Jesus is the most important person in the Christian faith, and unless we have an accurate understanding of what the Bible says about Him, then we have created a false Jesus to worship. We must have a right understanding of the real Jesus or else we cannot be saved (2 Corinthians 11:3-4 and 1 John 2:23).
Was Jesus God or just an angel?
The Bible says that Jesus is God (John 1:1, Colossians 1:19, Colossians 2:9, Titus 2:13, and 2 Peter 1:1). Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus is not God, which is Arianism–a heresy that plagued the early church. They teach that Jesus is a created being and that He is the same being as Michael the archangel. However, the entire chapter of Hebrews 1 makes it clear that Jesus is not one of the angels. Note that angels do not accept worship (Revelation 19:10 and Revelation 22:8-9), but when Thomas calls Jesus “my Lord and my God,” Jesus does not rebuke him (John 20:28). In fact, Jesus Himself claimed to be God several times:
- Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30), and the Jews thought that Jesus was claiming to be God (John 10:33). Notice that Jesus does not attempt to correct their belief that He was claiming to be God.
- In Luke 5:20-25, Jesus forgives the sins of a paralyzed man and heals his paralysis. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were thinking to themselves that Jesus was committing blasphemy since only God has authority to forgive sins. However, Jesus could read their minds and reiterated that He did have the authority to forgive sins.
- In John 8:58, Jesus gives Himself the divine name (cf Exodus 3:14). In response the Jews take up stones because the crime of blasphemy was punishable by death (Leviticus 24:16).
- In John 18:5-6, Jesus again invokes the divine name. Notice that the power in this statement causes the people around Him to draw back and fall to the ground.
- When Jesus is walking on the water in Matthew 14:27, He again claims the divine name, and also several other times as well (John 8:24, John 8:28, and John 13:19). Some Bible translations miss this, but the New Living Translation (NLT) gets it right and includes a footnote as well.
- When Jesus is brought to trial before the Sanhedrin, the high priest Caiaphas asks him directly whether Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. Jesus responds by claiming the divine name (Mark 14:62) and also claiming the title Son of Man in direct reference to a prophecy about the Messiah in Daniel 7:13. The high priest responds by tearing his clothes, which was required according to Jewish tradition by anyone hearing blasphemy.
Was Jesus just a human?
Not only does the Bible makes it clear that Jesus was fully God, but it just as clearly states that Jesus was fully human:
- Romans 1:3 says that Jesus was a descendant of King David according to the flesh, and 1 John 4:2 says that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.
- Luke 2:7 confirms that Jesus was born to Mary as any human baby is born to a human mother. The rest of the chapter details how Jesus was circumcised and grew up like any other Jewish boy.
- We know that Jesus experienced normal human weaknesses. He had to sleep (Matthew 8:24), he had to eat (Mark 11:12), he had to drink (John 19:28), and he got tired (John 4:6).
Note that Jesus is both fully God and fully man, so we’re not talking about some sort of half-man, half-god or mythological demi-god. The concept that Jesus is both fully God and fully human at the same time is referred to as the hypostatic union, and it is one of the mysteries of Christianity. How can someone be both a fully human and a full God at the same time? It is impossible to understand how the infinite creator God could somehow contain Himself in a physical human body. It’s also impossible to understand how Jesus could be fully God and yet voluntarily restrain some of his own divine abilities (Philippians 2:6-8). For example, in Matthew 24:36 Jesus said that He did not know when His second coming would be, but only God the Father knew. By itself, this statement would seem to indicate that Jesus was something less than God, and indeed some false religions like Islam have used this verse to argue that Jesus was merely a normal human. However, they must ignore the mountain of scriptural proof for Jesus’ deity to make their case. In addition, they forget that Jesus only gave up some of His divine attributes for a limited time, and now He has resumed His full position of authority (Matthew 28:18).
Why was it important that Jesus was both fully human and fully God?
Christian Scientists argue that there wasn’t just one Jesus, but two. There was Jesus, the wise human teacher who led by example, and there was Christ, the spiritual idea of God attempting to communicate to man. But Christianity would fall apart without Jesus being both fully God and fully man:
- Galatians 4:4-5 says that Jesus had to be born a human so that He could be born under the law to redeem us. Angels are not born under the law, so they cannot redeem humans who are born under the law. Likewise God could not enter the world and subject Himself to the law to redeem us–God is not under the law, He is the law.
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that Jesus became sin for us so that we could become righteous. This is the concept of penal substitutionary atonement where Jesus took all of our sins away from us and clothed us in His righteousness. This exchange would not work unless we were on an equal plane.
- Leviticus 17:11 teaches that without the shedding of blood there can be no atonement for sins, and Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. Hebrews 9:22 says that there is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood. In the Old Testament the high priest had to sacrifice bulls and goats to atone for the sins of the Israelites, but he had to make atonement every year because an animal’s blood could only cover but never fully remove a human’s sins (Hebrews 10:4). However, because Jesus was fully human and because He was tempted in every way yet did not sin (Hebrews 4:15), He became the perfect human sacrifice to once and for all take away all the sins of the world (Hebrews 9:28 and 1 John 2:2).
Did Jesus ever appear in the Old Testament?
A common attack on Jesus is that He doesn’t exist in the Old Testament. Those same critics that claim that Jesus was merely a human teacher also claim that Christians twisted the facts and invented miraculous stories about Jesus to make him fulfill all the Old Testament prophecies. However, Jesus clearly appeared several times in the Old Testament, where He was typically referred to as the angel of the Lord. Let’s walk through some examples to show that this was no ordinary angel, but was in fact God Himself.
- When the angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar in Genesis 16:7-14, she said, “You are the God who sees me, for I have now seen the One who sees me.” Notice that the angel did not rebuke her.
- In Genesis 32:24-30, Jacob wrestles with the angel of the Lord. This is confirmed in Hosea 12:3-5.
- In Exodus 3, the angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in flames of fire from within a bush. Notice that the text then flips to say that it was God calling to Moses from within the bush. The Hebrew word for bush here can mean a thorn bush, which symbolizes sin and the curse (Genesis 3:18). The fact that the bush is on fire shows God’s wrath against sin, but the fact that the bush doesn’t burn up shows God’s mercy on his chosen people. Thus, the burning bush is a perfect symbol of Jesus Christ. In verse 13, Moses asks what name he should use when referring to God, and he is given the divine name “I AM WHO I AM.” This is the same name that Jesus gives Himself in the New Testament.
- Numbers 22:22 says that God was angry with Balaam and the angel of the Lord blocked Balaam’s donkey. When Balaam finally saw the angel of the Lord, he bowed low and fell facedown. Balaam says in verse 34 that he has sinned against the angel of the Lord. Our sins are against God alone (Psalm 51:4), so the angel of the Lord must be God.
- The angel of the Lord accepts an offering from Gideon in Judges 6. Regular angels do not accept worship.
- In Judges 13, the angel of the Lord appears to Manoah and his wife to tell them that they will have a son (Samson). In verse 11, the angel of the Lord takes the divine name I AM, and in verse 22, Manoah is terrified because he realizes that he has seen God. In verse 18, when they ask His name, the angel of the Lord says “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”
- This parallels Genesis 32:29 when Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord and asked His name, God replied “Why do you ask my name?”
- We find another parallel in Isaiah 9:6 which prophesies that in Galilee a child would be born whose name would be “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
- In 1 Chronicles 21:15-19, the angel of the Lord appears to David. Notice that David sees the angel of the Lord, and then it says that David speaks to God.
These are some additional ways where the New Testament makes it clear that Jesus appeared in the Old Testament:
- In Genesis 28:12, Jacob dreams of a stairway reaching from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. This parallels John 1:51 where Jesus says that the stairway in Jacob’s dream was actually Jesus Himself.
- In Exodus 12, God implements the Passover festival with instructions to eat unleavened bread and to sacrifice a lamb without blemish and spread the blood on the doorframe to be saved from God’s wrath. The fact that the bread is without yeast and the lamb is without blemish symbolizes that Jesus was without sin. The bread was brushed with olive oil, meaning anointed, and Jesus was the Christ, which means the Messiah or the anointed one. The New Testament confirms that all of this symbolism was pointing us to Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19, and Revelation 5:5-6).
- In Exodus 33:18-23, Moses asks to see God’s glory, and God says that He will cause His goodness to pass in front of Moses as well as proclaim His divine name in the presence of Moses. However, God says that Moses cannot see God’s face for no one may see Him and live. God instructs Moses to stand on a rock, which is a symbol of Jesus (Daniel 2:34-35 and Daniel 2:44-45). Then God shields Moses between a cleft in the rock and His hand when God’s glory passes by. The cleft in the rock symbolizes how Jesus suffered for our sins, similar to Exodus 17:5-6 where God tells Moses to strike the rock to receive life-giving water. God’s hand covering Moses is symbolic of Jesus’ substitutionary atonement where we are clothed in His righteousness to cover our sins. Finally, God allowed Moses to see his back, but this does not contradict God’s earlier statement that no one may see Him and live. We see confirmation in 1 Timothy 6:16 that no one has seen or can see God. John 1:18 reveals that although no one has seen God, Jesus Christ has made God known. Therefore, all these Old Testament appearances of the angel of God are in fact God in the form of a pre-incarnate Jesus Christ.
- In Numbers 21:4-8, the Israelites were wandering through the wilderness and complaining against God, so God sent venomous snakes among them as judgement. The people admit their sin, and they ask Moses to pray for God to take away the snakes from them. In response, God has Moses fashion a bronze snake and set it up on a pole so that when any of the Israelites were bitten by a snake, they could look up at the bronze snake and live. John 3:14 helps us see the symbolism at work:
- The snakes attacking the Israelites symbolized “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” (Revelation 12:9) They also symbolize the sins that lead to our destruction and God’s righteous judgement against those sins.
- The bronze serpent was a symbol of sin that had been judged by fire (just as bronze if forged in a furnace). The bronze serpent was hung on a pole just as Jesus was hung on a cross.
- The bronze serpent also showed how God could take evil and use it for His glory, hearkening back to the earliest Messianic prophecy in the Bible: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
- Just as the Israelites could look to the bronze serpent to be saved, if we admit our sins and turn to Jesus, then we will be saved (Isaiah 45:22). The idea of looking at a bronze serpent on a pole must have sounded extremely foolish to the Israelites, just as “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
- In Luke 20:41-44, Jesus illuminated the Jewish tradition which taught that the Messiah was a descendent of King David. He quotes from Psalm 110:1 and asks why David would refer to the Messiah as Lord if the Messiah was merely his own flesh-and-blood descendent.
- In Luke 20:17-18, Jesus has just finished telling a parable about the owner of a vineyard (God) and the workers in the vineyard (Jews) killing the owner’s son (Jesus), and He quotes from Psalm 118:22 about the stone that the builders rejected becoming the cornerstone. This psalm parallels prophecies about the Messiah in Isaiah 28:16 and Zechariah 10:4.
- In Acts 8:32-33, the Ethiopian eunuch is reading a passage from Isaiah 53, and the apostle Philip explains to him that the passage is all about Jesus. Even today you can read Isaiah 53 to anyone, without even telling them that it’s a passage from the Bible, and they will correctly guess that it’s describing Jesus Christ. Note that in Isaiah 53:6 that God laid all the sins of the world upon Jesus similar to how the high priest would lay all the sins of Israel upon the scapegoat during the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:21-22). Then, the goat would be sent out into a remote place in the wilderness to carry away the sins of the people as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
- The prophet Daniel has a vision in Daniel 10:5-6 of “a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.” In Daniel 12, this same figure is above the waters of the river. He is wearing linen because that is what the priestly garments are made of (Exodus 28), He is wearing white because that symbolizes purity and holiness, and He is above the river because the Lord sits enthroned over the flood (Psalm 29:10). Notice that the angels have to consult this figure to find out when the end times will come. The description of the figure in Daniel’s vision parallels almost exactly with the apostle John’s vision in Revelation 1:13-16 where he saw that “among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” The figure in John’s vision is one like the son of man from Daniel 7:13, a reference that Jesus had already applied to Himself, so we know that this is none other than Jesus Christ. From Hebrews 4:12, we know that the word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, hence the reason John sees a sword coming out of the mouth of Jesus. In John’s vision, Jesus says in verses 17 and 18 that He is the First and the Last, the Living One, who was dead but who now lives forever and who holds the keys of death and Hades. That sounds very much like Jesus is claiming to be God. Also, look at the parallel reaction in both Daniel’s and John’s visions. Both Daniel and John lost all strength and fell down as though dead. Look how the people standing with Daniel at the time didn’t even see the vision and yet they were still overcome with terror and fled in fear. The power and might of God is truly awesome.
- In Zechariah 1:8-11, the prophet Zechariah has a vision of “a man mounted on a red horse. He was standing among the myrtle trees in a ravine. Behind him were red, brown and white horses.” Verse 11 tells us that this man is the angel of the Lord. We read a parallel passage in Revelation 6 where the apostle John sees a vision of “a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.” As the angels in John’s vision open the seals, we see also a red horse, a black horse, and a pale horse. Starting in Revelation 19:11, we learn the identity of this rider on the white horse from Revelation 6:2: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.” After reading this, is there any question that the man on the horse is Jesus or that Jesus is God?
Jesus’ resurrection didn’t really happen
One of the most crucial parts of the Christianity is that Jesus rose from the dead. Not only did Jesus conquer the power of death and Hell for us, but He also proved that He was indeed God and that all of His claims were true. Anyone who can accurately predict his own death and resurrection after three days is probably operating in a divine atmosphere. Since this one fact proves all of Christianity, it is one of the areas most frequently attacked by Bible critics.
It’s interesting that people are willing to believe almost anything as long as it means that they can disbelieve in the Bible. Romans 1:18 says that people willingly suppress the truth in unrighteousness, so it’s no surprise that they would be willing to invent some pretty outlandish claims about the resurrection.
- Stolen Body Theory – The earliest argument against the resurrection was that the disciples stole Jesus’ body from the tomb so they could claim that He rose from the dead. This argument is so old, that the apostle Matthew detailed it in his gospel account. In Matthew 27:62-66, the chief priests and Pharisees told Roman governor Pontius Pilate to post guards at the tomb to prevent the disciples from stealing the body and claiming a miracle. In Matthew 28:4 we see that Pilate did indeed post guards at the tomb. Finally in Matthew 28:11-15 we read that the chief priests and elders paid the soldiers to lie and say that the disciples stole the body while they were asleep. Of course it’s completely ridiculous that all of the soldiers would be in such a deep sleep that they would not hear the disciples rolling the huge stone away from the tomb and carrying out Jesus’ body. It’s equally ridiculous that someone who was asleep could somehow know the identity of those who stole the body. However, both of these logical arguments are unnecessary because we have scriptural evidence to confirm the resurrection. According to 1 Corinthians 15:5-7, Jesus appeared to Peter, then the rest of the twelve apostles, then to over five hundred disciples at the same time, then to His brother James, and finally to Paul. Since we know that all of the New Testament books were written very close to the events that they describe (see Bible Objection #2), there would have been plenty of eyewitnesses still living who could refute the claims made by these writers. Interestingly, it seems that the lie of the stolen body managed to make it all the way to Rome based on the discovery of the Nazareth Inscription.
- Swoon Theory – Another early argument was the swoon theory, which states that Jesus didn’t die on the cross but that He was merely overcome by his wounds and became unconscious or comatose. According to this theory, the gospel writers exaggerated the severity of Jesus’ wounds to make it seem as though his recovery was not only miraculous but impossible. This theory is preposterous because there were many people at the time who had a vested interest in ensuring that Jesus was truly dead:
- First, the Jewish leaders who had argued for Jesus’ crucifixion had an interest in making sure that Jesus was dead because He was a threat to their authority during His ministry. In John 19:31, we read that the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, so they ordered that their legs be broken to hasten death. Clearly they weren’t leaving Jesus’ death up to chance.
- Second, Pilate had an interest in making sure that Jesus was truly dead to appease the Jewish leaders and keep the peace. Notice that in Mark 15:44-45 Pilate double-checks with the Roman centurion to make sure that Jesus was indeed dead before handing his body over to Joseph of Arimathea.
- Third, the Roman soldiers had an interest in ensuring Jesus died because Pilate had entrusted them to do the job, and they would be held responsible if they failed. These soldiers were professional executioners, so they would know the difference between a dead body versus an unconscious person. Also, they were supposed to guard the body to ensure that no one broke into the tomb, so they wouldn’t take the risk of falling asleep and taking the punishment for failure. Furthermore, these guys were truly brutal in their work. They beat Jesus and scourged Him, and after Jesus had already died on the cross, they pierced His side with a spear just to make sure. There is no way that a mere human could have recovered from such severe wounds and extreme blood loss with enough strength to unwrap himself from the burial shroud on the third day, roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb, sneak past or overpower the Romans soldiers guarding the tomb, and travel all around Judea and Galilee to visit with all the disciples.
- Hallucination Theory – Another favorite argument critics appeal to is the hallucination theory, which states that all of the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus were a result of a mass hallucination. After all, Jesus had predicted His death and resurrection, so all of the disciples were prepped on what to expect. In addition, they were all grief-stricken after Jesus’ death, and their emotions fed into their expectations to produce a common hallucination. However, the number of people who witnessed Jesus, and the variety of times and places in which He appeared make a mass hallucination extremely unlikely. To argue that more than five hundred people simultaneously experienced the same hallucination is almost as miraculous as someone rising from the dead on the third day.
- Lie Theory – When all else fails, critics will claim that Jesus’ resurrection was just a plain old lie concocted by the apostles and perpetuated among all of Jesus’ disciples. According to this claim, first century Christians began to buy into the lie as truth simply because of the sheer number of people who continued to repeat it. It’s true that people are more likely to believe a lie if they hear it repeated often enough–politicians constantly take advantage of low information voters using this technique. However, we know from Acts 7:54-60 that the disciple Stephen was willing to face death by stoning for his faith. Critics will point out that Islamic terrorists are willing to die for their faith as well, so that must mean that Islam is also true. In reply, I would point out that in 1 Corinthians 11:23-27, the apostle Paul was willing to endure severe floggings, imprisonment, beatings, stonings, hard work, lack of sleep, hunger and thirst, harsh weather, and extreme poverty for his faith. He claims to have seen Jesus on multiple occasions (Acts 9:5, Acts 18:9, Acts 22:18, and Acts 23:11), and they could not all have been hallucinations, particularly his conversion experience on the road to Damascus since multiple people witnessed it. Therefore, Paul wasn’t willing to endure hardship for a strongly held belief based on a lie that he had been taught, but rather he was willing to suffer for what he knew to be true based on firsthand experience. Any sane person would immediately admit to their deception when faced with such hostility and persecution. In addition, we have to consider that Paul wasn’t like the greedy televangelists of today who claim to perform miracle healings if you’ll just send them a donation. Paul didn’t stand to gain anything by repeating a falsehood, and in fact he was willing to give up quite a lot to become a Christian. This was a man who was a Jew and a Roman citizen from birth as well as a Pharisee descended from Pharisees, and he had been advancing himself through the ranks of leadership by persecuting Christians (Acts 22:27-28, Acts 23:6, Acts 26:4-5, Acts 26:9-12, and Philippians 3:4-6). Why would anyone be willing to concoct a lie to trade in a lifestyle of power and comfort in exchange for the beatings and poverty that plagued Paul’s latter days? Paul wasn’t the only one to do this either. John 21:18-19 says that the apostle Peter suffered a horrible death, Acts 12:2 says that James son of Zebedee was executed, and Hebrews 11:35-38 says that many others also endured torture for their faith. Church tradition also teaches that all the apostles (except John who was exiled to the island of Patmos) were martyred for what they knew to be true. Someone who claimed to have firsthand experience would have recanted their testimony if they were fabricating the entire story. One more thing: even if the apostles were somehow insane enough to cling to their lies, why would they choose to have women, who were second-class citizens in first century Jerusalem, play such an important role as eyewitnesses to the resurrection? Any fan of the television drama “Law and Order” knows that your case falls apart if the jury questions the credibility of your key witness. The apostles had to have been extremely confident in the testimony of the women to include it in their gospel accounts, especially when they knew their critics would undoubtedly dismiss these claims as babblings of weak-minded women (to be clear, that was their attitude, not mine).
Jesus was just a myth and didn’t really exist
If you seriously believe that Jesus didn’t exist at all, then you’re in the extreme minority. Even the harshest critics of the Bible are forced to concede that Jesus was a real historical figure. Bart Ehrman, who is an expert on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity according to the secular media, says:
“This is not even an issue for scholars of antiquity. There is no scholar in any college or university in the Western world who teaches classics, ancient history, New Testament, early Christianity, any related field who doubts that Jesus existed.”
What about the claims that the Biblical accounts of Jesus were just plagiarized from earlier mythological figures? This claim has been popularized in recent films like “Religulous” and “Zeitgeist.” Peddlers of this bankrupt theory claim that almost all the Bible’s claims about Jesus were stolen from pagan deities like Horus, Mithra, Osiris, and Dionysus. However, there are several problems with this theory:
- Some of the claims they make about Jesus, such as His birthday on December 25, are not actually found in the Bible. Therefore, the Bible could not possibly be the source of this alleged plagiarism.
- Similarity does not necessarily mean causation. Even if all the claims that the Bible does make about Jesus were 100% the same as claims made about an earlier pagan deity, it wouldn’t prove that the Biblical account of Jesus was plagiarized from the earlier accounts. I’ll give you an example:
- At the dawn of the twentieth century, there was a huge passenger ship that was described as unsinkable. However, it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic ocean in April. Since it didn’t have enough lifeboats on board for the 2,000+ passengers and crew members, most of them drowned. The name of the ship starts with the letter T. Can you name that ship? If you guessed Titanic, you’re wrong. I was referring to the Titan, a fictional ship that author Morgan Robertson wrote a novel about fourteen years before the Titanic sank.
- The evidence for the claims made about these pagan deities is extremely lacking. The Bible is by far the most well documented ancient text in history, both in terms of the number of surviving copies and in the age of the oldest surviving copies. No other ancient text even comes close to the Bible, so it’s interesting that critics are more than willing to trust the sources for the claims about pagan deities even more than they trust the Bible.
- This entire theory was made up in the nineteenth century by writers like Gerald Massey, Alvin Boyd Kuhn, and Godfrey Higgins. None of the early church fathers faced any of these accusations. In fact, when the apostle Paul preached the gospel in Athens, the Greek philosophers of the day said to him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.” (Acts 17:19-20) Why would they say that these were some strange new ideas they were hearing for the first time if they were just ideas borrowed from Egyptian and Greek mythology?