Ken Ham Discusses What Christians Should Believe about ‘Jesus Childhood’ Book

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Christian apologist Ken Ham says clickbait headlines surrounding a 1,600-year-old book purportedly about Jesus’ childhood should not cause alarm among believers. The headlines about the so-called Infancy Gospel of Thomas have generated significant buzz worldwide. The New York Post proclaimed in a headline: “Newly deciphered manuscript is the oldest written record of Jesus’ childhood: ‘Extraordinary,’” while the Times of Israel alleged in its headline that the “1600-year-old papyrus fragment contains the earliest account of Jesus’ childhood.”

In truth, debate about the Infancy Gospel of Thomas is not new, even if the newly discovered fragment may be the oldest surviving copy. 

The Infancy Gospel of Thomas was rejected by early Christians as not inspired and was not included in the canon of Scripture. (It is not to be confused with the Gospel of Thomas, another rejected book.)

“How should Christians think about this find? This text is not biblical — it was written several decades after the canon of Scripture was closed,” said Ham, the CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis, in a new blog on his website. “And don’t be alarmed when you read statements such as ‘[this is from] the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, a book detailing Jesus of Nazareth’s youth that was ultimately excluded from the Bible.’ 

“The Infancy Gospel of Thomas was never considered to be authentic by Christians, nor did it vie for inclusion in the Bible before being ‘ultimately excluded’ — Christians knew it wasn’t inspired Scripture!”

Tim Chaffey, the content manager for the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum operated by Answers in Genesis, said the Infancy Gospel of Thomas contains fictional stories about Jesus that conflict with the character of Christ in Scripture.

“The Infancy Gospel is composed of 19 brief chapters of fabricated stories about Jesus as a child. It ends with an embellished version of his interactions in the temple at age 12 (Luke 2:41–51),” Chaffey wrote on the blog. “The Infancy Gospel portrays Jesus in a very different light than how he is revealed in God’s Word. Rather than being the sinless and obedient Son of God, the Infancy Gospel describes a temperamental brat. He curses and kills several people, including the high priest’s child, a child who bumped into him while running, and a teacher who became irritated at Jesus’ obstinate behavior. He also heals some people, and although it isn’t clearly stated, the work seems to indicate that Jesus raised to life the two children he killed. In short, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas adds nothing to our knowledge of Jesus. Instead, it promotes a false view of Jesus, who claims that he was ‘created before this world,’ but the Bible explains that Jesus was not created — he is the eternal Son of God (John 1:1–3, 14).”

Chaffey wrote that if the Infancy Gospel of Thomas contains any value, it “shows that even some non-Christians in the second century believed Jesus possessed a form of divinity.”

“This contradicts modern skeptical claims popularized by The da Vinci Code that Jesus was never considered divine until the Council of Nicaea in AD 325, Chaffey added. 

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Mark Lyons/Stringer

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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