Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Jesus
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AsSalamu Alaikum and welcome you once again to Islam focus. Today's program inshallah will be our 58th on Jesus, the beloved messenger of Allah and on 25th and sin atonement and blood sacrifice will continue to inshallah, on the origins of the idea of God incarnate. I'm your hostess admission here once again from St. Mary's University, is that the GMR SLA conducted?
For the benefit of our viewers, you always do? Could you give us a wrap up of last week's program, please? Sure. Last week, we finished the review of the study of Goldberg Michael gorgeous, in which he speaks as a Catholic Christian, about the necessity between making a distinction between giving authority to believing in Jesus peace be upon him on one hand, and the idea of incarnation or God incarnate, which was introduced into the church to serve certain purposes in the past, on the other hand, but which he feels again that today,
the idea of God incarnate is dispensable. Indeed,
commenting on that, from an Islamic standpoint,
it was in the face of death any attempt to reconstruct the original teachings of Jesus peace be upon him without the idea of incarnation that came later, can be easily facilitated by reference to the last revelation, the last revealed scripture, the Quran, which did indicate already 1400 years ago that all of these ideas were simply imitation of previous nations in the past, especially in Surah nine, verse 30.
We continued also with the basic theme about the origin of the notion of God incarnate by referring to another famous biblical scholar, Francis young, who also indicated that there is even more than the two routes suggested by Michael Golder.
He referred first to the controversy of Oregon census. And then he noted that in this cultural environment of early Christianity, the notion of God incarnate to visit the earth
in disguise is something which was well known to clarify his point to refer to some non Christian literature which speak about some individuals who were able to heal others, that they disappeared or their remains disappeared in a mysterious way, and that they ascended into heaven. And people believe that they were sons or children of God, and some even word transfigured according to the stories. Young girl referred them to the Bible, the book of Acts in chapter 14 were Paul and Barnabas, when they were making missionary work in the city of Leicester, that people thought that they were God's coming to visit them in human form, which shows that the idea was not really
unfamiliar. On the basis of that, Francis young indicated that they seem to be
some kind of indication that even the issues that came up in the Oregon the famous theologian, Oregon census controversy, can even be traced back further in earlier history, for history.
In essence, now, what are the basic background forces, which young believed were actually influential in the development of the idea of God incarnate, when in his opinion, he thinks are basically two essential basis. One is the traditional mythology about the gods who reached the status of eternity or divinity,
after they lived on earth, as exception and human beings may be Dionysus, for example, or her necklace. And the second was the what he called the ruler, ruler color language, which Rome inherited from the Hellenistic world, the dynasties, for example, in Egypt and Syria.
He acknowledges, however, that sometimes there's some critical criticism
of the theories about the origin of the notion of God incarnate either because the evidence comes from a later date or
Because it's insufficient, or because there is no exact parallel between that traditional mythology and the Christian claims about Jesus peace be upon him. However, he said they seem to be sufficient evidence to raise a serious possibility of connection,
which led to as he called it, and I caught him and that led to widespread acceptance of the view that it was the Greek speaking Gentile Converse, that is commerce to Christianity, who transformed Jesus, the Jewish Messiah of Palestine into an incarnate divine be said there seem to be some connection.
You said, Dr. Jamal de Transocean indicated that there were a number of theories which trace the origin of christological beliefs, right to the Greco Roman environment now be given examples to support this point of view. One, he gives a number but perhaps two basic theories seem to be quite interesting. One is the theory of divine men and others called Roland.
Young, for example, refers to a very important work
collected a number of papaya and inscriptions very old ones, which indicated that the early titles that were given to Jesus peace be upon him in early Christianity do have a very close parallel with the kinds of titles that were used in the Imperial cult, roller camp type of language. And that book is called light from the ancient east, written by Aidan Dishman, DIWS m a, n, among the evidence, and that's an interesting part among the evidence that was collected by the authors
an ancient inscription that goes back to 48, before Christ,
which speaks about Julius Caesar, as, quote, God manifests
common saviors of human life.
Another was in marble pedestal, which described Caesars as God's Son of God, and overseer of land and sea
effluence, this young comment on this and he says, even in these two evidence alone, are these two pieces of evidence, we noticed that they contain the type of terminology which has been used quite frequently in the New Testament, like God, Son of God, Savior, and a god manifests. In addition to this in another appuyer, that was found also from the ancient city of occidental.
Augustus is described there as God and Lord, God and Lord. Again, young comment and he says, It is interesting to notice not only the similarity of titles, that is the title that were given to Jesus peace be upon him, but also with other associations, the use of terms such as Advent or equivalent to Advent,
or gospel evangelists.
In one stone, for example, that was in the in the marketplace, in pricing.
It describes the birth of Augustus, and reads as follows. It says, birth the birth day of the gods, which means Augustus to them, was for the word, the beginning of Evangelion because of him, the equivalent of the gospel. So interesting, I would like to know how, how the scholars responded to all this, critiquing?
Well, first of all young saying that you should make a distinction between archaeological and literally evidence on one hand and use using this for religious arguments, which is as far as the legend and archeological findings, he says, They seem to give to give a coherent picture
about these kinds of connections between the terminology used in both cases. It says from a religious standpoint, however, it is debatable. He refers, for example, to one critic by the name of mark in all ck in his book essays on religion and the ancient world, in which he created
sizes disconnection by saying First of all, there is listened indication that those rulers who are deified,
were, in doubt,
are believed to possess supernatural powers after their death. Secondly, there is no evidence that prayers, earnest prayers were offered to those rulers alive or dead. And thirdly, that the terminology used or applied to those divine rulers, as people believed in them,
were rather vague.
But young, however, comment on this objections by saying and they caught him on that he says, quote, nevertheless, the divine language used of the rulers so closely parallel titles, according according to Jesus, in the New Testament, that it cannot be regarded as entirely without significance.
Okay, but is it not possible that
such pre Christian titles were not taken as seriously, as with the case of Jesus, peace be upon? Well, in my humble understanding, Francis young, gives a convincing evidence that it was taken seriously. Let me give you some of the examples as to how people reacted to this. Here the first For example, to the work of the famous Jewish historian Josephus, in which Josephus say that the Jews suffered all kinds of torment, rather than to admit, for example, that Caesar was their masters, because they believe that God alone is the Lord and Master.
The same kind of persecution took place with respect to the early Christians, among many early Christians, also, they were people who suffered a whole lot. Rather than simply saying that, you know, Caesar is Tyrus or Lord, because to them, Lord was only Jesus. And that excluded the worship of Caesar, which meant actually, there's rival Lee, they didn't take the title, Lord, in a light way.
There is some indirect evidence to that in the New Testament in the first currency, and for example, Chapter 12, verse three, seem to give this kind of indication of either or,
that's why young concludes, and maybe I can give a direct quotation from him on this. He says, The early Christians confession of Jesus as Lord can be seen as a deliberate antithesis to the Imperial cults.
That is the real King, and Lord is Jesus who, like Caesar, was God manifests
on earth, and the Lord and Savior of men. So this seemed to give reasonable indication that even the term Lord and God was really meant
to mean what it says when they were speaking about the divine rulers.
You mentioned earlier in the program that you're presented to theories about the origin of the Christian Creed's in the Hellenistic world. Now, we've discussed one so far, maybe I'd like him to talk about the second theory. Sure. The second one is what the young, of course referred to as divine men, which is an idea or theory that this exists actually in the Hellenistic world before for Christianity. In fact, young refers to what he calls an enormous amount of material on that subject that was collected by L beeler. It's B, I, II, er, in which seems to indicate that in the ancient world, some individuals were believed to belong to a class, which is somewhere between gods and
humans. And they called this in Greek, C was not th e, or s, that's a different word, th, E,
And he says that the oldest of the Gospels as believed to be the gospel, according to Mark, seem to have used this kind of tradition when he introduced Jesus as a divine man, a man endowed with superhuman
medical working powers.
I mentioned to make science common theory that appears to me that the use of the term divine is the way young use it does not seem to indicate
Actually, young himself says that
they used to believe that God's grace or spirit was enough to make a man or
Scripture, divine, so divine, or th, er or s, seem to be, perhaps a reference to inspired rather than God or God incarnate as such. Anyway, young indicates that while this theory also was criticized, he comment again by saying that the existence of striking analogies, called striking analogies to Christology cannot be totally dismissed. Another thing that attracted my attention, reading, or looking at it from Islamic perspective,
is that the young says that many of the philosophers in the past used to believe that, that the five men were actually
in, you know, regular human beings who after living, very superior type of careers, were deified by the people, because one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, actually, he gives that explanation. But that's, of course, was 1400 years ago, long before the studies were initiated, that actually some of them were ordinary human beings verified by their people after
the end of their life on Earth.
In any case, don't conclude from this, that one cannot dismiss out of hand, as you say, is the view that something of the same kind happened in the case of Jesus, the patient, Afterwards, he gets, for example,
one illustration of the similarity between the Synoptic narratives that's the Synoptic Gospels, the first three, and between live his account of Romanus, we discussed Romulus in a previous program.
From the standpoint of both that Jesus and Romulus, are individuals with remarkable careers, that there was no trace of the remains after the death, both of them that both are set to have appears to their successors to commission, their followers.
He says that, even though it may be difficult to establish direct influence between these writings, and the right things are the writers of the New Testament. It is obvious, however, that people who lived about the same time like the first century have already produced what he calls mythological accounts of parallel motifs.
I'd like to add to this again, that young did not even stop at that he says that these two theories, even the Imperial language, and the divine men theory,
are not necessarily even the only explanations of the possible roots of the notion of, of God incarnate.
He mentioned very, very good points in dealing with these theories. But I didn't notice any additional explanations about the origin of the Christian creed, that young may have suggested. Or, for example, he says that the these two theories that we just finished discussing,
can be regarded more perhaps as the context, the context in which the christological beliefs about Jesus peace be upon him emerged,
but does not, as you mentioned before, short the direct influence, but he added to that also that there seem to be additional interesting evidence. He says that in the Greco Roman world, there were some
terminology and practices which were used by the mystery religions,
in which again, quote, salvation was imparted to the initiator through mystical identification with a dying and rising God.
Okay, and that again, was prior to the birth of Jesus piecemeal, related to that also.
In addition, is the language that was used by Paul, the language of incarnation or God incarnate, can explain also or can be explained by making reference to the so called gnostic Redeemer myth. We talked before about Gnosticism, a combination of, you know, mysticism with philosophy,
about a heavenly figure, who comes to the world to reveal the secrets of the universe, to show what will be the destiny of the spiritual man.
But he says, however, are asked,
Is it really that porn was influenced by the Gnostic thinking, or did Paul himself influence?
He says, One this method is much debate.
In theological, let's a chat. And he says, instead of getting into that debate,
where there is no conclusive evidence one way or the other, he says, it is clear, however,
that Christianity did have some sort of Jewish origin, and that the writers of the New Testament have already maintained many of those, you might say, Jewish attitudes, and that Christianity did not actually divorce itself totally from its Jewish roots. until later, when there was a bitter controversy, and after most of the Jews rejected Christianity, young however, notice that porn, who is believed to have come actually from a Jewish background, that porn was the first witness to the notion of a supernatural beings are agent of God coming into the world, in the form of Jesus.
And he says, of course, it's difficult to say that Orion
was influenced in this kind of thought only, only by this entire mystery religion. This might have been probably one source, but he says that some people indicate that
porn continues even later on, in the apologetic and political tradition, speaking against the multiplicity of gods and so on. But young, however, see that this is not necessarily a very valid objection to that possible connection between Judaism or some faults within Judaism, and the idea of reincarnation.
But he says that, in any case,
the main question to raise here is Judaism,
out of which Christianity sprang,
was that Judaism, totally monolithic, that is to say, was it all the same, was a totally unaffected
and there was no influence whatsoever on Judaism, from the engine tired world as some people assumed? And he suggested the answer to that question is actually, you know,
be he give any evidence to support his, his ideas? Yes, he says, For example, take the term Son of God.
And he said, the term Son of God has been used and has been common in Judaism. And it was not alien really, to it.
In fact, you might recall we touched on that also, so many programs back when we talk about the, the claims about divinity of Prophet Jesus peace be upon him. For example, in the Second Samuel,
chapter seven, verse 14, in the Psalms of David, the second Psalm, verse seven, and so on, many others, many individual people of prophets were called, Son of God.
In that sense, we can say that in in Judaism, also Son of God was used to describe the sorts of ideal King, Messiah, Messiah, and the pre Christian expectations.
Then, after the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, or the Qumran text, as they call it,
we find that the same kind of technology also has been used, Son of God, Son of God, Son of the Most High, and this were all described, to use to describe some human being, apocalyptic human being like they say, at least in that particular text, and that was
about one century, before the coming of Jesus.
In addition to this, in the so called intertestamental literature, which means writings which were somewhere in between the Old Testament and the New Testament, the term Son of God was also used to refer to righteous and wise men. In some cases, it was used to refer even to rabbis
in, in the later Jewish literature, as well as the Old Testament also,
it seems to have been used also Son of God, to refer to, quote, heavenly, angelic beings, and to supernatural mediators.
Even in the writing of a Jewish philosopher like phaedo, Ph I, and oh, who was
Alexandria resided in Alexandria. We find again, that is logos, which very much influenced the development of Christianity later on. The term logos actually was called Son of God and first born
I was born. And he says that, generally speaking,
when the Jews use the term Son of God, they meant actually
someone with godlike quantity, someone who is specially designated by God for a special test. So the idea is to have some connections, it is sometimes argued that we are all actually the
god children. But what that is different is that not from the term the Son of God, how does all of this relate to Young's argument?
Well, according to Young's you say that, suppose even we make a distinction.
But that distinction between Son of God and son capital S of God is not really a distinction in nature, but rather in function. In other words, the Son of God, whether, in some literature he is regarded as angelic being or human,
would be the one who is uniquely chosen or destined to fulfill the promise of God.
But, having said that much, he says that this sort of sonship also applies equally to other angelic beings, or to other human beings. It's not really that exclusive as a term to be used to refer to them. On the basis of that he says that, even though we might not be able to trace
the exact influence of the Hellenistic thought, to the expressions used in Judaism, we seem to have what he called a prima facie parallels
between the Jewish and Hellenistic treatment of the rollers. Well, this words were idea loaders, or extra dollars of profits,
or miracle workers,
as divine people, or sons of God,
that relates to the discussion of young of the issue of whether the Jews use the term Son of God in a way that's different, for example, from the Greco Roman world. But he adds, however, that the Jews in spite of this were not really totally unaffected by the Hellenistic mythology, which relates to the the issue of deification.
Now, I'm sure that this position may not be familiar to all around, or maybe even most of our viewers. Now, did he explain how he arrived at that conclusion? What he says there are a number of hints that Jews were not entirely isolated from the surrounding cultural atmospheres of the times.
But at the same time, he says, There seem to be some indication of some indigenous developments.
Maybe that was inspired by the story of the ascension of Enoch, and Elijah, directly to heavens that's has some foundation in the in the Bible, and indicate that in some of the writings about Moses peace be upon him. In the first century before Christ, we find that Moses is presented not only as a law giver or American worker, but he is also regarded by the priests in Egypt as someone who should be honored as a god, which shows that the idea again, or what he was seeing, like Jesus, according to Mark, for example, as a divine man, this tendency to consider Moses a divine men, is further confirmed by the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus. In one story, he describes how
Moses was about to embrace any desire and Joshua, when acknowledged, all of a sudden came, and he disappeared. And that's some people believe that Moses had been taken to a divinity, which is a very similar to the story of Romulus budget of the world before. Even before ZFS we find some hints in the writings of Philo, the alexandrian, Jewish historian or writer in his book life of Moses.
He says that Moses, some kind of Divine Spirit fell on him before His ascension to heavens, and he was able to to predict the story of his death while he was still alive.
Wow, this this is
just very fascinating, but I'm afraid we've run out of time. Continuing shall our next week. Thank you all for joining us you understand the focus as always, your comments and your questions will be most appreciated. Our phone number and address will be appearing on your screen for all of us who understand the focus, ask them I hope to see you next week.