Does a New Gospel Fragment Detail Jesus’ Childhood?

by Ken Ham on June 24, 2024
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

You may have seen the headlines—“Details about Jesus’s childhood revealed in 2,000-year-old manuscript.” According to reports, this manuscript (a copy of an already established writing) details Jesus performing miracles as a child, such as “when the five-year-old Messiah is said to have turned clay pigeons into live birds” to avoid getting in trouble for working on the Sabbath. How should Christians think about this find?

Well, this text is not biblical—it was written several decades after the canon of Scripture was closed. 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!

I asked Dr. Tim Chaffey, the content manager for the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, to share his thoughts on this new find (he also discussed the manuscript on Answers News today, so I encourage you to watch that episode for more details):

If the reports are accurate, then this 1,600-year-old fragment would be our oldest copy of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas—not to be confused with the so-called Gospel of Thomas. Neither text deserves to be called a Gospel, and both are second-century gnostic writings. 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).

Neither text deserves to be called a Gospel, and both are second-century gnostic writings.

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). If there is any value whatsoever in this work, 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.

Don’t be alarmed or confused when you see headlines making “clickbait” claims about Jesus or the Bible—we have the full and complete Word of God with everything he wanted us to know about Jesus, including about his childhood, in the Scriptures. Remember this verse:

“Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:6)

Get More Answers on Answers News

This item was discussed today on Answers News with cohosts Roger Patterson, Dr. Tim Chaffey, and Rob Webb. Answers News is our weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum and broadcast on our Answers in Genesis YouTube channel and posted to Answers TV. We also covered the following topics:

  • Are algae changing evolutionary ideas?
  • Evidence for alien life uncovered?
  • Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas ineligible for Olympics.
  • And more!

Watch the entire episode of Answers News for June 14, 2024.

Be sure to join us each Monday at 2 p.m. (ET) on YouTube or later that day on Answers TV for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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