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

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice XVII : Resurrection 1


In this segment, Dr. Badawi continues his attempt to present the Gospel accounts of the death of Jesus as contradictory. The four Gospels are eyewitness accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, therefore, each contain some observations which are unique, however, no Gospel contradicts the others.

Host: How do you explain the order of the breaking of legs?

Jamal Badawi: Two possibilities:

1. It happened : It is up to the author to explain, he gave no reasons.

John does explain why the legs were broken in John 19:31 :

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

Crucifixion was a brutal form of execution. Assuming that a victim of crucifixion did not bleed to death or die of blood poisoning (from the nails), he ultimately died of asphyxiation. In order to breath, a victim of crucifixion would push his body upwards, using his legs. If the legs were broken, the chest would slump down, compressing the chest cavity and lungs, and the person would die due to a lack of oxygen. That is why the legs were broken.

2. It didn't happen : I believe it did not happen. None of the synoptic Gospels mention this event and breaking of legs is something that is visible from a distance. John 19:30, we are told that Jesus said it is finished and gave up his spirit. Later, the soldiers started breaking legs. If the soldiers saw this, then how did the just discover in verse 30. The story would be more believable if John said that the Jews asked to break the legs but not Jesus' because he died. It says that the Jews got Pilate's permission to break the legs. How long did this take? If Pilate was present at the crucifixion, the writer ignored this. The writer of John in verse 35 worries that he will not be believed. This is one of the most problematic statements in the Bible. Scholars believe that John did not write this and the person writing this does not claim to be a witness. Another reason is that the writer could not help but mention the reason for this incident in verse 36. He added that not a bone will be broken referring to Psalm 34:20 which means that he will be saved to the point where not a bone is broken, what difference does it make when your dead. This is probably a later addition.

Well, I believe that it did happen, and I base my beliefs on the people who witnessed the event and not on a logically inconsistent tale made up by a man who lived centuries later. What about the soldiers? Verse 30 tells us:

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

The soldiers did not here the last words of Jesus but came later in verse 32 to break the legs.

In respect to verse 35, John stressed the fact that there were eyewitness testimonies of this event. I do not find this verse problematic at all. If Dr. Badawi doubts the Bible based on this instance, what does he think of the many passages of the Qur'an which constantly stress the truth of that book? The fact that none of the bones of Jesus were broken is the clear fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy, whether Jesus was dead or not was not the point of these prophecies. As usual, when Dr. Badawi cannot attack a Biblical prophecy, he pulls out his regular accusation (without proof) that is was a “later addition”.

Host: What about resurrection how to this event come to be known?

Jamal Badawi: The news spread slowly among early Christians, Peter and the Apostles denied it and then they never talked about it as a foundation of faith and salvation. George Caird says that the first mention of the resurrection appears in 1 Cor 15:3-4 which was written 10 years before the Gospel of Mark. Paul said this is what he received, what does that mean? Revelation or the words of the other disciples. The story is not consistent in the four Gospels.

No, the news spread very fast among the disciples! Paul received his information from Christ through special revelation.

Host: How do they compare?

Jamal Badawi: There are six areas of comparison:

1. Who went to the tomb?

Mark said three people Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome. Matthew said there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. Luke says several women went, two Marys and Joanne and other women. John said only one went, Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene was the only one in common.

The Gospels, when combined, tell us that there were two groups of women who went to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and her group most likely began their journey from the house of John Mark, where Jesus and His disciples had the Last Supper. Joanna and some other unnamed women, most likely set out from Herod's official residence, which was located in a different part of Jerusalem, because Joanna's husband was a man named Cuza, who managed Herod's Palace (Luke 8:3). When Mary Magdalene saw that the stone had been rolled away, she went to tell Peter and returned later.

When did the women go?

Mark said after sunrise, Matthew said it was towards dawn, Luke said early dawn, and John said while it was still dark. Mark said they went after sunrise.

Matthew 28:1 says At dawn...went , Mark 16:2 says...just after sunrise, Luke 24:1 says Very early in the morning, and John 20:1 says 'Early...while it was still dark.

Once again, we must remember that there were two groups of women. According to Luke, it was very early when the women set off for the tomb, Matthew tells us that it was dawn, but John says that it was dark. Mark says that the sun had risen, while the women were on their way to the tomb. The group of women in John's account left while it was still dark and the sun had time to rise during their journey across Jerusalem to the tomb.

What about the stone?

Mark said that they saw the stone rolled back, Matthew said an earthquake and an angel rolled the stone, Luke and John say that they found that the stone was rolled away.

No, Matthew did not say that the women saw the angel roll the stone back! Matthew tells us that the earthquake took place while the women were on their way to the tomb. All Gospel accounts agree that the stone was rolled away when the women arrived, there is no contradiction.

4. Who was there?

Mark said that they saw a young man sitting inside. Matthew said an angel outside, Luke said two men, John there is no mention of anyone there, although Mary saw two angels and then saw Jesus.

Matthew said that there was one angel (Matthew28:2-7), Mark said that there was one young man (Mark 16:5), Luke said they saw two men (Luke 24:4), while John said that they say two angels (John 20:12). The angel mentioned by Matthew was the one who scared guards away before the women arrived. What about the number of angels? The fact that one author reports a certain angel was there does not mean that there were no other angel present. Who were the two men? Angels look like glorified men so there is no conflict between the accounts.

5. What were the instructions given to the women?

Mark said that Jesus is going to meet you, Matthew says the same thing. Luke gives a different version, the angels reminded them why are they seeking the living among the dead but no instructions. John doesn't say anything.

Actually, these accounts compliment each other:

Luke 24: 5-6

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:

Mark 16:

"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, `He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'"

The fact that Luke did not mention any instructions is not sufficient proof that none were given! The four Gospels, when read together, give a comprehensive picture of what happened and there are no contradictions between them.

6. Were the instructions carried out?

Mark said that they said nothing to anyone. Matthew said they told the disciples. Luke said they told the 11. John said they told Peter and the disciple who was loved, John. George Caird noticed that in Luke the appearance took place in Jerusalem and according to Mark in Galilee.

All of the accounts agree that they told the disciples. Mark was probably expressing the fact that the women said nothing at the moment because they were in a state of shock.

Where did Jesus appear to His disciples? Jesus first appeared in Jerusalem (Luke 24:31-36 and John 20:19). Matthew 28:16-17 does not mention the first meeting in Jerusalem, but describes the second meeting in Galilee.

Host: Are there any other things?

Jamal Badawi:Dennis Meinham said there was no reason for the women to visit the tomb. Some say that they went to anoint them. This is unlikely. According to Mark, the body of Jesus was not anointed after his death. John 9:40, Joseph of Arimethia bound him according to the customs of the Jews. Was this a custom to anoint a body after it was buried? A body which has been there for a couple of days would begin to decay. Did Mary Magdalene expect to anoint a decomposing body? How would we expect a woman to go through the darkness to anoint a dead body, if we accept Matthew who mentioned that there were guards, how did the women expect to gain access? Frank Wilson, in his book Who Moved the Stone? mentions this and that this was forgotten in the early days and was added to the teachings of the Church.

Well, fortunately the women did not listen to Dennis Meinham! The women went to the tomb to apply more spices to the body and to visit the grave of Jesus. I do not find this unusual, after all, people visit the graves of their friends and loved ones in modern times. Has Dennis Meinham ever visited the graves of his departed family members? The body of Jesus was wrapped in linens and spices, so it probably would not have been completely decomposed at this point in time. Perhaps the women would have asked the guards to move the stone, who can know for sure what they thought?

Host: What about the siting of Jesus after resurrection?

Jamal Badawi: Mark is the oldest Gospel and was the basis for Matthew and Luke. The older manuscripts show that these were not from Mark but added in 180 AD. That is why the RSV Chapter 19:9-20 has been dropped. Mark ends with Chapter 16 verse 8. Some of the other manuscripts which do not end here, give different conclusions in the other Gospels. Many forth century scholars like Jerome say that verse 9-20 were not present in the best Greek manuscripts and not quoted until 325 AD. The style of these verses is very different, it was like the second century vocabulary.

True, yet verses 9-20 do not contain anything which contradicts the rest of Mark, or the other Gospels. Christians are honest and self critical and do accept older manuscripts when they become available for study. Will Muslims edit the Qur'an based on older manuscripts such as those from San'a Yemen?

Andrew Vargo

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