Saturday, 28 February 2015

Reexamining the Quran’s Distortion and Misrepresention of Historic Christian Beliefs

Sam Shamoun          

Bassam Zawadi has taken a stab at refuting my article which examines and documents the Quran’s gross distortion of what true Christians have historically believed regarding the Trinity and Jesus’ relationship to the Father.

In my article I had quoted Christian scholar E.M. Wherry regarding the fact that even Muslim expositors such as Baidhawi, Jalaluddin, and Yahya admit that Q. 4:171 claims that Christians worship three gods consisting of God, Mary and Jesus. Here is how Zawadi responds:

Jalaluddin was talking about a specific Christian sect and not speaking generally about all Christians. I checked the commentary on Baidhawi on 5:73 (
*,*) and no where is the name "Mary" even mentioned. I don't know how E.M. Wherry reached this conclusion regarding Baidhawi.

Sorry to keep sounding like a broken record but this again substantiates my claim that Zawadi has a difficult time comprehending what he reads. Wherry was quoting al-Baidawi’s comments to Q. 4:171, not his explanation of Q. 5:73!

Moreover, if Zawadi wants to argue that these passages are addressing only a specific Christian sect, and not all Christians, then he is simply confirming my point that the Quran nowhere defines and refutes the historic, orthodox Christian doctrine of the blessed and glorious Trinity.

Zawadi goes on to say:
The Qur'an said "third of three" and that is all. It does not say anything else. So it is possible that it is saying "don't say that God is the third of three persons in the Godhead". No where does it say "third of three Gods". "Third of three" simply means what
Baidhawi, Suyuti and Qurtubi said it means: "He is one of them".

I have already addressed this assertion in my response to Dr. Jerald F. Dirks and have proven that the Arabic does not simply mean that Allah “is one of them.” It literally means that Allah is the third among the three, that he comes third in the order of these three, and that this either presupposes that Christians worship three gods, namely God, Mary and Jesus, or that they believe that the Father holds the third position within the Trinity, neither of which accurately represents the view which has been historically held by the Church at large.

Zawadi then asks,

How does Shamoun know that the Qur'an isn't condemning Sabellianism? How does Shamoun know that the Qur'an isn't condemning people like William Blake? Northrop Frye said:

The reason I know that it isn’t condemning Sabellianism is because, a) that heresy had already been condemned centuries prior to the birth of Muhammad and was not a threat during his time, and b) the Quran goes on to censure those who say that Allah is the third of three within the very immediate context of saying that Allah is Christ:

Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Marium; and the Messiah said: O Children of Israel! serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust. Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve. S. 5:72-73 Shakir

The Sabellian heresy did not hold to the belief that Allah or God is the third of three since in their view God is a single Person who manifests himself in three different ways. Therefore, the burden of proof is upon Zawadi to show that these texts are refuting the Sabellian heresy.

More importantly, if these Quranic citations are condemning Sabellianism then this once again shows that the Muslim scripture is not addressing the historic Christian view of the Lord Jesus Christ since orthodoxy denies that Jesus is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit or that Christ is the human nature of the Father.

Zawadi gets rather ingenious since he pushes for the possibility that the Quran may be condemning the belief that Jesus is an attribute of God! In so doing Zawadi creates a host of problems for his beliefs.

It's also possible that the statement "God is Jesus" isn't a statement of identity, but a statement of predication (using William Lane Craig's terminology). Just as the statement "God is love" (1 John 4:10) does not intend to say that God is an entity called love, but rather has the attribute of love, similarly "God is Jesus" could mean to say that Jesus is an attribute of God.

Famed internet Christian apologist James Patrick Holding titles one of the subheadings in his article 
Jesus As God's Wisdom, and the Trinity Doctrine as (bold emphasis mine):

Jesus, as God's Word and Wisdom, was and is eternally an attribute of God the Father.

In case Shamoun objects, Holding insists:

It is not sufficient to object that because Jesus is a person, he cannot be an "attribute" of the Father. Personhood is not incompatible with being an attribute of another person. Moreover, we should not presume that our inability as humans to have a personal attribute also means that God cannot have one.

Hence, even orthodox Christians like Holding believe that Jesus is an attribute of God. Therefore, if someone has the intention of uttering a statement of predication stating "God is Jesus" then he is well within his bounds of stating so. What Shamoun needs to prove is that Allah's intention for saying "God is Jesus" isn't that of predication just like how Allah does in other verses (e.g. Allah is Merciful, that doesn't mean Allah is an entity called Mercy, but rather shares that attribute).

It is rather unfortunate that Zawadi could not see how this claim actually proves that the Quran is mistaken and contradicting itself. According to the Islamic scripture Jesus is Allah’s very own Word:

And the angels called to him, standing in the Sanctuary at worship, 'Lo, Allah gives thee good tidings of John, who shall confirm a Word from Allah (bi-kalimatin mina Allahi), a chief, and chaste, a Prophet, righteous.'… When the angels said, 'Mary, Allah gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him (bi-kalimatin minhu) whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to Allah. 3:39, 45

People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to Allah but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was the Messenger of Allah, and His Word (wa-kalimatuhu) that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him (wa-roohun minhu). So believe in Allah and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three.' Refrain; better is it for you. Allah is only One God. Glory be to Him -- That He should have a son! To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth; Allah suffices for a guardian. S. 4:171

Here, the Quran refers to Jesus as Allah’s Word and Spirit in the same way it speaks of Allah’s mercy, light etc.

Then, even after that, ye turned away, and if it had not been for the grace of Allah and His mercy (wa-rahmatuhu) ye had been among the losers. S. 2:64

Their Lord doth give them glad tidings of a Mercy from Himself (bi-rahmatin minhu), of His good pleasure, and of gardens for them, wherein are delights that endure: S. 9:21

They desire to put out the light of Allah (noora Allahi) with their mouths, and Allah will not consent save to perfect His light (noorahu), though the unbelievers are averse. S. 9:32

As such, Allah is indeed Jesus much like Allah is indeed the light, truth, mercy/merciful etc., since Jesus is Allah’s Word! In fact, Jesus is even said to be a mercy from Allah!

And mention in the Book Mary when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself to her a man without fault. She said, 'I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If thou fearest Allah ... He said, 'I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure. She said, 'How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?' He said, 'Even so thy Lord has said: "Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us (wa rahmatan minna); it is a thing decreed."' S. 19:16-21

Thus, this logically means that the Quran is wrong for denying that Allah is Jesus by way of predication.

Notice the implications of Zawadi’s logic in light of the teachings of the Quran:
- Jesus is the Word of Allah in the sense of being his speech or self-revelation.
- Allah’s Word or speech is one of his eternal attributes.
- Jesus is, therefore, an eternal attribute of Allah.
- This means that Allah is Jesus by way of predication.
- Therefore, the Quran is wrong when it says that Allah is not Jesus since he certainly is!

This is similar to the Islamic position that the Quran is the uncreated speech or word of Allah,

Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikun (see V.2:105) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and prepare for them each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And if anyone of the Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) seeks your protection then grant him protection, so that he may hear the Word of Allah (the Qur'an), and then escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men who know not. S. 9:5-6 Hilali-Khan


33. The Qur'an is the word of Allah. It came from Him as speech without it being possible to say how. He sent it down on His Messenger as revelation. The believers accept it, as absolute truth. They are certain that it is, in truth, the word of Allah. It is not created as is the speech of human beings, and anyone who hears it and claims that it is human speech has become an unbeliever. Allah warns him and censures him and threatens him with Fire when He says, Exalted is He: "I will burn him in the Fire." (al-Muddaththir 74:26) When Allah threatens with the Fire those who say "This is just human speech" (74:25) we know for certain that it is the speech of the Creator of mankind and that it is totally unlike the speech of mankind

56. We do not argue about the Qur'an and we bear witness that it is the speech of the Lord of all the Worlds which the Trustworthy Spirit came down with and taught the most honoured of all the Messengers, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. It is the speech of Allah and no speech of any created being is comparable to it. We do not say that it was created and we do not go against the Congregation (jama`a) of the Muslims regarding it. (Gibril F. Haddad,
Imam al-Tahawi's beliefs of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama`a ('aqida tahawiyya); bold and underline emphasis ours)

This means that the Quran, just like Jesus, is an attribute of Allah and as such Allah is the Quran by way of predication:

- The Quran is the word or speech of Allah.
- Allah’s word or speech is one of his eternal attributes.
- The Quran is, therefore, an eternal attribute of Allah.
- This means that Allah is the Quran by way of predication.
- Moreover, if Allah is the Quran by way of predication seeing that it is the eternal speech of Allah then by the same reasoning Allah must also be Jesus since he is also Allah’s Word and therefore uncreated.

However, Zawadi objects to this logic since he claims that the Quran is not God and Allah is not identical to any of his attributes:

The Qur'an is the speech of Allah. Allah's speech is one of His attributes. Allah's attributes (e.g. knowledge, sight, speech, etc.) are part of His nature. Logically speaking then, if Allah is uncreated then that also means that His attributes are not created either…We say that Allah is one Lord and God who has several attributes. We don't say that Allah only has one attribute or that the Qur'an is God…Allah has several attributes that subsist in His nature. They are not distinct from Him in the sense that God could not be without these attributes, however they are distinct in the sense that the attribute is not Him. (E.g. I have feelings. My feelings are subsisted in my nature and being. So they can't be distinct from me in that I can't be separated from them and be who I am without them. However, that doesn't mean that I am my feelings.) …I already clarified that Allah is not His attribute, but one can refer to His attribute in order to refer to Him. Refer back to my example regarding Allah's Face. (
Is The Trinity Logically Coherent in Light of Biblical Teachings? Part 2: A Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun)

Zawadi is not alone here since Muslim scholars themselves objected to the Quran being Allah, even though they also spoke out against saying that it is other than Allah!

We confess that the Kuran is the speech of Allah, uncreated, His inspiration and revelation, not He, yet not other than He, but His real quality, written in the copies, recited by the tongues, preserved in the breasts, yet not residing there. The ink, the paper, the writing are created, for they are the work of men. The speech of Allah on the other hand is uncreated, for the writing and the letters and the words and the verses are manifestations of the Kuran for the sake of human needs. The speech of Allah on the other hand is self-existing, and its meaning is understood by means of these things. Whoso sayeth that the speech of Allah is created, he is an infidel regarding Allah, the Exalted, whom men serve, who is eternally the same, His speech being recited or written and retained in the heart, yet never dissociated from Him. (A. J. Wensinck, The Muslim Creed (Cambridge: The University Press, 1932) p. 127; taken from the Wasiyat Abi Hanifa; bold and underline emphasis ours)

The Muslims said the same thing regarding all of Allah’s attributes:

He has attributes from all eternity subsistent in His essence. They are not He nor are they other than He. And they are Knowledge and Power and Life and Might and Hearing and Seeing and Willing and Desiring and Doing and Creating and Sustaining. (Sa‘d al-Din al-Taftazani, A Commentary on the Creed of Islam, translated by E. E. Elder [Columbia University Press: New York, 1950], p. 49; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Yet this introduces additional problems since if Zawadi and these scholars are correct then the Quran is mistaken for identifying Allah with his attributes! In fact, the Muslim scripture even uses the exact same language to describe Allah and his attributes as it does when claiming that Christians are disbelievers for saying that Allah is Jesus!

Notice, once again, what the Quran says concerning the belief of Christians:

Indeed, they are disbelievers who say Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary (inna
Allaha huwa al-maseehu ibnu maryama). Say, `Who then has any power against Allah, if he desired to destroy the Messiah, son of Mary, and his mother and all those that are in the earth?' And to Allah belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what is between them. He creates what He pleases and Allah has power over all things. S. 5:17

Indeed, they are disbelievers who say Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary (inna
Allaha huwa al-maseehu ibnu maryama), whereas the Messiah himself said, `O Children of Israel, worship Allah who is my Lord and your Lord.' Surely, whoso associates partners with Allah, him has Allah forbidden Heaven, and the Fire will be his resort. And the wrongdoers shall have no helpers. S. 5:72

Now compare this with the following verses:

And to the three who were left behind, until the earth became strait to them notwithstanding its spaciousness and their souls were also straightened to them; and they knew it for certain that there was no refuge from Allah but in Him; then He turned to them (mercifully) that they might turn (to Him); surely Allah is the Oft-repenting, the Merciful (inna
Allaha huwa al-tawwabu al-raheemu). S. 9:118 – cf. 9:104

This is because Allah is the Truth (thalika bi-anna
Allaha huwa al-haqqu) and because He gives life to the dead and because He has power over all things. S. 22:6 – cf. 24:25

That is because Allah is the Truth (thalika bi-anna Allaha huwa al-haqqu)
, and that what they call upon besides Him -- that is the falsehood, and because Allah is the High, the Great (wa-anna
Allaha huwa al-aliyyu al-kabeeru). S. 22:62 – cf. 31:30

What is in the heavens and the earth is Allah's; surely Allah is the Self-sufficient, the Praised (inna
Allaha huwa al-ghaniyyu al-hameedu). S. 31:26

And Allah judges with the truth; and those whom they call upon besides Him cannot judge aught; surely Allah is the Hearing, the Seeing (inna
Allaha huwa al-sameeaau al-baseeru). S. 40:20

In other passages the Quran says that Allah is light, knowing or wise without using the exact same Arabic expression found in the above verses:

And were it not for Allah's grace (fadlu Allahi) upon you and His mercy (wa-rahmatuhu) -- and that Allah is Oft-repenting, Wise (Allaha tawwabun hakeemun)! S. 24:10

And were it not for Allah's grace (fadlu Allahi) on you and His mercy (wa-rahmatuhu), and that Allah is Compassionate, Merciful (Allaha raoofun raheemun). O you who believe! do not follow the footsteps of Satan, and whoever follows the footsteps of Satan, then surely he bids the doing of indecency and evil; and were it not for Allah's grace upon you and His mercy (wa-rahmatuhu), not one of you would have ever been pure, but Allah purifies whom He pleases; and Allah is Hearing, Knowing (wa-Allahu sameeaaun aleemun). S. 24:20-21

Allah is the Light (Allahu nooru) of the heavens and the earth
. The similitude of His light (noorihi) is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. (This lamp is) kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon light. Allah guideth unto His light (noorihi) whom He will. And Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories, for Allah is Knower of all things. S. 24:35

Thus, if it is wrong for Christians to say that Allah is Jesus then it is equally wrong for the Quran to say that Allah is the truth, light, hearing, seeing, the most high, the most merciful etc., since Allah is not any of his attributes according to Zawadi and the Islamic scholars.

However, if it is proper and acceptable to say that Allah is mercy or merciful than it is also appropriate to assert that Allah is Jesus (or even the Quran) seeing that Christ is his eternal attribute or Word!

Zawadi’s problems are far from over. According to the above Muslim sources even though Allah’s attributes are not Allah they are not other than him (whatever that means!).

Moreover, noted Muslim expositor Al-Baidawi said concerning Q. 3:39 that Jesus is called the Word of Allah because “he is like the Book of Allah,” i.e. like the Quran.

Therefore, since Jesus is like the Quran in that he is also Allah’s uncreated Word this means that a Muslim is forbidden from saying that Christ is someone or something other than Allah!

With the said one can legitimately interpret passages such as Q. 5:17 and 72 to mean that it is incorrect to say that Allah is Jesus, much like it is incorrect to say that Allah is the Quran, since there is more to Allah than either Jesus or the Quran. However, it is also incorrect to say that Allah is not Jesus much like it is incorrect to say that he is not the Quran since he is both Jesus and the Quran by way of predication.

We can therefore imagine the Quran saying something similar about itself as it does of Jesus:
“They are disbelievers who say that Allah is the Quran, the Word transmitted through Muhammad. For thus says the Quran, ‘Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allah does not like such as are proud and boastful’ [cf. Q. 4:36].”

Allah is not the Quran anymore than he is Jesus and to say otherwise is to commit an act of kufr or unbelief.

Will Zawadi be comfortable with all the problems that he has created for himself by arguing that the Quran may be denying that Allah is Jesus by way of predication? And will he be willing to accept the logical ramifications that his very own argument has on his beliefs concerning the relationship between Allah and his attributes such as the Quran? We highly doubt it.

For more on the topic of Jesus as the Word of Allah we recommend the following articles and rebuttals:

Zawadi then mentions the comments of noted Muslim commentator Ar-Razi but doesn’t see how this scholar’s explanation backfires against him:

One may also refer to Imam Fakhr Al Din Ar-Razi's
commentary on Surah 5:17 where he tries to argue philosophically that the orthodox Christian belief "Jesus is God" and the concept of the incarnation itself implies that "God is Jesus" whether Christians themselves like to acknowledge that or not.

Zawadi is again raising further difficulties for himself by failing to see how Ar-Razi’s comments actually confirm my point since his statements clearly show that even back then Christians had a problem with and objected to the Quran’s formulation of their beliefs. Here is what this renowned exegete of the Quran wrote:

The most high said: {In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary} – this verse raises a question, that is: IF NONE OF THE CHRISTIANS (Nazarenes) SAY, Allah is Christ the son of Mary, then why would Allah say this about them even though they do not say such thing?

The answer is most of those (Christians) who believe in the incarnation say: Allah could manifest himself in the body of a specific human being or in his spirit. If that was the case, then it would be reasonable to say that a party of the Christians did go as far as claiming this.

In fact this claim is closer to what the Christians actually say by claiming that the person (Uq'noom - {O'k noo m}) of the Word has united with Isa. According to this, the person of the Word is either an essence or an attribute. If it was an essence, then the essence of God was manifested in Isa and united with him. As a result of this, Isa is God according to this claim.

But if we say the Word is an attribute, then the transfer of this attribute from an essence to another is not logical. And if the attribute of omniscience is transferred from the essence of God to Isa, this then requires that God must empty himself of the attribute of omniscience; however, he who is not Omniscient is not a deity (God). According to this claim Isa becomes the Deity (God).

This then serves as a proof that the essence of Christian faith is to believe in this, EVEN IF THEY DO NOT REVEAL THIS CLAIM
. (Al-Razi, The Key to the Unknown Commentary – The Grand Commentary (
Tafseer Mafateeh Al Ghayb – Al Tafseer Al Kabeer))

Ar-Razi saw the problem with the assertion of the Quran since he knew that none of the Christians at that time claimed that Allah is Christ. Nevertheless, he still tried to provide an explanation to justify the Quran's gross distortion of Christian beliefs, one which we will examine in another article since his response is filled with errors and actually distorts what Christians have historically affirmed (and still affirm) regarding the nature of the Incarnation.

Suffice it to say, ar-Razi supports my case not Zawadi’s since this commentator's statements confirm that Christians were uncomfortable with the way the author of the Quran formulated their beliefs.

Moreover, I want the readers to see all of the confusion and contradictions that Zawadi is causing by bringing up all sorts of different explanations in order to defend what the Quran says. Notice that he claimed that the Quran may actually be attacking Sabellianism. Then he says that the Quran may actually be denying that Allah is Jesus by way of predication. Now he wants to use ar-Razi to prove that Allah is Jesus is an accurate assessment and formulation of the orthodox Christian belief that Jesus is God and their concept of the Incarnation.

However, if the Quran is attacking Sabellianism then it cannot be addressing the beliefs of orthodox Christians. Yet if it is condemning the views of orthodox Christian then it cannot be refuting Sabellianism! But if the Quran is actually denying that Allah is Jesus by way of predication, e.g. Jesus is not an attribute of Allah, then this doesn’t address the position held by Sabellians who taught that Jesus is the only Person who is God, not merely an attribute of God. Nor does the phrase “God is Jesus” mean the same thing that “Jesus is God” does since the latter expresses the fact that Christ is fully God in nature, that he has all of the essential Divine attributes, whereas the former means that Jesus is an attribute of God.

Zawadi wonders why I would mention Q. 6:101 which says that Allah cannot have a son since he has no spouse:

I've struggled to find out why Shamoun thinks that Surah 6:101 is necessarily a response to Christians. How does Shamoun know that Allah isn't speaking about those polytheists who claim that Allah has children (for example see Surah 21:26 and
Ibn Kathir's commentary).

I don't see how one could make the case that the Qur'an is clearly speaking about Christians in this passage. The most one could do is point out the faults of some commentators for thinking that it does apply to orthodox Christians, but I don't believe anyone is justified for going forward and extending that blame to the Qur'an as well.

Zawadi obviously missed the point since the verse is setting forth the objection that Allah cannot have a son unless he has a wife. And since he doesn’t have a consort he therefore cannot and does not have any sons or daughters:

And they make the jinn associates with Allah, while He created them, and they falsely attribute to Him sons and daughters without knowledge; glory be to Him, and highly exalted is He above what they ascribe (to Him). Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth!
How could He have a son WHEN He has no consort, and He (Himself) created everything, and He is the Knower of all things? S. 6:100-101

In light of this assertion this objection equally applies to Christians as well since according to historic Christian beliefs God does not have a wife with whom he has sex, which means that Jesus cannot be God’s Son either.

In other words, even if this was initially addressed to the polytheists, the statement is worded in a general way, applicable to all who would claim a son for Allah, irrespective of the religion.

This explains why the Muslim expositors appealed to this passage to condemn both the Christians and Jews for believing that Jesus and Ezra were the Sons of Allah:

Yet they ascribe to God (li’Llāhi, the indirect object) as associates (shurakā’a, the direct object, which is substituted by [the following, al-jinn]) the jinn, since they obey them by worshipping graven images, even though He created them: so how can they be associates? And they falsely impute to Him (read kharaqū or kharraqū), that is, they invent, sons and daughters without any knowledge, saying, Ezra (‘Uzayr) is the son of God, and the angels are the daughters of God. Glory be to Him — an affirmation of His transcendence — and exalted be He above what they describe! of Him having a child. (
Tafsir al-Jalalayn; bold and underline emphasis ours)
(Yet they ascribe as partners unto Him the jinn) they said: Allah, Exalted is He, and Satan are brothers and partners: Allah is the Creator of human beings, beasts and cattle while Satan is the Creator of snakes, scorpions and predatory beasts. This is the claim of the Magias, (although He did create them) and command them to declare His divine Oneness, (and impute falsely, without knowledge) without knowledge, argument or proof, (sons) as claimed by the Jews and Christians (and daughters unto Him) among the angels and idols, as claimed by the Arab idolaters. (Glorified be He) He has exonerated Himself from having children or partners (and high exalted) and He absolves Himself (above (all) that they ascribe (unto Him)) of sons and daughters. (
Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Even Ibn Taymiyya, the Muslim scholar that Salafis like Zawadi swear by, adopted the logic of Q. 6:101 to refute the Christian claim that Jesus is the Son of God!
“… Christians alleged that they received it from the Gospel when Christ said, ‘Baptize them in the name of the Father, and the son, and the Holy Spirit.’
“Christ and the apostles never commanded them this observation by which [they claim] their view is determined, nor did Christ make this expression among them dependent upon this investigation. It is clear that their making this expression stem from this investigation is a false statement and they know it be false.

4) This statement, unless it was made by Christ, cannot be held. Moreover, even if some individual intended a true meaning by it, nevertheless this expression is only understood by the application of false meanings. Many of the masses of Christians believe that Christ is the son of God according to the sonship known among creatures. They say that Mary is the wife of God. Even if they do not state this, it is a consequent for the generality of Christians, for he who gives birth MUST HAVE A SPOUSE (6:102).
(A Muslim’s Response to Christianity (Ibn Taymiyya’s Jawab al-Sahih), edited and translated by Thomas F. Michel [Caravan Books, Delmar, New York: Second Printing 1999], Part Two: A Translation of Al-Jawab Al-Sahih Li-Man Baddal Din Al-Masih, III. Trinitarian Questions, A. Philosophical Explanation of Trinity, p. 260; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Ironically, despite the fact that he mentions Ibn Kathir Zawadi forgot to inform his readers that this expositor also used Q. 6:101-101 to condemn the beliefs of Jews and Christians that Allah has a son!
(And they Kharaqu (attribute falsely) without knowledge, sons and daughters to Him.) Allah mentions the misguidance of those who were led astray and claimed a son or offspring for Him, as the Jews did with `Uzayr, the Christians with `Isa and the Arab pagans with the angels whom they claimed were Allah's daughters. Allah is far holier than what the unjust, polytheist people associate with Him. The word, Kharaqu, means `falsely attributed, invented, claimed and lied', according to the scholars of the Salaf. Allah's statement…
(Be He Glorified and Exalted above (all) that they attribute to Him.) means, He is holier than, hallowed, and Exalted above the sons, rivals, equals and partners that these ignorant, misled people attribute to Him. (
Tafsir Ibn Kathir; bold emphasis ours)

It is rather sad that all of these renowned Muslim scholars could see how the objection and reasoning of Q. 6:100-101 have a direct impact on the Islamic perception of the Christian doctrine that Jesus is the Son of God, whereas Zawadi could not!

Needless to say, both the Quran and Muhammad were mistaken at this point since God doesn’t need a wife in order to have sons and daughters. In fact, Muhammad himself didn’t buy his own logic and actually contradicted his own position, the details of which can be found in the following articles:

So much for Zawadi’s “rebuttal.”



Friday, 6 February 2015

Jesus as the First Creature

The Impossibility and Irrationality of the Arian Position

Sam Shamoun

Muslim apologists are fond of quoting anti-Trinitarian groups that claim to be Christian in order to disprove that the Holy Bible affirms the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Often these polemicists will reference Arian cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs for short) to show that the New Testament teaches that Jesus is not God but the first creature of God.

One such Islamic apologist who loves to appeal to the arguments of the JWs is
Shabir Ally. In his booklet, Is Jesus God? The Bible Says No!, Ally writes that,

The Gospel of John was completed to its present form some seventy years after Jesus was raised up to heaven. This Gospel in its final form says one more thing about Jesus that was unknown from the previous three Gospels — that Jesus was the Word of God. John means that Jesus was God’s agent through whom God created everything else. This is often misunderstood to mean that Jesus was God Himself.
But John was saying, as Paul had already said, that Jesus was God’s first creature. (What John Says – Evidence from the Fourth Gospel; bold emphasis ours)

It is clear from his statements that Ally has been influenced by and is relying upon the assertions of the JWs.

Therefore, because Muslims rely on the arguments of Arian cults (as well as Unitarian groups) to deny the Deity of Christ we have decided to write this article in order to show that not only is the assertion that Jesus is the first creature unbiblical it is also irrational.

Before we precede any further it is important to reiterate the point that according to Arian groups like the JWS Jesus is the first creature, which means that Jesus existed before the heavens and the earth were made. These groups also believe that God employed Jesus to create everything else, i.e. God created the entirety of the heavens and the earth and all that exists within them by the agency of Christ.

For instance, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society’s publication Let God be True says of Jesus that,

He is not the author of the creation of God; but, after God had created him as his firstborn Son, then God used him as his working Partner
in the creating of all the rest of creation. (Ibid., Brooklyn, NY 1952, p. 33; bold emphasis ours)

They further say in another publication that,

1. Jesus lived in heaven as a spirit person before he came to earth. He was God's first creation, and so he is called the "firstborn" Son of God. (Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14) Jesus is the only Son that God created by himself. Jehovah used the prehuman Jesus as his "master worker" in creating all other things in heaven and on earth. (Proverbs 8:22-31; Colossians 1:16, 17) God also used him as His chief spokesman. That is why Jesus is called "the Word."—John 1:1-3; Revelation 19:13. (What Does God Require of Us?
Lesson 3. Who Is Jesus Christ?)

Elsewhere they write:

Jesus is Jehovah’s most precious Son—and for good reason. He is called “the firstborn of all creation,” for he was God’s first creation. (Colossians 1:15) There is something else that makes this Son special. He is the “only-begotten Son.” (John 3:16) This means that Jesus is the only one directly created by God. Jesus is also the only one whom God used when He created all other things. (Colossians 1:16) Then, too, Jesus is called “the Word.” (John 1:14) This tells us that he spoke for God, no doubt delivering messages and instructions to the Father’s other sons, both spirit and human.

Is the firstborn Son equal to God, as some believe? That is not what the Bible teaches. As we noted in the preceding paragraph, the Son was created. Obviously, then, he had a beginning, whereas Jehovah God has no beginning or end. (Psalm 90:2) The only-begotten Son never even considered trying to be equal to his Father. The Bible clearly teaches that the Father is greater than the Son. (John 14:28; 1 Corinthians 11:3) Jehovah alone is “God Almighty.” (Genesis 17:1) Therefore, he has no equal.

Jehovah and his firstborn Son enjoyed close association for billions of years—long before the starry heavens and the earth were created. How they must have loved each other! (John 3:35; 14:31) This dear Son was just like his Father. That is why the Bible refers to the Son as “the image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1:15) Yes, even as a human son may closely resemble his father in various ways, this heavenly Son reflected his Father’s qualities and personality.
(What Does the Bible Really Teach?
Chapter Four. Who is Jesus Christ?; bold emphasis ours)

With that said there are two main problems with this view. In the first place it is simply a matter of logic (as well as science) that creatures by their very nature are bound by the dimensions of time and space. Created entities are a part of the time-space continuum which means that they must have places where they live in or dwell. In other words, a creature cannot simply exist in nothingness but must have a place that s/he/it occupies.

This leads me to my second point. The Holy Scriptures teach that God created the heavens and all of their hosts:
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.” Genesis 2:1
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.” Psalm 33:6
It should be noted at this point that the NT teaches that the Lord Jesus is the Divine Agent who is responsible for creating the heavens and the earth, and that it was through his agency that all created things were brought into existence:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men… He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him… 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.” John 1:1-4, 10-11, 14
“yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live
.” 1 Corinthians 8:6
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven… And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, ‘Let all God's angels worship him.’ In speaking of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire.’ But about the Son he 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 [the Son], 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 1:1-3, 6-12

These verses emphatically and unambiguously affirm that Jesus cannot be a mere creature since he existed before creation was brought into being. However, for the sake of argument we will set that aside and simply focus on the fact that these texts establish that Jesus existed before the creation of the heavens. It is vitally important to keep that in mind since we shall revisit it shortly.

With that said we can now return to the issue at hand.

According to the Holy Bible these heavenly hosts which Yahweh created include spirit creatures such as the angels that worship God:
You alone are the LORD You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.” Nehemiah 9:6
Bless the LORD, you His angels, Mighty in strength, who perform His word, Obeying the voice of His word!  Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will.” Psalm 103:20-21
“Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!” Psalm 148:2

The inspired Scriptures further attest that these are the hosts that stand in service before Yahweh, ready to carry out his will, and even have a Commander in charge of them:
Micaiah said, ‘Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. The LORD said, “Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” And one said this while another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.” The LORD said to him, “How?” And he said, “I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” Then He said, “You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.” Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and the LORD has proclaimed disaster against you.’” 1 Kings 22:19-23
“It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down.” Daniel 8:10-11

In light of this it isn’t surprising that the Holy Bible teaches that angels dwell in heaven and come down from there:
See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels IN HEAVEN continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10
“At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” Matthew 22:30
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down FROM HEAVEN and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.” Matthew 28:2
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’ When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’” Luke 2:8-15
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” Luke 22:43
He then added, ‘I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.’” John 1:51
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” Galatians 1:8
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.” Hebrews 12:22-24
And there was war IN HEAVEN, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer A PLACE FOUND FOR THEM IN HEAVEN. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens AND YOU WHO DWELL IN THEM. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.’” Revelation 12:7-12
Another angel came out of the temple IN HEAVEN, and he too had a sharp sickle.” Revelation 14:17
“I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God's wrath is completed.” Revelation 15:1
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.” Revelation 18:1
And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.” Revelation 20:1

This only makes sense since these spirit beings are part of the host of heaven and were therefore created to dwell there, much like man was created to live on the earth.

We thus have the Holy Bible and science agreeing on this point, namely that creatures by their very nature occupy time and space and need a place to dwell.

This now brings us to the dilemma which Arian cults such as the JWs necessarily face because of their unbiblical view.

If Jesus is the first creature then he is a being who by his very nature is bound by the dimensions of time and space, which means that he must have somewhere to dwell. Moreover, since he is supposed to be a spirit creature his dwelling place would naturally be heaven.

However, Arians like JWs teach that Jesus existed before the heavens were made since Yahweh created all other things through the agency of Christ. This means that Jesus in his prehuman existence was alive even before there was any place for him to live in, which is an impossibility!

In light of this dilemma we have the following questions to ask any Arian who believes that Jesus is the first creature.

How can Jesus be the first creature without having a place to dwell?
And if he didn’t have a place to dwell wouldn’t this mean that he is not bound by time and space?
But if he isn’t bound by them wouldn’t this mean that he is timeless and spaceless?
However the only Being that is both timeless and spaceless is God since God alone existed before the creation of time, space and matter. Therefore, doesn’t this actually prove that Jesus is not a creature but the eternal, immaterial Creator of all things?
And since the Holy Bible says that the name of this eternal, immaterial Creator of all things is Yahweh or Jehovah wouldn’t this further mean that Jesus must be Yahweh (Jehovah)?

Hopefully, Muslims will be able to see why appealing to the beliefs of Arians like the JWs doesn’t help their tirade against the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ since their views are both unbiblical and irrational.

Is Jehovah a Being who is bound by time and space?
There are additional problems with the beliefs of JWs. According to them Yahweh or Jehovah has a spiritual body and is not omnipresent:

3. Jehovah has a body, but it is not like ours. "God is a Spirit," says the Bible. (John 4:24) A spirit is a form of life that is much higher than ours. No human has ever seen God. Jehovah lives in heaven, but he can see all things. (Psalm 11:4, 5; John 1:18) What, though, is the holy spirit? It is not a person like God. Rather, it is God's active force.—Psalm 104:30. (What Does God Require of Us?
Lesson 2. Who Is God?)


Spiritual Bodies. While there are physical bodies, visible and palpable, there are also spiritual bodies, invisible to human eyes and entirely beyond human senses. (1 Co 15:44) The bodies of spirit persons (God, Christ, the angels) are glorious. “At no time has anyone beheld God.” (1 Jo 4:12) Man cannot see God and live. (Ex 33:20) When the apostle Paul had only a glimpse of the manifestation of Jesus Christ after Jesus’ resurrection, he fell to the ground and was blinded by the brilliance, a miracle being required to restore his sight. (Ac 9:3-5, 17, 18; 26:13, 14) Likewise, angels are far more powerful than men. (2 Pe 2:11) They are glorious, brilliant ones and have appeared as such in physical manifestations. (Mt 28:2-4; Lu 2:9) These spirit sons of God have vision strong enough to see and endure the brilliance of the Almighty God.– Lu 1:19

Because we cannot see God with physical eyes, he uses certain anthropomorphic expressions to help us to understand and appreciate things about himself. The Bible speaks of him as having eyes (Ps 34:15; Heb 4:13); arms (Job 40:9; Joh 12:38); feet (Ps 18:9; Zec 14:4); heart (Ge 8:21; Pr 27:11); hands (Ex 3:20; Ro 10:21); fingers (Ex 31:18; Lu 11:20); nose, nostrils (Eze 8:17; Ex 15:8); and ears (1 Sa 8:21; Ps 10:17). It is not to be supposed that he literally possesses these organs in the way that we know them... (Insight on the Scriptures [Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Brooklyn NY 1988], Volume 1. Aaron–Jehoshua, Body, p. 348)


His attributes. The true God is not omnipresent, for he is spoken of as having a location. (1 Ki 8:49; Joh 16:28; Heb 9:24) His throne is in heaven. (Isa 66:1) He is all-powerful, being the Almighty God. (Ge 17:1; Re 16:14) “All things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him,” and he is “the One telling from the beginning the finale.” (Heb 4:13; Isa 46:10, 11; 1 Sa 2:3) His power and knowledge extend everywhere, reaching every part of the universe.–2 Ch 16:9; Ps 139:7-12; Am 9:2-4 (Ibid., God. The True God Jehovah, p. 969)

It is only logical that JWs deny that God is omnipresent in light of their belief that God has a spirit body since a body presupposes size and shape which confines a person to space limitations. Such a being cannot be present everywhere, and hence, God cannot be omnipresent if he has a spiritual body.

However, this view of God is wrought with logical problems.

For instance, if JWs are saying that God must have a spiritual body since he is a spirit person then this body must be uncreated. If it is uncreated then God has always been bound by space since bodies require space as well as a place to dwell. This means that God needed a dwelling place to live in. However, if God requires a place to dwell then that dwelling place must be eternal as well. Yet since God’s dwelling place is not identical to God this means that God is not the only eternal Being since his dwelling place is eternal also. Therefore, we have two distinct entities that are eternal! This would also mean that God didn’t create everything that exists since there are at least two things that exist which God didn’t create, namely his spiritual body and his dwelling place!

But there is more! Since God’s body occupies space this means that it has size and shape.

Logically speaking God’s dwelling place must be larger in size than his body otherwise how could his body fit inside there? However, if God’s dwelling place is larger than his body then this means that there is something that is actually bigger and more immense than God himself!

Now someone may interject and say that the Holy Bible teaches that God’s dwelling place is in heaven and that the prophets such as Isaiah saw God seated on a throne in heaven (cf. Isaiah 6:1-7, 66:1-2; 1 Kings 22:19-23; Psalm 123:1).

The problem with appealing to such passages is that these verses do not claim that God has always lived in heaven since the Scriptures clearly affirm that the heavens were created. What these texts are saying is that after God had created the heavens he chose to manifest his presence visibly to those dwelling there, much like God revealed his glory to the inhabitants of the earth by appearing to them in various ways and manifestations.

Thus, it is one thing to say that God entered into his creation and manifested his presence to the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth. It is quite a different thing altogether to argue that God has always had a spiritual body which requires him to have a dwelling place since bodies by their very nature need space and place.

Besides, the Holy Bible is clear that nothing is able to fully contain God, not even the heavens!
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” 1 Kings 8:27
“The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build him a house, since heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?” 2 Chronicles 2:5-6

This also refutes any attempt of arguing that God situated Jesus in his very own abode after creating him since God does not have an eternal dwelling-place but is a Being that doesn’t require space or place.