Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 9, 1950

Jesus Christ - Fact Or Fantasy?

J. Early Arceneaux, Lovelady, Texas

The apostles accounts of the record of the life of Christ are really all we have to go by in our study of him. Modernists tell us that much of the substance of their story was pure invention, that Christ was only human, and that the apostles were the ones who enlarged upon the story so as to make him out a God.

But is it reasonable to suppose that the apostles would invent a Christ they could never understand? For they never did understand Jesus. Did they invent a character they could not comprehend, and then invent a story concerning him that made them appear dumb and often ridiculous throughout the narrative? Human beings simply don't act like that! Imagine Peter inventing the account of that incident where he boasted so vainly they would never put Christ to death, that though all might forsake him, yet he (Peter) would never be found wanting. And Christ, turning to him said, "This night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." Or that other occasion, when Jesus told Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

Did They "Invent" These Things?

The Christ as pictured in the four gospels says some amazing things to be in the mouth of a character "invented" by Jews. Can anyone imagine a Jew inventing a man who would say, "Before Abraham was, I am"? Christ plainly said he was going to die; but the Jews believed their Messiah would establish an earthly kingdom; but Jesus said plainly, "My kingdom is not of this world." The Jews believed the law of Moses would never be done away with; but the gospel records declare that Christ taught the abrogation of the law. Does any sane man think a Jew would have "invented" such blasphemous (to Jews) statements?

Look carefully at expressions that are attributed to Jesus by the writers of the gospels: "I am David's lord...I am the Son of God...He that hath seen me hath seen the Father... I am the way, the truth, and the life ... I am the resurrection and the life...Come unto me, and I will give you rest," and many others of like nature. These all show the consciousness of divinity. No mere man would have dared to utter the words that are attributed to Jesus. No man could have "invented" such a character any better than he could have been such a character.

The Uniqueness Of Christ

Nobody can look at the record of Christ's life, and say, "Here he made a mistake." Christ himself said, "Which of you convicteth me of sin?" He made no mistake; he did no sin. Jesus was never surprised. He never took counsel with anybody. He never expressed a doubt on any subject; he never had doubts. In any human's biography, one of the important features is the quality and character and names of his advisers. But Jesus had no advisers; he needed none.

It is such a picture as this that the gospels hold forth. It is the picture of divinity. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that bath been made." (John 1:1-3.) Over and over again this Jesus drew a contrast between his law and teachings, and the law and teachings of Moses. And at the end of his toilsome, sorrowful journey, he said to the apostles, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Imagine that from a man about to die by public execution on a cross! Standing in the very shadow of that impending death, he said, "I have overcome the world."

When he conquered death, he conquered him that had the power over death, that is, the devil. He came forth triumphant from the grave, conqueror over death, hell, and the grave. Shortly after this we see him in a cloud as he is ascending back to the Father from whom he came. And we recall that prayer he had uttered, "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee ...I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do. And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." This was the prayer of a divine person. No human had ever uttered such a prayer. It is unique in all the records of the religions of earth.

The Return To The Father

When Christ had fulfilled his mission upon this earth, he returned to the Father from whom he had come. In his returning he fulfilled the prophecy uttered by David so many hundreds of years before, when he had sung, "Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is the king of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!" (Psalms 24:7-10).

Angels and archangels bow before him as he returns to the glory that he had with the Father before the world was. There is the hour of his coronation. He is crowned king of kings, and lord of lords, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him. In view of this very authority and power, he had sent forth his disciples into all the world, saying, "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." (Matt. 28:19, 20.)

That, briefly, is the picture of the Christ which the gospels give to us. Is it an invention? Is it merely an imaginary story, having been born from the fertile mind of some Jew? No man who has any understanding at all of the limitations and frailties of the human mind can entertain such an idea for one moment. For the invention of such a character was as far beyond the realm of possibility by human intelligence as would be the existence of the real person in human life. Jesus Christ was no fantasy of men's imaginations; he was in fact and in truth what he claimed to be—the only begotten Son of the eternal God.