Truth about Jesus Steven Johnson (Farukh Abdallah)
Bismillahi r-Rahmani r-Rahim Assalamu aleikum I am going to talk about the truth about Jesus (peace be upon him!).
In the first part of the lecture I would like to consider some of the so-called Christian evidence for the Divinity of Jesus and with the short response to what I consider the best evidence that the Christians would have and then to conclude with what Islam has to say about Jesus, insha Allah.
So first let us consider some of the best Christian so-called evidence for the Divinity of Jesus.
Of course one body of evidence that Christians have historically pointed to was evidence that Jesus (peace be upon him!) is God are the miracles of Jesus.
For example, they like to point to the virgin birth of Jesus. But it is the fact that Jesus had the human mother, but no father.
But of course for centuries the Jews and more recently the Muslims have counted that evidence by reminding the Christians that Adam had neither the mother of the father, and yet of course Christians never claim that Adam is Divine.
The physical state of affairs of a virgin birth as miraculous as it is not proof of Divinity.
For example, we read in the New Testatment that Hebrews (chapter 7, verse 3). It says that "without father, mother or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains the priest for ever".
It�s a very interesting verse, because that verse is not describing Jesus (peace be upon him!), rather if taken literally, as Christians take other verses in the Bible, it says that Melchizedek - an Old Testament figure - was without a father, without a mother, and that he is eternal.
So, using Christian logic, wouldn�t Melchizedek be God? And yet, no Christian says that Melchizedek is God. More often Christians would suggest, that since Jesus (peace be upon him!) had the power to cure the sick or even to raise the dead - that he must be God, because only God has power over life and death.
But the Bible itself demonstrates that claim is not logically founded.
For example, in the New Testament in the book of Acts (chapter 5, verse 15) we discover that families would bring their sick out into the street, so that the shadow of St.Peter could cast upon the sick people, and it says when the shadow of St.Peter was cast upon them - that they were cured.
Supposedly the mere shadow of Peter had the power to cure the sick.
In Acts (chapter 14, verse 10), Paul says to a crippled man: "Stand up upon your feet. And the man was cured".
And Paul did not mention the name of Jesus (peace be upon him!) in order to cure the man.
In Acts (chapter 9, verse 40) St. Peter raises Tabitha from the dead. And he did not mention the name of Jesus in order to raise Tabitha from the dead.
Of course Christians claim and they should claim if they are good Christians, that the apostles receive power for these miracles from Jesus.
But it is not understandable why they stop there, why do they not say that Jesus (peace be upon him!) receives his power from God.
For example, when we read John (chapter 5, verse 30 and chapter 6, verse 38). It says that Jesus was supposed to have said: "I can do nothing on my own initiative.
As I hear, I judge. And my judgement is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of Him who sent me".
So if Jesus, (peace be upon him!) cures it is because it is the will of the One who sent him. Because Jesus by his own admission can do nothing on his own initiative.
Clearly the will of Jesus (peace be upon him!) is subordinated to the will of God, which is inconsistent with any claim that Jesus is equal to the Father.
St.Paul himself subordinated Christ to God the Father in authority.
In his letter to the Corinthians I (chapter 11, verse 3) Paul says that Christ is the head of every man and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.
Another typical verse of Paul is Corinthians I (chapter 15, verse 25). It says: "And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to him. That God may be all in all".
We also learn in the letter to Phillipians (chapter 2, verse 9) that God has highly exalted Jesus.
So if Jesus is subject to God and relies upon God to exalt him, then Jesus cannot be God, unless there are levels of being God.
At most Jesus could be aimed lower God and not equal to the Father.
But elsewhere in the Bible Jesus himself blatantly denies any kind of equality with God. For example, in the Gospel of John (chapter 14, verse 28) he says, "I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am".
In what sense can the Father be greater than Jesus ?
Christians view Jesus as perfect. Their line of argumentation is very simple. Since only God is perfect and Jesus is perfect, then Jesus must be God.
In logic we dismiss that kind of an argument, we say it is the fallacy of the undistributed middle term.
Let me give you an example of that, to show you how illogical it is. If I said that Begin is tired and Reigan is tired then I would have to conclude that Begin is Reigan.
So obviously it is an illogical kind of argument. It is the same kind of argument that we find there. You don�t even have to be a Major in logic to see that that is illogical.
If you look to the Bible itself in the famous sermon on the mount in Matthew (chapter 5, verse 48), Jesus supposedly commands us to "be ye therefore perfect, as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect".
Again Jesus of course was paraphrasing the Torah. We find those words in Leviticus (chapter 19, verse 2).
But by commanding us to be perfect, or holy as it is said in Leviticus, to Jesus and God it means to indicate that we all have the potential to be God.
Well of course no orthodox Christian would make such a claim. The fact is that if Jesus lived a perfect life, then he was a perfect man, but a perfect man is not God.
Jesus was simply following the commandment revealed by God to Moses.
But whatever Jesus�s perfection in the New Testament is, he is always characterised or described as lower or subordinate to God the Father. And that subordinate role is seen in the fact that Jesus himself viewed himself as a messenger.
In Matthew (chapter 10, verse 40), and in John (chapter 5, verse 36) Jesus says, "...he who receives you, receives me and he who receives me, receives Him who sent me". That�s a very important verse, when it is considered along with verse such as John (chapter 12, verse 44). That says, "But Jesus cried out and said "he who believes in me, does no believe in me, but in Him who sent me"
. Also in John (chapter 13, verse 16) it says, "A slave is not greater than his master, neither a messenger - greater than the One who sent the messenger".
So Jesus is admitting both that he is a messenger and that the messenger is not as great as the One who send a messenger. It is very very clear.
Consistently the Gospel writers viewed Jesus as a human messenger, one mediator between God and man. That is evident in I Timothy (chapter 2, verse 5). Where Paul writes, "For there is one God, and also one mediator between God and men - a man Christ Jesus".
That whole doctrine was of course taken from file of Alexander. I don�t have time to go into that but if you have questions about it later I can go into it. So, I think we can see that if in some biblical verses Jesus is described as perfect, we can see from other verses that his perfection is only a human perfection. The Bible itself does not attribute perfect knowledge to Jesus.
Jesus freely admitted that there were things that neither he nor the Angels knew, but that only God knew.
For example, talking about the day of judgement, Jesus says in the Gospel of Mark (chapter 13, verse 32). He says that "of that day or hour no one knows, neither the Angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father".
And there is a very curious verse in Luke (chapter 2, verse 52), that makes the following statement about Jesus.
It said and Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and in physical growth and in favour with God and men. If Jesus is God, then we would expect him to share in the omniscience and the all-knowingness of God and the All-knowing God cannot increase in wisdom.
Or returning to the issue of perfection. If Jesus is perfect, and how could he increase in favour with God. A very dangerous thing happened in Christian theology, when the theologians attempted to attribute Divinity to Jesus.
Paradoxically, human qualities were attributed to God.
That is seen very clearly in a passage from Ditrich Barnhafer "Letters and papers from prison". Let me read it: "God is teaching us that we must live as men who can get along very well without him.
That we should be able to get along without God. The God who is with us is the God who forsakes us, the God who makes us live in this world. Without using him as a working hypothesis is the God before whom we are ever standing, before God and with Him we live without God.
God allows himself to be edged out of the world and onto the cross. God is weak and powerless in the world. And that is exactly the way, the only way in which he can be with us and help us".
Barharfer describes God as weak and powerless in the world, that he can be edged out of the world and nailed onto a cross. What a short step it is from describing God as weak and powerless in the world to some other words that are even worse
. Neichure wrote: "Where has God gone - he cried. I shall tell you. We have killed Him. You and I. We are all His murderers. God is dead. God remains dead and we have killed Him."
If Christians call Barnhafer and Neitsche silly then they should remember that for two centuries after the council of Carsidn, their Fathers and faith debated about whether God could suffer
. These debates and paradoxes continue only substantiating the old claim that anything can follow from a contradiction.
Once you say that God can become man, then anything can happen. Then God can be even called weak and powerless or God can even die, if God can become a man.
Many Christians claimed that the greatest single piece of evidence that Jesus is God is the empty tomb. The Resurrection of Jesus. In fact Paul says that if Jesus did not raise from the dead, the Christian faith is worthless.
That it is completely empty. But unfortunately for the Christian the only evidence for the Resurrection is found in the Bible; and those Resurrection stories, those Resurrection narratives are extremely inconsistent on the details of the event.
For example, try to use the biblical narratives to determine which of Jesus�s followers actually came to the tomb and found that the tomb is empty. In Matthew (chapter 28, verse 1) we learn that Mary Magdalene and another woman named Mary came to the tomb.
Whereas in Mark (chapter 16, verse 1) it says that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome were present.
Whereas in Luke (24:10) it says that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of Jesus and other women were present.
Finally in John (chapter 20, verse 1) - it suggests that Mary Magdalene was all alone at the tomb.
There is no consensus on who actually saw Jesus in the empty tomb, or who actually saw the empty tomb. And of course although Christians refer to the empty tomb they do not actually mean that the tomb is completely empty when the individuals went there. According to Christians there was an angelic presence at the tomb
However the Gospels of Mark and Luke differ on how many angels were actually present at the tomb.
Mark (16:5) has one young male angel in the tomb. Luke (24:4) has two male angels in the tomb.
Another question that fundamentalist Christians, that evangelical type often pose is who moved the stone (as if this is a terribly important question).
I must confess that even as a Christian I couldn�t envision a more irrelevant question.
First, what difference does it make who moved the stone. Just give him a name - Bernish Warts.
What difference does it make?
What does it prove?
The issue was not who moved the stone, but whether the Bible is free from inconsistencies, such that it is even possible to determine the answer to that question.
In fact, the Bible equivocates on who moved the stone. In Matthew (28:2) one reads that when Mary Magdalene and Mary arrived at the tomb, an angel approached, rolled the stone away and then sat upon the stone.
In Mark (16:4) and in Luke (24:2) one discovers that when the women arrived at the tomb, the stone was already moved. Another very interesting question is where was Jesus before the empty tomb was being visited. Supposedly at some point to be for Easter, Jesus ascended into Heaven, because in Luke (23:43) he promises the thief on the cross that the thief would be with Jesus that day in Paradise. That Day would be - on Good Friday.
However in John chapter (20, verse 17), Jesus tells Mary Magdalene on Easter Sunday not to touch him, because He has not yet ascended to the Father.
According to these verses Jesus would either be unfortunately (I would not say this, but according to the verse Jesus was either lying to the thief or to Mary Magdalene! Astagfir Allah!)
Because he promised to see that thief in Heaven on Friday, but on Sunday He had not yet ascended to the Father, he had not yet gone to Heaven.
It is curious that according to the Bible Jesus changed His mind about being touched before his ascension because in Matthew (28:9) it says that both of the Maries grabbed Jesus�s feet before He ascended to the Father.