Part 3 of 3: A Defense of the Logos: The Term ‘God’ Truth or Error? The Elohim/Al-lah Becomes Flesh? Can This Be a Fair Claim?

Posted By Thomas Perez. June 27, 2012 at 8:54pm. Copyright 2012.

A. The Logos Christian/Islamic Connection

As discussed in our previous studies, there are similarities in reference to the name of the Almighty. However, it must be understood that there are also similarities between the Holy Scriptures and the Noble Qur’an.

Quick Overview of the similarities and differences between Islam & Christianity

According to an Islamic website; DiscoveringIslam.org…

Quote.

1. There is only one God. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.

2. God sent prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Joseph, John the Baptist, Jesus, Mohammad, etc.

3. People should follow the Ten Commandments and the moral teachings of the prophets.

4. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin; therefore Jesus was born miraculously.

5. Jesus Christ is the Messiah and he performed miracles.

6. The Old testament/Torah and the new testament/Gospel) are Holy Scriptures.

7. Satan is evil; therefore, people should not follow Satan.

8. An Anti-Christ will appear on Earth before the Day of Judgment.

9. Jesus Christ will return by descending from Heaven and will kill the Anti-Christ.

10. The Day of Judgment will occur and people will be judged.

11. There is hell and paradise.

All of the above cited are similarities of which I can concur (except for the scholastic differences concerning matters of Eschatology)

There are 3 main differences between Islam & Christianity:

1. Today, most Christians believe in the Trinity, meaning that God is 3 Persons (Father, Son, Holy Ghost/ Spirit), but yet One God.  The concept of trinity was not adopted by Christianity until the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Some of the early Christians were Unitarians. Even today, there are Christian Unitarian churches that do not accept the Trinity. According to Wikipedia, notable Rationalist Unitarians include thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson (American), as well as famous figures such as Florence Nightingale (British) in nursing and humanitarianism, Charles Dickens (British) in literature, and Frank Lloyd Wright (American) in architecture.

While in Islam,

(a) Trinity is totally rejected. Jesus is neither God, nor Son of God (in the literal sense). Jesus was a human prophet and not divine.

(a) Muslims worship only God, the one and only the creator of the universe.

(b) This God (the Quran refers to as Allah) is the God and creator of Jesus and is the same God that Jesus in the current Bible refers to as Father and to whom Jesus used to pray.

(c) Muslims consider Mohammad, Moses, and Jesus as prophets and messengers sent by God (“messengers” is term that refers to prophets who brought holy scriptures to their people as a message from God). These prophets were human beings, not divine, and should not be worship directly or indirectly.

(d) Muslims believe that each human being can be called son/daughter of God because he/she was created by God. So there is nothing special or divine about Jesus being called son of God and therefore Jesus should not be worshiped.

(e) Finally, angels (such as Gabriel) are servants/agents of God. Angels are created by God; therefore, they are not divine and should not be worshiped.

2. The Quran says Jesus did not die on the cross, but God made it appear that way to people. Furthermore, the Quran also says that Jesus was ascended to Heaven by God. Most Christians today insist Jesus was crucified and died on the cross, but 3 days later was resurrected.

Modern Christianity was not founded by Jesus, but rather by Paul and the Romans in the Council of Nicea in 325 AD (meaning about 325 years after Jesus), inspired by Satan. In this Council of Nicea, Church leaders from around the world debated and finally decided on what should and what should not be included in the Bible. There were different views expressed in the Council; however, the views of the those who were most powerful won. As a result, lots of Gospels were thrown away. For Christianity to be adopted by the Roman Empire as its official religion, it had to succumb to the desires of the Romans who wanted to incorporate their own pagan religious beliefs and myths into Christianity. The integrity of the message brought by Jesus from God was compromised to appease the Roman Empire. Christianity has evolved into a cult that has deviated significantly from the true teachings of Jesus by: (a) adding new doctrines not preached by Jesus, (b) deleting or modifying some of the teachings of Jesus, and (c) creating an “unholy”, man-made scripture. A holy scripture must be in the form and content intended, inspired, or revealed by God, not created by human beings.

In addition, the Muslims fail to acknowledge Christ’s fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies in the minutest detail.

3. Christians believe in the concept of “Original Sin” which means that human beings are born as sinners, bearing the burden of the “Original Sin” of Adam and Eve. Muslims do not believe in the ” Original Sin” for 2 main reasons:

(a) In the Qur’an, God forgave Adam for what he has done, and

(b) according to the Qur’an, no one should be made to bear the burden of someone else’s sin or mistake because it is unfair.

Unquote.

According to the citations above, I can not use the word of Paul or his Epistles for that matter, since our Islamic friends denounce most of his writings to begin with. Moreover, they denounce most of Scripture (the Gospels included) as being corrupt due to its many translations. Yet they would, at the same time, accept certain parts of sacred text as being inspired by Allah Himself. This understanding implies a standard of policy. A policy that economizes the various Islamic points of theology in regard to Holy Scripture, whereas in other parts; in contrary to said theology, the Bible is considered corrupt. Therefore, I’ am left with no other choice, but to declare the Lord Jesus Christ through the Islamic Noble Qur’an and outside Biblical sources.

In reference to Jesus Christ as being declared the second person of the Godhead (Trinity) as put forth by the Counsel of Nicea in a doctrine called the Trinitarian doctrine in 325AD, I concur, the Trinitarian view of God is pagan in origin, howbeit, not necessarily without a basis when interrupting the nature of the Godhead. However, the validation of the Logos/the Almighty becoming Flesh is not pagan. For an explanation of such, please see my study; ‘Part 1 & 2 How to Answer Those Who Deny That Jesus Christ Is God Almighty

HOWEVER, in reference to Jesus being the Divine Lord Almighty and Sacrificial Lamb of God – thus truly resurrected from the dead much is mentioned of this fact before the counsels of 325AD. Here are some extra Biblical sources that declare Jesus’ Divinity, death, and resurrection.

B. Extra Biblical Sources (Christian Evidence)

1. IGNATIUS, THE BISHOP OF ANTIOCH IN SYRIA. In 110 A.D. he wrote a series of several letters to several churches. The center piece of his doctrine was his convictions that Christ was God incarnate, calling Jesus Christ our Lord and referring to Him as the Christ-God (Historical Theology: An Introduction). Ignatius was a Bishop of Antioch reported to have been appointed to his position by Peter of whom he was a disciple. He is also believed to be a disciple of Paul and John. Ignatius was arrested by the Romans and executed as a martyr in the arena. Even though his testimony would ultimately lead to his death, Ignatius was adamant about the things he witnessed. He reinforces early Christian beliefs in the letters he penned while in prison. Even when execution was imminent, Ignatius refused to recant his faith.

“Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth. Who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His Father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe in Him.” Trallians

“He is truly of the race of David according to the flesh but Son of God by the Divine will and powered, truly born of a virgin and baptized by John that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him, truly nailed up in the flesh for our sakes under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch… That He might set up an ensign unto all ages through His resurrection.” Smyrneans, 1

“Be ye fully persuaded concerning the birth and the passion and the resurrection, which took place in the time of the governorship of Pontius Pilate. For these things were truly and certainly done by Jesus Christ our hope.” Magnesians XI

2. CLEMENT OF ROME (? – 98 A.D.) Clement was a bishop of Rome and later became known as the fourth pope. He was eventually martyred in approximately 98 A.D. Some speculate Paul was referring to Clement in Philippians 4:3 but this cannot be proven. Clement was a first century apostolic author which gives credence to his first-hand account of early Christianity. In the passage below, Clement confirms the ministry of the disciples and some of the basic tenets of early Christianity.

“The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. Having therefore received a charge, and being fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God will full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come. So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their first fruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons unto them that should believe.” Corinthians 4:2

3. QUADRATUS OF ATHENS (126 A.D.) Quadratus was an Athenian bishop and direct disciple of the Apostles. He is generally regarded as the first Christian apologist because of his defense given to Emperor Hadrian in 126 A.D. Quadratus points out the fact that a few who were healed and resurrected by Jesus lived until modern times.

“The deeds of our Savior were always before you, for they were true miracles. Those that were healed, those that were raised from the dead, who were seen, not only when healed and when raised, but were always present. They remained living a long time, not only while our Lord was on earth, but likewise when he had left the earth. So that some of them have also lived to our own times.” Eusebius IV III, 2

In the above passage, Quadratus refers to those who were healed by Jesus and had lived until modern times. Like Clement and Ignatius, Quadratus was said by Eusebius to be a direct disciple of the apostles.

4. ARISTIDES THE ATHENIAN (126 A.D.) Aristides, along with Quadratus mentioned above, presented an apology to Emperor Hadrian during his stay in Athens in 126 A.D. Aristides describes the treatment of Jesus by His own people, the Jews, and contrasts their beliefs with those of the Christians.

“When the Son of God was pleased to come upon the earth, they received him with wanton violence and betrayed him into the hands of Pilate the Roman governor. Paying no respect to his good deeds and the countless miracles he performed among them, they demanded a sentence of death by the cross…Now the Christians trace their origin from the Lord Jesus Christ….The Son of the most high God who came down from heaven, being born of a pure [Hebrew] virgin,for the salvation of men…And he was crucified, being pierced with nails by the Jews. And after three days He came to life again and ascended into heaven. His twelve apostles, after his ascension into heaven, went forth into the provinces of the whole world proclaiming the true doctrine…They who still observe the righteousness enjoined by their preaching are called Christians.” Apology XIV-XV

5. POLYCARP OF SMYRNA, a disciple of the Apostle John and bishop, sent a letter to the church at Philippi in about 112-118 A.D. In it, he acknowledges the divinity of Jesus, His exaltation to Heaven, and His subsequent glorification. Polycarp was martyred in about 160 A.D. (History of Doctrine).

6. JUSTIN MARTYR was born in Palestine and was impressed with the ability of Christians to face death heroically. When he heard the Gospel, he converted and became a defender of the faith he loved. He said Christ was “The Son and the Apostle of God, Father and Master of all” (Historical Theology). He was born about 100 A.D. and martyred in 165 A.D. possibly the most well-known early Christian apologist, was an educated pagan philosopher who converted to Christianity around 130 A.D. Though he risked losing his wealth, status, and life, Justin fearlessly spread Christianity throughout Asia Minor and Rome. Refusing to recant his testimony, he was led to his death via scourging and beheading in 165 A.D. Being a thoroughly educated man, Justin weighed the evidence carefully before accepting his new faith and explains to the reader he made his decision only after careful consideration and research.

“There is a village in Judea, thirty-five staid from Jerusalem, where Jesus Christ was born, as you can see from the tax registers under Cyrene’s, your first procurator in Judea…He was born of a virgin as a man, and was named Jesus, and was crucified, and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven…After He was crucified, all His acquaintances denied Him. But once He had risen from the dead and appeared to them and explained the prophecies which foretold all these things and ascended into heaven, the apostles believed. They received the power given to them by Jesus and went into the world preaching the Gospel.” First Apology, 34, 46, 50

“At the time of His birth, Magi from Arabia came and worshipped Him, coming first to Herod, who was then sovereign in your land…When they crucified Him, driving in the nails, they pierced His hands and feet. Those who crucified Him parted His garments among themselves, each casting lots…But you did not repent after you earned that He rose from the dead. Instead, you sent men into to the world to proclaim that a godless heresy had sprung from Jesus, a Galilean deceiver, whom was crucified and that His disciples stole His body from the tomb in order to deceive men by claiming He had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven.” Dialogue with Typhoo, 77 97, 107-8

“Countless possessed men throughout the land are being exorcised by many of our Christian men in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, continue to heal, rendering helpless and driving the demons out of men, though they could not be cured by any other exorcists or those who used incantations and drugs.” Second Apology VI

Justin makes a reference to The Acts of Pilate: “And that these things did happen, you can ascertain from the Acts of Pontius Pilate.” First Apology XXXV

7. IRENAEUS became bishop of Lyons in 177 A.D. He spent most of his life combating the heresy of Gnosticism. Speaking of passages such as John 1:1, he wrote that, “All distinctions between Father and Son vanish, for one God made all things through His Word” In his belief, we find ‘Modalistic Monarchianism’ (a oneness belief in God). An economic trinity, not an eternal trinity. It is very probable that Irenaeus believed in a trinity of God’s activities or roles, rather than a trinity of persons since he expressed oneness concepts.

8. HEGESIPPUS (110 A.D. – 180 A.D.) Hegesippus converted to Christianity from Judaism after extensively researching the Gospel story for himself. Instead of accepting the Gospel story at the word of others, he traveled extensively throughout Rome and Corinth in an effort to collect evidence of the early Christian claims. Hegesippus provides important testimony that the stories being passed around were not watered down, embellished, or fabricated.

“This man [James] was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ…The Corinthian church continued in the true doctrine until Primus became bishop. I mixed with them on my voyage to Rome and spent several days with the Corinthians, during which we were refreshed with the true doctrine. On arrival at Rome I pieced together the succession down to Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus, Anicetus being succeeded by Soter and he by Eleutherus. In ever line of bishops and in every city things accord with the preaching of the Law, the Prophets, and the Lord.” The History of the Church.

Upon reading this list (and there are others, though not mentioned here) one may begin to ask themselves “where did these extra-biblical sources get their ideologies from? Wouldn’t it would have to be from something prior? I offer in evidence the earliest known dates for the New Testament…Note: Many (Muslims included) would argue for a latter date to validate their preposition of the New Testament Scriptures as being written well after the 1st century. But yet in so doing will quote quite often from the Apocalypse of Peter, a book dated between the last quarter of the 2nd century (c. 175-200). A late manuscript, yet quoted by many Islamic believers. However, in reference to the Islamic convictions concerning the New Testament – a collection of 27 books written much earlier than 175-200AD, many often criticize as being corrupt; choosing only to pick particular verses that will allow them to hold their particular theological ideologies. For the record let me state that nowhere does the Qu-ran state that Jews and Christians corrupted their holy books. It simply alleges that they misinterpreted the teachings found therein.

According to research, done with the utmost validated arguments and irrefutable empirical evidence, it is of a certainty that the New Testament was written during the 1st century to its end 90-95AD. Some scholars suggest an earlier date of completion, setting the date of John’s Apocalypse (the last written book of the Bible) to 68-69AD before the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. Preteristic groups are inclined to believe the early date of 70AD.

C. In Reference to the Divinity of Christ; His Death, Burial, Resurrection, and Subsequent Ascension: The Qur’an Speaketh On the Topic.

Cutting through the chase.

Does the Qur’an actually contend that Jesus was not crucified?

Is it possible that this is really a case of misguided tradition? Surah 4:157-158 states: “That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’—but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not—nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself.” Now if “they” refers to the Jews (and that seems clear), then the Qur’an might be considered technically correct in contending that the Jews themselves did not crucify Jesus (see also John 18:31) – that it was actually the Romans who did the deed. Is it possible that the heart of the conflict here really lies in a faulty interpretation of the Qur’an?

Again, as stated before, nowhere does the Qu-ran state that Jews and Christians corrupted their holy books. It simply alleges that they misinterpreted the teachings found therein.

With that in mind, let me say that this mirrors exactly what Muslims do nowadays themselves. Verses in the Qu-ran – which speak of Jesus’ supposed elevation to Heaven without dying – say something else completely, but Muslims have put a different spin on them to fit their own particular brand of theology.

According to Surat Al-Ma-‘idah (The Table Spread) – http://quran.com/5/117

Take this word from 5:117 (word 20): Usually mistranslated as ‘when you took/raised me up’ (the linked site also follows the idea that Jesus did not die), the ‘Arabic here actually features Jesus saying to Alla-h: “When you caused me to die”.

If you look in other places in the Qu-ran, the root word w–f–y manifests in various forms throughout. In all the other cases NOT referring to Jesus, where the derivation takes the form of the verb tawaffa-, it always means ‘to cause to die’. They are all correctly translated on the same site when it comes to personages other than Jesus.

E.i., 3:193, 7:126, 12:101, 16:70, 40:77, 47:27,

The link to 5:117 presents the same verb as in the other verses, but (mis)translates it as ‘took me up’ when it should be ‘caused me to die’. The other verses show the same verb being correctly translated. In other words, something that means ‘cause to die’ is invariably mistranslated when it comes to the question of Jesus.

I am showing you a translation that follows the original ‘Arabic itself, and then translating it for you. No, its not from Google Translate, since Google Translate can be wrong. However, in this case I opted to use two software programs http://www.worldlingo.com/en/microsoft/computer_translation.html and http://www.microsofttranslator.com/ In the English, it is rendered ‘Died me’ and ‘You died me’ – reading from left to right.

Moreover, Jesus’ death is also recorded in the Talmud, which is hardly a friend to Christianity. Despite the Biblical truths and even outside historical writings (such as Josephus and Tacitus), the Muslims still adhere to the view that someone else was crucified in His place. Judas is usually the one mentioned or Simon, who carried the cross. Muslim theologians seem to disagree on the matter of another substituting Christ on the cross. One of the more popular explanations is that God cast Christ’s likeness onto someone else. Within this concept there are numerous versions.

Theses stories try to explain away that Jesus would die since according to the Qur’an God only kills false prophets so if Jesus is a true prophet he could not be crucified. Interesting to note that Irenaeus points out this replacement theory came from a Gnostic named Basilides in 130 A.D. “Wherefore he suffered not. But a certain man a Cyrenian, was impressed to bear his cross for him, that men should suppose him to be Jesus, while Jesus himself took on the appearance of Simon and stood by and mocked them”…(Irenaeus Adv.Haer. I. Xxiv. 3-5) This came from an Gnostic who denied that God could take on the flesh of men since Gnostics had a teaching that the flesh is evil and the Spirit was pure.

Moreover, Surah 3:54 states: “When Allah said: ‘O Jesus, I will cause thee to die and exalt thee in My presence and clear thee of those who disbelieve…” In so many ways that seems to corroborate with Philippians 2:8-10 which states: “And being found in appearance as a man, He [Jesus] humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,”

The Muslim’s insist that no true prophet will be killed. For they say this because they believe A’isa (Jesus) was a true prophet of Allah.

However, the Qur’an does say that true prophets are killed, Sura 2:61 “wretchedness and baseness were stamped upon them [that is the Jews] and they drew on themselves the wrath of God. This because they disbelieved the Signs of God and slew the prophets unjustly, because they rebelled and transgressed.” I know of no Muslim who will deny the prophet, John the Baptist, was killed by Herod and will one day be raised up.

Thus Sura 2:61 is in collaboration with Matthew 23:31 Jesus scolds the Pharisees for their unbelief saying, “you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.” In vs.34 he states therefore indeed I send you prophets, wise men and scribes some of them you will kill and crucify”… Sura 2:61 is also in collaboration with Luke 11:49 “Therefore I will send them prophets and apostles, some of them they will kill and persecute that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation. From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple shall be required of this generation.” Sura 2:61 is also in collaboration with Hebrews 11:35-37 says, “Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated.”

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