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

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice XXVI : Roots of "God Incarnate" 7


In yet another segment, Dr. Badawi continues is his attempts to convince us that the concept of Jesus being God incarnate is from Pagan myths. In this segment, he continues to parade his caste of "Jesus myth" writers and throws in a bit of misquoted apocryphal writings.

Host: The Bible says that Moses was buried, how is this reconciled with Jesus?

Jamal Badawi: Deut 34 talks about this, but Philo tried to reconcile the ascension with what Young called intellectual terms. Moses was summoned by the Father transforming his being into mind as pure as the sunlight. Jewish tradition tells us that two others: Enoch and Elijah went bodily to heaven.

The Bible says that Moses was buried, therefore, Jews and Christian believe that Moses was indeed buried. Neither Christians, nor Jews, are bound by any of the speculations of Philo of Alexandria.

Host: Could you elaborate on these traditions?

Jamal Badawi: Elijah ascended into heaven in a whirlwind. The story is more indigenous to Jews and was probably not influenced by the Greeks. The return of Elijah is in Malachi. The Talmud says that Elijah lives as a supernatural being who came appear on earth. Enoch is similar to Idris in the Qur'an, Young said that there is more documentation on his ascension and some suggest the deification of Enoch.

Elijah did ascend into heaven and so did Enoch. I have never come across any Jewish writing that suggest that Elijah was a supernatural being who came to earth. There may be some Jewish legends which make this claim, however, these legends are not, and were never, accepted as divinely inspired revelations. It is very interesting that Dr. Badawi makes the insinuation that the New Testament borrowed from the Jewish legends, especially when we consider the amount of information that Muhammad borrowed from ancient Jewish legends and attempted to pass it off as divine revelation!

Host: Are there any examples of how?

Jamal Badawi: He refers to the Bible. Genesis 5:24 said that Enoch walked with God Hebrews 11:5 suggest that this was a supernatural thing. Young says that the most striking thing is in the Books of Enoch where an angel tells Enoch that he will ride up to the highest heaven and was transformed into the highest of the angels. He sits in the heavens with God. In Enoch III, he sits on a throne of Glory and acts as God's ruler and the angel prostrate to him and God reveled all to him. Romans 8:34 it says that Paul said that Jesus sits on the right hand of God and gave him a name above all others and all must bow to him - like Enoch.

First, the Book of Enoch is not considered a divinely inspired book be with the Jews or the Christians - it belongs to a categroy of literature called Pseudepigrapha. Second, the Book of Enoch does not talk about Enoch sitting on a throne of glory or receiving the prostration of angels. In fact, it appears that Islam may have borrowed the idea of the eternally inscribe tablets from this legend (see book 3, Chapter 81:2)!

Host: What were Young's conclusions?

Jamal Badawi:Three points:

1. There are some differences between the Jewish and Greek, there are many strong parallels.

2. Greek mythology was making strong incursions of the expressions used by Jews.

3. There were belief in both literatures which believed in the elevation of some people to the level of angels. The Greco-Romans believed that all god where under one supreme. The Jews believed in lesser beings like angels. The terminology was different whether these should be worshiped. Origen adopted the Jewish position that the Father alone should be worshiped.

Greco-Roman thought did not erode the Jewish monotheism and the Jews struggled throughout history against such influence. Once again, Christians do not believe that Jesus was a man who became a god, this is actually a Mormon belief! As far as the divinity of Jesus, Origen said:

"Although He was God, He took flesh; and having been made man, He remained what He was, God".(Fundamental Doctrines 1. pref. 2-4; 1.2.1; 4.4.1)

Host: How does the Jewish belief in angels relate to the term son of God in the Old Testament?

Jamal Badawi: In more than one case, angels are called sons of God. Genesis 6:2 and 4, in the Psalms, etc. And talks about heavenly counsels, in Genesis 18, angels came to earth. Young noticed that a fragment of the Dead Sea scrolls relates to the New Testament because it speaks of Melchezidek calling him the heavenly one who executes God's judgement and he is above all angels and will judge on the last day. That is why Paul says that Jesus is after him.

The use of the term "son of God" was discussed in another article, and so is the issue of Melchizedek.

Host: Are there any other examples of the Jewish influence on the idea of God incarnate?

Jamal Badawi: It is combined Greek and Roman. A.D. Nock is the authority on this and he says that Christian theology is from Alexandria. The Logos is the basis of John and Jesus was the Logos who became flesh. Philo presented the Logos theory that became the foundation of God incarnate. The idea is complex. Logos is Greek for reason, the controlling principle of the universe manifested in speech. In theology, Logos is the second person of the Trinity. Philo speaks about God in dualistic language : transcendent and imminent - the presence in the universe. When Genesis says that God made man in His image, this refers to God the imminent because nothing can be created in the form of the transcendent. This is similar to Plato, the Logos keeps the universe together. Philo says that the Logos is God and man - God's first born. The Logos does not depend on instructions it has direct access to reality. This was the pre-Christian inspiration for the incarnation.

The two problems with the comparison of Philo and John's idea of the Logos is that John's Logos was well defined in Jesus while Philo's Logos was an ambiguous power. A second problem is how did John, a fisherman from a small village, master the philosophy of Philo of Alexandria?

Host: What kind of inspiration?

Jamal Badawi: Young said that Philo gave a pre-Christian picture of Jesus. Ansari compares the title of Jesus and the Logos, they are close, the intercessor, image of God, first born. There is no evidence that the New Testament writers knew about Philo but it is likely that Paul was under his influence.

Well, at least we agree that the writers of the New Testament probably did not know Philo's thoughts, however, what evidence did Paul show in his writings that suggest that he was "under Philo's influence"?

Andrew Vargo

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