'Replies from Muslims'

Rami Sbeiti - 8

18th November, 2003

(Continued from page 355)

when He sent Him.

Another Greek expert, Westcott, says of 'only begotten':
"The thought in the original is centered in the personal Being of the Son and not in His generation. Christ is the Only Son, the One to whom the title belongs in a sense completely unique and singular"

The phrase "one and only Son" (in
John 1:18) follows the majority of Greek manuscripts, which read ho monogenës huios (ho monogenes huios). A number of manuscripts, including the two oldest papyri, read "only God" (monogenës theos, monogenes theos).  This is supported by a large number of quotations from the Fathers and several other manuscripts that also include the article ho (ho). If the rule is accepted that the more difficult reading is preferred - the latter reading in this case - there can be no doubt that this text also asserts the deity of Christ.

So, even though Abraham had two sons, Isaac could be referred to as an "only" son in this distinct sense.  You find a similar situation with the description
'firstborn' (see 'The Trinity' section) used to describe Christ which has absolutely nothing to do with being physically born first!

It should be noted that the normal word used of physically
'begetting' children in the New Testament is never used of Christ as W.E. Vine shows in his definitions:

BEGET, BEAR (of begetting), BORN 


A. Verbs. 

1. gennao (1080), "to beget," in the passive voice, "to be born," is chiefly used of men "begetting" children, Matt. 1:2-16; more rarely of women "begetting"" children, Luke 1:13, 57, "brought forth" (for "delivered," in this v., see No. 4); 23:29; John 16:21, "is delivered of," and of the child, "is born" (for "is in travail" see No. 4). In Gal. 4:24, it is used allegorically, to contrast Jews under bondage to the Law, and spiritual Israel, KJV, "gendereth," RV, "bearing children," to contrast the natural birth of Ishmael and the supernatural birth of Isaac. In Matt. 1:20 it is used of conception, "that which is conceived in her." It is used of the act of God in the birth of Christ, Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5, quoted from Psalm 2:7, none of which indicate that Christ became the Son of God at His birth.
It is used metaphorically (a) in the writings of the apostle John, of the gracious act of God in conferring upon those who believe the nature and disposition of ""children," imparting to them spiritual life, John 3:3, 5, 7; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18; (b) of one who by means of preaching the gospel becomes the human instrument in the impartation of spiritual life, 1 Cor. 4:15; Philem. 10; (c) in 2 Pet. 2:12, with reference to the evil men whom the apostle is describing, the RV rightly has "born mere animals" (KJV, "natural brute beasts"); (d) in the sense of gendering strife, 2 Tim. 2:23. See A, No. 3, BRING, CONCEIVE, DELIVER, GENDER, SPRING. 
2.
anagennao (313), ana, "again, or from above," with No. 1, is found in 1 Pet. 1:3, 23.¶ 
Note:
In John 3:3, 5, 7, the adverb anothen, "anew, or from above," accompanies the simple verb gennao. See ABOVE. 
3.
apokueo (616), "to give birth to, to bring forth"" (from kueo, "to be pregnant"), is used metaphorically of spiritual birth by means of the Word of God, Jas. 1:18, and of death as the offspring of sin (v. 15; so in the best texts). See BRING, A, No. 30.¶ 
4. tikto (5088), "to bring forth," Luke 1:57; John 16:21; Heb. 11:11; Rev. 12:2, 4, or, "to be born," said of the Child, Matt. 2:2; Luke 2:11, is used metaphorically in Jas. 1:15, of lust as bringing forth sin. See apokueo, above, used in the same verse. See BRING, DELIVER, TRAVAIL (be in). 

B. Nouns. 

1. genos (1085), "a generation, kind, stock," is used in the dative case, with the article, to signify "by race,"" in Acts 18:2 and 24, RV, for the KJV, "born."" See COUNTRYMEN, DIVERSITY, GENERATION, KIND, KINDRED, NATION, OFFSPRING, STOCK. 
2. ektroma (1626) denotes "an abortion, an untimely birth"; from ektitrosko, "to miscarry."" In 1 Cor. 15:8 the apostle likens himself to"one born out of due time";      i.e., in point of time, inferior to the rest of the apostles, as an immature birth comes short of a mature one.¶ 

C. Adjectives. 

1. gennetos (1084), "born" (related to gennao, verb No. 1), is used in Matt. 11:11 and Luke 7:28 in the phrase ""born of women," a periphrasis for "men," and suggestive of frailty.¶ 
2.
artigennetos (738), "newborn" (arti, "newly, recently," and No. 1), is used in 1 Pet. 2:2.¶ 
Notes:
(1) For prototokos see FIRSTBORN. 
(2) For
monogenes, see ONLY BEGOTTEN.

So, again, we look at 'firstborn'
under the 'Trinity' section.

One of the great advantages of the Bible has over the Quran is that it is written in excellent grammatical form that carefully brings out shades and nuances so we can be certain of the meanings.  The same argument cannot be applied to the Quran which is full of spelling and grammatical mistakes and therefore irrefutable evidence that the book is not the perfect revelation from Allah - as claimed by Muslims - and a faithful reproduction of an original that was engraved on a tablet in heaven which has existed from all eternity.  Although the Quran was written 500-600 years after the New Testament was penned it appears that about seventy-five percent of it is a poorly reproduced copy of the Holy Bible.

Was Jesus Crucified?


You write: 3. Jesus Crucified? We will never know what happened those last moments of Jesus' earthly life. What I do know is that he lives with God and shall return at a time that ONLY God (the father) knows.. not Jesus... but God. This is the beauty of the Bible, which I love to read. The difference is how I interpret what I read. I never look to worship other than God. The only dangers in deifying Christ to the extent as we see today in the Chrisitian world is this... Nobody prays to God anymore! Jesus never said worship or even pray to me...he said pray to the father! So what has happened is that we have fallen away from deifying God and have worshipped Jesus who was sent by our one God. Furthermore, if Christ died for the sins of man, hasn't this gone against Jesus' own teachings in that he told his people that to enter God's kingdom, they must live by the commandments? Therefore, why suffer such a death when ultimately, man must find his own way to God. I am simply attempting to show how I view Christianity and the dangers the world has taken with respect to Jesus (May peace be upon him). We should love Christ because he is the Word of God but only by God's choosing. This is crystal clear to me.

Again, we
do know what happened to Jesus at the Crucifixion.  The Gospel records are superb and believable under the conditions of the best legal courts where eye witnesses are allowed to testify to what they actually saw.  It is surely a fact that you chose to believe the Quran and its ensuing traditions above the Biblical record despite the fact that we have proven that it is illogical to do this because of the vast gulf in accuracy between the books.  You are not interpreting what you read but believing what you have been taught.  If you had begun reading the Bible in the absence of Quranic teaching you may have had a chance of accepting orthodox Christians beliefs but, sadly, your view is tainted by the Islamic prism that you are reading through.

Using the quote from 
Matthew 24:36; Mark 13;32 ("No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father') to try and prove that Christ is inferior to the Father will not suffice because Jesus spoke these words when He walked the earth as the Son of Man in the power of the Holy Spirit having subjected Himself to the Father's will.  In fact, it is part of the New Testament pattern of his humiliation and incarnation (e.g., Matthew 20:23; Luke 2:52; Acts 1:7; Philippians 2:7) that, although He was still fully God while He sojourned on earth with sinful men, He performed His great miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit only and did not use His own power (Philippians 2:6-8 etc.). 

John's Gospel, the one of the four Gospels most clearly illustrating and insisting on Jesus' deity, also insists with equal vigour on Jesus' dependence on and obedience to his Father - a dependence reaching even to his knowledge of the divine.  New Testament  insistence on Jesus' deity is to be combined with New Testament insistence on his ignorance and dependence on the Father and is a matter of profound importance to the church, so attempts to jettison one truth for the sake of preserving the other must be avoided.  Jesus, at his ascension, dearly says that it was not for the disciples
"to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority" (Acts 1:7).  A map of the future would be a hindrance, not a help, to faith and the disciples responsibility - and ours - is to keep busy and do his work without being concerned about date setting.  So Jesus' ignorance of the day or hour of His parousia must be understood in terms of the New Testament teaching concerning the Incarnation.  A real Incarnation involved such lack of knowledge for Jesus purposely laid aside temporarily the exercise of his omniscience as part of what was involved in his becoming man.

Interestingly, for those who attempt to nit-pick over the issue of the authority and jurisdiction of the Father and Son (as Jehovah's Witnesses have trained many to do through their divisive writings),
Revelation 19:11-16 presents a clear problem:

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but He Himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

I have enjoyed sharing this with the Jehovah's Witnesses for many years and they readily agree that the passage speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ - even though they deny the obvious fact that the title of
verse 16 identifies Him as God Almighty, the Ruler of All Things.  But notice that verse 12 clearly informs us that 'He has a name written on him that no one knows but He Himself'.  Now, are we going to accept what the text so clearly says and believe that the Father doesn't know this name?  The answer is no!  Why?  Because we accept that the Bible clearly teaches that God (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) is omnipotent and omniscient and, since we also know that nothing is impossible for God (Luke 1:37;  Mark 10:37), it is perfectly possible for Him to come to earth in the form of a man in the Incarnation and be able to restrict His knowledge of some things as the ministry of Jesus proves.  There is also another equally logical reason for Revelation 19:12 to be interpreted in this way - but I save this for conversations with Jehovah's Witnesses!

Jesus gave the clear pattern for prayer, particularly emphasising that pointless repetition or showy prayers were not in God's will (
Matthew 6:5):

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Christians therefore freely pray to God the Father without use of such methods, thank him for the witness of the Holy Spirit, and ask for forgiveness and their needs and concerns to be fulfilled - if it is the Father's
will  - through the name of the Son, or in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  We return to this point in the discussion on the 'Trinity' as well as the evidence that Jesus did say we should ask Him (John 14:14-17) - and therefore pray to Him.

It is also clear that God actually told the angels to worship Christ and that the same Greek word (
'proskuneo' and derivatives) was used when people observed Him do what they knew only God could do [also see 'The Trinity'].

We also address your other statements and questions in the sections on 'The Trinity' and 'The Atonement'.

You write: I respect the bible and the Gospels because I believe in God and that the essence of these books' messages is God's word. You and I cannot, however, say without doubt that our holy books have not been altered over the course of 2000 years. I ask that God show me the right path and that when it is time, the truth will be revealed to us all.

Having begun our reply by examining this concluding statement we close by praying that you will read through the other sections and know the certain truth found at
2 Corinthians 6:1-3:

As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2 For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you."  I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.   2CO 6:3 We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.

We assure you that
'now is the day of your salvation' and if you believe our message there is no reason for you to delay making a decision for Christ right now.

If you need reminding of how simple is the gospel message of the Lord Jesus Christ then please go to
http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/peacegod.html again.

There are other factors missed by many who claim to understand Christianity.


Sin and the Atonement


When Muslim apologist Ahmed Deedat says that the only difference between Islam and Christianity is the Divinity of Christ it is hard to believe that he is more than slightly acquainted with Christian doctrine. Here are some of the fundamental differences between the two religions:

The concept of God
The concept of man
The concept of sin
The concept of the means of atonement (used in the Quran as
Kaffara).

Clearly, these differences are not insignificant and to suggest they are reveals a knowledge of Christianity that is at best superficial - and at worst grievously distorted. A discussion of the problem may help to emphasise the gulf between Christianity and Islam.

The Christian view of Sin

When God created man, He made him a fit subject for moral government, capable of understanding the character and will of His Maker, able to worship and hold communion with Him, and desirous of experiencing the joy of obedience to Him. Consistent with this, and for his own welfare, God imposed upon him a single prohibition. It was entirely within man's power to conform to this or to transgress. That was essentially a feature of his constitution. He was not a helpless robot. But, submitting to the adverse and subtle influence of God's enemy, man decided to transgress. He had free will before his fall and this act of disobedience demanded a penalty. Not to exact it would have suggested a defect in God's commandment, and therefore in His own character.
In contrast, Islam believes that man is born into the world in a pure state and that what he becomes
still depends on external circumstances. In responding to Christianity*s concept of sin and evil Muslims assert that man is fundamentally a good and dignified creature and not a fallen being. It is clear that, despite Muhammad's instructions in the Koran, Muslims cannot accept that even prophets have participated in sinfulness! And this despite the clear statement in the Koran that Muhammad was a sinner!  (ref. page):   

Sura 18:110 - Say: "I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the inspiration has come to me, that your God is One God: Whoever expects to meet his Lord, let him work righteousness, and in the worship of his Lord, admit no one as partner.

Sura 40:55 - Patiently, then, persevere: For the Promise of Allah is true: And ask forgiveness for thy fault, and celebrate the Praises of thy Lord in the evening and in the morning.

Sura 48:1-2 - Fat-h, or Victory. In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Verily We have granted thee a manifest Victory: 2 That Allah may forgive thee thy faults of the past and those to follow; fulfill His favor to thee; and guide thee on the Straight Way;


Nowhere in the Koran is Muhammad said to be sinless. Instead, Allah tells Muhammad that he is no different than any other man. Those Muslims who claim that Muhammad was sinless have failed to note Sura 40:55, where Allah told Muhammad to repent of his sins! Muhammed Pickthal translates this verse as: 'Ask forgiveness of thy sin.' The only way out of this passage is to state that Allah was wrong to ask Muhammad to ask for forgiveness because he had nothing to forgive! Pickthal's translation of Sura 48:1,2 states:

Lo! We have given thee, (O Muhammad) signal victory,
that Allah may forgive thee of thy sin, that which is past and that which is to come, and may perfect His favour unto thee, and guide thee on a right path.

Not only was Muhammad commanded to repent of his sins and to seek forgiveness, but he was also reminded of his past sins that Allah had already forgiven and of future sins which would need future forgiveness! Muhammad was not sinless according to the Koran. He was just one more poor sinner in need of forgiveness and redemption.

Biblical Christianity and Islam clearly differ significantly on the concept of sin. The Bible teaches that when Adam and Eve faced a choice in the Garden of Eden, they chose to go their own way instead of God
*s way (Genesis 3). Because of this sin by the head of the human race (Adam), a sinful nature has been passed down to all descendants.

David acknowledged that he was brought forth in iniquity and that his mother had conceived him in sin (
Psalm 51:5). He was not referring to any immoral act of his mother but to the sinful condition of mankind as they enter the world. Romans 5:12 reveals that sin came into the world through one man (Adam) and that, as a result, death passed to all men. Proof of this is that all will eventually die and remain in the grave. Romans 6:23 emphasizes that death is the result of sin. Muhammad*s tomb in the Prophet*s Mosque in Medina proves he is no exception. 
The absence of Jesus' body from his tomb - and the strong evidence of witnesses that He had risen from the dead and did not know decay - proves His sinlessness and power over death (see Matt. 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1-21:25; Acts 2:26-29 etc.)  He had "put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:53) and His resurrection body was raised "imperishable ... in glory ... in power ... a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:42-44) - the same body that died was also raised, but then it was transformed into a "spiritual body" with new properties.

The Character of Sin

Sin is not a misfortune, a mistake, a disease, or a necessary stage to 'higher things' as Eastern Religions and the Mormons try and argue. It is not the product of circumstances, heredity or environment. Sin is straightforward lawlessness (1 John 3:4) and, as history clearly proves, every tendency of man is to lean towards it! This is why a righteous satisfaction was demanded by God. Pardon could be given only in a manner consistent with God's attributes and character, with the rectitude of His administration

(Continued on page 357)

Topics discussed on pages responding to Muslims
Section 1-36:

Muhammad the Comforter? (1) (2)

Christians hate Muslims!

Prejudice against Islam? (1) (2)

Is the Holy Spirit a Person?

Ahmed Deedat's debates!

Jesus - Begotten not created!

Jesus - 'My Lord and My God'!

Christ - God and Saviour

The Bible or the Koran?

Qur'anic Mistakes (1) (2)

Mistakes About the Trinity

Mistakes About the "Son" of God

Accuracy of the Bible vs. Qur'an

Sword of Islam

Trinity and the Father

Atonement before Adoption

Justification entirely by Grace

Law versus Grace

Begotten not created!

Was Jesus Crucified?

Sin and the Atonement

The Christian view of Sin

The Character of Sin

The Conditions Required

Salvation

The Person Required

Only the Son of God

The Mode of Death

Holiness Through Jesus' Sacrifice

The Conditions Fulfilled

Atonement not At-one-ment

Only Jesus brings Peace with God

Islam, Christians and Jews

Islamic jihad worldwide

Slavery Today!

Who are the real terrorists?!

Deaths caused by Secular Wars

Who dropped the Atomic Bomb?

The Origin of Nazi Ideals?

'Kill the Jews' - Quotes

Islamic Links to the Nazis

Muhammad took Mecca peacefully!

Details about Jesus unimportant!

'The Trinity' cultic revisitation

What makes Islam so evil?

Crusade-like ... leads to hell

Accuracy of the Qur'an? (2)

Importance of Hadith Literature?

Eternal Destiny, Sin and Death

Holy Jehovah or 'Deceiver' Allah?

Contradictions of 'The Deceiver'

Contradictions in other Suras

'The Night of Power'

Predestination to Damnation

One Muslim's Despair

What Islam Says About Zinaa

Contrary to Qur'anic teaching

Nonsense of 'Abrogation'

The Unchanging God of the Bible

More on Dhimmis - and Jizyah!

Dawah and Jihad

Following Muhammad's Example

'Jesus ... Violence and Swords!?'

Old Testament - 'God's Holy War'!

Miracles and Islamic Conquests?

Hadith Accounts of Miracles

Biblical Tests expose Muhammad!

Those 'Satanic Verses'

Moses - a true predictive prophet

Moses proves veracity of Gospel

Muhammad supported Polytheism!

Jehovah's Judgement vs. Allah's

Joshua's "Ethnic Cleansing"!

The Peaceful 'Sword of the Spirit'

Christ Revered in the Qur'an?!

Science and the Qur'an!

Qur'an - sun sets in muddy spring!

Illiteracy of Muhammad?

Origins of the Qur'an?

Islam not as evil as depicted!

The Bible exposes Muhammad!

Muhammad - Christ's Successor?!

Qur'an and Bible - same origin?

Muhammad's lying permitted!

The 'Moon God Theory'

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