Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Jesus
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Welcome to Salman focus. Today's program inshallah will be the seventh in our series, Jesus, beloved messenger of Allah, and our 24th on sin, atonement and birth sacrifice. I'm your host, Shawnee Mission here wants to hear from St. Mary's University, is that the job better? So my
career started off with a summary of last week's program, please, certainly we continue to discuss the chapter by Michael gold rush in the midst of God incarnate, basically trying to explain the Samaritan roots of the idea of God incarnate. We indicated how he gets his evidence from the New Testament by examining the letters of Paul, which did show some kind of evolution and understanding on the part of Paul and the influence of Samaritan theology, in his in his writing, from the beginning, when he started attacking the central themes in Samaritan theology, knowledge and wisdom, to speak about it more positively in Colossians, and Ephesians. And how Paul also tried to explain
the problem of the paternity of Jesus being the son of David and Son of God, at the same time, and using the two level formula which has good essays does not really solve the problem.
We mentioned also how there is some evidence of Paul's wavering in the end of his life, especially in his letter to the Philippians, speaking about Jesus being in the form of God, who emptied himself who obeyed and became exalted because of his obedience unto death. And that is why he's given a name about everything in there, which God does say, when if Jesus was the Son of God, His name should have been exalted, and above any name before, before birth, even not something to be acquired as a result of
sacrifice or works.
And then he continued to discuss the historical evidence about the impact of Samaritan theology, indicating that there is good reason to believe that there was a very strong Samaritan mission, if you might say, especially Connor,
yes, USCIS, and the Sumerians, or Samaritans used dualistic language believed in the incarnation of the second person in godhood.
Because of that kind of background, they were quite content with the idea of the incarnation of Jesus and His return to the Father or landing take off theology, that does not necessarily accept Paul's idea about the imminent return of Jesus or the landing, takeoff landing. theology. goods are also analyzed the idea of genealogy of Jesus and how it evolved gradually, in different gospels, from the idea that the sonship of Jesus to God, according to the Spirit appeared at the time of baptism, to the notion that he was the son of God from the very beginning, not even from the concept from the moment of conception, to the idea also, of Matthew and Luke trying to explain the paternity
of Jesus, finally, to john, who try to introduce fully the Samaritan notion of the incarnation of the second person, in deity or in godhood. And, in doing this, Gunter noted that there is also a gradual evolution in describing Jesus, as you go for in various gospels in the very beginning to the oldest Gospel according to Mark, Jesus is described fully or more so as a human being. This humanity seems to be eroded as time went on. And finally, the full deification was done by john almost 100 years, or the year 100. And he explained, for example, the cry on the cross how the wording has changed over time to be more defined.
And finally, the main point, of course, that,
Paul, that sorry, that john also reflect in his gospel is that isn't the notion of the imminent coming of Jesus in the life of that generation by the year 100. It was obvious that Jesus is not coming in the lifetime of his contemporaries. realizing this. JOHN seems to emphasize more not on the second coming of Jesus per se, but how
the spirit will be with them, and how anything they could ask
are with us from the fathers in the name of Jesus, they will be given and that's a source of development and realization again, that the initial Galilean eschatology, the expectation of the imminent coming of Jesus, in the lifetime of his contemporaries, does not really prove to be,
you know, correct notion hospital.
Before go on and ask about other theologians
dealing with this topic, maybe you can summarize for us what the conclusions of Goulder were concerning this whole topic at the end of the studies in terms of the two routes.
And the Samaritan, well, first of all, that the Samaritans were an established religious community, several centuries before Christ is the acronym. And in fact, they did not feel the need to borrow from the Dead Sea Scrolls or from the people of the Qumran has known.
Secondly, that the Samaritans have had a very powerful influence in the early Christian church. They introduced some new doctrines, especially in columns, and efficient, just
emphasizing knowledge and wisdom, that Jesus was God, who become men.
De emphasize the humanity of Jesus, and glorifying his life on Earth.
Soft pedaling the idea of the cross, but speaking about a realized eschatology, rather than something that will happen in the future,
from this goal does seem to conclude two basic things. One, is that the historical study,
or this kind of historical study that you offered us, does not necessarily negate any divine activity in history or the role of gods. But he simply says it makes the old moderns explaining that rather implausible.
More specifically says that the Babylonian mythology of Jesus coming into our lives, again, cannot be believed by anyone because Jesus did not come back in the lives of his contemporaries. On the other hand, the Samaritan eschatology also, the idea or speculation about the incarnation of the second person in godhood, again, is something which is speculative. And both of these eschatologists, you might say cannot be combined. This is one thing. The second basic conclusion is that the creation of a myth.
And we described the term medical in a previous program, which was believable in the past, or in medieval time was important. He says, as he himself as I said before, he's a Catholic theologian, said that kind of development or notions were quite important in building the church in ancient or medieval times, but they are no longer plausible or believable in our age. So he concludes, then that our age as Christian speakers Christian, he say we should reformulate Christianity, and new. I think his conclusion is quite important because I felt that he was so honest and straightforward, as Catholic himself,
in trying to capture what I felt as a Muslim, in my discussion with numerous Christian Brothers, that this is basically what they say, perhaps a less sophisticated Word of God, or maybe I should call him and then he says, quote, as Catholic Christians, we shall wish to give authority to experience and believe in Jesus himself and in and his first followers. And much of this I have suggested in the last chapter, he says, is open to us. But the Incarnation and speculation introduced, introduced into the church by Simon Megas and his followers, or his fellow Samaritans seems to me entirely dispensable. So he's not rejecting faith is not rejecting belief in Jesus. But
he says this notion of God incarnate is indispensable it has come from other sources other than the teaching of Jesus. This is very interesting because
what he's saying he has is what many people have already discovered on their own or other scholars or even common people.
And in my only humble comment on that as a Muslim, is that when he speaks about restructuring,
Christianity, I knew the question he is on what basis because the historical legacy, the kind of documents available, might stand in the way of this kind of rebuilding. And as such, all the Assange really comes from a Muslim standpoint is that it would be much better than to discern and find out the true Christian teaching of Jesus, not through historical document that all questions have been raised by theologians. But through examination of the last scripture, the last revelation, the Quran, which seemed to settle all of those issues and problems pertaining to the nature of Jesus peace be upon him, and what he originally thought, which was nothing but the basic monotheistic
faiths of all of the prophets before
beautiful summary. And that is, you know, you mentioned in a previous program, the name of another theologian who addressed this question that is the roots of the idea of God incarnate. Now, is his explanation contrary at all, to the estimation offered by Golder? No, not really. But first, let me identify the author. And he is Francis young, who taught New Testament studies in the University of Birmingham. So again, in this program, you will not just focus in cotton for people who are historic critics and talk about people who are theologians, some are connected actually with their churches, but they seem to see things in a different way than the traditional explanation. As far as whether
his explanation is contrary, it's not really contrary to good that he simply say that good does the one that we discussed in the last couple of programs
seem to focus more on two specific routes of what he called the Christian myth, the Galilean eschatology and the Samaritan type of beliefs.
What Francis young simply added that the there are additional possible routes also of the notion of God incarnate, especially in the Greco Roman type of environment. And he says that, in spite of the fact that there, there is nothing really of those old ideas, prior to Christianity that seemed to be exactly exactly parallel to the notion of conditional Christianity. Still, there is something that seemed to indicate the source of connection there, for example, on page 87, and aquatimer, says the christological confessions about Jesus evolved from a vast range of expectations and concepts, images, and speculations that were present in the cultures of the age and society in which the
church was born and matured. And he concludes, basically, that even though we cannot fully solve
this puzzle, we can still do some more work, trying to discover the roots of this idea, ie the notion of God incarnate, and how it developed. But basically, that definitely, he says there is more than just two routes that he does not really contradict good. He says, there are more routes also than what we will focus on. How did you go about trying to discover these routes? And where did he just started off? Well, he began by referring to the writing of Oregon, for our AIG and one of the very famous theologians about the years to 248.
Oregon was actually replying to a book that was published about 70 years before by a pagan by the name of census.
As US Census as a pagan was objecting to, you know, Christian beliefs. So Oregon was nothing It was trying to, to make a rebuttal for that.
Francis young notice that in the response or reply made by Oregon, he appeals Oregon himself as a Christian theologian appeals to parents
in terms of the pagan stories, in order to prove his point.
And he noticed also that celsus was neither Jew or Christian.
did not see
did not see that this was really a very unacceptable or strange thing to believe in the incarnation of God in human form. But he did not simply accept that this God would be born or die, but the notion of incarnation in the minds of services, even though he was
As a pagan, was not very strange.
From that young concluded that in this cultural climate, on the basis of this argument between Oregon and census, or the response, in this culture, climate, the idea of incarnation was acceptable. For example, you say, to claim that a god visited the earth in human disguise,
would have caused no surprise and little comment, and to amplify what he says young gives examples from non Christian literature,
which was quite parallel
in its publication or emergence to early Christianity.
Some of these examples, in order to explain the thesis of his argument, for example, he
refers to the works of Lucien and you see I am, who lived in the second century towards the end,
about someone who lived
or flung himself in the flames,
and that after he threw himself into flames, there was an earthquake. Again, those who are familiar with the New Testament can make certain analysis at some point, there was an earthquake.
And that adventure was seen flying out of the flames.
Saying in a human voice, called, I am through with the earth
to Olympus aigrow. Olympus was so unimpressed, I go.
And then God that sort of young emphasizes that Lucien.
So, a man
or at least there was a witness about a person who saw a man.
And he believed that he was the Transfiguration of protests.
After his cremation, again, if you might recall, in one of our previous programs, we talked about the, the idea mentioned also in the New Testament about Jesus one time, transfiguring before some of his disciples.
The second example that that is mentioned in this work is about a paulinus,
a w, p, or W, l, or m R Us and have to be careful because again, I'm not too easy on the Annunciation of the Greek names. And it says that a Polonius entered into the temple one time, and he disappeared.
And after his disappearance, some voices were heard,
a chorus or religions
say same Haitian vow to heaven, is in delta heaven, and that his remains were never discovered. Remember, again, the empty tomb, by way of analogy. In the case of New Testament, his remains were never discovered. And nobody disputed that he was immortal.
in evaluating these two examples, or stories, from the ancient times, young noted two things. One, that first of all, to claim that these stories, ancient stories, were simply
imitation of the New Testament, or New Testament does not really hold much, because analysis of those stories does not seem to reveal that kind of foundation. Secondly, says that in any case, it would be useful to dig deeper, and try and trace these ideas maybe two or three centuries back, that is before Jesus peace be upon him. And he says that in the ancient world,
there was a remarkable cultural continuity, things were not changing as a bad
thing today. For example, He says that Augusten
felt more or less that he's living the same is by Plato, even though there was a difference of 900 years. And he says, it is not likely that given this controlled continuity, and lack of, you know, constant change that we see today, that any measure of cultural change would have taken place in a span of 200 years. And he says, if we really examine early clues, we might be able to discover again, where the ideas in the New Testament might have possibly originated from what kind of crews were
Young referring to, and how would you say that they relate to the whole idea of God incarnate?
Well, for example, he speaks about the idea of the Divine parentage of Plato that relates to God incarnate notion.
And he said that this idea that Plato was the Son of God, quote, unquote, or has the divine Son of God did exist when before the New Testament. So we're really tracing back further even than just the immediate period of the time of Jesus peace be upon him or any church for that matter.
For example, He says also that the story of Plato was not even the only story about this divine sonship there were other similar stories about other philosophers also. Some of them live as much as 200 years before Christ, or based 200 before Christ. He gave a couple of examples again, I hope my viewers would excuse my pronunciation. One is
Pythagoras, who was believed to be the incarnate son of Hermes.
The other one is in Douglas, who was quoted as saying, All hell, I go about among you, and immortal God, but no more immortal.
He speaks about stories of healing,
and rainmaking and how people responded to him by worshipping Him and praying to Him as a god,
even about his disappearance,
it said that he disappeared that night. That a witness, an eyewitness claimed that he heard a voice, calling him that's calling into darkness. And that's when that witness looked, he saw a bright light coming from the skies. And that after that, we could not trace or find
in productiveness, and they say he is now God, and they started to sacrifice to him.
They had been also similar stories about divine genealogies of the founders of cities are some other outstanding rulers. Young also give some examples. Of course, everybody's familiar with the Alexander the Great.
Alexander also claimed that some sorts of divine descent
It is said also that when Syrian prophet addressed him, or saluted him, using the term son of ZS,
US son of Zeus,
that, shortly after his death, he was called the new Dionysus and we talked before about that issue that Dionysus will believe to be one of the Sun gods in this area.
The other example of divine genealogies also was Roman S, R or m u l. u. s, which, according to the Roman historian, Livy, and it was, Ivey was taking to the skies or to heavens in the clouds, that he was hailed as a god and a God's Son. Interesting.
And that after his disappearance, within a short time after that, one northern man claimed that he descended again, from heavens, it all sounds familiar, sounds familiar that he descended from heaven that he did, instructions, and then he ascended again,
to heavens. And it is interesting to notice that these ideas were written about
525 years before
the birth or before
the birth of Christ.
At this point, it might be useful to refer to a direct quote from Francis young, which, to me seems quite similar to what Michael Golders in the previous article we discussed, called the landing take off theology.
Young says called that Gods could descend among men, and assumes back to the heavenly abode appears in other literature of approximately the same period.
And then continues later says, this is a reminder that the appearance of gods to men on Earth was the stock in trade of mythology and poetry from Homer. onwards.
Indeed, that's the end of course.
Indeed, we find that in the New Testament, there seems to be
some evidence that this ideas were quite common amongst vision pious people, among whom the Christian mission is we're working in the book of Acts. For example, in chapter 14, especially in verse 11.
We read about
Paul and St. Barnabas, when they went to the city of Leicester, and how some of the people there, the residents, as a young comments, thought that they were Roman gods, that, you know, Paul, and Barnabas was Roman gods, and actually one of the clouds start to show it. And he says, The gods have come down to us, in the likeness of men.
even beyond that, the the priests of the priests of z, z in us, brought oxen and garlands, and wanted to offer sacrifice to Paul and, and St. Barnabas. This idea is definitely our pre Christian. And it is unreasonable to say that there is absolutely no connection between these theological notions and the theology that developed in the early period of the of the Christian church. ddn give other examples about the spread of these beliefs close to the advent of Jesus made peace be upon him. Yes, he does. Actually, he gives example that definitely is before the person of Jesus peace be upon For example, He says that in the year 60 BC, for example,
people spoke about Cicero,
CIC er O, as the divine men, who came from from heavens, and about the year 40, also BC, Virgin VR gi l, wrote about the arrival of the
of the Golden Age, and that the arrival of that golden age will be associated with the birth of a child, which he calls offspring of the gods, who is going to rule the world in peace.
who's Jane, as some scholars believe, Jesus Bishop was born,
suggested also that he was sent by Gods.
Actually, some people suggested that he was a God who has come to earth. And that is going to be assigned the task of experiencing
guilt. Actually, some people addressed him as mercury incarnate. Younger comments on this, and he says, That's why this example is might be, perhaps, no more than literally conceived, not really a very serious meaning type of statements.
He says, however, and I quote, they do serve, to remind us that such language was current at the time of Jesus, especially for rulers. And then he says that there are grounds for this analysis. And maybe I'll just give another course on this.
That he says, of tracing back the attitudes evidenced in Oregon's debate with success to an earlier date in the Greco Roman periods, indeed, to the time, roughly contemporary with Jesus, peace be upon him, and the rise of the Christian movement. So this seems to show that
these ideas or notions of God incarnate, or God coming in human form intermingling with people experiencing for sin is something that is not only patterning to the time of emergence of early Christianity, but something also that has already existed
before the birth of Jesus, a peace and blessings be upon him. Thank you very much effective. And thank you all for joining us once again is Salman focus, your questions and your callers will be most appreciated. Our phone number and their address will be appearing on your screen from all of us here in the sound focus. So like him, and we'll see you next week.