Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

Did Jesus Claim Divinity III : More on "Claims"


In this segment, Br. Badawi attempts to prove, using Biblical quotations and old an Jehovah's Witness list of arguments, that Jesus is not divine. Most, if not all, of these arguments have been repeated many times on various Muslim websites. Now, without further ado, we will analyze the arguments.

Host: Did Jesus say that He was the way, the truth, and the life?

Jamal Badawi: John 14:6:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

In fact this was an answer given by Jesus to Thomas when he asked him the way. This statement has nothing to do with the divinity of Jesus, if we refer to John 14:7, if you had know me you would have known my father also. In the context of this statement, we can understand what Jesus meant when he said that he was the way, the truth, and the light. However, know, obeys, and follows me knows and obeys God because it is He who sent me. This statement attributed to Jesus applies to every Prophet and messenger because the Prophets is not following his own whim or ideas, he is following the revelation of God.

This has nothing to do with divinity?!? Jesus said that He was THE WAY. He did not say that He was "a" way, "one" way, or "one of many" ways - He said that He was THE WAY. No Prophet of God ever said that he was THE WAY to God. Jesus Christ is "THE WAY" to the Father--"no man cometh unto the Father but by Me"; He is "THE TRUTH" of all we find in the Father we find in Him, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Col 2:9); and, He is "THE LIFE" that will flow to us and bless us from the God who is approached and thus manifested in Him "this is the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20). The main message of this passage is that the Son is the ordained and is the perfect manifestation of God the Father.

Since the truth of God is one, there cannot be two contradictory truths, that is the ultimate truth. That means there is no other way to God, by theological ideas or philosophical speculation, it is the revelation or teaching of God. Every Prophet in his time is the way and the light, especially if we find the true teachings without change or interpretation.

Jesus claimed to be the Truth. Does Dr. Badawi consider this to be a serious statement? After all, one of the early Sufis, Al-Hallaj (858-922 A.D.), once said "I am the Truth" and he was crucified as a heretic by orthodox Muslims in 922 A.D. Badawi probably does not realize that Jesus is, once again, claiming to be divine in this passage. When Jesus says "I am the life," He is actually claiming to be God. Life is on of the prerogatives of God and God alone. In fact, one of Allah's 99 names isAl-Hayy: The Living. Also Al-Haqq: The Truth is another attribute of God and God alone.

Jesus does not say that I am a way, but says the way using the definitive article. This should not be taken literally because when we say hail the king, it doesn't mean that he is the only king or president. All other Prophets could be called the way in their time. There is a great danger if we take this literally, if it says that nobody comes to the Father except through me and we take it literally, it means that all of the Prophets are lost, even the friend of God Abraham has to be lost also, they died before Jesus was born. There is no implication here that Jesus is divine. There is a linguistic problem here.

Did any other Prophet make these claims? Was Muhammad "the way"? Did he ever make such a claim? If this is merely a "linguistic problem", why was Al-Hallaj executed for saying that he was the truth?

Host: Even if Jesus did not say that he was God, he claimed qualities that were divine. How do you respond to that?

Jamal Badawi: Jesus told people that their sins were forgiven, which is only something that can be done from God's providence. God revealed to Jesus that the man was forgiven and Jesus relayed the information. This is prophecy, God tells prophets what will happen in the future.

This is consistent with Jesus' statement that I do nothing by myself, I do the will of Him that sent me.

Claiming the ability to forgive sins is astonishing! What Prophet ever made the claim that he could forgive sins? Jesus made this claim several times:

Mark 2:5-12:

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Get up, take your mat and walk'?But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...."

Matthew 9:2-8 and Luke 5:19-25 record the same incident. In all three passages, Jesus not only healed a paralytic man, but He claimed the authority to forgive sins. The teachers of the law asked a valid question, although their hearts were not pure. According to Isaiah 43:25, only God can forgive sins. How could a man claim authority and power to forgive sins? When He said that He had this authority on earth, He was telling the people that forgiving power dwells in the Person of this Man [Jesus], and is exercised by Him while on this earth.

An even more startling statement, which is often misinterpreted by Muslims, is in John 20:21-23, where Jesus grants His disciples the authority to forgive sins. In other words, Jesus not only has the authority to forgive sins, but he is also able to grant that authority to his disciples! Have any other Prophet spoken that way?

What did Jesus mean when He said that He does nothing by Himself but does the will of Him sent Him? Remember, a good "son" is always obedient to his "father". He is always doing his father's will and acting like him ( John 8:37-47). Jesus often pointed to His works as clear and conclusive evidence of the fact that He is the Son of God. He said: "If I am not acting as my Father would, do not believe me. But if I am, accept the evidence of my deeds, even if you do not believe me, so that you may recognise and know that the Father is in me, and I in the Father" (John 10:37). Jesus did the works of God, His Father, acting exactly as God would have acted.

Some people refer to the Book of Revelation where John claims that Jesus appeared and said I am the Alpha Omega, the first and last in Revelation 1:1 and 17. I really wonder to what extent can we base our faith on a vision or dream of a person after the ministry of Jesus? By reading the rest of the book, to see what else is there. Visions are not a basis on which to establish faith. This is something that the Prophet during his ministry made perfectly clear.

What? You base your faith on the visions of Muhammad! When we read the Book of Revelation, we see prophecies, some of which have come to pass. We certainly see nothing of this sort when we read the Qur'an and sayings of Muhammad.

Host: Jesus said that he existed before Abraham, does that not prove divinity.

Jamal Badawi: John 8:56-59:

Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

It is interesting to notice in a footnote in the RSV it says in other ancient authorities, it says Abraham seeing me. What could that mean? The fact theat Jesus was before Abraham does not mean that he is eternal. All humans existed in the mind of God before creation. The mind of God is more important than the physical manifestation. Another interesting issue which is referred to by some such as Gary Miller some people make an argument that when Jesus said this, I am this is the same term that God used to refer to himself in Exodus 3:14.

The RSV says:

John 8:56-59:

Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad." The Jews then said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

Jesus, once again, said that He existed before Abraham! Being co-eternal with God, He is One with God.

It is known that since the 3rd century BC, the Jews used the Greek translation which refers to God as Ho on. In the New Testament, it is not available in Jesus' language, the Greek term used to refer to Jesus in John 8:58 is Egoeimi. If it were true that John wanted to tell that Jesus was equal to God he would have used Ho on, but he didn't. These are two different terms of I am.

Dr. Badawi needs to review his Greek. For a detailed discussion of this verse, as well as the Muslim misinterpretation of it, please read Jesus said 'I am' so he must be God.

Host: How about his statement that he is from above and not of this world?

Jamal Badawi: John 8:23:

But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

That is the foundation to claim that Jesus is divine, John 17:14:

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

In another John 15:19:

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

So he calls his disciples that they are not of the world. So literally, the disciples were divine. They were not divine.

First, those who belong to God are not of the world, but are raised with Christ, "Seated at the right hand of God." Second we must remember that Jesus came from above, and that He walked among the human race. We must also recall that Jesus died for our sins and those of us who repent and accept Jesus as out Lord and Savior will be carried up with Him to heaven. Jesus existed, and will continue to exist, from all eternity. We, on the other hand, were born in sin, and have not known God, except that He revealed Himself to us in Jesus. Thus is fulfilled the saying, "The first shall be last and the last first."

Host: He was called the Son of God, is that a sign of divinity?

Jamal Badawi: Not according to the Bible, Jesus never abrogated the Old Testament. We need to understand how the term Son of God has been used. Numerous others were called son of God Abraham Jeremiah 31:9, Jacob Exodus 4:22, David 2 Samuel 7:14, Solomon 1 Chronicle 22:10. The term son of God also appears in the plural, the children of Israel were called the sons of God Deut 14:1, 32:19. Isaiah 30:1, Hosea 1:10, Genesis 6:2 in all of these sons of God were used in the plural. Israel was called the first born son of God in Exodus 4:22, David was called the first born son of God in Psalm 89:27. The only son of God was only used not to be taken literally. In Genesis 2:22, Issac was called the only son of Abraham, not true because of Ishmael. Begotten son has also been used for others, David for example Psalm 2:7. The conclusion is that son of God has been used without implication of divinity.

Host: Has the Old Testament use of the term son of God been confirmed in the New Testament?

Jamal Badawi: Even in the New Testament it doesn't imply divinity. Luke 3:38 it says that Jesus is a descendant of Adam, the son of God. Matthew 5:9:

So peacemakers are also the children of God. It is reported in Matthew 5:45 and 48. Uses children of God. John 8:42

1 John 3:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

Anyone who believes in Jesus is a child of God. It doesn't mean deification. It is obvious when Jesus refers to God as the Father, he is using allegorical meanings, referring to God as the Father of all human beings (John 8:41, Matt 5:45 and 48). Jesus said my Father and your Father John 20:17:

Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, `I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"

The Old Testament also uses the term Father to refer to God (Isaiah 56:16, 64:8), it is only allegory. Gary Miller made an observation that some claim that it is obvious the Jesus speaks of God as the Father of all of humanity. In the Lord's prayer, however, there is one reference where Jesus used to term Abba, this is intimate Mark 14:36, the exact term was used to refer to other disciples (Romans 8:15, Gal 4:6). We can conclude that this is not really restricted to Jesus, but to all Prophets.

The term"son of God" is used frequently in the Bible. We must, however, look at the context in which it is used. Dr. Badawi, and the Jehovah's Witnesses who invented these arguments, claim that we Christians believe that Jesus is divine because He is called the Son of God - a title that the Bible also gives to others. What they do understand, or do not want to understand, is that Jesus [His earthly body] did not become the Son of God, rather the Son of God who existed "before the world began" (John 17:5; and Colossians 1:13-20) became Jesus. For a comprehensive discussion of the meaning of the term "Son of God", please read Jesus as the Son of God by Luther Engelbrecht Ernest Hahn.

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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