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

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice XXIII : Roots of "God Incarnate" 4


In this segment, Dr. Badawi continues in his never ending attempt to convince us that someone, anyone - other than early Christians, in this case the Samaritans, came up with the doctrine of the incarnation of the Word in the form of Jesus.

Host: What did Goulder conclude about Samaritan theology and the view of Jesus?

Jamal Badawi: There were several:

1. The emphasis on the notions of wisdom and knowledge as tools of conversion.

2. The notions of Jesus and Godhood and his incarnation.

3. The glory ministry instead of the Son of Man ministry.

4. To minimize crucifixion and resurrection and simply say that Jesus went his way to the Father.

5. Realize eschatology, something that has already happened. The Second Coming is not going to be soon but the pleasure of God has already come.

These were the opinions of the opponents of Paul in the city of Corinth.

Perhaps, but what is the connection between the Christians in Corinth, who were greatly influenced by Pagan Greek thought, and the Samaritans?

Host: How does Goulder prove that?

Jamal Badawi: New Testament and historical evidence. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul did not come in contact with the Samaritans, the teachings of Paul was Galileean eschatology that Jesus was the Son of God but he did not talk about the pre-existence of Jesus and said he will be back soon. Goulder called it the take off and landing. When Paul came in contact with the Samaritans, he was flexible. In 1 Cor 1,8,13, he speaks against the notions of the Samaritans.

Paul never mentioned the Samaritans in 1 Corinthians, perhaps Goulder considered Paul's statements concerning Christian unity (1 Corinthians 1) an indirect criticism of the Samaritans, however, there is no reference in this chapter to any Samaritan beliefs. 1 Corinthians 8 has nothing to do with the Samaritans, but talks about eating food that was sacrificed to idols - something the Samaritans did not do. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul is speaking about love and makes no allusions to any Samaritan belief.

He said that knowledge does harm, Christ did send him to preach with eloquent wisdom. Paul also claims that he is imparting wisdom from the Spirit. Paul steals the wisdom of the other missionaries but would not touch their knowledge.

No, Paul did not say that knowledge does harm and he did not steal anything from other missionaries!

1 Corinthians 8:1-3

Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.

The Corinthians, in this passage, referred to their "knowledge" - that is, meats, in themselves having no sanctity or pollution. Paul replied to this saying, "We are aware that we all have [speaking generally, and so far as Christian theory goes; for in he speaks of some who practically have not] this knowledge." What did Paul mean by "Knowledge puffs up"? He is again referring to the consumption of sacrificial meats , we "puff ourselves up" to please ourself. "Edifying", on the other hand, is to please one's neighbor; Knowledge only says "All things are lawful for me"; Love adds, "But all things do not edify".

As time went on, Samaritan influence affected Paul, later Paul appears to speak in later letters about wisdom and knowledge, especially in Col 1,3, 22 Ephesians 1 and 3 he speaks more favorable about knowledge.

As mentioned above, Paul did not discount or degrade the value of wisdom and knowledge. Please remember that Paul was a scholar of the Jewish faith before he was called by Jesus on the road to Damascus.

Paul has a problem explaining the nature of Christ, the humanity and sonship to God. Paul said that Jesus came from the seed of David and was Messiah in body. He said that he was the Son of God in the Spirit after the resurrection. As such he raises a problem : the dual paternity Son of God and David. Paul said that Jesus was always the Son of God but had to be born of the seed of David but his sonship was expressed after resurrection. Goulder says that this two level formula is an anti formula according to theology, Paul evaded the double paternity question. In Romans and Galatians which were written between the letters to the Corinthians, he does not speak of this new Christology. When he wrote to the Corinthians who were incarnation minded, he wrote of this Christology and adjusted his writings to the audience. However, Goulder said there was evidence of Paul wavering in his last letter to the Philippians, he said that Jesus was in the form of God but he emptied himself and was born being obedient to death. Goulder says that he was in the form of God, did he not have the name that is above every name before he was born? Paul said that he acquired this status after death.

How can there be an issue of double paternity? That would imply that Jesus had two fathers - which is impossible! Jesus was the Son of God because God caused Him to be incarnated in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Paul did indeed adjust his presentation of the message to his audience, however, Paul never wavered in his beliefs.

As for Paul letter to the Philippians,

Philippians 2:6-7:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

"Being on an equality with God, is not identical with subsisting in the form of God" - the latter expresses the external characteristics, His majesty and beauty of God, which "He emptied Himself of," to assume "the form of a servant". "His Being," or Nature, already existed in a State of equality with God, both the Father and the Son having the same Essence. Jesus did have a name above all others before He was born. What Paul said in Philippians is that as a consequence the self-humiliation and obedience of Jesus to death, that is Christ emptied Christ and God exalted Christ as man to equality with God. The name that God gave Him corresponded to the reality, glory and majesty that He always had. There is also an intimation in this passage, that if we are to be exalted, we too must, after His example, now humble ourselves.

Philippians 2:9-11

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Host: Will you touch on the historical aspects?

Jamal Badawi: Paul seemed to adopted the idea of incarnation after his arguments with the Samaritan missionaries in Corinth and Ephesus. The non Pauline missionaries were active led by Apollus (Acts 18), he accused Paulus of dividing people, but in 1 Cor 16:12 Paul was forced to accommodate with Apollus. In 2 Cor 11, the followers of Paul still had issues with Apollos. The Samaritans used dualist language to explain incarnation before Christianity. The source of this is Pauline theology came for the Samaritans.

Once again, Dr. Badawi (and Goulder) do not show any evidence that Paul either had extensive contact with, or adopted the ideas of, the Samaritans. Second, Paul's statements concerning Apollos had nothing to do with Samaritan teachings. The Corinthians, at this time, began to name themselves after the man who had baptized them (1 Corinthians:11-12). To wear another man's name indicated that they belonged to that man. However, they did not belong to their teachers, they belonged to Jesus Christ. The fact is that their teachers, preachers and leaders belonged to them and their role was to serve. These men were, and are today, provided to us by God for our spiritual good.

Host: How and what was the nature of the difference?

Jamal Badawi: The Samaritans were content with the landing take off theology. He incarnated and went back. Paul was promoting landing take off landing, incarnated, went to the father and will come again. This affected the synoptic Gospels.

Mark 13, which Dr. Badawi points out in the next paragraph is the oldest of the Gospels, and Matthew 24 both mention the prophecies of Jesus concerning His second coming. What evidence exists which shows (a) Paul was influenced by Samaritan thought, and (b) that Paul influenced the writers of Mark and Matthew? Also, how would Badawi (and Goulder) explain Daniel 7:13 and 8:17?

"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.

As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. "Son of man," he said to me, "understand that the vision concerns the time of the end."

Please remember that the Samaritans did not accept any additional scriptures including Daniel.

Host: Do you have any documentary evidence?

Jamal Badawi: The origin of Jesus, in the oldest of the Gospels (Mark) Jesus is not just the son of David but is the Son of God which appeared at Baptism and on the cross. But he was still a human who was tempted. This does not fit the Samaritan God-man model. Matthew which was written later, tried to solve the problem by appealing to Isaiah 7:14 for the virgin birth and said that Jesus was eternal but this did not fit the Samaritan model of the Philippian model which believed that Jesus became the Son of God at conception. Luke also faces the same problem as how can Jesus be the son of David and God? Matthew solved the problem through genealogy, legal paternity. Luke tried to have it both ways extending the lineage back to God. John put together the two main Samaritan texts Genesis 1 and Exodus 34 and came up with John 1, which was the full Samaritan dualistic doctrine.

Once again, there is no evidence of Samaritan influence. In the next paragraph, Badawi will attempt to tell us that Mark emphasized the "humanity" of Jesus in spite of the fact that Mark's first words, as mentioned in this paragraph, were that Jesus was the Son of God. A better synopsis of Goulder's arguments, as reworked by John Shelby Spong, is the articles A Loud and Noisy Spong.

Host: Is there any other evidence of how Jesus was perceived?

Jamal Badawi: Goulder says that the nature of Jesus (divinity and humanity) looking at the oldest Gospel (Mark), the humanity of Jesus was manifest, Jesus suffered, got tired, had fear, did know what would happen to him. The humanity was eroded later by other writers. Luke changes the last words on the cross. John deifies Jesus as the incarnated word of God. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians speak that Jesus will come soon, in 1 Cor he tries to appeal to the Samaritans by saying that God's time has already come.

Mark did not "manifest" the humanity of Jesus over His divinity. In fact, Mark begins his Gospel by saying:

The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Mark 1:1

Andrew Vargo

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