Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Jesus
AsSalamu Alaikum and welcome once again to Islam and focus.
Today's program will be our 20th on Jesus, the beloved messenger of Allah. Our topic today is the second on deification of Jesus, its evolution.
I'm your host Shawnee Mission here with me once again from St. Mary's University. In fact, the jumbo by the SLA conducted
could replay that she left the gym well for a summary of last week's book. Okay, last week's program began to trace the notion of deification of Prophet Jesus peace be upon him, especially in respect to the question of Trinity.
And it was indicated that the concept of Trinity has no foundation whatsoever, neither in the Old Testament, nor in the New Testament. And we have given the opinions of various, you know, authorities on that, including biblical scholars.
We have also discussed some of the
foundation that some scholars have used as an evidence of roots of Trinity, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and you found again that this is not necessarily a very
strong evidence that they present. And it seems that the prior theological commitments seem to have shaped this opinion. And they try to read between the lines, things which are not necessarily there.
And the only verse we said that might have come a bit close to speaking about three in one was the one that existed in the first epistle of john in chapter five, particularly in verse seven,
which says, and these three are one. And we have indicated that while that quotation,
appears, and still appears in the King James Version, that we find that many contemporary or more recent translations of the Bible, including the Revised Standard Version have already removed that verse, which means that the scholars found that it is not authentic, it was not in the original
To start with, but be interesting to, to comment on the situation in early Christianity as to how the various dogmas of deification Exactly. Well, to start with, we can say that this issue or this approach also would be quite important to start from the beginning, rather than what some people began with the Nicene
Creed on instinct 25, because one logically would have to start from the life of the Prophet himself what he taught, or at least the period also immediately after him, what was the beliefs that were common in his time,
as far as the life of Jesus peace be upon him, on the basis of the numerous quotations that we have referred to in the last few programs, it was quite evidence that what he evident that what he taught really
was or has nothing to do with any claim of divinity that he called upon on to worship the one and only God creators. It never spoke about Trinity or superstitions in one. So that the evidence for that has already been covered, I hope quite amply, but if you want to put things in historical perspectives in terms of the period after that, in the early days of Christianity, we find that a lot has been written by historians, especially church historians,
and biblical scholars have also made lots of commentaries on this. And as such, I feel duty bound that the references to be made here would be basically to the writings of those specialists. I do realize that specialists also differ because theological commitments also affect the way they interpret or protesting, but at least you can look at things that seem to have been
proven or definitely some of the information seems to have been widely accepted. The dispute may arise, of course, about their meaning and their interpretation.
But at this point,
I would like to acknowledge
the tremendous benefit that I have personally gained from an excellent reference that's compiled large
Number of those Christian sources, Christian historians
in one volume, which is an excellent work by Otto Rothman. And the title of the book is Jesus, Prophet of Islam, exceedingly interesting book, Jesus, Prophet of Islam, was published by the Jiwon press in Norfolk, England in 1977.
We will be referring quite heavily to that book in terms of the historical part.
The authors, for example, refers to Theodore zen, g h. n,
in his book, articles of the Apostolic creed, in which the historian indicates that the article of faith up until 250,
after Jesus has been caught, I believe in God, the Almighty and that was in page 33, through 37, this is explained.
And it indicates even that the addition even of the term father or insertion of the term fathers, before Almighty, Almighty God, in the period between 180 and 210, by some was bitterly contested by many of the church leaders, including bishops, vectors, and the thesis.
They objected to that, and they emphasized the absolute Divine unity, unity without any persons within it, that is absolute oneness. Without any notion of Trinity. They consider Christ to be a human being messengers of Allah. And the faith that was upheld by this whole sectors of early Christians, you might say, was the predominant face in North Africa, and West Asia. From that, it seems quite evident to many historians, that the early followers of Jesus peace be upon him, simply believed in him as a human being Prophet, and messenger of Allah, and that this belief continued for a long time, in spite of the influence and the new teaching, introduced by Paul,
what were the most influential personalities amongst the disciples of Jesus? I think this question is very well taken, it's very important because it relates to the way dogmas have developed. And
the interesting aspect about it is that when you ask a typical Christian friend, for example, about the most important and influential personality, after Jesus, obviously the finger will be pointed to pause.
And sometimes it's forgotten that Paul was not even among the early followers of Jesus was not one of the disciples at all.
Sometimes, we find mentioned is made of Peters, as a major figures as the head of the disciples, we had the name of many other personalities. However, proportionately very little, is heard or written about a very, very important personality, which was very close to Jesus peace be upon him. And that is St. Barnabas.
St. Barnabas, in fact, became in the opinion of many historians of early church as perhaps one of the leaders, if not the most influential leaders, of the disciples of Jesus after him,
according to the book of Acts in the Bible.
As we'll see later, St. Barnabas had a severe and sharp difference with Paul,
when Paul apparently began to deviate a little bit or get out of the purity of monotheism and the absolute unity of the Divine,
as was taught by Jesus and as also
Barnabas and other disciples of Jesus learned and understood directly from Jesus.
It is interesting also to remember
that while some of this information about Barnabas has been mentioned in the book of Acts, the writer of the book of Acts, his look and look actually was very close to Paul. In fact, he was his personal physician. And obviously, with the sharp difference of opinion or understanding between
And St. Barnabas,
if you would expect that look, of course, when he writes the book of Acts would be given more of the viewpoint of Paul, perhaps not as much about the his adversary is in front of us.
In fact, some historians even might say that, look, I
seem to have been more or less forced to make some mention of Barnabas, otherwise he could have probably ignored him totally. And we see some evidence of that. But you seem to be forced to mention him,
at least in the context of his relationship with Paul, between Barnabas and Paul, and a very crucial role played by Barnabas in convincing the followers of Jesus the Nazarene as they were known to accept Paul, even though they suspect to them and never trusted him.
But even with this bits and pieces, that one can discern from the New Testament, we find in Barnabas, an indeed very important personality, very influential person.
It makes it rather strange to notice that there is no mention of him, despite of his importance, nothing is mentioned about him in the four gospels, which have been canonized, and all of a sudden, he appears in the act. But even when he's mentioned in the act, nothing is mentioned about him in the period before Jesus finished his mission on Earth, his relationship with him very little, if any is mentioned. So all of a sudden appearing in the book of Acts, Visa v. Paul. And as soon as he disagreed with Paul, and departed with him, there is hardly anything mentioned about him, like one historian said, he disappears from the phases of history, although he lost, exactly. So that seemed
to show that there was an attempt to even avoid much mention of this very influential and important person,
you know, in concealing lots of information about him, except when it was absolutely necessary to say something
about him. And
actually, it was at a later time, really, that the stream of Trinitarian belief seemed to emerge. And maybe that's why, because of the opposition of Barnabas to that stream, that we find that his role is very much downplayed. And the role of Paul, of course, it's very much emphasized. Now you you seem to refer to some bits and pieces in your in your discussion. Do you have any references? For these? Yes, there are, first of all, in the third and the first chapters of the book of Acts, in verse 22.
We are told that, after Jesus,
the disciples met, to choose or elect, select a replacement for Judah, the one who betrayed Jesus peace be upon him, I say peace upon him, about Jesus, not about Judah.
And there were two nominees for that, according to the book of Acts, there was Joseph. And they say Joseph also was called Barnabas, sometimes also said in in justice,
and other person was called Matthew.
According to the book of Acts, it says that the second one was chosen on the basis of drawing of a lot or drawing of lots. But in any case, we find that according to that reference, that's act chapter one, verse 21, that one of the main conditions or qualifications for these two people to be nominated for this important position
is that it should be one
of those who were in their group, that is followers of Jesus.
During the whole time that Jesus traveled about with the beginning, with the time when john preached baptism, that's john the baptist from the very beginning that Jesus was baptized by john the baptist. Until the day Jesus was taken up to heaven.
This is a very important criteria which shows that Barnabas was an eyewitness was very close, was constantly with Jesus peace be upon him for the entire period of his of his ministry, that indicate that he was a very prominent person. And in addition to this, we find additional evidence about his prominence and how close he was to Christ.
the name Barnabas
wasn't in fact given to him by the disciples of Jesus. Because the word actually means son of consolation or son of exhortation, which is an honorarium or honorary type of the title. Secondly, in the book of Acts, in chapter 11, verse 24, St. Barnabas is described as a good man who was full of Holy Spirit and faith, full of Holy Spirit and faith. It is said that he sold all his property, and devoted that for the sake of Jesus and followers of Jesus peace between them.
A third difference would be of interest also. And that is also in the book of Acts in chapter nine, in verses 26 through 28.
And when Paul at that time was called Saul went to Jerusalem,
and try to join the disciples of Jesus. They didn't want him they didn't accept him, and never believed that he actually sincerely converted.
The reason behind that is that he himself was a notable persecutors of Christians. You find mentioned that in the book of Acts in chapter seven, verse 60,
that he actually approved of the killing of the murder of Steven.
In the book of Acts in chapter eight, in the first few verses, there is description also what used to do to Christians, he himself
acknowledged or confessed, how careful he was to Christians as defined in his book to the Galatians chapter one, verses 13 to 15. He himself recognize that.
So the disciples of Jesus had every reason to suspect him, and to wonder whether he was sincere when he told them that he actually met Jesus on his road to Damascus and converted
to follow him.
At that time, while the disciples almost unanimously or as far as we know, unanimously rejected, Paul,
it was only St. Barnabas, who intervened, and tried to convince them, even though they had this strong opinion about both, to accept,
in fact, like some historians, but it had it not been for the intervention on the part of Barnabas, Paul would have disappeared from the history of Christianity altogether. But it was actually Barnabas. The study I mentioned here is as an evidence of his influence when all the disciples do not want to accept Paul, and he is the man who convinced them. That means was very much well respected. He might have been even more important in their eyes, then Peter even admit and many others decided that they respected his opinion very much.
Some historians also mentioned additional traditions, I limited myself so far, you know, to the, to the act, and even there's one more condition perhaps that might complete the picture that shows his importance. In the 13th chapter of the book of Acts, that statistics in verse two,
Barnabas is mentioned among those who have been chosen by the Holy Spirit to do God's work. chosen by the Holy Spirit, I mean, what could be a greater honor to be bestowed on demand?
As indicated, there are also other traditions outside of the Bible itself.
For example, that Mary when she was on her deathbed, she called that the the apostles to come and that Barnabas was among those who attended. Some historians, for example, like Theodore, zen, gh, and
Albert Schweitzer, in his book, The kingdom of God and primitive Christianity. And others indicated that even the Last Supper, in fact,
has taken place in the house of john mark. And john mark, actually, was
very related to St. Barnabas. In fact, the mothers of janmark, was also the Sisters of St. Barnabas. And it is quite possible that Barnabas was living with his sister, because the Bible said that he saw all he owned, you know, for the sake of the Christian community.
So the references here seem again to indicate quite clearly, his very important role and like I said, without his intervention,
perhaps he would have not ever heard even of porn, and the various innovations that he introduced to the original teachings of Jesus. Well, that, in fact brings about a very important question. Why did Barnabas
and then later on, totally disagree with him. Okay, initially,
Barnabas, in fact was a classmate of Paul. And some historians say that both of them were students of a famous
German Jewish scholar by the name of Gamaliel. And, in fact, when Barnabas saw
Paul, you know, coming and claiming to be converted, and that he regrets, you know what he did to Christians,
probably being his former classmates might have, perhaps gave it given him the benefit of the doubt and maybe thought that demand might have been changed already or have seen the light, so that's quite normal on the part of Barnabas.
Secondly, Paul also was a Roman citizen. And as such, it's quite possible that he learned that language, the official language in his birthplace was Greek. And maybe Barnabas who did not have knowledge of all of these languages might have thought that
port would be a good helper for him and his missionary work that he was just about to launch or was beginning.
However, there have been
a number of questions as to why they differ with each other, why they have this sharp disagreement after Barnabas actually was the one who introduced Paul to the disciples.
First of all, we refer to the explanation
which appears in the Bible, and then make a comment on it. There isn't given in the book of Acts
simply that Paul and St. Barnabas went together for missionary work. And that Barnabas took with him his nephew, john mark, who said before that his mother with the sister of a Barnabas, so his nephew, and they, all three of them went together for missionary work in Greece.
When they went back when they came back to Jerusalem, and we're, you know, speaking or talking about possibility of another visit, to the places where they made the missionary activities. It says that Barnabas wanted to take his nephew again janmark.
But Paul refused, he didn't want
janmark to come with them. And it simply says that the difference between Paul and Barnabas became very sharp to the point that they parted from each other.
to take that reason, really as the main reason why two great personalities like this are two important personalities split from each other, after the initial success in their first missionary trip, despite of the difficulties they faced, seemed to be a very trivial reasons, trivial reason why that split has taken place. And it seemed to point that there must have been much deeper cause for the split. Well, in order to adequately understand that it might be worthwhile if you could possibly give us an idea of Paul's background.
Okay, of course, one cannot claim to do justice to that topic, because you know, there he can write books in terms of biography about important persons are influential persons,
like Paul or Barnabas, but I think maybe just a brief reference to his background, as some historians present might be of some help.
To start with, Paul actually was raised as a Jew, a practicing Jew. We mentioned before that he was a classmate of Barnabas.
He was persecutor of Christians. We never saw Jesus or followed his teaching during his lifetime. So he was not an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. In fact, he was struggling to Damascus with letters with him, from the high priests of the Jews, to introduce him to the various synagogues in Damascus,
to the effect that, if any of the followers of Jesus have found is found, that they should be bound and sent back to Jerusalem, whether man or woman, so he's going for a mission really, of harassments really, of Christians that appears in the book of Acts in chapter nine, especially the first two verses
and then he say that on his way to Damascus, he claimed to have seen Jesus in a vision and claim to have been converted and became a follower of Jesus.
Now, immediately prior that incident
Paul actually was really very much
interested in getting married to a very beautiful woman by the name of p i p or p EA alpha pronounced right. She was very attractive, beautiful woman. And she was also the daughter of the high priest of the Jews.
In any case, that woman infused
the marriage proposal made by Paul, and went instead to Rome. As an actress.
She apparently had a relationship with the Roman emperor and ended up actually getting married to him.
And as such, are the strange thing is that this incident
took place about the same time when Paul converted under this very mental, psychological, and emotional duress.
That's why you find some historians raise the question here whether that incident,
very traumatic experience of Paul could have contributed to his resentment against both the Romans and Jews, even against the Romans because again, his beloved one has been taken already by the Emperor, and also against the Jewish law,
where he was transformed all of a sudden from a supporter of a Jewish law to someone who even later on called the Judaic Lord, Old Testament law as a curse. So that might have possibly been a source of
investment for him. But in any case, they indicate that after this spawn, moved to the Arabian Desert, and disappeared there for three years, what was he doing? Nobody's totally sure. It might be reasonable to speculate, however, that perhaps that's the time when he started to innovate and come up with some of the ideas that he began to teach later on.
And when Paul returned to Jerusalem, and try to join the disciples, as we have indicated Previously,
we said that they refuse to accept him. And it was only the intervention of Barnabas that led them to somehow accept him and his statement. But still,
his influence was not really that great, even after
Barnabas intervened. So what he did actually was to go back to his, to his home
to his own city, in Texas.
After one minute,
when St. Barnabas was contemplating the extension of his missionary activities, beyond Antioch, which is already, you know, preached, I thought, again, maybe with good intention that porn could be a handy helper for this kind of activities. Again, he was a previous classmate.
So he actually traveled to Texas, and convinced Paul to join him in this missionary activities. And Paul actually came and continued with him until they parted ways, when the differences between them
arose at a later time. But this brief background of the kinds of pressures on Paul and how, you know, he converted and the circumstances surrounding his conversion, the mysterious period in which he disappeared, the fact that he was not accepted even after they accepted Him, then did not question Barnabas.
statement about him. But it was really joining Paul, that introduced him to the Gentile world and contributed to his reputation that later on was used to introduce whatever he pleases, you know, in terms of something which Jesus actually didn't teach. Well, thank you very much, Doctor, by the way. And thank you all for joining us here once again, in this time and focus. If there are any questions or any comments, we'd love to hear from you. Our phone number and our address will be appearing on your screen. From all of us Assalamu alaikum. Hope to see you next week.