Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus Christ – The Omniscient Lord of Glory! [Part 1]

Sam Shamoun

This is a continuation of our refutation (*) to Zaatari’s “reply” (*) concerning the believers’ testimony to the Deity of Christ in John’s Gospel (*).

Saying what you mean and meaning what you say –
More examples of Zaatari’s carelessness

As we had mentioned in a previous rebuttal (*) Zaatari is rather careless in the way he uses his terms and fails to clearly define his words so that his readers can understand his point. In this recent “reply” he again carelessly uses a term and fails to explain what he means by it.

Yet Shamoun ignores the fact that Jesus did not know everything! Peter's statement makes a lot of sense, but since Shamoun is a Trinitarian, he fully reads into the verse and takes it literally. When Peter said that Jesus knows everything this was not literal [sic], this is something very common [sic] in spoken languages, especially when you are talking to your leader [sic], you will figuratively say you know everything, but of course you don't literally mean it!

What does Zaatari mean that Peter’s confession should be taken figuratively? Does he mean a figure of speech, and if so what type of figure of speech does Zaatari have in mind? He surely can’t mean that Peter’s words are intended to be taken metaphorically as in the saying, “A mighty fortress is our God.” Nor can he possibly mean that we should understand it in the same way that we are to understand specific Biblical statements such as God being a rock (cf. Deuteronomy 32:4). We know that God is neither a mighty fortress nor a rock so these statements must be metaphors, or similes, which denote something about God’s character.

So in what sense is Peter’s statement figurative? Did Zaatari want to say that Peter’s words should be taken as hyperbole, as an exaggerated way of speaking or praising his Lord and Master? If this is what he means then Zaatari is going to have to come out and simply say so. He is also going to have to address all the major difficulties with this being nothing more than a hyperbolic way of referring to Jesus’ knowledge.

For instance, if this was a common way of speaking of a person’s knowledge and understanding as Zaatari contends then surely he will have no problems finding plenty of examples to substantiate this claim. We therefore challenge Zaatari to quote some Biblical references where people spoke of certain individuals knowing everything even though they didn’t actually mean this since they simply meant this hyperbolically. We invite Zaatari to cite verses where a person speaks of his leader knowing everything figuratively, but not actually.   

There are other problems with Zaatari’s argument which we will mention shortly. But first we would like to document how Zaatari is constantly contradicting himself. 

Is it Figurative or Not?

It seems that Zaatari has contradicted himself once again (we say seems since we do not know for certain what he means by the term figurative). Notice that previously Zaatari argued that Peter meant Jesus knew everything figuratively, but not literally, which we take to mean that Peter was speaking hyperbolically. Yet here he wishes to prove that the Greek word for all, pas, doesn’t have to literally mean all things or everything:

If Shamoun is still not happy then I refer him to the Greek, in the Greek the word translated as everything is PAS, here is the verse with the Translation:

"He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?' Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?' And he said to him, ?Lord, you know everything (PAS); you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.

If anyone studies the word PAS, the word PAS does not literally have to mean ALL and EVERYTHING, for instance a Christian scholar himself writes:

'The whole world is gone after him.' Did all the world go after Christ? 'Then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.' Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem baptized in Jordan? 'Ye are of God, little children', and 'the whole world lieth in the wicked one.' Does 'the whole world' there mean everybody? If so, how was it, then, that there were some who were 'of God?' The words 'world' and 'all' are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture; and it is very rarely that 'all' means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts?some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted his redemption to either Jew or Gentile." (Charles H. Spurgeon, Particular Redemption, A Sermon, 28 Feb 1858).

So as you can see, the very same word that Peter used, PAS, does not literally have to mean everything. As the Christian scholar himself writes, there are passages in the Gospels which claim that the WHOLE WORLD went after Jesus, yet did the WHOLE WORLD literally go after him? Off course not.

Also when the Gospels say that ALL OF JUDEA were baptized in Jordan, well did all of Judea literally baptize Jordan? Off course not.

Hence the fact is this, the word PAS does not literally have to mean all. So when Peter stated that Jesus knows PAS, he did not literally mean that Jesus knew everything

In order to help the readers understand what Zaatari and his source are saying, it is vitally important to note that the word pas doesn’t always mean all things or everything. The word can refer to all kinds of, all types of, all manner of, all classes of, of every kind etc.

The word can also mean all in the sense of many (cf. Matthew 22:10; Luke 4:40; John 10:8; Acts 5:36). In fact, in specific contexts it is actually used in parallel with polus, or “many”: 

“That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all (panta) the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many (pollou) who had various diseases. He also drove out many (polla) demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” Mark 1:32-34

In this example, the word pas (“all”) refers to the many sick and demon-possessed individuals who came to the Lord Jesus to be healed.

Zaatari seems to be saying that Peter is using pas to mean that Jesus knew all sorts of things –perhaps in relation to the outcome of his earthly mission – but doesn’t know everything in an absolute sense like God does.   

Here is where Zaatari shows that he is delving into issues that are well beyond him. If Peter’s statements were hyperbolic then this means that pas does actually mean everything in the absolute sense, e.g. Jesus knows absolutely everything there is to know. Yet Peter could not have meant this literally since Christ isn’t omniscient (or so Zawadi erroneously assumes). Yet if pas doesn’t mean everything but has a more restricted meaning just as we find in the examples from Spurgeon’s quote (with the exception of John 12:19 which is obviously a hyperbolic use of the phrase “the whole world”) then Zaatari cannot argue for a hyperbolic application at this point. He must accept that pas is being used in a literal manner to indicate that Jesus actually knows everything there is to know in respect to the extent of what pas is intended to cover here.

In other words, if Peter’s use of pas is figurative, and if by this Zaatari means hyperbolic, then it does actually mean everything or all things; but since Christ is not omniscient then it must be taken as hyperbole. However, if pas doesn’t mean everything but actually means that Christ knows all kinds of things or knows what God’s will is for his earthly life, then it can no longer be a case of hyperbole. It must be taken in the sense that the author intended it to be understood, i.e. Jesus knew a lot or knew all that he needed to know concerning what the outcome of his earthly mission would entail.  

We will let Zaatari sort through all of the confusion that his careless and sloppy way of writing and expressing his point has caused for both himself and his readers.

We now turn our attention to Zaatari’s claim that the Scriptures deny that Jesus is omniscient.

Addressing Zaatari’s Selective Citation of Holy Scripture

Zaatari repeatedly shows that he has no regard or concern for accurately handling the inspired Word of God. He will often quote a text out of its immediate and overall contexts in order to make the Holy Bible agree with his presuppositions, even though a careful analysis of the passage in question actually serves to refute his entire case. And when he can’t twist a reference successfully to prove his assertion he will then attack the textual veracity of the inspired Scriptures.

He does it here in respect to the Biblical witness to the omniscience of the Lord Jesus:    

Shamoun will say well I am arguing from silence, however so I am not, because we know that Jesus himself stated that he is ignorant! Hence you cant have it both ways, if Jesus openly said he was ignorant, and here we have Peter saying he knows everything, then that is a contradiction. Yet is isn't a contradiction because since we know that Jesus is ignorant, then we know that Peter was only speaking figuratively here, not literally.

I assume that Zaatari is alluding to Jesus’ statement where he denies knowing the day or hour of Jerusalem’s destruction: 

“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32 cf. Matthew 24:36

No matter how many times we address this text Zaatari always chooses to simply ignore our answers since he is not interested in truth or in dealing with what the Holy Bible teaches as a whole. Seeing that we have already addressed this passage elsewhere (*; *; *) we will simply summarize our points.

First, if the readers pay close attention to Christ’s words here they will see that there is an order of ascendancy where Jesus places himself above all creatures, both human beings and angels, and is subject only to the Father. The order goes something like this:  

4. Humans.
3. Angels.
2. The Son.
1. The Father.

Second, in this same chapter Jesus claims to be the Son of Man who rides the clouds and who sends forth angels to gather his elect believers:

“And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels, and gather HIS elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.” Mark 13:26-27

Christ is identifying himself with the heavenly Son of Man of Daniel 7:13-14, the One who is worshiped by all creation and rules forever. This, in itself, is a highly exalted claim since Christ is basically saying that he is a fully Divine Being who is also human and will be worshiped by all the creation he reigns over forever! This reinforces the fact that Christ believed that he is greater than both angels and humans. More on Jesus being the Son of Man later.

Third, the same Gospel testifies that Jesus does know all things, since he knows things that only God can know: 

“And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘My son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise, take up your pallet and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ -- he said to the paralytic – ‘I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.’ And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’” Mark 2:5-11; cf. Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 5:17-26

In this passage Christ knows what a person is thinking in his/her heart, has authority to forgive sins, and the Divine power to heal diseases. Yet according to the OT Scriptures these are some of the exclusively Divine functions which distinguish God from all the others!

“then shalt thou hearken from heaven, out of thine established dwelling-place, and shalt be merciful, and shalt do, and recompense to every man according to his ways, as thou shalt know his heart, for thou ALONE knowest the heart of all the children of men (hoti su monotatos oidas ten kardian panton huion anthropon).” 1 Kings 8:39 LXX

“When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their conquerors to show them mercy; for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.” 1 Kings 8:46-51

"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseaseswho redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy," Psalm 103:2-4

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger for ever because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot. You wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19

Thus, by performing the very deeds which God alone performs Jesus is pretty much demonstrating that he is God in the flesh (but not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

There are other examples in Mark which show that Jesus is not just omniscient, but omnipresent and omnipotent as well:

“They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” Mark 9:33-35

Here, Christ already knew what the disciples were discussing among themselves even though they hadn’t told him.

The Lord also knew and announced what was going on or would happen in places and vicinities that he wasn’t physically present, just as in the following example:

“Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. ‘First let the children eat all they want,’ he told her, ‘for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.’" ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.’ Then he told her, ‘For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.’ She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.” Mark 7:24-30

In this example Jesus not only had the ability to see what was occurring somewhere else he even has the power to cast out demons from a great distance, without having to be in the presence of these unclean spirits to do it!

This leads us to our fourth point. The testimony of the NT as a whole is that Christ is not simply Divine or human, but he is rather both. Jesus is God who chose to become man without ceasing to be fully Divine. In his Incarnate state, specifically during his time on earth, Jesus experienced certain limitations by virtue of his being fully human. And by acquiring this additional human nature Jesus took to himself a human consciousness along with a human mind.   

Thus, by taking into consideration the entire teaching of the NT the explanation to these paradoxical statements, i.e. Jesus knows everything while at the same time he could grow in wisdom and knowledge and be ignorant of certain things, seems to be that in his waking human consciousness Christ didn’t know all the things which he knew by virtue of being God. Jesus would have known much more on a subconscious level than he would in his waking conscious state.

Hence, Christ not knowing the day or hour may be an example of Jesus not knowing something in his waking consciousness which in respect to his subconscious mind and Divinity he would have known fully.   

Evangelical Scholars Robert M. Bowman Jr. & J. Ed Komoszewski wonderfully sum up the Biblical witness concerning the Lord Jesus’ paradoxical natures: 

“As with all the other attributes of the Son of God, there is another side that results in paradox. We saw that the Son is uncreated and yet became a human being; that he is immutable and yet grew up from infancy to adulthood; that he is omnipotent and yet experienced weariness, sleep, and even death; that he is omnipresent and yet walked from place to place like any ordinary human being. His divine attributes are his by virtue of his eternal identity as the Son of God; his finite, human limitations are normal human attributes that he has by virtue of his becoming a man in the Incarnation. A similar paradox pertains to his omniscience. By virtue of being the divine Son, Jesus was in some sense omniscient, knowing the hearts of the people around him; yet, by virtue of his incarnation, Jesus also experienced the normal limitations of human knowledge. The New Testament states that that Jesus grew in wisdom (Luke 2:42, 50) and that he ‘learned obedience’ through his sufferings (Heb. 5:8). Most famously, although Jesus predicted that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple would occur within the lifetime of his generation, he denied knowing the day or hour of the end of the age…

"However we resolve the difficulty of his lack of knowledge of certain matters during his earthly life, Jesus has no deficiency of knowledge now. The limitations on his knowledge were aspects of his self-imposed act of humbling himself to share in our mortal human nature (Phil. 2:6-7; 2 Cor. 8:9). Now, following his resurrection and ascension, in Christ ‘are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. … For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily’ (Col. 2:3, 9).” (Bowman & Komoszewski, Putting Jesus In His Place: The Case For The Deity Of Christ [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], Part 2. Like Father, Like Son: Jesus Shares the Attributes of God, Chapter 10. He’s Got What It Takes, pp. 120, 121-122)

Whatever the explanation may be the fact remains that the Holy Bible teaches BOTH of these truths simultaneously without bothering to explain how all of this works out. The duty of any serious student or scholar of the Holy Bible is to take seriously what the Scriptures teach as a whole, and not simply pick and choose what one likes.

We will have more to say concerning Jesus’ omniscience shortly.

For those interested in reading more on what Mark’s Gospel says concerning Jesus’ omniscience, as well as to see the Christology of the Synoptic Gospels, we recommend the following articles:

Yahweh’s Self-Imposed Limitations –
A Precursor of the Incarnation

Interestingly, this self-imposed limitation is not merely a NT phenomenon since we find Yahweh himself assuming human form and speaking as someone with human limitations would speak: 

And YAHWEH appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men stood in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the earth, and said, ‘My lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I fetch a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on -- since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.’ And Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds, and milk, and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate. They said to him, ‘Where is Sarah your wife?’ And he said, ‘She is in the tent.’ YAHWEH said, ‘I will surely return to you in the spring, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ YAHWEH said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too hard for YAHWEH? At the appointed time I will return to you, in the spring, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’ Then the men set out from there, and they looked toward Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way. YAHWEH said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him? No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of YAHWEH by doing righteousness and justice; so that YAHWEH may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.’ Then YAHWEH said, ‘Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomor'rah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.’ So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before YAHWEH. Then Abraham drew near, and said, ‘Will YOU indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will YOU then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?And YAHWEH said, ‘If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.’” Genesis 18:1-26

In this particular encounter Yahweh appears to Abraham in the form of a man, eats food like a man does, and even has human feet which can be washed!

What makes this encounter all the more interesting is that Yahweh specifically tells Abraham that he needs to personally go down to Sodom and Gommorah in order to verify whether what he has been told concerning their wickedness is true. It is only then that he will know for certain!  

Now this passage cannot be used to deny God’s omniscience since Genesis itself shows that Yahweh knows for certain what will happen beforehand:

“After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’ But Abram said, ‘O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Elie'zer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘Behold, you have given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.’ And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, ‘This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.’ And he brought him outside and said, ‘Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.’ Then he said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And he believed the LORD; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness. And he said to him, ‘I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chalde'ans, to give you this land to possess.’ … Then the LORD said to Abram, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation which they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.’” Genesis 15:1-7, 13-16

“The angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, ‘Hagar, maid of Sar'ai, where have you come from and where are you going?’ She said, ‘I am fleeing from my mistress Sar'ai.’ The angel of the LORD said to her, ‘Return to your mistress, and submit to her.’ The angel of the LORD also said to her, ‘I will so greatly multiply your descendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude.’ And the angel of the LORD said to her, ‘Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ish'mael; because the LORD has given heed to your affliction. He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.’ So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are a God of seeing’; for she said, ‘Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?’ Therefore the well was called Beer-la'hai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.” Genesis 16:7-14

“And Joseph saw E'phraim's children of the third generation; the children also of Machir the son of Manas'seh were born upon Joseph's knees. And Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die; but God will visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.’ Then Joseph took an oath of the sons of Israel, saying, ‘God will visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.’” Genesis 50:23-25

In fact, the very same chapter itself where Yahweh speaks of needing to investigate the situation in Sodom and Gommorah shows that Yahweh is omniscient:

“The LORD said, ‘I will surely return to you in the spring, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, in the spring, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’ … The LORD said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him?’” Genesis 18:10-15, 17-18

What Genesis 18 does show, however, is that Yahweh can assume human form and limitations without ceasing to be God. Yahweh is speaking as a man would, emphasizing the importance of carefully investigating a manner before passing judgment since in this way a person will avoid making a rash decision. Yahweh is teaching Abraham to completely trust him and to know for certain that all his decisions are completely just since he doesn’t simply rush into judgment. Abraham will learn that those whom Yahweh completely destroys deserve it since they have reached the limit of the wickedness which God will put up with and tolerate.

Hence, this particular OT event anticipates and foreshadows the self-limitations that God will experience at the Incarnation, during the time when he will actually become human and thereby take on an additional nature.

To put it simply, if Yahweh in the OT can assume human form and speak as if he were a man with human limitations without this calling into question his Deity then why should Jesus’ Divinity be called into question? Why should Jesus becoming a man and taking on a genuine human nature with all its limitations call into question his Deity when the NT emphatically testifies that he was still fully God in nature?   

This leads us to our next point, one which affects Zaatari’s beliefs as a Muslim.

The ignorance and imperfections of Allah –
A Muslim Dilemma

Even though the Muslims are taught that Allah knows all things the fact is that their very own scripture contradicts this by admitting that Allah acquires knowledge from the events that transpire within creation: 

If a wound has afflicted you, a wound like it has also afflicted the (unbelieving) people; and We bring these days to men by turns, and that Allah MAY KNOW those who believe and take witnesses from among you; and Allah does not love the unjust. And that He may purge those who believe and deprive the unbelievers of blessings. Do you think that you will enter the garden while Allah has NOT YET KNOWN those who strive hard from among you, and (He has not) known the patient. S. 3:140-142 Shakir

That which befell you, on the day when the two armies met, was by permission of Allah; that He MIGHT KNOW the true believers; And that He MIGHT KNOW the hypocrites, unto whom it was said: Come, fight in the way of Allah, or defend yourselves. They answered: If we knew aught of fighting we would follow you. On that day they were nearer disbelief than faith. They utter with their mouths a thing which is not in their hearts. Allah is Best Aware of what they hide. S. 3:166-167 Pickthall

Say: “I know not whether the (Punishment) which ye are promised is near, or whether my Lord will appoint for it a distant term. He (alone) knows the Unseen, nor does He make any one acquainted with His Secrets.- Except an messenger whom He has chosen: and then He makes a band of watchers march before him and behind him, That He MAY KNOW that they have (truly) brought and delivered the Messages of their Lord: and He encompasses all that is with them, and takes account of every single thing." S. 72:25-28

The language of these verses are plain and do not need explanation. The reason why Allah brings about trials and sends watchers is so that he can learn whether those who profess to believe truly have faith and whether the messengers have delivered his message. In other words, Allah’s knowledge is actually increasing with every passing moment and event that occurs within time and space! 

In light of this Zaatari needs to be consistent in the way he applies his criticisms and acknowledge the fact that Allah cannot be god, or at least fully divine, because he doesn’t know all things. His god must test people in order acquire some new information or to learn something about their character, and is therefore not an omniscient being.

Now Zaatari cannot appeal to Allah speaking as though he were a man, much like we find in the case of Yahweh, since none of these texts mention the Islamic deity assuming a human form in order to communicate with humans. There is nothing within the context to suggest that Allah is appearing as a man and thereby speaking as a human being so as to illustrate a specific point. He must accept that his god is ignorant and therefore cannot truly be God.    

To read further concerning Allah’s ignorance and imperfections we suggest the following discussions and rebuttals:

This concludes the first part of our rebuttal. Please continue with the second part.