Book Plunge: The Myth of the Divinity of Jesus Christ Part 2

Why didn’t He just say it? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

News flash! Jesus never came out and explicitly said, “I am God!”

This is something cultists and Muslims and others expect, to which I say “Why should you?” Think about this. What would it have meant for Jesus to say that? Would they hear Him saying He is the Father? As soon as He says “I am not” then they ask “Well if you’re God, but not the Father, who are you?” (Assuming they hadn’t already stoned Him.) With each answer, more and more questions come out.

No. Jesus handled this the same way as He did His being the Messiah, which He also very rarely came out and claimed for Himself. Others were claiming it of Him before He was claiming it of Himself. Could it be because like the God question, people had an idea of who the Messiah was to be as in what kind of person he was to be? Could it be He didn’t want to be tied to that image?

It’s not a shock that John 10 is pointed to as Jesus denying that He is God. (You know, that place where He said “I and the Father are one.”) I have already covered this one here. Not only did Jesus not deny it, He really upped the ante on His claim.

Iqbal goes on from there to make a number of other nonsense arguments, such as Moses being called a god. Yes. That was an analogical sense. No one understood Jesus as ever speaking in that way. This is also an argument Jehovah’s Witnesses make and it’s just as awful when they do it.

Israel is the firstborn. Yes. And?

Israel is referred to as the children of God. Yes. They are. Context determines meaning. In an analogical sense, we can say Jesus is the one who is the true Israel of God seeing as He is the true Son of God.

David is begotten. Yes. All kings of Israel were declared to be begotten, but again, this is not in the same way. David is a type of the greater one who was to come. The greater one of Jesus is begotten in the most unique way of all, eternally begotten from the Father and declared to be the king forevermore.

The righteous are called children of God. Yes. Our righteousness is not found in ourselves. It is found in the one who is the most righteous of all, the spotless lamb Christ. He is the righteousness and if we are in Him, then we are declared to be righteous. The sad reality is that if Iqbal had bothered to really understand these passages, he would have seen that they really argue against his position more.

I really wish I had more to give you all, but really this is it. The bulk of the argument that Iqbal had was based on John 10 which is a pathetically weak argument. I know I have often gone after internet atheists on here, but in a way, Muslim argumentation is often sadly worse.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

 

 

Book Plunge: The Myth of the Divinity of Jesus Christ Part 1

What do I think of Farhan Iqbal’s book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So at the start, Iqbal is an Ahmadiyya Muslim. I understand this is not a sect that many Muslims consider orthodox, but the arguments are still incredibly similar. Also, they do have a promised Messiah figure already from their own number. Finally, many quotes will have names that have an “as” right after them, which is a way of wishing peace upon the person.

So the first chapter is about the Bible. Right off, we’re told that the scholars generally agree that the Gospels are written around 40 years after the crucifixion and are not eyewitnesses. Unfortunately, none of these scholars are named. No arguments against the authorship of Matthew and John are given. No interaction is done with Richard Bauckham’s work. We are not told why we should trust the Qur’an which is around 600 years later. If the Muslim wants to say Allah is behind the Qur’an, a Christian could just as easily say the Holy Spirit is behind the Gospels.

He then lists some requirements for writing history and they are:

It is necessary for a historian to avoid exaggeration; secondly, there should be no weakness in his memory; thirdly, he should have sound judgment and not be a person confined to superficial thinking; fourthly, he should be a researcher and not confine himself to shallow matters; fifthly, whatever he writes should be eyewitness testimony, not a compilation of good and bad material.[

Iqbal, Farhan. The Myth of the Divinity of Jesus Christ (Kindle Locations 349-352). Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada. Kindle Edition.

I don’t know of any historian who uses these criteria and Iqbal doesn’t tell me who they are. I don’t know of any ancient historian who did this. Exaggeration would even be seen as adding color I suspect to an account. Readers recognize exaggeration.

So what examples does he give that show the accounts aren’t historical? In John 21:25, we are told that Jesus did so much that I suppose the whole world couldn’t contain the books that would be written if all He did was told. I have spent many years debating atheists. I have not met one who would say this is a problem text. All of them would know that whoever wrote this is using exaggeration to say something and credibility doesn’t rely on it.

The second is Luke 9:58 saying the Son of Man has no place to lay His head, when Jesus had a money bag and several patrons. Again, not a problem. Jesus is comparing Himself to Wisdom and saying He has no full habitation on Earth.

The next is in Matthew 2:23 where the prophets said Jesus would be called a Nazarene. Now this is a real one that has been raised. My look at this is the only place where Matthew says that this was done to fulfill the prophetS with a Scriptural citation. The idea then is that Jesus would be seen as a rejected figure in His time, a Nazarene.

Next he goes to Matthew 5:43 where Jesus says it was said to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Iqbal is right in saying this is not found in the Torah, but the thought is that this is how Jesus’s contemporaries understood the text. If you love your neighbor, then the corollary to that would be to hate your enemy. Jesus tells us to love even him.

He later tells us that if someone goes to a tomb expecting to find a dead person and he’s not there, there are two possibilities. They went to the wrong tomb or the person wasn’t dead in the first place. There are more possibilities I can think of easily and even skeptical scholars have thought of them. It’s worth pointing out that the Ahmadiyya think that Jesus went to Kashmir, India after recovering from the crucifixion, but more on that later.

Next, Iqbal goes to 1 John 5:7-8 to go after the Trinity and cites Bart Ehrman in his defense. Most every evangelical scholar if not all of them knows that’s not something in the original text. It’s not a problem to go to multiple texts to show a doctrine like Iqbal thinks it is.

Iqbal also asks how we can trust Paul when he says that to the Jews he became like a Jew and to the Greeks, a Greek. Such a person doesn’t understand Paul is really talking about cultural sensibilities and not doing anything to needlessly offend a group. If you want to reach Jews, you don’t go in eating a pork sandwich. If you want to reach Hindus, you don’t invite them over and share a hamburger. You might even love those foods, but you don’t do it in front of them. I love my tea, but I avoid it in front of Mormons.

On the crucifixion, he says that such an event would bring doubt about the message of Jesus since He would be under a curse. Exactly! That was the point! His enemies wanted Him to be seen as under the curse of God and thus everything He said is called into question. However, a divine resurrection reverses all of that and seals the deal that everything He said is absolutely certain.

Iqbal says the Sign of Jonah can’t apply to Jesus since Jonah went into the fish and came out of it alive. Jesus however has said that one greater than Jonah was there. Jesus would go into the Earth dead and come out alive. The point is made stronger.

So thus far, I’m not impressed a bit, but next time we’ll see what Iqbal says Jesus said about Himself. Maybe it will be better.

But probably not.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)