But if Jesus really was God, why was his 30 or so years on Earth so low-key? Remember we're not talking about a Prophet or a Judge. We're talking about God incarnate. God was actually here on Earth in human form and all he did was heal some lepers, let a blind man see, raise a person from the dead, walk on water, multiply fish and loaves of bread and turn water into wine. Okay there's a much larger list of "miracles" I'm leaving off for the sake of space, but those are sufficient to make my point. Having a friend who could turn water into wine sure would have been exciting, but really... come on. Why didn't God cure blindness? Why didn't he eliminate all diseases or at least teach us how to do it, through medicine and science? Why didn't he give us enough clean water to keep the entire world from going thirsty or enough vegetation to feed the world forever? There are any number of incredible miracles that no one - pagan, atheist, or believer alike - could have ever doubted had been done by an all-powerful deity. Instead he does simple signs; miracles that world religions are replete with since the dawn of time. He does things that agnostics can easily dismiss due to implausibility and lack of supporting evidence. This would be an understandable frustration given an ordinary human historical event, but shouldn't God have planned for his miracles to be better recorded or have evidence remain to substantiate them? He knew one day we would become more scientific and demand proof, rather than take the oral tradition at face value.
At the very least, he could have made sure that the entire world knew that Jesus was God and that he was here on Earth. He could have appeared in brilliant form, more like he was described in John's Revelation. Imagine if instead of walking around a tiny backwoods country, talking to mostly illiterate, uneducated crowds here and there, Jesus had traveled to Rome, the center of the world at the time, and began teaching the educated leaders of the world what it was that God actually wanted humanity to do. He could have displayed so much power and might that all of Rome would have been humbled and paganism would have been instantly eliminated. He could have spoken to rooms of scribes and made sure his every word was accurately recorded in the lingua franca of the time so that people from all over would hear and know the signs. Better yet, God could have appeared simultaneously to everyone everywhere and told them clearly what it was they needed to do and believe. Why not reveal knowledge to all the people, which God is reported to love equally, instead of just a few selected apostles?
God doesn't even take care to make sure that his sayings are accurately preserved. The English King James version was not the actual language that any of the books of the Bible were written in. The original texts from which the Bible was compiled were written in ancient Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament. For the New Testament we do not possess any of the original copies of any of the books. We only have copies of copies which have so many mistakes and errors from copy to copy that scholars have to debate what the originals actually said. There is also evidence of theologically-driven changes being made by Monks who wanted the books to say what they believed it should say. Why so much human error?
Jesus could have at least written the Bible himself this time, rather than leave it up to us to write decades after his life. In fact, in order to prevent anything being accurately recorded, he recruited a bunch of illiterate peasants - people who could not even write their own names, more or less a Gospel - and then entrusted them with his words. Just in case the apostles might have found people who could write down what they saw and knew about Jesus, he went and told his followers that he would return imminently. The early church did not even organize itself because it believed, falsely, that the end times would occur before the apostles had died. If Jesus was God and he said he would return before they died, then why would they bother to make sure what they knew was written down for posterity? What posterity? In that context writing holy scriptures would seem a little pointless. When Jesus promised to return, the people took that to mean he would come back within their lifetimes. Why did he have to deceive them about that?
Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (Matthew 24:34)
When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:23)
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his conduct. Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (Matthew 16:27, 28)
You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. (James 5:8,9)
The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. (1 Peter 4:7)
This is probably one of the most embarrassing truth claims the Bible and Christianity make: that the world is coming to an imminent end within the lifetimes of the early Christian followers. This claim has been proved to be false. All of the early followers are dead and the world is still here. Jesus did not return. So God caused the Church a lot of embarrassment forcing them to do some massive damage control and reinterpret the imminent part out of his message. Jesus could not be wrong, they reasoned, so the Church must have misinterpreted his message. They did do an amazing job. Ask a Christian today what the principle message of Jesus was and they'll likely refer to the Beatitudes and a warm-fuzzy "love your neighbour as yourself" directive, completely ignoring the "Chicken Little" aspect of his preaching about the destruction of the world and the coming Kingdom of God. Jesus' principle message was that the end of the world was right around the corner and one had better repent and become a better person now before it was too late.
As a final note to this part of my essay, I thought I would include a link to a cartoon which humorously articulates my point that if Jesus was God incarnate on Earth, he was an extreme underachiever.