podcast 277 – Was Christ tempted in every way?


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By Dale Tuggy. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In this nicely done short piece in Christianity Today, analytic theologian Dr. Oliver Crisp discusses a “paradox” (i.e. an apparent contradiction) involving Jesus and temptation. This apparent contradiction is generated by an argument or chain of reasoning like this. (These are my formulations, but I think they roughly capture what he’s thinking.)

  1. Jesus is human.
  2. Jesus is divine.
  3. Anyone who is human is for that reason in principle temptable.
  4. Anyone who is divine is for that reason not in principle temptable.
  5. In principle, Jesus could be tempted. (1,3)
  6. It is false that in principle, Jesus could be tempted. (2,4)

But this contradiction (the conjunction of 5 and 6) shows that something is wrong with 1-4: they can’t all be true, as they imply a falsehood (the conjunction of 5 and 6). At least one of 1-4 must be false, not true.

Another way to see the problem is by formulating an inconsistent triad. This is not an argument with premises and conclusion, but rather a list of three claims which we know can’t all be true. It looks like we must deny at least one. But which?

  1. Jesus is divine.
  2. No one who is divine can be tempted.
  3. Jesus was tempted.

In his insightful discussion Dr. Crisp briefly grapples with this problem, and if you listen closely you’ll hear which premise of the above argument he denies, and which member of the inconsistent triad he denies.

Do you agree? Why or why not?

In this episode I go through his piece and explain why I think that on a closer look, it reveals some serious scriptural problems for theories on which Jesus has “a divine nature” and “a human nature.”

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