1 Corinthians 2:8—How could Paul say the rulers of this world did not know Christ, when Christ came before them at His trial?

Problem: The apostle affirms that “none of the rulers of this age knew [Christ]; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Yet Jesus came before both Jewish and Gentile rulers, including Pilate, Herod, and Caiaphas (cf. Matt. 26–27; Mark 14–15; Luke 22–23; John 18–19).

Solution: First of all, Paul does not say they did not know Christ; he said they did not know the “mystery” about Christ’s redemption that was hidden for ages (1 Cor. 2:7–8; cf. Eph. 3:3–4). Second, they knew that they had allowed Christ to be crucified (cf. Matt. 21:38), but they “did it in ignorance” (cf. Acts 3:17), not realizing the implications of their decision. They were morally blinded (cf. John 16:3), even though they were physically and socially aware of the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.