Quotes from The Person of Jesus by Gresham Machen

Here are some quotes from the book The Person of Jesus: Radio Addresses on the Deity of the Savior by Gresham Machen. This is a very short book of a series of radio addresses given in 1935. This post is under the new category of Book Quotes, which gives you a sample of a recently read book. See the last quote for some humor.

So it is when we try to think of God as eternal. If the word “infinity” is related, by way of contrast, to the notion of space, so the word “eternity” is related, by way of contrast, to the notion of time. When we say that God is eternal, we mean that he had no beginning and that he will have no end. But we really mean more than that. We mean that time has no meaning for him, save as it has meaning to the creatures whom he has made. He created time when he created finite creatures. He himself is beyond time. There is no past and no future to him. The Bible puts that in poetical language when it says: “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night” (Ps 90:4). We of course are obliged to think of the actions of God as taking place in time. We are obliged to think of him as doing one thing after another thing; we are obliged to think of him as doing this today and that tomorrow. We have a perfect right so to think, and the Bible amply confirms us in that right. To us there is indeed such a thing as past and present and future, and when God deals with us he acts in a truly temporal series. But to God himself all things are equally present. There is no such thing as “before” or “after” to him.

Jesus does not present himself merely as an example for faith but presents himself as the object of faith.

And therefore to apparel [put on] ourself with Christ is none other thing than to believe assuredly that Christ is ours.

“Why does this man speak like that?” they said. “He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7). They were right. None can forgive sins but God only. Jesus was a blasphemer if he was a mere man. At that point the enemies saw clearly. You may accept the lofty claims of Jesus. You may take him as very God. Or else you must reject him as a miserable, deluded enthusiast. There is really no middle ground. Jesus refuses to be pressed into the mold of a mere religious teacher.

If the Jesus of the Gospels were a purely natural and not a supernatural person, then we should have no difficulty in believing that such a person lived in the first century of our era. Even skeptics would have no difficulty in believing it. Defenders of the faith would have an easy victory indeed. Everybody would believe. But then there would be one drawback. It would be this: the thing that everybody would believe would not be worth believing.

The bottom of the next quote is the most humorous I’ve read in a Christian book in a long time.

Those first disciples of Jesus [supposedly] became convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead because they experienced certain hallucinations, certain pathological experiences in which they thought they saw Jesus before their eyes when in reality there was nothing there. In an hallucination, the optic nerve is really affected but it is affected not by light rays coming from an external object, but by some pathological condition of the bodily organism of the subject himself. This is the so-called “vision theory” regarding the origin of the Christian church. It has held the field among unbelievers inside of the church and outside of the church since the days of Strauss about one hundred years ago. I think we ought to understand just exactly what that vision theory means. It means that the Christian church is founded upon a pathological experience of certain persons in the first century of our era. It means that if there had been a good neurologist for Peter and the others to consult there never would have been a Christian church.

The Person of Jesus

Also find it at: Westminster Bookstore

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