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

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice VIII : Sin and Atonement 6


In this final segment on "Sin and Atonement", Dr. Badawi ends the discussion by claiming that the forgiveness of sins through a blood sacrifice simply does not make sense. Once again, Dr. Badawi believes that we can either earn our salvation or hope that God is in a good mood when He judges us. Neither alternative is very comforting since neither provides any assurance of salvation. We are forced, according to the Islamic argument presented by Dr. Badawi, to have greater trust in our abilities, or luck, than in God.

Host: What is the problem with atonement?

Jamal Badawi: We are not aware of any reasonable explanation of why this blood sacrifice of Jesus took place at this time. Why not before or after that? If the substitotory sacrifice was meant to remove the impact of original sin of Adam, why didn't this take place after Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden? Why did humans have to suffer so long? It is argued that God sent Prophets throughout history and then sent his son to solve the problem of sin once and for all. Then the proper timing should have been before the day of judgement. The world is still made up of two types of people: those overcome by sin and those who try to overcome sin through repentance and prayer. This preceded Jesus and was taught by Muhammad.

The incarnation and death of Jesus happened according to God's divine plan as foretold by the Prophets. I do not pretend to know the details of God's plan, other than what He revealed to us in the Bible through His Prophets. Also, these same questions could be asked of Islam. Why didn't Allah send the Qur'an after Adam and Eve sinned, or at the hour before the Day of Judgement?

Host: How about those who died before Jesus? Are they saved?

Jamal Badawi: The traditional position is those who do not believe in Jesus are condemned. John 3:18:

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

This is interpreted as condemnation of those who died before Jesus, even little infants. There are some theologians who say that this is contrary to fairness and justice and so they say that those who died before Christ knew about him and lived in hope. This lacks any evidence. Many generations of pious people died with the hope of forgiveness without any notion of God incarnate and blood sacrifice. Some say that Jesus went into the hellfire and saved them. How did Jesus distinguish between people in hell who never heard of him or of atonement. Does that mean that all of the Prophets were in hell? Would that apply to Moses or John the Baptist who the Bible says is sinless?

Paul answers this question for us in Romans 2:12-15 :

"For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts ultimately accusing or defending them."

In other words, God has given each of us a "natural law", or a sense of right and wrong. The proof of this is the fact that all humans have a conscience. Whether a person lives in modern day New York City or in a remote village, or during ancient times, where they may have never heard of the Gospel or Jewish Law, the people in all of these place and times have a working knowledge of morality and know that stealing, murder, and harming others is wrong. Every person forms a moral code that they use to judge others. The problem in every society, and with every person, is that no one has ever been able to consistently obey their own moral code - not to mention God's moral code, without revising their code or rationalizing their bad behavior. Therefore, God tells us that their thoughts will justify or condemn them.

The fact that we have heard the Jewish Law, or that we have read the Bible does not, by itself, save us. We will be judged by the Word of God which we have heard. Since we have heard the words of Jesus, we will also be judged if we reject the words of the Lord.

Host: Why did God chose this way to save mankind?

Jamal Badawi: I am not aware of any reasonable explanation why salvation can only come through the sacrifice of the Son of God. Why didn't this incarnation of God take place without any human (ie Mary) due to the inheritance of sin? Was it not more convincing to remove the human element? Why does God need to incarnate, does God live in a body?

Because this was God's plan beginning in the Old Testament. Once again, the question is what DID God do? Not, what else could God have done? God established the concept of salvation, through the shedding of blood, long ago in the Old Testament and this has been a consistent theme throughout both the Old and New Testaments. The more interesting question : Is Dr. Badawi attempting to tell God what is, and is not, "reasonable"?

1 Kings 8:27:

"But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

These are the words of Solomon which did not, and can not, prohibit God from doing what God wished to do. The fact is that the Word of God was made flesh in Jesus who did walk among the human race.

Those who assume that God is omnipotent, why can't he forgive humans directly without sending his son to be killed? To forgive means that you forget without asking for anything in return. How do we expect God to say that to forgive man I demand my son die?

God can do whatever God wishes. The question is not why didn't Almighty God do things Dr. Badawi's way, but rather why did God do what He did? The answer is that God loved us and wanted to reconcile His creation with Himself. The method that God chose was atonement through blood sacrifice and the ultimate and final shedding of blood, for all of the human race for all time, was the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross.

The sacrifice of Jesus was meant to be universal, why did Jesus say his mission was limited to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, his mission should have been clear on day one. How come this universal mission was discovered by Paul. If the price of sin has been paid by Jesus, how can God exercise his power on humans? Why did Jesus teach his followers to seek forgiveness if his death paid the price? Matthew 25:31 says that there is accountability and judgement?

This is a favorite argument of Dr. Badawi's and has been answered in JESUS, ISRAEL AND THE GENTILES

Jesus tells us:

"I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash teeth." (Matthew 8:11,12)

Host: Give you give us the examples of some scholars?

Jamal Badawi : Paulus Sobat said the incarnation of the Word was not necessarily to save mankind, even though he had every reason to ransom humans, God almighty will that the ransom be what is dearest to him. Paulus Enyas said that there is no doubt that Christ could redeem man with one word, he suffered. God the Son willed what God the Father to give an eternal example of love to make them repent and reciprocate love. Both are flawed.

Once again, I believe that it is very dangerous for us, including Paulus Sobat, to tell God what He should, and should not do! God can do as God pleases. Our goal should be to try to understand what He has done and not attempt to second guess Him, or provide Him with suggestions concerning how He could better manage the universe that He created!

Host: What are the problems with these explanations?

Jamal Badawi: If the incarnation of the Word was not necessary to save man, then deification was not necessary either.

The incarnation of the Word, and His death on the cross, WAS NECESSARY to save mankind. That was God's plan as revealed to the Prophets in the Bible and fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

The second problem is that divine power is supreme and there were many other ways that God could save man. On what basis did they discern the will of God? In the Old Testament or Jesus? No, it is their interpretation.

Perhaps there were many ways for God to save mankind, but that is not the issue at hand. The question is what DID God do? Not what else could God have done to solve the problem of sin? Jesus knew the will of God because He WAS God.

Jesus prostrated himself so he was not divine. Blood atonement does not stand.

How does the statement the Jesus prostrated Himself make Him not divine? Once again, Dr. Badawi is limiting God and rejecting any aspect of God which falls outside of his definition.

What does it mean to say that Jesus did God's will, if there are two wills, they both cannot be God. If they have the same will, they are one person and the idea of Trinity does not stand. The idea that the blood sacrifice gives a good example and is not unjust, it takes thousands of years for Jesus to be born. It would have been faster to forgive without bloodshed. Blood sacrifice is not consistent with love or justice.

Actually, it is very consistent with love and justice. The idea that God would send His only Son to die for our sins is the greatest example of love that we can imagine. Jesus had a human will and a divine will, but His human always submitted to His divine will.

Host: What do you mean by the theory of atonement is not universal?

Jamal Badawi: Atonement simply indicates the blood sacrifice to remove original sin, reality shows this is not the case. In Genesis 3:16-19 it shows that women were destined to suffer childbirth and men had to suffer work and we had to die. This situation has no changed after the blood sacrifice. Many people believe in Jesus but commit sin.

Atonement removes ALL sins when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. In other words, Jesus paid for our sins through His death on the cross and we can, after we die, stand in the presence of God. However, our sinful nature continues to exist even after we are saved and that is why women feel the pains of childbirth and men must toil in order to live.

Andrew Vargo

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