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Refuting A Muslim Pseudo-Scholar Pt. 1

In this series of rebuttals, I am going to respond to another Islamic pseudo-scholar who pontificates on matters that he has no business addressing. Specifically, I am going to be refuting the claims of Timothy Winter a.k.a. Abdal Murad Hakim, from the book Debating Christian Theism, Chapter 26. The Trinity is Incoherent, p. 349, which Muslim polemicist Paul Bilal Williams posted on June 6, 2014, titled The Trinity is Incoherent (https://web.archive.org/web/20140909131143/http://bloggingtheology.org/2014/06/06/5108/).

Suffice it to say, my rebuttal will show that Murad is either ignorant or outright dishonest when it comes to his understanding and criticism of the Holy Bible and the doctrine of the Trinity.

 WINTER

In the Bible, Jesus sometimes appears explicitly to deny that he is divine. Texts include, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18), and “The son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19).

RESPONSE

Let us examine the context of Mark 10 to see if the Lord Jesus was explicitly denying his essential Deity:

“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.”’ And he said to him, ‘Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.’ And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; AND COME, FOLLOW ME.’ At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions… Peter began to say to him, ‘Lo, we have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for MY SAKE and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.’” Mark 10:17-22, 28-31

Quite clearly, Jesus makes the obtainment of everlasting life conditioned on a person’s willingness to abandon everything to follow Christ.

In other words, it is not enough to obey the Decalogue, which encapsulates God’s perfect Law given to and through Moses, since a person must love Jesus unconditionally, more than his/her own very life/soul, a point made by Christ elsewhere in the Synoptic Gospels:

“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for MY SAKE and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of ME and of MY WORDS in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of HIS Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-38

I will come back to Jesus’ self-identification as the Son of Man shortly.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than ME is not worthy of ME, and whoever loves son or daughter more than ME is not worthy of ME And whoever does not take his cross and follow ME is not worthy of ME. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for MY SAKE will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after ME cannot be my disciple… So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27, 33

This brings me to my next point. Christ expressly states that God alone is capable of saving human beings:

“And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.’” Mark 10:23-27

The Hebrew Scriptures concur:

Truly NO MAN can ransom himself, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of his life is costly, and can never suffice, that he should continue to live on for ever, and never see the Pit… But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah” Psalm 49:7-9, 15

And yet Jesus goes on to do what is humanly impossible, namely, offer himself as a vicarious sacrifice for the redemption of countless human lives!

“For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom FOR MANY.” Mark 10:45

“And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out FOR MANY. Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.’” Mark 14:22-25

Someone who is less than absolutely good cannot even save his/her own soul, let alone the life of another human being. Therefore, Jesus must be absolutely and essentially good in order to be able to do that which only God is capable of doing.

In fact, Jesus is so good that he even has the power to forgive sins!

“And when he returned to Caper′na-um after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. 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 2:1-12

In this periscope, Jesus knows the inner thoughts of men, heals diseases, and forgives sins, all of which the Hebrew Bible attributes to Yahweh alone!

“then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you ONLY, know the hearts of all the children of mankind),” 1 Kings 8:39

“would not God discover this? for he knows the secrets of the heart.” Psalm 44:21

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,” Psalm103:2-4 – Cf. 1 Chronicles 28:9; Isaiah 43:25; Daniel 9:9; Micah 7:18-19

Even Winter’s own religious scripture agrees that these are functions and characteristics, which belong only to God:

Say: ‘Whether you hide what is in your breasts or publish it, God knows it. God knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth; and God is powerful over everything.’ S. 3:29

who, when they commit an indecency or wrong themselves, remember God, and pray forgiveness for their sins — and who shall forgive sins but God? — and do not persevere in the things they did and that wittingly. S. 3:135 – Cf. Q. 3:154; 4:106, 110; 27:46; 33:51; 39:53

And notice that Jesus has the authority to pardon transgressions as the Son of Man, a title that he used of himself quite often. The significance of this title can be seen from Christ’s use of this moniker before the high priest at the night of his trial:

“But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”

Those familiar with the Old Testament would realize that Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man whom the prophet Daniel wrote of:

“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14

The Figure that Daniel saw was no mere human being since he is described as an eternal Ruler whom all nations are to worship/serve and even rides on the clouds of heaven.

And yet it is the true God that rules forever, whom all the nations are to worship, and who also rides on the heavenly clouds:

“And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Daniel 7:27

“Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, ‘May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!’… As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, ‘O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?… I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end.’” Daniel 6:26

“An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.” Isaiah 19:1

“The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” Nahum 1:3

Even the Quran teaches that it is Allah who comes on the clouds with his angels:

What do they look for, but that God shall come to them in the cloud — shadows, and the angels? The matter is determined, and unto God all matters are returned. S. 2:210

Hence, by identifying himself as the transcendent human figure whom Daniel saw, Jesus was basically claiming to be an eternal Divine King who reigns forever with God and whom all nations (including every single Muslim) are commanded to render to him the exact same worship that God receives.

Since none of this is compatible with Islam, seeing that it denies that Allah has a son,

The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the Son of God’; the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted! S. 9:30

That shares in his eternal, sovereign rule,

to whom belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth; and He has not taken to Him a son, and He has no associate in the Kingdom; and He created every thing, then He ordained it very exactly. S. 25:2

And who is to be worshiped,

Say: ‘If the All-merciful has a son, then I am the first to serve him. S. 43:81

This means that the teachings of both the Hebrew Bible and the historical Jesus condemn Muhammad as a false prophet and antichrist.

With the foregoing in perspective, does this sound like Jesus was denying his Deity? Or is this simply another case of pseudo-intellectual shamelessly misinterpreting the Holy Bible for the express purpose of misleading people into embracing his false prophet Muhammad and his false god Allah?

I have more to say in the next part of my response (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/refuting-a-muslim-pseudo-scholar-pt-2/).

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