In his recent book, How Jesus Became God, Bart Ehrman argues that belief in the divinity of Jesus developed gradually over several centuries, and was not believed or taught by the first apostles.
At the same time that Ehrman’s book was published, a multi-author response also came out. The authors are Michael F. Bird, Craig A. Evans, Simon J. Gathercole, Charles E. Hill, and Chris Tilling, and the title is, How God Became Jesus: The real origins of belief in Jesus’ divine nature: A response to Bart Ehrman.
Bolton Walton, in his review of the latter book, says that the authors find five ‘openings’ in scripture for the view that the apostles did recognise God in Jesus:
- In his references to God as his Father and to himself as the “son of man”, Jesus recalled a dyad glimpsed within God in Scripture (eg Daniel 7.13-14, Psalm 110), enabling his disciples to recognise its human side in him.
- Jesus lived as the embodiment of the Word, Wisdom, Law, Glory, and Presence through which the Creator God was already immanent in the world.
- In healing the sick, forgiving sins, and assuming the Name, Jesus exercised prerogatives reserved to the Creator in ways blasphemous for a creature, but fitting for him.
- Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem enacted the Creator God’s promised return to Zion to renew his presence with Israel and to receive the worship of the Gentiles.
- Jesus’ followers worshipped the Son in obedience to the Father himself.