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The following is our response to Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi (MENJ)'s article Ten Points Against the Divinity of Jesus. MENJ begins with these statements:
As a Muslim, I honour and respect the Messiah Jesus(P) as an elect Prophet of God. The Islamic viewpoint of Jesus(P) lies between two extremes. The Jews, who rejects Jesus(P) as a Prophet of God, calls him an impostor. The Christians, on the other hand, considers him to be the God in flesh and worship him as such. This Christian viewpoint is further confirmed by Josh McDowell and Bart Larson when they say that
"The Scriptures teach that Jesus was fully God while also being fully human. Paul declared of Jesus, "For in Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9). Because Jesus is both fully God and fully man, He stands in a unique relationship in the Trinity to the Father and the Holy Spirit."
The Qur'ân, however, tells us that
"They say: Allah has taken a Son. Glorified be He! He has no needs! His is all that is in the heavens and that is in the earth. You have no warrant for this, do you say regarding Allah that which you know not?"(Qur'ân, 10:68)
Certainly, the Christian would simply not accept the Qur'ânic declaration, since he or she believes that the Bible is the Word of God and not the Qur'ân. However, if there is sufficient evidence from the Bible itself, then the Trinitarian Christian is forced to accept the conclusion that Jesus(P) was never a deity. The evidences shall be given as follows, insha'allah.
Just because Menj claims that he honors Jesus doesn't mean that he has the real Jesus or believes in the Jesus of the New Testament. The Apostle Paul states it best:
"But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches A JESUS OTHER THAN THE JESUS WE PREACHED, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough ... For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15
The New Testament explicitly teaches that anyone who claims that Jesus is not the Son of God is actually antichrist:
"Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist - he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also." 1 John 2:22-23
Thus, according to God's true Word the spirit speaking in the Quran is antichrist. This means that the Islamic Jesus is another Jesus who does not exist. He is the by-product of the deception of Satan to prevent mankind from discovering the true Jesus of history, who is the Christ of the New Testament.
The following is the Athanasian Creed formulated at the Council of Nicea declaring the Trinity:
We believe in one God the Father, Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only begotten that is, from the substance of the Father; God from God, light from light, Very God from Very God...
This, however, raises the question: If Jesus(P) is a God but not a different God then he must be God himself. If that is the case how can he be Begotten? Isn't God eternal?
This "possibility", apart from the fact that it is totally irrational and disproved by the words of Jesus(P) himself, is also in direct contradiction to the Bible.
Menj conveniently stops short of quoting the rest of the Creed explaining what the Early Church meant by begotten:
"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, BEGOTTEN, NOT MADE, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made ..."
The early Church clearly believed that the person of the Lord Jesus was eternal, unlike creation which was made from nothing. What they meant by the term "begotten" was that Christ was inseparable from the being of God and derived his Deity and existence from the Father. The Father was the source of the Son's Divine existence, as well as the Holy Spirit's, but without this implying that the Son was created. One of the analogies the early Church used to help explain the Father's begetting of the Son was the relationship between the sun and its rays. Just as the sun is the source from which the rays flow, so is the Father the source of the Son's divine life. Yet, much like the sun has always existed with its rays, since there was never a time when the sun existed without any of its rays, the Father also eternally existed with his Son. There was never a time when the Son did not exist. This analogy helped safeguard the essential unity of God's Being and the plurality of divine Persons. The early Church's terminology highlighted the fact that although the Father generated the Son, much like the sun generates sunlight and sunrays, he nonetheless existed within the very Being of God as the eternal Word/Wisdom of the Father.
Secondly, Menj equivocates on the meaning of terms. In Trinitarian understanding the word God can have different connotations in different contexts. For instance, the statement "Jesus is God" does not mean that Christ is the only Person who exists as God. Nor is it meant to imply that Jesus is the Father. It simply means that Jesus is fully God in essence and nature without denying that there are other Persons who are also fully and essentially God, namely the Father and the Holy Spirit. In fact, the early Church applied the term "God" primarily to the Father since to them the Father did not simply connote the first Person of the Holy Trinity, but the one Godhead who was the author and originator of whatever exists. In other words, the Father is primarily called God since he is the fountainhead of Deity, the One from whom both the Son and the Holy Spirit derive their eternal Deity and divine attributes.
For more on the early Father's understanding of Christ's relationship with the Father, we recommend this article.
The Points Against The Divinity of Jesus
The Bible tells us that God is One:
"The first of all the commandments is 'Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is One.'" (Mark 12:29)
Christians claim that there is only one God and who came down to earth in the form of a man, and since God is indivisible, they conclude that God and Jesus(P) are one being not two. This indivisibility of God, necessitates that God and Jesus(P) must be one being. However, this does not conform with many verses in the Bible where Jesus(P) and God are clearly spoken of as two separate beings:
Menj, like other Muslim apologists before him, commits several fallacies here. First, even though the Holy Bible teaches that God is one this in itself doesn't explain in what way God is one. Is God one Person, one Being, one essence, one power, one Community etc.?
The Holy Bible clearly teaches that God is unlike anything in all creation, that there is nothing in creation which resembles or compares to God:
"Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God." Psalm 86:8-10
"The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you." Psalm 89:5-8
"Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?" Psalm 113:5-6
"Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding? Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?" Isaiah 40:12-18
"To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing." Isaiah 40:25-26
"No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power. Who should not revere you, O King of the nations? This is your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you. They are all senseless and foolish; they are taught by worthless wooden idols. Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish and gold from Uphaz. What the craftsman and goldsmith have made is then dressed in blue and purple- all made by skilled workers. But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath." Jeremiah 10:6-10
The Quran also agrees that God is unlike anything in creation:
"(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees." S. 42:11
"Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him." S. 112:1-4
This would imply that God's oneness would also be unlike anything in creation. Hence, to reduce God's unity to a bare mathematical equation or to insist that his oneness must be exactly like the oneness of men or even angels would be an insult to God's transcendence and uniqueness. In fact, this would liken God to his creation which would be the sin of shirk in Islam.
Interestingly, the very word used by Muslims in describing God's unity, Tauhid, affirms that God's unity doesn't necessarily preclude plurality within God. The following section is taken from one of the articles posted on Menj's site:
Tauhiyd comes from the verb wahhad which literally means TO UNITE. In Islamic terminology, it means to realize and maintain the unity of Allâh in one's actions (inwardly and outwardly). The actual word tauhiyd does not occur in the Quran or Sunnah though the present tense of the verb (from which tauhiyd is derived) is used in Sunnah. The Prophet sent Muadh ibn Jabal as governor of Yemen in 9 A.H. He told him, "You will going to the people of the book, so first invite yuwahhidu Allâh [them to the assertion of the oneness of Allâh]".
Further, the division of tauhiyd into the components known to us today WERE NOT DONE BY THE PROPHET OR HIS COMPANIONS. It was systematically defined as such in order to convey, as concisely as possible, the simple unitarian belief of Islam. This was necessary because as Islam quickly spread to the four corners of the world, new converts began to interpret the teachings of Islam in line with their own philosophical concepts of Allâh and so confusion arose. Preconceived interpretations, all of which are blameworthy, were propagated by those who wanted to destroy Islam from the inside. The first such enemy of Islam was an Iraqi convert from Christianity named Sausan who preached man's absolute free will while denying (qadr) Divine Decree. His student, Ma`bad ibn Khalid al-Juhani, spread such deviant ideas until he was tried and executed by the Umayyad Caliph. There were three other such executions over the period of 26 years. The later Umayyad Caliphs were relatively more corrupt and cared less about such religious issues. At the same time, the masses were also relatively less educated about their religion. This proved to be a deadly combination. As the number of deviants increased through the liberation of various lands, apostates were no longer executed. Instead, Muslim scholars rose to execute the tide of heretics intellectually. Tauhiyd, precisely defined, EMERGED OUT OF THIS DEFENSE STRATEGY. Tauhiyd had been divided into the three following categories: tauhiyd ar-rububiyah, tauhiyd al-asma was-sifaat, and tauhiyd al-`ibadah or tauhiyd al-`uluuhiyah. Tauhiyd has been likened to a tree, the roots being tauhiyd ar-rububiyah, the trunk being tauhiyd al-asma was-sifaat, and the fruit being tauhiyd al-`ibadah. Each category of tauhiyd will now be discussed in some detail. (Source)
As a side note, it is amazing to find this author admitting that neither the term Tauhid nor its component parts were taught by Muhammad or his Companions, but arose from the need to accurately define and defend Islamic monotheism from heretical elements that were plaguing the Muslim communities. Amazingly, when Christians admit that the word Trinity or its precise theological formulation do not appear in the Holy Bible, but was the result of trying to systematically and accurately define the Biblical teaching in order to safeguard it against the heretics who were plaguing the Christian communities with their false concepts, Muslims often take this as an evidence that the Trinity is not a biblical teaching. Talk about a double standard!
Dr. Zakir Naik concurs with Menj's article regarding the etymology of Tauhid:
Definition and Categories:
Islam believes in Tawheed which is not merely monotheism i.e. belief in one God, but much more. Tawheed LITERALLY MEANS UNIFICATION i.e. asserting oneness and is derived from the Arabic verb Wahhada which means TO UNITE, UNIFY OR CONSOLIDATE. (Source)
In light of this, Menj has no basis to argue that Islamic monotheism negates any kind of plurality within God. God can be one in one sense, while being more than one in another sense, i.e. plurality of attributes, qualities and/or persons.
Second, to be more precise Christians believe that the one true God exists as/in three distinct Persons. At the Incarnation it was God the Son, the eternal Word of the Father, who came down and became man from the virgin. Neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit became man.
Finally, implicit in Menj's statements is the erroneous assumption that since the Scriptures distinguish between Christ and God this proves that Christ is a different Being from God. Yet a careful reading of the passages in question will show that the Scripture is distinguishing the Person of Christ from the Person of God the Father. The Scriptures are simply pointing out that Christ is a distinct Person from the Father who sent him, precisely what Trinitarianism teaches. It is only Menj's erroneous assumption that forces him to conclude that the passages in question prove that Christ is a distinct Being from God. Yet, aside from his erroneous assertions, Menj fails to provide any proof for understanding the passages in the manner he proposes. As we shall show, the Scripture clearly teaches that the Lord Jesus is fully God in nature and essence.
1. The very first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created...." introduces us to the God as the Creator. Anyone who has read just the first verse of the Bible knows God as The Creator. So, there is no need to call Him as Father, even to explain Him metaphorically, and try in vain to compare the One Who is Incomparable.
"Have we not all one father? Hath not One God created us?" (Malachi 2:10)
The above verse of the Bible is possibly the explanation for the unwarranted use of the word "Father" in the Bible to denote The Almighty's function, attribute or power as The Sole Creator.
First, had Menj continued reading further into Genesis he would have discovered that the one God who created all things is actually multi-personal:
"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Genesis 1:2
We see the Spirit of God hovering over the primordial waters, an indication that God's Spirit was involved in the creation process. This becomes clearer from the following section:
"Then God said, Let US make MAN in OUR IMAGE, in OUR LIKENESS, and let THEM rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created MAN in HIS OWN IMAGE, in THE IMAGE OF GOD HE created HIM; MALE AND FEMALE HE created THEM." Genesis 1:26-27
This passage explicitly shows that the plural pronouns are used in reference to the One God who made man in His OWN image. There are three main interpretations that are often given to explain the use of these plural pronouns.
1. God is speaking with angels. This interpretation is ruled out by the fact that the text says that man was created in God's own image. Man is never said to be created in the image of angels. Other passages affirm this point:
"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." Genesis 9:6
"A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man." 1 Corinthians 11:7
"and to put on the new self, created to be LIKE God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:24
"and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Colossians 3:10
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness." James 3:9
Furthermore, we are clearly told in Genesis 2 that God alone created man:
"then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature... So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man." Genesis 2:7, 21-22
The scriptures are also clear that angels took no part in creation:
"He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. He ALONE stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south." Job 9:7-9
"This is what the LORD says- your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who ALONE stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth BY MYSELF." Isaiah 44:24
Someone may interject and claim that Genesis 1:26 need not imply that man was created in the image of God and angels, but that angels were also created in God's image. This would then mean that God was telling the heavenly council that man would bear God's image much like the angels. The only problem with this claim is that nowhere in the Holy Scriptures are angels said to be created in God's image. The burden of proof rests upon those who claim otherwise.
2. God is speaking of himself in a majestic way, known as the plural of majesty. The only problem with this view is that the plural of majesty is unattested in biblical literature in relation to pronouns. Attempts have been made to show examples from the Holy Bible where the plural of majesty is used in relation to pronouns, i.e. 1 Kings. 12:9, 2 Chronicles 10:9 and Ezra 4:18. Yet, a careful examination of the context of these passages will show that none of them prove the use of the plural of majesty in regards to pronouns:
"Then King Rehoboam consulted THE ELDERS who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. How would you advise me to answer these people? he asked. They replied, If today you will be a servant to these people and serve them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants. But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted THE YOUNG MEN who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked THEM, What is your advice? How should WE answer these people who say to ME, "Lighten the yoke your father put on us"?" 1 Kings 12:6-9
"Then King Rehoboam consulted THE ELDERS who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. How would you advise me to answer these people? he asked. They replied, If you will be kind to these people and please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your servants. But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted THE YOUNG MEN who had grown up with him and were serving him. He asked THEM, What is YOUR ADVICE? How should WE answer these people who say to ME, "Lighten the yoke your father put on us"?" 2 Chronicles 10:6-9
It is clear from the context of these verses that the "WE" refers to the king and his men, to the royal court. The king is not speaking of himself only.
This is substantiated by the following passages:
"King Hezekiah AND HIS OFFICIALS ORDERED the Levites to praise the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed their heads and worshiped." 2 Chronicles 29:30
"At the king's command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king AND FROM HIS OFFICIALS, which read: People of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria ... Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king AND HIS OFFICIALS HAD ORDERED, following the word of the LORD.&quo; 2 Chronicles 30:6, 12
We note here that King Hezekiah along with his officials pass on decrees to the people. This adds support to my claim that Rehoboam's "we" statement didn't solely refer to himself, but included his advisors as well.
"Then the king sent an answer to Rehum the commander, to Shimshai the scribe, and to the rest of their colleagues who live in Samaria and in the rest of the provinces beyond the River: Peace. And now the document which you sent to US has been translated AND READ BEFORE ME. A decree has been issued by ME, and a search has been made and it has been discovered that that city has risen up against the kings in past days, that rebellion and revolt have been perpetrated in it, that mighty kings have ruled over Jerusalem, governing all the provinces beyond the River, and that tribute, custom and toll were paid to them. So, now issue a decree to make these men stop work, that this city may not be rebuilt until a decree is issued by ME. Beware of being negligent in carrying out this matter; why should damage increase to the detriment of the kings?" Ezra 4:17-22 NASB
The context is clear enough to demonstrate that the use of "US" refers to the king and his royal court. This is also seen from the king's use of "BEFORE ME" with the implication being that the letter was read aloud before the king's men.
3. God is speaking to the other members of the Godhead. There are at least two reasons why this interpretation is correct. First, earlier in Genesis we saw that God's Spirit was involved in the creation process, a point reiterated elsewhere in the Holy Bible:
"When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth." Psalm 104:30
"The Spirit of God HAS MADE ME; the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4
Job states that God's Spirit made him, affirming that the Spirit of God was involved in the creation of man. This definitely shows that God was speaking to at least one other Person in Genesis 1:26.
The second line of evidence comes from Genesis 1:26-27 itself. There we are told that God created MAN (singular). And yet the one man is actually more than one person, since the passage shows that the one man is both male and female. This is reiterated in the following passages:
"This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created MAN, he made HIM in the likeness of God. He created THEM MALE AND FEMALE and blessed THEM. And when THEY were created, he called THEM MAN. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth." Genesis 5:1-3
"So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called "woman," for she was taken out of man. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become ONE FLESH." Genesis 2:20-24
Woman came out of man to be united to him as his helper, and together they form one flesh.
Therefore, since man is multipersonal and is created in the image of God, this means that God is also multipersonal. This accounts for God's use of the plural pronouns.
Menj erroneously assumes that Malachi 2:10 led to the unwarranted use of the title "Father" in reference to God. This is a complete falsehood. God is commonly referred to as Father, and his people are often called his children:
"Then say to Pharaoh, This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son." Exodus 4:22-23
"and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place." Deuteronomy 1:31
"Is this the way you repay the LORD, O foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you? ... You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth. The LORD saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters." Deuteronomy 32:6, 18-19
"Yet the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from my whole family to be king over Israel forever. He chose Judah as leader, and from the house of Judah he chose my family, and from my father's sons he was pleased to make me king over all Israel. Of all my sons-and the LORD has given me many-he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel. He said to me: Solomon your son is the one who will build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father." 1 Chronicles 28:4-6
"I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, You are My Son, Today I have begotten You." Psalm 2:7 NASB
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5
"Once You spoke in vision to Your godly ones, And said, I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him ... He will cry to Me, "You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation." I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth." Psalm 89:19-20, 26-27 NASB
"As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." Psalm 103:13-14
"But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, O LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name." Isaiah 63:16
"Yet, O LORD , you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." Isaiah 64:8
"Have you not just called to me: My Father, my friend from my youth ... I myself said, "How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation." I thought you would call me "Father" and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me, O house of Israel, declares the LORD." Jeremiah 3:4, 19-20
"With weeping they will come, And by supplication I will lead them; I will make them walk by streams of waters, On a straight path in which they will not stumble; For I am a father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn." Jeremiah 31:9
"Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, You are not my people, they will be called sons of the living God." Hosea 1:10
"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son." Hosea 11:1
These verses demonstrate that the term Father doesn't simply refer to God as Creator. In certain passages it refers to God as Redeemer and to his covenant relations.
Since the Quran denies the fatherhood of God and states that Allah is not a father of anyone then this proves that Allah is not the true God Yahweh.
In the whole universe, He is the only Creator and everything else is His creature. In the book of Genesis, the Bible gives details of how the heavens, the earth, the light, the animals, the man, etc. were made by God. Everything came into being by His command.
"For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." (Psalms 33:9)
The Bible says that
"By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." (Psalms 33:6)
Menj seems unaware of the fact that these verses actually form the OT basis for God's triunity. Psalm 33:6 states that God used his Word and His Spirit (ruach, breath) to create the constellations. Other passages state that God used his wisdom and power to create and fashion all things:
"How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures." Psalm 104:24
"By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew." Proverbs 3:19-20
"But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding." Jeremiah 10:12
The NT states that Jesus is God's word, wisdom and power:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:1-3
"but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:24
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of life." 1 John 1:1
"He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God." Revelation 19:13
This is why the NT authors could speak of Christ in such highly exalted terms without compromising monotheism. The Judaism of Jesus' day knew that God's word, wisdom and power were not separate beings but intrinsic aspects of God's very own Being. For the NT to describe Jesus as God's eternal word, wisdom and power meant that he was intrinsic to the very identity of the one God.
2. If God came down to earth as a man, one would expect that after the end of His life on earth, and upon His return to heaven, He would be One Being, not Two. This is not in agreement with the following verse:
"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God."(Mark 16:19)
This verse, which speaks about Jesus(P) after he was raised up into heaven, clearly indicates that God and Jesus(P) are not one being, for how can God be sitting on the right hand of Himself?
Menj exposes his confusion and misunderstanding by committing the fallacy of false dilemma. He erroneously assumes that since Christ sat at God's right hand this means that Christ is not God but a different Being altogether. Otherwise one would have to conclude that Christ is sitting at his own right hand.
As we have already mentioned, the term God has different referents and meanings in different contexts. Cf. John 1:1, 20:28; Acts 5:3-4; Hebrews 1:8-9; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1
These passages also show that both the Son and the Holy Spirit are also called God, proving that more than one Person exists as the one true God.
Furthermore, Mark 16:19 is applying the term God to the Father, that Christ sat at the Father's right hand. Hence, Jesus wasn't sitting at his own right hand since he is not the Father. When Mark 16:19 is defined in light of the rest of scriptures which teach that Jesus is essentially God, then one can see that the passage is not differentiating between two Beings. Rather, it is simply distinguishing two distinct Persons who exist as one divine Being.
The following passages help clarify these points:
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, You are my Son; today I have begotten you? Or again, I will be his Father, and he will be my Son? And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, Let all God's angels worship him. In speaking of the angels he says, He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire. But about the Son he says, Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. He also says, In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end. To which of the angels did God ever say, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet? Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" Hebrews 1:1-14
This passage demonstrates that:
1. Jesus is the exact imprint of God's substance, which means that he is fully God in essence. (Cf. 1:3)
Noted NT Scholar Murray J. Harris states:
"When the Son is said to be the radiant light of Gods glory (on apaugasma te doxes) (v.3 JB) and to bear the imprint of God's nature (charakter tes hupostaseos autou) (v. 3), he is being described as the intrinsic possessor of the nature of God without actually being given the generic title of God. (Harris, Jesus as God - The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus [Grand Rapids; Baker Book House, 1992], p. 222; bold emphasis ours)
2. Jesus is the Heir of all things. (Cf. 1:2)
This is stated in other passages:
"Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given TO ME." Matthew 28:18
"He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, They will respect my son. But the tenants said to one another, THIS IS THE HEIR. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours. So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard." Mark 12:6-8
"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Luke 10:22
"The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands." John 3:35
"Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had COME FROM GOD and was RETURNING TO GOD;" John 13:3
"All that belongs to the Father IS MINE. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you." John 16:15
"All I have is yours, and all you have IS MINE. And glory has come to me through them." John 17:10
Compare this to the following Quranic verses:
"To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: It is He who gives life and death; and He has power over all things." S. 57:2
"To God belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth; And God hath power over all things." S. 3:189
"And certainly We! We it is Who give life, and cause death, and We are THE HEIRS." S. 15:23
"Lo! We, only We, inherit the earth and all who are thereon, and unto Us they are returned." S. 19:40
The Quran states that God is the Heir, and yet the NT says that the Lord Jesus is the Heir. Hence, for the Lord Jesus to be the Heir he must be God Almighty!
3. Jesus is the Agent of Creation, the very One who brought all things into existence. (Cf. 1:2, 10-12)
4. Jesus sustains all things by his powerful word, implying that he is Almighty. (Cf. 1:3)
This too is repeated in several other places:
"After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that HE might give eternal life to all those you have given him." John 17:1-2
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body." Philippians 3:20-21
"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him AND FOR HIM. He is before all things, and IN HIM all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy." Colossians 1:13-18
5. Jesus is the Author of Salvation by providing purification for sins. (Cf. 1:3b)
6. Jesus sits at God's right hand. (Cf. 1:3b, 13)
Note that the inspired author had no problem in asserting that Jesus sat at God's right hand and was fully God in substance. The author understood that God here refers to the Father and that the Son sitting at God's right hand meant that the Son sat at the Father's right hand. He realized that the Father and the Son are distinct Persons, not distinct Beings.
7. Jesus is the Son of God even before the creation of the universe. (Cf. 1:2, 5)
8. Jesus is worshiped by angels. (Cf. 1:6)
9. Jesus is God. (Cf. 1:8)
10. Jesus is the eternal King (Cf. 1:8)
11. Jesus is Jehovah. (Cf. 1:10-12; Ps. 102:24-27)
12. Jesus is immutable as opposed to creation which is changing. (Cf. 1:10-12)
This is reiterated elsewhere:
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." Hebrews 13:8
Other passages that speak of Christ being God while sitting at God's right hand include:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made ... He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was HIS OWN, but HIS OWN did not receive him ... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth ... No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is in the bosom of the Father, has made him known." John 1:1-3, 10-11, 14, 18
"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge ... For in Christ ALL THE FULLNESS of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority ... Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, WHO IS YOUR LIFE, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 2:2-3, 9-10, 3:1-4
Earlier we quoted Colossians 1:13-18 where Paul taught that the kingdom belongs to Christ who as God's beloved Son is the Agent and Sustainer of all creation, as well as being preeminent over all things. Here Paul says that all of God's wisdom and treasures are stored in Christ, that all the fullness of Deity dwells bodily in Christ, that Christ is our very life and sits at God's right hand.
These preceding points demonstrate that just because Jesus sits at God's right hand doesn't mean that he is not God also. Since the Father is not the only Person who is God, since the Son is not the Father, and since the Son sits at the Father's right hand, Mark 16:19 poses no problem for Trinitarians.
This concludes this section. Continue with Part 2.
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