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Answering The Atheist
September 29, 2002 / Volume 2, Issue 39

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
The Bible says that Jesus judges (John 5:22, 27; 9:39; 2 Corinthians 5:10), but also says that He does not judge (John 8:15; 12:47). Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
Let us deal with these texts one by one.

John 5:22, 27
For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son...and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10)

Jesus is the judge of all humanity. That is evident by passages such as 2 Corinthians 5:10. It is evident in that in 2 Corinthians, the context is speaking about the final judgment. In John 5:22, 27, Jesus refers to His role as Judge at the end of the age.

John 9:39
And Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind."

Jesus doesn't specify in the text exactly how this "judgment" for which He has come is accomplished. It does not appear that He is speaking of His role as Judge in eternity, as He says He is in this world for this purpose. It is quite likely that this judgment spoken of is parallel to that which is spoken of in Hebrews, where Noah "...condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." (Hebrews 11:7). Jesus, by His righteous conduct, "...condemned sin in the flesh..." (Romans 8:3). Those who would walk uprightly would come to Him, those who would walk in self-righteousness or in darkness would seek to destroy Him.

John 8:15
You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.

In this text, Jesus does not say that He is not the eternal Judge. What He does is contrast the judgment which is levied by the Pharisees to that which He would give. The Pharisees were know for their harsh judgment of men (see Luke 18:10-14). Jesus states in the very next verse, "...if I do judge, My judgment is true..." He reserves the right for Himself, and contrasts His manner of judgment with theirs. He would render a righteous judgment (John 7:24).

John 12:47
And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.

Jesus did not come into the world to Judge men on the spot. He came to reveal the law by which men would be judged. Jesus does not exclude His role as Judge on the final day in this text, but declares that His role was not Judge while He walked about on the earth, but rather as Saviour.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible