The Illusional Gift? - Only to Ghounem

Sam Shamoun


If there was no cryptonite in the Universe, could you kill Superman?

He does have super powers and can withstand anything.

How about God?

What can kill God?


The obvious question is nothing or no one is able to kill God, something that the Holy Bible is in complete agreement with. Yet, the Holy Bible states that God chose to become man in order to experience "death." The scriptures are clear that Jesus allowed himself to die since no one could take his life away from him if he had chosen not to die:

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-AND I LAY DOWN MY LIFE FOR THE SHEEPThe reason my Father loves me is that I LAY DOWN MY LIFE-only to take it up again. NO ONE TAKES IT FROM, BUT I LAY IT DOWN OF MY OWN ACCORD. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father." John 10:14-15, 17-18

"'Do you refuse to speak to me?' Pilate said. 'Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?' Jesus answered, 'YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME IF IT WERE NOT GIVEN TO YOU FROM ABOVE. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.'" John 19:10-11

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, YET FOR YOUR SAKES HE BECAME POOR, so that you through his poverty might become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME." Galatians 2:20

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, BUT MADE HIMSELF NOTHING, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:5-8

These passages clearly establish the point that Christ chose to die on behalf of sinners. The Lord himself affirms that no one can take his life away, but in his infinite love chose to die on behalf of his people.

The second problem that is implicit in Ghounem's reasoning is his assumption that death means non-existence or annihilation. Hence, since God cannot cease to exist or annihilate himself it is therefore impossible for God to die. Yet, the term "death" means different things in different contexts. As we shall see, when the term "death" is used in conjunction with Christ, it does not imply that Christ annihilated himself or ceased to exist for three days.


A few Jews or Romans?



It was not the Jews or Romans who crucified and killed the eternal Word of God. Rather, it was God who determined that Jesus Christ would die at the hands of these men; men whom God sovereignly controlled to fulfill his set purpose:

"Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you BY GOD'S SET PURPOSE AND FOREKNOWLEDGE; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." Acts 2:22-23

"On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. 'Sovereign Lord,' they said, 'you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: 'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One.' Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. THEY DID WHAT YOUR POWER AND WILL HAD DECIDED BEFOREHAND SHOULD HAPPEN.'" Acts 4:23-28


Then where is the present?

Paul claims God gave us a present so we don't have to do the impossible anymore (Deuteronomy 30:11-18 [English-NIV]

Where is the gift?


The gift is revealed right in scripture:

"When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, 'Will you give me a drink?' (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, 'You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?' (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.' 'Sir,' the woman said, 'you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?' Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'" John 4:7-14

The gift of God is eternal life that is imparted by God's Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ:

"On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified." John 7:37-39

"When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, 'Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.' Peter answered: 'May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!'" Acts 8:14-20

"The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles." Acts 10:45

"So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?'" Acts 11:17

"But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men." Romans 5:15-18

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

This gift is even available to Ghounem if he humbles himself and repents, embracing Christ as his Lord. This gift cannot be found in Islam.


Since nothing can kill God, than God did not die for us.

It only appeared as though he died.

If God was alive the entire time, then no sacrifice was ever made.


Ghounem now forces his definition of death upon the Holy Bible, as opposed to allowing the Holy Bible to define what the term "death" implies.

According to Scriptures death does not necessarily refer to non-existence, but rather refers to separation. The Scriptures tell us that as a result of man's sin two types of separation have occurred. The first is spiritual "death" where a person is severed from having fellowship with God, being separated from God's holy presence. Hence, instead of God's love abiding upon an individual, it is the divine wrath that rests upon him:

"The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.'" Genesis 2:15-17

After disobeying God by eating from the forbidden tree, the man and his wife were then banished from the presence of God in Eden:

"And the LORD God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.' So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life." Genesis 3:22-24

Scriptures continue to elaborate on this spiritual separation that has occurred as a result of sin:

"For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil will not sojourn with you. The boastful will not stand before your eyes; you hate evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful." Psalm 5:4-6 NRSV

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." Psalm 66:18

"Rather, your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear." Isa. 59:2 NRSV

"Then they will cry to the LORD, but He will not hear them; He will even hide His face from them at that time, because they have been evil in their deeds." Micah 3:4

"Your eyes are too pure to behold evil, and you cannot look on wrongdoing..." Habakkuk 1:13 NRSV

"But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed… But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." Romans 2:5, 8

The greatest separation between God and man occurs in hell, where sinners are forever severed from fellowship with God:

"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. THE LAKE OF FIRE IS THE SECOND DEATH. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:11-15

This is the type of "death" Christ experienced while on the cross, broken fellowship and intimacy. The Father severed his intimate communion with the Son temporarily in order that his wrath would abide upon Christ on behalf of the people he had come to redeem:

"And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?', that is, 'My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?'" Matthew 27:46

"God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-" Romans 3:25

According to the NIV translators, the Greek phrase for "a sacrifice of atonement" means that Christ was presented "as the one who would turn aside his wrath, taking away sin." Hence, Jesus curbed God's wrath by taking it upon himself while on the cross.

The second type of "death" which the Holy Bible refers to is physical death. This is where the soul departs from the body and the body returns to the ground from which it came:

"And to the man he said, 'Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, "You shall not eat of it," cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat the bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return'." Genesis 3:17-19 NRSV

"Remember him-before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it." Ecclesiastes 12:6-7

Yet, the problem is that God is essentially a Spirit, having neither a material nor immaterial body. (cf. John 4:24)

In order for him to experience physical death on behalf of sinners he needed to take on a human nature. This is precisely what God chose to do when becoming man in the person of Christ. At the moment of death, Christ's spirit departed his body. On the third day, the eternal Spirit of Christ, along with his human soul, reunited with his body where he then arose in immortal glory:

"And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, 'Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.' Having said this, He breathed His last." Luke 23:46

Hence, when we allow Scripture to define death we find absolutely no problems with the divine Son of God dying on behalf of his elect.


Someone is not telling us the truth, either it is Paul or God who is

Giving us false hope and confusion.

If Jesus died, than by definition, he was not a God.


The problem is neither with Paul or God, but with Ghounem's gross misunderstanding of biblical theology. He must assume that death can only mean non-existence or annihilation and hence cannot possibly allow for God to experience death on behalf of sinners.

Yet, interestingly not only is his definition of death unbiblical, it is also contrary to the Quran:

"Think not of those, who are slain in the way of Allah, as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision." S. 3:169

This echoes the words of the Lord Jesus Christ:

"But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." Luke 20:37-38


If he was not a God, then he can not bear the burden of another (II Kings 14:6, Deuteronomy 24:16).


Yet, he is God and hence is able to take our burdens upon himself.


Now if God can't die, and a man can not bear the burden of others, then we must conclude Jesus was a Prophet of God to warn people of sin (Matthew 13:57 also in Mark 6:4, Luke 4:24, John 4:43)


Correction. God did not die according to Ghounem's definition of death. Yet, God the Son experienced biblical death, which is not annihilation or non-existence. Hence, there is no problem to the Christian since the Holy Bible has the answer to Ghounem's alleged paradox.


But did not give Us any gift as some may claim.

It may have appeared to have been a gift, but in fact it was not a gift, but a mere illusion.


It is only an illusion to one who does not understand the Holy Bible. Yet, for those who have been empowered by the Holy Spirit to fathom the divine mystery, the gift is both real and irrevocable.


What does this mean?

Simply that we have to try harder to avoid sin, I know it is hard, but the more we try, the more we will be rewarded, and if we should fall short, just remember that God is never ending in Love and Forgiveness:


Unfortunately for Ghounem, his claim that one simply needs to try harder is not only unbiblical but un-Islamic as well. In pure Islamic teaching, it is Allah who chooses both those who will be saved as well as those who will be damned to hell. In fact, Allah also determines both good and immoral deeds a person must commit:

"What aileth you that ye are become two parties regarding the hypocrites, when Allah cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they earned ? Seek ye to guide him whom Allah hath sent astray ? He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him thou (O MUhammad) canst not find a road." S. 4:88 Pickthall

"Lo! the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceiveth them. When they stand up to worship they perform it languidly and to be seen of men, and are mindful of Allah but little; Swaying between this (and that), (belonging) neither to these nor to those. He whom Allah causeth to go astray, thou (O Muhammad) wilt not find a way for him:" S. 4:142-143

"Those whom Allah wills to guide, He opens their breast to Islam; Those whom He wills to leave straying, - he makes their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus does Allah lay abomination on those who refuse to believe." S. 6:125

"Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell." S. 7:179

"In truth thy Lord destroyed not the townships tyrannously while their folk were doing right. And if thy Lord had willed, He verily would have made mankind one nation, yet they cease not differing, Save him on whom thy Lord hath mercy; and for that He did create them. And the Word of thy Lord hath been fulfilled: Verily I shall fill hell with the jinn and mankind together." S. 11:117-119

In case, Ghounem objects and claims that the passage states that God does not destroy a town for no reason, we remind him of the following verse:

"And when We desire to destroy a city, We command its men who live at ease, and they commit ungodliness therein, then the Word is realized against it, and We destroy it utterly." S. 17:16

"Allah leads astray whomsoever He will and guides whomsoever he will." S. 14:4

'Ali reported:

We were in a funeral in the graveyard of Al-Gharqad when Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) came to us, sat, and we sat around him. He had a stick with him. He lowered his head and began to scratch the earth with his stick, and then said: There is no one among you whose seat in Paradise or Hell has not been allotted and about whom it has not been written down whether he would be an evil person or a blessed person. A man said: Allah's Messenger, should we not then depend upon our destiny and abandon our deeds? Thereupon he said: Acts of everyone will be facilitated according to WHAT HAS BEEN DESTINED FOR HIM so that whoever belongs to the company of the blessed will have good works MADE EASIER FOR HIM and whoever belongs to the unfortunate ones will have evil acts MADE EASIER FOR HIM. He then recited this verse (from the Qur'an): As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allâh and fears Him, And believes in Al-Husna, We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness). But he who is greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient, and gives the lie to Al-Husna, We will make smooth for him the path for evil [cf. surah 92:5-10]; (Sahih Muslim, Hadith Number [Arabic only]: 4786; Source of quotation; Arabic text)

'Imran bin Husain reported:

It was said to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him): Can the people of Paradise be distinguished from the denizens of Hell? He said: Yes. It was again said: (If it is so), then what is the use of doing good deeds? Thereupon he said: Things are facilitated for everyone to act according to what has been created for him. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith Number [Arabic only]: 4789; Source of quotation; Arabic text)

Narrated 'Imran:

I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Why should a doer (people) try to do good deeds?" The Prophet said, "Everybody will find easy to do such deeds as will lead him TO HIS DESTINED PLACE FOR WHICH HE HAS BEEN CREATED." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 641)

Narrated 'Abdullah:

Allah's Apostle, the truthful and truly-inspired, said, "Each one of you collected in the womb of his mother for forty days, and then turns into a clot for an equal period (of forty days) and turns into a piece of flesh for a similar period (of forty days) and then Allah sends an angel and orders him to write four things, i.e., his provision, his age, and whether he will be of the wretched or the blessed (in the Hereafter). Then the soul is breathed into him. And by Allah, a person among you (or a man) may do deeds of the people of the Fire till there is only a cubit or an arm-breadth distance between him and the Fire, but then that writing (which Allah has ordered the angel to write) precedes, and he does the deeds of the people of Paradise and enters it; and a man may do the deeds of the people of Paradise till there is only a cubit or two between him and Paradise, and then that writing precedes and he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 77, Number 593)

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas:

I did not see anything so resembling minor sins as what Abu Huraira said from the Prophet, who said, "Allah has written for the son of Adam his inevitable share of adultery whether he is aware of it or not: The adultery of the eye is the looking (at something which is sinful to look at), and the adultery of the tongue is to utter (what it is unlawful to utter), and the innerself wishes and longs for (adultery) and the private parts turn that into reality or refrain from submitting to the temptation." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 77, Number 609)

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam. 'O Adam! You are our father who disappointed us and turned us out of Paradise.' Then Adam said to him, 'O Moses! Allah favored you with His talk (talked to you directly) and He wrote (the Torah) for you with His Own Hand. Do you blame me for action which Allah had written in my fate forty years before my creation?' So Adam confuted Moses, Adam confuted Moses," the Prophet added, repeating the Statement three times. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 77, Number 611)

'A'isha, the mother of the believers, said that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) was called to lead the funeral prayer of a child of the Ansar. I said: Allah's Messenger, there is happiness for this child who is a bird from the birds of Paradise for it committed no sin nor has he reached the age when one can commit sin. He said: 'A'isha, per adventure, it may be otherwise, because God created for Paradise those who are fit for it while they were yet in their father's loins and created for Hell those who are to go to Hell. He created them for Hell while they were yet in their father's loins. (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6436)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Apostle as saying:

Verily Allah has fixed the very portion of adultery which a man will indulge in, and which he of necessity must commit (or there would be no escape from it). (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6421, 6422)

Allah is completely unlike the God of the Holy Bible. In Scripture we are told that every perfect and good gift comes from God whereas every evil, immoral deed comes from the desires of man, not God:

"When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:13-17


"on account of sins. When our transgressions prevail over us, thou dost forgive them." Ps 65:3

"Thou didst forgive the iniquity of thy people; thou didst pardon all their sin. " Ps 85:2

'The LORD is slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression,.' Nu 14:18

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Isa 55:7



Precisely. Yet, there must be a basis in which God's holiness has been met allowing for forgiveness to take place. The basis for that lies in the fact that God himself has made the ransom on behalf of his elect, satisfying his infinite holiness:

"No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him - the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough-that he should live on forever and not see decay… But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. Psalm 49:7-9, 15

"Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak… The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins," declares the LORD." Isaiah 59:15-17, 20 (cf. Romans 11:26-27)

"Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? 'It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.' Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? 'I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.'" Isaiah 63:1-6 (cf. Revelation 19:11-21)

"God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." Romans 3:25-26

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

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