Which means "to change into another form, to transform, to
         c. The word "metamorphosis" is derived from this word, which
            we use to describe the process of a caterpillar changing
            into a butterfly
         d. It's used to describe Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration
            - cf. Mt 17:1-2
            1) He was "transfigured before them."
            2) His face "shone like the sun" and His clothes "became
               as white as the light"
      2. Christians likewise are to undergo a transformation...
         a. Not only based upon our text (2Co 3:18)
         b. But also Ro 12:1-2, where our transformation is so we may
            "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of
      3. Note in our text that Paul said "we all"
         a. Transformation is for ALL Christians
         b. Not just for a select few!
      1. Here we learn the object of our transformation, which is to 
         become like Christ
      2. As we noticed in Ro 8:29, this is part of God's predetermined
         plan for those in Christ
      3. Jesus intimated as such in Lk 6:40 ("...everyone who is 
         perfectly trained will be like his teacher.")

      1. This phrase suggests that our transformation is progressive
         a. It does not happen all at once, but gradually
         b. As Paul said we are "being transformed" (present tense), 
            not "have been transformed" (past tense)
      2. Transformation therefore involves a growth process
         a. We expect those who have been Christians but a short time 
            to have made only some progress
         b. But we should also expect those who have been Christians a
            good while to have made much progress!
      3. The Christian life is not to be static, but a dynamic 
         a. In which changes are taking place
         b. In which a person is becoming more and more like their 
            Savior, Jesus Christ!
         -- Compare this with what Solomon wrote about the just 
            - Pro 4:18

[When transformation does not take place, something is wrong, and it 
may be a failure to appreciate and utilize our second point gleaned 
from this passage...]


      1. We must remember the context of Paul's words to appreciate his
         a. He had alluded to how Moses out of necessity put a veil on
            his face when speaking to the people - cf. 2Co 3:13
         b. For when Moses had gone to Mount Sinai to receive the 
            commandments of the Lord, being in the presence of God made
            his face shine brightly - cf. Ex 34:29-35
      2. In like manner our transformation takes place as we 
         a. Note that we do it with "unveiled face"
            1) The Israelites were unable to behold any of the glory 
               that shone from Moses' face because his was veiled
            2) But Christians are able to look upon the Lord's glory 
               without impediment
         b. "Beholding as in a mirror" is actually just one word in 
            the Greek and has three possible ways to be translated:
            1) "beholding as in a mirror (or glass)"
            2) "reflecting as in mirror"
            3) "beholding" (with no necessary reference to a mirror)
            -- In view of the context and the comparison with Moses, 
               the main idea seems to be the "beholding", without any
               particular reference to a mirror
         c. "Beholding" suggests contemplation and meditation, not a 
            momentary glance
      3. Thus the Christian life is to be one of contemplation, if 
         transformation is to take place
         a. That Christians are to engage in contemplation is evident
            from several passages
         b. Such as Php 4:8; Col 3:1-2
         c. Sadly, our fast-paced lifestyles often discourage the kind
            of contemplation needed to adequately "behold"
         -- Without contemplation (beholding), however, there can be no

      1. Here is the object of our contemplation:  the Lord's glory!
         a. It is not just the act of contemplation, but the object of
            our contemplation that transforms us!
         b. Just as it was the "glory of the Lord" that caused Moses'
            face to shine, so it is "the glory of the Lord" that 
            transforms us!
      2. What is "the glory of the Lord" we are to behold?
         a. It would involve the glory He manifested while on earth 
            - cf. Jn 1:14
         b. For the glory of the Lord is reflected in every aspect of 
            His birth, life, teaching, miracles, good deeds, death, 
            resurrection, ascension, and current reign as our king and
            high priest!
         -- Thus the Scriptures (especially the gospels) are the tools
            we use to "behold His glory", as we read on...

      1. This phrase reminds us of the role the Spirit has in our 
         a. What we know of Jesus came through the ministry of the 
            1) The Spirit's ministry was to glorify Jesus - Jn 16:12-14
            2) He reminded the apostles, and inspired their writings 
               - cf. Jn 14:26; 1Co 2:12-13
         b. So as we contemplate upon the Word, we are able to behold 
            the glory of the Lord by virtue of what the Spirit has 
      2. Indeed, this may explain what Paul meant in saying "Now the 
         Lord is the Spirit..." - 2Co 3:17
         a. In verse 16, he had said "...when one turns to the Lord,
            the veil is taken away"
         b. But how can one "turn to the Lord" today?
            1) Only through the Spirit Whom the Lord Jesus sent to 
               continue His work
            2) Paul had already spoken of "the new covenant...of the 
               Spirit" which "gives life" - 2Co 3:6
               a) One finds "liberty" (from sin, the Old Law, death)
                  where "the Spirit of the Lord" is found - 2Co 3:17
               b) For it is the new covenant of the Spirit that offers
                  such things
         c. In this context, the Spirit is therefore "the Lord" (verse
            17) before Whom we must stand with "unveiled face" in 
            order to be transformed
         d. Of course, the "ministers" of this "new covenant...of the
            Spirit" were the apostles and inspired writers of the New
            Testament - 2Co 3:5-6
            1) Thus when we turn to their writings, we are turning to
               the Spirit!
            2) And when we turn to the Spirit, we are turning to the 
            3) And when we turn to the Lord, we behold Him in all His
            4) And when we behold His glory, we are gradually changed 
               "into the same image from glory to glory"!


1. In Col 3:9-11 we are told...

   "Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man 
   with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in
   knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where
   there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised,
   barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all."

2. This verse by Paul is yet another reminder that the Christian life
   is one that involves a transformation...
   a. In which we are being "renewed"
   b. And that the object of our "renewal" is to become like Jesus!

3. From our study, I hope that we been impressed with the importance of
   "beholding" the glory of the Lord if we wish to be transformed
   a. The Christian life must include contemplation and meditation upon
      the glory of the Lord as revealed by the Spirit through the 
      apostles and writers of the New Testament
   b. We cannot be transformed by infrequent and casual glimpses of the
      Lord's glory!

Are you "beholding...the glory of the Lord"? Do you take the time to 
contemplate upon the glory of our Lord as revealed by the Spirit of God
in the Holy Scriptures?  

Consider what time you spend in studying the Bible as you seek to
answer these questions...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Academia’s Asinine Assault on the Bible by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Academia’s Asinine Assault on the Bible

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The professor, age 50, wearing casual slacks and a sport coat over a sweater, arrived at the lecture auditorium to teach his afternoon class, as some 350 students streamed in for Religion 202—one of the most popular classes on the campus of the large state university. Exuding an energetic, intellectually sophisticated manner, and projecting an endearing personality, the professor proceeded to propound a “problem” pertaining to the Bible. Pacing back and forth across the stage, he launched a ruthless but passionately eloquent tirade against the Bible’s alleged “anomalies,” “contradictions,” and “discrepancies.” It went something like this:
Entire stories have been added that were not in the original gospels. The woman taken in adultery is nothing other than a bit of tradition added by the Catholics 300 years after the New Testament was written. In contrast with Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in the book of John Jesus wasn’t born in Bethlehem, he did not tell any parables, he never cast out a demon, and there’s no last supper. The crucifixion stories differ with each other. In Mark, Jesus was terrified on the cross, while in John, he was perfectly composed. Key dates are different. The resurrection stories are different. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you find no trace of Jesus being divine, while in John you do. It’s time for you to think for yourself. You need reasons. That applies to religion. That applies to politics. Just because your parents believe something—isn’t good enough.
So it goes, week after week, a relentless, rapid-fire barrage of bombastic barbs intended to overwhelm, intimidate, and bully their young, uninformed, ill-equipped victims. This scenario has been repeated thousands of times over the past half century in universities all across America. The result has been catastrophic. One heartbroken mother’s recent remarks are typical: “My 22-year-old son just graduated from ________ University where he lost his faith in God and His Word. My husband and I did the best we knew how to raise him to love the church and God’s Word. But he has allowed the world to sway his beliefs.” Like toxic waste, sinister propaganda has been dumped on the youth of the nation by biased, dishonest professors who have no interest in allowing the so-called “academic freedom” they tout in the form of equal time for reputable rebuttal. As a result of their decades’ long labor, a liberal, anti-Christian academic atmosphere now thoroughly permeates the university system of America.
Never mind the fact that these guys have nothing new to say that has not already been said by skeptics over the centuries. Their claims are merely a repackaged version quickly seized upon by a complicit liberal media that eagerly creates instant credibility by thrusting the new “prophet” before a larger audience—as if what he is saying is fresh and newly discovered. The fact of the matter is that all their points have been made and answered long ago. For those who have taken the time to examine the evidence, it is readily apparent that their accusations are slanted, overstated, exaggerated, and transparently biased.
Observe that the above professorial tirade issues two charges: (1) the text of the Bible is tenuous and uncertain, and (2) the gospel records contradict each other. The latter claim has been soundly refuted in detail by biblical scholars over the centuries. The Apologetics Press Web site is loaded with articles and books that defeat accusations of alleged discrepancy (see, for example, Eric Lyons’ Anvil Rings 1 & 2). Regarding the former claim, Textual Criticism is a longstanding discipline that long ago yielded abundant evidence for the trustworthiness of the text of the New Testament. Over the last two centuries, the manuscript evidence has been thoroughly examined, resulting in complete exoneration for the integrity, genuineness, and accuracy of the Bible. Prejudiced professors refrain from divulging to their students that the vast majority of textual variants involve minor matters that do not affect salvation nor alter any basic teaching of the New Testament. Even those variants that might be deemed doctrinally significant pertain to matters that are treated elsewhere in the Bible where the question of genuineness is unobscured. No feature of Christian doctrine is at stake. When all of the textual evidence is considered, the vast majority of discordant readings have been resolved (e.g., Metzger, 1978, p. 185). One is brought to the firm conviction that we have in our possession the Bible as God intended.
The world’s foremost textual critics have confirmed this conclusion. Sir Frederic Kenyon, longtime director and principal librarian at the British Museum, whose scholarship and expertise to make pronouncements on textual criticism was second to none, stated: “Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established” (Kenyon, 1940, p. 288). The late F.F. Bruce, longtime Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism at the University of Manchester, England, remarked: “The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the New Testament affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice” (1960, pp. 19-20). J.W. McGarvey, declared by the London Times to be “the ripest Bible scholar on earth” (Brigance, 1870, p. 4), conjoined: “All the authority and value possessed by these books when they were first written belong to them still” (1956, p. 17). And the eminent textual critics Westcott and Hort put the entire matter into perspective when they said:
Since textual criticism has various readings for its subject, and the discrimination of genuine readings from corruptions for its aim, discussions on textual criticism almost inevitably obscure the simple fact that variations are but secondary incidents of a fundamentally single and identical text. In the New Testament in particular it is difficult to escape an exaggerated impression as to the proportion which the words subject to variation bear to the whole text, and also, in most cases, as to their intrinsic importance. It is not superfluous therefore to state explicitly that the great bulk of the words of the New Testament stand out above all discriminative processes of criticism, because they are free from variation, and need only to be transcribed (1964, p. 564, emp. added).
Noting that the experience of two centuries of investigation and discussion had been achieved, these scholars concluded: “[T]he words in our opinion still subject to doubt can hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the whole of the New Testament” (p. 565, emp. added).
Think of it. Men who literally spent their lives poring over ancient Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, devoting their lives to meticulous, tedious analysis of the evidence, conversant with the original languages, without peer in their expertise and qualifications, have concluded that the Bible has been transmitted accurately. Then a prejudiced professor of religion has the unmitigated gall to brush aside the facts and pummel students with a slanted, half-baked viewpoint that flies in the face of two centuries of scholarly investigation? It is nothing short of inexcusable and intellectually dishonest. It’s time for parents to rise up and make universities accountable, or else cease sacrificing their children on the altar of pseudo-education. [NOTE: Those who are fearful that the integrity of the text of the Bible is compromised by the reality of textual variants need to be reminded that the world’s foremost textual critics have demonstrated that currently circulating copies of the New Testament do not differ substantially from the original (see Miller, 2005a, “Is Mark...,” 25[12]:89-95; Miller, 2010).]


Brigance, L.L. (1870), “J.W. McGarvey,” in A Treatise on the Eldership by J.W. McGarvey (Murfreesboro, TN: DeHoff Publications, 1962 reprint).
Bruce, F.F. (1960), The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), revised edition.
Kenyon, Sir Frederic (1940), The Bible and Archaeology (New York, NY: Harper).
McGarvey, J.W. (1956 reprint), Evidences of Christianity (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).
Metzger, Bruce M. (1978 reprint), The Text of the New Testament (New York, NY: Oxford University Press), second edition.
Westcott, B.A. and F.J.A. Hort (1964 reprint), The New Testament in the Original Greek (New York, NY: MacMillan).

Computer Puts Evolution In “Jeopardy” by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Computer Puts Evolution In “Jeopardy”

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Science fiction writers have been portraying the face-off between computers and humans for years. Ever so often, what once was science fiction becomes a reality. Such is the case with the upcoming television showdown between the two most-winning contestants from the popular game show “Jeopardy” and a new supercomputer named Watson (Fitzgerald and Martin, 2011).

On February 14-16, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter will be challenged by the latest in computing technology. The humans in the contest are certainly no slouches. Jennings won 74 “Jeopardy” games in a row. And he and Rutter combined to amass over 3.3 million dollars in prize money. Their challenger, Watson, an IBM supercomputer named after the founder of the company, can store the equivalent of over 200 million pages of information, is “the size of 10 refrigerators,” and is the “result of four years of work by IBM researchers around the globe.” In a practice round with the human champions, Watson outscored its opponents $4,000 to Jennings’ $3,400 and Rutter’s $1,200.

As enjoyable as contests like these are to watch, they bring to light a very serious truth that needs to be underscored. Would any person who was thinking correctly look at a supercomputer like Watson and conclude it did not have an intelligent designer (or several) behind its construction? To suggest such would be absurd. And yet it challenges brilliant humans, who are much less physically bulky, and who have proved their mental prowess repeatedly on “Jeopardy.” Does it make sense to suggest that Watson was the product of thousands of man-hours of IBM’s most brilliant researchers across the globe, but the human contestants were the products of blind chance and random evolutionary processes that lacked any type of intelligence and had no goal in mind? Certainly not. If Watson is the product of intelligence, then the IBMtechnicians who built it and the “Jeopardy” champions competing against it must have been designed by an even more impressive Super-intellect. As Hebrews 3:4 says, “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” One could express that sentiment in another way and just as truly state that every computer is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. Supercomputer Watson adds one more piece of evidence that puts the theory of evolution in “Jeopardy!”


Fitzgerald, Jim and David Martin (2011), “Computer Could Make 2 ‘Jeopardy!’ Champs Deep Blue,” http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110114/ap_on_hi_te/us_man_vs_machine/print, January 14.

The Order of the Lord’s Supper by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


The Order of the Lord’s Supper

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

In Matthew (26:26-27) and Mark’s (14:22-23) record of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus blessed the bread first and then the cup. However, Luke seems to give the opposite order with the cup mentioned first (22:17-19). Is this difference a discrepancy in which the inspired writers contradict each other?
It is certainly the case that Jesus only instituted the Lord’s Supper one time. He either blessed the bread first or He blessed the cup first. He did not do it both ways. So can we make sense of the text in such a way that the Bible is not discredited, recognizing that Jesus did not do it both ways? On that lone night so long ago, when He instituted the Lord’s Supper, which way did He do it? Bread then cup, or cup then bread?
It is clearly the case that Bible writers do not always claim to be representing a particular event in chronological sequence. Luke could have easily been treating the Passover and Lord’s Supper incident topically. In such a case, no contradiction would exist. However, in this particular instance, a different explanation presents itself.
Read carefully Luke’s reporting of the event:
Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” …When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (22:7-21, emp. added).
Observe carefully that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper on the tail end of the observance of the Jewish Passover. One must be careful to distinguish between the two, particularly since the same emblems were used for both, and since the former typifies the latter. The killing of the Passover lamb under Judaism anticipated the death of Jesus Who, in turn, became “our Passover” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Luke, more than Matthew and Mark, demonstrates this close parallelism.1
Luke actually has two allusions to “cup”—one in verse 17 and the other in verse 20. The first “cup” was taken during the Passover and the second “cup” was part of the institution of the Lord’s Supper.2 Hence, Luke does not differ from Matthew and Mark in specifying the same order for partaking of the Lord’s Supper, i.e., first the bread and then the cup. Luke’s use in verse 21 of “likewise” refers back to “He took bread,” and “after supper” refers both to the bread and the cup of the Lord’s Supper.
This fact is further supported by Paul in his recounting of the occasion in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29. Observe the indications of sequence he portrays—
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body (emp. added).
Observe that Paul goes out of his way to emphasize the order that Jesus instigated—bread/cup and eat/drink. He even clarified that the cup that is part of the Lord’s Supper was done “after supper,” i.e., after the Passover meal. So the “cup” of Luke 22:17-18 was the cup that was associated with the Passover meal—not the Lord’s Supper cup which is noted in verse 20 afterthe Passover meal and after the bread of the Lord’s Supper.
Another consideration pertains to the fact that Luke 22:17-20 constitutes a textual variant. However, the Committee for the UBS Greek text concluded that the cup-bread-cup sequence is authentic based on “the overwhelming preponderance of external evidence.”3 Further, Sir Frederick Kenyon and S.C.E. Legg offer the only plausible explanation for the existence of variants by noting:
The first cup given to the disciples to divide among themselves should be taken in connection with the previous verse (ver. 16) as referring to the eating of the Passover with them at the reunion in Heaven. This is followed by the institution of the Sacrament, to be repeated continually on earth in memory of Him. This gives an intelligible meaning to the whole, while at the same time it is easy to see that it would occasion difficulties of interpretation, which would give rise to the attempts at revision that appear in various forms of the shorter version.4
Hence, the first allusion to “cup” in verse 17 links back with the eating and drinking of the Passover meal in verses 15-16, while the second allusion to “cup” refers to the Lord’s Supper. Luke agrees with Matthew and Mark that, when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He first took the bread and then took the cup. There is no contradiction.


1 See J.W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton (no date), The Fourfold Gospel (Cincinnati, OH: The Standard Publishing Foundation), p. 646.
2 Ibid, p. 658. See also J.W. McGarvey (1910),Short Essays in Biblical Criticism(Cincinnati, OH: The Standard Publishing Company), pp. 342-343.
3 Bruce Metzger (1971), A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (New York: United Bible Societies), p. 176.
4 Sir Frederick G. Kenyon and S.C.E. Legg (1937), “The Textual Data” in The Ministry and the Sacraments, ed. Roderic Dunkerley (London: SCM), pp. 285-286.
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Jesus: Truly God and Truly Human by Brad Bromling, D.Min.


Jesus: Truly God and Truly Human

by Brad Bromling, D.Min.

One day Jesus asked His friends, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16:13). They gave a variety of answers: “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (vs. 14). Different people saw different things in Jesus. Herod heard about the miracles Jesus was performing and decided that He must be John the Baptist (whom he beheaded) raised from the dead (Mark 6:14). Others saw something in Jesus’ disposition that led them to believe He was the incarnation of the prophet Jeremiah (maybe they had seen Jesus weep and remembered how Jeremiah wept over the fall of Jerusalem). Still others had seen enough of Jesus to conclude He was the embodiment of one of the ancient prophets, although they were not sure which. This variety of answers reflects a level of confusion that seems surprising to us 2,000 years later. After all, they had the living, breathing, human person of Jesus to behold, and yet they still were confused. In the decades and centuries since, that confusion has not abated. A plethora of Christologies has been devised. Although there is great variety among them, generally they fall into three main categories: (1) Jesus was truly human, but not truly God; (2) Jesus was truly God, but not truly human; and (3) Jesus was both truly human and truly God.


In the second century, groups arose in the church that championed the first two categories. On the one hand, the Ebionites taught that Jesus was only a man who became the Christ by His perfect observance of the Law of Moses. On the other hand, the Docetics taught that Jesus was truly God in the flesh, but not really a human being; He only “seemed” to be a man. Both positions were opposed by the early church because neither was in agreement with the New Testament. The Ebionite heresy contradicted passages like John 1:1-14 and John 20:28, which emphasize the deity of Jesus. The Docetics’ position contradicted passages like Hebrews 4:15 and 1 John 1:1-3, which emphasize the humanity of Jesus.


Although these positions were rejected as heresies, they did not die completely. Nor did their rejection result in complete unanimity of opinion about the identity of Jesus. Confusion over how Jesus could be truly God and truly human at the same time persisted. The Catholic Church struggled with this question, which subsequently became the focus of some of its Ecumenical Councils. In A.D. 325 the Council of Nicea issued its creed, which stated:
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended to heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead... (Percival, 1899, p. 3).
So, it was the Council’s conviction that Jesus was both “very God” and “made man.” But how can the same person be both God and man? Nicea had not adequately answered this. It remained to be addressed by the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451). The 150 members of the Council declared that Jesus was one person with two natures.
...we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be confessed as one and the same [Person], that he is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, very God and very man, of a reasonable soul and [human] body consisting, consubstantial with the Father as touching his Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching his manhood.... This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed in two natures, unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union... (Percival, 1899, pp. 264-265).
It is significant to note that the Council chose to clarify the meaning of the two natures in negative terms. In a sense, they, “put up four fences (without confusion, without change, without division, without separation) and said: The mystery lies within this area” (Runia, 1984, pp. 12-13). Although this confession did not really answer the question as to how Jesus could have both natures at the same time, it respected both aspects of Jesus’ identity and stood as the fundamental statement of Christology for Catholics and Protestants alike for many centuries.


With the rise of skepticism and deism, this ancient creed came under fire. Beginning with Hermann S. Reimarus (1694-1768), scholars began to suggest that the “historical Jesus” was a very different person from the “Christ of faith” described in the Gospels (and subsequent human creeds). Reimarus made a “sharp distinction between the intention of Jesus during his life and the intention of his disciples after his death” (see Borg, 1994, p. 42). Reimarus believed that Jesus’ intentions (rebellion against Rome) were thwarted by His death and that the disciples invented the resurrection story and deified their Teacher as a way of keeping His movement alive.
Liberal scholarship of the last 200 years has largely adopted as paradigmatic this distinction between the “historical Jesus” and the “Christ of Christian faith.” The claim is that the historical Jesus may be discovered in a fragmentary way by subjecting the Gospels to the rigors of the historical-critical method (see Brantley, 1994). The Christ of the Christian faith is the version of Jesus presented by the New Testament writers and the confessions of Christendom. Much of the recent discussion in Christology, then, centers on whether one should shape one’s understanding of Jesus by the Christ of faith or the Jesus of history.
Often, liberal scholars begin with the Jesus of history and move from there to decide what of the Christ of faith is worthy of belief (e.g., Edward Schillebeeckx, Piet Schoonenberg, Hans Kung, John A.T. Robinson, et al.). Typically the answer is, “not much.” This is also the presupposition behind the work of the Jesus Seminar (see Bromling, 1994), as well as works from a variety of authors (Marcus Borg, Barbara Thiering, Geza Vermes, John Dominic Crossan, et al.). A.N. Wilson’s popular book, Jesus: A Life, is typical. In it, he opened with this line: “The Jesus of history and the Christ of Faith are two separate beings, with very different stories” (1992, p. vii). Wilson rejected the latter, and wrote an entire book describing the former. His historical Jesus, however, “is a pale and distorted version of the real thing” (Wright, 1992, p. 63). Wilson described the Jesus of history as “the great apocalyptic prophet, the visionary teacher, the widely popular healer and exorcist” Whose life was a “total failure” and Whose “mission, whatever its original purpose may have been, ended on the Cross” (Wright, 1992, pp. 167-168). Wilson contended that Jesus never would have approved of Christianity; on the contrary, had Jesus known what would be done in His name, He probably would have wished He never had been born (pp. 255-256).
By way of summary, two hundred years of liberal scholastic inquiry into the question of the identity of Jesus have resulted, essentially, in a revival of the Ebionite heresy. The new portraits depict a Jesus Who is no more than a man and Who was nothing like the Christ preached by Paul and worshipped for nearly two millennia by faithful Christians. This is the price one pays for rejecting the verbal inspiration of Scripture.


Returning to Caesarea, however, we hear Jesus ask a second (and more personal) question: “But, who do you say that I am?” To this Peter boldly replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-16). In this one confession, Peter expressed two aspects of His Master’s identity. First, he said Jesus was the Messiah predicted by the ancient Jewish prophets (“Christ” is the Greek word for Messiah, meaning “anointed” by God). Second, he said Jesus possessed the divine nature. “Son of ” was the idiomatic way of saying that a person possessed the nature or traits of another person or thing. For instance, because Joses was an encouragement to others, the apostles called him Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). So, when Peter said Jesus was the “Son of God,” he was saying that Jesus had the very same nature as God. That was a powerful statement. Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God resulted in His death (John 5:18; Matthew 26:63-65). And it was upon this fundamental confession of the unique God/man nature of Jesus that the church was built (Matthew 16:18).
What led Peter to make that confession? The answer is found in Jesus’ reply: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is heaven” (vs. 17). Peter’s view of Jesus was based upon information provided by God, rather than upon the uncertain ideas of people. That information came to Peter in the form of Old Testament prophesies that he was beginning to see fulfilled in Jesus, and that were being confirmed by the miracles Jesus was performing. The same information has been preserved for all ages in the four Gospels, and will lead us to the same conclusion if we give it a fair hearing.


Unlike most people who have their biographies written after they are dead, much of Jesus’ life was reported hundreds of years before He was born. Over three hundred prophecies relating to the Lord were made in the Old Testament (Lockyer, 1973, p. 21). This number is astounding in itself. From Genesis to Malachi, the story of Jesus is foretold in minute detail (see Luke 24:27). Not only are the major facets of His life predicted, but seemingly trivial things (such as that men would gamble for His clothing—Psalm 22:18) also are foretold by the prophets. His family lineage and birthplace were predicted (cf. Genesis 21:12; Galatians 3:16; Matthew 1:1; 2:1; Micah 5:2). He died and was raised—exactly as had been predicted hundreds of years before (Isaiah 53; Psalm 16:8-11). By the word of prophecy He even was called Jehovah—the special name reserved only for God (Isaiah 40:3). The fulfillment of these prophecies by Jesus of Nazareth is powerful evidence that He was exactly Who Peter claimed He was.


In addition, it is important to recall that Jesus backed up His claims by working miracles. Although God empowered other people to perform miracles, Jesus’ miracles were different. Their works confirmed that they were servants of God; Jesus’ works proved He was one with God (John 10:37-38). The Gospel of John records several of those amazing works. John tells us why: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).
While imprisoned, John sent some of his followers to Jesus to ask, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3). Jesus responded: “Go tell John...the blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached unto them” (Matthew 11:4-5). Over seven hundred years earlier, the prophet Isaiah predicted that those very things would be done by the Messiah (see Isaiah 35:5-6; 61:1). Jesus wasn’t merely saying, “Look at all the good things I am doing.” He was saying, “Look, I am doing exactly what the Coming One is supposed to do!”
Although not eager to admit it, Jesus’ critics were often brought face-to-face with the truth that no one could do what He did unless God was with Him (John 3:2). One example of this is seen in John 9, where it is recorded that Jesus gave sight to a man who had been born blind. Some of Christ’s enemies tried to deny that a miracle had occurred, but they were unsuccessful. Then they tried to draw attention away from the miracle by attacking Jesus’ character. They said to the man whom Jesus healed: “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner” (John 9:24). This plan did not succeed either. Notice how the man answered them:
Why this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God hears not sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears Him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing (John 9:30-33).
His point was the very thing the Pharisees were unwilling to accept—Jesus’ miraculous works supported His claim to be the Son of God! It is not surprising, then, that the man accepted Jesus as his Lord.


Just as He promised, Jesus came forth from the tomb three days after His brutal crucifixion (Matthew 16:21; 27:63; 28:1-8). That He had been raised from the dead was witnessed by many different types of people: the soldiers who guarded His tomb; the women who came early in the morning to anoint Him with spices; eleven apostles; and more than 500 other witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:4-8). Seeing the living, breathing Jesus again was concrete proof that He was all He claimed to be. Little wonder, then, that when Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus he exclaimed: “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Christ’s resurrection was the central point of Peter and Paul’s preaching (see Acts 2:23-36; 3:15; 17:31; etc.). The reason is obvious—it was by the resurrection that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God with power” (Romans 1:4).
The evidence for the deity of Christ is both sufficient and compelling. There is a temptation, however, to emphasize the Lord’s deity to the exclusion of His humanity. In a sense, the modern church can become guilty of practical Doceticism. In other words, Christians can become so focused upon establishing that Jesus is the Son of God that they fail to acknowledge that He also is the Son of Man. Yet, time and again Jesus applied that term to Himself (e.g., Matthew 1:20; 9:6; et al.). As a human, He learned (Hebrews 5:8), became hungry (Matthew 4:2), experienced thirst (John 19:28), grew tired (John 4:6), and slept (Matthew 8:24). He felt anger (Mark 3:5), frustration (Mark 9:19), joy (John 15:11), and sadness (John 11:35). He was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), and significantly, He was able to die (Mark 15:44). These human traits are as important to our understanding of the person of Jesus as are the traits He shared with deity.


Who is Jesus of Nazareth? Clearly, He is both the Son of God and the Son of Man. Like the ancient creeds tried to explain, Jesus is both truly God and truly human. We must avoid not only the error of the ancient Ebionites and modern liberals of seeing Jesus as merely a man, but we also must be on guard against the Docetic over-emphasis of Jesus’ deity. How can one person be both truly God and truly human? This is something we have not been called to understand fully—only to confess confidently.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-3,14).


Borg, Marcus (1994), “Profiles in Scholarly Courage: Early Days of New Testament Criticism,” Bible Review, 10[5]:40-45, October.
Brantley, Garry K. (1994), “Biblical Miracles: Fact or Fiction?,” Reason & Revelation, 14:33-38, May.
Bromling, Brad T. (1994), “A Look at the Jesus Seminar,” Reason & Revelation, 14:81-87, November.
Lockyer, Herbert (1973), All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Percival, Henry R., ed. (1899), “The Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church,” in The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1973 reprint).
Runia, Klaas (1984) The Present-Day Christological Debate (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Wilson, A.N. (1992), Jesus: A Life (New York: Fawcett Columbine).
Wright, N.T. (1992), Who Was Jesus? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

A Genetic Glossary by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


A Genetic Glossary

by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

As one science writer observed, “modern genetics is a formidable thicket of jargon” (Matt Ridley, Genome: Autobiography of a species in 23 Chapters, New York, Harper Collins, 1999, p. 5). Realizing that, I have tried to keep technical terms to a minimum in the two-part series on “Cracking the Code—The Human Genome Project in Perspective.” Some, however, are unavoidable. Therefore, in order to assist those who may not be familiar with scientific terminology, I am providing the following glossary.
[Words and phrases in bold type within these definitions also appear in the glossary.]
Alleles—In diploid organisms, different forms of the same gene (arranged as homologous pairs, one having been donated by each parent) on the DNA molecule.
Amino Acids—The basic building blocks of proteins; organic compounds containing an acidic carboxyl (COOH) group, a basic amino (NH2) group, and a distinctive side group (“R” group) that varies in each amino acid and that determines the individual chemical properties of each. Twenty common amino acids are found in proteins.
Autosome—Any eukaryotic chromosome not involved in sex determination. Autosomes constitute the vast majority of an organism’s chromosomal complement.
Base—A nitrogen-containing (nitrogenous) molecule that, in combination with a pentose sugarand a phosphoric acid (phosphate) group, forms a nucleotide.
Chromosome—Threadlike structure into which DNA is organized, and on which genes (and other DNA) are carried. In eukaryotes, chromosomes reside in a membrane-bound cell nucleus; in prokaryotes, the chromosome consists of a single circle of naked DNA. From Greek chromos(“color”) because colored stains originally were used to visualize chromosomes. Number of chromosomes is characteristic of a species (humans have 23 matched pairs—22 autosome pairs; one sex chromosome pair).
Codon—The basic coding unit in DNA/RNA; composed of a triplet of nucleotides.
Cytogenic Map—The visual appearance of a chromosome when stained and examined microscopically. Visually distinct regions (“light” and “dark” bands) give each chromosome a unique appearance; important in determination of aberrations.
Cytoplasm—The inside of a cell, excluding the nucleus and organelles, that is a matrix containing dissolved/suspended ions and other molecules necessary for life.
Diploid—The number of chromosomes in somatic cells (as opposed to gametes) of humans and animals. In diploid cells, each chromosome is present in duplicate (or twice the haploid number). Diploid cells normally are produced by mitosis, which does not reduce chromosome number (as in meiosis) but maintains original number.
DNA—Deoxyribonucleic acid; a nucleic acid containing the genetic information found in most organisms and which is the main component of chromosomes of eukaryotic organisms. The DNA molecule is composed of two winding polynucleotide chains that form a double helix. Each chain is composed of individual units made of a base (adenine, cytosine, guanine, or thymine) linked via a pentose sugar (deoxyribose) to a phosphate molecule.
Double Helix—The structural arrangement of DNA, which looks something like a long ladder twisted into a coil (helix). The sides of the “ladder” are formed by a backbone of pentose sugarand phosphate molecules, and the “rungs” are composed of nucleotide bases joined weakly in the middle by hydrogen bonds.
Endoplasmic reticulum—A system of membranous sacs traversing the cytoplasm of eukaryoticcells. Provides transportation for delivery of synthesized proteins or for secretion of substances to the cell’s exterior in conjunction with Golgi bodies.
Eukaryote—A cell characterized by membrane-bound organelles (such as the nucleus, ribosomes, et al.). Animals, plants, fungi, and protoctists are eukaryotic.
Gamete—A haploid reproductive cell (spermatozoon or sperm cell in the male; oocyte or egg cell in the female) capable of fusing with another reproductive cell during fertilization to produce a diploid zygote. In sexual reproduction, each gamete transmits its parental genome to the progeny. In humans and most animals, the male gamete often is smaller than its counterpart in the female, is motile, and is produced in large numbers. The female gamete, by contrast, is much larger, immotile, and produced in relatively small numbers.
Gene—The physical hereditary unit passed from parent to offspring. Genes are sequences of nucleotides or pieces of DNA, most of which contain information for producing a specific protein. Genes code for the structures and functions of an organism.
Genetic Map—A map (also known as a chromosomal or linkage map) showing the linear arrangement of a particular species’ genes in relation to each other, rather than as specific points on each chromosome.
Genome—The total genetic makeup of an organism (from Greek, gĂ©nos, “generation” or “kind”). Refers to DNA complement of a haploid cell, including DNA in the chromosomes as well as that within mitochondria. [“Nuclear genome” refers solely to DNA within the nucleus; “human genome” refers to all the DNA contained in an entire human (haploid) cell, rather than just in the nucleus.]
Genotype—The genetic identity of an individual that does not show as outward characteristics, but instead is a description of all genes that are present in the genome regardless of their state of expression or modification. Phenotype often is apparent to the naked eye; genotype can be determined only by specific genetic testing.
Germ cell—see Gamete.
Golgi Body—An organelle present in eukaryotic cells that functions as a collection and/ or packaging center for substances that the cell manufacturers for transport. Especially useful in protein distribution.
Haploid—The number of chromosomes in a spermatozoon or oocyte; half the diploid number. Haploid cells normally are produced by meiosis, which reduces the chromosome number by half during the formation of gametes.
Meiosis—The ordered process of cell division by which the chromosome number is reduced by half. Meiosis is the key element in the production of haploid gametes.
Mitochondria—The cellular organelles found in eukaryotic cells where energy production and respiration occur.
Mitosis—The ordered process by which a cell divides to produce two identical progeny, each with the same number of chromosomes as the original parent cell.
Nucleic Acid—see Polynucleotide.
Nucleotide—One of the structural components of DNA and RNA; composed of one sugar molecule, one phosphoric acid molecule, and one nitrogenous base molecule (adenine, cytosine, guanine, or thymine). [“Base” and “nucleotide” are used interchangeably in referring to residues that compose polynucleotide chains of DNA or RNA.]
Oocyte—The mature, female reproductive cell (also known as an egg cell).
Organelle—A subcellular structure characteristic of eukaryotic cells that performs a specific function. Largest organelle is the nucleus; others include Golgi bodiesribosomes, and the endoplasmic reticulum.
Pentose Sugar—A sugar that has five carbon atoms in each molecule [e.g., ribose (in RNA) or deoxyribose (in DNA)].
Phenotype—The external, physical appearance of an organism that includes such traits as hair color, weight, height, etc. The phenotype is determined by the interaction of genes with each other and with the environment, whereas the genotype is strictly genetic in orientation. Phenotypic traits (e.g., weight) are not necessarily genetic.
Phosphate—Also known as phosphoric acid; element essential to living creatures. Required for energy storage and transfer (ion state also serves as a biological buffer).
Physical Mapping—Shows specific physical location of a particular species’ genes on each chromosome. Physical maps are important in searches for disease genes.
Polynucleotide—Also known as a nucleic acid. One of the four main classes of macromolecules (proteinsnucleic acids, carbohydrates, lipids) found in living systems. Polynucleotides—long chains composed of nucleotide—form backbone of DNA, in which two polynucleotide chains interact as their nitrogenous bases connect to form what is known as the DNA double helix.
Proteins—One of four main classes of macromolecules (in addition to nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids) in living systems. Proteins are composed of amino acids and perform a wide variety of activities throughout the body.
RNA—Ribonucleic acid; a nucleic acid that functions in various forms to translate information contained in DNA into proteins. Similar in composition to DNA, in that each polynucleotidechain is composed of units made of a base (adenine, cytosine, guanine, or, in the case of RNA, uracil, rather than thymine as in DNA) linked via a pentose sugar (in this case, ribose rather than deoxyribose) to a phosphate molecule. Generally is single stranded (as opposed to DNA’s double helix), except on occasions where it (rather than DNA) serves as the primary genetic material contained in certain double-stranded RNA viruses. Numerous forms of RNA, including messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA), and ribosomal RNA (rRNA) are responsible for carrying out a variety of different functions.
Ribosomes—The intracellular, molecular machines that carry out protein synthesis. Associated with RNA and often attached to the endoplasmic reticulum.
Sex Cell—see Gamete.
Sex Chromosomes—The chromosomes that determine the sex of organisms which exhibit sexual differentiation (e.g., humans, most animals, some higher plants). In humans, the X chromosome determines female genetic traits; the Y chromosome determines male traits. Since a single chromosome is inherited from each parent during reproduction, XX is female, and XY is male.
Somatic Cells—All the cells (often referred to as body cells) of a multicellular organism other than the sex cells (gametes). Somatic cells reproduce only by the process of mitosis; changes in such cells are not heritable, since they are not involved in germ-line reproduction as sex cellsare.
Spermatozoon—The mature, male reproductive cell (also known as a sperm cell).
Zygote—The diploid cell resulting from the fusion of the male and female gametes that will grow into the embryo, fetus, and eventually the neonate (newborn).