Taking a look at the “Almighty” Questions that Christians could not answer
The ‘professional logicians’ are here again with their bags of nuts that Christians allegedly cannot crack. You will see articles having many patronizing memes – memes like “10 questions that Christians cannot answer”, “5 questions to ask Christians”, “25 questions that render Christians speechless” and so on and so forth. After getting wary of all these questions, don’t you think that it is high time we picked a scapegoat?
A Muslim threw ten ‘logical’ questions to the Christian community – questions that Christians had already answered for centuries. Perhaps due to the fact their skull is too thick that they find it too difficult to wrap their head round the replies, I still find it difficult to fathom why these guys keep parroting refuted questions.
Before passing my judgment over this particular article that can be found here, I want the readers to join me on this tour of assessing each and every of the questions asked.
- How could Jesus Christ (pbuh) be God if he learned obedience from the things he suffered from. (sic) We read…
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
Hebrews 5:8 kjv
Who could God learn from? Is he not all-knowing?
How many times should we keep reminding these guys that one of the core tenets of Christianity celebrates the ultimate love of God when He became man? Which part of this do they stubbornly refuse to grasp? If Jesus is not a false human therefore we should not be surprised if Jesus is not all-knowing with respect to his humanity. While His divine consciousness comprehends and knows everything, His human mind on the other hand is finite. The human mind added by the Son is finite and cannot know everything.
The very scriptures that testify to the finite knowledge of Christ also testify to the omniscience of Christ (John 2:24-25; John 16:30; John 21:17; Colossians 2:3; Acts 1:24; Revelations 2:23 etc.). The scriptures made a careful distinction between Jesus human nature and His divinity unlike classical Greek literature that presupposes the notion that divinity is embedded in the DNA of a Greek god that incarnated. In other words, the divine nature of Christ is not mixed with His human nature but the two are rather distinct and unified in His Personality.
This is a logical question to ask Docetists and some Gnostics not orthodox Christians. So if these sects had gone into oblivion, why should this question not follow suite?
To attribute a son to God would be to deny God’s perfection. It implies that he lacked or needed something. What does God need or want a son for when he has no needs and is independent of all?
(i) How did this Abdul come to the conclusion that barrenness is a form of perfection that God must possess?
(ii) This writer is evidently ignorant of what Christians mean by the term ‘Son of God’. He is still reading Muhammad’s erroneous definition into the appellation. This particular term has meanings which vary with the context.
D.A. Carson warns,
“In short, in the New Testament “Son of God” is not a terminus technicus, as the Latins say—a technical term that always carries the same associations. It always presupposes some sense of deriving from God, or of acting like God, or both, but the domains of such acting are pretty diverse. Bible readers should exercise special pains not to succumb either to unjustified reductionism, in which one particular usage is read into every occurrence, or to “illegitimate totality transfer,” in which the entire semantic range of the expression is read into every occurrence. Context must decide.”
[D.A. Carson (2012). Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed. Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois. pp. 57)
(iii) With that in mind, the appellation “Son of God” is a title commonly used for the kings of Israel which later came to be used as a Christological title. A Jewish scholar noted:
“The anointed, earthly king of Israel is adopted by God as his son; the son of God is thus the reigning, living king of Israel. “This day I have begotten you” means this day you have been enthroned.2 Militating against any literal sense in which the king was taken as son of God and divine is the “this day,” which, it seems, may only mean on this the day of your accession to the throne. Another moment in the Psalms where we find the King as the Son of God is in the crucial verses of Psalm 110 (the very verses that also contribute the notion of the exalted Christ seated at the right hand of Power [Mark 14:62]}… The bottom line of this demonstration is that early on the term “Son of God” was used to refer to the Davidic king without any hints of incarnation of the deity in the king: “I will be to you as a father, and you will be to me as a son.” The king is indeed very intimate with God and a highly sacralized person—but not God. The kingship is promised to David’s seed forever.”
[Daniel Boyarin (2012). The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ. The New Press, New York, USA. pp.28-29]
According to the prophecies of the OT prophets, the Messiah is the Ultimate King who will usher in the Golden rule – a rule far greater than the rule of David and Solomon when the Israelites basked in prosperity. If Jesus is truly the Christ, therefore with respect to His works and roles, giving Jesus the appellation “Son of God” is fitting.
(iv) The appellation is also used to describe the relationship that exists between God and His Word (Logos). Later Christian theologians used the title to expatiate on the eternal generation of The Logos. In as much as sons are equal to their fathers in nature and essence but subordinate in position, the Logos too (according to these early church fathers) is equal in nature to God but subordinate in position.
Well, the scope of this article does not cover the various uses of the appellation.
(v) However, one thing is clear. Orthodox Christian theologians, then and now, never conceive that Christ is a physical offspring that God conceived so that he will carry on life activities after He had grown old and passed into glory. This is an heresy that the Church will always resist.
(vi) If God is truly independent of all, then that means that He is self-sufficient. How do you reconcile the self-sufficiency of Allah with the fact that there is no way for Allah to love before the creation of angels, jinns and mankind? How can Allah show kindness, love and mercy if there is no object of these kinds of goodness in the first place?
- How does the original sin reflect God’s mercy, love and justice? Can God really consider children as sinful even at birth or before birth?
(i) If Allah is truly a God of mercy, love and justice, why did he allow the existence of communicable diseases like HIV? Fine, a promiscuous woman can be said to get what she deserves for waywardness if she contacts the deadly virus. But what about the unborn child she carries? Isn’t the child suffering for the sins of the mother? Or take a pregnant mum who smokes regularly. Such despicable act often impairs the health of the baby she carries. What had the baby done to deserve such punishment? In other words, why did Allah create humans in such a way that the child shares in punishment of the parents? Going by the line of reasoning of this questioner, should we say that there is a flaw in human physiology – a flaw which throws the belief in the goodness of God into the trash can?
(ii) A die-hard criminal was sentenced to life imprisonment because of his heinous activities. Now he had wife and children who are unemployed such that they could not cater for their daily needs. This punishment puts both the man and his family in a very difficult position. If the man was tried under the Shariah Law and got a death penalty, didn’t Allah consider his “mercy, love and justice” before giving the Ummah such laws? This leads to my next point.
(iii) This is the type of argument that atheists and deists use to attack the evidence for the existence of a benevolent and personal God. That someone who claimed to be theist raised this kind of question gives us an indication that he is still groping for his way in the dark. If he is not in the dark, then why will he sneak into the camp of atheists/deists and pick weapons from their armouries?
(iv) Well, I am not sure by what this Abdul meant by “before birth”. However, I do believe that babies are not ‘sinners’ from birth though they had a sinful body. The power of sin is the Law. It is only when they grow up that they can be declared sinners by the Law. I believe that there is an automatic ticket to God’s presence for babies who die before knowing right from wrong. Despite the fact that they have a sinful body, they have not been declared by the Law as sinners since sin derives its power from the Law. Because a maize seedling will eventually turn out to produce maize does not means that a farmer will harvest a premature maize plant.
(iv) Just as we inherit death from the first Adam, we also inherit life from the second Adam (our Lord Jesus Christ). The wickedness of man and the devil is displayed in the Fall while the love and mercy of God is displayed when God became human to atone for our sins. If a Muslim thinks that a child contracting HIV from his/her wayward parent does not constitute an argument against the “mercy, love and justice” of God despite the fact that this disease currently has no permanent cure, then why is he whining all about the concept of original sin for which a cure had been provided by God?
- If the bible is complete and eternal word of God, Why do archaeological and linguistic discoveries necessitate the writing of new revisions and versions of the bible?
(i) Well, I do not believe that the Bible is eternal. What is the purpose of a map when you have arrived at your destination? During the consummation of age when the will of God will reign on earth, when God will live with us through Jesus and live in us through the Holy Spirit, why should we need the Bible again? God Himself said:
“… I will put My law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people; and they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying: ‘Know the LORD’; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.”
The Bible also is like a sword given to Christians (Ephesians 6:17) to wage spiritual battles. What battle is there again for us to fight during the Consummation of age? Our swords shall be beaten into plowshares (Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3). We should also note that the Bible came as a result of the Fall so as to restore us back to the presence of God. If there is no Fall in the first place, then there is no need for the Bible. The Bible remains a restorative dose until the perfect will of God for humanity had been finally accomplished. This leads me to the next point.
(ii) I find the idea of the Quran being eternal a silly idea. For instance, look at this verse below:
“O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury.” (2:264)
Of course, it is good to render charity to the poor and helpless. Let’s pretend for a moment that Islam is true. But of what use is this verse in the Jannah where there are no more poor and helpless people? This verse like many others in the Quran will become redundant. It is ridiculous for Allah to be reminding the Ummah in Jannah that they should help the poor when the poor no longer exist in the Jannah.
(iii) However, this not a concession that the essence and nature of the Bible will not be preserved as long as this battle rages on. Moreover, this is not another way of saying that promises of God will vanish without accomplishing their purposes (Isaiah 45:23; Matthew 24:35). The Bible is pointing us to the Kingdom of God. If the kingdom finally arrives, the scriptures if it will still continue to exist, will serve as an artifact – a memorial for the Fall of Man and God’s intervention that led to the Rise of Humanity.
(iv) It is obvious that this writer is trying to mount an argument from the existence of variants. Despite the acclaimed hundreds of thousands of variants, the essence and nature of the Bible still remain secure. Even scholars like Ehrman who tried to make a big deal out of these variants still concede that the major Christian doctrines still remain unaffected and he does not even hesitate to construct a historical Jesus out of the Biblical texts.
(v) In addition to the fact that the Biblical texts are tenacious, I also believe that the core Christian doctrines are tenacious as well. I mean, they are very stubborn such that the loss of many verses does nothing to affect them. In fact, Kruger is on mark when he said:
Do we need to have absolute 100 percent certainty about every single textual variant for God to speak authoritatively in the Scriptures? Not at all. When we recognize not only how few unresolved variants exist but also how little they impact the overall story of the New Testament, then we can have confidence that the message of the New Testament has been sufficiently preserved for the church. All the teaching of the New Testament-whether regarding the person of Jesus (divinity and humanity), the work of Jesus (his life, death, and resurrection), the application of his work to the believer (justification, sanctification, glorification), or other doctrines-are left unaffected by the remaining unresolved textual variations. Belief in the inspiration of the original autographs does not require that every individual copy of the autographs be error-free. The question is simply whether the manuscript tradition as a whole is reliable enough to transmit the essential message of the New Testament. As we have seen above, the manuscript tradition is more than adequate. It is so very close to the originals that there is no material difference between what, say, Paul or John wrote and what we possess today.
(Andreas J. kostenberger & Michael J. Kruger (2010). The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture’s Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity, Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois. pp. 227-228)
- Should Christians not be grateful to the Jews and Judas Iscariot for seeing the ‘mission of Jesus’ through to the end? Where (sic) they not essential for the success of his mission to die for sin?
Then why is it that Muhammad failed to show his gratitude to the Meccan polytheists who chased him out? After all, it was this hot chase that marked the beginning of the Islamic calendar and gave Muhammad the opportunity to raise an army in Medina. On his return to Mecca, Muhammad demanded their surrender and wiped out their culture. Shouldn’t Joseph be grateful to his brothers who indirectly sold him out to Egypt? Shouldn’t Israel be grateful to David for committing adultery with Bathsheba – an act that eventually led to the reign of the wisest and richest king to ever reign in Israel?
One of the very interesting things about God is that He has the ability to use the agents of evil for His own good – an ability which demonstrates that He still remains in control of all events. God always bring good out of evil by turning evil against itself. Whatever devious plan Satan had for Jesus, God ensured that Satan’s victory always remain his own doom.
No. The murderers of Jesus do not deserve our gratitude. Not to the perpetrators of evil does our gratitude goes to but rather to the God who brings good out of evil be the glory, honor and adoration. Amen.
- Is Jesus the son of God? Is the son of God, God? If so, is God the son of God? If so, is God is (sic) own son?
Is the son of a dog, a dog? Yes.
Is a dog the son of a dog? Yes.
However, does that leads to the conclusion that a dog is its own son? No.
The syllogism presented by this ‘logician’ is vitiated by the equivocal fallacy. The word, “God” can be used as a common noun, proper noun and abstract noun. The word is used by Christians as a common noun to refer to each and every member of Godhead. Moreover, the word is always used as proper noun by the NT authors to refer to The Father (though sometimes used for The Son). It is also used in the scriptures as an abstract noun for every member of the Godhead. The fact that we refer to Jesus as God does not means that God is His own Son. So I will advise Muslims to stop reducing the definition of the word “God” to one meaning especially when it comes to the Bible.
- If God is not God of confusion (1Corinthians 14:33) how can 1+1+1=1 as in the Trinity?
It’s a complete shame that some people don’t really know how 1+1+1 is always = 3.
1+1+1=3 if only if all the co-efficient share the same variable all through
However, if the co-efficient do not possess the same variable all through, it is ridiculous to add them up in a normal method of counting.
1a+1a+1a will never give you or 3b or 3c unless a=b or a=c
I am yet to encounter a well-informed orthodox Trinitarian who advocate that each of the Godhead is strictly identical with the Triune God, i.e. The Son, for example, exhausts all that there is to the Godhead. The orthodox doctrine of the Trinity teaches that three divine persons shares in one divine being. Put it in a formulaic form and we have:
Just because humans are uni-personal beings does not warrant that God too must be uni-personal. With the foregoing in mind, the burden is upon us to show how three persons share in the same being. This task had been brilliantly done by Christian theologians throughout the centuries and today. I will not go over it again in this article.
- Could the Torah (the book of Moses) be fully the word of God, if the prophet Jeremiah says in Jeremiah 8:8 that… The false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie?
(i) Let us wait and even think for a moment. Do you think a forger who really wants to deceive the people will leave an obvious trace such as this? If the scribes are busy corrupting the scriptures, why will they decide to let Jeremiah 8:8 remain? It doesn’t even make sense at all for these scribes to leave out a verse that expose their nefarious acts.
(ii) This question is based on a premise that scribes are ONLY copyists – a premise that is flawed. Scribes are not just copyists, they are also teachers who explain the Law to the people. In ancient Israel, it is very difficult for an ordinary Israelite to acquire a copy of the Law. The three major offices (prophets, priests and kings) in Israel are the ones that find it very easier to acquire a copy of the Torah. This is the reason why we have scribes who ponder over the Law and explain it to the masses (cf. Nehemiah 8:7-9ff). The passage in question is found in a Book which said:
“And thou shalt say unto them: Thus saith the LORD: If ye will not hearken to Me, to walk in MY LAW, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I send unto you, even sending them betimes and often, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.’” Jeremiah 26:4-6
If Jeremiah 8:8 is interpreted to mean what this Muslim is trying to say, then we will be obviously guilty of eisegesis and we are preventing the text in Jeremiah from speaking for itself. Jeremiah 26:4-6 presupposes the fact that the Torah still exists in its pristine form during the days of Jeremiah. Of course, a Muslims can still try and manage to wiggle out of the conundrum by saying that the book of Jeremiah had been tampered with to give us a false lead that the Torah is still in its pristine form. I’m afraid that there is a lot of explanation to give concerning why the scribes will invent the text in Jeremiah 26:4-6 yet refuse to cut out Jeremiah 8:8 which foils their schemes.
(iii) Our Lord Jesus accused the Pharisees and scribes of making the commandments of God void (Matthew 15:6) yet it is completely unreasonable for us to conclude that Jesus believed that the Tanakh had been corrupted. As the context shows, Jesus was accusing these Jews of using their own traditions to twist the commandment of God.
For more on Jeremiah 8:8, why not consult Sam Shamoun’s insightful article which can be located here?
- Does God want the shedding of blood, when he says, “for I desire steadfast love not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings?” Hosea 6:6
(i). A man was convicted of murder and was killed according to the Shariah Law. Are we not to say that Allah desires shedding of blood? If Allah does not desire shedding of blood, then why does the Shariah Law permit shedding of blood? Do the countless killings ordered by Muhammad (whether offensive or defensive) mean that Allah desires the death of men?
(ii) Sacrifices and burnt offerings were instituted as a makeshift remedy for sins during the reign of the Old Covenant. Apart from the standard offerings, the guilt offerings (cf. Leviticus 4-5) are tendered as atonement for every sin committed by the Israelites. Don’t you think that God desiring more of these guilt offerings is an indication that God is encouraging more of the Israelites to sin very often so that they can offer more guilt offerings? Does God really want His people to keep sinning so that they can always keep asking for forgiveness from Him despite the fact that He commanded people to ask to ask forgiveness for their sins? Hosea was ordered by God to marry a prostitute as a demonstration of the spiritual corruption of Israel. The Israelites keep abusing the atonement system, using it as an excuse to venture on carefree wickedness. A normal Israelite will just say, “I can keep sinning and still remain under the shelter of God’s grace. After all, I can always provide sacrifices to atone for God’s wrath”. This is typical of how some believers think i.e. they could keep sinning and at the same time averting the consequences since they could approach God for forgiveness of sins. Paul himself said:
“What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2
Of course, that God instituted the atonement system does not indicate that He desires the wickedness of humanity. Love is what He desires and a time is coming when His desire will be finally accomplished on earth (Matthew 6:10). As we eagerly await the Kingdom of God, the blood of Christ remains flowing for remission of sins. For without this sacrifice, there is no way Man will carry out God’s desire.
- 1 Timothy 6:16 says God is immortal (i.e. can’t die). Can Jesus be God if he died?
(i) And whoever told this Abdul that there was a time when the Son ceased to exist? His point can only be valid if monism and physical materialism are true. Monism teaches that there is only sort of thing of which existing things are composed. On the other hand, as a Cartesian Dualist, I believe that man is a composite being which comprises of both material (body) and immaterial aspect (soul/spirit). A man who dies only ceases to exist in the biological or physical state. He still exists in the spiritual realm. With this in mind, that Jesus died actually means that He was temporarily disembodied for three days. During the three days, Jesus still exists in the spiritual realm for He earlier said:
Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I WILL RAISE IT UP AGAIN.” Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?” But Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body. So after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the saying that Jesus had spoken. [John 2:19-22]
For Jesus to be able to raise up His body means that He was still very much alive in the spiritual realm when He died. He also said:
No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father.” [John 10:18]
This presumes that Jesus has total control over His body during the time He was dead. In other words, the Divine Logos is still very much alive.
(ii) The doctrine of the incarnation teaches that the Divine Logos who had been existing as a divine spirit, at a point in time, took on a human body and soul. If the fact that the Logos was temporarily disembodied for three days disqualify Him as God, then what about Allah who had never lived in a human body? Should we now say that Allah too is dead from eternity since he never had a body? Of course, no Muslim will agree. Therefore, the fact that The Son existed three days without a body does nothing to threaten our case for His deity.
(iii) In conclusion, that God is immortal means that He will always continue to exist i.e. He will always exist in the spiritual realm since He is a spirit. Therefore, for the argument of this Abdul to hold, he has to start by proving that Jesus failed to exist in the spiritual realm when He gave up the ghost on the cross. If he cannot, then it is time for him to stop going about parroting worn-out arguments.
Now that we’ve come to the end of assessment of his article, there are two major things which ought to be pointed out:
- It is very glaring that this Muslim, like others, is very ignorant of Christian theology. They always tend to distort the orthodox Christian teachings and make them look absurd. I will advise him to go into the Christian camp to learn more about Christian theology rather than relying on the (mis)information about us fed to him while learning under the feet of quacks whom some ignorant people hail as Bible scholars.
- The writer needs to engage in interfaith dialogues with atheists. It is very obvious from his write-up that he is using the very arguments often employed by atheists/deists/agnostics against classical theism.
If this Abdul and his cohorts can take heed to the advice offered above, I guess his future articles will make the Christian-Muslim dialogue go a long way in making interfaith discussions productive. All the same, I pray that the veil be lifted from his heart and eyes so that he can behold the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ and finally come to His everlasting embrace.