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

"The Question of Mystery"


In this segment, Dr. Badawi accuses Christian of calling all that of the doctrines, which they cannot explain to his satisfaction, a mystery. Both Muslims and Christians can agree on the statement that the finite human mind can never comprehend the infinite God. However, are the doctrines of the Christian faith as "mysterious" as Dr. Badawi claims?

Host: How does mystery relate to the divinity of Jesus?

Jamal Badawi: Trinity, divinity, substitutionary sacrifice are all a part of the mystery.

We will examine each "mystery" in turn.

Host: What is the basis of mystery and personal experience?

Jamal Badawi: Christians say that testimonies are available from many people who have been transformed by believing in God incarnate, after they were living in a terrible state. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, you have to believe in it to understand.

Indeed, I know, and have known, many people who have hit bottom abusing drugs, alcohol, and their own bodies, and were transformed completely after accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The power of the Lord is greater than anything, and there is victory in His Name over any sin that enslaves us. However, I would not use this fact to explain any of the things that Dr. Badawi calls "mysteries", there are Biblical explanations.

Host: What is your comment on that?

Jamal Badawi: Personal experience: It is not difficult to produce testimonies of people in many different religions would be the same. This is not proof or evidence. There is also a claim that they is a spiritual nature in everyone and some are living in a vacuum and any religion will give him an answer. That does not prove the truth of the religion.

Perhaps, but once again, this is not an explanation for what Dr. Badawi claims are "mysteries".

Host: What is mystery and how does it relate to the nature of Jesus?

Jamal Badawi: There are things that relate to faith that cannot be understood logically such as God incarnate, Trinity, blood sacrifice, they cannot be subjected to logic because the human mind falls short. It is more important to be attracted to them and not to understand them. For example, the origin of the Trinity is not in the Bible but goes back to the Christian experience.

These doctrines really are not mysteries. God tells us, in the Bible, consistently throughout history and in very clear terms "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin" (Hebrews 9:22). The theme of atonement through blood sacrifice is found throughout the Old Testament (Leviticus 17:11 and Genesis 22). In fact, atonement is mentioned 107 times in the Old and New Testaments! I find it amazing that the Qur'an says nothing of the idea of blood sacrifice and atonement. If we assume that the Qur'an is the word of God [which I do not assume] how could God, after thousands of years of stressing the idea of blood sacrifice and atonement, completely forget about it?

The Bible clearly tells us, in spite of Dr. Badawi's repeated claims to the contrary, that Jesus atoned for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2). Why did it require the death of Jesus to atone for our sins? All humans are sinners (Romans 5:8) and we cannot atone for any of our actions. It was the love of God the Father that sent a perfect sacrifice in Jesus (1 John 4:10) to die in our place (1 Peter 3:18) and for our sins (1 Peter 2:24). We receive the free gift of atonement by faith (Romans 5:1 and Ephesians 2:8). The wonderful news is: because of the atonement made for us by Jesus, our fellowship with God is restored (Romans 5:10).

Host: How would you react to this explanation?

Jamal Badawi: Muslims do not differ in the basic notion that the human mind is imperfect, some things cannot be grasped - the supra-natural. Mystery is a common phenomenon according to Websters but we cannot always take refuge in the concept of mystery not to answer what is self contradictory.

I see absolutely nothing self contradictory in God's plan of salvation. It is very clear and has been clear throughout history. The mystery, in my mind, is how can a rational person reject thousands of years of prophecy, given to us by God's Prophets who brought clear signs in their prophecies and miracles, and accept the testimony of Muhammad who brought none of these proofs?

Host: Can you give us an example?

Jamal Badawi: Jesus being full man and full God, how can he be this? This is self contradictory to say the finite and infinite are one. The typical response is that it is a mystery. A second example is the Trinity, how can three be one? Differentiation of the three or absence of distinction. The answer again is that it is a mystery.

Jesus indeed is fully man and fully God, and what exactly is finite about Him? The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, teaches the Triune Nature of God. The one true God, was well established in the Old Testament (Isaiah 43:10 and Deuteronomy 6:4), and is made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each is called "God" in the Bible. The Father is God (Galatians 1:1 and Titus 1:4); the Son (or Word), is repeatedly called God (John 1:1,14, Acts 20:28, John 20:28, Titus 2:13, and Hebrews 1:8); and the Holy Spirit is identified as God in various Scriptures (Acts 5:3-4, 1 John 4:2,3, and Hebrews 10:15,16). The concept of the unity within the Trinity is seen in Matthew 28:19, where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit comprise one "name" because the term is singular in Greek. We read about the nature of God in the Bible, the account of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist clearly reveals the existence of a Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:

Matthew 3:16-17

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

Host: Could you elaborate?

Jamal Badawi: Taking Webster's definition, the mystery of life for example? How does the fetus grow? This is different from the concept of Trinity, this is not universal. These ideas were made up prior to Christianity and modified, Jesus never spoke of it. Who came up with the idea and what was their explanation?

Jesus did speak of the Trinity, see Matthew 28:19:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

The fact of the matter is that Jesus preached the triune nature of God, the Old Testament preached the triune nature of God, the Apostles and disciples believed in the triune nature of God, and so did the early Church Fathers. Dr. Badawi needs to realize that untruth does not become truth regardless of how many times it is repeated.

Host: Could you give us examples of Christian theologians?

Jamal Badawi: These are recognized scholars and practicing Christians, not nominal. John Hick The Myth of God Incarnate, he says in the introduction that Jesus was regarded as a man approved of God in Acts 2:21 and then the idea of incarnation developed as a mythological or poetic expression of his significance. He gradually became God incarnate. So when Hick says that this developed, it implies that someone has used intellectual pursuits to develop it. Who developed it and on what basis? Maurice Wiles Myth in Theology, he indicates that the Gospel writers were not mere reporters but were interpreters of Jesus, Son of Man, Messiah. The synoptic Gospels stopped short of the God incarnate creed. The myth of God incarnate was an interpretation of Jesus for that time. The Church was not able to provide convincing and consistent explanation how Jesus can be full human and divine.

The Gospel writers recorded what they saw and heard. Jesus was called the incarnated Word of God in the very beginning of the Gospel of John - and Paul agreed:

John 1:1,14 and Colossians 2:9:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Host: What would you say about these creeds being arrived at with the help of the Holy Ghost?

Jamal Badawi: Christian theologians who are committed to there faith such as Francis Young who say that the development of the idea of God incarnate required intellectualization. This development was culturally conditioned in accordance with the arguments of the time. They only restated the impossible paradox and left it unresolved.

I am not in a position to judge Francis Young, that will be done by God. However, calling him "committed" to his faith is dishonest since Young believes that Jesus, his life, and his mission are mostly myth. The Holy Spirit opens our heart to the truth, and the truth is contained in God's word - the Bible.

Host: Do theologians deny the role of mystery in religion?

Jamal Badawi: Not really, Wiles says that we should not dent the role of mystery in religion, we do not fully understand the mystery of our existence. But when we are asked to believe something, we need to push the question further is it intelligible to believe that someone can be fully God and man?

Yes, Jesus was fully man and fully God. Jesus made this claim and confirmed His claim with the prophecies of God's Prophets of the Old Testament, His miracles, and His own prophecies. Actually, Dr. Badawi's one-dimensional picture of Jesus is much more difficult to explain. According to Dr. Badawi's analysis, God sent Jesus to the strictly monotheistic Jews to preach monotheism. Then everything went awry. Jesus' followers mistook Jesus (according to Badawi's arguments) as divine and God actually helped perpetuate this deception by "making it appear to them" that Jesus died on the cross. If Dr. Badawi is correct, then Jesus was a miserable failure as a Prophet and God deceived billions of people and deprived them of any hope of salvation, including the followers of Jesus and even His Mother, into believing that He died on the cross! This explanation is far more "mysterious" than the Trinity, blood sacrifice, or the divinity of Jesus.

Andrew Vargo

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