This is document is written in response to Akbarally Meherally's Faq for Christians which you can browse to and checkout. It has been circulated widely in Muslim circles, and claims to speak from a `biblical perspective', which interestingly it does to a certain extent but out of context. I am currently in the process of rebutting the whole document and have found Akbar's comments interesting and entertaining as well as thought provoking enough for me to engage in studying my Bible further.
As a consequence, I have found Akbar's arguments not to stem from a true biblical perspective at all, he like many other Muslim apologists relies on the writings of `scholars', which he then backs up with selected Bible verses, but this is not always the case he does put some arguments forward from the Bible, but with disregard to a lot of other verses. In my response, I have used only the Bible to disprove Akbar's comments, I quote directly from Mr Meherally's document, and provide links where necessary. Up till now I have had no response from Meherally who refuses to place any links to my material at the time of writing, which puts into question the integrity of his writings.
"Jesus said `I and the Father are one." John 10:30
Meherally argues that this means that Jesus is not equal in status with God the Father.
The first point Meherally makes in trying to disprove the equality of the Son of God and God the Father is to do with the Greek word for `one' which not surprisingly works against him, let us consider the point he makes.
In Greek, `heis' means one numerically (arabic equivalent Ahad, hebrew Yachid)
`hen' means one in unity or essence (arabic Wahid, hebrew Eschad)
If Meherally wanted to argue against Jesus' equality with the Father then the word for one that would have been required was `heis' to indicate a numerical oneness of the unity discounting any indication of a compound unity that allows for more than one person to exist within the unity, and would negate any argument against having a plurality of persons within the unity.
But, Meherally correctly points out that `hen' is the word used by Jesus Christ in this verse, this is a strong proof for the plurality of God as the one represents a plural unity of the one God. So the three persons revealed to us by the Bible are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19) existing in the one God, which agrees with the way that God is described in the Bible as being one, `hen' in Greek, which is used to describe the oneness of God in the New Testament , `echad' in Hebrew, which is used to describe the oneness of God in the Old Testament. There is absolutely no indication that there is inequality between the Lord Jesus Christ the eternal Word of God and God the Father.
This is exemplified by the next verse in which Meherally tries to use as a further proof to disprove the Lord Jesus Christ's equality with the Father.
`Jesus said, "And the glory which Thou (God the Father) hast given me, I have given to them (disciples); that they maybe one, just as we are one."' John 17:22
Meherally argues that this verse makes the claim that Jesus and the Father and the disciples are all God, it is hard to find where he produces such reasoning. Let use consider the verse which has two points to it;
1.That the disciples although different people can be united as being one.
2.In the same way Jesus Christ and God the Father are united as being one.
Jesus Christ's prayer to his Father is a prayer that the disciples may have perfect unity in the one Church as Jesus Christ and God the Father are on in a perfect unity in the Godhead.
Meherally's final attempt is from the following verse
`I have brought glory on Earth by completing the work you gave me to do." John 17:4
The servant figure of Jesus Christ in no way disproves his supremacy, as the servant figure taken on by Christ was done in order to fulfil prophecy made by the Prophet Issiah in the Taurat (Old Testament), when Issiah 52:13-53:12 speaks of the Messiah as being a suffering servant as a human example for all people, and what better example could there be other than following the commands of God.
Meherally like many other Muslim apologists and Unitarians quotes John 14:28 as proof of the inequality of the Lord Jesus Christ with God the Father.
`I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I' John 14:28
Please note that Jesus speaks of going to the Father, it is very important to remember at what time these words of Jesus were being made, Jesus at this time had not yet returned to his Father this requires another
`[Jesus] Who in the very nature of 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... ... therefore God exalted him to the HIGHEST PLACE and gave him the name above every name at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW.' Philippians 2:6-10
At this time Jesus had been made been lower than the angles (Hebrews 2:7) by coming to Earth and taking on the nature of a human, but he was then restored to the full glory that only God could posses of having every knee bow before him and everything below him (Hebrews 2:8) and sits upon the throne (Revelation 7:17) on which only God can sit (Revelation 7:10).
In reference to
"I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father, but through me." John 14:6
Meherally's first line of defence in trying to misinterpret this verse is to quote the following verse
"In my Father's house there are many rooms, if it were not so I would have told you, for I am going to prepare a place for you" John 14:2
Meherally then uses a form of reasoning that is heretical in both Islam and Christianity and concludes that Jesus has prepared one room for his believers, the other rooms are for there other respective followers. If this were true then we would surely find mention in the Bible or the Qur'an that other prophets have preached that they can being about salvation and can offer life to those who follow them, this is not true, the Bible strongly condemns this and points to only one saviour
"I even I am the LORD, and apart from me there is no saviour" Isaiah 43:11
Salvation only comes from one, Almighty God (Micah 7:7) many prophets may have pointed to God for salvation but none ever claim that they could bring about salvation themselves. On the other hand, Jesus does claim to be the Saviour (John 4:42) and is described in the Christian scriptures as being so (Titus 2:13, 1 John 4:11, 1 John 1:4 2 Peter 1).
Meherally in trying to `refute' this verse quotes the following verse,
"Not everyone that says to me `Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven BUT HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER." Matthew 7:21
What is Jesus saying here? Is this a denial that his is the saviour? Of course not rather Simply don't just say that I [Jesus] am your Lord but let your faith also be seen in your actions.
We can use Meherally's anolgy to proove this
1. ` A sheep that circles around the door will never find pasture'
Jesus says that those who recognise him as salvation but do not act upon the commandements of God and call to Jesus for salvation will not have salvation in Jesus and we must remeber that John 14:6 clearly states that slavation is exclusively available through Jesus.
2. `A sheep that walks through the door will find pasture'
Those who recognise Jesus and accept his teaching and that he can only bring salvation will be the door to bring us through to salvation, it requires an action on our behalf (going through the door) and not just by saying that we believe this to be the way when we don't have the faith to take the step through the door.
"He who has seen me has seen the Father" John 14:9
Meherally concludes, that seeing Jesus does not mean that one has seen the Father.
It is first of all important to note why Jesus said these words, it was in fact in response to the disciple Philip's request for Jesus to show them the Father (i.e. God). In this context, Jesus' reply was words to the effect of `why do you make such a request Philip, don't you realise by seeing me you are seeing the Father (God).' (You need to read the whole verse to understand this)
Meherally prefers not to address this verse and rather ignores it's meaning and content in favour of three other verses within the Gospel of John. It is incredible that after quoting these three verses Meherally appeals to the reader's sincerity, when he himself is not sincere enough even to address the verse which his FAQ is meant to be responding to.
So what `evidences' does Meherally produce?
By quoting the three verses and not even suggesting what they actually mean, Meherally conveniently seems to think that we can disregard John 14:9. If this was really a biblical perspective then Meherally would address all the points instead he uses his own preferred perspective.
So let us consider the verses that he decides to quote:-
"He who believes in me does not only believe in me but in the one who sent me." John 12:44
So by believing in Jesus we also believe in the one who sent him, God, this is more of a statement of equality rather than a clear statement that Jesus is not God.
"He who hates me hates my Father also" John 15:23
If you hate Jesus then you hate God, again this does not suggest inequality.
The final verse is quoted twice by Meherally
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ who you have sent." John 17:3
Again this does not disprove Jesus' equality, rather it is a clear statement that Jesus Christ has been sent by God, there is nothing in John 17:3 that states that Jesus Christ is not God. Remember also the biblical teaching of the plural unity of the Godhead which allows the scriptures to mention God and Jesus Christ as being distinct but does not disprove that Jesus is God.
For example let us take John 1:1
"In the beginning was the Word [the Word is the eternal Logos = Jesus Christ]
and the Word was with God [the Word is mentioned as being a distinct person from God]
and the Word was God." [at the same time, Jesus is also God]
In being sent by God Jesus has been made lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9), but this was for a temporary time until Jesus was raised back to the highest position (Revelation 7:17, Philippians 2:9)
Jesus said, "But this is not the way with you rather, the greatest amongst you must be like the youngest and the Leader must be the Servant" Luke 22:25
Jesus makes it clear that those who are last shall be first and those who are humbled shall be exalted (Mark 9:35, Luke 13:30, Matthew 20:16, 20:27). Please read Philippians 2:6-10 in Question 1 for further confirmation that greatness is not to be judged my men's standards but by God's standards. (Luke 22:24-30, Matt 18:1-4)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16
Meherally uses the common Muslim fallacy of equivocation (see Dr Morey's paper for further information ) as the cornerstone of his argument, in claiming that Muslims believe in the Jesus of the Bible.
Meherally conveniently evades the clarity of the meaning of this text by putting up the argument that Muslims `believe in Jesus'. This is a common, erroneous claim made by Muslim apologists in order to appease their Christian brethren and to try and dilute the meaning of the Bible text by conveniently ignoring the Jesus who speaks this
Please note the verses leading up to this statement in which a Pharisee (a teacher of the Law or Old Testament or Taurat), called Jesus `rabbi' and acknowledges that he was a Prophet of God (which any Muslim will also acknowledge) but Jesus tells the rabbi that in addition to believing this, that he should believe also in the following
1) Salvation comes only through believing in Jesus
2) Believing that Jesus is the Son of God
But Meherally and his Muslim brethren believe the following
1) Muslims do not believe that they obtain salvation by just believing in Jesus, that his death on the cross brings salvation to those who believe, but also by doing good works (Meherally made the point very clearly in Q2 that each Prophet held a similar office of holding salvation for the time that they were in.)
2) Muslims reject the idea that Jesus is the Son of God as is put forward by the Bible
We can therefore conclude that Meherally's initial statement about `Muslims believing in Jesus' is incorrect and is rather a popular Muslim fallacy. Meherally preaches the Jesus of the Qur'an and not the Bible (2 Corinthians 11:4). This is clearly demonstrated by his `Hot Tip'
"As for Jesus being a `unique son' he unlike us was CREATED without a physical father."
If Meherally was speaking from a biblical point of view (this is what he claims is the point of his Faq) then he should surely produce proof of this from the Bible instead of trying to import some Muslim idea into the Bible's meaning, and is in fact contradicting a clear Biblical teaching which tell us that Jesus the Logos or Word of God (John 1:1) is
"the invisible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first Born Son, SUPERIOR TO ALL CREATED THINGS." Colossians 1:15
There is a clear distinct made between Jesus Christ and that which is created. The Biblical understanding of Jesus as being the Son of God is that he is in fact uncreated and is rather the creator,
"not one thing in creation was made without him [Jesus the eternal Word of God]" John 1:3
"for through him [Jesus] God created everything in heaven and on Earth." Colossians 1:16
"Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a is the enemy of Christ he denies the Father and the Son. For whoever rejects the Son rejects the Father also; whoever accepts the Son accepts the Father also." 1 John 2:22-23
"Jesus said, `I will tell you the truth no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again'" John 3:3
Meherally claims that this verse means that amongst other things physical circumcision is the way to heaven.
Meherally uses the tactic of taking the verse out of context in order to support his argument. He then stretches the meaning of the verse so far to mean that Jesus was somehow saying that men should be circumcised (having their foreskin removed) as a criteria in order to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Circumcision was a sign of agreement between God and Abraham but it was never set out as being a pre-requisite for entering the Kingdom of Heaven, Meherally would do well to re-read Genesis 17:10- 14.
At the same time we can agree with Meherally that "To enter the Kingdom of heaven one has to keep with the commandments, if Meherally was to look two verses further he would realise what Jesus is talking about instead of drawing his own conclusions
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth NO ONE CAN enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and of the Spirit" John 3:5
Here we can draw an interesting comparison between Islam and Christianity. In Islam, it is believed that all people are born as Muslims you cannot choose to become a Muslim, you already are one, the dogma stretches far enough to state that if one decides to become a Muslim later in life, then he/she is in fact a revert to Islam. Whereas in Christianity you don't become a Christian by being born but by choosing to become one. The choice to become a Christian is signified through baptism, physically through water and by becoming spiritually reborn through baptism by the Holy Spirit (Ruh-u-Quddus),
"A person is born physically of human parents, but he is born spiritually through the Spirit" John 3:6
Meherally then some how suggestions that the teaching of Baptism does away with the covenant of circumcision. Let us clear a few things up, circumcision was important because it was a physical sign to show a man's devotion to God (Genesis 17:13). The circumcision continues today but in another form, that of a spiritual sign which Jesus demands of us in John 3:5.
Nowhere does Jesus state that entrance to Heaven is gained by physical circumcision rather by spiritual means of rebirth, this is why Jesus said
"Don't be surprised that I tell you, you must be born again" John 3:7
Are the male Muslims who have no foreskin therefore "born [again] of the spirit?" John 3:8
"NO ONE can enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless he is born of water and of the Spirit" John 3:5
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" Matthew 28:19
Meherally claims that this verse does not prove the Trinity
A single verse from the Bible does not prove or disprove the doctrine of the Triunity of God. The declaration of Matthew 28:19 does not prove the Trinity, but it clearly defines the Christian belief of the Trinity as consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (three separate and distinct persons) belong to and are represented by the ONE name. Again the verse does not prove the three persons are co- eternal neither does it disprove this.
Again we have to consider the fact that the ONE name is representative of the three persons which defines an equality between the three persons, please note the verse does not say names but rather name (singular). So what is the name of God? In order to understand this we need to go back to the Old Testament when Moses (Musa) was confronted by God in the burning bush and asked what the name of God was, to which God replied YHWH (usually transliterated as Yahweh, Jehovah or the LORD), so the divine name (i.e. the name of God) represents three distinct persons, remember this name is only attributed to God.
Meherally then tries to reason along the lines of the begotten Son actually means created Son which is an approach favoured by many Muslim apologists, this unfortunately for Meherally goes in direct contradiction with Christian and Biblical belief and the meaning of the word begotten. Christian doctrine clearly states that the Son of God was begotten and not created, I stress begotten not created. C.S Lewis draws up a very clear example to prove this point.
Begotten is a very old word that is not used widely in modern English and a lot of people do not know it's meaning, a human begets another human being as a bird begets a bird and a sharks begets a shark, a human can create a pen, but a human cannot create a human, the human could create the likeness of a human in say the form of a status out of wood or stone but a human cannot create another human being but can beget another human being. So in summing up, what is begotten as the same as what begets (i.e. a human cannot beget a bird or a pen) and what is created is not the same as the creator (i.e. a human creates a pen), as it is with humans, birds and the rest of nature so it is with God. So what God begets can only be God and all things that are created by God are not God.
So it now becomes very clear and simple to see why the act of begetting leads one logically to the conclusion that the begotten Son is God and all that is created by God is not God.
"[there are three that] testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit and these three are one" 1 John 4:7
Meherally states that because this verse does not exist in the older manuscripts that this is also a pointer to nullifying the validity of the concept of the Trinity.
Meherally is correct, I flipped through my bible and this verse does not appear in the main text except as a footnote, which states that this verse was not found in the earlier manuscript copies. So for this reason this verse cannot be used to prove the Trinity. As mentioned in answer 6, you cannot base proof of the Triunity of the Godhead upon a single verse, conversely you cannot disprove the Trinity because a single verse which could be used to support the Trinity does not exist as a proof do disprove this. There are sufficient portions of the Bible that the trinity without us requiring this verse as proof, so we can ignore this verse completely, when proving the trinity from the Bible.
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life for God's wrath remains on him" John 3:36
Meherally uses the fallacy of equivocation to claim that Muslims follow Jesus.
The wrath of God is upon all people, Muslim, Christian, Jew, atheist etc. the important question is whether the individual has salvation from this wrath at the day of judgement, please note that the text states that the wrath *remains* on that person, so those who obtain salvation they too also had the wrath of God upon them in the first place. The question that therefore must be asked to all who claim to follow God or not is how to obtain this salvation from the wrath of God, in our particular context what does the Bible say about this according to the teaching of Jesus Christ in the Bible.
"Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be SAVED FROM THE WRATH OF GOD through him (Jesus Christ)" Romans 5:9
The Bible clearly states that not only must one believe that Jesus is a teacher (Rabbi), but that they believe he also is the Son of God, and that salvation is only available through him, i.e. Jesus is the one who decides whether you are saved from the wrath of God or not.
It is within this context that the definition of salvation can be made, so in actual fact the Muslim who rejects the Sonship of Jesus Christ as being the Son of God, and does not turn to Jesus Christ for Salvation is indeed still under the wrath of God. Please note that Meherally conveniently ignores answering the question posed in Question 8, instead he draws upon the Muslim fallacy of equivocation to claim that, "Muslims truly believe Jesus was the Christ (al Masih) of God", and refers to Luke 9:20.
There are two glaring oversites made by Meherally here:-
1. Does Meherally and his Muslim bretheren really believe that Jesus is the Messiah? If so, in what context? He falls silent on this point.
2. If we take the Christian context, (which we assume Meherally must be doing as well, as he claims in the beginning of his Faq) then it is clearly taught that Jesus is the Son of God (ibn Allah). The response given by Peter in Luke 9:20 was given when Jesus asked his disciples who they say he is? This is a good question that the Muslim, Christian or anybody else who claims to believe in Jesus should ask themselves today. Many religions have many different interpretations of who Jesus Christ is, and in fact when Jesus asked this question many interpretations were given, but if we look also at the responses given of this same account in the gospel of Matthew, we will find that the response given by Peter not only refers to Jesus as being the Messiah, but also the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16), and it is in this context that Peter answered correctly, because Jesus states that it was his Father in heaven that had revealed the fact to him, so that in order to believe that Jesus is the Messiah it goes in hand that a true believer of the Bible is to believe that Jesus us also the Son of God (ibn Allah).
"Let us make man in our image" Genesis 1:26
Meherally claims that God is not referring to himself in the plural.
First of all we need to consider this verse very carefully as there are several different signals being sent out in this verse and the verse following. God who is the one true God and this is made very clear and repeated many times in the Jewish and Christian scriptures, is now referring to himself in the plural, with words like us and our , this is interesting why did not the one God say
"let me make man in my image"
One possible explanation is that God was speaking to the angels at the time of creating man, and they may have been assisting him at the time of creation, or at least at the creation of man. This theory can be easily disproved by the next verse which states;
"and so God created man in his image" Genesis 1:27
We need to consider two important points in the light of this verse and it's context to verse 26:-
1. If the angels really took part in creation, why then does this verse not confirm this? If this was the case, we would read in the verse 27 something along the lines of:- "so God and the angels made man in their image", rather the verse states quite exclusively that God was the only one doing the creating.
2. Angels we must remember were also created by God and thus by definition like man are creatures, there is a distinct separation in terms between that which is CREATED and the CREATOR. There is also no biblical reference to a created angel taking part in creation.
We can therefore conclude that the words US and OUR apply only to the one, uncreated God.
If we now consider that verse 26 referring to the one God in a plural form, then as we move onto verse 27, God is referred to in the singular form. It is interesting to note here where Meherally's argument falls down, if he rejects the notion of a plural Godhead then he must therefore advocate that it was God and the angels who created man, whereas he clearly ascribes to verse 27 who describes God as being the one creator, which is a contradiction in terms when trying to reason that the Godhead is a singular unity, (funnily enough he falls very silent on what he believes verse 26 is saying and does not go so far).
But by adopting the clear message sent by the bible, of the plural Godhead in a singular unity, verses 26 and 27 make sense.
Verse 26: Man was created by US in OUR image. (The plurality of Godhead)
Verse 27: Man was created by HIM in HIS image. (Yet in a singular unity)
Meherally tries to use Matthew 19:4 to prove the point of a singular Godhead, this is where Jesus Christ refers to God as "HE who created man and woman", but if we consider Genesis 1:27 which also refers to the creator in the singular HIM, it does not the plurality of the Godhead in Genesis 1:26. Please note also that there is no mention of God and the angels creating man and woman in Matthew, so there can be no other interpretation of US and OUR referring to anyone else but God.
Genesis clearly demonstrates the truth of John 1:3, and other biblical passages to support the fact that Jesus is creator and therefore God.
"For by him [Jesus] God created everything in heaven and on earth... God created the whole universe through him and for him." Colossians 1:16-17