Ah, and here today we get to “I AM” statements. At Door of Hope, Pastor Craig was actually discussing John 9, but spent quite a bit of time on statements made by the Christ.
Here, I separate Jesus the man, from His title, the Christ. Baha’is believe that Manifestations of God have the ability to speak both with the voice of God, and also with the voice of man. Interestingly, if you substitute “God” anywhere that a Manifestation speaks “I AM”, the meaning of what is being said changes a bit. I AM is the only name God gave to mankind for Himself. And you will find I AM statements in every religion out there.
So, keeping with Christianity, “I AM the way, the truth and the life; he who believes in me will have life everlasting.” If this is the voice of God, there is now the possibility that God provided mankind with more than one way to eternal life with God.
This in no way diminishes that Christ died for the sins of mankind and in so doing, provided every person on earth the opportunity to find life everlasting. There is no other Manifestation that ever claimed to be the Son of God, or that is equal to God in the Trinity.
So many questions arise from this. Does this mean that in the same way that when God said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (implying that you may have gods after him, but that God is first, primary and over all?), that Christ is in such wise similar that there are no other Manifestations before Him, but there may be others after Him? Does this mean that all other Manifestations are false, and as such, of the 84% of the world that practices a religious faith, 52% are damned because they are practicing the “wrong” religion, while 16% are damned for not practicing any religion? (2012 statistics) That, unfortunately, strikes me as very much of the Old Testament kind of God, rather than the God of love most Christians believe in.
At some point, I will find the research I have (it’s in a folder, somewhere, I know) regarding I AM statements by Manifestations in each major religion. Interestingly, they pretty much all say the same thing when you substitute “God” for the name of whichever one is speaking. Logically speaking, that makes more sense to me. But, I have been known to be wrong before. 🙂 It’s part of what this year is exploring.