A close-up shot of an ancient manuscript, its weathered pages revealing faded text, symbolizing the search for answers about the enigmatic origins of Jesus.

Who Created Jesus? Examining The Origins And History Of Christianity’S Central Figure

Christianity centers around the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, but where did this pivotal figure come from? If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: According to the Bible, Jesus is the Son of God who was sent to Earth to save humanity from sin.

Now let’s dive deeper into the rich origins and history behind Jesus.

In this approximately 3000 word article, we will thoroughly examine multiple perspectives on who created Jesus and how he emerged as such a vital part of world religion. With an open and academic tone, we will explore Jewish prophecies, Gospel accounts, theological interpretations, historical context, and more around Christianity’s founding narrative.

Old Testament Prophecies and Precedents

The Messiah Concept in Judaism

The idea of a coming redeemer figure has ancient roots in Judaism. Passages in the Hebrew Bible such as Isaiah 53 and Psalms 22 have traditionally been interpreted by Jews as references to a future anointed one (mashiach or “messiah” in Hebrew) who will come to redeem Israel.

According to noted Jewish scholar Dr. MJL, these prophecies point to someone who will usher in a new era of global peace, restore Israel’s standing among the nations, rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, and more – though interpretations vary.

Additional Old Testament precedents cited by Christians as foreshadowing Jesus include the near-sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham (Gen 22), a prophecy that the messiah would descend from David’s lineage (2 Sam 7), and hinting at a suffering servant messiah in Isaiah 53.

The combined picture is that of a coming redeemer sent by God who would somehow suffer, die, and also ultimately triumph – a complex portrait developed over centuries of Jewish theological thought predating Christianity.

Symbolic Sacrificial Systems Foreshadowing a Savior

Beyond specific prophecies, some scholars argue that the Israelite/Jewish ritual sacrificial system itself contained typology and symbolism pointing ahead to a final, ultimate sacrificial “Lamb of God” in the future. As Anglican bishop N.T.


summarized, “The blood of bulls and goats couldn’t take away sins (Heb. 10); the system provided symbol, not substance.” He argues this symbolic system instilled an expectation and desperation for a better, final sacrifice.

Additionally, comparisons can be drawn between Passover lamb sacrifice customs associated with the Exodus symbolism and Jesus as the sacrificial “Lamb of God. “ As Messianic Rabbi David Brickner explained, details like how the Passover lamb had to be without blemish (Exodus 12:5) seem to foreshadow Christ’s sinless nature as Christianity’s atoning sacrifice.

He also showed how the prophets fused these ideas in verses like Isaiah 53:7, “As a lamb led to the slaughter… he did not open his mouth.” So for many, Jewish sacrificial themes permeated their messianic expectations.

Gospel Portrayals of Jesus’s Miraculous Conception and Birth

Angelic Announcements

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke provide detailed accounts of Jesus’s miraculous conception and birth. Both describe angelic announcements foretelling the birth of Jesus. According to Luke 1:26-38, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that she would conceive and bear a son to be named Jesus, who would be called the Son of God.

Although Mary was a virgin, Gabriel declared that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would conceive through the power of God. Matthew 1:18-25 describes how Joseph learned about Mary’s pregnancy through an angelic dream.

The angel proclaimed that her child was conceived by the Holy Spirit and would save the people from their sins. Though the specific details differ, both accounts underscore the miraculous and divine nature of Jesus’s origins.

These angelic pronouncements establish Jesus’s identity as the Son of God and foreground the supernatural circumstances of his conception. By attributing Jesus’s birth to the Holy Spirit rather than a human father, the Gospels present Jesus as having a special, holy status distinct from ordinary human beings.

The angelic messengers act as divine emissaries, underscoring that Jesus’s birth was orchestrated by God. Their proclamations lend credibility to Jesus’s later teachings and miraculous acts by tracing his origins back to this miraculous event.

Virgin Birth and Godly Parentage

The doctrine of the virgin birth is a central tenet of orthodox Christology. Both Matthew and Luke explicitly state that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived and emphasize that Joseph was not Jesus’s biological father. Jesus had only one parent – God himself.

This sets Jesus apart from all other great religious teachers and underscores his unique divine-human status as the Son of God. By attributing Jesus’s conception to the Holy Spirit rather than a human father, the Gospels present Jesus as having a fundamentally different nature and origin than ordinary humans.

In addition to establishing Jesus’s divinity, the virgin birth also fulfills Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah’s origins. Isaiah 7:14, written over 700 years before Jesus’s birth, prophesies that “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son.”

By invoking this prophecy, Matthew and Luke present Jesus as the fulfillment of Scripture and part of God’s long-standing plan. The circumstances of Jesus’s miraculous conception not only reveal his divine nature but also identify him as Israel’s long-awaited Messiah.

Overall, the virgin birth accounts underscore Jesus’s unique identity and profound supernatural origins as the Son of God and prophesied Savior.

Theological Perspectives on Christ’s Pre-Existence and Divine Origins

Christian Ideas of Christ as God’s Eternal Logos

The pre-existence of Christ before his incarnation on Earth is a key tenet of Christian theology. In early Christian thought, Christ was identified as God’s eternal Logos or “Word” through whom all things were created.

The Gospel of John opens with a hymn describing Christ as the divine Logos that was with God from the beginning and “became flesh” (John 1:14). This established an understanding of Christ’s origins as eternal and divine rather than strictly human.

Many Church Fathers like Justin Martyr described the Logos as begotten of God before time itself. Christ as the Logos was said to be the agent through whom God the Father created all things and communicated with humanity.

This theology drew from Greek philosophical ideas about the logos or universal reason that orders the cosmos. By linking Hebrew wisdom literature to Greek logos concepts, Christ could be understood as the embodiment of divine reason itself.

This theology was developed most fully by Origen of Alexandria in the 3rd century CE. He taught that the Logos was eternally generated by God and participated in divinity fully. Christ as the Logos contained all the attributes of God in perfect unity, while also being personally distinct.

Later theologians like Athanasius and Augustine of Hippo also expounded on the eternal generation of the Logos from the Father, teaching that Christ was pre-existent and equal to God by nature.

Contrasting Views Within and Beyond Christianity

However, not all Christian theologians agreed Christ’s origins were strictly divine. Arius of Alexandria taught the Logos was created by God before time and was divine by grace, but subordinated in essence.

After intense debate, the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE condemned Arianism and stated the orthodox position that Christ was “begotten not made” and of the “same substance” (homoousios) as the Father.

Groups deemed heretical like the Ebionites viewed Christ as fully human and not pre-existent. Gnostic sects had complex cosmologies describing Christ as an emanation of the remote Supreme Being. Adoptionists believed Christ was human who became divine, not inherently pre-existent.

Dynamic Monarchianism taught Christ was inspired by God but not literally God’s own being. All of these contrasting views clashed with the core Christian affirmation that Christ originated as the eternally begotten Logos of God.

Outside of Christianity, Islam emerged viewing Jesus (Isa) as an honored prophet and messiah but not an incarnation of God’s eternal Logos. The Quran explicitly denies Christ’s divinity and pre-existence. Judaism also rejects any notion of a pre-existent, divine messiah figure.

But the mainstream Christian theological view has upheld the Logos Christology developed in the early centuries of the faith, affirming the cosmic, pre-temporal origins of Jesus Christ as God’s eternal Word.

Situating Jesus in the Historical Context of First Century Palestine

Roman Occupation and Jewish Sects

At the time of Jesus’s life, Judea was under Roman occupation since 63 BCE. The Romans allowed Jewish authorities to remain in power, but the occupation bred resentment and messianic hopes for deliverance.

Society was marked by stark economic and social divisions that often broke down along religious-political lines between groups like the aristocratic Sadducees who cooperated with Rome, the Pharisees who upheld purity laws, the ascetic Essenes, and various revolutionary movements who wanted to overthrow Roman rule.

Apocalypticism and Messianic Expectations

Many Jews in the first century CE yearned for divine deliverance from foreign domination and corrupt priestly authorities. Apocalyptic ideas were widespread, with prophecies that God would send an anointed one (messiah) to establish a new era of justice and restore Israel’s sovereignty.

Some thought this would happen through divine intervention, while others advocated violent uprising. Popular messianic expectations likely influenced the early Christian portrayal of Jesus as the long-awaited redeemer, though Jesus did not fulfill traditional roles of political-military leadership.

Alternative Theories on the Formation of Jesus Traditions

Mythicist Views Contending Jesus’s Non-Historicity

Some scholars known as mythicists have proposed that Jesus was not a historical figure, but was invented or mythologized in early Christian traditions. Here are some key mythicist arguments:

  • Lack of first-century non-Christian attestation for Jesus – Some contend the silence from non-Christian sources about Jesus until the second century suggests he was not a real historical figure.
  • Parallels with pagan mythology – Mythicists point to similarities between Jesus and pagan mythological dying and rising gods, suggesting early Christians modeled him on mythic archetypes.
  • The Gospels as allegory/fiction – Mythicists view the Gospels not as biographical accounts but as imaginative allegories created based on Old Testament characters/themes.

Prominent mythicist writers have included Bruno Bauer, Arthur Drews, John Allegro, and Robert Price. However, the dominant scholarly view is that their theories are fringe and contradict strong evidence for Jesus as a historical first-century Galilean Jew.

Mainstream scholarship sees the parallels with pagan myths as superficial. They also argue the earliest Christian traditions show no literary embellishment and no trend towards portraying Jesus as an invented mythic archetype.

Natural Explanations of Gospel Development

Scholars who accept Jesus as historical have proposed various models for how the Gospel traditions formed within early Christian communities:

  • Oral tradition – Stories about Jesus circulated orally before being written down. This theory argues Gospel materials took shape as they were performed orally within early church preaching and teaching.
  • Memory theory – Scholars like James Dunn see Gospel materials shaped by “collective memory” within early church communities. This produced unintentional changes as Jesus stories were retold and passed on orally.
  • Redaction – This focuses how Gospel writers edited and arranged source material based on themes or theology. For example, Did the author of Matthew shape stories about Jesus to have more prophecy fulfillments?

Some scholars also propose Gospel development was impacted by shifting social settings of early Christians. For example, Gerd Theissen sees Gospel conflict stories shaped by tensions between the early church and Jewish synagogue.

Overall, mainstream analysis agrees the Gospels are not exact biographies by eyewitnesses, but shaped by oral/written transmission and editorial processes within early Christian communities.


As we have seen, there are multifaceted answers to the question “Who created Jesus?” ranging from faith-based to skeptical perspectives. The biblical narrative presents him as divinely conceived to be the Messiah, while history shows how his followers’ experiences and beliefs led to his veneration.

This examination illuminates Christianity’s founding story and the profound impact it has left on world civilization.

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