Longs, Original

The New Testament Creeds

(Translated from the PT version)

It’s Easter again!

Easter is originally a Jewish holiday , but it was adopted by Christians as a time of celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Last Supper, just before Jesus was arrested and sentenced to death, was the celebration of the Jewish Passover .

We celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, the most important fact of Christianity.
If Jesus was not resurrected then Christianity is false.


The main sources that affirm this fact are the documents of the New Testament, but this is composed of several books, written on different dates. Common sense tells us that the closer an event is to your account, the more likely it is to be true to reality, as there was less time for legendary and mythological embellishments.

What are the dates of composition of the various books of the New Testament?
In round numbers, the four gospels are dated 40 to 65 years after the crucifixion, with Mark the oldest and John the most recent. The Apostle Paul’s letters, which make up a large part of the New Testament, all predate this. Paul died about 40 years after Jesus. There is no complete consensus on the exact dates, but we are certainly in the correct decades.

Is 40 years after the fact close enough?

Let’s make three comparisons with other historical figures:

  1. Buddha lived in the 6th century BC. The oldest Buddhist texts we have date from 500 to 900 years after the birth of Buddha.
  2. Muhammad lived in the 6th century after Christ. His earliest biography of him dates to over 100 years after his death, but we don’t have it. The oldest surviving records date back over 200 years after Muhammad.
  3. Alexander the Great lived in the 4th century BC. The oldest source of information we have about his life dates from 300 years after the fact.

We can see that the New Testament is well positioned to be a reliable source of information when it comes to staying close to events. There are letters from the apostle Paul that date back 20 years after Jesus’ death.
But can we get any closer?

The New Testament Creeds

In Paul’s letters we find small passages that have a different formulation from the rest of the surrounding text. They are credal formulations , constructed in a way that aids recitation and memorization.
These creeds are styled differently from the rest of the text of the letters, and in some of them Paul claims that he received them. For this reason many believe that a good many (if not all) of these creeds are pre-Pauline.
These creeds are probably the oldest historical record of Christendom and are a unique window into the content of the early Christian proclamation.

What is the content of these creeds? Let’s read 4 of them

CREED 1

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved

Romans 10:9,10

This creed clearly affirms the resurrection, but it also identifies Jesus with the Jews’ own God, YHWH or Jehovah . Paul calls Jesus “Lord”, and 3 verses later he quotes a verse from the Old Testament in which the name of God is translated Lord.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved;

Romans 10:13 or Joel 2:32

CREED 2

regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord

Romans 1:3-4

In this creed Jesus is called the Son of God and his humanity and resurrection are affirmed.

CREED 3

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:6-11

In this creed, Jesus is affirmed as a being who pre-existed his incarnation in a divine form, but decided to humble himself to the point of being condemned to death unjustly. Yet God reversed his humiliation and exalted him above all creation.

CREDO 4

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8

This creed is very interesting in that it affirms the resurrection while enumerating its eyewitnesses.

In summary, the early Christians immediately after Jesus’ death affirmed his divinity , pre-existence , death for our sins , burial , and resurrection . These ideas were not later developments that took years to crystallize. They are the basic facts of Christianity from its genesis.

But how early can we date these creeds?
It is impossible to date them precisely. However, we can make good estimates. Knowing a little about the history of the apostle Paul, we know of two moments in which he had contact with the church in Jerusalem, the place of all these events.

Three years after his conversion, Paul met with Peter and James . Fourteen years after that the first council of Jerusalem took place around the year 50. It is possible that Paul received these creeds from the other apostles at one of these times. The exact dates of the apostle’s life are disputed, but not by much. We can consider a margin of error of about two years. We are therefore sure that these creeds would have been fully developed 20 years after Jesus’ death.

However, if we are willing to speculate a little, we can go a step further and try to date the very creation of these creeds. I contend that even before the apostle Paul himself was converted, two to five years after the crucifixion, these creeds would already be in circulation among believers. To support this claim I will give two arguments.

First, it is stated in the book of Acts that Paul persecuted the church, arrested , threatened and even consented to the death of Christians.
Why were Paul and the Jewish religious so angry with the Christians? Was it because they claimed a resurrection? Not. Paul as a Pharisee accepted the resurrection . Was it because they affirmed the coming of the messiah? Not. That would be a good thing for a Jew. However, one thing a faithful Jew could not accept was the claim that a man was divine. Jesus as God was unacceptable, and in the eyes of a Pharisee a blasphemy punishable by death.

Second, we can read that immediately after his conversion Paul preached the same Christian message that made those who affirmed it worthy of death.

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him

Acts 9:20-24

This is the message that Christians have been saying for nearly 2000 years.

Jesus pre-existed his incarnation. He is God himself.
He voluntarily “stripped” himself in order to enter the world in human form.
He died crucified for our sins and was buried.
His tomb is empty because he is risen!
Happy Easter!

Longs, Original

Os credos do novo testamento

É novamente páscoa!

A páscoa é originalmente uma festa judaica, mas foi adoptada pelos cristãos como um momento de celebração da morte e ressurreição de Jesus. A última ceia, mesmo antes de Jesus ser preso e condenado à morte foi a celebração da páscoa judaica.

Celebramos a morte e ressurreição de Jesus, o facto mais importante do cristianismo.
Se Jesus não ressuscitou então o cristianismo é falso.


As principais fontes que afirmam este facto são os documentos do novo testamento, mas este é composto por vários livros, redigidos em datas distintas. O senso comum diz-nos que quanto mais perto está um acontecimento do seu relato, maior a probabilidade de ele ser fiel à realidade, pois menos tempo houve para embelezamentos lendários e mitológicos.

Quais as datas de composição dos vários livros do novo testamento?
Em números redondos, os quatro evangelhos são datados de 40 a 65 anos depois da crucificação, sendo Marcos o mais antigo e João o mais recente. As cartas do apóstolo Paulo, que constituem uma boa parte do novo testamento são todas anteriores a isso. Paulo morreu cerca de 40 anos depois de Jesus. Não há consenso completo sobre as datas exactas, mas estamos com certeza nas décadas correctas.

Será que 40 anos depois dos factos é perto o suficiente?

Vamos fazer três comparações com outras figuras históricas:

  1. Buda viveu no século VI antes de Cristo. Os textos budistas mais antigos que temos datam de 500 a 900 anos depois do nascimento de Buda.
  2. Maomé viveu no século VI depois de Cristo. A sua biografia mais antiga data de mais de 100 anos depois da sua morte, mas não a temos. Os registos mais antigos sobreviventes datam de mais de 200 anos depois de Maomé
  3. Alexandre o grande viveu no século IV antes de Cristo. A fonte de informação mais antiga que temos sobre a sua vida data de 300 anos depois dos factos

Podemos ver que o novo testamento está bem posicionado para ser uma fonte fiável de informação no que toca a estar perto dos acontecimentos. Há cartas do apóstolo Paulo que datam de 20 anos depois da morte de Jesus.
Mas será que podemos chegar mais perto?

Os credos do novo testamento

Nas cartas de Paulo encontramos pequenas passagens que têm uma formulação diferente do resto do texto envolvente. São formulações credais, construídas de uma forma que ajude a recitação e memorização.
Estes credos têm um estilo diferente do resto do texto das cartas, e em alguns deles, Paulo afirma que os recebeu. Por esta razão muitos acreditam que uma boa parte destes credos (se não todos) são pré-Paulinos.
Estes credos são provavelmente o registo histórico mais antigo da cristandade e são uma janela única para o conteúdo da proclamação dos primeiros cristãos.

Qual o conteúdo desses credos? Vamos ler 4 deles

CREDO 1

A saber: Se com a tua boca confessares ao Senhor Jesus, e em teu coração creres que Deus o ressuscitou dentre os mortos, serás salvo. Visto que com o coração se crê para a justiça, e com a boca se faz confissão para a salvação.

Romanos 10:9,10

Este credo afirma claramente a ressurreição, mas também identifica Jesus com o próprio Deus dos judeus, YHWH ou Jeová. Paulo chama a Jesus “Senhor”, e 3 versículos depois cita um versículo do velho testamento em que o nome de Deus é traduzido por Senhor.

E há de ser que todo aquele que invocar o nome do Senhor será salvo;

Romanos 10:13 ou Joel 2:32

CREDO 2

Acerca de seu Filho, que nasceu da descendência de Davi segundo a carne, declarado Filho de Deus em poder, segundo o Espírito de santificação, pela ressurreição dentre os mortos, Jesus Cristo, nosso Senhor

Romanos 1:3,4

Neste credo Jesus é chamado Filho de Deus e são afirmadas a sua humanidade e a sua ressurreição

CREDO 3

Que, sendo em forma de Deus, não teve por usurpação ser igual a Deus, mas esvaziou-se a si mesmo, tomando a forma de servo, fazendo-se semelhante aos homens; E, achado na forma de homem, humilhou-se a si mesmo, sendo obediente até à morte, e morte de cruz.
Por isso, também Deus o exaltou soberanamente, e lhe deu um nome que é sobre todo o nome; Para que ao nome de Jesus se dobre todo o joelho dos que estão nos céus, e na terra, e debaixo da terra, e toda a língua confesse que Jesus Cristo é o Senhor, para glória de Deus Pai.

Filipenses 2:6-11

Neste credo, Jesus é afirmado como um ser que pré-existia a sua encarnação numa forma divina, mas decidiu humilhar-se ao ponto de ser condenado à morte injustamente. Apesar disso Deus inverteu a sua humilhação e exaltou-o acima de toda a criação.

CREDO 4

Porque primeiramente vos entreguei o que também recebi: que Cristo morreu por nossos pecados, segundo as Escrituras,
E que foi sepultado, e que ressuscitou ao terceiro dia, segundo as Escrituras.
E que foi visto por Cefas, e depois pelos doze.
Depois foi visto, uma vez, por mais de quinhentos irmãos, dos quais vive ainda a maior parte, mas alguns já dormem também.
Depois foi visto por Tiago, depois por todos os apóstolos.
E por derradeiro de todos me apareceu também a mim, como a um abortivo.

1 Coríntios 15:3-8

Este credo é muito interessante pelo facto de afirmar a ressurreição ao mesmo tempo que enumera as suas testemunhas oculares

Em resumo, os primeiros cristãos imediatamente após a morte de Jesus afirmavam a sua divindade, pré-existência, morte pelos nossos pecados, sepultamento e ressurreição. Estas ideias não foram desenvolvimentos posteriores que demoraram anos a cristalizar. São os factos base do cristianismo desde a sua génese.

Mas quão cedo conseguimos datar estes credos?
É impossível datá-los precisamente. No entanto podemos fazer boas estimativas. Conhecendo um pouco da história do apóstolo Paulo sabemos de dois momentos em que ele teve contacto com a igreja em Jerusalém, o local de todos estes acontecimentos.

Três anos depois da sua conversão, Paulo encontrou-se com Pedro e Tiago. Catorze anos depois disso deu-se o primeiro concílio de Jerusalém cerca do ano 50. É possivel que Paulo tenha recebido estes credos dos outros apóstolos num destes momentos. As datas exactas da vida do apóstolo são disputadas mas não por muito. Podemos considerar uma margem de erro de cerca de dois anos. Temos portanto a certeza que estes credos já estariam completamente desenvolvidos 20 anos depois da morte de Jesus.

No entanto se estivermos dispostos a especular um pouco, podemos dar mais um passo e tentar datar a própria criação destes credos. Eu afirmo que mesmo antes do próprio apóstolo Paulo se converter, entre dois a cinco anos depois da crucificação, estes credos já estariam em circulação entre os crentes. Para suportar esta afirmação vou dar dois arugmentos.

Em primeiro lugar, é afirmado no livro de Actos que Paulo perseguia a igreja, prendia, ameaçava e até consentia na morte dos cristãos.
Por que razão estava Paulo e os religiosos Judeus tão zangados com os cristãos? Seria por eles afirmarem uma ressurreição? Não. Paulo como fariseu aceitava a ressurreição. Seria por eles afirmarem a vinda do messias? Não. Isso seria algo bom para um Judeu. No entanto, algo que um judeu fiel não poderia aceitar era a afirmação que um homem era divino. Jesus como Deus era inaceitável, e aos olhos de um fariseu uma blasfémia punível com morte.

Em segundo lugar, podemos ler que imediatamente depois da sua conversão Paulo pregava a mesma mensagem cristã que tornava digno de morte quem a afirmava.

E logo nas sinagogas pregava a Cristo, que este é o Filho de Deus. E todos os que o ouviam estavam atônitos, e diziam: Não é este o que em Jerusalém perseguia os que invocavam este nome, e para isso veio aqui, para os levar presos aos principais dos sacerdotes?
Saulo, porém, se esforçava muito mais, e confundia os judeus que habitavam em Damasco, provando que aquele era o Cristo.
E, tendo passado muitos dias, os judeus tomaram conselho entre si para o matar. Mas as suas ciladas vieram ao conhecimento de Saulo;

Atos 9:20-24

Esta é a mensagem que os cristãos afirmam há cerca de 2000 anos.

Jesus pré-existia a sua encarnação. Ele é o próprio Deus.
Voluntariamente “despiu-se” dessa forma para entrar no mundo em forma humana.
Morreu crucificado pelos nossos pecados e foi sepultado.
O seu sepulcro está vazio porque ele ressuscitou!
Feliz Páscoa!

Quotes, Shares

Trust God and use your mind

“Many of us, especially those who have had the privilege of higher education, are sometimes tempted to trust our minds first and only turn to God when we get into difficulty. That is certainly not what the apostles did; their attitude was the very reverse. They trusted God, and used their minds, their talents, and gifts in God’s service. Trusting the mind and using God is tantamount to idolatry: trusting God and using the mind is Christian. Once we get this clear we can see that our intellect is no different from our other talents. It is a gift of God to be used in his service with his help, and not to be trusted as an idol or God-substitute.”

Determined to Believe?: The Sovereignty of God, Freedom, Faith and Human – John C Lennox
Longs, Original

The Angel of the Lord

I had a recent conversation with some Muslim friends, where they raised my attention to the story of Jacob in Genesis, where he fights with a man. They were showing me a Christian commentary on this text where this man is said to be God himself, and possibly even Jesus. As Muslims, they see as unfit and even impossible for God to enter into creation as a man, and much less so wrestling with someone. As a defense for the Christian commentary I can only think of two lines of evidence from the text itself.

  • Firstly, the man says to Jacob “you have struggled with God”.
  • Secondly, Jacob, after asking the man for his name, says that he “seen God face to face”.

Both these statements are reasons to make us wonder. What did the man mean when he said that Jacob struggled with God? What did Jacob mean when he said he saw God face to face? Were this metaphors? My Muslim friends are right in questioning this interpretation. It surely is strange that an all powerful entity fights with a mere mortal man. I agreed with them in that this story does not state clearly that this person is another thing than just a man or perhaps an angel.

But can we find any other instances on the bible where someone is portrayed as God himself entering into creation? Are there clearer texts where we can establish some grounding for the claim that this fight was not with a mere man? I claim that there are.


I will now try to show from the first five books of the bible, the Torah, that many times God has entered into creation. I will do this from the Torah because the Quran also recognizes it as an inspired scripture from God, written by Moses. I will do this by looking for the passages that where this person is referred as the Angel of the Lord. For this project, I will search the Torah for the expression “מלאך יהוה” which is translated as the Angel of the Lord.

  • The word מלאך, transliterated as malak means messenger or ambassador. It is translated as αγγελος, transliterated as angelos in the Septuaging, which has the same meaning.
  • The word יהוה transliterated as yehovah is the name of God for the Jews. God is what he is but יהוה is who he is. It is translated as κύριος the Septuaging, which means Lord, as in the one who has supreme authority.

There are only four passages on the Torah where the expression “מלאך יהוה” is used. In each one of them, I find reasons to identify this messenger with God himself.

Even if you don’t consider the Torah as a sacred text, or maybe not even a historical account of real events but only as a human production, the writer did leave some (not so) subtle evidence that this person was not simply an angel or messenger but rather a divine figure whom the text identifies with the God of the Jews.

Hagar

The first occurrence is in Genesis 16. This is the story of the first son of Abraham, Ishmael, born through the Egyptian slave of his wife Sarah Hagar. For reasons that are not important here, Hagar and her son encounter the Angel of the Lord. Some things that the angel says and how Hagar speaks about him after the encounter are noteworthy.

  • First, the angel says that it is he will increase her descendants. Not that God will increase, but rather the Angel of the Lord will do it.
  • Secondly, the writer clearly says that it was יהוה, yehovah, who spoke to Hagar, and that she named this entity as “the God who sees me

Abraham

The second occurrence is in Genesis 22, the famous story when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son. Right before Abraham slays his son the Angel of the Lord intervenes and stops the sacrifice. Some notes:

  • First, even though it was God who asked for the sacrifice, the Angel of the Lord said that Abraham didn’t withhold his son from him. Doing so was an evidence that Abraham feared God.
  • Secondly, the Angel of the Lord swore by himself that he would bless Abraham and his descendants due to his obedience.

Moses

The third occurrence is in the book of Exodus. In the third chapter, Moses is called to be the savior of he Hebrews, who were slaves in Egypt.

  • The only thing to note here is that verse 2 says that it was the Angel of the Lord who was on the bush, but in verse 4 it was God himself.
  • This is a very interesting passage because here God says that his name is “I AM”, who is related to the proper name of God יהוה, yehovah. An interesting topic for another time.

Balaam

The last occurrence is a very strange one indeed. It is on the 22nd chapter of the book of Numbers, where God is angry at a man called Balaam. There are many details on this story that give rise to all sorts of questions, but even here we can see that the Angel of the Lord identifies himself with God.

  • Firstly, in the beginning God tells Balaam to only do what I tell you, but in the end the Angel of the Lord tells him to only speak what I tell you.
  • Secondly, opposition comes to Balaam because his path is a reckless one before the Angel of the Lord, not before God.

It is my opinion that these 4 texts clearly show that in the Torah this entity called the Angel of the Lord is actually God himself, entering into creation and interacting with it. There are other texts outside of the Torah that say more about this entity, and some other passages in the bible where we see God interacting with his creation, but from these four we can establish a good starting point. This incredible notion, that God can walk among us, is actually possible in a biblical worldview. I may need to go deeper here…

Longs, Original

Is it Christmas again?

Christmas time is here, it’s the most wonderful time of the year or so they say. But why is it?

As a christian I would say it’s a wonderful time indeed, because we are – or at least should be – celebrating the birth of the most wonderful person in history, Jesus. He is one of those persons so unique that he does not need any qualifiers on his name. Just Jesus is enough and everyone knows who we’re talking about. Almost no one dislikes Jesus, one notable exception being Jews, maybe unaware that Jesus was one of them.

Even though it’s highly uncertain that Jesus was actually born on December 25th, this is a date that has been observed by christians for centuries. We have records of the birth of Jesus being remembered on this date as soon as the 4th century.

But nevermind all of that. And nevermind the fact that we know dates of death of early christian martyrs but have no idea when they were born. In fact birthday celebrations might have been completely foreign to early christians.
Nevermind the fact that Christmas has been highjacked by our capitalist/corporate world to push western consumerism to the max.
Nevermind the fact that most of the western world is so secularized that hardly anyone remembers that this was the date that we are supposed to celebrate Jesus’ birthday, a strange birthday indeed where everyone else gets the presents…

Regardless of all that, around 2 millennia ago JESUS WAS BORN! And we still feel the effects of that today! Let’s celebrate that!

Why is Jesus such an unique figure in history? Let me share some ideas I read here, expressed in a more eloquent manner than I ever could.

More than nineteen hundred years ago, there was a Man born contrary to the laws of life. This Man lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He did not travel extensively. Only once did He cross the boundary of the country in which He lived; that was during His exile in childhood.

He possessed neither wealth nor influence. His relatives were inconspicuous and had neither training nor formal education.

In infancy He startled a king; in childhood He puzzled doctors; in manhood He ruled the course of nature, walked upon the waves as pavement, and hushed the sea to sleep.

He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His service.

He never wrote a book, and yet perhaps all the libraries of the world could not hold the books that have been written about Him.

He never wrote a song, and yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined.

He never founded a college, but all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students.

He never marshaled an army, nor drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun; and yet no leader ever had more volunteers who have, under His orders, made more rebels stack arms and surrender without a shot fired.

He never practiced psychiatry, and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors far and near.

Once each week multitudes congregate at worshiping assemblies to pay homage and respect to Him.

The names of the past, proud statesmen of Greece and Rome have come and gone. The names of the past scientists, philosophers, and theologians have come and gone. But the name of this Man multiplies more and more. Though time has spread nineteen hundred years between the people of this generation and the mockers at His crucifixion, He still lives. His enemies could not destroy Him, and the grave could not hold Him.

He stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed of God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils, as the risen, personal Christ, our Lord and Savior.

There is no one else like Jesus. He said things that if said by someone else would be crazy.
Only a madman would say this. The people around him thought so

And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

Mark 3:21

There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?”

John 10:19-20

So, exactly what kinds of crazy things did Jesus say? Let’s review a couple of them, just from the book of John.

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

John 5:17-18

“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”

John 5:21-23

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

John 6:35

“Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:54

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

John 10:27-28

 “I and the Father are one”

John 10:30

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

In summary, Jesus thought of himself as:

  • Equal or One with God
  • The source of life and able to raise the dead
  • The one who will judge the world
  • Worthy of the same honor as God
  • The light of the world
  • The truth
  • The only way to God

No wonder that most deemed him as a lunatic. If anyone else made this kind of affirmations he would have been labeled as mentally unstable! Once again we get into Lewis Trilemma. Assuming that the gospel of John is an accurate account of what Jesus actually said, either he was delusional about himself, trying to purposefully deceive his listeners or he was actually right!

Even though I’m reasonably confident on it’s reliability, it’s not mandatory to put all of the weight of this argument on John’s gospel. The other gospels also paint a picture of Jesus thinking this way about himself. Even if not all of the statements could be relied upon for historical truth, the fact is that Jesus didn’t think of himself as a mere man. The question is: was he right or was he wrong?

I’m not at all capable of thinking of Jesus as a liar or a lunatic, so I’ve made my decision.

If this Jesus of Nazareth is really who he said he was, the angel’s chorus was right to announce his birth by saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

Luke 2:14

Merry Christmas!

Quotes, Shares

The very fact that I am writing this book may well, from the perspective of history, be at least in part traceable to the phenomenal energy, ability, and courage of Luther, Calvin, and other Reformers–figures who inspired and achieved the monumentally important task of bringing Scripture back into the centre of Christianity and its witness to the world. Their emphasis on the glory and sovereignty of God, and their insistence on constantly going back to the biblical text–taking great pains to explain it clearly and only accepting what was consistent with it–form a model to which many of us lesser mortals rightly aspire. Following that lead has been a great inspiration to many Christians today, myself included, who long for more solidity, more intellectual depth, more maturity in the expression of their Christian faith, more sense of God’s holiness and more concern for God’s reputation than is to be found in some of the frothy, insubstantial attempts to make the Christian faith more attractive to the outside world.

John Lennox – Determined to Believe?
Quotes, Shares

The why

the Bible is not the “why” of Christian faith; it is the “what.” The “why” of the Christian faith is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus

No God but one – Nabeel Qureshi
Longs, Original

Goodbye!

In March 2021, I left the company and the project that I worked for 9 years. This is my goodbye message.

If I’m going to be completely honest, I never liked to read this kind of goodbye messages, but now that it’s my turn to go, I feel compelled to write something. Now more than ever when we cannot see each other face to face, I want to leave a few words to you. People seem to think that when we are going through this kind of transition, suddenly we are filled with a burst of wisdom and thus are more willing to hear us out.

I’ve been a part of Critical Software since 2012 and had my share of high and low moments, but overall I know this has been an invaluable experience. As our last CEO used to say, this company is a real “school of engineering“, for those that are willing to learn. It’s not because we are so much smarter than everyone else, but because we are willing to empower ourselves to experiment, learn and improve on the job.

In these 9 years I’ve only worked on one project, Verticalla‘s VisionCenter. I can affirm proudly that I’m in part responsible for it’s success. Nevertheless, even though I enjoyed very much the work I’ve done, upon some reflection I’ve come to the realization that what stays most fondly in my memory are the relationships I’ve built over the years.

Those who know me, are aware that I’m not very good at building and keeping such relationships but I’m grateful that some of you took the time and patience to get to know me and become more than mere co-workers. I advise everyone get to know the people that you work with and befriend them, even though some of them (like myself) are not very friendly. It will bring benefits not only to your personal life (it’s nice to have friends) but also to your work! When we like the ones we work with, we are (1) more available to listen to them and (2) to be more sympathetic to their shortcomings. This raises the levels of trust, which in turn increases productivity, morale, team work and overall happiness.

Some of the friends I’ve made at Critical Software, are no longer working there – like Nuno Sousa, Ricardo Guerra and Pedro Costa, my mentors – but many still are. Thank you Tiago Carregã for the chess games (I know I suck), Luisa Barbosa for telling me to shut up, Catarina Azevedo for the good mood in the office, Agne Pustovoitaite for the Lithuanian lessons, Paulo Silva for the music, Matt Brake for being very approachable

Also, from Sauter side, I really enjoyed working with Patrice Hell and Hartmut Melchin, both being top quality professionals. I cannot name you all but, thanks to Benjamim Cardoso, Carla Machado, Telmo Inácio, Jorge Ribeiro, Hugo Sousa, Ricardo Lamarão, Luís Silva, Nuno Alves, João Carloto, Braselina Sousa and so many others that had a good influence on me.

If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello

Paulo Coelho

So thank you all and goodbye!


As we’re approaching Easter, and this is one of the most important times of the year for a christian like me, I want also to leave you with some thoughts about Jesus and his resurrection.

  • Christianity is a fact-based religion and the resurrection is the most important of those facts.
  • If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is false and life ends on the grave
    • There is no heaven or hell
    • There is no punishment for evil
    • There is no reward for good
    • Jesus’ death is just another death
  • If Jesus did rise from the dead, then Christianity is true and life does not end on the grave
    • There is hope of heaven
    • Evil will be punished
    • Good will be rewarded
    • Jesus’ death unlocks the door to eternal life

When we have assurance of the fact of the resurrection:

  • However bad things get in this life, heaven is secure for us.
  • We have peace over the death of our loved ones, because they are not gone forever.
  • Christ’s resurrection is the basis of the trust we have of our own resurrection. He conquered death.

In short, being sure that the resurrection really occurred, is of great importance. Don’t take my word for it. Check for yourselves!

If you do the research and find out I’m wrong, you just lost a bit of time.

If you do the research and find out I’m right, you also lost a bit of time but gained eternity.


Some resources to get you started:

Longs, Original

Purpose in life

I believe in God. I’m a christian. For me, ultimate purpose and meaning in life comes through a relationship with the creator of the universe.

This he [man] tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself

Blaise Pascal – Pensées 425

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You

St. Augustine – Confessions Book I

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Jesus – John’s gospel

Why does God gives life meaning and purpose?

First, if there is a creator, then I’m not the mere accidental by-product of nature, a result of matter plus time plus chance. There is a reason for my existence. If God does not exist, then both man and the universe are inevitably doomed to a meaningless death.

Second, if God exists, then it makes a difference how I live now. I have a reason to live a good life. If life ends at the grave does it really make a difference in the ultimate sense if I’m a good or a bad person?
Life ended in the same way for Gandhi and Mussolini. What’s the point then of doing good?

For me a life without God would be utterly meaningless and devoid of purpose. But simply knowing that fact wouldn’t change much if I had no reasons to believe it was true. Well is it? Or is it just wishful thinking?

Is God just a fairy tale?

I can give three lines of argument making the case that God really exists and christianity really is true. I won’t develop any of them but I encourage you to look into it. I’ll provide a starting point.

  • The universe had a beginning. It didn’t came from nothing, so there must be a transcendental cause. See this two part video from the christian philosopher William Lane Craig that provides an accessible explanation of this argument
  • There exists objective morality, that is some things are wrong regardless of what anyone thinks. The cause of this fact must be outside mankind.
    John Lennox is a Mathematician but also participates in many debates and lectures about the christian faith. In this video, the topic is “Does Morality Need God?”. There is about 50m of lecture and 30m of Q/A. I have never seen or read anything from Lennox that I didn’t like
  • The best explanation for what happened to Jesus is that he really was raised from the dead. Gary Habermas is the world’s top scholar on the resurrection hypothesis. This interview gives a taste of what scholarship says about that.

I could provide many more arguments to make my case but even if they all are sound and plausible we could always dismiss them.
The only thing that cannot be easily dismissed is a direct experience of God.
If God exists then he is capable of making himself known to you.

God exists. He is interested in you. We can know that because he has entered into creation to seek and to save us.

Search for Him. We weren’t able to reach him, but he made himself know through the person of Jesus.

When you find him, you’ll find the ultimate purpose of your life too!

Music, Shares

Ao sentir

Ao sentir o mundo ao meu redor
Nada vi que pudesse ser real
Percebi que todos buscam paz porém em vão
Pois naquilo que procuram não há solução, não há solução

Só em jesus a paz real eu pude encontrar
O seu amor pude experimentar
Me entreguei a Cristo e a vida eterna vou gozar

Posso ver que você não é feliz
Vou dizer que não pode ser feliz
Se continuar a procurar em vão
Em caminhos que não trazem a solução, não trazem solução

Só em Jesus a paz real você vai encontrar
O seu amor vai experimentar
Venha a Jesus Cristo e a vida eterna vai gozar

Music, Shares

My favourite christmas carol

Wikipedia says it’s earliest known printed edition is dated to c. 1760.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

In Bethlehem, in Israel
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

“Fear not then”, said the Angel
“Let nothing you affright
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan’s power and might”
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay
They found Him in a manger
Where oxen feed on hay
His Mother Mary kneeling down
Unto the Lord did pray
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises
All you within this place
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Original, Shorts

São Nicolau

Como é de conhecimento geral, a ideia do Pai Natal é construída a partir de uma figura histórica, o São Nicolau. O que nem todos sabem é que há uma história sobre o São Nicolau e o primeiro concílio ecuménico.

Em 325 AD, houve um encontro com uma maioria representativa dos bispos do mundo cristão, para discutir chamada arianismo, que estava a crescer em popularidade. Esta ideia, assim chamada por causa do seu fundador Ário, dizia que Jesus não era Deus, mas sim um semi-deus. Um ser criado pelo Deus verdadeiro, o Deus-Pai.

A história apresentada no site do São Nicolau conta que durante a discussão, enquanto Ário defendia a sua posição, Nicolau não aguentou ouvir tanta heresia que se levantou e deu uma bofetada na cara do seu oponente

A história mais tarde foi alterada para um murro em vez da bofetada. É possivelmente inventada, mas divertida, e deu origem a uns memes engraçados…