This morning, my pastor mentioned C.S. Lewis’ famous “Liar, Lunatic, or Lord” trilemma. (He also briefly traced it back to the sixteenth century: there truly is nothing new under the sun.) Next, he briefly noted that there is a fourth possibility — “Legend” — though he also noted that there is ample evidence to rebut that claim (and I agree with him on that).
But he didn’t note a fifth possibility. And yet, if we are to be comprehensive, we should admit that there is a fifth possibility: being mistaken. Granted, the belief that one is the Son of God is a common trope to exemplify mental illness, but it is wholly conceivable that a rational person could, through a series of events, come to the rational and yet mistaken conclusion that he is the unique Son of God.
To be sure, I don’t think that is at all plausible in the case of Jesus. But for the sake of comprehensiveness, we should note it as a possibility, even if it throws off our tidy alliteration.