Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

Did Jesus Claim Divinity V : Other "Claims"


In this segment, Dr. Badawi attempts to refute some miscellaneous claims that are made for the divinity of Jesus. As always, Badawi selectively cites the Bible and, as usual, relies heavily on the apologetics of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Host: When Jesus said that His words would not pass away, is this a sign of His divinity?

Jamal Badawi: Mark 13:31:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

To begin with it is highly doubtful whether Jesus said this, but it is related to another topic. Even if we assume that he did say this, it is not a claim to divinity. In many other places, Jesus indicates that he does not do anything on his own he communicates what has been said to him. It follows that it is the word of God not because he is divine, but because he conveys the word of God. The words that do not pass away are the words of God communicated through him. If it is in context, the next verse Jesus said that he is not divine because he does not know the hour.

It "is highly doubtful whether Jesus said this"? My, my Dr. Badawi, the Bible is like a cafeteria for you - you take what you like and leave what you do not like! Jesus said that His words will never pass away. Since Jesus and God are One, His words are God's words. Incidentally, you and many Muslims believe that the Bible has been altered and corrupted, therefore (according to your argument) these words have passed away!

Host: Could you explain why it was doubtful that Jesus said those words?

Jamal Badawi: The question of authority and authenticity, one can only relate to the context of the verses where Jesus said this. Looking at Mark 13:24-33 you find that Jesus speaks about the day of judgement, if you read it carefully, Jesus addresses people that this generation will not pass away before these things happen. That means that the day of judgement was expected during the life of the disciples of Jesus and we all know that didn't happen. This means that Jesus was incorrect or the statement was incorrect. So that means that the statement did not come from Jesus.

John 14:24:

He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Well if the word is not his, he means the word of God.

First, the fact that Jesus did not know the hour does not negate His divinity. Perhaps Jesus did not know the hour because he assumed our human nature and, like all of us, needed to live by faith and obedience. Jesus could have been unaware of the hour simply because He did not want to know. I believe that Jesus was trying to tell us that it is presumptuous, for humans to attempt to determine ( by mathematical calculation and over-analyzing prophecy) what the Son of God did not know, or did not want to know.

Second, when Jesus said I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. (Verse 30), the Greek term for "generation" [genea] can also be translated as "nation" or "race". Looking at this passage we also see that Jesus was promising that those alive at that time would see the firm establishment and victorious progress of His Church, the establishment of the new kingdom of Christ, which was destined to work the greatest of all changes on this earth. This was also a pledge and promise of His final coming in glory.

Third, was Jesus merely a conduit for the Words of God? No. Through the physical body of Jesus, God expressed Himself and His love in the only way that can be seen and heard and comprehended by humanity. Jesus IS the Word of God made human.

Host: What about when Jesus said all authority was given to him?

Jamal Badawi: Matthew 28:18

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

If we took this literally, if all authority has been given to Jesus, what is the role of the Father. That means that the Father has all of the authority which has been given to the Son and He ceases to be God. That is impossible interpretation. It also says that the authority was given to him, not coming from him. The one who gives is superior to the one the receives. To be divine, you receive nothing from anyone because to receive means that you are not divine.

Jesus was telling His disciples, before He sent them out into the world to preach the good news, the all power is given to me - even though He is in the form of a man. This was to emphasize that fact that Jesus, as God, he had all power from eternity and will have it forever.

Host: It is claimed that some of the disciples worshiped Jesus and he did not object.

Jamal Badawi: It is a misunderstanding of a term that cannot be interpreted literally. In Matthew 14:33:

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Notice it does not say that they prayed to him. The term worship does not necessarily mean between the creator and the creation. Some times worship means intense love (ie money).

They did not "pray to Him"? What did Peter do in verse 30?

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

The worship that Peter gave to Jesus was far greater than any "intense love" that he had for money or his wife since he sacrificed both to follow Jesus!

John 20:28

Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"

Thomas called Jesus and He did not object. Leaving aside the evidence of possible editing, one would wonder if Thomas was expressing intense emotions, meaning that he was God-like. In the Hebrew tradition was used to refer to humans in Psalm 82:6, Exodus, etc. Thomas could have also said my God as an explanation as if he is surprised.

This is, yet another, Jehovah's Witness argument. Jesus did, in fact, accept the worship of Thomas. I doubt that Thomas' words were uttered as an exclamation. The Jews did not take God's name in vain, as many people sadly do today. If Thomas had used God's name in this way, Jesus would have reprimanded him.

John 10:34

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, `I have said you are gods'

If it were true that Thomas worshiped him as God, we would have found the Gospels full of information that the bowed down to him all of the time. It was Jesus who taught them to pray to our Father. It is inconceivable to say that Jesus who called himself the son of man, accepted that anyone would call him God.

This passage is discussed elsewhere. The disciples did not understand who Jesus was in the beginning, that is why we find them giving Him worship after His resurrection, because His followers, at that point, finally knew Him and His mission.

Host: What does the term son of man mean?

Jamal Badawi: Matthew 8:20:

Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

Matthew 9:6

But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home."

It says has the authority on earth to forgive sins. If he was divine he could do this on heaven and earth.

Why would Jesus need to forgive sins in heaven? If a person accepts Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, his or her sins are forgiven in this life and one this earth. When that person enters into God's glory, he or she has been cleansed of sins through, and only through, the blood of Jesus. It a person does not accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, they die in their sins and can never be in the presence of God.

In Matthew 16:13 the same terms is used. In the RSV, verse Matthew 18:11 has been dropped, so apparently that was not authentic. Matthew 19:21, it was attributed to Jesus that his 12 disciples would be appointed in heaven as rulers, of the tribes of Israel.

Matthew 16:13:

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

Matthew 18:11 was assimilated from Luke 19:10 : For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost." .

So the term son of man is clear, obvious showing the humanity of Jesus. It amazes me that some people try to turn this term around to show the divinity of Jesus.

The term "Son of Man" does not show the humanity of Jesus, it shows His divinity. We must first turn to a passage which the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Muslims who blindly copy their arguments, choose to ignore. The Prophet Daniel gives us a fantastic prophecy in Daniel 7:13-14:

"Behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was give dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed".

Now, let us travel through history to the time of Jesus. In Mark, chapter 14:61-64:

... Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as worthy of death.

Do you think that Daniel is talking about the humanity of Jesus in this passage? Do you believe that Jesus is expressing His humanity here? The High Priests didn't think so, they declared that He should be executed for blasphemy!

Was this prophecy fulfilled? Yes!! In Luke 24:50-52:

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.


Acts 1:9-11:

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

Just as the Prophet Daniel prophesied , Jesus ascended to God, with the clouds of heaven and is there given all authority and power. Incidentally, Jesus was worshiped by his disciples on the very day of the Ascension, 40 days after the Resurrection (Luke 24:52).

Host: That sounds strange to me, what do you mean by that?

Jamal Badawi: I am referring to the born again Christians, the term son of man is used to say that Jesus is divine. The basic argument is there is some kind of uniqueness of this term. We find in the same publication there are references to the Old Testament where the term son of man has been used to refer to Jesus, so it is not unique to Jesus. Ezekiel 33, 34 35, 36, 37:9-11 and in the Book of Daniel 7:13-14, Psalm 4:4, Job 25:6 it refers to other than Jesus, how does this mean divinity? Another argument is that Jesus is referred to "the" son of man. The term the does not mean that there was no other teacher or prophet, that is a weak basis to claim divinity. Another argument is never was this term used in contrast in the Old Testament to the title Son of God. The question is when should they be contrasted? When we say that it was not used with the Son of God, it is assumed that it is either or, and it means the only begotten which has been dropped. So we have to choose between divine and human. Both have been used in the Bible to refer to others. The prophecies about the coming of the son of man have been believed to refer to Jesus. This raises a question of Jesus humanity, because was should say that he was the son of Mary because he had no physical father. The son of man is not appropriate unless you take it in the broad sense that he is a human being.

Can you honestly reach these conclusions after reading the earlier Bible passages? Could these passages possibly refer to anyone else but Jesus?

Host: Did Jesus ever quoted as denying that he was divine?

Jamal Badawi: This is very significant while many theologians have find evidence to show that Jesus claimed to be divine. There are numerous verses where Jesus denies divinity.

John 5:30:

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

John 14:10

Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

John 8:28-29

So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."

John 14:24

He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

John 14:28

"You heard me say, `I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

John 14:51

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

It is obvious that when someone is saying that he is doing only what he has been directed is indicating that he is a human being and faithful servant.

No, that is not what Jesus is saying. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, but like all good sons, He is obedient to His Father and does what the Father does (John 8:37-47). Therefore, Jesus says what God says since they are One. Jesus and God cannot do or say anything different. Jesus did the work of God the Father. He acted exactly the same as God the Father would have acted and said exactly what the Father would have said.

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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