Monday, 22 February 2016

A Case for the Deity of Christ in Light of Muslim Objections, Part IV

Continuing from Part III

while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:13) Here we get a powerful statement pertaining to the Deity of Christ addressed to Titus. Christ is identified as “our great God and Savior.” This demonstrates that Paul believed Jesus was God Almighty.

Muslim Objection:
Muslims challenge this interpretation by claiming that this passage is talking about two beings, God and Jesus, and that Jesus is only said to be the glory of the Father. Zaatari quotes a heretical Unitarian interpretation: Of course, the glory will come at the appearing, but Scripture says clearly that both the glory of the Son and the glory of the Father will appear (Luke 9:26). God's Word also teaches that when Christ comes, he will come with his Father's glory: "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory" (Matt. 16:27). Keeping in mind that what is revealed in other places in the Bible about a certain event often clarifies what is being portrayed in any given verse, it becomes apparent from other scriptures referring to Christ's coming that the Bible is not trying to portray God and Christ as one God. In this case, the glory of God that we are waiting for is Jesus Christ.

It has been stated that the grammar of Titus 2:13 forces the interpretation that Jesus is God because of the Granville Sharp Rule of grammar. That is not the case, however. The Granville Sharp rule has been successfully challenged. The point is that when Scripture refers to "our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ," it can mean two beings? both the "Great God," and the "Savior," Jesus Christ. The highly regarded Trinitarian Henry Alford gives a number of reasons as to why the grammar of the Greek does not force the interpretation of the passage to make Christ God. [36]

The context of the verse helps us to understand its meaning. The verse is talking about saying "no" to ungodliness while we wait for the appearing of Jesus Christ, who is the glory of God. Its purpose is not to expound the doctrine of the Trinity in any way, nor is there any reason to assume that Paul would be making a Trinitarian reference here. It makes perfect sense for Scripture to call Christ "the glory of God" and for the Bible to exhort us to say "no" to ungodliness in light of the coming of the Lord, which will be quickly followed by the Judgment (Matt. 25:31-33; Luke 21:36) … (38)

Christian Response:
Zaatari is taking the position that Christ is being called the glory of God and not God himself. There are three main interpretations of this passage among Biblical exegetes. In his work ‘Introduction to the New Testament Christology’ the late Dr. Raymond Brown assessed all three interpretations and then came to a conclusion based on the most logically sound exegetical position. We will examine the two relevant interpretations of the verse – position (b) which has Jesus as the glory of God and not God himself, and position (c) which has Jesus as our great God. We will not look at position (a). Brown comments: Titus 2:13: “... the appearance of the glory of (the) great God and Savior of us Jesus Christ.” Three interpretations of the Greek underlying the italicized words are possible: … (b) “the glory of our great God-and-Savior, which (glory) is Jesus Christ.” This interpretation follows the Greek in keeping together “God and Savior” but applies the compound title to the Father. Jesus Christ (grammatically in apposition to “glory”) is taken to represent the personification of the glory of God the Father. The objection to this interpretation is the same as that encountered under #9 in dealing with interpretation (c) of Col 2:2-3, namely, that we would expect in the Greek an explanatory “which is.” Otherwise, there is no real hindrance to applying the title “Savior” to the Father, for other passages in Titus (1:3; 2:10; 3:4) speak of “God our Savior” (as contrasted with 1:4 and 3:6 that speak of “Jesus Christ our Savior”). Nor can one object to the idea that Jesus is the glory of the Father, for other NT passages (John 1:14; 12:41; 17:24; Heb 1:3) identify Jesus as the bearer of divine glory. c) “the glory of our great God-and-Savior Jesus Christ.” Here the compound title “God-and-Savior” is given to Jesus Christ. This is the most obvious meaning of the Greek. It implies that the passage is speaking only of one glorious epiphany, namely, of Jesus Christ, in harmony with other references to the epiphany of Jesus Christ in the Pastoral Epistles (1 Tim 6:14-15; II Tim 4:1). The likelihood that “Savior” is applied to Jesus Christ rather than to God the Father is suggested by the next verse in Titus (2:14), which speaks of the redemption wrought by Jesus. Some would rule out this interpretation that gives Jesus the title “God” because elsewhere in the pastorals (1 Tim 2:5; see #4 above) a clear distinction is made between the one God (= the Father) and the man Jesus Christ. However, as we have noted, in the fourth Gospel there are passages that call Jesus God along with passages that distinguish between Jesus and the one true God. A decision is difficult. Some careful scholars (H. Conzelmann, J. Jeremias, J.N.D. Kelly) reject interpretation (c), while the majority261 (including O. Cullmann, J.D. Quinn, C. Spicq) argue for it, accepting the fact that here Jesus is called God. Personally, I am inclined to recognize interpretation (c) as the probable meaning of the passage. (39) In footnote 261 Brown notes that the consensus among scholars regarding Titus 2:13 is that Jesus is indeed being referred to as God and thus Zaatari’s interpretation is not only disputed by the Greek itself on many levels, as Brown shows, but Zaatari and the Unitarians are in the minority of thinking with their interpretation. Browns footnote states: “See the listing of scholars in Harris, Jesus 185, who points out that this is the virtually unanimous view of grammarians and lexicographers.” Moreover, even if we take position (b) as the correct view this would still prove the Deity of Christ since this view says that Jesus is the visible appearance of God himself. In other words, to say that Jesus is the manifestation of the glory of God is to say that God reveals himself as Christ – that Jesus is the visible revelation/appearance/manifestation of God himself. Compare this concept to Ezekiel 1:26-28 and 2:1-10. There you will see that Ezekiel sees a rather glorious human appearance, a figure of a man, which he identifies as the glory of Yahweh. As you continue to read in chapter 2 it turns out that this human appearance which is supposed to be the glory of Yahweh is none other than God himself who appeared to Ezekiel in the form of a man. So to say that Jesus is the glory of God is to say that Jesus is the human appearance of God himself. How, then, can Jesus being anything less than God when he is the visible manifestation of God? In fact it is ironic that Gordon Donald Fee, whom I mentioned in my discussion on 2 Timothy 1:9-10, holds to position (b) and yet he is a Trinitarian! In his work “Pauline Christology” he makes a defense of position (b). But then read Bowman and Komoszewski’s book “Putting Jesus in his Place” and Dr. Daniel B. Wallace’s masterful defense of the Granville Sharp rule titled “Granville Sharp's Canon and Its Kin: Semantics and Significance” for the refutation to Fee.
The grace of the Lord (kyrios) Jesus Christ be with your spirit. (Philemon 1:25) Here Christ is called Lord (Greek ‘kyrios’). Muslims may not think this is significant but it is very significant. The Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament Hebrew scriptures would often translate Hebrew words for God such as יהוה (Yahweh) into the Greek word ‘kyrios’ (κύριος). So kyrios is the divine name of Yahweh in the Greek. This title is then applied to Christ by Paul and the other New Testament writers numerous times. This could very well mean that Paul thought of Jesus as Yahweh and applied the divine name to him. Of course there is no doubt that other people are called kyrios as well but context and exegesis is very important.

Muslim Objection:
Muslims will often say that other people are called Lord (kyrios) in the Bible and we don’t consider them God Almighty. Therefore we shouldn’t consider Jesus God.

Christian Response:
In his article ‘Preaching: The Lordship of Jesus Christ,’ Charles T. Carter notes some interesting facts about New Testament usage of the word kyrios: The term “lord” occurs over 600 times in the New Testament. It is true that sometimes it is merely a term of address or respect or affection. However, at least 150 of these times it is used of God Himself, and nearly 250 times it is used to describe Jesus. (40) In light of the fact that the word Lord is used nearly twice as many times for Jesus than it is for God there must be something more significant to this than merely affirming that Jesus is our Master. An examination of some of the references where Jesus is called Lord shows that the NT writers used this to identify Jesus with Yahweh God of the OT, a point which we documented above. Here are a few more examples where Jesus is called Lord in the sense of being Yahweh: “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very moment I was able to see him. Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’” (Acts 22:12-16 – cf. 9:14, 21) “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:” (1 Corinthians 1:2) True believers are those who call on the name of the Lord for salvation and in worship. However, the OT says that the faithful are those who call on the name of Yahweh! “From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.” Genesis 12:8 – cf. 21:33
“Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy. Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the LORD and he answered them. He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.” Psalm 99:5-7
And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.” Joel 2:32
Amazingly, Paul quotes Joel 2:32 in reference to believers confessing that Jesus is Lord in order to be saved! That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Romans 10:9-13
Here, the Lord whom one is supposed to call on for salvation is the same Jesus that a person must confess in order to be saved. Thus, Paul identifies Jesus as the Yahweh spoken of in Joel 2:32! Moreover, many scholars are now holding to the view that when Jesus was referred to as Lord prior to his resurrection, many times, in this context, they were referring to him as master or teacher. However, after the resurrection they identified him as Lord with a new meaning in mind – namely Christ’s Deity. In his work ‘An Evangelical Christology: Ecumenic and Historic,’ Bernard L. Ramm states:
In common with other titles there could have been a pre-resurrection meaning of the term and a post-resurrection one. In the pre-resurrection period it would amount to calling Jesus master, teacher, or leader. In the post-resurrection meaning it could be a term on the way to ascribing deity to Christ. It is a title which God gave to Jesus after the resurrection (cf. Acts 2:36, Phil. 2:9-11). It is the name that people confess for salvation (Rom. 10:9-10, 1 Cor, 8:6, 12:3). It is also pre-eminently the name used in Christian worship … Because kyrios is such a common name for God in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) Cullmann (1959, 307) thinks that the confession of Jesus as Lord is an incipient confession of his deity. This contention is re-enforced in Trinitarian statements in which Jesus is identified as Lord (Eph. 4:4-6). (41) And finally in Islamic Tawheed, when Jesus is referred to as Lord that is a statement of Deity which violates Tawheed. Tawheed al-Rububiya Unity of Lordship) has it so that only Allah is Lord, thus when Jesus is being identified as kyrios it proves that he is God according to Islam. Hebrews
Hebrews 1 describes the Lord Jesus Christ as Yahweh, the creator of all things. Hebrews quotes Psalms 102’s account of God Almighty creating all things and applies it to the Lord Jesus Christ! Of the Lord Jesus Christ Hebrews 1:10-12 says: He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will allwear 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.” Of God Psalm 102:25-27 says: Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. "Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed." But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. Here Jesus is explicitly identified as Yahweh the creator God. Commenting on this amazing scripture Dr. Richard Bauckham states: Psalm 102:25-27 expresses the sovereignty of God over the material universe; he made it and will outlive it. The author of Hebrews applies these verses to Christ, as “Lord.” The application makes the Son directly responsible for the establishment of the earth and the formation of the heavens … (42)

Muslim Objection:
Muslim apologist Osama Abdullah erroneously asserts that Hebrews 1:10-12 is talking about God the Father and not about Lord Jesus Christ. He states: The verses are talking about GOD Almighty's Creation and Him laying down the foundation of the earth, and the throne of Jesus on earth. (43)

Christian Response:
Abdullah concludes that because Hebrews 1:9 makes reference to the Father and describes him that therefore verses 10-12 must be speaking of the Father also. However this argument is easily refuted by simply reading from verses 5-12 and noting a consistent pattern: 5For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father"? Or again, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son"? 6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire."8 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. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy."10 He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. 12You 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 1:5-12, NIV) Notice when you read the entire context the focus is what God the Father says about the Son and his uniqueness. The argument of Hebrews is that the Father has never said any of the angels are his sons and that he has become their Father. The Father says let all the angels worship Christ. The Father says the angels are servants. The Father says to the Son, “Your Throne, O God, will last forever.” Since the consistent pattern is the Father saying things about the Son glorifying him, when we get to verse 10 we should understand that when it says “He also says,” and then proceeds to talk about someone creating all things, this means the Father is saying this about the Son. The Greek word for “He also says” in verse 10 is kai which means (and, also, even, indeed, but) so it is obvious that this is the Father continuing with his words about the Son. The Father is describing the Son as the Lord who created all things and sustains all things. The context of the chapter makes that clear. Yes verse 9 speaks about God the Father anointing the Son but it then goes on to say that the Father “says,” (or also continues/ moreover states) showing a continuation of the Father describing things about the Son. Therefore the Son is described as the creator and sustainer in verses 10-12. Even the anti-Trinitarian heretical Unitarian website that Zaatari appeals to all of the time concedes that verses 10-12 are about Jesus, refuting Osama’s ignorance. However, they try to say that it is in reference to Jesus creating a new heavens and earth, not the present one. But even with this false heretical interpretation it still violates Islamic Tawheed – in that only Allah is supposed to be creator and sustainer. Their site concedes: This verse is quoted from the Old Testament (Ps. 102:25), where it applied to Yahweh, and the author of Hebrews is lifting it from the Psalms and applying it to Jesus Christ. (44)
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. (James 2:1) Here James the brother of the Lord Jesus, who doubted him at first, identifies Jesus as the “Lord of Glory” or “our glorious Lord Jesus Christ,” as others render it. Most scholars regard the Christology of James as lower than other New Testament writings. This is incorrect and might only appear to be true because James’ letter was not primarily focused on Christological issues but rather church conduct, moral issues, living a pure life, having pure faith, and salvation. James 2:1 refers to Jesus as God based on the Aramaic language that James spoke and the parallel he makes to Old Testament references to Yahweh as the King of glory [cf. Ps. 24:7-10] and the Glory within Jerusalem [cf. Zech. 2:5]. As Benjamin B. Warfield notes: “James speaks of our Lord by name only twice, and on both occasions he gives Him the full title of reverence: ‘the (our) Lord Jesus Christ’ (1.1, 2.1) – coupling Him in the one case on equal terms with God, and in the other adding further epithets of divine dignity. Elsewhere he speaks of Him simply as ‘the Lord’ (5.7,8, [14] 15) in context which greatly enhance the significance of the term. The pregnant use of ‘the Name,’ absolutely, which we found current among the early Christians as reported in the Acts, recurs here; and James advises in the case of the sick people that they be prayed over, while they are anointed with oil “in the Name” (5.14). The “Name” intended is clearly that of Jesus, which is thus in Christian usage substituted for that of Jehovah. A unique epithet, equally implying the deity of the Lord, is applied to Him in the exhortation, “My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Glory, with respect to persons” (2.1). ‘Glory’ seems to stand here in apposition to the name, “our Lord Jesus Christ,” further defining Him in His majesty. There is here something more than merely association of our Lord with glory, as when we are told that that He had glory with God before the world was (Jno 17.5), and after His humiliation on earth (though even on earth He manifested His glory to seeing eyes, Jno 1.14, 2.11, 17.22) entered again into His glory (Lk 24.26, Jno 17.24, 1 Tim 3.16, Heb 2.9, cf. Mt 19.28, 25.31, []Mk 10.37), and is to come again in this glory (Mt 16.27, 24.30, 25.31, Mk 8.38, 13.26, Lk 9.26, 21.27, Titus 2.13, 1 P 4.13). We come nearer to what is implied when we read of Jesus being ‘the Lord of glory’ (1 Cor 2.8), that is He to whom glory belongs as His characterizing quality; or when He is described to us as “the effulgence of the glory of God” (Heb 1.3). The thought of the writer seems to be fixed on those Old Testament passages in which Jehovah is described as “Glory”: e. g., “For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the Glory in the midst of her” (Zech 2.5). In the Lord Jesus Christ, James sees the fulfillment of these promises: He is Jehovah come to be with His people; and, as He has tabernacled among them, they have seen His glory. He is, in a word, the glory of God, the Shekinah: God manifest to men. It is thus that James thought and spoke of his own brother who died a violent and shameful death while still in His first youth! Surely there is a phenomenon here which may well waken inquiry. (45)

Muslim Objection:
Zaatari states: Whether James believes Jesus is God or not, does not matter. Many people believe in pagan idols as being God, does that matter at all? No, it does not matter at all, if James believes Jesus is God, then that is his own mistake, one he has to live with. The fact remains that Satan would in no way tempt Jesus the way he did if Jesus was truly God …
So the fact James calls Jesus lord of glory doesn’t mean Jesus is God. It could be a title of honor. However so there are many titles in the bible given to others than Jesus, which were to honor, not to imply they were God. Jerusalem was called "The LORD our Righteousness".  "In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness (Yahweh tsidkenû).' (From the NIV Bible, Jeremiah 33:16)" Ezekiel means "Strong God". It also means "Yahweh is Strong God". Elijah. This name is short for EliJehovah or "Eli Yahweh". Eli means my GOD, and Yahweh is the name and title of GOD Almighty in the Bible. Israel means "Challenge God", "he struggles with God", or "fight with God". It also means "Defeat God". Gabriel also means "Strong God". (46) Here Zaatari finds it irrelevant if James the brother of Jesus thought of him as God. However, if it is true that James believed Jesus was God it means that we can add one more independent eyewitness attestation to the case for the historical case for the Deity of Christ. This is important to historians who look for early eyewitness testimony and multiple independent attestations. But it seems that Muslim apologists like Zaatari are not concerned with the historical method. The second claim is that Satan would never tempt Jesus if he is God. This off topic point is nothing more than a red herring and does not directly address James 2:1 but I will address it anyway. They are basing this argument off of James 1:13 which states: When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; If you actually examine the narratives where Satan attempts to tempt Jesus we read that Satan fails miserably and Jesus passes the test. In responding to Satan’s promises to him, as well as the trickery, what does Jesus do? Does he sit there and contemplate things, showing that he is actually considering Satan’s offer, or does he reject Satan quickly? In Mark 4:1-11 Jesus rejects Satan’s tricks and promises immediately, which shows that Jesus wasn’t ever considering listening to the devil or accepting his offers. This shows that although Satan tried to tempt Jesus, Jesus was not capable of falling into temptation because of his divine nature. How do we know? It is because Jesus didn’t fall for Satan’s deceptions. Jesus did not fall for temptation because there was no sin in Jesus (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5); Satan had nothing to appeal to that would allow Jesus to actually fall into an effective temptation thereby causing him to stumble. Therefore, we affirm that there is no inconsistency with James 1:13 and Jesus being tempted by Satan because Jesus did not fall into temptation due to his divine nature. Leaving Zaatari’s first two errors aside, he then asserts that it doesn’t matter if Jesus was identified as “Glorious Lord” or “Lord of Glory” in James 2:1 since other people and other things were given similar titles of honor. Zaatari mentions Ezekiel’s name meaning “strong God,” Elijah meaning “my God,” Israel meaning “fights with God,” and Gabriel meaning “strong God.” However, although Jewish names such as Ezekiel, Elijah and Gabriel represented the God they serve, this is not analogous to James literally identifying Jesus as the “Lord of Glory” or “Glorious Lord” because the name “Jesus” doesn’t mean “Lord of Glory” but rather the title is being applied directly to the person of Jesus Christ by someone else. Titles like these were never actually applied to Ezekiel, Elijah or Gabriel. It is not Jesus’ name which represents the God he serves as is the case with Ezekiel, Elijah and Gabriel; this is a title that is actually describing Christ himself. Thus Zaatari’s analogies are meaningless and utterly fallacious.
1 Peter
… It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. (1 Peter 3:21-22) Here the Apostle Peter explains that Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father. He also notes how angels, authorities and powers submit to Christ in present reality, i.e. that all creation is currently under Christ’s rule. This is something that no mere creature or prophet can do. According to Islamic scripture all creation is subject to Allah alone in heaven. However, Jesus Christ is sovereign over all creation according to the true inspired Scriptures, e.g. the Holy Bible. This separates the Lord Jesus Christ from all creation making him above all people, Prophets, Angels and powers. Jesus shares power, authority, and glory with the Father. He shares the divine throne of the Father. He shares sovereignty over all creation with the Father. Moreover, this again violates Islamic Tawheed al-Rububiya – Unity of Lordship in that only Allah is supposed to be sovereign Lord in heaven. This verse also violates Tawheed al-Uloohiya – Unity of Worship since all creation is submissive to him. This proves that Jesus is God according to Islam.

Muslim Objection:
I was unable to find a Muslim objection to this scripture. Continuing on Part V


Saturday, 13 February 2016

A Case for the Deity of Christ in Light of Muslim Objections, Part II

A Case for the Deity of Christ in Light of Muslim Objections, Part II
Continuing from Part I
Gospel of John
There are many places in the Gospel of John that we can look to for proofs that Jesus is God. My favourite example in John is Thomas’s confession of faith to Jesus after he had risen from the dead and appeared bodily to him.
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:28-29) Notice that Thomas calls Jesus his Lord and his God. Instead of rebuking Thomas Jesus blesses his confession of faith showing that Jesus was not opposed to being identified as Lord God, but he welcomed it because he is the divine Son – the second person of the Trinity. Muslim Objection: Muslim apologists like Zawadi and Zaatari have provided a few objections to these passages. They will say that Thomas was only referring to Jesus as Lord and that he was referring to the Father as God right after. Or they will assert that when Thomas says “my Lord and my God” it was because he was surprised and joyful similar to someone saying “Oh my God!” Zaatari states:
Another very easy interpretation is that when Thomas said My Lord and My God, he was not actually referring to Jesus … I am saying that Thomas was joyful, happy, and he was PRAISING GOD. (14) They will say that even if Jesus was the one identified as Lord and God the words kyrios and theos are not simply limited to God but other people were identified with them. They will also quote the 19th century Trinitarian J.D. Michaelis asserting that this verse doesn’t affirm the Deity of Christ: “My Lord! and my God!”  do not understand this as an address to Jesus; but thus, "Yes: he it is indeed! He, my Lord, and my God!" Yet, in giving this interpretation, I do not affirm that Thomas passed all at once from the extreme of doubt to the highest degree of faith, and acknowledged Christ to be the true God. This appears to me too much for the then existing knowledge of the disciples; and we have no intimation, that they recognised the divine nature of Christ, before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I am therefore inclined to understand this expression, which broke out from Thomas in the height of his astonishment, in a figurative sense, denoting only, "Whom I shall ever reverence in the highest degree." If he only recollected what he had heard from the mouth of Jesus ten days before (chap. xiv. 9, 10), that recollection might have given occasion to an expression which probably Thomas himself could not have perfectly explained; as is often the case with such words as escape us when we are under the most overpowering surprise. But yet the expression might be equivalent to saying, "He! my Lord! with whom God is most intimately united, and is in him! - In whom I behold God, as it were, present before me!" Or a person raised from the dead might be regarded as a divinity; for the word God is not always used in the strict doctrinal sense. (15)

Christian Response:
In light of recent scholarship and the facts concerning the Greek language I am wondering how one might assume that Thomas was not addressing Jesus as God but instead identifying the Father as God. As the authors of ‘Putting Jesus in His Place: A Case for the Deity of Christ’ state: There is essentially no controversy among biblical scholars that in John 20:28 Thomas is referring to and addressing Jesus when he says, “My Lord and my God.” As Harris says in is lengthy study on Jesus as God in the New Testament, “This view prevails among grammarians, lexicographers, commentators and English versions.” Indeed, it is difficult to find any contemporary exegetical commentary or academic study that argues that Thomas’s words in John 20:28 apply in context to the Father rather than to Jesus. The reason is simple: John prefaces what Thomas said with the words, “Thomasanswered and said to Him” (v. 28a NASB). This seemingly redundant wording reflects a Hebrew idiomatic way of introducing someone’s response to the previous speaker. John uses it especially frequently, always with the speakers words directed to the person or persons who have just spoken previously in the narrative (John 1:48, 50; 2:18-19; 3:3. 9-10, 27; 4:10, 13, 17; 5-11l 6:26, 29, 43; 7:16, 21, 52; 8:14, 39, 48; 9-11, 20, 30, 34, 36; 12:30; 13:7; 14:23; 18:30; 20:28). It is therefore certain that Thomas was directing his words to Jesus, not to the Father. (16) Muslims claim that kyrios (Lord) and theos (God) don’t have to mean God Almighty so therefore even if Jesus was identified as such other people were too and thus Jesus isn’t God. The problem with this argument is that it doesn’t address the fact that the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament Hebrew scriptures uses the exact phraseology in reference to Yahweh and that John was most certainly drawing from this phraseology of the Septuagint on purpose to affirm the Deity of Christ. If we compare the Greek from some Old Testament passages in the Septuagint that are addressing and glorifying Yahweh as the Lord and God of men, to the Greek in John 20:28 that addresses Jesus as Lord and God, it becomes quite clear that John was drawing from these Old Testament sayings and applying the same language that belongs to Yahweh to Jesus Christ. and the Lord my God (kyrios ho theos mou) shall come, and all the saints with him. (Zechariah 14:5)

O Lord my God (kyrie ho theos mou)
, in thee have I trusted: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me… O Lord my God (kyrie ho theos mou), if I have done this; (if there is unrighteousness in my hands;) … Arise, O Lord (kyrie), in thy wrath; be exalted in the utmost boundaries of mine enemies: awake, O Lord my God (kyrie ho theos mou), according to the decree which thou didst command. (Psalm 7:2, 4. 7) Awake, O Lord, and attend to my judgment, even to my cause, my God and my Lord (ho theos mou kai ho kyrios mou). (Psalm 34:23) Notice the similar Greek phraseology in John 20:28 now: And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God
(Kyrios mou kai Theos mou)
. This is phraseology that belongs strictly to God in the Old Testament and it was applied to Jesus. We know that the New Testament writers had access to and quoted this Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament on a continual basis. As the eminent scholar Dr. Bruce Metzger states:
 [When]… the New Testament writers quoted from the Old Testament, they almost always used the Septuagint version. (17) To reiterate the point, whenever the two words kyrios and theos appear together in the same sentence they are never applied to anyone else but God himself. This helps to demonstrate that in John 20:28 Jesus is being identified as God Almighty. John 20:28 serves as the Christological climax at the end of John’s Gospel. Jesus’ true identity is now realized by the Apostle. This is the whole point of the verse. With respect to the Muslim appeal to the outdated “scholarship” of the 19th century Trinitarian J.D. Michaelis – he doesn’t address the argumentation based on the Greek parallels to the Septuagint or the Greek text in John itself. He was probably not even familiar with the argumentation. He merely gives his liberal subjective opinion based on rhetoric and the assertion that no one affirmed the Deity of Christ prior to the resurrection. Until and unless the issues that I raised are dealt with, the outdated quotation from Michaelis is simply irrelevant. I can quote Christian, Agnostic and liberal scholars who state that John 20:28 affirms the Deity of Christ which makes the Muslim appeal to Michaelis meaningless. The Christian scholar Dr. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, author of the ‘International Standard Bible Dictionary’ states: Jesus’ identification as God incarnate is evident when Thomas greets the risen Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God!’ (18) The Agnostic scholar Dr. Bart Ehrman states: The Gospel of John … goes a long way toward identifying Jesus himself as divine (see e.g., John 8:58; 10:30; 20:28). (19) The late Dr. Raymond Brown notes that the extremely skeptical liberal New Testament scholar, the late Dr. Rudolf Bultmann acknowledged that John 20:28 affirms the Deity of Christ. Bultmann notes that in John 20:28 Jesus is, “… undoubtedly designated or, more exactly, addressed as God.” (20) Merely quoting Michaelis is not going to get Muslim apologists very far in light of admissions like these. Instead of quoting outdated liberals who were unfamiliar with the modern arguments, Muslims ought to deal with what is actually being said about the verses today. To see a full discussion on John 20:28 where Brother Shamoun utterly refutes Zawadi go here (1, 2, 3). After examining this detailed assessment it therefore follows that John 20:28 is a weighty proof text for affirming the clear cut Deity of Christ. Acts of the Apostles
In the books of Acts, as well as through out the entire New Testament, the apostles were ordered to, and were themselves baptizing people in the name of Jesus Christ. We see this in Acts 2:38: Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
This is often overlooked as some kind of interesting Christian ritual that doesn’t amount to much Christologically. However, recent studies have been conducted that convincingly demonstrate that the Christian baptismal rites or rituals involving the phrase “in the name of” were similar and probably in response to popular cults in whose said ritual the God was the one who they were baptised into or ritualized “in the name of.” As Lars Hartman notes: The rites are performed ‘into the name’ of the god, to whose cult the rite belongs or who is otherwise associated with the rite in question. This god is the fundamental referent of the rite; he/she is the one whom the worshipper ‘has in mind’ or ‘with regard to;’ whom the rite is performed and who thus makes it meaningful. (21) Since Jesus is the one we are baptized in the name of, or into, it therefore follows that in light of these important previous cultural practices – Jesus is the God of the Christians.

Muslim Objection:
After searching for a Muslim objection to this argument I was not even able to find one. Romans
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. (Romans 9:5) Here Paul identifies Jesus Christ as God over all and forever praised. This is a very clear witness to the Deity of Christ and Muslims have very little to offer in response to this specific verse.

Muslim Objection:
Zaatari remarks: If Paul did teach that Jesus is God then he is indeed an anti-Christ since Jesus never claimed to be God, nor was it his mission to make people believe in that. Jesus made it clear that he was a prophet, a man sent from God to the children of Israel to bring them back to God. That was his mission; Jesus would rebuke Paul if Paul taught that Jesus is God. (22)

Christian Response:
Here Zaatari implicitly admits that the Bible teaches that Jesus is God – debate over. However, with regard to Zaatari’s actual assertion which is in the form of an objection, we have already seen that in previous passages Jesus is identified as God and that Jesus believed he was God. The statements of Jesus that we have covered so far found in Matthew 12:6-8; Mark 14:61-65; and John 20:29 show that Jesus considered himself God and would thus never condemn Paul for teaching Jesus’ Deity. If Jesus would condemn Paul for saying he is God then why didn’t Jesus condemn Thomas for saying that he is God in John 20:28? Jesus blessed Thomas in verse 29 after he said Jesus was God. If anything Jesus would bless Apostle Paul as well. 1 Corinthians
So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), 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 welive. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6)
1 Corinthians 8:6 establishes that the Father (who Paul commonly calls God) is distinct from Jesus (who is also called God by Paul in certain places) in personhood. However, Jesus and the Father are of the same being (nature/substance/essence) preexisting together with the Holy Spirit. Paul is communicating that they were both present at the time of creation and it is through Jesus that all things were made. Jesus is co-creator along with the Father. What Paul is indicating is that the Father and Jesus are distinct persons (“person” is who you are), yet of the same being (“being” is what you are). It is obvious that Paul is identifying Jesus as a member of the God-head because Paul was a scholar of the Old Testament and he knew that according to the Hebrew Scriptures God was alone when he created all things: He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. (Job 9:8) This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,” (Isaiah 44:24) But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The LORD of Heaven's Armies is his name! (Jeremiah 51:19) How could God be alone creating everything if Jesus was there with him and it was through Jesus that all things were made? It is because God is multi-personal and that Jesus is the second member of the God-head, which would allow for God to be alone yet with Christ and the Holy Spirit simultaneously.

Muslim Objection:
Muslim apologist Shadid Lewis states: We even see in some of the writings of Paul for example in 1 Corinthians chapter 8 verse 6. “For us there is but one God.” Who is that? The Father, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 8 verse 6. (23)

Christian Response:
Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries gives a lengthy discussion on Lewis’s misuse of 1 Corinthians 8:6 (here). What Lewis doesn’t seem to understand is that while Paul is indeed affirming and quoting the Shema’ ("Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one," found inDeuteronomy 6:4), he is also including Jesus in the formula making it mandatory for Christians to honor and view Christ as they honor and view the Father. Lewis didn’t quote the rest of the verse either which inserts Jesus into this new Christianized version of the Shema’ affirming Christ’s co-creatorship as well. 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. Paul is indicating that although monotheism is true, Jesus deserves our unique devotion along with God the Father by first affirming that God the Father is one, creator of all things, and then by saying that the Lord Jesus is one, creator of all things. To illustrate this further I will consult Dr. Richard Bauckham’s exegesis of 1 Corinthians 8:6 found in his work ‘God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament’:
Paul’s concern in this context is explicitly monotheistic. The issue of eating meat offered to idols and participation in temple banquets is an instance of the highly traditional Jewish monotheistic concern for loyalty to the only true God in a context of pagan polytheistic worship. What Paul does is to maintain this Jewish monotheistic concern in a Christian interpretation for which loyalty to the only true God entails loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ. He takes up from the Corinthians’ letter (at the end of verse 4) the typical Jewish monotheistic formula ‘there is no God except one’ in order to agree with it and to give, in verse 6, his own fuller monotheistic formulation, which contrasts the ‘many gods and many Lords’ of the Corinthians’ pagan environment (verse 5) with the one God and one Lord to whom Christians owe exclusive allegiance. Verse 6 is a carefully formulated statement … It should be quite clear that Paul is including the Lord Jesus Christ in the unique divine identity. He is redefining monotheism as Christological monotheism. (24) The Muslim objection posed by Shadid Lewis demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 8:6. This passage affirms the Deity of Christ and should be utilized by Christians in dialogues with Muslims once the Christians understand the true significance and meaning of the passage. 2 Corinthians
as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:14) Here Paul speaks of the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a common theme in Paul’s letters. He speaks of the day of the Lord in other passages as well such as 2 Timothy 1:18; Philippians 1:6, 10, 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. The day of the Lord Jesus is in reference to his second appearance, the glorious second coming. However, by using this kind of language about Jesus i.e., “day of the Lord Jesus,” Paul shows that he believes Jesus is Yahweh because according to the Old Testament they were expecting the day of Yahweh and his glorious return! Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes. (Joel 1:15) Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near … The LORD utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome; who can endure it? … The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. (Joel 2:1, 11, 31) Therefore, on the day of the Lord Jesus, when he returns, it is actually the day of Yahweh because he is returning. The conclusion is that Jesus is Yahweh.

Muslim Objection:
I was unable to find a response to this particular argument. Galatians
According to the Hebrew Scriptures men gained justification by believing in Yahweh. Apostle Paul understood this to be true and thus quoted Genesis 15:6 in his epistle to the Galatians: In the same way, "Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith." (Galatians 3:6) However, in the very same letter Paul makes it clear that it is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that grants eternal justification. Thus, according to Paul, faith in Yahweh and faith in the person of Jesus Christ is the exact same thing.
know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Sowe, toohave put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:16) Here belief in Christ has the same power as belief in Yahweh with respect to justification of human beings. Just as faith in Yahweh granted justification, so does faith in Christ. Jesus is Yahweh in that it is in him that eternal justification is found. Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. (Psalm 85:7) Remember me, O LORD, in Your favour toward Your people; Visit me with Your salvation (Psalm 106:4)

Muslim Objection:
I was unable to find a Muslim objection to this argument. Ephesians
and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, FAR ABOVE ALL RULE AND AUTHORITY AND POWER AND DOMINION, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him WHO FILLS ALL IN ALL. (Ephesians 1:19-23) In these passages Paul is stating that the Lord Jesus has been exalted to the highest position imaginable, one belonging to God. He further describes Jesus as fully possessing the essential attributes and honor of God such as omnipresence, power, rulership, sovereignty, dominion, and the name or authority that is above all authority and rule. Amazingly, Paul says that the church is the body of Christ and that Christ spiritually fills his entire church with his presence and also filling everything else as well (cf. Ephes. 4:7-10). This is an attribute of Almighty God because only he is everywhere and is able to fill all things.
As Dr. B.W. Johnson puts it: The fullness of him. The church is a manifestation of the fullness of Christ, the body filled by his life, who filleth all in all. Filleth all things with his majesty and power. The object of the last four verses is to describe Christ's glories. These are: (1) His resurrection; (2) His Exaltation to God's Right Hand; (3) His Supreme Dominion; (4) His Headship to the Church, his Body, filled with His Fullness. These glories all follow his stooping unto the death of the cross. He abased himself that he might be exalted. See Heb 12:2. (26) Professor Emeritus of New Testament Exegesis and honorary research professor at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, Dr. I. Howard Marshall notes: Now Christ is said to “fill” everything. Similarly, in Ephesians 1:23 Paul states that the church is “the fullness of him who fills everything in every way”. These statements indicate that the divine characteristic of being everywhere present is now shared with Christ. Probably the emphasis is on the fact that Christ is present in this way in the church, but the point of Ephesians 4:10 seems to be rather to emphasize the exaltation and omnipotence of Christ. (27)

Muslim Objection:
I was unable to find a Muslim objection to this specific argument to Christ’s omniscience. Continuing on Part III