- “Jesus’s Family Tomb“— Was Jesus buried with his wife and kids? The tomb was found in 1980, but a 2007 movie and book made a big deal about it.
- The so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”—Discovered in 2012, the small papyrus fragment (smaller than a credit card) includes a short statement: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife…’” (and then the fragment is cut off).
- The Da Vinci Code—Need I say more?
To be clear, even more liberal-minded and non-Christian scholars (like Bart Ehrman) do not think that Jesus was married with children. But, what if????
In my estimation, the big problem is NOT whether or not Jesus was married with kids. The BIGGER problem is:
- Worry about being wrong… and accusations of being wrong. If (most) Christians have been wrong in saying that Jesus wasn’t married (although the Bible doesn’t specify one way or another), then what else are (most) Christians wrong about?
- Jesus is a human. Well, actually, this isn’t a problem, unless one is trying to prove Jesus was just a human. But some Christians have been so concerned with defending the divinity of Jesus that they have forgotten that Jesus was indeed a human. He ate, slept, got tired AND…(here is a test to see if you are okay with Jesus being a human, or if you are a heretic [docetism…look it up])…he peed and poohed.
It is important to remember that Jesus was a human because it shows the value of the material world, it allows Jesus life to define redeemed human life for us, and it is important for our salvation (Hebrews 2:14).
Well, first of all, it would be really awkward for the single ladies out there who claim that they are “married to Jesus” if he already had a wife. 😉
But seriously, if Jesus was married it would not affect his divinity. What probably most concerns people is that this would mean that Jesus has sex. “Wasn’t Jesus too holy for sex?” No. Even though historically the church has struggled with the idea that sex is not sinful (hence, celibate monks and priests), the intense desire and pleasure of sex is not sinful. God created sex before the fall and it was good .
Jesus had kids?
If Jesus had kids, they might fight for world power, but they wouldn’t all be little demi-gods running around (¼ divine and ¾ human). Remember, Jesus wasn’t part human; he was fully human and fully divine. The Chalcedonian Definition (451 AD) affirmed Jesus had “two natures, without confusion, without change.” Hence, the fully human Jesus’ would have fully human kids and his divinity wouldn’t be passed on to children. As one NT professor said, “Divinity is not like pixy dust that can be accidently dropped on someone or passed on through conception.”
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong, because it is all speculation since Jesus didn’t have a wife and kids. But, let me remind you, that our faith is not dependent on Jesus being celibate; our faith is in the person Jesus Christ who lived, was crucified, and rose again. Happy Easter!
April 20 addition:
Regarding Jesus having children: It is important to remember that Jesus is the personal incarnation of the Son of God and not just some sort of human touched with divinity. This is why his hypothetical children wouldn’t be semi-divine. That is, you can’t force the Son of God to become incarnate in another human being. In this sense, God is not some “substance” that can be passed on at will by human conception, for the incarnation only happens at the initiative of a personal God.
I was asked elsewhere why I posted on the “what if?” Here is the answer:
First, I was asked to give a presentation on this topic as a part of a 3-professor presentation responding to archeological and historical “discoveries” like these. The other profs had more historical papers and mine was meant to offer theological reflections.
Second, I think we need to realize that even if we did find out some day that Jesus was married (as unlikely as that is), such a “discovery” shouldn’t shake our faith since this is not central to our faith and it doesn’t actually go against anything that the Bible says since the Bible doesn’t say explicitly one way or another. If you are interested, here is another blog that summarizes PART of one of the other presenters’ presentations.
Third, I think the discussion helps people to discuss Christology, which is something that many people in my circles often aren’t that interested in discussing (other than to affirm that Jesus is divine).