Bassam Zawadi comes out for a third round (*) as he once again tries to deny that Thomas was confessing Jesus as his Lord God. There are only a few points of his "rebuttal" that I want to address since this will help demonstrate why I had given him the following advice:
Please make sure you have carefully understood what you have read and heard since this will save you from being embarrassed and exposed for distorting peoples statements. This will also prevent the impression that you are nothing more than a fraud and deceiver for perverting what others say. If you continue this path of distortion then this will make it obvious that you can do nothing better than to attack straw men and/or throw out red herrings.(Source)
First of all the commentary says that the individual cannot use God's name unless it was in a serious manner or if it was showing reverence to God. Or if it was said in a way of praising God in his mind. Now isn't it POSSIBLE that when Thomas saw Jesus he said "My God" by meaning that it is indeed by God's glory and majesty that Jesus resurrected from the dead? Because it was God who did resurrect Jesus right? (Acts 2:24,32, 3:26; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, Galatians 1:1) So once Thomas saw Jesus resurrected from the dead he could have simply said "My God" in a sense of glorifying God. If I look at the sky and see the beautiful stars, I would say "My God" with the intention in my heart glorifying God's glory and greatness. This is very reasonable. Plus, I would like Sam to tell me how on earth Jesus in the following verse used God's name in a way of reverence or praise to Him...
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi,[a] lama sabachthani?"which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
How on earth did Jesus use God's name here in a way of showing reverence to Him is beyond me. You are not supposed to use God's name in vain by saying it in a rude or offensive manner. Here we have Jesus accusing and asking God why he forsake and deserted him.
I do not intend to repeat the same point regarding Zawadi committing a chronological fallacy in trying to make Thomas confession an exclamation of surprise, since the readers can judge for themselves whether he has been able to address this or not. What I do want to address is his appeal to Jesus cry on the cross to affirm his point.
In the first place, Jesus cry wasnt an exclamation of surprise but a prayer. In fact, Jesus was praying aloud the opening words of Psalm 22 which says:
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?"
The Psalm records the lament of a righteous servant who cries out to God in anguish as to why he isnt delivering him from the hands of his enemies. The Psalm goes on to recount God answering the Psalmists prayer for deliverance, which is what happened with the Lord Jesus when God raised him from the dead:
But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Acts 2:24
"In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear." Hebrews 5:7
"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21
There are other reasons why Jesus chose to pray the opening lines of this particular Psalm as we document in the following links:
There is therefore no need for us to repeat ourselves.
Moreover, if Zawadis appeal to Matthew 27:46 proves anything it merely proves that Thomas was actually praying to Jesus as his Lord God!
Furthermore, recall that in his first rebuttal (*) Zawadi had said:
Now if Jesus was talking plainly then why didn't the disciples just go and say that they knew Jesus was God and not just sent by God?
To which I responded:
Moreover, note again the glaring inconsistency on the part of Zawadi when he asks why didnt the apostles go out and claim that Jesus is God. When passages are presented showing that the disciples did affirm that Jesus is God, Zawadi either denies the plain meaning of these texts or simply brushes them aside. For instance, notice his response to what John wrote in his prologue and in 20:30-31:
I could care less about the interpretation of the New Testament authors. I want to see what Jesus said about himself directly.
Plus, like I said before I could care less about what the New Testament writers[sic] interpretations I just want to see what Jesus said.
So now what is it? Does Zawadi care or not care about what the Apostles had to say about Jesus Deity? (Source)
Now look at what he says:
Thirdly, Sam quotes from Romans and Corinthians how Christians should view Jesus. My friend Sam, DO YOU THINK THAT I CARE ABOUT WHAT PAUL THINKS?!!! I know Paul believes Jesus is God. You don't have to try to convince me about this. WHAT I WANT IS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM JESUS' OWN LIPS FROM THE GOSPELS CLAIMING DIVINITY OR CLAIMING THIS DOCTRINE THAT YOU FOLLOW TODAY. CAN YOU DO THAT SAM? CAN YOU SHOW CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS VERSES FROM THE LIPS OF JESUS THAT TEACH ABOUT THE TRINITY, HIM DYING FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD BEING A SUBSTITUTE AND REPLACEMENT FOR THE LAW? CAN YOU SHOW ME THESE TWO THINGS AND NOT TWIST VERSES AROUND TO TRY TO PROVE IT? I DON'T THINK SO!!!
Exactly my point. I want to thank Zawadi for proving that what I had said about him was right on the mark.
He then says:
I wasn't appealing to authority. I quoted Michaelis because what he said was logical. Sam says thatMichaelis believed in the Deity of Christ and that I didn't read my sources carefully. Um excuse me Sam, but what did I say in my article?...
Michaelis, a Trinitarian, writes:
I know he is a Trinitarian! That is the whole point! I am trying to show that not all Trinitarians believe that Thomas was confessing that Jesus was his God in John 20:28. I could care less about the other reasons that Michaelis has for believing in the deity of Christ. We are debating John 20:28 here.
The point is that Michaelis provided absolutely no contextual evidence to prove his assertion that Thomas wasnt addressing Jesus, and neither has Zawadi. Therefore, Zawadi is simply committing the fallacy of appealing to authority since his source failed to provide any evidence to support his view. Moreover, Michaelis is a Trinitarian obviously because the Holy Bible led him to that position, a fact which Zawadi denies since he tries so hard (but fails miserably and always comes way short) to contest that the Holy Bible teaches that God is Triune.
As for the verses that Sam posted, well they have been refuted time and time again...
These are the same typical ambiguous verses that Trinitarians twist around to try and show the deity of Christ. Anyways I will urge Shamoun to strictly keep this debate on John 20:28 and not introduce other verses.
Here are their refutations:
These are some of the more explicit verses that prove the Trinitarian position, which unbelievers try to twist around in order to deny the clarity of these texts in demonstrating the Deity of the Lord Jesus.
If the unbelievers could deduce that Jesus was claiming to be God then why couldnt his disciples?
Well Sam isn't it possible that the unbelievers MISUNDERSTOOD Jesus?
Shabir is basing his case on the (mis)understanding of the Jews that three figures were expected to come, and that Christ and the Prophet were two distinct individuals. (Sam Shamoun, More Evidence of Shabirs Inconsistency: An Analysis of Shabir Allys debate with Dr. Anis Shorrosh, Source)
Sam over here argues that the Jews could possibly misunderstand scripture. So isn't it possible that the Jews misunderstood what Jesus was trying to say? I mean if Jesus rebukes them for their lack of understanding scripture...
Let us assess the NT data to see whether the unbelievers incorrectly assumed that Jesus was claiming to be Gods Son in a unique manner, in a way which implied his Deity.
1. The Father calls Jesus the beloved Son and God.
"And when Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." Matthew 3:16-17
"And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Eli'jah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah. For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, This is my beloved Son; listen to him. And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only." Mark 9:2-8
"But about the Son he [the Father] says, Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. He also says, In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end." Hebrews 1:8-12
The translators of the NET Bible say regarding Hebrews 1:8 and 10:
24tn Or possibly, "Your throne is God forever and ever." This translation is quite doubtful, however, since (1) in the context the Son is being contrasted to the angels and is presented as far better than they. The imagery of God being the Son's throne would seem to be of God being his authority. If so, in what sense could this not be said of the angels? In what sense is the Son thus contrasted with the angels? (2) The μεν...δε (men...de) construction that connects v. 7 with v. 8 clearly lays out this contrast: "On the one hand, he says of the angels.on the other hand, he says of the Son." Thus, although it is grammatically possible that θεος (qeos) in v. 8 should be taken as a predicate nominative, the context and the correlative conjunctions are decidedly against it. Hebrews 1:8 is thus a strong affirmation of the deity of Christ. (Source; underline emphasis ours)
28sn You founded the earth...your years will never run out. In its original setting Ps 102:25-27 refers to the work of God in creation, but here in Hebrews 1:10-12 the writer employs it in reference to Christ, the Lord, making a strong argument for the essential deity of the Son. (Source; underline emphasis ours)
2. John the Baptist identified Jesus as the preexistent Son of God.
"Now John was clothed with camel's hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Mark 1:6-8
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John bore witness to him, and cried, This was he of whom I said, "He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.")" John 1:14-15
"John answered, No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; he who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony; he who receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him." John 3:27-36
3. The Disciples and Apostles said that Jesus is the Son of God and Lord of all.
"But immediately he spoke to them, saying, Take heart, it is I; have no fear. And Peter answered him, Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water. He said, Come. So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, Lord, save me. Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, O man of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, Truly you are the Son of God. Matthew 14:27-33
"Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesare'a Philip'pi, he asked his disciples, Who do men say that the Son of man is? And they said, Some say John the Baptist, others say Eli'jah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. He said to them, But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but MY FATHER who is in heaven." Matthew 16:13-17
"Nathan'a-el answered him, Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel! John 1:49
"You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that he is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." Acts 10:36, 42-43
"yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." 1 Corinthians 8:6
"For they themselves report concerning us what a welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
4. Evil spirits testified that Jesus is Gods Son, the Holy One.
"And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God. But Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be silent, and come out of him! And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, What is this? A new teaching! With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him." Mark 1:21-27
"And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, You are the Son of God. And he strictly ordered them not to make him known." Mark 3:11-12
5. The Unbelievers understood Jesus to be making Divine claims.
"But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I AM; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven. And the high priest tore his garments, and said, Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision? And they all condemned him as deserving death." Mark 14:61-64
"This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his Father, making himself equal with God." John 5:18
"The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me? The Jews answered him, It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God." John 10:31-33
"The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God." John 19:7
The foregoing makes it rather obvious that the unbelievers DID NOT misunderstand Jesus.
Moreover, Jesus NEVER rebuked or corrected the Jews for thinking that Christ was making Divine claims. In light of Zawadis assertion that Christ didnt hesitate to rebuke the Jews when they misunderstood the Scriptures this provides even more evidence against him since Jesus didnt rebuke the unbelievers, or even his followers, for thinking that he was claiming to be the Divine Son of God! In fact, Jesus would have had very good reason to correct the unbelievers in this case if they were wrong about his claiming to be divine, since these claims were a large part of the reason why they wanted to kill him (see below also regarding John 8).
Furthermore, there is nothing analagous with the Jewss recognition of Jesuss Deity and with my comments to Shabir. In the case of the latter we find evidence that the Jews were wrong since both Jesus and the NT writers confirm that the Christ and the Prophet are one and the same Person. Zawadi is simply comparing apples and oranges at this point, being guilty of committing a false analogy.
He quotes John 10:31-39 thinking that this somehow refutes the Deity of Christ. I had already linked to my article where I show that the context actually proves that Jesus was claiming to be God. I advise Zawadi to at least read it instead of simply repeating the same points that have been addressed over and over again.
Then he says:
Jesus told them the real reason why they wanted to kill him...
37I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father. [c]" 39 "Abraham is our father," they answered. If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would [d] do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things.
Jesus is accusing them of killing him simply because they do not like or want to accept his teachings. Jesus clearly stated to them that he is a MAN who was telling them the truth that he heard from GOD. NOT THAT HE IS GOD!!!!!!!!
The Jews were so desperate to convict Jesus of death. They tried everything...
Zawadi conveniently omits what follows shortly before and after this:
"Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. So if THE SON makes you free, you will be free indeed." John 8:34-36
Here, Jesus clearly differentiates between a son and a slave, refuting Zawadis erroneous assertion that Jesus is Gods Son in the sense of being his servant. And:
"Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad. The Jews then said to him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham came into being, I AM. So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple." John 8:42, 56-59
Christ affirms that he came forth from God and that he existed even before Abraham ever came into existence! It is little wonder that the unbelievers took stones to stone him since they correctly understood, but didnt accept, Jesus emphatic declaration that he preexisted even Abraham!
Hence, this is part of the teachings that they didnt like and wanted to kill Jesus for since they couldnt accept that a fellow Jew could be the Divine Son of God who existed with God even before the birth of one of their ancestors!
Zawadi has the audacity to say a little later that:
EXACTLY MY POINT. JESUS WAS TALKING PLAINLY TO THEM. THEN THEY SAID TO HIM THAT HE CAME FROM GOD! COMING FROM GOD DOES NOT PROVE PRE HUMAN EXISTENCE OR DIVINITY. COMING FROM GOD SIMPLY MEANS BEING SENT FROM GOD. THEY DID NOT GO AND SAY THAT HE WAS GOD HIMSELF.
SECONDLY, THE ONLY REASON WHY I FOUND THE DISCIPLES' OPINIONS HERE IMPORTANT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE IN AN ACTUAL CONVERSATION WITH JESUS. THEREFORE, IF THEY SAID THAT JESUS WAS THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE TO HIS FACE AND HE DID NOT OBJECT THEN YOU WOULD HAVE A CASE. BUT I WON'T ACCEPT TWISTED INTERPRETATIONS OF JESUS' QUOTES.
Let me repeat the parts that Zawadi obviously missed:
"for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. I came from the Father and have come INTO THE WORLD; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father." John 16:27-28
Jesus, speaking plainly, says that he came from God and would return to him, which in the context of John refers to Christs prehuman existence in heaven:
"For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me;" John 6:38
"Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?" John 6:62
The disciples actually did get to see the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus, ascend to the place from where he had come:
"And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." Acts 1:9-11
In fact, notice what Jesus says in his prayer he gave right after his conversation in John 16:
"and now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made." John 17:5
Jesus affirms that he existed with God in glory even before the world began! Since Zawadi himself concedes that Jesus wasnt speaking figuratively at this point he cannot now come back and brush this aside as metaphorical language.
We now conclude with Zawadis own words with a few more points added for good measure:
Zawadi, again I really have to apologize and say that you havent refuted the sound exegesis of John 20:28 that we provided. You did not establish that there are other valid interpretations of this text. I understand why you think that verses such as John 20:28 are open for other interpretations since, as a Muslim, you are used to reading a confused and chaotic book that makes little sense:
It is He Who has sent down to you (Muhammad SAW) the Book (this Qur'an). In it are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book [and those are the Verses of Al-Ahkam (commandments, etc.), Al-Fara'id (obligatory duties) and Al-Hudud (legal laws for the punishment of thieves, adulterers, etc.)]; and others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking Al-Fitnah (polytheism and trials, etc.), and seeking for its hidden meanings, but none knows its hidden meanings save Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in it; the whole of it (clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord." And none receive admonition except men of understanding. (Tafsir At-Tabari). S. 3:7 Hilali-Khan
Sorry pal, but you are not reading the Quran. You are reading Gods true Word, the Holy Bible.
Jesus is Lord forever and ever! Amen.
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