Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Jesus
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And welcome once again to Islam and focus. Today's program will be our learnings on Jesus, the beloved messenger of Allah. Our topic today will be the first segment of did Jesus claim divinity. I'm your host chagny Nation here with me from St. Mary's University is Dr. Jamal Bedell, as I'm a conductor.
For the benefit of our viewers, could you please give us a summary of last week format. Last week was the second segment of comparative Christology. And the focus was on the common errors committed by some writers, non Muslim writers, especially missionaries, Christian missionaries, in trying to reconcile the Koran to their own understanding, and to try to prove divinity of Jesus from the Quran or the single prophet. And we give five categories of those errors.
reference to fictitious quotations, that does not exist anywhere in the Quran, if you check it,
with a quotation say something quite different from what they caught.
It partially purchase quotation that breaks the meaning and the middle and gives the opposite meaning than the meaning that you can get if you read the full text.
Firstly, to make claims, without putting it in verbatim quotation, but if you go back to the text that they refer to, you find that it does not substantiate those claims at all. And fits the the attempt to hellenized or as resonant COVID, to christianize the language in the Quran by giving it a meaning that's different from the meaning
that is derived from the context of the Scriptures itself. And I suppose that brought to an end discussion of
the one possibility of examining the question of divinity of Jesus, the possibility that divinity of Jesus is proven in the Quran, but Muslims are not aware of it. And we have seen that this is not the case. The other side of the coin would be just to ask the other question also, as we suggested, in some earlier programs, as to whether also, it is possible that the divinity of Jesus has no basis really in the Bible, or it is a matter of probably misinterpretation. And that is perhaps what we might examine as we examine the other side also. Okay, well, what can we do to avoid the problems of misinterpreting the Bible as non Christians, as for example, Christians have had in misinterpreting
the craft, to start with, of course, it is only human that
a Muslim understand the Bible a little differently than the Christian words, and the Christian would understand the Quran also differently. I mean, there's some element of that which is on the human in terms of perception.
I try my best to be very sensitive to this,
and to be as humanely as possible,
less biased, if you will, because no human can be claimed to be 100% objective that doesn't exist really.
To be more specific, rather than just make a broad statement.
I hope the viewers will notice that I will avoid this problems that has been mentioned before. I'm not going to make any quotation to any things which is not in the Bible.
Your fictitious quotation,
I'm not going to give a purchase quotation that gives a person meaning. I'm not going to, quote something differently distort that reputation. If I quote, I refer to something as it is, if I, especially when it's quoted verbatim, rather than to general meaning.
Nor am I trying to, again, Islam is the language of the Bible, or explain the terms in the Bible. According to the definition of this terms in Arabic as some writers did with the Quran. I invite the viewers to keep track of everything I'm saying, to jot down the biblical references. I'm going to make chapter and verse to check it on their own too.
Whether this is an honest and truthful quotations or not
the references I'm making yes to the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. And I think that's readily available.
And I think there's a big difference here, really, because many of the Christian writers and missionaries who quoted the Quran,
they realized or took advantage, in fact of the fact that many Western readers here have no ready access to the Quran, it's available, but they have no access to the Quran. nor are they aware even that the Quran exists in its original language, which provides another way of checking what any writer is writing. In our case, it's quite different. We are speaking here in the western context to speak in Canada and North America. And any viewers definitely have a ready access to the Bible. So you can easily check anything that's being said. So any of those errors that I described before can can be detected. And this is a very important control. ie, I hope and pray that I will not make any
mistake, at least in condition people can differ in understanding that no deliberate distortion. And if that happens, I hope it will be something unintended, and I stand corrected.
Okay, now how about of explaining the Bible, according to Quranic terms, can that problem be avoided,
this also can be avoided,
if we try to explain the terms and the quotations from the Bible, also in the context of other places in the Bible, rather than in the context of the Quranic meaning, even though it might be the similar, similar type of conclusion.
So I'm not trying, for example, like some of the writers did before, and they said the word they use of the term word, or kalama, in the Quran, in the logos, which is a Hellenistic concept that has nothing to do with the Quran whatsoever, I'm not going to do the opposite.
By saying that, on the basis and authority of the Quran, this term in the Bible must be interpreted this way. And I'm going to avoid that. And this will be obvious when we come to the discussion of the Titans given to Jesus in the Bible itself, like the Son of God, Messiah, Lord. And when we come to that, I will be referring to the Bible itself and to the context of the Bible, not the Quran, to come up with variant understanding or various
interpretations of what has been so common for long periods of time.
And, of course, there may be cases where some verses within the Bible itself might not be totally consistent, that might be two different messages sent the same time or things that doesn't seem to fit together. But this is a problem relating to the quotations in the Bible itself, but has nothing to do with the validity of the reference. It's not because you're Islamism, the language of the Bible, if there's a problem of consistency, it's not because of my interpretation, it is something in the text of the Bible itself.
In other words, I hope we will be discussing that within the Bible itself, within the context, actually, of the Bible.
If there's any reference in the Quran, and that will be very, very limited will be only casual. But I'd say the focus would be on the Bible in its own context and usage of the terms. Well, now another problem may come up, some people will argue that even if your references are biblical in origin, that you can't avoid viewing them as a Muslim. How would you respond to that? You see, this question reminds me with a discussion that I had recently with a friend of mine that they refer to earlier, he's a well placed individual in the National Council of Churches
is a theologian, his missionary who lived in Muslim countries for several years.
And the basic topic for the discussion that we had sort of seminar was to present two different views as to whether Jesus ever claimed to be a divine.
In my presentation, he gave the evidence from the Bible, all my references were made to the Bible. And then his turn, came to make a comment.
And he said that he does not see anything wrong
with the kind of interpretation that I have given to the biblical references. Actually, at one point, even he said that
you might find even some Christians themselves, Christian theologian who would say exactly the same thing that Jesus didn't claim divinity and use the same kind of evidence that that we represented, he said,
he said, How
But still, the presentation was influenced by his background as a Muslim who's trying to be true to his face to the Quran.
And some of the audience during the discussion period said yes, but
how could you say that he is presenting this as a Muslim? Even though you said yourself that if a Christian theologian present that he would probably use the same references and presented in the same way? His answer was that yes, they may be the the way it's presented, but not the content.
This question is quite important and quite
common, I should say. But let me clarify two points.
First of all, if by saying that the person is influenced by his own background, when he reads the Bible, or have presuppositions that same exact human bias also exists when a Christian for example, read the Bible, because when he starts reading the Bible, he also is influenced by his background. For example, at one point he says, right, the only way is to be objective is to read the Bible, without any presupposition, and Let the Bible Speak to you. But again, a Christian has been raised to believe that Jesus was divine, or the Son of God, the divine Son of God, will not go to read the Bible without any presupposition. You see my point, he would also be reading the Bible with the
background that Jesus is divine and see evidence for that.
By the same token, even if in non Muslim and non Christian, let Muslim, Muslim and Christian alone, if another person doesn't believe in either
religion, read the Bible is not also free from bias, because he is also biased by his own background, whether he's atheist, whether he's Buddhist, or Hindu, or whatever. And that again, would affect this view. In other words, if you talk about this type of bias, is just beyond our human objectivity. To avoid nobody reads any book really, without any presupposition whatsoever. But there is difference between someone who would be open and honest, accepting clear evidence. And between someone who's so biased that even the clearest evidence is rejected even a very fair, reasonable and valid argument is not even considered at all. So to sum up, what we are hoping to
discuss here is not simply a Muslim understanding of the Bible. But I would like to indicate also that many of the things that we'll be talking about in the coming programs are things that has been already stated by Christian theologian, it has been stated by church people, people highly placed in the hierarchy of the church, itself, and various churches learn people. So it's not just sort of Muslim background that explained this material that we're going to discuss.
Because definitely, they say exactly the same thing that we're going to say. And definitely, we cannot say that those writers come from a Christian background that caused them to believe that Jesus really was was not divine, and that I hope that this would make the topic
very interesting, and hopefully critical.
I'm sure it will. And that sounds fair enough, Dr. Jamal. But I would like to ask you, if you have any classification in mind, on the various proofs, part about fushia of the divinity of Jesus, as suggested by Christian geologists, and clergyman what you could classify it in a variety of ways. In my humble understanding, with my limited knowledge, I came up with five basic classifications. One
claims that Jesus was divine on the basis of what has been said about him, that's by others, by witnesses by disciples or claimed disciples, to what Jesus Himself claimed for himself to be divine.
the evidence from his deeds, life and miracles, that shows that this miracles only come from someone who was divine.
the message, the nature of the message,
and mission of Jesus on Earth, aside from all of these three, and that's just the question of the notion of God incarnate who came in the form of his divine Son. The question of Trinity, the question of sin and atonement, and how can one reconcile himself to God
as some people suggest, is the proof of the personal experience and that the matter is a mystery. And I think each of these would be worthy of some discussion. Okay, well, let's start with maybe
We'll start examining
Jesus. Now can you explain the nature of this argument? What the argument is, is based on numerous quotations or differences, especially to the New Testament, of course, New Testament literature,
I have selected a number of them that seemed to make the point I think quite effectively because you can have more along the same line. First, they say that Jesus was divine. Because if you check the the gospel, according to Matthew, chapter seven, verses 28 and 29,
people reported that Jesus was speaking as having authority, that he's speaking in a way of teaching in a manner which is different from the scribes and they say that is unique.
it is said that when the soldiers were sent to Jesus, they reported that we never saw a man speak like that. So that's not human. The reference is the gospel according to john chapter seven, verses 45 and 46. Certainly, that Paul said about Jesus, that in him all the fullness, or the fullness of deity dwells bodily.
his letter to the Colossians chapter two, verse nine, that Paul said,
that, in the name of Jesus, every knee should bow Philippians chapter two, verse six,
that Paul said, that God manifests that Jesus is God manifest in flesh.
First Timothy, chapter three, verse 16, that again, I said, that Jesus was the image of God Colossians chapter one, verses 15, through 17, that john said, that Jesus, that the in the beginning,
there was the Word, the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Gospel According to john, chapter one, verses one and two.
a few of many. But perhaps many represent more or less the basic argument. And you might notice readily, that most not all, most of those differences are made to Paul.
Whenever I saw Jesus during his ministry, and was actually persecuting Christians, and claimed to have
converted letters, and john, who's gospel has been subject to a great deal of question by biblical scholars as to whether it was written by the original disciple john, or was it written in response or in support of the idea that emerged later on about the divinity of Jesus. But at least I should say that this might represent some of the arguments. Some of these references are based on a pamphlet that was distributed at Indiana University, prepared by a couple of clergy
on the occasion of a Muslim Christian dialogue on the divinity of Jesus. So that seemed to reflect some of the thinking of some clergy at least. Well, now that you've mentioned these quotations, maybe I'll ask you to evaluate them as proof of divinity. Well,
first of all, some I'm not saying God, but some of the many references that are referred to support the question of divinity does not necessarily mean divinity. For example, if you say that Jesus was speaking with authority, there is no problem with that. It means that he was unique in his time because a prophet, a truthful Prophet and Messenger of Allah definitely speak in a very different from the scribes who himself he accused of, you know, being hypocritical and, you know, not really following the path of the Scriptures.
But when you say that someone was unique in his time, it doesn't mean divine uniqueness is not equivalent to divinity.
Some of them, for example, that say that Jesus was the image of God once in the book of Genesis, it is said also that God created man in his own image. So Adam, according to the biblical text is the image of God but nobody said that Adam, was divine.
But even if we assume that some statements are more explicit set by followers of Jesus or claimed followers, sometimes we don't know even whether it was the follower, whose name appears on the book that wrote it or not, this is another issue, but suppose even for the sake of discussion, that we assumed that that some texts say that Jesus was the creators or gods or Son of God or one person in the child godhood are changing.
The response is this. Suppose
Let's turn the question back around, suppose 100 person come to you and tell you that such and such person who lived in this country or that country was indeed God in human form?
Is that testimony by those 100 people, or 1000, for that matter, who reported that they were witnesses? Is that in itself sufficient proof? That indeed that person they refer to? was God in human form? Or divine?
Definitely not. Because if somebody makes that claim to me,
I first of all, would have to ascertain, first, whether the person that he refers to himself claim that or are they claiming that about him?
This is very important, because in history, we find that many people have been deified, or witness by the followers to be divine. Buddha never claimed to be God, at least not to my knowledge, but some people defied him after Rama
Linton never claimed to be divine, but his followers believed that he was defined and they can give you all kind of witness.
There are reports that even some Hindus believe that Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi, was actually one of the reincarnation of God so that he was God incarnate.
But again, the question did Gandhi himself say, I am God incarnate.
But even if it is proven, that any of those individuals refer to claim to be God, or Son of God, or God incarnate, one has to make sure First of all, whether that report is correct or not.
Is there any clear evidence that he actually said that? Was his Sega recorded in its time? Is there proof that it was not just interpretation or something that is attributed to him? Or is that simply a hearsay?
Otherwise, if there is no evidence that he actually said that I would not pay much attention?
If there's even prove that he disclaimed that or didn't say that, then, of course, you dismiss their claim without any hesitation.
But even if we assume that the reports are true, that he actually claimed to be divine, and that what he said has been communicated to us and preserved and written from his mouth and recorded historically until it reaches us, even then, it doesn't justify, for me, or for anyone really to accept such a serious claim, without any verification. Even if he said, unequivocally I am God incarnate, not the creature of God, we should find out whether there's any reason to believe that he was not a creature of God, is that claim itself substantiated? Is there a good reason, you know, to accept that, that's clean? In other words, that gets us actually to the second stage,
not just to check the words of people about him. Actually, Jesus Himself, at one point indicates that the words of the master are more important.
So when he refers to the words about Jesus, rather than what he says about himself, one talk about what people thought about Jesus, rather than examining what he himself thought,
perhaps we can begin with the second category of proofs that you mentioned earlier. In other words, what Jesus said about himself, and how do we a certain that he actually said that?
first of all, as to what has been said about him, again, based on
Christian literature, things like the writings of Josh McDowell, for example, and others.
And that's repeated so many times and lots of lectures, mentioned this, that Jesus said, for example, that He and the Father or God are one, that he is the way the truth and the life nobody comes unto the Father, but by him.
That it is attributed to him to that he said that whoever has seen me he has seen gods.
And they present this quotations as a clear evidence in their mind that Jesus claimed equality with God.
As far as the part of the question, Where do you say how do we know
that this actually proved or not proved? divinity? I think the answer to that relate to the manner in which the New Testament literature has been written.
Who wrote what
in what language was translated from which language? Are the translators known under what conditions that they write?
What was the explicit or implicit purpose behind what they wrote? Was it to report what Jesus said or to support one argument?
against the other in the early turbulence of the church, is there any evidence of availability of continuous chain of narration that goes back to Jesus Himself, when there's proof that there have been no changes? Or something just attributed to him?
Is there any evidence that there have been no editing, or change or modification of these statements throughout history?
This is a very important matters because it relates to the fundamentals of belief. It relates to belief in the creator of heavens and answers. It's, it's not a lie. It's not just that one can take it without this kind of verification. However, this issues, the methodological issues as to the
proof that actually Jesus said that I live for the time being, because that requires a separate topic by itself in terms of authority and authenticity, and so on.
And we'll assume for the sake of discussion, only, that we accept the text of the Bible, as it is today.
Even if we make that assumption, we fail to find any verse, any single quotation in the Bible, that Jesus in which you just say, unequivocally, and clearly, in no ambiguous terms, that I am God incarnate, I am the Son of God, in,
in body or in human form.
And this is not unreasonable to do to demand because this is not unusual within the context of the Bible. In the Old Testament, the statement that God made about himself word quite clear, I am that God the Lord, the only God, there is none. But initially, the Bible is quite consistent and clear
on this issue, and the Old Testament, so one would expect something so clear, because God is not an issuer of confusion and a matter of fundamental of belief, you wouldn't leave it for people to interpret or misinterpret, it has to be quite clear.
But in my humble understanding, there is no single verse in the whole New Testament, in which Jesus speaks with this clarity that I am God worshipping alone, other than God. And as indicated, this is a matter of
paramount importance in the question of belief is the cornerstone really, of belief that one cannot leads to speculation. But even the verses that has been referred to can still be interpreted in a reasonable way, to the fair's not really to a physical relationship or to unity in, in essence, between Jesus and the Creator, but rather, to regard that as
a sort of spiritual oneness or a spiritual relationship with God. In other words, the issue really here, aside from authentication, of the foundation of the claim of divinity of Jesus, is a matter of interpretation, in the absence of unequivocal terms, I do realize, of course, that some of the terms that I referred to earlier are some of the quotations that we've come to discuss in detail, but I am the father or one, whoever has seen me has seen the Father, nobody comes unto the Father, but by me I am the way the truth, the life, that some people may think that this is unequivocal. But as I promised to do within the context of the Bible, based on evidence from the Bible itself, in which
show that it is not interpreted, or it should not actually be interpreted this way, and it doesn't mean that any at all in the context. inshallah, thank you very much Dr. generality for time. And thank you all for joining us here in Islam and focus. As usual, we would appreciate any questions or comments that you may have our phone number and our address will be appearing on your screen.
None of us you understand focus Assalamu alaikum. Hope to join us here next week.