Saturday, February 25, 2017

The fourth L

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”


Lewis's argument is that since the reasons for believing that Jesus was a great moral teacher come from the same sources that say that Jesus claimed to be God, accepting the claim that Jesus was a great moral teacher without accepting that idea that he claimed to be God. Lewis then goes on to argue that claiming to be God if you are not God is psychologically incompatible with being a great moral teacher. 
Some people maintain that besides Liar, Lunatic, and Lord, Lewis overlooks Legend. But the legend theory wouldn't support that claim that Jesus was a great moral teacher but not God, it would instead, undermine both claims. 

2 comments:

Joe Hinman said...

I accept and believe im teh Nicene creed, but nevertheless the really obvious argument against the Trl is that He he may not have said it. That's is the hardest one to answer because can't really prove it.

Victor Reppert said...

If we doubts about whether he said that, can we not also doubt the passages which identify Jesus as a great moral teacher? We have the same reason for believing that Jesus claimed to be God that we have for believing that Jesus was a great moral teacher. Why believe the latter but not the former?