Our Response to a Persistent Muslim
As we had promised, we resume our response to Bassam Zawadis assertion that Jesus being the Lord of the Sabbath doesnt mean he is God.
6"I said, 'You are "gods"; you are all sons of the Most High.'
So even this verse says that certain people ARE Gods. That this is what they ARE. Just like how Moses was...
Here is the entire Psalm:
"God (Elohim) has taken his place in the divine (El) council; in the midst of the gods (Elohim) he holds judgment: How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, You are gods (Elohim), sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince. Arise, O God (Elohim), judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!" Psalm 82:1-8
As the context shows, the gods are those who were commanded to administer justice but had ended up perverting it. The gods of this text were most likely the judges of Israel, those whom God appointed to speak on his behalf and to exegete his Law. These judges were not gods in essence, since there is only one who has the essence of God:
"To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other." Deuteronomy 4:35, 39
"Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods." Galatians 4:8
Rather, they were gods in a functional sense, that as Gods representatives they functioned in the place of God, just as Zawadi correctly states next:
Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.
However, it is only a title to signify the God that they represent. So it is possible that Jesus IS given this title to signify the God that he represents.
Zawadis appeal to Moses actually supports the functional understanding of these references, as this next passage expressly shows:
"He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him." Exodus 4:16
Moses was no more literally God than Aaron was literally his mouthpiece! Hence, these individuals were functioning in the role of God and could therefore be called gods in a representational sense.
Yet the NT doesnt simply teach that Jesus merely represents God (which he certainly did/does) but that he is God in very essence and does what God alone can do, such as create and sustain the universe:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made " John 1:1-3, 10
"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," Hebrews 1:1-3
Zawadi is simply comparing apples and oranges at this point.
Moreover, notice what the Holy Scriptures say regarding individuals, whether humans or angels, who profess to be divine or a god:
"How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. Isaiah 14:12-15
"Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans! For you shall no more be called tender and delicate Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children: These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments. You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, No one sees me; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, I am, and there is no one besides me." Isaiah 47:1, 8-10
"The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord GOD: Because your heart is proud, and you have said, "I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas," yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god Will you still say, "I am a god," in the presence of those who kill you, though you are but a man, and no god, in the hands of those who slay you?" Ezekiel 28:1-2, 6, 9
"And he will stretch out his hand against the north and destroy Assyria, and he will make Nineveh a desolation, a dry waste like the desert. Herds shall lie down in her midst, all kinds of beasts; even the owl and the hedgehog shall lodge in her capitals; a voice shall hoot in the window; devastation will be on the threshold; for her cedar work will be laid bare. This is the exultant city that lived securely, that said in her heart, I am, and there is no one else. What a desolation she has become, a lair for wild beasts! Everyone who passes by her hisses and shakes his fist." Zephaniah 2:13-15
"Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming." 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 8
"Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king's chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king's country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, The voice of a god, and not of a man! Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last." Acts 12:20-23
This last text is quite instructive since it demonstrates how God is jealously guarding his glory, and judges those creatures that pretend to be gods or divinities. After all, God did strike Herod dead! Yet in the case of Christ, instead of striking him dead for making Divine claims God raised him from the grave in verification and vindication of those claims:
"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know-- this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it." Acts 2:22-24
"Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool." Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." Acts 2:30-36
"concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord," Romans 1:3-4
Jesus even blessed the confession of Thomas that he was this disciples Lord God:
"Thomas answered him, My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." John 20:28-29
Contrast this with the response of others who refused such praise and honor:
"When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, Stand up; I too am a man." Acts 10:25-26
"Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, Stand upright on your feet. And he sprang up and began walking. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men! Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them." Acts 14:8-15
Zawadi tries to prove that angels are superior to the Lord Jesus!
Let us see what the Bible says about the status of Jesus compared to the angels...
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower (elattoo) than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
The word elattoo means...
1) to make less or inferior: in dignity
2) to be made less or inferior: in dignity
3) to decrease in authority or popularity
We see that Jesus is inferior in dignity to the angels. How can Jesus be God then?
Plus quoting Hebrews and Revelations means nothing to me. QUOTE TO ME FROM JESUS' LIPS.
Wow Sam it seems like my feet are still in place :)
Let us see what he conveniently forgot to quote (this is a consistent habit of his, to wrench verses out of their context in order to distort their meanings):
"Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet. Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who FOR A LITTLE WHILE was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make THE FOUNDER of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Hebrews 2:5-11, 14-18
The inspired author tells us exactly what he meant by Jesus being made lower than the angels, i.e. this was the result of the Incarnation where Christ made himself of no reputation. The context clearly shows that by becoming flesh and blood in order to die for Gods children Jesus assumed a lower position and status than the angels. But this was only for a short while:
"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, THROUGH WHOM also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God AND THE EXACT IMPRINT OF HIS NATURE, and HE UPHOLDS the universe BY THE WORD OF HIS POWER. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, HAVING BECOME AS MUCH SUPERIOR TO ANGELS as the name he has inherited IS MORE EXCELLENT THAN THEIRS." Hebrews 1:1-4
Thus, the reason why Jesus was made a little lower than the angels is because of his becoming a man in order to die for believers. Yet this inspired Scripture expressly says that Jesus ascended to heaven to sit on Gods throne thereby becoming superior to the angels in rank and status. Hebrews isnt the only canonical book which affirms that Jesus ascended above the angels in station and glory after his resurrection:
"and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all." Ephesians 1:19-23
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him." 1 Peter 3:18, 21b-22
As if the foregoing werent enough to refute the assertion that Christ was somehow inferior in essence and nature to the angels because he was made a little lower than them for a season, notice what the inspired author wrote earlier:
"For to which of the angels did God ever say, You are my Son, today I have begotten you? Or again, I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"? And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, Let all God's angels worship him. Of the angels he says, He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire. But of the Son he says, Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. And, You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end. And to which of the angels has he ever said, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?" Hebrews 1:5-14
Let us summarize all of the above points that the inspired writer of Hebrews presented to show just how infinitely superior Christ is to the angels:
Also notice Zawadis glaring inconsistency. The NT books such as Hebrews are reliable enough for him to use and quote when it serves his purpose of refuting Christians, but when these same books are quoted to prove the Deity of the Lord Jesus then Zawadi conveniently rejects their testimony on the grounds that these are not the words of Jesus! For example, here is what he will say a little later:
Okay fine, so if the resurrection is supposed to be the ultimate miracle proving Jesus' divinity and in your debate with Sami Zaatri you said that once Jesus gave the convincing proof that he is God and different from the Father then he could speak of himself as God. SO CAN YOU SHOW ME THAT VERSE THEN PLEASE? FROM JESUS' OWN LIPS FROM THE GOSPELS WHERE HE SPOKE OF HIMSELF AS GOD AFTER THE RESURRECTION?
Zawadi once again distorts what I actually said even after quoting me for a second time! I didnt say that I would show from the Gospels where Jesus said he was God after his resurrection or after his disciples realized that Christ was fully Deity and personally distinct from the Father at the same time. And in the endnote of this article, I provided the reference which I believe is from the risen and exalted Lord Jesus stating that he is God.
In light of the foregoing we must say the following: Sorry Zawadi, but you havent managed to prove that your feet have remained intact after our initial rebuttal to you.
Secondly the word for serve in Daniel 3 and 7 is p@lach which means...
1) to serve, worship, revere, minister for, pay reverence to
1) to pay reverence to
2) to serve
So you see it does not have to necessarily imply worship in the sense of a deity but to serve just like a servant serves his master or wife to husband.
What Zawadi withholds from his readers is the fact that this Aramaic word, as well as its various forms, are used in reference to the service that must be rendered to God alone:
"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?" Daniel 6:16, 20
"The vessels that have been given you for the service of the house of your God, you shall deliver before the God of Jerusalem We also notify you that it shall not be lawful to impose tribute, custom, or toll on anyone of the priests, the Levites, the singers, the doorkeepers, the temple servants, or other servants of this house of God." Ezra 7:19, 24
In fact, the three righteous Jews, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refused to serve Nebuchadnezzars golden idol on the grounds that God alone must be served:
There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God." Daniel 3:12, 14, 16-18, 28
Hence, the only way that God could command that all peoples serve the Son of Man is if this human figure were also God, otherwise God would be violating his own law prohibiting the worship of a creature as Deity.
Interestingly, this completely agrees with what Christ said in John 5:23 regarding God demanding that all honor his Son in the same exact way that they honor the Father. Yet Zawadi has something to say about the context of this text:
Secondly, we must not forget that it is the FATHER that entrusted this judgment to the Son...
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
Zawadi erroneously assumes that because the Father entrusted something to the Son this somehow undermines the Divinity of the Son. What this proves is that, a) Christ is personally distinct from the Father, and that b) being the Divine Son he submits to the will of the Father and receives from him the authority to perform specific Divine functions. For more on this please read the following articles:
More importantly, if this logic were Biblically valid then this would disprove the Fathers co-equality to the Son:
"Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power." 1 Corinthians 15:24
After subjecting all things to Christ the Father will then be handed the kingdom by the Son. Hence, if the Father delivering over something to the Son makes him superior in nature then the Son delivering the kingdom to the Father would make him greater in essence as well. Obviously, this is not what the Holy Bible teaches which means that such reasoning is simply erroneous, at least from a Biblical perspective.
Moreover, the verse following John 5:22 explains why the Father entrusted all judgment to the Son, which Zawadi tried to address:
The verse does not say that the people should honor the Son with the same honor that they give to the Father. The verse says that they should honor Son just like they honor the Father. Meaning that both of them equally deserve the right of being honored, however this does not necessarily imply that the honor is equal. Because to honor the Son is to honor the Father and vice versa. Remember what Jesus said...
Note how incoherent Zawadi sounds! Jesus shouldnt be honored with the same honor given to the Father but should only be honored like the Father, whatever that means! Let us post the specific text again in order to see how weak and desperate Zawadis eisegesis is:
"The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, EVEN AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man." John 5:22-23, 27
Christ expressly says that he is to be given the same honor that the Father receives. He didnt say to give him a like honor but demands to be honored JUST AS the Father is honored. This honor entails that all creation worships him the way they worship the Father, which is precisely what we find the NT teaching:
"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
The above reference is similar to John 5:23 in that Gods purpose of exalting Christ to the highest place is so that everyone worships the Son as Lord, something which pleases and glorifies the Father.
"And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, Let all God's angels worship him." Hebrews 1:6
God demands all the angels to worship his Son!
"And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! And I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, To him who sits on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever! And the four living creatures said, Amen! and the elders fell down and worshiped." Revelation 5:8-14
The inspired Evangelist and Apostle John is granted a vision by the Spirit where he sees all creation honoring Jesus the Lamb JUST AS they honor his Father.
Thus, the foregoing conclusively proves that the meaning of John 5:23 is that Jesus must be worshiped by all creation in the same way and to the same exact degree that God the Father is worshiped!
What makes this all the more astonishing is that both Philippians 2:10 and Revelation 5:13 allude to the language in the Decalogue where God forbade the fashioning and worshiping of images of creatures:
"And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." Exodus 20:1-6
This means that it would have been blasphemous for Paul and John to claim that Jesus is given the very worship due to God by all creation if Christ were simply a creature. The fact that they say that he does and shall indeed receive universal worship from every creature shows that in their minds Christ is not a creature but the Creator!
Zawadi says regarding Daniel 2:46:
What about when Daniel himself was worshipped?...
What about it? Read our response to Zawadis distortion of this text: http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/worship_nebudan.htm
He links to an article claiming that the NT contains false prophesies regarding Jesus second coming, which has already been refuted:
Now to see who the real false prophet is, and who actually made false predictions, we invite the readers to see all of Muhammads false predictions:
Zawadi next claims that Matthew 28:18 doesnt refer to Jesus receiving authority after his resurrection:
No where does the verse indicate that Jesus received the authority from the Father before or after the resurrection. Jesus just simply said that all authority has been given to him. He did not say when.
Secondly, if Jesus never needed this authority in the first place because he is God then why did the Father give it to him?
It seems that Zawadi is only able to grasp a point if it is constantly repeated to him. He ignores the very text that we quoted right after this:
"And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:24-28
The above text explicitly shows that Christ assumed the role of a slave during his earthly sojourn which means that he wasnt functioning in his role as King of creation. This further explains why the Father gave him authority after the resurrection since he had voluntary set it aside in order to become a slave. Christ humbled himself to accomplish the Fathers will and patiently waited upon the Father to exalt him for doing so, which is what Jesus said God would do for all who choose to humble themselves:
"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matthew 23:12
Zawadi then has the audacity to say in response to my explanation of this passage:
Jesus coming to lay down his life for people means nothing. Peter also wanted to do the same for him...
37Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
As for the links that Sam posted, well they have been refuted here...
It is clear that Zawadi is grasping at straws and is guilty of a false analogy at this point. Let us contrast the words of Christ with what Peter said:
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life AS A RANSOM FOR MANY." Mark 10:45
Jesus says he would lay his life down AS A RANSOM, which in the context of the Gospels refers to his death on the cross:
"for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." Matthew 26:28
Contrast this with Peter WHO DID NOT SAY that he would lay his life down to ransom Christ (or anyone else for that matter), but as a sign of his willingness to sacrifice himself out of his love for Jesus (which he failed to do since he abandoned Christ and denied him three times).
And since he quoted the Gospel of John notice what Zawadi conveniently ignored:
"Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, Lord, do you wash my feet? Jesus answered him, What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand. Peter said to him, You shall never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I do not wash you, you have no share with me. Simon Peter said to him, Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head! Jesus said to him, The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you. For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, Not all of you are clean. When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." John 13:1-17
This reiterates and underscores the fact that Christ, while on earth, functioned as a servant and had set aside his authority during that period.
Zawadi refers to John 5:30 where Jesus claims to do nothing on his own authority. As is his habit, Zawadi wrenches the verse from its immediate context since he seems to be aware that this text actually confirms the absolute Deity of the Lord and his coequality with the Father in essence. Jesus statement, in context, means that he does not act independently from the Father but always and only works in perfect union with him. Christ even explicitly says that he could everything that his Father does, something which no creature can ever claim since only God can do the works which the Father performs. Instead of delving into the context we will link to our article where we provide a thorough exegesis of this passage so as to prevent this rebuttal from being too long: http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_can_do_nothing.htm
Zawadi links to an article on the disciples ability to forgive sins in order to undermine my statements that Jesus ability to forgive sins is another proof of his Deity. Here is the refutation of that article: http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_apostles_forgive_sins.htm
He says regarding Jesus judging the world:
First of all Jesus judging people does not prove he is God. Read this article.
Now read the refutation: http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Osama/zawadi_jesus_judge.htm
Realizing just how weak his case is Zawadi will run after tangents by saying a little later:
6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."8Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us. 9Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
Now obviously Jesus did not mean that people who have literally seen him have seen the Father because we know that no one has ever seen God...
Jesus said the same thing elsewhere:
"And Jesus cried out and said, Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me." John 12:44-45
Yet, conveniently, Zawadi did not cite verse 10 or the immediate context of John 14, which says:
"Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask IN MY NAME, THIS I WILL DO, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask ME anything IN MY NAME, I WILL DO IT." John 14:10-14
Christ speaks of the mutual indwelling of the members of the Godhead, specifically of the Father and himself. He also made this same point earlier in his ministry:
"If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." John 10:37-38
What this basically means is that the Father made himself known by working in and through his Incarnate Son. More on this shortly.
Notice, also, that Jesus says that the reason why his followers will be able to do a greater number of works than he did while on earth is because he returns to the Father where he will personally answer all their prayers so as to enable them to perform these actions! Christ is basically affirming that he has Gods essential omni-attributes such as omniscience, he is able to know and answer all the prayers directed to him, and that he is omnipotent, having the power to enable and equip all believers to do the works which he sends them to do.
Zawadi then writes:
1 John 4:12
12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
But what Jesus meant was that if they knew him and acknowledged him for who he was then they acknowledged the Father.
So basically both Jesus and the Father deserve honor. But Jesus did not say that the same honor should be given to both of them.
As Zawadi correctly stated, the God that no one has seen is the Person of the Father. Christs point to Philip is that the disciples did not need to see the Father since Jesus is the perfect visible manifestation and revelation of who and what the Father is. This is why the NT expressly teaches that Christ is the image of the invisible God:
"In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (hos estin eikon tou theou). For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the FACE of Jesus Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:4-6
"He is the image of the invisible God (hos estin eikon tou theou tou aoratou), the firstborn of all creation." Colossians 1:15
The Greek word for image, eikon, is where we get the word icon. An icon refers to a visible representation of a person or thing. In reference to Christ this means that he is the very visible representation of the Father who remains unseen to the naked eyes of his physical creatures.
Jesus basic point was that he could perfectly reveal God to his followers because he is the Divine Son who bears the very nature of God, the very One whom the Father spoke and acted through:
"All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Luke 10:22
This is precisely what John the Apostle communicated in the prologue to his inspired Gospel:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known." John 1:1, 14, 18
NT scholar Murray J. Harris sums it up best when he writes:
"Central to the Christian tradition is the belief that God as he is in himself cannot be seen by the physical eye; he is invisible (1 Tim. 1:17; 1 John 4:12). No one has seen him or can see him (1 Tim. 6:16). But equally central is the conviction that, in Christ, God the Father has revealed himself perfectly. Jesus Christ has accurately and comprehensively made visible the invisible nature of God:
No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is God and who resides in the Fathers heart he has revealed him. (John 1:18, my translation)
Only the Son who shares the divine nature (cf. John 1:1) is qualified to reveal the Father personally and completely. Johns compound verb (exegesato, he has revealed) implies the perfection of Gods self-revelation in Christ. In response to Philips request. Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us (John 14:8), Jesus remarked, Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9).
It is not only the apostle John who expresses this view of the role of Jesus. Paul depicts Jesus as the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). That is, he is the exact and visible expression of a God who has not been seen and cannot be seen. Then there is the author of Hebrews, who declares that the Son is the radiance of Gods glory and the exact representation of his being (Heb. 1:3). The two Greek terms in this verse are colorful. Apaugasma (radiance) pictures Christ as the outshining or effulgence or irradiated brightness of God the Fathers inherent glory. Charakter (exact representation) points to Christ as the flawless expression of Gods nature, one who is indelibly stamped with Gods character." (Harris, Three Crucial Questions about Jesus [Baker Books, Grand Rapids MI, 1994], pp. 70-71)
" Johns point in the verse [John 1:18] is that, although no person on earth can claim to have gained knowledge of God as he is in himself, Jesus Christ, the only Son, has accurately and fully revealed God to humankind, since he himself is God by nature and intimately acquainted with the Father by experience." (Ibid, p. 94; comments within brackets ours)
Hence, what Zawadi thought was a refutation of Christs Deity and a denial of his deserving the same honor accorded to God actually turns out to be a rather strong support for both!
This concludes this part of the rebuttal. Continue with Part B.
Rebuttals to Answering-Christianity
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