Questions about Jesus (1)
John Azzopardi (June 9) seems to have read too much between the lines. Nowhere in my letter of May 30 did I mention either religion or divinity. I wrote about one thing alone – the family, and the attack on it launched by the Bishop of Gozo. My sentiments would have been the same had such words been written by a political leader or someone else with a comparably sized audience, and I was not alone to react to those words.
I will address Mr Azzopardi’s two other questions, although neither of them were related at all to my letter. The creation of the universe from nothing through quantum fluctuations is an idea presented by physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow in a number of scientific papers as well as the more accessible book The Grand Design. I am not saying that “this is what happened”, but merely presented it to counter a statement someone made that science proves the need for a creator.
Another model I mentioned, and one which I personally favour, is that the universe has no beginning – that the big bang was preceded by another universe. Science has been removing the need for a deity to explain natural phenomena for ages so this is nothing new. Very few people today believe that rainbows are created by God to remind himself not to drown the world, or that a tower could be built that is high enough to reach heaven. Now we’re examining the origins of the universe, and religions are feeling nervous that pretty soon, there will be no need for a god anywhere.
As regards the existence of Jesus as a human, I think he probably did exist but there is no evidence supporting this outside the Bible itself. This, of course, does not disprove his existence but it certainly raises questions about the accuracy of the accounts. First, because all gospels were written decades after Jesus’ death by people who were not first-hand witnesses, and second because there are no third party accounts of the events that supposedly took place. The only third party accounts, such as that of the historian Josephus, merely mention the existence of a new group called Christians, noting that they worshipped someone called Jesus.
One would expect that such amazing events such as graves opening up and their occupants walking around Jerusalem (Matthew 27:52-53) would have been noticed, and noted, by chroniclers of that era. On the other hand if he was simply one rebel leader among so many, his existence could very easily have been overlooked.