The Divinity Factory of Christian Apologists – Part 2

The Divinity Factory of Christian Apologists – Part 2

More responses to Sam Shamoun and David Wood for their Trinitarian propaganda

 

Question Mark

 

Prelude and Introduction

 

In the first part of this series we responded to Sam Shamoun’s (and David Wood’s) argument in support of divinity of Jesus (peace be upon him) for working with Father on the Sabbath day. We went into the context of John 5:30 where Jesus (peace be upon him) was healing a paralytic on Sabbath and found that Jesus (peace be upon him) cannot be God because of it.

Shamoun further provided more arguments from the context of John 5:30 to prove the deity of Jesus (peace be upon him). We intend to take into consideration all such arguments and once again we would see that appealing to the context backfires against any supposed deification of Jesus (peace be upon him).

Specifically, we would be looking into Shamoun’s arguments that Jesus (peace be upon him) (i) can do all that Father can do including giving life to others and (ii) he is entitled for the same honor as befitting to Father.

[We highly recommend that before reading on, please visit the first part of this series first, although, we have tried to make this one independent.]

 

Jesus (peace be upon him) can do all that Father can do?

 

In effect, Shamoun wanted to express the omnipotence of Jesus (peace be upon him) by the following argument. Keep in mind that Shamoun is reading John 5:19 and its contextual verses:

 

“…here is what is ironic about this passage. Jehovah’s witnesses, Muslims, Anti – Trinitarians, Unitarians of all stripes stop right there. They will quote verse nineteen, “I tell you truth, the son can do nothing by himself – full stop; as if the verses ended with that statement. However, let’s read all of it. “I tell you the truth, the son can do nothing by himself. He can do only what he sees the Father doing because whatever the Father does the son also does.” Did you guys catch it! Jesus is saying, the only thing I can do is whatever the Father does. Whatever he does, I can do. Does that sound like a person who thinks he is a creature and limited or does that sound like a person who thinks he has the same ability that the Father does and he is able to do whatever the Father does.” (Shamoun, Time 03:58-04:53)

 

We will get to Shamoun’s argument but before that we would like to state that it is “Christological” fallacy to believe Jesus (peace be upon him) could do all that was fitting to God. There were a number of things which he could not do but which suited a true God for example,

God has the sovereignty to decide the fates of human beings, however, Jesus (peace be upon him) outright rejected this quality from himself when the wife of Zebedee (a biblical character) requested him to choose his sons as his special ones:

 

“Then the wife of Zebedee came to Jesus with her two sons, bowed before him, and asked him a favour. “What do you want?” Jesus asked her. She answered, “Promise me that these two sons of mine will sit at you right and your left when you are King.” You don’t know what you are asking for,” Jesus answered the sons.  “Can you drink the cup of suffering that I am about to drink?” “We can,” they answered. “You will indeed drink from my cup,” Jesus told them, “but I do not have the right to choose who will sit at my right and my left. These places belong to those for whom my Father has prepared them.” (Gospel of Matthew 20:20-23)

 

Biblical Jesus (peace be upon him) cannot be a Trinitarian Jesus portrayed by Shamoun since he did not knew the time of his second coming (or the end of times):

 

No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come – neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows.” (Gospel of Matthew 24:36)

 

Notice that Jesus (peace be upon him) was talking by distinguishing the philosophized Trinitarian “persons” in the godhead; he referred to himself as son and God as Father. Then Jesus (peace be upon him) went on to state Father alone knows the hour. In other words, out of all the so called “persons” in the godhead, only the person of Father fits the divinity bill to know the hour! This in itself establishes that biblical Jesus (peace be upon him) cannot be God.

These verses are enough to establish that Jesus (peace be upon him) was not at par with God contesting to do whatever God can do! No wonder Jesus (peace be upon him) subjugated himself to the will of God:

 

“He went a little farther on, threw himself face downwards on the ground, and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want.” (Gospel of Matthew 26:39)

 

“Once more Jesus went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cup of suffering cannot be taken away unless I drink, your will be done.” (Gospel of Matthew 26:42)

 

Let alone claiming equality with Father, Jesus (peace be upon him) explicitly and unequivocally accepted God’s superiority over him:

 

“I am leaving but I will come back to you.” If you loved me you would be glad that I am going to the Father; for he is greater than I. (Gospel of John 14:28)

 

Even God did not testify that Jesus (peace be upon him) was at par with Him, potent to do all that He could do:

 

 “Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, the one I love, and with whom I am pleased.” (Gospel of Matthew 12:18)

 

Having established, biblically, that Jesus (peace be upon him) was not at par with God doing all which God can do, it’s now time to expose Shamoun’s eisegesis and his utter negligence of the context!

Before we actually respond to this argument, we would like to reiterate that this response is primarily going to be a continuation of our response from Part 1 where Jesus (peace be upon him) worked on the Sabbath.

Remember that in part 1 of this paper we explained why Jesus (peace be upon him) seemingly “breached” rulings of Sabbath by healing on the day. He argued with the Jews that they have misconceptions with regards to healing/working on Sabbath; for it was perfectly permissible to help others even on Sabbath! Jesus (peace be upon him) was actually “breaching” the man-interpreted and man-made rules around Sabbath which was, at times, too excruciating on the followers. Jesus (peace be upon him) explained that as God does not stop from His providences (even) on Sabbath day, similarly, everybody (including him) should imitate God and not stop from helping others on Sabbath day! It was this context under which Jesus (peace be upon him) said for himself,

 

“So Jesus answered them, “I am telling you the truth: the Son can do nothing of his own; he does only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.” (Gospel of John 5:19-20)   

 

When the Jews had accused Jesus (peace be upon him) of breaking the Sabbath and consequent blasphemy, Jesus (peace be upon him) responded them that he is not doing anything from his own whims (“the Son can do nothing of his own”) but he is ONLY doing what is correct, what God Himself does (“he does only what he sees his Father doing”) and communicates to him (“he does only what he “sees” his Father doing.”) – helping the needy on Sabbath, therefore, as God helps even on the Sabbath, the Son also helps by healing the paralytic (“what the Father does, the son also does.”). Subsequently, the verses cannot be used as an argument for co-equality (in terms of their functionality) between Father and Jesus (peace be upon him).

Although our exegesis is perfectly in harmony with the context of verse 19 (John 5), however, to further expose Shamoun’s distortion of his own “scripture” we would quote biblical authority Robertson and his exegesis about this verse:

 

But what he seeth the Father doing (an mē ti blepēi ton patera poiounta). Rather, “unless he sees the Father doing something.” Negative condition (an mē = ean mē, if not, unless) of third class with present (habit) subjunctive (blepēi) and present active participle (poiounta). It is a supreme example of a son copying the spirit and work of a father. In his work on earth the Son sees continually what the Father is doing. In healing this poor man he was doing what the Father wishes him to do. (Robertson’s Word Pictures, John 5:19)

 

Observe a few important points from Robertson’s exegesis. Firstly, the Greek rendering should have the conditional clause “unless” in the verse. Secondly, Jesus (peace be upon him) was copying Father and finally, Jesus (peace be upon him) was discharging the “wishes” of God.

Therefore, the Jewish accusations (and Trinitarian arguments) of Jesus (peace be upon him) were baseless as he does not do anything “unless” the Father wishes him to do so. He merely obeys Him. Jesus (peace be upon him) “copies” God’s plan and action – as God does not stop pouring providences (even) on Sabbath so also Jesus (peace be upon him) does not stop helping others on Sabbath.

Ironically, unlike Shamoun, Robertson, who is a Trinitarian scholar, does not use Jesus’ (peace be upon him) healing the paralytic on Sabbath as an argument to prove his deity. On the contrary, he asserts that Jesus (peace be upon him) was merely obeying the orders of Father – God, “In healing this poor man he was doing what the Father wishes him to do.

Another Trinitarian scholar, John Wesley, also concur that Jesus (peace be upon him) was merely following the example of Father by healing on the Sabbath; as Father always does good, even on Sabbath day, so does Jesus (peace be upon him):

 

“The Son can do nothing of himself – This is not his imperfection, but his glory, resulting from his eternal, intimate, indissoluble unity with the Father. Hence it is absolutely impossible, that the Son should judge, will, testify, or teach any thing without the Father, Joh 5:30, &c; Joh 6:38; Joh 7:16; or that he should be known or believed on, separately from the Father. And he here defends his doing good every day, without intermission, by the example of his Father, from which he cannot depart: these doth the Son likewise – All these, and only these; seeing he and the Father are one.” (John 5:19, John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes)

 

On the foregoing, when we consider Jesus’ (peace be upon him) response to the Jews in context of Sabbath issues, we see that he was not proclaiming co – equality with God-Father. He was merely acquitting himself by explaining that he is merely doing that which God also does on Sabbath and wants his people to do, namely, helping the needy even on the Sabbath. He admitted that he was merely following the example of God and obeying his instructions by healing on the Sabbath. However, embarrassingly, Shamoun had not merely obscured the context of this passage but also distorted it heavily.

 

 Jesus (peace be upon him) raises the dead, he must be God!?

 

Continuing on, Shamoun claimed that because Jesus (peace be upon him) would have the ability to raise the dead – an attribute befitting to God, therefore, he must be god:

 

“Let’s continue, for the Father loves the Son; the father loves the son and shows him all He does. Yes to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. Now catch it. For just as the father raises the dead and gives them life, even so, the son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Did you catch it? Whatever the Father can do, I can do. The Father can give life, so can I. The Father raises the dead, so can I. Does this sound like a creature who thinks that he is limited and finite or does this sound like the person who thinks that he is the divine son of God, co – equal to the Father in essence and nature?” (Shamoun: Time 06:04 – 06:48)

 

It’s not too difficult to expose Shamoun’s flimsy “exegesis”. Not merely Bible but even Qur’an claims that Jesus (peace be upon him) gave life to the dead:

 

“Then will Allah say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’”  (Qur’an 5: 110)

 

What is important in the above adduced passage is the phrase wherein Allah (SWT) informs that Jesus (peace be upon him) used to give life, not by his power and will, but with the power and permission of Allah (SWT) who was working above him!

However, we find the Shamoun devote all his “exegesis” to Jesus (peace be upon him) giving life to the dead like the Father, however, he subtly neglected the important biblical “verses” before it.

We would quote Shamoun once again and stress on that particular “verse” which he wittingly neglected:

 

“Let’s continue, for the Father loves the Son; the father loves the son and shows him all He does. Yes to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. Now catch it. For just as the father raises the dead and gives them life, even so, the son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Did you catch it? Whatever the Father can do, I can do. The Father can give life, so can I. The Father raises the dead, so can I. Does this sound like a creature who thinks that he is limited and finite or does this sound like the person who thinks that he is the divine son of God, co – equal to the Father in essence and nature?”

 

Notice that before proclaiming the miracle of giving life to dead, Jesus (peace be upon him) confirms that Father “shows” him to do so! It is very important to understand the import of this particular statement attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) before interpreting his miracle of giving life to the dead otherwise like Shamoun, people would end up deifying Jesus (peace be upon him)!

 

Like mentioned earlier, Jesus (peace be upon him) was defending himself against the baseless calumny of Jews. He stated that he never does anything unless it is communicated to him (“shown”) by the Father. Unless he receives orders and directions from God, he does not do anything of his own whims. And, then he goes on to assert that God would communicate him (give orders and directions: “show”) to do greater miracles like quickening the dead! As celebrated Bible commentator Matthew Henry concurs:

 

First, The inducement to it: The Father loveth the Son; he declared, This is my beloved Son. He had not only a good will to the undertaking, but an infinite complacency in the undertaker. Christ was now hated of men, one whom the nation abhorred (Isa 49:7); but he comforted himself with this, that his Father loved him.

 

Secondly, The instances of it. He shows it, 1. In what he does communicate to him: He shows him all things that himself doth. The Father’s measures in making and ruling the world are shown to the Son, that he may take the same measures in framing and governing the church, which work was to be a duplicate of the work of creation and providence, and it is therefore called the world to come. He shows him all things ha autos poiei – which he does, that is, which the Son does, so it might be construed; all that the Son does is by direction from the Father; he shows him. 2. In what he will communicate; he will show him, that is, will appoint and direct him to do greater works than these. (1.) Works of greater power than the curing of the impotent man; for he should raise the dead, and should himself rise from the dead. By the power of nature, with the use of means, a disease may possibly in time be cured; but nature can never, by the use of any means, in any time raise the dead. (2.) Works of greater authority than warranting the man to carry his bed on the sabbath day. They thought this a daring attempt; but what was this to his abrogating the whole ceremonial law, and instituting new ordinances, which he would shortly do, “that you may marvel!” Now they looked upon his works with contempt and indignation, but he will shortly do that which they will look upon with amazement, Luk 7:16. Many are brought to marvel at Christ’s works, whereby he has the honour of them, who are not brought to believe, by which they would have the benefit of them. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, John 5: 17-30)

 

On the foregoing, it is not too difficult to catch Shamoun’s deception behind his “exegesis”. What was an act of obedience done under the authority, direction and permission of God – “shown”  – Shamoun tried to portray it as if Jesus (peace be upon him) was doing it on own ability just like the Father.

To make matters worse for Shamoun, Jesus (peace be upon him) goes on to assert that it is actually God behind his works:

 

Joh 14:10  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

 

Joh 12:49  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

(King James Version, e-Sword)

Moving on, Shamoun had much to appeal to the phrase in John 5:21 wherein Jesus (peace be upon him) is attributed to have said that he would give life to whom he wants:

 

“Notice just as the father raises the dead and gives them life even so the son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Jesus says, I have the sovereign freedom and the ability to give life to whomever I want” (Shamoun, 06:57 – 07:10)

 

As Jesus (peace be upon him) admitted that he used to accomplish miracles, and would accomplish greater miracle(s) of giving life to dead, not by his own capacity, but by the authority, power and directions of God. Consequently, using Jesus’ (peace be upon him) statement that he would give life to whom he wills to prove his “sovereign freedom and ability” is a desperate “exegesis” of Jesus’ (peace be upon him) alleged statement(s).

 

The immediate question to be asked would be, then, what did Jesus (peace be upon him) intend when he asserted that he would give life to whom he wants? Following interpretations are in order:

 

Firstly, notice that Jesus (peace be upon him) was working under the “direction” of God, with His permission – therefore, Jesus (peace be upon him) had the divine decree and permission from God to give life to whom he wanted. Jesus (peace be upon him) was the most upright man of his time, plus, he was divinely inspired for his jobs therefore God gave Jesus (peace be upon him) authority to give life to whom he wanted.

 

Secondly, it is very important to realize the setting in which Jesus (peace be upon him) spoke! Shamoun has once again conveniently ignored the context. Jesus (peace be upon him) was talking to cunning Jews who would go out of their way to trap Jesus (peace be upon him) even to claim him a “sinner”. These Jews would not accept him as a bona fide Messiah at any cost! Thus, Jesus (peace be upon him), in a way of expressing his authority and genuineness, asserted to the incorrigible Jews that although they scorn him at this moment, however, they should know that when time would come all special privileges would rest in his hand; then, he would decide whom he wants to help or not, whom he wants to give life or not. And, then, neither anybody would be able to dictate terms to him nor the traps would work.

 

The Jews took Jesus (peace be upon him) to one extreme where he was seen as a blasphemer and subsequently detached from Father, whereas, Jesus (peace be upon him) asserted himself by proclaiming that not merely he has come from God but that God has also bestowed upon him the privilege of giving life to others according to his will which in turn speaks of his messianic office and his supremacy over his mockers.  

 

To explain it further, when a ruler appoints a governor for a certain place, it is expected that the governor will take up most of the roles of the ruler himself including some privileged and contested responsibilities like ruling capital punishment on others, yet the governor for practicing such privileges is not compared at par with the ruler. On the other hand, the governor is accepted to have been discharging the duties authorized to him.

 

If the above explanations are unacceptable then it would be very difficult to explain Jesus’ (peace be upon him) own alleged assertions wherein he has portrayed himself as nonentity with God!

 

Jesus (pbuh) demanded “same honor” with God?

 

Shamoun was particularly excited about John 5:22-23 because, Jesus (peace be upon him) is allegedly attributed to have demanded “same honor” with God. Here is how Shamoun used the “verse” to claim divinity for Jesus (peace be upon him):

 

“Why did the Father appointed his Son to be the Judge of all? All creation, all flesh. Here is the answer. Here is the reason from the lips of Jesus Christ our Lord; from the very chapter that Zakir Naik misquoted – that all my honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Let me just stop here for a moment. Notice what the Lord Jesus Christ did not say. He did not say, “the reason why the Father appointed me judge is so that everyone honors me as a prophet”. That’s not what he said. He didn’t say, “that the reason why I have been appointed judge of all is so that you can honor me as you honor the righteous or your parents or a messenger. No, he says, the reason why I judge everyone is so that everyone honors me in the same way they honor the Father. ” (Shamoun Time 07:24 – 08:14)

 

Before we respond, let us quote the subject biblical verses:

 

“Nor does the Father himself judge anyone. He has given his Son the full right to judge, so that all will honour the Son in the same way as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does no honour the Father who sent him.” (John 5:22:23)

 

Multiple responses to Shamoun’s specious argument are in order:

 

The Greek word translated as “honor” in biblical text is “Timosin”. And according to Strong’s Note number G5091, it means, “fix a valuation upon” or to “value” besides meaning to revere and honor.

Before moving any further, notice that after demanding allegedly “same honor”, Jesus (peace be upon him) went on to qualify and define “honor” he demanded. Jesus (peace be upon him) allegedly said that Father has given him the right to judge so that all may honor him as they honor Father and any not honoring him would not honor Father who has sent him. Jesus (peace be upon him) qualified the honor due for him by stating that Father has send him. And, to know the capacity of this qualification we will have to consider all the biblical verses wherein Jesus (peace be upon him) has referred to himself as one being sent by Father:

Joh 4: 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

 

Joh 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

 

Joh 5:30  I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

 

Joh 6:38  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

 

Joh 6:39  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

 

Joh 7:16  Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

 

Joh 7:18  He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

 

Joh 7:28  Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.

 

Joh 8:26  I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.

 

Joh 8:29  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

 

Joh 12:49  For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

 

Joh 14:24  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

 (King James Version)

In all the above instances, containing the same phrase of Father sending Son, we find that Jesus (peace be upon him) always expressed his inferiority to the Father. On the foregoing and after noticing the biblical phrasal usage of Father sending Jesus (peace be upon him), we can easily deduce that the honor which Jesus (peace be upon him) was talking in John 5:23 could not possibly be taken to mean the same honor which is due to God – Almighty; this is further corroborated by the emphatic and unequivocal statement of Jesus (peace be upon him) wherein he declared that he is not fit enough to receive the same honor as is due to Father(!):

 

Joh 13:16  Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

      (King James Version)

 

On the foregoing, the correct scriptural interpretation would be: Jesus (peace be upon him) demanded the same sincerity of evaluation for himself as the Jews had for Father. Jesus (peace be upon him) being the bona fide Messiah demanded credibility for his office as Jews had for Father for His office – same degree of recognition.

 

Remember that the contemporary Jews had full credence for Father, however, they weighed Jesus (peace be upon him) naught – on the contrary they considered him a “sinner”! Thus, the pith of Jesus’ (peace be upon him) statement was credible recognition than the capacity or degree of recognition (as God – Almighty).

 

The following biblical scholars concur and support our explanation:

 

766. Someone might say: I am willing to honor the Father, but do not care about the Son. This cannot be, because whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. For it is one thing to honor God precisely as God, and another to honor the Father. For someone may well honor God as the omnipotent and immutable Creator without honoring the Son. But no one can honor God as Father without honoring the Son, for he cannot be called Father if he does not have a Son. But if you dishonor the Son by diminishing his power, this also dishonors the Father: because where you give less to the Son, you are taking away from the power of the Father. (Commentary on the Gospel of John, Chapters 1-5. By Thomas Aquinas, Matthew Levering, pp. 281)

 

The very fact that scholars Aquinas and Levering state that one may honor God as God without honoring “son” but it is not possible to honor Father by dishonoring son, allude that Jesus (peace be upon him), through his statement, wanted to indicate the Father-Son relationship (as the one beloved of Him and sent by Him) and thus he deserved to be honored accordingly – this does not mean he wanted “same honor” in capacity. He needed to be honored as Father’s son because Father’s honor is contingent on son’s honor – “…no one can honor God as Father without honoring the Son, for he cannot be called Father if he does not have a Son.”

 

The foregoing is further supported by the fact that it was Father who “gave” the right to judge to Jesus (peace be upon him) – the very rationale why Jesus (peace be upon him) demanded honor for himself – because he was appointed to be a judge. This implies that the attribute of judging was not intrinsic to Jesus (peace be upon him) before his appointment. Thus, it is extremely far – fetched that Jesus (peace be upon him) would demand honor equal to Father for something not intrinsic but bestowed on him.

 

Furthermore, Jesus (peace be upon him) being “given” the right to judge also imply that there was a point in time when he was not a judge, consequently, back then, thus, there was no question of Jesus (peace be upon him) being honored in the same way as Father is to be honored. And, we know that a true God is timeless and perfect in His attributes, in it, His divine honor does not start from a particular point in time and His divine attributes (of judging in this case) is not given to Him by someone else at a particular point in time!

 

Jesus’ (peace be upon him) alleged statement of “honor” to him can also be explained by practical, day – to – day example. We often hear a father (or a mother) saying: I love my son in the same way as I love my daughter. This is a general statement since no sane ever interprets this statement to mean that the degree, capacity and details of love for son would be exactly the same for daughter! Same can be said when a man says: I care for my mother, in the same way, I care for my wife. This is again a general statement in which the man merely wants to express his care for the entire family. With his statement he does not want to suggest the minute capacities of his care and love for the two.

 

In the light of the preceding, and as we said earlier, Jesus (peace be upon him) hardly meant the same capacity/degree of honor as was due to Father. Rather he meant a credulous recognition for him as being a truthful one sent by The Truthful One. The truth about Jesus (peace be upon him) (being the messiah) was the same as the truth of Father!

 

However, if Shamoun disagrees with our explanations then Jesus (peace be upon him) had no qualms in disseminating the “same honor” to multiple other mortals! Consider the following biblical “verse”:

 

“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee,  that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them
; that they may be one, even as we are one:” (King James (1611), John 17:21-22)

Or

“I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you…I gave them the SAME GLORY you gave ME, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one:” (Holy Bible, John 17:21-22)

 

What is utterly embarrassing about the above adduced passage is that according to classical Trinitarian interpretation the subject “glory” was divine in capacity! It was the glory which befitted the Trinitarian divine “begotten” son. As Bible scholar John Wesley explains:

 

John 17:22  The glory which thou hast given me, I have given them – The glory of the only begotten shines in all the sons of God. How great is the majesty of Christians. (John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes, John 17:22)

 

Notice the exclamatory remark of John Wesley towards the end of his comment. He exclaims about the extra high esteemed status of Christians – why? Because they enjoy the same glory which Christ (peace be upon him) was conferred with for being the “only begotten” of the God! It is very disturbing that within the purported realms of “monotheistic” Christianity, the supposed divine and special glory of the alleged Trinitarian god is shared with multiple mere mortals!

 

Another set of Trinitarian Scholars – Matthew Henry – go a step ahead of John Wesley to claim purportedly more divine qualities and positions for mere mortals as was assumedly befitting to Christ (peace be upon him) alone:  

 

Those that are given in common to all believers. The glory of being in covenant with the Father, and accepted of him, of being laid in his bosom, and designed for a place at his right hand, was the glory which the Father gave to the Redeemer, and he has confirmed it to the redeemed. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, John 17:20-23)

 

As a proof for Jesus’ (peace be upon him) divinity, Trinitarians down the ages have been appealing to the biblical verses wherein Jesus (peace be upon him) is portrayed as “laid in God’s bosom” and “at His right hand”. The “right hand” of the God is an exclusive, divine place suitable only for Christ (peace be upon him) appeals most Trinitarians, nevertheless, we saw above that one of the most celebrated Trinitarian scholars had no scruple into vesting these “divine” status on mere mortals implying either (i) the “glory” of Jesus (peace be upon him) was not divine or (ii) there are numerous individuals in Trinitarian Christianity enjoying such “glory”!

 

Shamoun needs to suggest his Trinitarian scholars that to confer the divine status, glory and position to mere mortals is “idolatry” (Shamoun: Time 08:31-08:36)

 

So many embarrassing implications with Shamoun’s premier argument that Jesus (peace be upon him) demanded the same honor as befits God! We leave Shamoun to reconsider his faith.

 

Jesus (pbuh): The Self Existent Source of Life?

 

Generally it is said that it is the hand which is faster than eye – as in the case of magicians and legerdemains, however, in Shamoun’s rants it is the mouth which is faster than hearing and reading perceptions as we would soon observe!

Shamoun culls out a big argument in support of divinity of Christ (peace be upon him) by claiming that he was the self existent source of life.

 

“How is that Jesus by his voice can raise the dead to life spiritually and physically. Just by the power of his voice – folks notice it. At the sound of his voice the dead come to life. How is it that he can do it? He explains it in verse 26. Notice this. “For as Father has life in Himself so He has granted His son to have life in himself” Notice the assertion. When Jesus says the Father has life in himself, it means that the Father is the source of life and He is self existing. Only God is self existent…Jesus didn’t just say the Father has life in Himself. Jesus says the Son himself has life in himself again showing that he is equal to the Father in divine ability, essence, majesty and honor.” (Shamoun: Time 00:49-01:46)

    

Suffice it to say, Jesus (peace be upon him) did not had life in himself by himself. These are the words which is Shamoun is thrusting into Jesus’ (peace be upon him) mouth, Jesus (peace be upon him) never claimed such a attribute for himself.

In fact, according to the same Gospel which Shamoun is trying to distort, Jesus (peace be upon him) had life in himself because God granted it in him – a fact and a “verse” which Shamoun conveniently covered during his “exegesis”:

           

“Just as the Father is himself the source of life, in the same way he has made his Son to be the source of life.” (John 5:26)

 

The very fact that God “made” Jesus (peace be upon him) to be the source of life confirms that,

 

(i) Jesus (peace be upon him) did not had this attribute intrinsically in him which poses serious objections to his supposed divinity.

 

(ii) Jesus (peace be upon him) has an authority and a superior over him – this again raises question to any divinity vested on him.

 

 

If the above explanations are not valid then Trinitarians need to explain why Jesus (peace be upon him) – the supposed candidate for divinity – felt a need to state that God has “made” him to be source of life. And, why was there a need for God to “make” Jesus the “source of life”?!

To add more chagrin to Shamoun’s “exegesis”, Trinitarian Bible scholars have not used this particular “verse” to claim divinity of Jesus (peace be upon him), on the contrary, their interpretation establish that Jesus (peace be upon him) wanted to portray himself like a vehicle of God and a messenger by which God (not Jesus (peace be upon him)) would shower life on the dead,                                                                           

 

Hath he given to the Son to have life, etc.Here our Lord speaks of himself in his character of Messiah, or envoy of God. (John 5:26, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible)

 

In fact, multiple Trinitarian New Testament scholars have categorically denied that Jesus (peace be upon him) would enjoy the status at par with God for his life giving capacity:

 

In himself (en heautōi). The Living God possesses life wholly in himself and so he has bestowed this power of life to the Son as already stated in the Prologue of the Logos (Joh 1:3). For “gave” (edōken, timeless aorist active indicative) see also Joh 3:35; Joh 17:2, Joh 17:24. The particles “as” (hōsper) and “so” (houtōs) mark here the fact, not the degree (Westcott). (John 5:26, Robertson’s Word Pictures)

 

Biblical Jesus (peace be upon him) himself claimed that all the supernatural feats (such as giving life) he was accomplishing were actually done by God:

 

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (Joh 14:10, King James Version, e-Sword)

 

Robertson further concurs:

 

Greater works than these (meizona toutōn erga). Toutōn is ablative case after the comparative meizona (from megas, great). John often uses erga for the miracles of Christ (Joh 5:36; Joh 7:3, Joh 7:21; Joh 10:25, Joh 10:32, Joh 10:38, etc.). It is the Father who does these works (Joh 14:10). There is more to follow. Even the disciples will surpass what Christ is doing in the extent of the work (Joh 14:12). Deixei is future active indicative of deiknumi, to show. See also Joh 10:32.  (Robertson’s Word Pictures, John 5:20)

 

Notice (i) it is God who would be doing supernatural activities through Jesus (peace be upon him) and not the latter in his own capacity and (ii) the mere mortals – the disciples of Jesus (peace be upon him) – would surpass Jesus (peace be upon him) in achieving miraculous feats.

There can be two very strong implications; either, as possible, God through disciples would execute miracles or the disciples of Jesus (peace be upon him) are greater “gods” than the Jesus (peace be upon him) of Trinitarians!

 

Conclusion

This brings us to the end of this two part rebuttal series in which we responded to the Trinitarian arguments around Gospel of John, Chapter 5.

 

1)      We saw how Trinitarian apologists like Sam Shamoun distort Jesus’ (peace be upon him) working on Sabbath by healing and helping to prove his alleged divinity. We went to the context of the verses to find that it was  not merely lawful to help others on Sabbath as Jesus (peace be upon him) did but that by working on the Sabbath under God’s permission proved that Jesus (peace be upon him) could not possibly be God – Almighty.

 

2)      Then we saw how John 5: 19-20 was distorted to prove that Jesus (peace be upon him) was capable of doing all that God could do; when in reality Jesus (peace be upon him) was merely following the “wishes” and commands of God – Almighty. On the contrary, we provided ample “verses” which established that Jesus (peace be upon him) was just too incapable to be God!

 

3)      Shamoun distorted a few “verses” about Jesus (peace be upon him) giving life to dead to bring more embarrassment to himself as we saw that Jesus (peace be upon him) could do it because God allowed him to do so, it was God behind all of the endeavors of Jesus (peace be upon him).

 

4)      We took into account Shamoun’s celebrated argument of Jesus (peace be upon him) demanding “same honor” for himself as was due to God. Jesus (peace be upon him) defined and qualified his statement of “same honor” by stating that God has sent him; and accordingly, from a vast majority of New Testament “verses”, it meant inferiority and reduced Jesus’ (peace be upon him) status to one of a mere prophet.

 Furthermore, contextually, Jesus (peace be upon him) also wanted to show his authority and genuineness to the mocking Jews.

 It came overly embarrassing for Shamoun when Trinitarian scholars commented that the status of mere Christians is great because Jesus (peace be upon him) gave his “glory” (“same glory”) to them so much so that like he was at the bosom of God – so were they, like he was at the right hand of God – so were they! 

 

5)      Shamoun claimed that Jesus (peace be upon him) was the source of life. And it was expected, because when you worship somebody then you would like to see this attribute in your candidate. However, Shamoun need to realize that, according to the testimony of biblical Jesus (peace be upon him), he does not has the attribute of being the source of life by himself, God “made” him so – this is something unexpected from a candidate one worships!

 

With any purported “proof” in favor of Jesus (peace be upon him), on closer look, we find that there are a variety of problems with them. Moreover, they backfire to diminish any divinity of Jesus (peace be upon him). As such, a Trinitarian may bask in them. However, it would be extremely difficult to persuade a non-Trinitarian, especially a Muslim, with such arguments. Accepting a candidate as God – Almighty needs to be very clear and should come naturally to oneself – none of this is to be found with the divinity of Jesus (peace be upon him). Scriptures have to be twisted, interpretation have to be distorted to somehow adjust Jesus (peace be upon him) as God – Almighty.

To conclude, noted Bible scholar James D.G. Dunn concludes in the negative while searching for an answer to the question “Did the first Christians worship Jesus”:

 

In the light of such reflection and conclusion the particular question, ‘Did the first Christians worship Jesus?’, can be seen to be much less relevant, less important and potentially misleading. It can be answered simply, or simplistically, even dismissively, with a mainly negative answer. No, by and large the first Christians did not worship Jesus as such. Worship language and practice at times do appear in the New Testament in reference to Christ. But on the whole, there is more reserve on the subject. Christ is the subject of praise and hymn-singing, the content of early Christian worship, more than the one to whom the worship and praise is offered. More typical is the sense that the most (only?) effective worship, the most effective prayer is expressed in Christ and through Christ. That is also to say that we find a clear and variously articulated sense that Jesus enables worship – that Jesus is in a profound way the place and means of worship. Equally, it has become clear that for the first Christians Jesus was seen to be not only the one by whom believers come to God, but also the one by whom God has come to believers. The same sense of divine immanence in Spirit, Wisdom and Word was experienced also and more fully in and through Christ. He brought the divine presence into human experience more fully than had ever been the case before. So our central question can indeed be answered negatively, and perhaps it should be. But not if the result is a far less adequate worship of God. For the worship that really constitutes Christianity and forms its distinctive contribution to the dialogue of the religions, is the worship of God as enabled by Jesus, the worship of God as revealed in and through Jesus. Christianity remains a monotheistic faith. The only one to be worshipped is the one God. But how can Christians fail to honour the one through whom it believes the only God has most fully revealed himself, the one through whom the only God has come closest to the condition of humankind? Jesus cannot fail to feature in their worship, their hymns of praise, their petitions to God. But such worship is always, should always be offered to the glory of God the Father. Such worship is always, should always be offered in the recognition that God is all in all, and that the majesty of the Lord Jesus in the end of the day expresses and affirms the majesty of the one God more clearly than anything else in the world. (James D. G. Dunn, Did the First Christians Worship Jesus, pp.149-151)

 

Note that after analyzing all the verses dealing with “same honor”, “source of life”, “omnipotence” so on and so forth (verses which Shamoun used), James Dunn concluded that Jesus (peace be upon him) was not worshipped for them.  On the other hand, he did state that Jesus (peace be upon him) was revered high; Trinitarians may take this to mean that he was worshipped and was God, however, is it not expected that worship and identity of God should be more distinct and explicit – something like portrayed for Allah (SWT) in Qur’an – rather than as portrayed for Jesus (peace be upon him) in the Gospels?, Hazy and amorphous which compels scholars and researchers to rule a “no” for it.

 

Notes:

  • All Qur’anic texts taken from Yusuf Ali’s Translation.
  • All biblical text, unless otherwise mentioned, taken from Holy Bible, Good News Edition, Today’s English Version.
  • All emphasis wherever not matching with original, is ours.

 

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