The Didactic - The Tempatation Of Christ

The verses on the temptation of Christ is as follows;

-- Click To Expand/Collapse Bible Verses -- Mat ch4:v1-11
Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Mat 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
Mat 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Mat 4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
Mat 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (KJV)

Rather than the single example of the dialectic with which the serpent beguiled eve, we are shown a triple-test of Jesus in His temptation by satan. First a little background.

Jesus had come to live as a man and fulfill the law as a man, not to show Himself as God but only His Father to be God. Jesus was present to show the laws of Israel were reasonable, possible to keep and that God would bless those whom are in good standing with Him. In this manner even before His work of the cross, Jesus from the time of His birth was the promised messiah, and God had already redeemed His people Israel as His chosen people from Christ's birth, as not simply just another tribe in the empire of Rome.

Jesus was fasting in the wilderness, and satan tempts Him to make bread of stones to fulfill His hunger. We have thesis and antithesis of "you are"/"you aren't" the son of God. Jesus could answer one or the other, but instead logically asserts that it does not follow logically from the fact that I am hungry that I am one or the other... Jesus answers "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God".

Logically Jesus states that if (A) that "man shall not live by bread alone" implies that (B) a man "may live on God's word instead to fulfill His needs", (Even tempted in the wilderness) then there is the contrapositive that "If man could not live" by God's word then "he must live on bread alone". This has the result that hunger has nothing to do with one's state as to whether He lives by God's words or not, that the hunger is common to both the righteous and the sinner. Jesus responds with the absolute word of scripture, but He immediately spots the logical fallacy that being the son of God somehow makes one more hungry than anyone else. Jesus immediately has dismissed satan.

Jesus' second temptation is again "are you"/"are you not" the Son of God? Satan is suggesting that Jesus could make a mistake or a sin and that mistake would be found to be justified. Satan replies with "if hunger is common" let me see you sin! Satan asserts that were Jesus to sin, in the fullness of time it would be justified or in God's law it could be justified. Jesus flatly responds with "thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Jesus again dismisses Him.

There is a second logical fallacy in that Satan is attempting to bend Jesus' reply to His first tempting. That Jesus states He will live by God's words whether He is hungry or not, satan takes Him up to a pinnacle of the temple to state, If you live by God's word then throw yourself off and rely on that word, or else sin and live.

The basis has moved on from hunger to testing whether the righteous will live by God's word (satan shows a threat of murdering Him otherwise) or else if Jesus is a sinner only 'eating bread' in common, then satan attempts to get Jesus to sin. In either case, neither follows from the hunger for bread that Jesus must have been thinking of.

Satan confuses the issue or fact that Jesus will live by God's words whether He is hungry or not and makes the suggestion, "Show you are the Christ by escaping death by these words given, to show that the word of God is common to all who hunger."

Clearly the prophecy is made of Christ, so it could not be common to all whom hunger. Jesus' reply "thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" is a reply that clearly states to satan that this is the case, that other men both righteous and sinners are not the object of that scripture. In effect satan attempts to use the exact same case Jesus used with the bread common to both saint and sinner, but putting forward the suggestion that the verses satan quoted take the place of that bread. In truth they do not. Satan was attempting to create an argument that mirrored Christ's with the same method of logic, in order to confuse the didactic statement of Christ in His first reply. If satan's statement would have held, then there would have been a logical impasse.

Satan's third temptation is in itself a "thesis + antithesis = synthesis", as were the previous two temptations - on finding a compromise between Jesus' righteousness as the Son of God and the sinful state of fallen men: Each of those previous two were attempts to bring Jesus off the didactic position of His ministry. The first was to show that Jesus belongs only "to the set of all men" and the second that "the ministry of Christ can belong to any man". Clearly both are attempts to get Jesus away from the knowledge of His Father's words to Him.

The third temptation would then be such as to synthesize these two then? Could satan state that these are both synthesized in a single case? Clearly he does so, showing Jesus that all the kingdoms of the world could be given Christ, or indeed anyone else that satan desires to give it - that that one, the choice of satan, would be man's true messiah, and not this itinerant carpenter from Nazareth!

Jesus flatly states that the creator of man is God, whose is the world's and everything in it, and only He is to be worshiped and none other. The logical fallacy that the choice is not satan's is made clear with care by Jesus, the words of Jesus left the dialectic temptation of the third case an open statement,.. it was not flatly contradicted with a judgement that satan is forbidden to do as he states with another - for he presumably does so all the time and often.

It would appear then that any messiah that was satan's choice would not technically be the messiah. But is that the limit? Logically what was the mistake satan made? Satan dismissed the scripture that Jesus had quoted and goes straight to showing Him the kingdoms of the world. Satan is attempting to bring Jesus off His worship (of the Father only) and bring Jesus to the point where satan will be able to continue in his status quo.

Satan has made the case that Jesus can create bread to His need (an analogy of miracles of requirement, or adding new "invisible" scripture) secondly, that any mistake Jesus makes will become the standard of righteousness for all other men, or that first and second, Jesus is a man and subject to the world satan has in his pockets. Both could indeed be given Jesus by satan in a manner where satan could continue being satan, Jesus could continue being the messiah, and everyone is a winner.

Clearly not!

Would there be a fourth dialectic? not in the sense of thesis + antithesis = synthesis unless one were to construct a set of four such triples. We know that the statement common to the first and second temptations but not in the third is the object of the argument: that "Jesus is the Christ", which as a result of the third would be "taken off the table" or discounted if Jesus had chosen to worship satan.

Likewise the remaining statements arising from a fourth dialectic in four sets of three triples as above would all include to some degree the synthesis of a statement that includes that Jesus "Is the Christ". The remaining triples consist of;

i)Jesus is a man like any other
ii)Any man could be Christ
iii)Satan can choose a christ
iv)Jesus could be Christ only if satan chose Him. (satan requires Jesus' worship)

However, to Jesus and the rest of Christendom, (iv) is inherently self-inconsistent. It is the position of "Death" - it makes no rational statement at all! Those whom cling to a belief like that would be logically dead upstairs also.

However (iv) contradicts the synthesis of (i) and (ii) which was (iii),.. satan by his own logic has contradicted himself. (the use of "only if") Given that, (ii) would be untrue for each individual in the whole world with Jesus the case in point.

So (iv) contradicts (iii) and then the opposite of (iii) contradicts (ii) and then we are left with simply (i) which is not disputed! Clearly satan knew well when to give up and leave Jesus alone.

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