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Jesus' temptation by Satan


According to the Bible God cannot be tempted:

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone (James 13:1)

Jesus however according to the gospels was tempted, and more problematic is that he was tempted by none other than the devil:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written “‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
 so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:1-11)

What’s interesting is that while Jesus is being tempted by the devil he also says that God cannot be tempted, this alone is sufficient to show how Jesus is not God.

Other points in this narrative that also clearly show that Jesus is not God is when Satan tells Jesus to worship him, and Jesus replies by saying only God is to be worshipped, Jesus is clearly referring to God as someone else, and not in reference to himself. For example Jesus doesn’t say “Only I am to be worshipped” instead he says only God is to be worshipped in reference to someone else, thus Jesus is clearly distinguishing himself from God, that they are certainly not one in the same.

If we are to assume that Jesus is God as some Christian apologists and missionaries would contend, then this whole episode is very problematic indeed. For starters we have already raised two issues that display how this incident proves Jesus is not God, but the problems simply do not end there.

Just imagine it for a second, that Jesus is literally God and yet there he is all helpless and being tempted by none other than Satan, Satan his creation whom he banished from the Garden of Eden is now trying to tempt him. Satan is telling God to worship him, and telling God that Satan will grant him all authority and power over the kingdoms, the whole thing sounds mightily absurd if we are to believe Jesus is God.

Another problem is that if Jesus is indeed God, then Satan is tempting him with things he already owns. After all God has all authority over all kingdoms, and not just kingdoms but practically the entire universe. So why would Satan tempt ‘god’ with something he owns, where’s the appeal behind it? This temptation does however make a lot of sense if Jesus is not God and is a mere mortal human being, then the appeal of becoming the absolute ruler and having the absolute authority makes sense and one could potentially be tempted by it, after all humans crave power and this is what Satan was trying to tempt Jesus with.

Another issue with this incident is that Satan himself doesn’t seem to think that Jesus is God, when he’s tempting Jesus he tells Jesus “if you are the Son of God” then throw yourself down, Satan references Jesus as the son of God rather than God. And as we all know the term son of God does not mean God, and it certainly did not mean God during the time of Jesus when Satan called him the son of God, and even before the time of Jesus. The term son of God denoted someone who was a servant of God, someone who was close to God, and did not denote any of the new meanings and definitions that were invented by Christians later on that son of God meant divinity and an actual literal relationship with God the Father.

All in all the temptation of Jesus is clear evidence that Jesus is certainly not God.

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