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Responding Islam critic

I appreciate the time taken by you to read the article and respond the same. I was not taken aback by the arguments, as the entire Muslim apologist use this arguments time and again, even in spite of being addressed several time. Before I address your objections I want you  to recognize while studying the gospels .
1) The outworking of God who is a Plural Unity  (Trinity is Unity in Diversity)
2) The outworking of Person of Christ who is fully God and fully Many. (Unity of  Human and       Divine Nature)
 Many of the mistakes are made due to misunderstanding the bible portrayal of a Plurality in the being of  God and  Plurality in the Person of Christ.  Now there are ample of verses Showing a plurality of persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)  in the Being  of God and  Plurality of  Nature (fully Human and fully divine nature  not person )  in the Person of Christ. 
When one confronts the being of God, it will be clear that the three persons of Trinity communicates with each other, relates with each other , are interdependent on  each other, mutually indwell one another, also has a reciprocal relationship  where there is a give and take relationship with each other,  mutually submitting each other, and also assigning of task to each other. Due to existence of self-giving love in trinity there is no conflict of will and hence only one will emanates from them.  
With regards to the Person of Christ, we need to recognize that

  • When God becomes Man, he does not cease to be God. In the incarnation there is no substraction of deity but an addition of humanity. The Infinite is not becoming finite here but infinite is unified with the finite in the person of Christ. Hence God the Son without ceasing to be God, is unified with the human nature in the person of Christ. Therefore is no contradiction in saying there are two nature unified in One person.   
  • If God becomes Man, he has to exhibit both natures fully, (fully human and fully divine), then only incarnation is valid. He cannot simply exhibit only Divinity or only exhibit Humanity but both. But when those natures are exhibited and are recorded in writings, one will always find that at some point Jesus is exhibiting humanity and some other point he is exhibiting divinity. If you read and come with human dimension of Jesus and argue How can God tire, or  eat or be tempted then they are meaningless.
  •  When God becomes Man, He not only represents the divine being but also the human being. On one hand he models the infinite God at the level of finite human beings at the same time he exemplifies the perfect humanity as desired by God for all human beings. He needs to be identified with God and Humanity simultaneously.  That’s why Jesus is referred as an example for whole humanity.  If there is conflict between two human beings, the mediator has to be human being and not an animal because both human beings shares the same human nature and needs a mediator who shares same human nature like themselves In the same way if there is conflict between God and Man the mediator has to possess Both human and divine nature in order to represent both parties meaningfully.
  • If God is simply communicating with humanity through the prophets in propositions it will not suffice. Human beings will not changed simply by instruction of becoming good morally. The problem with humanity is not that it lacks moral guidelines the problem is the incapacity to carry out or live out the moral according to moral guidelines. He needs to be saved from this predicament and hence needs a savior and not a mere Prophet.

Now let me address your objections.
1) Mr. Pankaj claims that forgiving sins is an attribute associated only to God and points out that Jesus forgave sins. However, according to John 20:23, it states that the Disciples had the power to forgive sins. [Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.] And we can both agree that the Disciples were not God or any part thereof.

RESPONSE :  In my article I mentioned that Only God has the authority to forgive the sins of all humanity as ultimately all wrong doing is against God even though it is done to human being as wrong doing is the violation of God’s law which emanates from his moral nature.  If somebody does wrong to me, I can forgive him if I desire to do that. But if Somebody does wrong to you, I cannot say that lo  I forgive you.  When Jesus is forgiving the sins of paralytic the Pharisees exclaimed that How can he forgive sins because Only God can forgive sins which is clearly a teaching of both testaments.  Do you think that Allah can give authority to any human being to forgive the sins of all humanity. If it were possible than he could have given that authority to Muhammad who according to you is last and final prophet. Some authorities are non-transferable. Jesus had that authority on virtue of being God. Now your problem is the disciples were given the authority to forgive the sins of others. Now in what sense they can forgive the sins of others that has to be understood and for that you have to understand the immediate and broader context. If you study the book of acts you will understand the broader context. The disciple were actually going to  forgive sins by the proclamation of good news that Jesus died for the sins of humanity and believing in him is going to bring forgiveness and healing and disbelieving in Jesus will lead to un forgiveness of sins. The Proclamation was always forgiveness in the name of Jesus not we forgive your sins. In other words the disciples were able to forgive the sins of others on the basis of one criteria or condition and that is if they repent and believe in Jesus. Let me explain you by an analogy a company owner has all authority to accept or reject orders which they receive for the customer. If this company owner appoints sales representatives and gives in turn the authority to accept or reject orders, it is always on basis of certain implicit or explicit criteria.  The owner says you are free to accept or reject the orders but it is always on the basis of some criteria and not arbitrarily decision. Similarly the disciples are to forgive the sins on the basis of criteria and that is repenting and believing in Jesus Christ. (For further elaboration read 
http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_apostles_forgive_sins.htm)

 


2) Mr. Pankaj goes on to say that Jesus calms a storm and the seas. Therefore, that shows Jesus has power over creation which proves he's the creator. However, this argument is flawed since many prophets from the beginning of time have demonstrated these abilities and we can agree that they were not God. A very prominent example is that of Moses parting the Red Sea. Also we have the narration of Moses turning a stick into a snake as well as Elijah bringing back a dead child back to life. Additionally, Jesus states that he has no power of his own but the Father is above All and has All power.

RESPONSE :  the answer is (1) while all the prophets explictly mentioned that it is being done by Jehovah God, Jesus did not mention that (2) Jesus in fact took the glory for himself when disciples worshipped immediately after that (3) Disciples explicitly mentioned that 'what manner of man he is- he has power over the nature too). So, unlike other prophets who explicitly mentioned that it is being done by the permission and provision of Jehovah God, Jesus takes the credit for Himself. If He is not God, then this is blasphmey as Jehovah does not share the glory Jesus attributed the power to himself while the prophets to Jehovah God : (GIVEN BY JERRY THOMAS : WWW.SAKSHITIMES.COM). Further God the Son when became human, he took the form of servant (phil 2) and worked in complete submission to the father therefore like any other human being relied on the power of God the father. You must remember in john 5 17Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." 18For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus does whatever the father does and says just as you honour the father so shall son to be honored. Yet he did everything in mutual submission and dependence on the father.

3) Next, Mr. Pankaj says that Jesus has accepted worship which proves that he is God. But unfortunately, his statement begins by saying that Jesus was tempted which is an Un-Godly attribute in the first place. [God does not get tempted, and that too by Satan (his own creation)]. But regardless, Jesus even said in Matthew 15:9 that he was worshipped in vain. [But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men]. For further information, this website does a good job of clarifying this particular issue. <http://www.answering-christianity.com/worship_jesus.htm>

RESPONSE : The problem with Muslim’s misunderstanding stems from thinking that Christians are claiming Jesus to be ONLY fully God. Most issues are raised due to false conclusion drawn from false premises. Muslims need to recognized that Christian theology teaches that Jesus is fully human and fully God. Being fully human he also exhibits the full humanity. As every human being is tempted,  Jesus as a man too  was tempted in all points It must be remembered that although Jesus was tempted he was still without sin. (Cf. Heb. 4:15).  While Satan tempts Jesus, Jesus instead of yielding to temptation quotes him from the Old Testament to resist the temptation. Jesus here models perfect example to humanity what should be done when you are tempted similarly. So there is no point in bringing this issue. Furthermore, James' meaning is not that no one can try to tempt God since many have tried (Cf. Deut.6:16; Mal. 3:15; Mt. 4:7; Acts 15:10), but that there is nothing within God that would lead him to act upon the temptations. Similarly, although Jesus was tempted there was nothing within Christ that would cause him to act upon it, since he was perfect God and perfect Man. The Same Jesus had no qualms of conscience when he accepted worship on the 9 occasions as I have mentioned in my articles, showing his complete divinity.(for further answer refer http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_jesus_tempted.htm)

4) Mr. Pankaj raises up the point that Jesus excluded himself from others and "Never had he mentioned our father or Our God." However, I'm sure you know this definitely isn't the case since we can expose this fallacy by simply reading the Bible. In fact, in Mark 12:29, it is written "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord OUR God is one Lord:"

RESPONSE : Jesus exclusion from others is unique. When disciples came to Jesus and said Lord teach us to pray, he said “When You pray” he did not said Let us Pray. While washing the feet of disciples, He washed the feet of all disciples, excluding himself, he did say to disciples to was his own. . He always refers My God  or My father in contradistinction to our God or Our father. Now in Mark 12:29 Jesus is answering to question posed to him and in reply he quotes the exact wording from Old testament which implied to the  answering the question  not his relationship as he always distinguished his relationship  to Father or God which is unique in contrast to others.
 
5)In this passage, Pankaj raises up the issue that Jesus identified himself with parables. Let’s first ask ourselves what parables are. (A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse that illustrates a moral or religious lesson) In the same way, Jesus' parables shared great resemblance to parables regarding the Prophets of Old (Moses, Noah, etc) In fact, none of these parables made direct connections showing that Jesus was, in fact, God. In the parable regarding the shepherd who goes to find what is lost. Jesus was performing the work of a Prophet, spreading the message of God to those who had not received it. In fact, in many occasions it is said that Jesus was sent to deliver the message to the lost tribe/sheep of Israel. The parable of the vineyard alludes to Heaven being promised to those who follow the teachings of God almighty. However, Jesus makes no claim to say that he is the "employer" but rather that if one acts upon God's word, his or her reward shall be the same.

RESPONSE : Unless  you read the parable in backdrop of the old testament and claims made by God in Old testament, you simply will not understand the significance of the parables to the identity of Jesus . The God of the Old Testament spoke in parables, look at the idea of bridegroom, shepherd, etc and compare it with parables of Jesus. Most parables of Jesus, they address about Jesus identity, work and the aspect of Kingdom of God. Let me illustrate .
Jesus, then as we have seen, was a man who told stories. His stories often connected with the religious symbols of his day. They certainly utilized language, images, and metaphors that his contemporaries could understand. One of the most significant stories he told — one that gives us insight into his mindset — can be found in Mark chapter 12. The context is this; Jesus has just caused a ruckus in the Jerusalem Temple, cleansing it of traders, and prophesying its destruction. The religious leaders challenge him, and ask him from where he derives his authority to do all that is doing. And Jesus tells this story ...

 “A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.
Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with many others, some they beat and some they killed.
He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying,  ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another,  ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.”
Jesus asked, What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture:  ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?”
(Mark 12:1-11; RSV translation)

The audience who heard this story would not have been in doubt as to what Jesus meant by it. Even 2,000 years later, it is very clear. What does need explaining however, is that in the Judaism of Jesus' day, a “vineyard” was a symbol for Israel herself. We can see this in a wide range of Old Testament texts, such as Isaiah 5:1. Indeed, Jesus’ whole story is a very clever retelling of Isaiah 5:1-7, a passage in which God’s judgment on Israel was promised if they refused to do what was right. Once you pick up on that imagery, the rest of the story falls into place:

  • If the vineyard represents Israel, who does the owner of the vineyard symbolise? The answer is God himself.
  • The tenants in the story represent the people of Israel, to whom God had given the land (the vineyard).
  • The servants represent the many prophets that God sent to his people, to persuade them to mend their rebellious ways (a story told in great detail in the many prophetic writings in the Old Testament).
  • But after all the servants have been ignored, ill-treated, and killed, who comes next? The answer ... the son of the vineyard owner.

Why is this important? For a number of reasons, not least that Jesus saw himself as in a different class to the servants (prophets) who had come before. They were merely messengers sent by the vineyard owner (God) to the tenants (Israelites). Jesus, however, saw himself as the obedient son. This already has profound implications for an Islamic understanding of Jesus. Because Jesus does not see himself as one in a line of prophets, preceded by John the Baptist and followed by Muhammad. As far as Jesus is concerned, the line of prophets had ended — John was the last. He, Jesus, is in a different class ... he is the obedient son of the vineyard owner. (taken from http://www.answering-islam.org/Andy/quest1.html)
Jesus earthly ministry in human form was limited to Israel but while ascending to heaven he commissioned Jesus to go and preach the gospel in all world. The problem with Islamic apologist is to commit fallacy of selective citing. You find the verse “I have come to only to call lost sheep of Israel “  as authentic and reliable because is seems to you that it is in alignment with Islamic teaching but when other verses where Jesus claims his universality and deity, they become corrupt. On One hand you claim bible is corrupt, then trace prophecies for Muhammad into it. Why this double standard. You do not have any Unit to measure what is corrupt or not corrupt.
6) Pankaj brings up a confounding paradox. He states that Jesus says "Before Abraham was born, I am" and this alludes to his Divinity. However, a similar notion was applied to Jeremiah."Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)" Regardless, even the original Greek words which are used in Exodus differs from the Greek words used in John. In Exodus, the original Greek words used are HO ON and the words used by Jesus in John are EGO EIMI. If Jesus wanted to directly show the correlation, he would have stayed consistent and used the same wording.

RESPONSE:  I think you don’t see the two obvious meaning of the statement Made by Jeremiah and statement made by Jesus. In case of Jeremiah we see the the Foreknowledge of God. God in his omniscience knows about everyone about when that  person will be born and know everyone even before birth.  In the Context of Jesus it is about claiming ETERNAL SELF EXISTENCE . Now when Jesus claimed before Abraham was born I AM the immediate reaction of Jew is they wanted to stone him. If he would have been speaking in the same the sense in which about Jeremiah is addressed, the Jews would not have stoned him.  In response to Christ never being addressed as HO ON, this is simply not true. We find this phrase used of Christ in Revelation 1:7-8: "Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on  his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen."` I am the Alpha and Omega', says the Lord God, `The Being (Greek- HO ON) who is and who was and who is to come, the ALMIGHTY (pantokrator)'." Jesus Christ, the coming pierced One, identifies himself as both The Being (HO ON) and as the Almighty. The phrase "who is and who was" refers to the eternal nature of God

"And the angels of the waters say, `You are just, O Holy One, who are and who were, for you
have judged these things; because they shed the blood of saints and prophets, you have given
them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!' And I heard the altar respond, `Yes, O Lord, the
ALMIGHTY (pantokrator), your judgements are true and just!'" Rev. 16:5-7 NRSV

Hence, Jesus in Revelation 1:8 is claiming to be the eternal God. Secondly, Jesus' I AM passages tie in with the Hebrew ANI HU references of Isaiah: "Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called: I AM HE (Ani Hu); I am the First, and I am the Last." Isa. 48:12 NRSVThat the phrase I AM implies Deity is clearly seen in the following verses:"Now then, listen, you wanton creature (i.e. Babylon), lounging in your security and saying to yourself, `I am (LXX- Ego Eimi), and there is none besides me..." Isa. 47:8 NIV (Cf. Isa. 47:10)  God rebukes Babylon for claiming to be the I AM, believing herself to be a God like Yahweh. Hence, I AM is used to denote absolute Deity and sovereignty, being used as a synonym for Yahweh. Compare Yahweh's words with Jesus: "Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, `Whom are you looking for?' They answered, `Jesus of Nazareth.' Jesus replied, `I AM HE'... When Jesus said to them, `I am he,' they stepped back and fell to ground." John 18:4-6 NRSV The fact that the soldiers fell back when Jesus uttered the words "I AM" affirms that the phrase served to identify Christ as Yahweh. Otherwise, there would be no reason for the soldiers' falling down to the ground. "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, `Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I WAS DEAD, and see I am alive forever and ever, and I have the keys of Death and Hades'." Rev. 1:17-18 NRSV No matter from what perspective we look at it, there is no escaping the fact that Jesus does identify himself  as Yahweh God

7) In this very last argument, Pankaj suggests that Jesus and the Father are one and the same. Firstly, this statement is taken out of context. When the whole passage is read (John 17:20-22), one realizes that Jesus and the Father are one in purpose, not being.
Pankaj brings up the concept of trinity in which God consists of three coequal parts of one eternal being. However, if one were to believe this, the Bible would contradict their opinion. Why? Because John 14:28 states Jesus says the "Father is greater than I". In a coequal being, one part cannot be greater or superior to another. If so, that disqualifies the whole aspect of coequality. Time and time again, Jesus is shown to bow down to God the Father and pray to him further disproving equality between him and the Father.

RESPONSE : Again  here Muslims  misconstrue the context. The context where Jesus said “I AND FATHER ARE ONE” the  immediate next verse makes it clear how the Jewish audience understood it “We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."  Look at what Jews understood not how you understand. The first interpretation should be done in the immediate context and then the broader context. You skip the immediate context and refer to other context which is not proper way of interpretation. If Jesus meant only oneness of purpose then they would not have picked up the stone. Every human being has to be One in purpose with God. Again the work “ONE”  is  neuter in Greek. Showing oneness of essence.  John in very first verse of the Gospel say “in the beginning was the word, the word with God and the word was God”  Now you are trying to fit the meaning of oneness here in this passage from (John 17:20-22) is not applicable here. The Trinity will  help us understand the sense in which Jesus declared, “the Father is greater than I.” The Father and Son are equal in essence but different in function. This is analogous to human relationships. For example, an earthly father is equally human with his son, but the father holds a higher office. Likewise, Jesus and the Father have different offices but are both equally God (John 1:1; 8:58; 10:30). When Jesus added humanity, he voluntarily subordinated himself to the Father and accepted the limitations inherent with humanity (this is exactly what Paul explains in his letter to the Philippians [2:5-11]). But Jesus never lost his divine nature or ceased being God. Let me explain in other words suppose you are doing job and somebody says your boss is greater than you will that mean that you are a lesser human being or other less being. You and your boss are both essentially human but functionally or in office he is greater due to place which you have taken voluntarily to work under him. Jesus took voluntarily the position of servant and submitted himself to God the father. Now about prayer, Prayer is mode of communication of human being to God. When God the Son assumes humanity in Jesus he too communicates in human way through Prayer. So we do not have the difficulty to understand this passage. Remember Jesus is Both “Divine and Human” Jesus shares in the one divine nature, but he also has a distinct human nature. Jesus is one “who” with two “what’s” (a divine “what” and a human “what”); When Jesus was conceived, he did not cease being. How does this help us deal with objections ? Well, since Jesus has two natures, whenever you ask a question about him you really have to ask two questions. For example, did Jesus know the time of his second coming? As God, yes; as man, no. Did Jesus know all things? As God, yes; as man, no. (In fact, Luke 2:52 admits that Jesus increased in wisdom.) Did Jesus get hungry? As God, no; as man, yes. Did Jesus get tired? As God, no; as man, yes. Did jesus prayed, as Man Yes, As God No. Was Jesus tempted ? as man yes and as God no

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