(Continued from page 351)Christ - God and Saviour
Paul repeatedly affirmed the Deity of Christ, as shown by these Scriptures and many others, e.g. Christ is called "the great God & our Saviour" (Titus 2v13), and there are at least twenty-five more examples of such language which can be cited from Paul's writings and over seventy-five from the balance of the New Testament.
Hebrews 1v3 tells us that Christ is:
"the radiance of His (God's) glory and the exact representation of His (God's) nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power".
This means that the Lord Jesus Christ is everything God the Father is! Exactly the same! To doubt the eternal existence of Jesus is the same as doubting the eternal existence of God. Clearly what God was, the Son was, so the term "only begotten" used with reference to the Son of God, proves NATURE, not coming into existence.
The key to an understanding of the Son as "only begotten" of the Father is the word ETERNAL. He is the eternally begotten Son. This means that there has always been, from eternity, a relationship between the Father & Son which is described as begotten. The begetting did not happen when the Son of God became man, for He always was begotten of the Father. The wonder of the incarnation was that He was the ONE who was made man! "The (eternally begotten) Word became flesh" (John 1v14). Thus Christ is no less the Creator (John 1v3) for His being begotten, for He eternally was in that relationship to the Father. The process of becoming man is best described by saying that He (the eternally begotten Son) became incarnate - i.e. clothed with flesh.
Some attempt to explain the "human reasoning" method by applying begotten in the way that "a man begets a man, a bird begets a bird etc.", and argue that clearly God could only "beget a God." - but the danger of this is that you must ensure you do not think in terms of any kind of physical union such as 'sired' when you discuss God, for Jesus did not pre-exist in heaven as a result of any kind of creating activity - He always existed with the Father and Holy Spirit! This is the reason why the creeds made a point of emphasising 'begotten - not made' and why those who use other reasoning finish up in the polytheistic mess that the Mormons arrived at!
So, in answer to your question: Did Jesus perform this miracle upon Mary or was it GOD?
The answer is clearly that the Godhead - the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - worked together in Perfect Union to accomplish the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Here is some 'homework' for you Rami! Can you tell us who resurrected the Lord Jesus Christ after He was proven to be dead on the cross at Calvary? Remember, a Roman death squad never allowed a prisoner to escape and their proof of death was the spear thrust through the side (John 19:31-41):
JN 19:31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," 37 and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced." [ref. Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20; Zechariah 12:10]; JN 19:38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 41 At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 42 Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Finally, as proof that Islam insults Jesus rather than glorifying Him, we now link to the words of a famous Christian missionary, Samuel M. Zwemer. Zwemer emphasised how Muslim writers reacted to the realisation that the Lord Jesus Christ is much more than the Koran describes Him and that their prophet Muhammad could never compare with the Son of God so they needed to smuggle some illicit evidence into people's minds:
The Bible or the Qur'an?
We now turn to the main point in any debate between Muslim and Christian. Most modem Muslims feel that they have the right to criticize the Bible as being corrupt and contradictory - in fact they have obviously been brought up to believe that the Bible is corrupted and that, in all disputes, they can ignore the testimony of the Bible. We have already given you our web-site reference proof to the unparalleled accuracy of the Bible, but what is the truth about the Quran?
Most Muslims will not agree to debate the errors and the contradictions in the Quran. Muslim apologists want to debate Christianity, the Bible, etc. but consider any criticism of the Quran as blasphemous. In the West we have religious freedom, which means that we have the right to criticize the Bible, the Quran, the Hadith, the Vedas, the Book of Mormon and any other "holy" book in an objective and scholarly manner in order that the truth may be discovered. Such discussions should not be viewed as a personal attack or slur. Any religion which refuses to allow people to examine its sacred book using the normal rules of research and logic evidently has something to hide.
Since the Quran claims to be free from all error as proof of its inspiration (Sura 85:21,22), the presence of just one error in the Quran is enough to cast serious doubt on that claim.
Muslims seem to have forgotten that Muhammad constantly appealed to the Old and New Testament Scriptures as the basis and standard by which his teachings should be judged. He would say that if you wanted to know whether he was speaking the truth, go to the people of the Book and ask them to look in their Scriptures to see whether what he was saying was true (Suras 2 - 13,16,17, 20,21,23,25,26,28,29,32,34,35,39 - 48,53,54,61,62,66, 74,80,87,98, etc.).
The principle that Muhammad used in the beginning was a valid one. The older revelation must be the judge of all so-called new revelations. Thus the Bible must be the standard which judges all new revelations including the Quran itself. This is simply a point of chronology. Muhammad came 600 years after Jesus Christ, thus the Quran comes after the completion of the New Testament.
The validity of the New Testament is based upon the fact of its fulfillment of the predictions, symbolism, and typology of the Old Testament. In the same way, if the Quran is to be received as the Word of God, it must meet the test of being in complete compliance and accord with the Holy Scriptures as found in the Bible. The Quran itself claims that it is a continuation of the Bible and it will not contradict it (Sura 2:136). What this means in logic is that whenever the Bible and the Quran have a conflict or contradiction, the Quran is to give way, not the Bible. This is particularly true when the text of the Quran contradicts the text of the Bible. The Muslim position is that the same God (Allah) revealed the Bible and the Quran. Thus the Quran will never contradict the Bible, otherwise Allah would be contradicting himself. It is only obvious that if Allah contradicted himself he is not perfect. And if he is not perfect, then he cannot be God.
This calls for a literary comparison of the text of the Bible and the text of the Quran. It is not even necessary for someone to believe in the inspiration of the Bible to make a comparison between it and the Quran. Logically speaking, an atheist, skeptic, Hindu, or Jew could make such a literary comparison just as well as a committed Christian.
If the Quran does not correspond to the text and teachings of the Bible, then the Quran contradicts the Bible. If it contradicts the Bible, then the Quran must yield. Why? Since the Bible was before the Quran and the Quran itself appeals to the Bible for verification, then whenever there is a conflict between the two, the newer and the lesser (the Quran) must give way to the older and the greater (the Bible).
The Muslim answer to this approach is to say that the Quran is always right even when it disagrees with the Bible. Why? Because, they claim, the Bible has been corrupted and cannot be trusted. While it is easy to say that the text of the Bible is corrupt, it is another thing to prove it. In countless encounters with Muslims, whenever the Quran contradicts some particular verse in the Bible, they always say, "The Bible is corrupted at this point." When asked for some kind of proof that the Hebrew or Greek text is corrupt, they respond by saying, "I do not have to prove it is corrupt. It has to be corrupt, otherwise it would agree with the Holy Quran."
For example, the Quran contradicts the Bible in that it denies that Jesus was crucified. Now, is there any manuscript evidence that the verses in the Bible which speak of Christ*s crucifixion were not originally in the Bible? Is there any textual evidence of any kind whatever that the Bible did not originally teach the crucifixion? No, there is no evidence whatever that the Biblical text was corrupted in its accounts of the crucifixion. The Bible, from the beginning, clearly taught that Jesus died on the cross.
How can a Muslim respond? If he admits that the Bible originally said that Jesus died on the cross, then the Quran is in direct conflict with the older revelations. But he should know that Muhammad promised that this would not happen. Why? The Quran must agree with the older revelations because they all supposedly came from the same God. On the one hand, if the Muslim rejects the Bible, he must also reject the Quran because it appeals to the Bible as God*s Word. On the other hand, if he accepts the Bible, he still must reject the Quran because it contradicts the Bible. Either way, the Quran loses.
How do most Muslims react? They take a blind leap of faith and claim: "The text of the Bible at this place must be corrupted. It did not originally teach that Jesus was crucified. I do not have to prove it. I know it is so because otherwise I am trapped and I will have to give up the Quran because it appeals to the Bible as the basis of its own authority." The unreasonableness of the Muslim*s argument grates against the logical or scientific mind. If there is not a shred of evidence that a particular text in the Bible has suffered any manuscript corruption, then it is irrational to say that it is corrupt just because it disagrees with the Quran. Muslims answer this problem by saying that the Bible was corrupted after the Quran was written. But since we have manuscripts of the Old Testament from as early as 200 B.C. and portions of the New Testament from the first century, we know that the Bible is unchanged from the times of Jesus and the apostles. When we compare this uncorrupted Bible with the mixed-up accounts, names, and speeches found in the Quran, the Quran is shown to be false. It must also be pointed out that Muslims try and argue that the Quran must be perfect because God would preserve His Word infallibly. Yet if God failed to do this for the Bible, as they claim, why should He do this for the Quran?
Logically speaking, the Bible must be preferred above the Quran not only because it was before the Quran but also because the Quran appeals to the Bible as the already established higher authority.
Noah, the Flood, and His Sons
So let us take a logical and scientific examination of the Quran. Since the Quran has so many problems, we will limit ourselves to some of the most obvious ones.
Mistakes About Abraham
According to the Bible, all three sons of Noah went into the ark with him and were saved from the flood (Genesis 7:1,7,13).
Yet, the Quran in Sura 11:32-48 says that one of the sons refused to go into the ark and was drowned in the flood!
Sura 11:44 also claims that the Ark came to rest on top of Mount Judi while the Bible says Mount Ararat. These contradictions cannot be clearer.
The Quran makes many errors concerning Abraham:
1. The Quran says that Abraham*s father*s name was Azar, but the Bible says his name was Terah (Sura 6:74 versus Genesis 11:26).
2. He did not live and worship in the valley of Mecca (Sura 14:37) but in Hebron according to the Bible (Genesis 13:18).
3. It was his son Isaac that he went to sacrifice (Genesis 22) and not Ishmael as the Quran says (Sura 37:100-112).
4. He had eight sons and not just two as the Quran claims.
5. He had three wives and not two as the Quran claims.
6. He did not build the Kabah, even though the Quran makes this claim in Sura 2:125-127.
7. He was not thrown into a fire by Nimrod as the Quran claims in Suras 21:68,69 and 9:69.
This last error is most serious because it reveals a very frequent problem in the Quran. Nimrod lived many centuries before Abraham. How then did Nimrod manage to throw Abraham into a fire when Nimrod had been dead for centuries?
Mistakes About Joseph
Muhammad clearly had the mind-set of a seventh-century Arab and did not think in terms of linear time, that is, historical chronology. In the West, people think of history in terms of a straight line with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Evidently, in the Middle East at the time of Muhammad, Arabs did not have any settled conception of time at all. Arab stories and legends put together places, people, and events in one present vision as if they were all living at the same time! This is why throughout the Quran, Nimrod and Abraham, Haman and Moses, Mary and Aaron, etc. were all pictured as living and working together. This is why the Quran can put together the flood and Moses, the tower of Babel and Pharoah, etc. as if all those things happened at the same time. This is a very serious challenge to the integrity of the Quran because it violates the historical chronology of the Bible and secular history at the same time.
The Quran makes the mistake of saying that the man who bought Joseph, Jacob*s son, was named Aziz (Sura 12:2lff.) when his name was really Potiphar (Genesis 37:36).
Mistakes About Moses
The Quran makes the same kind of error when it refers to Goliath as Jalut, Korah as Karun, Saul as Talut, Enoch as Idris, Ezekiel as Dhu*l-Khifl, John the Baptist as Yahya, Jonah as Yunus, etc.
Since Muhammad did not have access to the Bible (an Arabic translation of the Bible was not in existence at that time) he frequently got the names, events, and chronology wrong. How did this happen? Probably as a result of hearing the accounts from other pagan, Jewish, and Christian traders as they sat around the fire telling each other their favourite stories and inevitably confused names, times, and events.
The Encyclopedia Britannica states:
The deviations from the Biblical narratives are very marked, and can in most cases be traced back to the legendary anecdotes of the Jewish Haggada and the Apocryphal Gospels. Much has been written concerning the sources from which Mohammed derived this information; there is no evidence that he was able to read, and his dependence on oral communication may explain some of his misconceptions; e.g., the confusion of Haman, the minister of Ahasuerus, with the minister of Pharoah (xl,38), and the identification of Miriam, the sister of Moses, with Mary (Miryam), the mother of Jesus.
Muhammad*s glaring misunderstandings of Biblical stories and doctrines reflect only a hearsay knowledge.
Mistakes About Mary
The Quran contains many errors concerning Moses:
1. It was not Pharoah*s wife who adopted Moses as the Quran claims in Sura 28:8,9, but Pharoah*s daughter (Exodus 2:5).
2. Noah*s flood did not take place in Moses* day (Sura 7:136, compare 7:59ff.). This error cannot be easily swept aside.
3. The Quran says that Haman lived in Egypt during the time of Moses and worked for Pharoah building the tower of Babel (Suras 27:4-6; 28:38; 29:39; 40:23,24,36,37). But Haman actually lived in Persia and was in the service of King Ahasuerus. See the book of Esther for details. This is a very serious error as it not only contradicts the Bible but secular history as well.
4. Crucifixion was not used in the time of Pharoah although the Quran claims so in Sura 7:124.
The claims from the web-page you recommended are made to look very sour indeed when we consider that the Quran contains many errors concerning Mary, the mother of Jesus:
Her father*s name was not Imram (Sura 66:12).
2. She did not give birth to Jesus under a palm tree but in a stable (Sura 19:22 versus Luke 2:1-20).
3. Muhammad confused the mother of Jesus with the Mary who was the sister of Moses and Aaron (Sura 19:28). This is a very serious error as it reveals that Muhammad had no understanding of the different time periods for Biblical figures.
4. Muhammad clearly made up fraudulent speeches and miracles for her in Sura 19:23-26.
5. Zacharias could not speak the entire time until his son was born, not just for three days as the Quran claims (Sura 19:10 versus Luke 1:20).
Mistakes About Jesus
The Quran contradicts the Bible*s teaching on the person and work of Jesus Christ by saying in Suras 4:157; 5:19,75; 9:30:
• Jesus was not the Son of God.
• He did not die for our sins.
• He was not crucified.
• He was not divine as well as human.
• He is not the Saviour.
The utter contradiction between the Biblical and Quranic view of Jesus cannot be easily dismissed. This is clearly not an issue of corruption but of contradiction. It is one of the fundamental issues which will forever divide Christianity from Islam.
(Continued on page 353)