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

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice V : Sin and Atonement 3


In this section, Dr. Badawi will quote James out of context in order to convince us that we can be saved through works alone. Many cults have misused this passage over the years to mislead people into believing that they can "work their way" into heaven. Christians believe that we are justified by faith and by faith alone. Through justification, God declares a sinner to be righteous by crediting, the righteousness of Jesus through His death on the cross, to the sinner. This is done by faith and by faith alone - we cannot earn our salvation nor can we buy it. When we sinners put our faith in Jesus and place our trust in Him, then God justifies us. The Bible clearly teaches that we are justified by faith, does James contradict this by teaching that we are justified by works? The answer is NO.

Host: You mentioned that New Testament writers did not agree with Paul's teachings on atonement, who were they and what did they say?

Jamal Badawi : James, especially James 2:10, James says:

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

James emphasizes the law. In James 2:14 it says:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

This is a contrast with Paul Roman 10:13, because faith without works cannot save. In James 2:17:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

Faith is dead without works, this is not what Paul said. James 2:20 says:

You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

According to this, blood doesn't save you. In verse 24 we see that man is justified by works and not by faith alone, this contrasts with Galatians 2:16:

know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

In James 2:26:

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Another clear contrast with Paul.

We need to carefully study what James is telling us. Especially verses 14-26 which discuss the relationship between faith and works.

James 2:14-26:

14: What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

In other words, what use is it if someone says he has faith but does no good works?

15-16: Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

In other words, if we see a fellow human being in need and we do not give him or her what they need, but instead tell them to ‘‘Go in peace", what good have we done?

17: In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Conclusion : faith with no good works is dead.

18 : But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

In other words, James says "I will show you my faith by my works."

19 : You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.

In other words, does your intellectual belief in God save you? NO, Satan and demons also believe in God!

20 : You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?

In other words, faith without good works is useless.

21: Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

Abraham was justified by works when he offered Isaac as a sacrifice because ...........

22 : You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.

faith was working side by side with his works.

23 : And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend.

In other words, Abraham's faith made him righteous in the eyes of God.

24 : You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

In other words, you see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.

25 : In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?

Because Raab, was justified by her good works.

26 : As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Conclusion: faith without works is dead.

James begins by making a hypothetical example of someone who claims to have faith. Then, James immediately gives us examples of true and false faiths, beginning with false faith. He continues by showing us that false faith is very similar to the faith of demons - that is the intellectual realization of the existence of God. James concludes by giving us examples of living faith by citing Abraham and Rahab as examples of people who demonstrated their faith by their good deeds.

James is examining two kinds of faith: true faith - which leads to good works; and, false faith - which does not. False faith is dead, true faith is alive; therefore, "Faith without works is dead," (James 2:20).

Host: What assumptions did Paul have on human nature?

Jamal Badawi : Romans 5:18, Paul sees Adam was created perfect and holy until he and Eve ate from the tree and his nature was transformed affecting everyone after him. Everyone died because of the sin of one man. This raises a serious problem, if Adam was perfect, they must have been totally incapable of disobeying God, they cannot disobey God. It is true that Adam and Eve ate from the tree, this means that they were neither perfect nor holy because they did this because of imperfection. The three communities agree that Adam had a physical body, created from clay or dust, matter is not perfect so we have instincts to sustain the human race, we get competition and a limited body so they could not be perfect because they were physical. Paul's assumptions are wrong, the evidence is to the contrary.

Paul's assumptions are correct.

Genesis 1:27:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:31

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day.

God made Adam and Eve perfect in every way. They also had a free will, which they abused. If God made perfectly obedient creatures, which He could easily do, then we would be nothing more than robots lacking any love for our creator. Adam would not have been perfect if he lacked a free will.

The flaw in Dr. Badawi's argument is, once again, that he is attempting to place artificial constraints on God. If we believe that God can only create things that are perfect, how do we explain the world around us which is so far from perfect?

Host: How do you respond to the issue that Satan was an angel but he sinned?

Jamal Badawi : Same inconsistency as with Adam. The Qur'an says that Satan was not an angel. If Satan was an angel (perfect, incapable of disobeying God), how did he do this? Satan refused to bow to Adam, he was not an angel, but was with the angels. This confusion is not in the Qur'an. In Sura 18:50 it says that Adam Satan was of Jinn, they are unseen but are similar to humans because they have freedom of choice, so there are believing and unbelieving Jinn. Satan was not an angel. Sura 66:6 says that the angels never disobey God.

Same problem as above, can God create a perfect being which does not have a free will? After all, why would God create something imperfect from the beginning? The answer is very clear, the Bible tells us that God did indeed create the perfect world, and that included Adam and Eve's free wills. They could have obeyed God, but they chose not to. Because of them, God's perfect creation has fallen.

Host: What did Paul assume about God's attributes?

Jamal Badawi : Paul gave conflicting signals. He talks about mercy, love, and forgiveness that God sacrificed Jesus. Paul also detect God as a being who refuses repentance from Adam and all others until Jesus died. Some say that Paul did not depict God as vengeful before Jesus, but he said that because God is holy and cannot tolerate the unholy. Isn't God capable of washing away sins without shedding blood?

Paul's signals were very clear, God gave us Jesus because He is merciful and forgiving. Once again, we have free will, we can open the door of our heart to Jesus and accept God's free gift of salvation, or we can slam the door in Jesus' face and tell Him to go away. In either case, God has revealed His plan of salvation to us and the choice is ours.

Is God capable of saving humanity without the shedding of blood? God is capable of doing anything that He wishes to do. The question is not what God could do, the question is what did He do? God clearly and consistently tells us throughout the entire Bible that the very nature of Atonement is the shedding of blood (Leviticus 17:11). Atonement was God's plan and I am not going to attempt to provide my Creator with any suggestions of how He can better run the universe! It amazes me that Muslims claim that the Qur'an is the word of God, yet the entire theme of atonement through blood sacrifice is missing in the Qur'an. Assuming the Qur'an is the word of God (which I do not assume), did God forget thousands of years of His own revelations?

Host: Some say that the bloodshed satisfies divine justice?

Jamal Badawi : The idea of vicarious sacrifice explains how God reconciled his attributes of mercy and justice and the wages of sin is death. Is it just that all humans coming from Adam be born with the stigma of sin because of Adam's mistake? Is it just to condemn a human in advance, even an innocent baby? Adam was created weak and imperfect and God knew this, if he sees a repentant human, is it just for God to say no, you must be perfect to enter paradise? Is it just that the innocent be killed and tortured to release the guilty? To say that the pure Jesus was killed to save the guilty does not make sense. [silly illustration about a human judge].

We are not held accountable for Adam's sins. However, humans did inherit our father's [Adam's] sinful nature. If we did not inherit Adam's sinful nature, according to the Islamic argument, why does Allah not allow you and me to live in the Garden of Eden? Is God holding us responsible for a sin that we did not commit?

Additionally, the God of the Qur'an is not very merciful or forgiving. In fact, the Qur'an tells us that:

Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell. Sura 7:179

In other words, God created beings which are/were destined for hell. This is really an argument between free will and predestination and it appears that some unfortunate men and jinns were, and are, predestined to burn in hell. Is this the work of a just and merciful God?

Also, according to Islamic theology, good works are of absolutely no value. According to Bukhari:

Narrated 'Imran :

I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Why should a doer (people) try to do good deeds?' The Prophet said, "Everybody will find easy to do such deeds as will lead him to his destined place for which he has been created.' Volume 9, Book 93, Number 641

Is it merciful for God, knowing man's weakness, to ignore repentance and require bloodshed? Is it merciful for God to kill his own Son? Is it not more merciful that God simply forgives sin without this blood sacrifice? It appears that Paul's theory is inconsistent with either the divine qualities of justice and mercy.

Once again, Dr. Badawi is attempting to give suggestions to God. The Justice of God demands that we pay for our sins, however, the Mercy of God saves us through Jesus, who took our sins to the cross and saved us from the punishment that we deserve.

Host: Are there any other problems with Paul's teachings?

Jamal Badawi : We normally sacrifice an inferior for the superior. Why would God sacrifice his son to save those who are inferior? Why should God sacrifice his Son, to give the better food for your child is understandable, but to kill a superior for the inferior does not make sense.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

If Jesus accepted it, it was wrong because it was suicide.

How can the sacrificial offering be accused of committing suicide? This is a very silly argument!

The most serious problem with Paul's theory is who died on the cross? If we assumed that Jesus died on the cross, who died. There are three possibilities : God (incarnate) or He was both divine and human, or was just Jesus the human. If we say that it was God, there is a serious problem because it is inconsistent with the Old Testament because God cannot die. Who ran the world the three days that Jesus was dead? If the one was divine and human, is the same as the previous because the divine and human nature are not two parts put together, they are joined so God died. Jesus said that He commended his spirit into God's hands. Matthew 27:46, Mark 33:34, that does not sound like God dying. If the human died, then according to the theory of atonement, the divine must die.

God the Father is a Spirit and He did not die. God the Son did, in fact, die on the cross. However, the Spirit of Jesus did not die. Jesus told the thief on the cross:

"I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 23:43

Andrew Vargo

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