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The Bizarro Gospel of Judas

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Every Superman fan is familiar with “Bizarro World.” Written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, Bizarro World depicts an upside-down and backwards planet where everything is the opposite of Superman’s world, including the Man of Steel himself. Jerry Seinfeld, a huge Superman fan, did a “Bizarro World” episode where Elaine meets Jerry, Kramer, and George “opposites.” In another episode, when George negotiates a lower payment for their comedy pilot for NBC, Jerry berates him with, “You don’t negotiate to get a lower salary! That’s negotiation in the Bizarro World!” Keep the following in mind as you read this article about “The Gospel of Judas”:

“In the Bizarro world, a cube-shaped planet known as ‘Htrae’ (Earth spelled backward), society is ruled by the Bizarro Code, which states that it is a crime to do anything well or to make anything perfect or beautiful. In one episode, for example, a salesman is doing a brisk trade selling ‘Bizarro bonds. Guaranteed to lose money for you.’”[1]

When I heard that “The Gospel of Judas” was being hyped as the latest discovery that will shed new light on the gospels, I immediately thought of Bizarro World. Everything about it is the opposite of the gospel account of the life of Christ.

In fact, “The Gospel of Judas,” in a Bizarro sort of way, using Bizarro logic, can go a long way to prove that Jesus actually existed. In the DVD “The God Who Wasn’t There,” the producers claim that Jesus never existed, that the gospel accounts were fabrications. Other liberal NT scholars claim that there is no corroborating historical evidence outside the NT that supports the claims that Jesus the Son of God existed. There might have been someone named Jesus, but He was little more than a local wise man. Decades later, a group of religionists decided to start a new religion and used the life of this itinerant do-gooder (Jesus) to fabricate what we know today as Christianity.

The dilution of the truth of the gospels has been flooding the bookstores and internet for a few years now. Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code has gone a long way to revive an interest in the so-called Gnostic Gospels. Gnosticism is a religious belief system that “differentiates the evil god of this world (who is identified with the god of the Old Testament) from a higher more abstract God revealed by Jesus Christ, a religion that regards this world as the creation of a series of evil archons/powers who wish to keep the human soul trapped in an evil physical body, a religion that preaches a hidden wisdom or knowledge only to a select group as necessary for salvation or escape from this world.”[2] Talk about Bizarro!

The goal of so many liberal academics has been to deny the reality of Jesus as the Son of God, the Redeemer of mankind. So it comes as no surprise that the National Geographic Society has gone all out to publish several books on “The Gospel of Judas.” The airwaves have been flooded with advertisements about a TV special pushing this supposedly new-found gospel.

I find it interesting that for decades liberals have denied the historicity of the gospels, but now they claim to have found a rival gospel. If “The Gospel of Judas” is real, then Jesus really existed. The argument made in “The God Who Wasn’t There” goes up in smoke since we now have, according to “The Gospel of Judas” pushers, another eye-witness account of the historicity of the life of Christ. Even if some of the history is false, it substantiates that there was a person named Jesus who died on the cross for our sins. Of course, the people at the National Geographic Society won’t see it this way. These guys are willing to believe a document that has no second-witness testimony, but they won’t believe a gospel account from a writer who “investigated everything from . . . eyewitnesses and servants of the Word” (Luke 1:2–3).

“The Gospel of Judas” is actually old news. While a Coptic-language version of the “Gospel,” dated around A.D. 300, was found in the Egyptian desert in 1970, Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons (France), mentions it in one of his writings around A.D. 180. “Irenaeus said the writings came from a ‘Cainite’ Gnostic sect that jousted against orthodox Christianity. He also accused the Cainites of lauding the biblical murderer Cain, the Sodomites and Judas, whom they regarded as the keeper of secret mysteries.”[3] This is the very definition of Bizarro—the traitor becomes the hero. Here’s what Irenaeus wrote about “The Gospel of Judas”:

“Others again declare that Cain derived his being from the Power above, and acknowledge that Esau, Korah, the Sodomites, and all such persons, are related to themselves. On this account, they add, they have been assailed by the Creator, yet no one of them has suffered injury. For Sophia was in the habit of carrying off that which belonged to her from them to herself. They declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion. They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas.”[4]

James M. Robinson, an expert on ancient religious texts from Egypt, predicts that the translated text won’t offer any additional insights on Judas. “The text, in Egypt’s Coptic language, dates from the third or fourth century and is a copy of an earlier document.”[5] Like so much “scholarship” today, liberals are a day late and a dollar short. “The Gospel of Judas” was weighed in the balances in the second century and was found wanting. If you want to meet the Bizarro version of Jesus, read “The Gospel of Judas.”

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