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Is the Qur’an Wrong about Jesus? – #9 Post of 2010

Post Author: Bill Pratt

quran Is the Quran Wrong about Jesus? – #9 Post of 2010It may surprise some Christians that the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, speaks about Jesus.  In fact, the Qur’an speaks of Jesus as a great prophet of God and records some of the miracles that Jesus performed.

However, the Qur’an denies one important event in the life of Jesus, his crucifixion.  According to the Qur’an, Jesus was never crucified by the Romans.  He was taken straight to heaven without being executed.

Herein lies a couple of significant problems, it seems, for Islam.  First, virtually every professional historian who has studied the events of Jesus’ life agrees that he was killed by crucifixion.  This fact is just not debated by any reputable scholars, as far as I am aware.

Second, we have another problem, what Jesus scholar Mike Licona calls the “Islamic catch-22.”  You see, Jesus predicted that he would die a violent death, predicted it several times.  According to Licona, “We find this reported in Mark, which is the earliest Gospel, and it’s multiply attested in different literary forms, which is really strong evidence in the eyes of historians.”

So what?  How is that a problem for Muslims?  Licona explains:

If Jesus did not die a violent and imminent death, then that makes him a false prophet.  But the Qur’an says that he’s a great prophet, and so the Qur’an would be wrong and thus discredited.  On the other hand, if Jesus did die a violent and imminent death as he predicted, then he is indeed a great prophet – but this would contradict the Qur’an, which says he didn’t die on the cross.  So either way, the Qur’an is discredited.

If the Qur’an, which Muslims claim is perfect, contains an error as egregious as denying the crucifixion of Jesus, it simply cannot be trusted to be a reliable historical document.


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Comments

  • Boz

    does the quran explicitly deny that jesus was crucified, or dies it merely avoid mention of the crucifixion?

    If the latter, a Muslim might argue that the quran’s silence on this issue does not imply that it is denying the crucifixion event.

  • http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    I think (And probably need correction) that they go with the “substitution” idea; that another took Jesus’ place on the cross (Quite a plot twist for some of us!)

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Boz,
    The Qur’an explicitly denies the crucifixion in Sura 4, verses 157-158.

  • https://sites.google.com/a/uncg.edu/uncg-atheists-agnostics-skeptics/ Phillip

    I think there are several things wrong with this post.

    If the Qur’an says one thing you have to use the Qur’an for all of the evidence you’re presenting. So, just because the Bible says one thing about Jesus, doesn’t mean the Qur’an will or should say the same thing. They are different mythologies. The Jesus of the Bible predicted he would die a violent death, but the Jesus of the Qur’an predicted no such thing. So, it all gels within the context of the two mythologies. Your argument is essentially taking one thing from another book and using another book that the Muslims do not acknowledge to prove your point.

    I also still have a problem with the historical Jesus as you well know. The fact that the first written text about him happened 50 years after his death and the text is full of miracles is problematic to say the least. I’m not being a historical agnostic, but I do believe that any book making extra ordinary claims (like someone breaking fundamental laws of nature) needs extra ordinary evidence. This does not include a few books and passages that mention him in passing. The fact that a bunch of professional historians agree on something does not make it correct, because history is not a science.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Bill,
    I think you need to clear up your claim here.
    Are saying that the Qur’an is denying a crucifixion ever took place?
    Or that it denies that it was Jesus himself that was crucified.

    If are saying that the Qur’an is denying a crucifixion ever took place.
    Then you are taking a passage out of context and forcing your own opinion on it.
    This passage in the Qur’an does not explicitly deny a crucifixion.
    What this passage in Quran is seeking to refute is the claims of the Jews, it’s refuting what the Jews were claiming.
    “That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of God.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him,”
    This passage says nothing about the text of the Bible or the Gospels especially in relation to the crucifixion. And you should know that this is referring to the Jews since Christians would never speak against Mary and neither would they boast that they killed Jesus.
    The Quran is not “explicitly” denying a crucifixion, but is denying that the Jews killed Jesus, even though it appeared to them that they did.
    And further more we could make the claim in this context that the Qur’an is not explicitly even denying the crucifixion of Jesus;
    “Nay, God raised him up unto Himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise;-”
    And would actually refute what both you and Islam claim.

    Compare the passage to John 10:17-18

    Jn 10:17 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.
    18 “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

    And Acts 2:23-24

    Ac 2:23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
    24 “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

    From this I can argue that the Quran is not explicitly denying Jesus’ crucifixion, but denying that the Jews killed Jesus, even though it appeared to them that they did.
    And that it was not by the will of the Jews but that it was the will of God for Jesus to die on behalf of sinners.
    If God didn’t want Jesus to die, then no man could have taken his life away, and that is precisely what the Holy Bible teaches.
    Would it be so difficult to believe that this passage has been misinterpreted by Islam? (Look at how Christians are able to mishandle their own scripture) and because of your cognitive bias towards their denial of the crucifixion that you fail to interpret it as well?

  • Bill Pratt

    Greg,
    I think you’re making this way too complicated. The passage denies that Jesus was crucified by the Jews; it isn’t speaking about other people being crucified. The passage, in essence, is saying that the traditional view passed down by Christians about Jesus’ death is incorrect.

    If you click on the commentary hyperlink [642] embedded in the Qur’anic text I linked to in my former comment, you will see that is exactly what Muslims believe, according to the Muslim commentator. They deny the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ death by crucifixion. This goes completely against the tide of all modern historical scholarship, and is thus very problematic for the Qur’an.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Philip,
    Thanks for popping in! Muslims acknowledge much of what is contained in the New Testament about Jesus. I do not know whether they explicitly deny the historicity of Jesus’ predictions about his imminent and violent death. That is a good question that you raise.

    You say you are not a historical agnostic, but you are agnostic about any history that contains accounts of the supernatural. Let’s leave that be for a minute. An important point to make here is that the facts surrounding Jesus’ death are not supernatural. That he was crucified by the Romans in about A.D. 33 is just not disputed at all among the vast majority of scholars. Many people were crucified by the Romans and there is plenty of historical evidence that Jesus was a real historical figure and that he was indeed crucified. I have chronicled some of that evidence on the blog, and there are a number of historical works that also present the data on Jesus’ life. This is not a fledgling field of study, after all.

    Philip, you said that history is not science. I would be careful making that claim, as many of the claims of Darwinian evolution are made based on history. We can’t repeat experiments in the lab today where single-celled organisms, through natural selection and random mutation over millions of years, become human beings, but that’s exactly what the historical “science” of evolution tells us. Are you willing to cast severe doubt on the “science” of evolution? It’s largely based on history, after all.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Bill,
    I’m not making it to complicated you are making it to simple.
    What you or Islam believe is not as important as what the Qur’an say’s.
    The JVC believe they have interpreted the Bible correctly, their position is “exactly what they believe”.
    Is this the best way to measure the truth of any written document?
    Your doing exactly what I said you were doing, allowing your cognitive bias to interpret the writing based on what Islam believes it to say.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    And futher more your argument was not against what Islam believes but what the Qur’an say’s.
    You have shifted the focus of the argument.

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    JVC?…lol…where did that come from?

    Clarification “JWS”

  • DiscipleoftheWord

    Bill Pratt says: “you will see that is exactly what Muslims believe, according to the Muslim commentator.”

    The view that Judas replaced Christ on the cross was again recently popularized in the Muslim world by The Gospel of Barnabas (see Appendix 3). Regarding the question of what then happened to Jesus himself, Muslims usually contend that Jesus escaped the cross by being taken up to heaven and that one day he will come back to earth and play a central role in the future events. Based on some of the alleged sayings of Muhammad it is believed that just before the end of time Jesus will come back to earth, kill the Antichrist (al-Dajjal), kill all pigs, break the cross, destroy the synagogues and churches, establish the religion of Islam, live for forty years, and then will be buried in the city of Medina beside the prophet Muhammad.47
    Of course we need to point out that even though these views have been held by orthodox Islam throughout the centuries, some Muslim thinkers today are beginning to distance themselves from such theological expressions (although this trend still does not apply to the traditionalist Muslim camps or the average masses). The well-respected Egyptian writer, Hussein Haykal, writes:

    The idea of a substitute for Christ is a very crude way of explaining the Quranic text. They had to explain a lot to the masses. No cultured Muslim believes in this nowadays. The text is taken to mean that the Jews thought they killed Christ but God raised him unto Him in a way we can leave unexplained among the several mysteries we have taken for granted on faith alone.48
    Several Qur’anic verses speak or hint about the death of Christ (2:87; 3:55; 4:157–58; 19:33). Thus, several Muslim groups today believe that 4:157–59, if taken within the total Qur’anic context, must be understood to say that it was Jesus who was tortured on the cross, but that he did not die there.

    Geisler, N. L., & Saleeb, A. (2002). Answering Islam : The crescent in light of the cross (2nd ed.) (67). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.

    I do not believe you can state with such cerainty that what you believe is exactly what all Islam believes.

  • https://sites.google.com/a/uncg.edu/uncg-atheists-agnostics-skeptics/ Phillip

    Sorry for the delay in responding. I was in Savannah all weekend and didn’t have the time to find the internet.

    I think that the facts of any man dying are usually not supernatural because people do die, but they do not come back from the dead after 3 days. This would result in massive brain damage if it did happen because the body cannot live without oxygen to the brain and the muscles. They blood would have congealed, and a bunch of other things would have happened. It really doesn’t matter what a vast majority of scholars would say about Jesus because of the timeline that we have talked about earlier.

    All “history” that you are speaking about has a bias, I mean just compare the stories of America in a textbook written for kids in North Carolina, written for kids in Texas, and Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. I would say that science does have bias because it doesn’t allow unscientific things in to its community and usually tests its theories over vast periods of time.

    You can prove micro evolution exists and there are several candidates for macro evolution in the world even though you would never acknowledge it.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    This is all based on tests that were done by several different people over time. The observer is a very important part of science but supernatural things have never been observed by reputable scientists. Anyone who believes in UFOs because they saw a video of someone thrown a tin can in the air doesn’t get much respect from me since there is no evidence that can be tested by other scientists. The same thing happens when other people have claims about supernatural events but can’t explain or back up their claims with actual testable facts. I think as humans we have to filter these things unto believable and unbelievable. That is the beauty of science. Anyone can spend time and figure out the mysteries of the world for themselves because everyone can do the same experiments.

  • Matt Salmon

    What was your intent in bringing up macroevolution? Was it to show that science is biased? What does that have to do with this discussion?
    Since you brought it up, though, I’d like to say that that site doesn’t give any evidence for macroevolution. I read a few pages and they have not given even one good piece of evidence of the 29+ they claim. It seems that they try to overwhelm the reader with explanations of cladograms and how they do their research so the reader forgets his common sense and his statistics analysis and starts believing everything. They don’t explain why birds have about as many shared derived characteristics with mammals as with reptiles or why snaked lost their legs, which was apparently an evolutionary step up. They don’t explain why only the most developed branch continues to branch in the kingdom-phylum level cladogram. They break two basic rules of statistics: correlation does not imply causation (shared derived characters does not imply common descent) and they extrapolate beyond the data set. They say that because their lab tests produced the most likely outcome and speciated like they predicted, that the organisms we know speciated like the algorithm of a majority of samples predicted (extrapolating well beyond dataset). Macroevolution only has proof if you believe what you’re told just because they have fancy degrees.

  • https://sites.google.com/a/uncg.edu/uncg-atheists-agnostics-skeptics/ Phillip

    I brought up macroevolution because that is the only part that tells a story. Something I’ve talked about with Randy and Bill in person. I hope that they understood the reference. Randy has claimed several times that evolution tells a story which is what history does for the most part. Science is not trying to tell a story at all. It is just trying to explain the things that humans do no understand.

    You’re asking for specific examples of those things that are not on the site. It doesn’t give a reason why snakes lost their legs or if they had legs to begin with or not. It does give examples though. Which links did you click?

    The entire section of transitional forms is what you are looking for but you probably will not understand the terms the author uses if you don’t start from the beginning.

  • Arix (@UK)

    Matt and Phillip,

    evolution is not quite relevant to this thread.

    Bill,

    The two Qu’ Ranic verses are in Sura 103, which follows Sura 102. Sura 102 refers to the “People of the Book” which is Koranic terminology for the Jews.

    Verse 158 could be taken as an affirmation of the Ascension, so it does not contradict the Bible.

    Verse 157 sounds more problematic. But whilst the Gospels are narratives, the Koran is Arabic prophetic poetry. Poetry can be interpreted more metaphorically than prose. “Appear to them” is awkward to say the least; it raises the question of how realistic the appearance is. Perhaps, it was realistic for people of that period to consider him as actually dead? The verse could be using “killed” and “crucified” just because there were many opportunities for Jesus to die along the road to Calvary. The Romans hung bodies up on crosses for show as well, to demonstrate their power, as much as they hung enemies’ and criminals’ heads on city gates. Suffices to say, it is not necessary for a person to be alive in order to be hung on a cross by the Romans. So the Romans could have “killed” Jesus before they “crucified” him.

  • Matt Salmon

    I think you guys have missed an important piece of evidence in your discussion. People do not commit themselves to be tortured for lies, to hijinx the world, if they know it is a lie. The apostles, therefore, must have written their accounts of the gospel and lived their lives telling the story as accurately as they knew it. The same argument can be made, though less strongly since he didn’t expect torture or receive it for writing the Qu’ran and because he was a single man rather than 12 plus many others. But even if we assume Muhammad has as much credibility as the early Christian Church, we then compare how well the writers were able to verify the facts for themselves. The Apostles walked and talked with Jesus and saw his works themselves and hundreds of people saw His works and were able to verify what they had seen. But these great numbers of people still made up a minority of the population so that it was unpopular to hold to the truth and that offers confirmation for the truth. Muhammad didn’t wasn’t even alive until more than 200 years after Christ died and the only way he knew the story was from visiting Jerusalem, but he claims an Angel told him the real story, which he wrote in the Qu’ran. He may not be lying that an angel told him, but we don’t know that it wasn’t a fallen angel. He doesn’t give us reason to believe it’s historical fact rather than believe the Bible.
    The only argument left against the historical accuracy of the Bible is that the witnesses for Jesus were all insane. That, I believe, would be supernatural and prove that God wants you to believe the Bible.

  • Arix (@UK)

    Matt,

    The point I was trying to make is that we don’t really need a Bible vs Koran thing. Rather, that the Bible has historical accuracy, and the Koran corroborates that, or at least a section of it. Islamic theology may be incorrect, but that does not mean the Koran itself is incorrect.

    If you use the number of people as a vantage point, then Moses also does not stack up; there is nobody except him who can verify the miracle of the Burning Bush and the apparition on the Mountain. And certainly, Moses too “didn’t expect torture” for writing the Torah. (Incidentally, the Muslims do acknowledge Moses.)

    In the case of Muhammad, his sayings and life were recorded in a secondary book called the Hadith. He did not fear torture writing down the Koran, it is true, but the purpose of the Koran is not it being written down. It is composed in poetic form to be read out at tribal gatherings (i.e. oral tradition), and many of the things the Koran points out were incendiary to the Arabic culture of Muhammad’s time. Not to mention that he did some pretty “nasty” things like destroying pagan idols in Mecca.

  • Matt Salmon

    So Muhammad’s campfire songs and stories somehow make him an authority on the life of Jesus of Nazereth? And Number of people is not the reason we confirm Jesus. It’s the number of witnesses that give testimony to support an unpopular truth, that Jesus is who he said he was. A majority or those in political and social power can make up stories, but a persecuted minority will hold to the truth they know or rejoin the side of power. So if the witnesses believed it, and if we can trust ANY information given to us by other people (and this position makes them most trustworthy) then we should too. Kamikaze pilots, suicide bombers (if they’re sane and in control) and 9/11 terrorists all believed in their religion this devoutly, but they had no way of verifying their beliefs. How much more should the early church be believed in their account of Jesus?

  • Kathy

    Bill,
    Do you think the Islamic Jesus or Isa sounds like the Christian false prophet and the Islamic Mahdi is equivalent to the Christian antichrist? If you put the two eschatological views side-by-side they seem to have an eerie similarity. Muslims deny that God has a Son (1 John 2:22). Ahmadinejad of Iran is looking forward to the arrival of the 12th imam or Mahdi. He is supposed to be the Islamic Messiah, but he sounds like the antichrist.

  • http://yahoo.com ameer

    Upon the story of Jesus.Christians and Muslims don’t have any idea what evil they are committing.First and foremost both party disagree upon the fact of the Quran and the Bible,that fullfill the laws of creation and nature.I am prepare at any time for an open disscusion upon this is subject.

  • Waqar

    From the Islamic perspective there are many theories regarding what God actually means in the Quran. It may be that Jesus was on the cross but did not actually die a physical death, although to those around him it may have appeared so. Today to certify death a doctor must use a stethoscope to actually listen to the heart to know if it has stopped beating and that the person has not fainted, suffered stroke, or a drop in blood pressure that may mimic death. Mike Licona makes a rather ridiculous point about the so-called catch 22 for muslims. He says that because the jesus predicted a violent death then the Quran struggles with this point. Unfortunately for Mike Licona, the whole of the new testament is up for debate, its actual compilation and what is accurate and what is made up to fit the model for christian theology. Bart Ehrman does quite a good job of dissecting the new testament to show it to be a highly unreliable document. There was a time when islam was completely disregarded as a fake and forgery, but it is interesting to see that the quran is being taken more seriously as it has a wealth of information and different perspective on history. In fact at a closer look the theology of islam makes more sense, with christianity it does not add up, not just once but many times over.

  • Bill Pratt

    Waqar,
    I think you’ve been drinking too much Ehrman Kool Aid, but if you’re going to use Ehrman to beat up the NT, you had better understand what he is saying. Below is a comment a I wrote several months ago to another person that wanted to beat the NT up by using Ehrman (you are in strange company because atheists and Mormons also like Ehrman). Here is my comment excerpt below:

    One the most critical scholars today is Bart Ehrman, who is a self-proclaimed agnostic who doesn’t believe in God at all. Some of the opposing comments on this blog have mentioned him as a source for their views. What does he have to say? According to an email response to a curious writer, he said this about the NT manuscripts:

    I do not think that the “corruption” of Scripture means that scribes changed everything in the text, or even most things. The original texts certainly spoke at great length about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. The issues involved in the corruption of the text usually entail nuances of interpretation. These are important nuances; but most of the New Testament can be reconstructed by scholars with reasonable certainty — as much certainty as we can reconstruct *any* book of the ancient world.

    This quote can be found at http://www.tektonics.org/lp/nttextcrit.html

    In addition, Bart Ehrman attended a forum this year where he and Dan Wallace faced off over the reliability of the NT. Dan Wallace is still alive, unlike Metzger, and one of the leading textual critics in the world. He runs an entire center (http://www.csntm.org/) for New Testament manuscript studies where they are digitally photographing NT manuscripts. Here is Wallace’s summary of what happened: “Ehrman conceded that no essential belief of the NT was compromised by the textual variants.”

    Even though Ehrman makes a big deal about NT corruption, when push comes to shove he admits that some 99% of the NT is reliable, meaning that 99% of text we have today can be traced back to the original writings. If you want to say that the NT is a “highly unreliable document” then you need to find another scholar besides Ehrman. He only gets you 1% of the way to your destination.

  • Waqar

    Dear Bill,

    If Ehrman really thought 99% of the NT was reliable he would still be a christian. He clearly states that the NT has more discrepancies and contradictions than there are words in the NT. His main argument is that if the bible is the word of God then it cannot have such discrepnacies and contradictions, if it were the word of God then God would at least preseve the text. And if it isnt the word of God then whose words are they? The synoptic gospels follow one another and it is thought they were sourced from a ‘Q’ document as you well know. It would be most helpful if we had a Gospel of Jesus. The greatest event (in the eyes of Christians) is that the Son of God came to earth in the physical form. It begs the question why he did not leave a text of his own direct words to be preserved forever with humankind. Afterall Christians do believe a text is very important as they have recourse to the NT. Perhaps maybe Jesus own gospel would have been very different to what we have now. For christians, God clearly intended a text by ‘inspiring’ so many writers to write the NT, including a complete outsider (Paul). This still begs the question why Jesus did not leave behind a preserved text for all time. So referring back to your point that the NT is 99% reliable, well the stories seem to follow roughly the same sketch, but they are following the same sketch from each other and so in many ways they should add up to the rough basic sketch. We need sources earlier than the gospels, earlier than Q to have a true picture of Jesus’ christianity, and what better than Jesus’ own direct words. Faith is great, proof is priceless, third/fourth rate sources are a poor show.

    With the greatest respect

    Waqar

  • Bill Pratt

    Waqar,
    I don’t think we are using the word “reliable” in the same way. When I say that Ehrman thinks the NT is 99% reliable, I mean that he thinks that 99% of the text has been faithfully transmitted throughout the last 2,000 years. In other words, the text has not been corrupted, which is what I thought you were arguing.

    Ehrman believes that even 1% is too much corruption, and so he cast aside the other 99% as being historically accurate, which is another question. Reliable textual transmission and the question of historical accuracy are two different questions. Because of the 1% of text where we are not sure what the originals say, Ehrman lost his faith (at least that’s the way he tells the story). Once he lost his faith, he decided that the contents of the 99% pure text were dominated by myth and legend. For him, the NT no longer contains historical truths about Jesus.

    Anyone who has studied ancient history knows that the NT documents represent the earliest historical records about a historical person that we have a record of. For you to claim that we need even earlier records is incredibly strange, given that fact. As a Muslim, I’m sure you believe many of the things written in the NT. If it is truly so corrupt, then how do you know the parts that you believe are really historically accurate?

  • Waqar

    Dear Bill,

    It may be so that the text has been faithfully transmitted but we cannot deny that there are clear discrepancies and contradictions between the gospels themselves. Ehrman actually points out many of those inconsistencies. And these are not small matters, if you contend that the Bible is the inerrant word of God how do you account for this.

    NT apologists now shift the goal posts and say well – yeah ok so there are apparent differences in the texts but guess what the original message is the same and if anything this increases our belief that we have different perspectives in our sources etc etc.

    If this is the case then the first conclusion we should draw is that the NT is NOT the word or inspired word of God.That men with the best of intentions wrote the book on the knowledge/belief available to them. However no church is willing to come forth and make such a bold declaration. It is either the word of God or it isn’t.

    This does not mean that christians cannot have firm faith in their belief as the bones of the story are mapped out and essentially the same theme of redemption runs thru the texts, but an admittance that the text is not the preserved/inspired/direct word of God would cause a lot of the critics to melt away who jab their finger saying – well look at these contradictions here and here…e.g on what day did Jesus die, what were his last words on the cross etc etc

    I guess coming back to Mike Licona’s catch 22, saying the NT or more specifically the gospels are not the word of God creates even bigger problems for christians, the holes just get bigger and deeper.

    As you say muslims do believe in certain sections of the Gospel, and your question is that how do we know which parts are historically accurate or not, well thats a problem really for the christians to answer. We can only confirm that Jesus existed and was a messenger of God and that he adhered to the absolute strictest monotheism and came to preach only to the Jews and guide them as their Messiah. That is all we need to know and all we really care for.

    Unfortunately these kinds of debates can go on and on, but as a muslim who has an interest in christianity i, like many muslims find not just textual criticism an area of deep contention but many many others regarding Jesus’ mission, paul, the compilation of the bible, council of nicea, the handpicked disciples of jesus (not one of whom was a gentile) the many differing sects in christianity whose basic beliefs (esp regarding trinity) cover such a wide spectrum regarding Jesus even tho they all refer to the same text and that is not muslims debating on the NT it is fellow christians.

  • Raphael Wong

    Waqar,

    (1) I believe that there are many refutations of the so-called “inconsistencies” available on the web. Most of the “inconsistencies” are”inconsistencies” that prove the accounts’ authenticity.

    (2) There is no “shifting of the goalposts” because the NT apologists have not made the claim as you alleged.

    (3) Well, the Christian understanding of the term “Word of God” is somewhat different from the Muslim understanding. Inspiration in the Muslim context means that God “planted” words in the writers’ brains. Inspiration in the Christian context means that the Spirit of God guided the character in which the writers searched for and wrote their Gospels or epistles, without affecting the physical availability of the materials themselves, that are due to logistical and other human limitations.

    (4) But the Christian position has always been that Scripture is the work of men acting with the Spirit of God, not that Scripture is the result of man channelling God. So I would say strongly that the motivations you cite are depply flawed.

    (5) They are the word of God in the Christian sense, but not in the Muslim sense. There is only a catch-22 when equivocation occurs.

    (6) Now who is shifting the goalpost?

    The historical accuracy of the Gospels is a valid question for the Christian to answer, but that doesn’t preclude the Muslim from being obliged to defend his position. The de-facto quasi-legal-standard original position in religious issues is agnosticism. The Muslim needs to substantiate the claim, and the Christian needs to substantiate the counter-claim.

    Christians can also quibble about the reliability of the Koran if they want to. Or about the accuracy of Muslims’ interpretations of the Koran, which may or may not be equivalent to the Prophet’s personal view, whatever that may be.

    (7) And I, as a Christian with an interest in Islam (and other religions too), find the textual criticism of the Koran an area of deep contention within Islam itself. On the Prophet’s teachings about Jihad, on the status of the Hadith vis-a-vis the Koran, on the differences between the various ayatollahs and mystics, not to mention the Ba’Hai; all of these have such a wide spectrum even though they refer to the same texts and same Prophet and that is not Christians debating on Islam; it is fellow Muslims.

    Recently, prominent scholars on religion – non-religious themselves – observed that Islam is going through a “Reformation” stage in which textual criticism is becoming more prevalent.

  • Scott hunter

    It’s also interesting that Islam rejects the Godhood of Jesus Christ as well. Our doctrine of Trinity is rejected by the Muslim faith as polytheism. If one ever witnesses to a Muslim this is one of the first objections that they will raise and I know of no way to explain it to their satisfaction.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    I attended a presentation at Holy Cross Orthodox Church on Saturday night. They had a former Muslim now Orthodox Priest come in from Indonesia. He has started the first Orthodox Church in that country and it is thriving… now with about 2000 members. He has actually used the Qur’an to help convert people to Christ… including his parents.

    Darrell

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    As Scott said—
    I have spent some frustrating times with muslims about the Triune nature of God.
    I would love to share my experience of how to crack that nut, but unfortunately, I have nothing to offer.
    -res

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    Father Daniel explained how he worked through it as follows:

    Christ is the Word of the Father. When we speak the words are both part of us (formulated in our mind) and separate from us (when we speak them they leave our mouths). They originated in us, proceed from us, and are part us, yet are also distinct from us. The same could be said of our spirits. They are part of us, but are also separate from our bodies.

    When he was working through this issue, this type of thinking helped him understand how Christ and the Holy Spirit share the same nature as the Father and proceed from Him, but remain separate from Him in personhood.

    Darrell

  • http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Darrell, I appreciate that image, and I think there is a lot of truth to it.

    I think its imperfections show (and all images contain imperfections, but different ones) in that it leaves suspitions of ‘eternal’ procession, as well as teh Status of the 2nd and 3rd person of the Trinity as being co-equal with the Father.
    In the language used, Jesus may well be seen not as one in whom the fullnes of God dwells, but as a derivitive diety, whether or not one calls that derivation a “creation”

    As Christians, we know that one image has to correct another, that there is no single statement that will capture the full truth without error or at least “misty spots” One corrects another.

    But when one tries to use them with those outside the faith, it is the error which is grasped. When you introduce the corrective picture, you get the “moving goldpost” accusation.

  • Bill Pratt

    Something interesting I’ve learned since writing this post is that their are Muslim theologians who believe that the Qur’an does not deny the crucifixion of Jesus. This view does not seem to have made it to most laypeople, however. It seems that there is recognition among some Muslim scholars that denying the crucifixion puts Islam on very shaky historical ground. It will be interesting to see how this plays out among everyday Muslims.

  • Waqar

    A lot of posts here regarding Islam not sure where to start but perhaps a different take on things. Jesus was a Jew, lived like a Jew, visited the Synagogue like a good Jew, remonstrated with the jewish leaders, personally cherry picked 12 jews to whom he was going to teach and lead, prayed like a jew, was labelled king of the jews. I think you may be getting my point here – JESUS WAS A JEW in thought, action and speech.

    Now if Jesus said – do as i say not as i do…..then he would be a hypocrite, if he lived like a Jew then what is stopping all you christians from practicing the same as Jews. Jesus is your par excellence role model who you should wish to emulate, however you choose to listen to paul….not Jesus. It is Paul who says do away with all the ritual, it is not necessary. But Jesus thought it necessary, sometimes actions do speak louder than words! and whose way, whose actions and whose patern of living should be an example to you all………Jesus or Paul/ Not a difficult one is it.

    Jesus being part of the Triune God in the theology of christianity? You are saying the God walked on earth? Thats even more interesting. You see we have many books in the bible. the Book of Job, Exodus as written by Moses, The Songs of Solomon, David and his Psalms, and so the list goes on and on. It is quite interesting that Jesus, the word made flesh (as in christianity), Jesus who was God walking on earth, failed to leave behind the Book of Jesus.

    Instead we have to rely on everybody but Jesus to leave an account/biography of his life (a life which so few christians emulate – if they did they would be ewish in practice)
    How is it possible that all these other writers particularly of the Old Testamnet were able to leave behing books personally penned by them yet Jesus who you take to be Giod was unable to leave behind a hebrew/aramaic text to be preserved for the whole of mankind so that we could learn from it? Instead we have a koine greek text written by so many different people – much can be and has been lost in transalation

    Instead we have texts written by many others in a language not that of jesus and more of a limited biographical account followed by several other authors most notably Paul who set about changing ALL the rituals and practices taht Jesus observed and declaring them unecessary. Where is the Book of/ the Gospel of jesus? Jesus at least owed it to the world to leave behind a text directly from him so that we may receive admonition. Jesus being God saw fit to give Moses the tablets of stone on which were inscribed the ten commandments…………but himself left us………..nothing….

    Muslims believe that the Quran is directly from Allah, but for the purposes of this post we will assume that the Quran came from Mohammed. All muslims will say to you that yes its Mohammed that gave us the text. YOU as a christian can hold Mohammed accountable for the Quran. But no man on this planet can hold Jesus accountable for the New Testament….why? BECAUSE HE DID NOT WRITE IT. We can hold Matthew, Mark, Luke etc accountable but NOT Jesus!!!!!!

    The greatest commandment that christians should believe according to their texts is the Shema …..Hear O Israel your Lord God is one…..as reiterated in the NT according to christians, Perhaps we should read that over and over again………Interesting that Jesus didnt say the greatest commandment is to worship (me) Jesus, ot the greatest commandment is to…..worship the father, son and the holy ghost………..no he talked of worship to the a distinct and separate entitiy called God. Even in mattthew 23 jesus speaks of the hypocrisy of the pharisees yet instructs his followers to do what the pharisees tell them to do (but not as they behave) ….why? because the pharisees sit on the SEAT OF MOSES. In other words behave like a good Jew and follow the MOSAIC LAW.

    So to be true to Christ you must be true to the way HE lived his life, in other words you must follow Jewish practice. You have a choice to follow Jesus or to follow Paul, do as jesus did and you must essentially be Jewish or do as Paul did and ignore how Jesus really conducted himself.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    Waqar,

    There were a lot of things mentioned in your comment, so I don’t think I will have time to address all of them. However, I do have a few comments.

    It is Paul who says do away with all the ritual, it is not necessary.

    I am not sure where you are getting this from. Most of Christianity makes heavy use of ritual. There is nothing in the writings of Paul, or anywhere else in the NT for that matter, that says to do away with ritual. In fact, most of the sacramental practices of Christianity are rituals that are continuations of Jewish practices that have been fulfilled and transformed into newer and richer rituals.

    You see we have many books in the bible. the Book of Job, Exodus as written by Moses, The Songs of Solomon, David and his Psalms, and so the list goes on and on. It is quite interesting that Jesus, the word made flesh (as in christianity), Jesus who was God walking on earth, failed to leave behind the Book of Jesus.

    Personally, I fail to see your point. Applying this to Islam, one could also ask “Where is the book of Allah?” We have the Qur’an which Mohammed claims was dictated to him by an Angel, but even that does not mean we have a book from Allah. So your point really proves too much for you to make use of it.

    Instead we have texts written by many others in a language not that of jesus…

    I believe you are mistaken here. Greek was the language of Jesus. In fact, the Old Testament of Christ’s day was the Septuagint – the Greek Translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. So the New Testament was written in the language of Christ.

    …much can be and has been lost in transalation…

    Where? The monkey is on your back to prove this. Otherwise, it is an empty claim.

    In reality, quite the opposite can be demonstrated in that 99.5% of the New Testament has been declared to be true to the autograph.

    Have a blessed day!

    Darrell

  • Darrell

    Eric,

    I agree with you in that no one illustration does the Trinity justice. We always have to temper our illustrations with a word of caution.

    Have a blessed Christmas!

    Darrell

  • Bill Pratt

    Waqar,
    Thank you so much for commenting. I want to take up a theme I see in your comment. You pointed out several times that Jesus practiced the rituals of Judaism, but Paul advocated abolishing those rituals. I want to explain how that works.

    Jesus lived his life as the perfect Jew, following both the moral and ceremonial laws of Moses. Why? Because he was to be the perfect sacrifice for mankind. He was to be the unblemished Passover Lamb. Only a person who fulfilled all of the laws of Moses could be the sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

    As you read the Gospels, you see that time and again Jesus exhorted people to believe in him, to believe that he was the Messiah, the Son of God. You don’t see him stressing rituals and saying to people. “If you follow all the rituals like I do, you will be acceptable to God.” That is just not his ministry at all. His ministry is to announce that the prophesied Kingdom of God has arrived in him, the Messiah. Put another way, Jesus was stressing that who he was was the important thing. He wasn’t just giving a good moral example to us, like other religious figures have tried to do; he was saying, “It’s all about me and who I am.”

    Paul, along with the other writers of the NT, explains what the death and resurrection of Jesus meant. Since the perfect Passover Lamb was sacrificed (Jesus), there is no longer a need for Jews to follow the sacrificial system laid out by Moses. There are to be no more sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins, because Jesus has taken care of it, once and for all. Paul continues what Jesus taught, by pointing to Jesus, and what he accomplished, as the key to salvation. For Paul, belief in Jesus as the Messiah, belief in his atoning death, and his resurrection, is what makes people acceptable to God.

    There is no contradiction between Jesus and Paul at all. Paul explains in 1 Cor 15 that the gospel message is all about Jesus. Please read this post for some additional information about Paul and Jesus.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Waqar

    Hi Bill,

    I appreciate your explanation of the importance characteristics of christian belief and i have no doubt that that you are sincere and genuine to the essential tenets of christianity theology.

    In my posting there were essentially 2 lines of enquiry.

    1. Why was Jesus jewish in every aspect of his life

    2. Why do we not have a Book of Jesus, that can be attributed to him, in the same way we have Books of Job, Solomon, Moses (exodus), Daniel, Isiah etc etc

    You explained the first part that Jesus had to follow the mosaic law to be the perfect sacrifice and the questions that go through my mind are:

    1.If Jesus is God, why would he need to practice the rituals of his subjects to be perfect? He is either perfect or he isnt?

    2.Was Jesus a sacrifical lamb or was he murdered/executed by the romans? If he was murdered he cannot be a sacrifice. If his purpose was to die for the sins of mankind it would have made more sense for jesus to have a public gathering and then a public execution by his most closest disciple.

    3.Most importantly and this ties in with my asking for the Book of Jesus, is that why if Jesus is God/Son of God he didnt not leave behind a written preserved text for all of mankind to hear the words directly from the mouth of Jesus.

    Jesus coming to earth must rank as the most important thing ever in human history (in the eyes of christians) that surely the least we could be given would be a text directly from jesus. Instead we have to rely on some (10??) authors of the new testament, who were ‘guided by the holy ghost’. I find this to be highly objectionable as an outsider looking in, if Jesus was here on earth in the flesh what need for the holy ghost????

    As we have only the Gospels as a reference we have no option but to refer back to the biographical account of jesus life. please can you find for me references where Jesus EXPLICITLY says any of the following statements in their entirety (or similar) without ambiguity or confusion:

    1. I am Jesus, one part of a triune God which consists of the father the son and the holy ghost

    2.i am Jesus the son of God worship me alone and only me if you are to be forgiven

    I find in the bible great confusion, at times God’ is treated talked of as a separate entitiy and that it is THAT God that is to be worshipped such as when jesus says the first great commandment is ….. and goes on to repeat the ShEMA (hear O Israel your lord God is one…..) Why did Jesus not at this perfect opportune moment instead say the first great commandment is Your Lord God is the father the son and the holy ghost???

    3. The mosaic law is to be abandoned, i am following the mosaic law because i am must fulfill my mission to be a perfect sacrifice for all of mankinds sins

    You see there are hundreds of christian denominations with such varying beliefs from say the Jehovah Witnesses who do not believe Jesus to be the Son of God to the catholics whose logic follows….Jesus is the Son of God, Mary gave birth to Jesus…..So Mary is the Mother of God!!!!!!! Trinitarians, unitarians, baptists, presbytarians, JW’s etc etc And the odd thing is these denominations use the SAME bible but have massively differing iinterpretations.

    All this could have been solved if we had the Gospel of JESUS! and if not the gospel of Jesus then at least explicit unambiguous statements from Jesus to make clear exactly who he is and what he represents.

    If christians cannot agree on what the Bible is saying how on earth can any neutral outside observer make sense of it?

    Let us not forget too that for some 1600 years the dominant sect of the christian world was…catholicism, until the protestant movement in europe. The more we look at things the worse it gets.

    I certainly believe that Jesus was a role model exemplar and that he was not a hypocrite in his actions, do as i say not as i do, hence his actions were very Jewish and if it was good enough for Jesus then its good enough for every one else. Why did he choose 12 practicing jews as disciples? and did they give up their jewishness after jesus left or did they just not require of it from Gentiles that converted to christianity?

    If Paul or anybody else says dispose of the mosaic law then you are following that person, not Jesus, how could Jesus (son of God as yo say) leave the religion in the hands of others when he himself had a presence on the earth?

    jesus being part of the triune God must have been the same God that spoke to Moses by the burning bush, was it not Jesus who gave the 10 coimmandments inscribed on tablets of stone for Moses? Did Jesus ever make reference to the events in the OT of his works? Would be interesting to find a quote where jesus says…..recall the time when i flooded the earth with water, or remember the time when it rained frogs on egypt, or when i parted the red sea, or when i took up elijah on a chariot of fire………

    I hope theres not too much here to go on, the questions regarding christianity are numerous in my mind and if i seem to move from one issue to another it is only because the jigsaw of christianity is interlinked such that when you start one topic you inevitably move off into other areas

    Regards

    Waqar

  • Bill Pratt

    Waqar,
    Not wanting to write a 10,000 word response, I will just focus on your first 3 questions for now. Perhaps others will want to answer all of your other questions.

    First, you asked, “If Jesus is God, why would he need to practice the rituals of his subjects to be perfect? He is either perfect or he isnt?”

    Jesus became a man so that he could reconcile man to God. As the God-man, only Jesus could bridge the gulf between God and man, which was caused originally by the sin of Adam and Eve. Jesus becoming man (the Incarnation) is fundamental to Christianity because if Jesus was merely God and his earthly life an illusion, then there was no real reconciliation. Jesus, then, perfectly fulfilled the Mosaic Law as a man, so your question is answered.

    Second, you asked, “Was Jesus a sacrifical lamb or was he murdered/executed by the romans? If he was murdered he cannot be a sacrifice. If his purpose was to die for the sins of mankind it would have made more sense for jesus to have a public gathering and then a public execution by his most closest disciple.”

    Jesus both sacrificed himself and was murdered by the Romans. These two are not mutually exclusive, as you imply in your question. The Romans did execute him, but Jesus allowed it to happen. He could have stopped it whenever he wanted, but he chose to let it go forward, which makes it a voluntary sacrifice on his part. There is no dilemma here at all. As to your second point, Jesus did die at a public gathering; I don’t really understand how having his closest disciple do the execution makes any difference. All that was required was for Jesus to be executed; the name tag on the executioner hardly seems relevant.

    Third, you asked, “Most importantly and this ties in with my asking for the Book of Jesus, is that why if Jesus is God/Son of God he didnt not leave behind a written preserved text for all of mankind to hear the words directly from the mouth of Jesus.”

    He did, in the Gospels. The Gospels were written through eyewitness testimony. In the cases of Matthew and John, they were with Jesus before and after his death, so they would have direct experience of what he said. In Mark’s case, he reported the words of Peter, another direct eyewitness of Jesus. In the case of Luke, he interviewed and spoke to eyewitnesses about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

    If you want to press the issue and ask why didn’t Jesus, himself, write a book, then I would respond that maybe he had more important things to do, and maybe he was planning all along for his words to be written down by his disciples. His ministry was only for a few years, and in that time, a lot needed to be accomplished. He was busy healing the sick, feeding the hungry, teaching about the Kingdom of God, raising people from the dead, and so forth. In addition, it seems that he chose the disciples he did and taught them the way that he did, in order for them to remember what he said so that they could pass it on.

    In summary, Jesus’ words have been preserved by his disciples and companions of his disciples. The fact that Jesus didn’t write a book, himself, seems irrelevant. Muhammad, as I understand it, didn’t actually write the Qur’an (he was unable to write), but his followers did. I could turn the question back around to you and say, “Surely the greatest prophet that God would send would have written the words of God himself. After all, this is the most important man in history. Why would his followers write down his words instead of him?”

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Raphael

    haha Bill,

    I will play the Devil’s/Heathen’s Advocate here.

    (1) Given your doctrine, it appears that God abdicated Heaven in the Incarnation. Does that mean that God lost His Omnipotence and all the other omni-characteristics in becoming Man.

    How did Jesus be Omni-(whatever) and still be a human in full?

    (last) Well, the Angel Gabriel apparently wrote it; something like the Ten Commandments and Moses. Anyhow, the Koran was written in a transmissible poetic form, which was the best way of transmitting knowledge in nomadic tribes of the Arabian Peninsular.

    His followers wrote the Hadith, not the Koran.

  • Bill Pratt

    Raphael,
    The devil/heathen doesn’t need any help! :)

    Anyway, you’re asking about the doctrine of the Incarnation. The doctrine states that Jesus has 2 natures: a human nature and a divine nature. So Jesus, who is the second person of the Trinity, has always been God and always will be God, but he added a human nature when he was conceived in Mary’s womb. Jesus, as God, never lost his divine attributes.

  • Waqar

    Dear Bill

    Thankyou for your explanations. I am sorry to say that despite there being a reason and an ‘explanation’ for almost every query i bring up about Christianity i believe the explanations are less than satisfying and that the only people that will or can take them to heart are the ‘faithful’ dyed in the wool believers who really have to swallow fantastic fantasy like reasoning.

    1. “Jesus (who is God) became a man to reconcile the relationship between God and Man”

    I really dont know whether to laugh or cry when i hear that and i mean that with respect not ridicule. It just gets worse and more mind boggling the more i think about it.

    In short what you are saying is that God (the father) was upset with his creation because his creation did something that he did not like, so instead of just saying to Adam and Eve ‘i forgive you’ (after all christians keep telling us how forgiving God is yet he could not forgive adams sin let alone yours or mine). God banishes Adam and Eve out of heaven.

    After some time God makes a decision that to heal the rift between him and his creation (over whom he has absolute and complete mastery and control) he will send a lesser God? (or is Jesus equal in Godship to the father God??) to earth, whereby his creation (man) will kill/sacrifice/slaughter the Son God. Which apparently for some reason heals the rift between God and his creation.

    If anything Man has performed a double Insult to God by ‘crucifying’ Jesus.

    Then after this sacrifice/slaughter/murder God turns over a new leaf and is all too willing to forgive and forget.

    Bill, it just gets worse the more you delve and think about it.

    2) I talked about Jesus being sacrificed in a public gathering by one of his disciples and you explained that Jesus was executed/sacrificed publicly and that by whom it did not matter, but the act was the most important thing

    If Jesus life mission was to be the sacrifical lamb and he knew this to be true from the outset, why place himself in the hands of his enemies who wanted to sacrifice him?

    I say public gathering – i should have said public gathering of his FOLLOWERS, and an execution by one of his disciples. His life purpose and mission would be VERY CLEAR for all to see. This could have been done at any time, but you are saying that Jesus (God) preferred ot be forced to be slayed. Just dosent add up, h eknew he had to die for mans sins yet he became a ‘ward of court’ and allowed the state to do as they pleased. Perhaps it wasnt Jesus life misision to die at the hands of his captors.

    3) Regarding the Gospels you say they were wriiten by Jesus through expert testimony. How you validate expert testimony and where there are multiple citations is beyond me. The gospels are a biographical account and there are so many passages so strikingly similar it is obvious that they were not written independently of each other.

    You say that maybe Jesus had more important things to do than write a book. Please Bill we are talking about God here on earth. If a book wasn’t important to Jesus then why do you have the NT. Chrisitans had a first hand opportunity with God on earth (as you believe) to have a book written from the ink of Jesus while he was ALIVE. What a great opportunity missed – mankind has really lost out.

    4) You say that you could all too well say that Muhammads followers wrote the Quran after Muhammad as he couldn’t read or write – that is certainly correct. I really like it when christians have to use Islam to defend themselves but you have gotten into a muddle here.

    The Quran is a recitation – it is to be recited orally. On my street Bill, i can find you at least FIVE people who can recite the whole of the Quran from beginning to end – and that is just on my street, let alone my neighbourhood, town, or all the other cities and countries in the world. The Quran was fully known and made aware of in Muhammads lifetime. No one can dispute that the quran we have today is the same quran that was revealed to Muhammad during his lifetime. Muslims will quite openly and happily say that you can hold Muhammad to account.

    No one can say that you can hold Jesus to account for what is written in the bible. As we know all the people who did write it. Or as you will have me believe – the holy spirit inspired it as the holy spirit thought it quite important, yet Jesus the God (man) missed the opportunity to do so when he was here in the flesh.

    5)In your response to Raphael saying God has 2 natures human and divine, well this was the conclusion of the council of nicea. They had to decide if God was fully human or if he was fully divine, and the only way to reconcile christian theology of the time was to take the easy route and say he was BOTH

    Bill, you can defend and defend and defend but it just makes things worse, the doctrine of trinity, of Jesus being God on earth etc just raises far too many questions and problems that there really is no defence. And this is the bedrock of your belief.

    When criticising Islam criticise us on our most important belief, our foundation our religion in a nutshell – and that is the pure monotheistic belief in God. It cannot be done, and so many people do one of several things, they attack the character of Muhammad, they question the contents of the Quran. You do not even need to go that far! Just attack our bedrock belief in pure monotheism!!! ……………

    Regards

    Waqar

    (please take no offence in any comments that appear to be less than respectful, that is not my intention and if you are offended i apologise in advance)

  • Bill Pratt

    Waqar,
    Since my answers to your questions are doing nothing but confusing you further, I would recommend that you look elsewhere for your answers about Christianity; although I suspect, based on what you’ve said and how you’ve said it, that you aren’t really looking for answers to your questions.

    With regard to pure monotheism, I don’t quite understand how this could be the foundation of Islam, since Jews are also pure monotheists. Last time I checked, Muslims considered Judaism to be wrong. Has something changed?

    I am also curious as to whether you believe that Jesus actually was crucified by the Romans and died due to that crucifixion. I think that’s what this post was originally about.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Raphael

    Waqar,

    I apologize for not being as eloquent as you ;)

    (2) God didn’t banish Adam and Eve out of Heaven; God Banished them from Eden on Earth. In actual fact, God told Adam and Eve to leave the Garden; “banish” is a flavourable translation.

    (3) Even out of Eden, God provided Adam and Eve with clothes, showing that God still cared for Adam and Eve. Now, on reading the Bible, I have decided that the real problem was that God forgave Adam and Eve, but Adam and Eve neither forgave God nor each other.

    (4) Not quite. Haha, I puzzled over that point for quite a long time. Until a stumbled over a small quote in a theology book last week:-

    “The word ‘person’ comes from the Greek word ‘persona’. A persona was a death-mask, and usually worn only by people of rank in their tombs. A slave in ancient Greece or Ancient Rome had no persona at all.”

    And so, I have figured that the Trinitarian doctrine is best expressed as “3 personas in One God”. God was upset with Humanity – and not all of creation – because Humanity chose to separate itself from Him, something that is a bit different from doing something that God doesn’t like. In the time of Creation and in the Ancient Era, God expressed Himself with the Persona of God the Father, while holding on to the other two Personas.

    In the NT era, God expressed Himself with the Persona of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, or more correctly, the Son in God or God the Son. because God is God, this Persona was a full human in terms of biology and culture, but had access to the essence of God, which “fleshes out” the Persona. The Mystery of the Incarnation is how the “fleshing out” was achieved.

    God (the Actor) knew that Jesus (the Persona) would be crucified and hung; but there is no mention that God intended Jesus to be hung. The Jews and the Romans had to be given free will to exercise. He sent Jesus to reconcile man to God, not (just) to be crucified. It “happened” that the best way to achieve this was through crucifixion.

    The reconciliation was achieved by the Incarnation, not the crucifixion. Original Sin came into being when man and woman thought that they were inferior to God, and compensated by developing an arrogance against God. So in the Incarnation, God simultaneously “rose” and “descended” to man’s and woman’s level; i.e. material reconciliation. The Crucifixion allowed God to go “beneath” man and woman’s level. Metaphorically and logically, if God is in Hell, then Hell isn’t Hell. Like, very informally, “God is inferior to you so you don’t need to have an inferiority complex any more” on the gut level. The biblical inverse being “God is superior to you so stop being arrogant!”

    (6) God doesn’t turn over a new leaf, because God always forgave. It is man who did not forgive God because he did not forgive himself. Hell is the end of all desires. What the last end of the Incarnation – Easter – does is to bring man to a closer relationship with God, and hence a closer relationship with himself/ herself. What sin does is the inverse.

    (8) Possibly the simplest question to answer. Jesus put himself into the hands of his enemies because he was their enemy, but they were not his. And no, his life mission was to be the lamb, not necessarily the sacrificial lamb. Circumstances made him accept what would have been the contingent status of being a sacrifice.

    (9 -10) I would say that Jesus wanted the ‘State’ to have their full chance of repentance and reconciliation, or, to be more technical, to come to terms with God and him on their own. And unfortunately, the only way they could come to terms was by executing him. So, Jesus wasn’t “programmed” to die at the start of his life; as a full human being, even as a Persona of God, he needed to have complete freedom of will.

    (11) Or it shows a coherence that proves authenticity. In fact, I find this comment of yours ironic; most critics love to point out how many striking DIFFERENCES there are.

    (12) Jesus the Persona was raised as a carpenter, not a Scribe, and so was illiterate. God Christ Jesus was aware that the best way to promote love was by showing it, not by cooping oneself up in a small room to write abstract treatises on the subject.

    Christians have the NT because the apostles believed that they were served better through written transmission than oral transmission, and also because nobility preferred written (refined) to oral (vulgar) discourse. It is arguable that the Early Church made too much concessions to society.

    (14) And yet, I have seen Muslim books debating the authenticity of the Koran. Muslim Books, not prejudiced Evangelical apologetics…

    So … an explanation?

    (15) Jesus had 3 years in which he had to travel around a large area on foot. Didn’t give him much time to sit down and write books. In any case, even apologetics of Islam hold the same view with regard to Jesus and the Bible; so this argument doesn’t strengthen the argument you wish to make against Bill at all.

    (16) I am sorry, but taking that route wasn’t the easiest one to take. If it had been the easiest, it wouldn’t have resulted in a schism 200 years later. In fact, taking Jesus as fully human or as fully divine is the simpler way out. The Arians took Jesus as fully human; the Council of Nicea was convened to deal with Arianism. Earlier on, the Gnostics had taken Jesus as fully Divine; the human body of Jesus was a fake body, even.

    The Council adopted its resolution because that was the only way to qualify the Theology of Salvation. They could have done the easier choice of denying it totally, and saying that Jesus came to offer Divine advice, then Jesus would be nothing more than a prophet, which is how Islam treats him. Or they could have taken the even easier Gnostic summation, and claimed that Jesus was God mingling with humans, and dismiss the apostles’ experiences of Jesus as virtual simulations.

    But the Council reached their decision because they wanted to endorse both the apostles’ physical experience of Jesus and their emotional experience of him and his character. And the only way to achieve that was by acknowledging two wills. However, his essence still remained divine.

    “fully human and fully Divine” is the simplistic way of writing it; the more accurate technical wording is “One Essence expressed in two wills, one Human, and one Divine”, with the Human Will recognized as the preternatural human will of Adam and Eve.

    (13)

  • Raphael

    (17) The Bedrock of Christianity is the belief that Christ came to Save Mankind. The doctrines of Original Sin, Virgin Birth, Trinity etc etc all aim to elucidate this point. So if you want Islam to be critiqued on its basic foundation, then critique Christianity on its basic foundation too.

    (18) As Bill stated, Judaism has a pure monotheistic belief too. I would supplement and maintain that pagan religions also have pure monotheisms. In history books, paganism is often described as the cult of this-or-that-goddess-or-god, meaning that the adherents had an exclusive devotion to that god. In fact, polytheisms in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece all started out as pure monotheisms: each city-state in Egypt or Greece had its own national or tribal god or goddess which exclusively protected that state.

    So “pure monotheism” cannot be the foundation of a religion, because so many religions – in the widest sense of the word – have it.

    In any case, I had always thought that the foundation of Islam was expressed in its name: “Islam” = “Total Submission”. People question the Koran because it is supposed to describe what this “Submission” ought to be. People question Mohammed’s character because if he had a bad character, he might have twisted the meaning of “Islam”.

    So the basic critique will be: Is submission an intrinsic good?

    Could you, as a Muslim, answer that question?

  • bystander

    The bible has A new testament And an old testemant We believe in jesus christ He is a great Prophet But Quran does not have any contradiction unlike the bible any Contradiction you belive that Exist you can take it Up with Dr.Zakir Naik 5 mins with him And You will trully understand that Even as we Speak you are going against God Denying the truth which is infront of You

  • Raheem Chaudhry

    The Quran here says that Jesus was not crucified, but that does not mean that an event where Jesus is thought to have been crucified has occured.With the majority of Muslims agreeing with this argument and the fact that a crucifiction DID occur (just of someone else, instead of Jesus) to make people believe that Jesus had been crucified.

    It has also come to my attention that some Muslims interpret the verses to mean the Jesus was not killed on the cross, but in fact fell into a swoon. This is inline with some other philosphers on theologists’ beliefs on the topic. They believe that in fact, after three days, he awoke and then went out to preach to the Ten Tribes (or Lost Sheep) of Israel, as is says that he PROPHECISED IN THE BIBLE. If not, surely that would mean that Jesus’ followers, Christians, do not believe in what he said as he could not have done so, if he died a violent and imminent death. So, therefore the Bible can be discredited there and cannot be used as a source for historical refrence as it was used in the main post.

  • Bill Pratt

    Raheem,
    No scholar today holds the swoon theory as it has numerous serious flaws (it was popular in the 1800’s). The kinds of wounds that Jesus suffered could not be survived by anyone, as testified by modern medical science. In addition, assuming that Jesus did somehow survive, he would have been in horrible condition and in need of urgent medical care – hardly inspiring his followers to proclaim his resurrection to a glorious new body. You are going to have to find another way of explaining the evidence, I’m afraid.

  • abdullah

    time to expose Christianity for good

    Praise be to Allaah.
    Muhammad(Peace Be Upon Him)in the bible
    Bible
    prophecies about the advent of muhammad
    Abraham is widely regarded as the Patriarch
    of monotheism and the common father of the Jews, Christians and Muslims.
    Through his second son, Isaac, came all Israelite prophet including
    such towering figures as Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus.
    May peace and blessing be upon them all. The advent of these great prophets
    was in partial fulfillment of God’s promises to bless the nations of
    earth through the descendents of Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3). Such
    fulfillment is wholeheartedly accepted by Muslims whose faith considers
    the belief in and respect of all prophets an article of faith.

    BLESSING OF ISHMAEL AND ISAAC
    Was
    the first born son of Abraham (Ishmael) and his descendants included
    in God’s covenant and promise? A few verses from the Bible may help
    shed some light on this question :

    Genesis 12:2-3 speaks
    of God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants before any child
    was born to him.

    Genesis 17:4 reiterates God’s promise
    after the birth of Ishmael and before the birth of Isaac.

    In Genesis, ch.21. Isaac is specifically
    blessed but Ishmael was also specifically blessed and promised by
    God to become “ a great nation” especially in Genesis 21:13,
    18.

    According to Deuteronomy 21:15-17 the
    traditional rights and privileges of the first born son are not
    to be affected by the social status of his mother (being a ‘free’
    woman such as Sarah, Isaac’s mother, or a “Bondwoman” such as Hagar,
    Ishmael’s mother). This is only consistent with the moral and humanitarian
    principles of all revealed faiths.

    The full legitimacy of Ismael as Abraham’s son
    and “seed” and the full legitimacy of his mother, Hagar, as Abraham’s
    wife are clearly stated in Genesis 21:13 and 16:3.

    After
    Jesus, the last Israelite messenger and prophet, it was time that God’s
    promise to bless Ismael and his descendants be fulfilled. Less than
    600 years after Jesus, came the last messenger of God, Muhammad
    (Peace be Upon Him) , from the progency of Abraham through Ishmael.
    God’s blessing of both of the main branches of Abraham’s family tree
    was now fulfilled. But are there additional corroborating evidence that
    the Bible did in fact foretell the advent of Prophet Muhammad (Peace
    be Upon Him)?
    MUHAMMAD
    (Peace be Upon Him):
    The Prophet Like Unto Moses
    Long
    time after Abraham, God’s promise to send the long-awaited Messenger
    was repeated this time in Moses’ word.
    In
    Deuteronomy 18:18, Moses spoke of the prophet to be sent by God
    who is :

    From among the Israelite’s “brethren” a reference
    to their Ishmaelite cousins as Ishmael was the other son of Abraham
    who was explicitly promised to become a “great nation”.

    A prophet like unto Moses. There were hardly
    any two prophets who were so much alike as Moses and Muhammad.
    Both were given comprehensive law code of life, both encountered
    their enemies and were victors in miraculous ways, both were accepted
    as prophets/statesmen and both migrated following conspiracies to
    assassinate them. Analogies between Moses and Jesus overlooks not
    only the above similarities but other crucial ones as well (e.g.
    the natural birth, family life and death of Moses and Muhammad
    but no of Jesus, who was regarded by His followers as the Son
    of God and not exclusively a messenger of God, as Moses and Muhammad
    were and as Muslim belief Jesus was).

    THE
    AWAITED PROPHET WAS TO COME FROM ARABIA
    Deuteronomy
    33:1-2 combines references to Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.
    It speaks of God (i.e. God’s revelation) coming from Sinai, rising from
    Seir (probably the village of Sa’ir near Jerusalem) and shining forth
    from Paran.
    According
    to Genesis 21:21, the wilder-ness of Paran was the place where
    Ishmael settled (i.e. Arabia, specifically Mecca).

    Indeed
    the King James version of the Bible mentions the pilgrims passing through
    the valley of Ba’ca (another name of Mecca) in Psalms 84:4-6.

    Isaiah
    42:1-13 speaks of the beloved of God. His elect and messenger who
    will bring down a law to be awaited in the isles and who “shall not
    fail nor be discouraged till he have set judgement on earth.” Verse
    11, connects that awaited one with the descendants of Ke’dar. Who
    is Ke’dar? According to Genesis 25:13, Ke’dar was the second
    son of Ishmael, the ancestor of the prophet Muhammad.
    MUHAMMAD’S MIGRATION FROM MECCA TO MEDINA
    : PROPHECIED IN THE BIBLE?
    Habakkuk
    3:3 speaks of God (God’s help) coming from Te’man. (an Oasis North
    of Medina according to J. Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible), and the
    holy one (coming) from Paran. That holy one who under persecution migrated
    from Paran (Mecca) to be received enthusiastically in Medina was
    none but prophet Muhammad.
    Indeed
    the incident of the migration of the prophet and his persecuted followers
    is vividly described in Isaiah 21:13-17. that section forerold
    as well about the battel of Badr in which the few ill-armed faithfull
    miraculously defeated the “mighty” men of Ke’dar, who sought to destroy
    Islam and intimidate their own folks who turned to Islam.
    THE QUR’AN (KORAN) FORETOLD IN THE BIBLE?

    For
    twenty-three years, God’s word (the Qur’an) were truely put into Muhammad’s
    mouth. He was not the “author” of the Qur’an. The Qur’an was dictated
    to him by Angel Gabriel who asked Muhammad to simply repeat the words
    of the Qur’an as he heard them. These words were then committed to memory
    and to writing by those who hear them during Muhammad’s life
    time and under his supervision.
    Was
    it a coincidence that the prophet “like unto Moses” from the “brethren”
    of the Israelites (i.e. from the Ishmaelites) was also described as
    one in whose mouth God will put his words and that he will speak in
    the name of God., (Duteronomy 18:18-20). Was it also a coincidence
    the “Paraclete” thet Jesus foretold to come after Him was described
    as one who “shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear,
    that shall he speak.. “(John 16:13).
    Was
    it another coincidence that Isaiah ties between the messenger
    connected with Ke’dar and a new song (a scripture in a new language)
    to be sang unto the Lord (Isaiah 42:10-11). More explicitly,
    prophesies Isaiah “ for with stammering lips, and another tongue,
    will he speak to this people” (Isaiah 28:11). This latter verse
    correctly describes the “stammering lips” of Prophet Muhammad reflecting
    the state of tension and concentration he went through at the time of
    revelation. Another related point is that the Qur’an was revealed in
    piece-meals over a span of twenty-three years. It is interisting to
    compare this with Isaiah 28:10 which speaks of the same thing.

    THAT PROPHET – PARACLETE – MUHAMMAD

    Up
    to the time of Jesus, the Israelites were still awaiting for that prophet
    like unto Moses prophecied in Deuteronomy 18:18. when John the
    Baptist came, they asked him if he was Christ and he said “No”. they
    asked him if he was Elias and he said “No”. then, in apparent reference
    to Deuteronomy 18:18, they asked him “Art thou that Prophet”
    and he answered, “No”. (John 1:19-21).
    In
    the Gospel according to John (Chapters 14, 15, 16) Jesus spoke
    of the “ Paraclete” or comporter who will come after him, who will be
    sent by Father as another Paraclete, who will teach new things
    which the contemporaries of Jesus could not bear. While the Paraclete
    is described as the spirit of truth (whose meaning resemble Muhammad’s
    famous title Al-Amin, the trustworthy), he is identified in one verse
    as the Holy Ghost (John 14:26). Such a designation is however
    incosistent with the profile of that Paraclete. In the words of the
    Dictionary of the Bible, (Ed. J. Mackenzie) “ These items, it
    must be admitted do not give an entirely coherent picture.”
    Indeed history tells us that many early
    Christians understood the Paraclete to be a man and not a spirit. This
    might explain the followings who responded to some who claimed, without
    meeting the criteria stipulated by Jesus, to be the awaited “Paraclete”.

    It
    was Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) who was the Paraclete,
    Comforter, helper, admonisher sent by God after Jesus. He testified
    of Jesus, taught new things which could not be borne at Jesus’ time,
    he spoke what he heard (revelation), he dwells with the believers (through
    his well-preserved teachings). Such teachings will remain forever because
    he was the last messenger of God, the only Universal Messenger to
    unite the whole of humanity under God and on the path of PRESERVED truth.
    He told of many things to come which “came to pass” in the minutest
    detail meeting, the criterion given by Moses to distinguish between
    the true prophet and the false prophets (Deuteronomy 18:22).
    He did reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgement (John
    16:8-11).
    WAS THE SHIFT OF RELIGIUS LEADERSHIP PROPHECIED?

    Following
    the rejection of the last Israelite prophet, Jesus, it was about time
    that God’s promise to make Ishmael a great nation be fulfilled (Genesis
    21:13, 18).
    In Matthew
    21:19-21, Jesus spoke of the fruitless fig tree (A Biblical symbol
    of prophetic heritage) to be cleared after being given a last chance
    of three years (the duration of Jesus’ ministry) to give fruit. In a
    later verse in the same chapter, Jesus said : “Therefore, say I unto
    you, the Kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and given to nation
    bringing forth the fruit thereof” (Matthew 21:43). That nation
    of Ishmael’s descendants (the rejected stone in Matthew 21 :42)
    which was victorious against all super-powers of its time as prophecied
    by Jesus : “ And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken,
    but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder”
    (Matthew 21:44).
    OUT OF CONTEXT COINCIDENCE?
    Is it possible that the numerous prophecies
    cited here are all individually and combined out of contect misinterpretations?
    is the opposite true, that such infrequently studied verses fit together
    consistently and clearly point to the advent of the man who changed
    the course of human history, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon
    Him). Is it reasonable to conclude that all these prophecies, appearing
    in different books of the Bible and spoken by various prophets at different
    times were all coinsidence? If this is so here is another strange “coincidence”!

    One
    of the signs of the prophet to come from Paran (Mecca) is that he will
    come with “ten thousands of saints” (Deuteronomy 33:2 KJV). That
    was the number of faithful who accompanied Prophet Muhammad to
    Paran (Mecca) in his victorious, bloodless return to his birthplace,
    to destroy the remaining symbols of idolatry in the Ka’bah.
    Says God as quated by Moses :

    And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words
    which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deuteronomy
    18:19).
    Dear Readers:
    May the light of truth shine in your heart and mind.
    May it lead you to peace and certitude in this life and eternal bliss
    in hereafter.
    AMEEN .

    Islam Q&A
    Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/T3QBMWRBGZJPTKIB2MZKKBIXCM Zuma

    I have full indept knowledge of muslims since there was once I tried to find out Quran’s verses in order to convince Muslims to be converted to Christianity but I fail since there is only a little that mention about Jesus and Mary and even Moses.
    Quran does not mention that Jesus did not die on the cross of calvary. The book that supports muslims to believe Jesus did not die on the cross of calvary is from the book, The Gospel of Barnabas, that has been used by them to be the supplementary book of Quran.
    The following is the extract paragraph from The Gospel of Barnasbas, verse 220:
    (Jesus replied, embracing his mother….And though I have been innocent in the world, since men have called me ‘God’ and ‘Son of God’, God in order that I be not mocked of the demons on the day of judgment, hath willed that I be mocked of men in this world by the death of Judas, MAKING ALL MEN TO BELIEVE THAT I DIED UPON THE CROSS. AND THIS MOCKING SHALL continue until the advent of Mohammad, the messenger of God, who, when he shall come, shall reveal this deception to those who believe in God’s law.)
    As the phrase, making all men to believe that I died on the cross, is mentioned above with the phrase, this mocking, it implies the denial of Jesus’ death on the cross.
    Quran does not support Trinity but monotheism. The following is the extract:
    Quran Chapter 2 Verse 172, “O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic monotheism)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship.”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/T3QBMWRBGZJPTKIB2MZKKBIXCM Zuma

    Muslims use only one book, the Gospel of Barnabas, to confirm that Jesus did not die on the cross and yet the Bible is made up of many books that were written by many authors that confirm the death and resurrection of Jesus. Who should we trust? Of course! Bible since it was written by many authors to confirm one fact and yet the Gospel of Barnabas was written by a writer that could falsify the truth.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/T3QBMWRBGZJPTKIB2MZKKBIXCM Zuma

    You are playing a jigsaw puzzle. Using a big here and there to support muslims’ teaching. Nothing is mentioned with the name, Prophet Mohammad, in these gospels that you have mentioned except you have twisted the gospels around to suit you. The only book that supports Prophet Mohammad is, the Gospel of Barnabas. The other gospels that you use contradict the Gospel of Barnabas since the other gospels did mention Jesus did die on the cross of calvary and be resurrected, but the Gospel of Barnabas denies. How could you reconcile the difference? You need to accept either the Gospel of Barnabas or the other gospels. If you accept the other gospels, why don’t you accept Jesus as died on the cross of calvary that is supported by the gospel of John?

  • TOM

    According to gene17,20….there was a community of Arab through Ishmayel. GOD blessed them. MOHAMMED NABI is their PROPHET.Later MOHD Nabi married to a 6 year OLD girl and accepted her as wife when she was just 9 years old. GOD was angry at him and withdrawn his PROPHETSHIP from him due to his severe sin. QURAN was completed half portion at that time. What is written in quran after the withdrawal of prophet ship is still HUMAN MADE.THE REAL QURAN IS UP TO 113SURA ONLY. THE REST IS NOT BY GOD.THAT’S WHY THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS IS NOT MENTIONED.

  • TOM

    The distance between JERUSALEM and MECCA was about 766 miles by road at the time of CRUCIFIXION. There was NO..NO chance to know what had happened in JERUSALEM by ARABS.HOLY QURAN was written how many years after the death of JESUS?600 years….Quran was written 30 yrs after the death of MOHAMMED NABI.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ethan.haynes2 Ethan Haynes

    the Jesus of the quran did predict his own death. surat 19:33

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