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Refuting Naik on begotten son - 1

Refuting Dr. Zakir Naik on Jesus Christ being the literally begotten Son of God.

Unveiling the Qur’an’s strawman in this concern

 

“ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV; The Holy Bible

 

“ They say: "(God) Most Gracious has begotten a son!" Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! ” Surah Maryam verses 88-89; Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s Translation; The Qur’an.

 

The Islamic world  is well known for their strawman attacks against the Christian scriptures or the beliefs of the Christians. And the source of these attacks is undoubtedly the holy scripture of the muslims i.e the Qur’an.

 

One such strawman is  the Christian believes that Jesus Christ is the biological Son (begotten in a literal sense) of God Almighty which can be well seen in the quranic verse cited above.

Recently I came across two visuals on youtube  of Dr . Zakir Naik, the Wahabi muslim orator who is known for raising issues against the Christian faith  (knowingly or ignorantly). The links are as follows :-

 

http://youtu.be/o3yLQroOcV0 (In Urdu/Hindi)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7Q25Ta4sqc (In English)

 

As usual in these visuals, Dr Naik seeks to ascribe false accusation on the Christians that they believe or say that Jesus Christ is the begotten Son of God (born of sexual intercourse; GOD FORBID). He though is well aware of the Christian beliefs but it seems that in order to justify the strawman attacks of his holy scripture or to somehow authenticate the Qur’anic claim, he is deliberately making an issue of this.

He says that a muslim is not supposed to wish Merry Christmas to any Christian because we Christian believe or say that Christ is a biological Son of God.

Now I would like to deal with these claims of the Qur’an and muslims on this particular subject.

 

  1. Is the Lord Jesus Christ really the biological Son of God according to the Christian scriptures  ?

    Most of the people (especially  the muslims) often stumbles when they comes across the word ‘BEGOTTEN’ in John 3:16 used for Lord Jesus in a few English translations of the Holy Bible such as King James Version etc.

     

    However ‘BEGOTTEN’ is the wrong translation of the greek word ‘MONOGENES’ used in the original greek manuscript in John  in this particular verse (John 3:16) and the greek word actually refers to ‘ Unique’ or ‘ One of its own kind ’ as what Dr . James R. White explains :-

     

    “The key element to remember in deriving the meaning of monogenes is this: it is a compound term, combining monos, meaning only, with a second term. Often it is assumed that the second term is gennasthai/gennao, to give birth, to beget. But note that this family of terms has two nu’s, νν, rather than a single nu, ν, found in monogenes. This indicates that the second term is not gennasthai butgignesthai/ginmai, and the noun form, genos. G. L. Prestige discusses the differences that arise from these two derivations in God in Patristic Thought (London: SPCK, 1952), 37-51, 135-141, 151-156.

    Genos means "kind or type", ginomai is a verb of being. Hence the translations "one of a kind," "one and only," "of sole descent." Some scholars see the -genes element as having a minor impact upon the meaning of the term, and hence see monogenes as a strengthened form of monos, thereby translating it "alone," "unique," "incomparable."

    An example of this usage from the LXX is found in Psalm 25:16,

    turn to me and be gracious to me, 

    for I am lonely (monogenes) and afflicted: (NASB)

    (White, The Forgotten Trinity [Minneapolis, MN, Bethany House Publishers, 1998], pp. 201-202, fn. 27)

     

    Dr James White explains that how the second term in ‘MONOGENES’ cannot be referring to ‘begotten’ instead ‘UNIQUE’. Dr White has cited an illustration from Septuagint (the greek translation of Old Testament ) in this concern by quoting an English translation from the Septuagint version of Psalm 25:16.

    Now for my respected readers, I would like to verify this claim of Dr White least they may not say that White has fabricated the things. We believe on bringing the proofs as the deity of muslims (Qur’an; Surah Baqrah ayat no 111) too says. So lets see first the English transliteration of the greek (LXX) version of Psalm chapter 25 verse 16 :-

    “epiblepson ep' eme kai eleēson me oti monogenēs kai ptōchos eimi egō “

    Source :- http://sept.biblos.com/psalms/25.htm

    The greek word ‘ Monogenes ‘ can be seen above. Now let us have a look on the English translation of LXX version of Psalm 25:16:-

    “ Look upon me, and have mercy upon me; for I am an only (Monogenes) child and poor.”

    Source :- http://ecmarsh.com/lxx/Psalms/index.htm

    This verifies Dr. White’s writing that ‘MONOGENES’ does implicates ‘ UNIQUE ‘ or ‘ONE OF ITS OWN KIND’ for ‘AN ONLY’ signifies David’s uniqueness in a particular state , i.e in the poor state as he is pleading the Lord God to be merciful unto him as he alone is poor OR IS SOLELY poor and in that manner he is unique in the particular state of poorness.

    Next I am going to quote the English transliteration of John 3:16 in the original greek script :-

    “outōs gar ēgapēsen o theos ton kosmon ōste ton uion ton monogenē edōken ina pas o pisteuōn eis auton mē apolētai all echē zōēn aiōnion “

    Source :- http://wht.biblos.com/john/3.htm

    Not amazing that the same word ‘ Monogenes ‘ or ‘ Monogene’ can be seen in the original greek script of John 3:16 as well.

    This verifies Dr James White’s writing that he hasn’t fabricated the things of his own instead his claims can be supported by the proofs.

    Continuing the series, next I am quoting the Lexicons through which the picture will be more clear :-

    Strong’s Concordance :-

    monogenés: only begotten
    Original Word: μονογενής, ές
    Part of Speech: Adjective
    Transliteration: monogenés
    Phonetic Spelling: (mon-og-en-ace')
    Short Definition: only, only-begotten, unique
    Definition: only, only-begotten; unique.

    Also :-

    Helps word studies :-

    3439 monogenis (from 3411 /misthōtós, "one-and-only" and 1085 /génos, "offspring, stock") – properly, one-and-only; "one of a kind" – literally, "one (monos) of a class,genos" (the only of its kind).”

    Source :- http://concordances.org/greek/3439.htm

    Now its already been clarified by the aforementioned quotation from Dr White’s book , The forgotten Trinity that how one can get the idea as if ‘MONOGENES’ is referring to ‘ ONLY BEGOTTEN’ whereas that is not the actual case rather it implicates ‘UNIQUE’ or ‘ONE OF ITS OWN KIND’.

    It seems that Strong were a victim of confusion in defining this greek word (Monogenes) which consequently led him to define this term in both ways.

    And from the Helps word studies , the position gets even more clear which is corroboration with one of the possible meaning of this word according to Strong, i.e Unique or ONLY (not ONLY BEGOTTEN).

     

    Hence the correct translation of the John 3:16 should be :-

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his only ( OR UNIQUE) Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” RSV

    Moreover one can notice the use of ‘MONOGENES’ in Hebrews (11:17) also where few of the translators have translated it as ‘ONLY BEGOTTEN’. And this actually falsifies the Holy Bible which can be perceived by looking at the verse only :-

    “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” Hebrews (11:17) KJV

    Quite explicit that the statement made above is incorrect for the erroneous translation of ‘MONOGENES’ is making it untrue ?

    How ? It is speaking of Isaac, the promised son of Abraham (Genesis 17:19) when he was ready to sacrifice him on the Lord’s commandment ( Genesis 22).


    And Isaac cannot be the ‘ONLY BEGOTTEN SON’ of Abraham for before him, Abraham begat Ishmael who was the son of Abraham through an Egyptian maid of his wife Sarah i.e Hagar.

    One can see Abraham begetting more sons through another wife of i.e Keturah for its written :-

    “ Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.  Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Ashurites, the Letushites and the Leummites.  The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.”

    Genesis 25:1-4 NIV


    And further we see :-

    “ Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac.  But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.” Genesis (25:5-6) NIV

    So Abraham begat more than one son as can be cleared from the aforementioned verses. So to say that Isaac is the ‘ONLY BEGOTTEN SON’ of Abraham cannot be true.

    Note :- In all translations where the translators have translated ‘MONOGENES’ as ‘ONLY BEGOTTEN SON’ in John 3:16, you would find the same case with ‘MONOGENES’ in Hebrews 11:17 as well in their translations.

    As explained earlier, here too the correct word for ‘Monogenes’ should be ‘ONLY’ ( IMPLICATING ONE OF ITS OWN KIND) or ‘UNIQUE’ for the reasons for this is quite obvious that Isaac was the promised Son solely and through him, the descendants of Abraham had to be known (Genesis 21:12).

    Ishmael or any other son of Abraham had not to be a partaker with Isaac (Genesis 21:10) and that is the very reason Abraham after giving gifts to his other sons sent them away from Isaac as we have seen in Genesis 25:56.

    Ishmael along with his mother was sent away a long time back by Abraham (Genesis 21).

    So all this makes Isaac, a Unique Son of Abraham among all his (Abraham’s) sons. Thus from the logical aspect as well, ‘MONOGENES’ cannot mean ‘ONLY BEGOTTEN SON’ but ‘UNIQUE SON’.

    Dr. Naik in his speeches loves to say that in the Holy Bible, God has sons by tons. If I am not wrong, He imitates Late Sheikh Ahmad Deedat who also used to say the same. Its not incorrect but none of these sons are the biological sons of God.

    But Christ is the Unique Son of God as He was with God right from the beginning and came down to earth taking the form of a human (John 1:1;14) thereby sacrificing Himself on the cross for the sins of the mankind (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).

    So from all the above studies, its plain that Christ is not the biological Son of God (according to the Christians) as what the Qur’an and Dr. Zakir Naik alleges.

  2.  What is the case with Hebrew 5:5 then?

    The above verse from the book of Hebrews speaks :-

    “ So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: 

     “ You are My Son,
    Today I have begotten You..NKJV

    The quotation above for Christ is from Psalm 2:7 which says :-

    “I will declare the decree:
     The LORD has said to Me, 
     ‘You are My Son, 
     Today I have begotten You.” NKJV

    Lets see the Hebrew lexicon for getting understood of the case :-

    “ Strong’s Concordance
    yalad: to bear, bring forth, beget
    Original Word: יָלַד
    Transliteration: yalad
    Phonetic Spelling: (yaw-lad')
    Short Definition: father “

    Also :-
    “bear, beget, birthday, born, make to bring forth children, young, bring up, calve”

    Source :- http://concordances.org/hebrew/3205.htm

    The Hebrew word is ‘YALAD’ which is used in Psalm 2:7 and literally it does mean ‘BEGOTTEN’ as can be seen above. However, the meaning of ‘BEGOTTEN’ when used for Christ in Hebrews 5:7 (i.e ginomai) cannot be literal for ‘ GINOMAI ’ has allegorical meaning too apart from literal.

    Let us see :-


    “ Helps word studies
    1096 gínomai – properly, to emerge, becometransitioningfrom one point (realm, condition) to another1096(gínomai) fundamentally means "become" (becoming, became) so it is not an exact equivalent to the ordinary equative verb "to be" (iswaswill be) as with 1510 /eimí(1511 /eínai2258 /ēn).

    1096 (ginomai) means "to become, and signifies a change of condition, state or place" (Vine, Unger, White, NT, 109).

    M. Vincent, "1096 (gínomai) means to come into being/manifestation implying motion, movement, or growth" (at 2 Pet 1:4). Thus it is used for God's actions as emerging from eternity and becoming (showing themselves) in time (physical space).”

    Source :- http://concordances.org/greek/1096.htm

    ‘Ginomai’ can also be referred to a change of state or condition or being transited from one form to another and that is what the Holy Bible means when it speaks of Christ as the begotten (not ONLY BEGOTTEN) Son of God in Psalm 2:7 which can be corroborated from the following :-

    But God raised Him from the dead.  He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers.  God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 
    You are My Son,
    Today I have begotten You ” . Acts 13:30-33 NKJV

    God raised Jesus from the dead and in that sense, He was resurrected back to life from death or underwent a change of form i.e dead to alive (resurrected).

    So the implication here is this that God bring forth Jesus Christ from death to life or raised Him from the dead.

    Psalm 2:7 was actually a foretelling about Christ’s resurrection which fulfilled when He was raised from death to life.

    And the same is what Hebrews 5:5 means that Jesus Christ was raised back to life from death by ‘ginomai’.

    And consequently, the Hebrew word ‘Yalad’ (in Psalm 2:7) and the greek word ‘ginomai’ (in Hebrews 5:5) doesn’t have literal meanings but allegorical or metaphorical or in a figurative sense.

  3. A view at Qur’an’s strawman attack on the Christian standpoint in this concern.

    The Qur’an multiple times accuses Christians of believing or saying that Jesus Christ is the biological Son of God. Few illustrations of the same are as under :-

    “They say: "(God) Most Gracious has begotten a son!" Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! ” Surah Maryam verses 88-89; Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s Translation

    “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!” Surah Toubah (Repentance) verse 30; Pickthall’s Translation

    And now lets see what does the Qur’an understands by God having a Son :-

    “Yet, they join the jinns as partners in worship with Allah, though He has created them (the jinns), and they attribute falsely without knowledge sons and daughters to Him. Be He Glorified and Exalted above (all) that they attribute to Him. He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife? He created all things and He is the All-Knower of everything.” Surah Anam verses 100-101; Hilali- Khan’s Translation

    Have a look at the rhetoric question that Qur’an poses :-

    “He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife?”

    Now let me ask my muslim brethren that did any Christian ever state, “God has a wife through whom He begat the Lord Jesus Christ  ” JUSTIFYING HIS/HER STATEMENT FROM THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES ?

    Or does the Christian scriptures say anywhere as above ?

    Some of the muslims might say that its written in the Holy Bible, Mary was pregnant of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-21; Luke 1:34-35) giving the idea of she being copulated with the Holy Spirit.

    Now if we may have a glimpse at the both the Islamic and Christian records of Mary’s conception of Jesus, we will find a similarity for both renders a role of the Spirits in this concern.
    Biblical position on this can be clarified by looking at Job (33:4) which ascribes a function of Creation to the Holy Spirit :-

    The Spirit of God has made me,
    And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” NKJV
    So Mary’s conception of Jesus can be well understood in the light of the above verse that it was the Holy Spirit who created the body (fetus) of Jesus inside the womb of Mary.

    And the Qur’an too says in Surah Anbiya verse 21 and Surah Tahrim verse 12 that Allah’s Spirit (Angel Gabriel according to Islam) performed this task for Allah breathed inside Mary of his spirit.
    And a Spirit doesn’t have flesh and bones.
    So if that is the case, then how correct would be the idea that Mary had a sexual intercourse with the Holy Spirit and begat Jesus of that relationship?

    Quite obvious that it cannot be justified or proved.

    My brethren, you are supposed to justify the claims of your book for it not only attacks strawman that we Christians believes that Jesus is the literally begotten (biological) Son of God FOR ACCORDING TO IT, GOD CAN HAVE A SON ONLY THROUGH A WIFE (Surah 6:101) but also accuses us and the Jews of being a pervert IN THIS VERY CONCERN :-

    “How perverse are they!” (Surah 9:30)

    So that’s a challenge for you to bring forth the proofs if you are truthful as per your own scripture which says :-

    "Produce your proof if ye are truthful." (Surah 2:111)

    So if you believe on such principle, then it is incumbent on your part to authenticate the claims made by your holy book regarding the Jews and Christians.

    And last but not the least, I heard Dr. Zakir Naik speaking on the NDTV channel ( a program on terrorism hosted by Barkha Dutt titled “ Breaking the Stereotype”) that if you wish to know what a particular religion is, then do not look at its followers instead read its scriptures.

    One can verify my words from the following recording of that particular program available on youtube :-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDFLPlqifLk&feature=related

    So my dear Zakir sir, if that is what your approach or stance is, then why don’t you bother to study diligently what actually does the Holy Bible mean when it portrays Jesus Christ as the Son of God ?

    You can’t do it sir for if you do and reveals the truth regarding this, you won’t be able to stand with the claims of your holy book, the Qur’an which it makes about the Christian standpoint in this regard.

    With this am I concluding here. Let the readers read and be the judges.

Thank you very much for reading.

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