Catholic Truth Society fails to answer its own question about the Trinity

The Catholic Truth Society (who are the official publishers to the Holy See in Rome) appear to offer no answer to the excellent question they ask themselves in the tweet below: How could Jesus, as God, pray to God?

Read the article they link to here

The CTS article concludes:

This reading of the Trinity may not answer how Jesus prayed to himself in a ‘textbook answer’ way, but it does reveal the importance of that question. Not only is Jesus giving us an example of how to pray to the Father, but he is also revealing the importance of seeing God as a relationship.

So the Catholic Church seems to have given up attempting to explain why on earth Jesus who is allegedly God would bother praying to himself. Was Jesus just play-acting for his disciples?

When, according to the gospels, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” was he really praying to himself? Also, does the Father pray to Jesus? Does the Holy Spirit pray to Jesus too?

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Categories: Christianity, God

42 replies

  1. the answer is simple: While in earth Jesus as man prayed to the Father. He modeled a holy life for us as humans. That does not mean He was not also God, but He laid aside the privileges of using His Divine Powers while on earth, and modeled depending on the Father and the Holy Spirit. He was both God and man, but as Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Although He existed in the form (nature/essence/substance) of God, He did not regard equality with God (the Father) a right to be held onto; but by become human, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and becoming a human, He humbled Himself to death – even death on a cross.”

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    • “… but He laid aside the privileges of using His Divine Powers while on earth ….”

      Oh yes, except that “only God can forgive sins” … “only God has control over creation” … “He raised himself from the dead” … bla bla so and so forth.

      Anything is true about your “Jesus” whatever suits the occasion. I find your missionary attempts dishonest.

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    • I should have written, “He laid aside the privileges of ALWAYS using ALL of His Divine Powers at all times while on earth”

      Obviously, those things you wrote,
      “only God can forgive sins” … “only God has control over creation” … “He raised himself from the dead”
      prove that He was God in the flesh, and He used those powers while on earth. But by becoming a human, He voluntarily took on some limitations, such as not knowing the day of His Second coming, while on earth, (Mark 13:32 / Matthew 24:36), but after His ascension back to heaven (Acts 1:11; Hebrews 1:3) He now knows.

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    • “While in earth Jesus as man prayed to the Father.”

      Are you separating the natures here? Smells like heresy.

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    • the issue there is the difference of two persons; the Father in heaven and the Son on earth, and the Son prayed to the Father – points to two persons. No heresy there. The Divine nature is one.

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    • “… and modeled depending on the Father and the Holy Spirit”

      Jesus’ one and only God was “the Father” alone. The HS is not Jesus’ one and only God.

      Do you claim Jesus was a Trinitarian? Do you claim that his one and only God was a three person being?

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  2. You have not addressed the question: ‘How could Jesus, as God, pray to God?’

    Unless you are taking a heretical unitarian line, then you must believe that Jesus was God on earth whether or not he used his special ‘powers’.

    Also did the father pray to the son?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jesus, even though He was God, prayed to the Father in heaven. No problem.

      Philippians 2:5-8 explains all of this; as does Christian theology about the Incarnation, the 2 natures of Christ, the hypostatic union, etc.

      No, the Father did not pray to the Son.

      There is a sense in which the Father is greater, as the Father, (just as Jesus said in John 14:28), but that does not mean that Jesus is not God by nature. Jesus is both God and man.

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    • ‘No, the Father did not pray to the Son.’

      Why not? Don’t the different people of the trinity speak to each other? Odd.

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    • Speaking to one another is different than praying to one another. The Father is greater in role. The Father did not become human, only the Son did; therefore the Son prayed to the Father while on earth. That is not odd at all. it is not hard to grasp, once you study all the verses together and theology.

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    • ‘Speaking to one another is different than praying to one another.’

      How so? Jesus spoke (prayed) to God the father. Didn’t God have anything to say (pray) back to Jesus?

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  3. Dear Ken, does this belief ultimately “make sense” or do I have to be born again to understand it?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you can understand it; given Christian theological explanations, even without being born again. If you understand why Christian theology understands certain texts as revealing the “same substance” aspect of the doctrine, and if you understand certain texts as revealing the “three persons” aspect of the doctrine; and you can see that “one nature in three persons” is not logically inconsistent.

    However, in order to accept the doctrine as true, you do have to be born-again.

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  5. While we are at Paul, maybe you can answer the same question about your god. Who does your god Allah pray to when he pray for Muhammad and the believers?

    He it is who prays (yusallee)1 for you and His angels too, to bring you forth out of the darkness into the light, for He is merciful to the believers. S. 33:43 (Edward Henry Palmer, The Qur’an, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1880)

    Palmer has a rather interesting footnote here regarding the Quranic usage of the Arabic word for “prays”, namely salla:

    145:1 The same word is used as is rendered ‘pray’ in ALL THE OTHER PASSAGES in the Qur’ân, though the commentators interpret it here as meaning ‘bless.’ So, too, in the formula which is always used after Mohammed’s name, zalla ’llâhu ‘alâihi wa sallam, ‘may God bless and preserve him!’ is literally, ‘may God PRAY for him and salute him!‘ (Capital emphasis ours)

    Palmer’s comments show that Muslims have no way around the fact that their deity prays much in the same way that creatures like angels do, since the Arabic word used here always means prayer whenever it is used in the Quran.

    Nor is this the only text which states this:

    Verily, God AND His angels PRAY (yusalloona) for the prophet. O ye who believe! PRAY (salloo) for him and salute him with a salutation! S. 33:56 Palmer

    Here we have Allah, his angels and believers praying for Muhammad!

    Even the hadith reports affirm the point of Allah praying along with his creation:

    1387. Abu Umama reported that the Messenger of Allah said, “ALLAH AND His angels AND the people of the heavens AND the earth, EVEN the ants in their rocks AND the fish, PRAY for blessings on those who teach people good.” [at-Tirmidhi] (Aisha Bewley, Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous), Book of Knowledge, 241. Chapter: the excellence of knowledge; capital and italic emphasis ours)

    And:

    1397. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘As reported the Messenger of Allah says, “Anyone who says a prayer on me, Allah will PRAY on him ten times on account of it.” [Muslim] (Ibid., 243. Chapter: Book on the Prayer on the Messenger of Allah; italicized and underline emphasis ours)

    Finally:

    2685. Abu Umamah al-Bahili narrated: “Two men were mentioned before the Messenger of Allah. One of them a worshipper, and the other a scholar. So the Messenger of Allah said: ‘The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like my superiority over the least of you.’ Then the Messenger of Allah said: ‘Indeed ALLAH, His Angels, the inhabitants of the heavens and the earths – even the ant in his hole, even the fish – SAY SALAT upon the one who teaches the people to do good. (Hasan)

    [Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Gharib Sahih… (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Compiled by Imam Hafiz ‘Eisa Mohammad Ibn ‘Eisa At-Tirmidhi, From Hadith no. 2606 to 3290, translated by Abu Khaliyl (USA), ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i, final review by Islamic Research Section Darussalam [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], Volume 5, Chapter 19. What Has Been Related About the Superiority Of Fiqh Over Worship, p. 80 – listed as number 70 in the ALIM online version of at-Tirmidhi’s hadith collection; capital emphasis ours)

    Despite the fact that the verbs employed in these specific texts always mean prayer and/or worship every time they appear in both the Quran and ahadith, Muslims still wish to argue that they do not have this meaning when used in reference to Allah. They claim that when salla and its related terms are applied to their deity then they are referring either to Allah’s mercy or his blessings, which he bestows upon his creatures.

    There are two major problems with this assertion. First, the quotes we provided describe Allah joining his creatures in performing salla/salat/salawat. As such, they must carry over the same meaning when they appear in the same context, irrespective of who the subject of these verbs may be. Seeing that no Muslim denies that salla/salat/salawat means prayer/worship when used of angels and the other creatures listed, such as humans and ants, they must therefore be consistent and accept the fact that this same meaning must apply in respect to Allah, who is described as performing this same exact action alongside of these other entities.

    Second, the Islamic sources distinguish the salla/salat/salawat of Allah from both his mercy (rahmah) and blessing (baraka). Notice, for instance, this next verse:

    Upon them rest the prayers and mercy from their Lord (salawatun min rabbihim warahmatun), and those — they are the truly guided. S. 2:157 Our translation

    Contrast this with the following English version:

    They are those on whom are the Salawat (i.e. blessings [sic], etc.) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones. Hilali-Khan

    Here we have Allah bestowing both his prayers (salawat) and mercy (rahmah) upon believers, showing that they do not have the same meaning.

    Moreover, the hadith literature itself differentiates Allah’s prayer (salah) from his blessing (baraka), as we find in the following cases:

    The Command to say Salah upon the Prophet

    Al-Bukhari said: “Abu Al-`Aliyah said: “Allah’s Salah is His praising him before the angels, and the Salah of the angels is their supplication.” Ibn `Abbas said: “They send blessings.” Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi said: “This was narrated from Sufyan Ath-Thawri and other scholars, who said: `The Salah of the Lord is mercy [sic], and the Salah of the angels is their seeking forgiveness.’” There are Mutawatir Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah commanding us to send blessings on him and how we should say Salah upon him. We will mention as many of them as we can, if Allah wills, and Allah is the One Whose help we seek. In his Tafsir of this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Ka`b bin `Ujrah said, “It was said, `O Messenger of Allah, with regard to sending Salam upon you, we know about this, but how about Salah?’ He said…

    <>” Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abi Layla said that Ka`b bin `Ujrah met him and said, “Shall I not give you a gift? The Messenger of Allah came out to us and we said, `O Messenger of Allah! We know how to send Salam upon you, but how can we send Salah?’ He said…

    <>” This Hadith has been recorded by the Group in their books with different chains of narration. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 33:56; capital emphasis ours)

    Allah sends down both his salah and blessings upon Muhammad and his family. The fact that Muhammad clearly distinguished between the words salah and baraka (“blessing”) proves beyond any reasonable doubt that they have two different meanings. As one Muslim authority candidly admitted:

    Allah makes the merit of His Prophet clear by first praying blessing on Himself, and then by the prayer of the angels, and then by commanding His slaves to pray blessing and peace on him as well. Abu Bakr ibn Furak related that one of the ‘ulama interpreted the words of the Prophet, “The coolness of my eye is in the prayer,” as meaning Allah’s prayer, that of the angels and that of his community in response to Allah’s command until the Day of Rising. The prayer of angels and men is supplication for him and that of Allah is mercy.

    It is said that “they pray” means they invoke blessing (baraka). However, when the Prophet taught people the prayer on himself, he made a distinction between the word salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing). We will return to the meaning of the prayer on him later. (Qadi ‘Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi ‘Iyad), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], Part One. Allah’s great estimation of the worth of His Prophet expressed in both word and action, Chapter One: Allah’s Praise Of Him And His Great Esteem For Him, Section 8: Concerning Allah instructing His creation to say the prayer on the Prophet, His protecting him and removing the punishment because of him, p. 25)

    And:

    The Prophet made a distinction between salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing) in the hadith in which he taught about making the prayer on him. This indicates that they have two separate meanings. (Ibid., Part Two. Concerning the rights which people owe the Prophet, Chapter Four: The Prayer On The Prophet And Asking Peace For Him, And The Obligation Of Doing It And Its Excellence, Section 1: The meaning of the prayer on the Prophet, p. 250)

    In light of the foregoing, you have no choice but to accept that your god prays and worships much like Muslim do. As such, You must contend with the fact that, according to your own reasoning, Allah cannot be God or divine since in the words of your fellow Muhammadan Jamal Badawi, “God doesn’t pray to God.” You must also come to terms with reality by acknowledging that Allah is limited and finite, and cannot possibly be the greatest conceivable being in existence since, as Badawi reasons, “we pray to a power greater than us,” and “prayer is petition from the finite to the infinite.” Hence, Allah must be a finite being who prays to a power greater than himself.

    You obviously will not accept this as valid reasoning, since you will never admit that Allah cannot be God because he prays (though it is strangely not said, whom he prays to, to himself or another entity). Therefore, we are left with a second option, namely, that your objection is wrong, and praying (to God) does not disprove the divine nature of the one praying. Therefore, your whole attack on the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ crumbles into nothing. If it does not disprove the divinity of Allah, it cannot disprove the Godhood of Jesus either.

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    • With the name of Allah the Gracious the Merciful

      Shame-on://While we are at Paul, maybe you can answer the same question about your god. Who does your god Allah pray to when he pray for Muhammad and the believers?

      He it is who prays (yusallee)1 for you and His angels too, to bring you forth out of the darkness into the light, for He is merciful to the believers. S. 33:43 (Edward Henry Palmer, The Qur’an, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1880)//

      Shame-on’s stupid and old and oft-refuted argument, no Arab understand  the word salaa ‘صلا’ when it is used with ‘alaa  ‘عَلَى’ as in “محمد‎‎ صلى الله علي ” means to worship as in english meaning of worship. It means to bless

      The following is from the most authoritative source of Lughatil ArabiiyaLisan al-Arab by Ibn Mazur al-Afriqi

      والصلاة الدعاء والاستغفار…وصلاة الله على رسوله رحمته له وحسن ثنائه عليه وفى حديث ابن أبى آوفى آنه قال أعطانى أبى صدقة ماله فاتيت بها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال اللهم صل على آل أبى أوفى قال الازهرى هذه الصلاة عندى الرحمة ومنه قوله عز وجل ان الله وملا ئكته يصلون على النبى يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً فالصلاة من الملائكة دعاء واستغفار ومن الله رحمة وبه سميت الصلاة لما فيها من الدعاء ولاستغفار وفى الحديث التحيات لله والصلوات قال أبوىبكر الصلوات معن ها الترحم وقوله تعالى ان الله وملا ئكته يصلون على النبى اى يترحمون

      Al-Salah is supplication and seeking forgiveness…and the Salah of Allah upon his messenger is His blessing/mercy for him and magnification/praises  upon him. In the narration of Ibn Abi Awfa verily he said: “My father gave charity from his own wealth. Thereafter I went to the messenger of Allah with it whereby the Prophet s.a.w. said, “Oh Allah send Salah on the family of Abi Awfa.” Azhari said that this Salah in his sight means al-Rahmah(the blessing/mercy). And Allah s.w.t. says,”Verily, Allah and His angels send Salah(blessings) upon the Prophet. O you who believe, do pray Allah to bless him, and send your Salam to him in abundance.” Thus the Salah of the angels are supplication(du’a) and seeking forgiveness(for the messenger) and from Allah it is His blessing(rahmah). And it is called Salah within which is supplication and seeking for forgiveness. And in the narration on the greetings and salawat(plural of salah), Abu Bakr said, “Al-salawat means conferring blessing” and Allah said, “Verily, Allah and His angels send Salah(blessings) upon the Prophet” which means they bless him.”

      [Ibn Manzur al-Afriqi (2003). Lisan al-Arab, Vol. 18. Saudi Arabia: Dar ‘Alim Al-Kutub. p. 198]

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  6. Talk about stupid, Eric takes the cake since if this illiterate Muhammadan had bothered reading what I wrote I QUOTED HIS OWN MUSLIM SOURCES TO PROVE THAT SALAH DOES NOT MEAN BLESSING. Here it is again:

    BEGIN
    Moreover, the hadith literature itself differentiates Allah’s prayer (salah) from his blessing (baraka), as we find in the following cases:

    The Command to say Salah upon the Prophet

    Al-Bukhari said: “Abu Al-`Aliyah said: “Allah’s Salah is His praising him before the angels, and the Salah of the angels is their supplication.” Ibn `Abbas said: “They send blessings.” Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi said: “This was narrated from Sufyan Ath-Thawri and other scholars, who said: `The Salah of the Lord is mercy [sic], and the Salah of the angels is their seeking forgiveness.’” There are Mutawatir Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah commanding us to send blessings on him and how we should say Salah upon him. We will mention as many of them as we can, if Allah wills, and Allah is the One Whose help we seek. In his Tafsir of this Ayah, Al-Bukhari recorded that Ka`b bin `Ujrah said, “It was said, `O Messenger of Allah, with regard to sending Salam upon you, we know about this, but how about Salah?’ He said…

    ” Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn Abi Layla said that Ka`b bin `Ujrah met him and said, “Shall I not give you a gift? The Messenger of Allah came out to us and we said, `O Messenger of Allah! We know how to send Salam upon you, but how can we send Salah?’ He said…

    ” This Hadith has been recorded by the Group in their books with different chains of narration. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 33:56; capital emphasis ours)

    Allah sends down both his salah and blessings upon Muhammad and his family. The fact that Muhammad distinguished between the words salah and baraka (“blessing”) proves beyond any reasonable doubt that they have two different meanings. As one Muslim authority candidly admitted:

    Allah makes the merit of His Prophet clear by first praying blessing on Himself, and then by the prayer of the angels, and then by commanding His slaves to pray blessing and peace on him as well. Abu Bakr ibn Furak related that one of the ‘ulama interpreted the words of the Prophet, “The coolness of my eye is in the prayer,” as meaning Allah’s prayer, that of the angels and that of his community in response to Allah’s command until the Day of Rising. The prayer of angels and men is supplication for him and that of Allah is mercy.

    It is said that “they pray” means they invoke blessing (baraka). HOWEVER, WHEN THE PROPHET TAUGHT PEOPLE THE PRAYER ON HIMSELF, HE MADE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE WORD SALAT (PRAYER) AND BARAKA (BLESSING). We will return to the meaning of the prayer on him later. (Qadi ‘Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi ‘Iyad), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], Part One. Allah’s great estimation of the worth of His Prophet expressed in both word and action, Chapter One: Allah’s Praise Of Him And His Great Esteem For Him, Section 8: Concerning Allah instructing His creation to say the prayer on the Prophet, His protecting him and removing the punishment because of him, p. 25)

    And:

    The Prophet made a distinction between salat (prayer) and baraka (blessing) in the hadith in which he taught about making the prayer on him. This indicates that they have two separate meanings. (Ibid., Part Two. Concerning the rights which people owe the Prophet, Chapter Four: The Prayer On The Prophet And Asking Peace For Him, And The Obligation Of Doing It And Its Excellence, Section 1: The meaning of the prayer on the Prophet, p. 250)
    END

    Man, he must feels super stupid for posting this crap which refutes nothing. This is what happens when you spend too much time kissing a black stone.

    What makes this all the more hilarious is that stupid bin mishap didn’t even bother reading his own source carefully. Let me highlight what he missed:

    Al-Salah IS SUPPLICATION AND SEEKING FORGIVENESS…and the Salah of Allah upon his messenger is His blessing/mercy for him AND MAGNIFICATION/PRAISES UPON HIM. In the narration of Ibn Abi Awfa verily he said: “My father gave charity from his own wealth. Thereafter I went to the messenger of Allah with it whereby the Prophet s.a.w. said, “Oh Allah send Salah on the family of Abi Awfa.” Azhari said that this Salah in his sight means al-Rahmah(the blessing/mercy). And Allah s.w.t. says,”Verily, ALLAH AND HIS ANGELS SEND SALAH(BLESSINGS) upon the Prophet. O you who believe, do pray Allah to bless him, and send your Salam to him in abundance.” Thus the Salah of the angels are supplication(du’a) and seeking forgiveness(for the messenger) and from Allah it is His blessing(rahmah). And it is called Salah WITHIN WHICH IS SUPPLICATION AND SEEKING FOR FORGIVENESS. And in the narration on the greetings and salawat(plural of salah), Abu Bakr said, “Al-salawat means CONFERRING BLESSING” and Allah said, “Verily, ALLAH AND HIS ANGELS SEND SALAH(BLESSINGS) upon the Prophet” which means they bless him.”

    Now let’s break down all the problems and shirk that ibn mishap just created for himself. The verse cited, Q. 33:56, says that Angel AND HIS ANGELS TOGETHER are performing salah for Muhammad. Therefore, if salah means blessing, or the conferring of blessing, then this means that angels are Allah’s partners because they too have the ability to confer blessing upon Muhammad just like Allah does! OUCH!

    However, if ibn mishap insists that salah means in regards to angels that they pray and invoke Allah to bless Muhammad then he has no choice but to admit that Allah must also be invoking either himself or someone else to bless Muhammad, BECAUSE THE VERSE SAYS THAT BOTH ALLAH AND HIS ANGELS ARE PERFORMING SALAH TOGETHER! DOUBLE OUCH!

    But it gets even worse for ibn mishap since his own source says that Allah’s salah for Muhammad means that Allah is magnifying and praising Muhammad. Therefore, Allah’s salah means that Allah is actually worshiping Muhammad by praising him and magnifying him! TRIPLE OUCH!

    This is what happens when stupid ibn mishap pretends to be intelligent enough to engage in apologetics.

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    • Yes it’s plain stupid, where is in your rambling irrelevant quotes ( I havent checked original sources though, I trust it as accurate) where it is said Salallahu ala Muhammad ever means that Allah worship Muhammad <God forbids) other than give blessing and mercy.

      It's silly because no muslims or arabs or those understand Arabic understand the word Salallahu ala as “worship” like in the relation God creation and God Himself.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Gentlemen,

    Discussions between most Trinitarians and Unitarians almost always neglect one important statement in the New Testament from the lips of Jesus: “the Father is greater than I.”

    Whilst most modern Trinitarians restrict this clear subordination of the Son to the Father to his ‘human nature’, such is not the case for many early Church Fathers, and subsequent theologians; including Thomas Aquinas who taught:

    >>One could also say, as Hilary does, that even according to the divine nature the Father is greater than the Son, yet the Son is not inferior to the Father, but equal. For the Father is not greater than the Son in power, eternity and greatness, but by the dignity of a grantor or source. For the Father receives nothing from another, but the Son, if I can put it this way, receives his nature from the Father by an eternal generation. So, the Father is greater because he gives; but the Son is not inferior, but equal, because he receives all that the Father has: “God has bestowed on him the name which is above every name” (Phil 2:9). For the one to whom a single act of existence (esse) is given, is not inferior to the giver. (Commentary on the Gospel of St. John – http://dhspriory.org/thomas/John14.htm.)>>

    So according to Aquinas, the Father is “greater” than the Son because He gives His Son his very existence (esse) by communicating His nature/sustance in its fulness to Him.

    Now, with that said, it must be kept in mind that this act of the Father is ‘timeless’; such that there was never a ‘time’ the Father was not a Father, or without is Word/Son.

    In summation, there is a concrete sense in which God the Father is the ‘one God’, and the God of His Son eternally, without excluding the fact the the Son is ‘God from God’ in terms of etiology and nature.

    Grace and peace,

    David

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, with that said, it must be kept in mind that this act of the Father is ‘timeless’; such that there was never a ‘time’ the Father was not a Father, or without is Word/Son.

      That is the key to keep in mind always to the whole discussion.

      Do all Roman Catholics agree with Aquinas on this?

      There is always a sense that the Father as “Father” is greater, but it is difficult to grasp, given that the Son and the Holy Spirit are also fully God and eternal with the Father. (existing into eternity past and equal in nature/substance)

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    • Ken Temple

      You said;
      There is always a sense that the Father as “Father” is greater, but it is difficult to grasp, given that the Son and the Holy Spirit are also fully God and eternal with the Father. (existing into eternity past and equal in nature/substance)


      I say;
      Christians and D and you Ken kept boasting that your God has revealed Himself to you. Why is the Father as the “Father” is difficult to grasp if your God has revealed Himself to you?

      May be the Christian God did not reveal Himself properly

      Thanks.

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    • David thank you for that clarification. Where does Jesus say he is equal to God?

      Paul makes it clear that in his view God is the head of Christ, hardly an egalitarian relationship.

      1 Corinthians 11:3

      ‘But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.’

      Liked by 1 person

    • It seems “Jesus the Son” is greater than “the Father” as the Son has an additional human nature. The Son exclusively has a wider range of experience ” the Father” doesn’t have.

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  8. “the head of Christ is God” in 1 Cor. 11:3, means “God the Father”. there is a hierarchy of roles. (and as in what David Waltz posted, the Father is the source and grantor, or, as some others say “the cause” – I think David Waltz has used that or quoted other theologican in other articles on the “Monarchy of God the Father”) This is called the “economic Trinity”.

    That is not what is difficult; what is difficult is saying that the Father is the source and grantor, and yet at the same time the Son (and the Holy Spirit) is eternally with the Father always into eternity past.

    “For the Father is not greater than the Son in power, eternity and greatness, but by the dignity of a grantor or source. Part of the Quote from Aquinas that David Waltz gave.

    Remember the first part of the quote also – they are equal in power, eternity and greatness.

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  9. We can only “boast” about knowing God because we did not do it by our own ingenuity or smarts or talent. God did it inside of us. God gets the credit for revealing Himself to us.

    In Islam, you rely on your own mind and heart and boast in your own logic and intellect, in order to make your decision (or when you get old enough, to keep holding on to what you were born into, if you were born into a Muslim family and taught Islam, etc.) to believe in Allah and the Qur’an, etc.

    In Christianity, God the Holy Spirit has to secretly convince the person on the inside. Like what Jesus said to Peter, “blessed are you, because flesh and blood (a human) did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven revealed this to you”. Matthew 16:13-18

    The Lord reveals Himself to people by the Word and the Holy Spirit. One has to read the Word or hear the word, understand it, and then the Holy Spirit has to come and open the heart and mind on the inside in order to fully accept the message of the gospel, repent and trust in Christ.

    Jeremiah 9:23-24
    Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

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  10. Hi Paul,

    Thanks much for taking the time to read my musings. In your response, you asked:

    ==Where does Jesus say he is equal to God?==

    The Gospel of John is perhaps the most complex and deepest work in the NT. An important aspect of that complexity is the contrast between a number of passages which clearly speak of the subordination of the Son to the Father, with those which imply equality. Passages which contain subordinationism include:

    No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18 – see also 1:14; 3:16, 18)

    Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. (John 5:19)

    For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son also to have life in himself: (John 5:26)

    But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.(John 5:36)

    Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (John 6:29)

    For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (John 6:38)

    No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day. (John 6:44)

    As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he that eateth me, he also shall live because of me. (John 6:57)

    Jesus therefore cried in the temple, teaching and saying, Ye both know me, and know whence I am; and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. I know him; because I am from him, and he sent me. (John 7:28, 29)

    Jesus therefore said, Yet a little while am I with you, and I go unto him that sent me. (John 7:33)

    Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me. (John 8:42)

    My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:29)

    For I spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. (John 12:49)

    Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all the things into his hands, and that he came forth from God, and goeth unto God, (John 13:3)

    Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)

    And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ. (John 17:3)

    …but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name. (John 20:31)

    The above list (and there are more) contain a number of motifs which in some sense must be constured as some form of subordinationism. First, an emphasis on Jesus as being the “Son of God” and “begotten” by/of the Father; second an emphasis on being sent by/from God; and third, the Son’s very existence/life has been given to Him by the Father.

    And yet, all of the above subordinationism must be informed by passages which speak to a real sense of equality between the Father and His Son/Word. Note the following:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

    For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:18)

    …for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. (John 5:19b)

    I and the Father are one. (John 10:30)

    And he that beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me. (John 12:45)

    Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; (John 14:9a)

    Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (John 20:28)

    In ending, for those of us who maintain that the Gospel of John is Holy Scripture from God, a sacred taks lies before us: a faithful harmonization of two contrasting motifs—i.e. equality and subordinationism.

    Grace and peace,

    David

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    • oops…”taks” should read “task”

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    • Thanks for your detailed response David.

      You say ‘The Gospel of John is perhaps the most complex and deepest work in the NT.’

      I tend to agree. It seems to contain contradictory Christologies, perhaps reflecting the multilayered redaction history described so brilliantly by the Catholic scholar Fr Raymond Brown in his seminal work on John (see The Community of the Beloved Disciple) .

      But there is a more general problem with citing the Fourth Gospel.

      Professor Jimmy Dunn outlines the problem as faced by NT scholarship:

      ‘On the question of the historical value of John’s Gospel there is probably one of the biggest gulfs between New Testament scholarship and the ‘man in the pew’. In preaching and devotional Bible study the assumption is regularly made that all four Gospels are straightforward historical sources for information about what Jesus did or said. Whereas scholars have almost always found themselves pushed to the conclusion that John’s Gospel reflects much more of the early churches’ understanding of Jesus than of Jesus’ own self-understanding. There is Christian interpretation in the other three Gospels, as we have seen, but in John’s gospel there is much more of it. Again, evangelical or apologetic assertions regarding the claims of Christ will often quote the claims made by Jesus himself (in the Gospel of John) with the alternatives posed, ‘Mad, bad or God’, without allowing that there may be a further alternative (viz. Christian claims about Jesus rather than Jesus’ claims about himself). Or again, ecumenical pronouncements will frequently cite Jesus’ prayer, ‘that they may all be one’ (John 17:21), without ever raising the question as to whether the prayer was formulated by Jesus himself or at a later date.’

      ‘How then are we to understand John’s Gospel? The issue here is obviously a peculiarly sensitive one. And the answer to it will have wide repercussions on our use of John’s Gospel at all these different levels (preaching, evangelism, etc). It is important therefore that the Christian community at large should recognize how scholars see John’s Gospel and why they see it that way. That is our task here.’

      James DG Dunn The Evidence for Jesus pp. 31-32

      —————————————————

      Now on to your comments.

      The passages which contain subordinationism in John are numerous and explicit. For instance:

      ‘Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.’

      John 17:3

      Clearly Jesus is subordinated to God, but more than that is taught here. God and Jesus Christ are ontologically district and separate beings. Jesus is not God here. It is very hard to see how egalitarianism is possible.

      Compare the similar passage in Paul I cited earlier:

      ‘But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.’

      1 Corinthians 11:3

      Clearly Jesus has a God. This is not trinitarianism or even binitarianism, but Jewish monotheism.

      Again it is very hard to see how egalitarianism is possible. Just as patriarchy is clearly taught ‘the head of the woman is man’, so too the Headship of God over Jesus is proclaimed.

      Next:

      Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”

      John 20:17

      Jesus explicitly states here that he has a God just as his disciples do.

      Next, you suggest there are passages in John which you believe ‘speak to a real sense of equality between the Father and His Son/Word.’

      Given Jesus’s functional and ontological inferiority to God (as shown above) it is a priori most unlikely that John also teaches egalitarianism, or if he does, it shows the inherently contradictory nature of the gospel’s Christology.

      However the passages you cite can be plausibly interpreted in non-egalitarian ways.

      ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ John 1:1

      It is hard to see how this must entail egalitarianism. A number of alternative and more plausible readings are to be found in the 2nd century logos theologies of the early Fathers.

      But I am not going to explore those texts as my question to you was

      ‘Where does Jesus say he is equal to God?’

      And surely we can agree that Jesus did not say these words, but the author of the gospel.

      ‘I and the Father are one.’ John 10:30.

      This is a favourite proof text of Christian apologetics, but the implication that Jesus is claiming to be equal with God is easily countered.

      20 ‘My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – 23 I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity.

      John 17: 20-23

      Are the disciples, who are ‘one’ just as Jesus and the Father are one – divine too?

      Interestingly, after Jesus says ‘I and the Father are one’ the Jews take up stones to kill Jesus because “you though only a human being are making yourself God” (verse 23)

      How does Jesus reply to this accusation? Does he praise their keen perception and proclaim himself God? Or does he refute their blasphemous suggestion? Reading the whole passage leads me to conclude that Jesus refutes the Jews by citing Psalm 82 where divine language is used of humans, so how much more is it acceptable for Jesus to call himself God’s son (note: not Yahweh Himself).

      Finally, you ‘maintain that the Gospel of John is Holy Scripture from God’. But the gospel does not claim to be God’s Word or even to be inspired of God though I accept that this is your cherished belief.

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  11. Good day Paul,

    In your last response to me, you wrote:

    ==You say ‘The Gospel of John is perhaps the most complex and deepest work in the NT.’

    I tend to agree. It seems to contain contradictory Christologies, perhaps reflecting the multilayered redaction history described so brilliantly by the Catholic scholar Fr Raymond Brown in his seminal work on John (see The Community of the Beloved Disciple) .==

    Being a former Jehovah’s Witness (4th generation) who utilized liberal scholarship to attack Christian orthodoxy, I am quite familar with the works of such scholars as Brown, Collins, Dunn, Kung, Wiles, et al. The shelves of my library contain dozens of their books, which I began purchasing and reading back in the late-70s. For instance, I have Raymond E. Brown’s The Birth of the Messiah, The Death of the Messiah (2 vols.), An Introduction to the New Testament, Gospel According to John (2 vols.), The Epsitles of John, The Churches the Apostles Left Behind, Antioch & Rome, Peter in the New Testament, The Virginal Conception & Bodily Resurrection of Jesus, Biblical Exegesis & Church Doctrine, Responses to 101 Questions on the Bible and Priest and Bishop. Unfortunately, I do not have his The Community of the Beloved Disciple, so I cannot comment its content. But, I suspect that there is little in this more popular work of his which does not appear in his larger works; as such, I am fairly confident that what I am about to share will not conflict with its content.

    Dr. Brown was somewhat of an enigma; on the one hand, he fully embraced liberal Biblical scholarship (i.e. the historical-critical method), while on the other, he retained personal belief in many of the doctrines that most higher critical scholars reject (e.g. Trinity, bodily resurrection of Jesus, virgin birth of Jesus; as well as the Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity and Assumption of Mary). As such, I rarely used Brown when I was a JW.

    As for his higher-critical works on the New Testament, they are, to be brutally honest, in the end, based on highly subjective theories. What I find particualarly interesting is that much of his higher-critical work has received formidable criticism/s from both conservative and liberal scholars. The breadth, depth and comlexity of the higher-critical method/s is so massive, it would be folly to attmept delve into the topic in any detail within the confines of a combox.

    With that said I do have a couple of important questions for you: first, you seem to embrace the higher-critical method concerning the Bible-is that so? And second, do you embrace the higher-critical method when dealing with the Qur’an?

    Grace and peace,

    David

    P.S. It has been a very busy day for me, with little time for the internet. Hopefully, tomorrow, I will have the time to discuss James Dunn, an author I used quite extensively when I was a JW.

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    • ‘first, you seem to embrace the higher-critical method concerning the Bible-is that so?
      And second, do you embrace the higher-critical method when dealing with the Qur’an?’

      My answer:

      Q1 – yes, but without the anti-supernaturalism

      Q2 – no, the HCM is not appropriate for the Qur’an

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  12. Hi Paul,

    I had thought that this thread had pretty much ended, but I see last night you responded to the two questions I had asked of you back on the 6th (thanks much for doing so).

    To my question of whether or not you “embrace the higher-critical method concerning the Bible”, you said: “yes, but without the anti-supernaturalism.”

    I am not quite sure what you mean by that. Could you elaborate a bit further? (For instance, what differences in outcomes should one expect from one who embraces HCM with from anti-supernatural paradigm, from one who holds to HCM from a supernatural perspecitve?)

    And to my question of whether or not you “embrace the higher-critical method when dealing with the Qur’an”, you wrote: “no, the HCM is not appropriate for the Qur’an.”

    I am pretty sure that you have already discerned that I would find your stark contrast in methodology between the Bible and the Qur’an to be inconsistent. As for me, as one who rejects the HCM with respect to the Bible, I also reject the HCM concerning the Qur’an. I personally think that it would be highly inconsistent of me to embrace the musings of liberal Qur’anic scholars such as Christoph Luxenberg, Angelika Neuwirth, Theodor Nöldeke, Gabriel Said Reynolds, Andrew Rippin, et al.

    Anyway, now that this thread has been ‘resurrected’ (so-to-speak), I will start working on a post concerning Dunn and the reliability of the four Gospels; though it may be tomorrow before I can do so.

    Grace and peace,

    David

    P.S.

    I think you (and perhaps others) will find THIS OLDER THREAD of mine of some interest.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Here is a quote from the conclusion to my book, ‘Jesus as Western Scholars See Him: A Resource for Muslim Dawah Carriers’

    ‘In the arena of the world’s religions, claim and counter claim about religious truth calls each of us to respond thoughtfully and with courage.

    If orthodox Christianity, the Christianity of the Trinitarian creeds, is now shown to be too
    radically discontinuous with the historical flesh and blood Jesus who walked the streets of
    Jerusalem 2000 years ago, then we are obliged to look elsewhere for unadulterated revelation.

    Someone once asked the noted English Muslim writer Gai Eaton why there is no historical
    criticism of the Qur’an as there is of the Bible. He answered:

    There is a misunderstanding: the Bible is made up of many different parts, compiled over many centuries and it is possible to cast doubt upon one part without impugning the rest; whereas the Qur’an is a single revelation, received by just one man, either you accept it for what it claims to be, in which case you are a Muslim or you reject this claim, and so place yourself outside the fold of Islam

    ——————————

    The HCM has a justified reputation for anti-supernaturalism in its frequent dismissal of the miraculous in the Bible, such as the Virgin birth and the miracles of Jesus (though to be fair many NT scholars are not so dogmatic in their views). Some of these Biblical stories might well be embellishments or invented stories, but I do not reject them on a priori grounds. God is the King of His Creation and quite at liberty to do the miraculous if he so chooses. But there are reasonable grounds for thinking that Matthew has invented miraculous stories in his gospel. We can discuss this further if you wish.

    The Quran is not the Muslims’ Bible. It is believed by Muslims to be the actual words of the Creator himself. The Bible makes no such claim for itself, and is clearly authored by human beings – see the prologue to Luke’s Gospel and the letters of Paul for example.

    So you are comparing apples and oranges. Therefore there is no inconsistency if I say that believing as I do that the Quran is the uncreated Word of God, the HCM is an inappropriate tool for studying this Revelation. Islamic scholarship has developed other sciences for Quranic study (the occasion of Revelation, linguistic analysis, etc).

    Liked by 1 person

    • How can the Qur’an be the uncreated word of God, when in Surah 33:36-37, God talks to Muhammad in time about his marriage to Zaynab Bint Jahash?

      It is easier for one man to make a claim of prophethood, with no one else to confirm him. (Muhammad and the Qur’an)

      The Bible is more reliable since it has more than 3 eyewitnesses (40 authors, etc.) who agree with each other on truth.

      The strength of the Bible is stronger, therefore. (More eyewitnesses who agree with each other in content)

      The Qur’an does not have the high doctrine of being something amazing from God. (the Incarnation, the Trinity, the atonement, salvation by grace alone through faith alone, and the changing of a person from a condemned sinner to a redeemed sinner who has the Holy Spirit and is a new creation.)

      The Qur’an is very human – everyone can come up with Monotheism – (Romans 1:19-21 – even atheists really deep down know there is a Creator God who is One – they just suppress that knowledge – Romans 1:18)

      The Qur’an (and Hadith collections) is mostly strict Monad-Monotheism, legalistic rules and laws, and harsh punishments, and aggressive wars against whoever does not agree.

      The aggressive wars and anger over being insulted, and the results and fruit in Muslim societies of honor killings and violence bring into question this whole system.

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    • Ken you forget that God exists outside of our space-time continuum and (unlike Jesus) has a complete and perfect knowledge of all things which to us mortals are past, present and future. He is not limited like us.

      ‘The Qur’an is very human – everyone can come up with Monotheism.’

      This is a remarkably silly statement to make and shows your lack of familiarity with the Holy Quran. The Book calls itself a ‘reminder’, and says it is NOT bringing a new message but is calling humanity back to the pure worship of the One True God – just as Abraham did. Christians have gone astray and invented man-made ideas that compromise this pure doctrine (‘trinity’, divinity of the man Jesus etc). The Quran corrects these aberrations.

      The Bible is a very bloodthirsty book as it claims God ordered men to commit acts of genocide targeting women, children, and babies (see just one terrible example in 1 Samuel 15). Such crimes are outlawed by God in the Quran.

      Jesus is depicted as slaughtering countless multitudes of people in the last book of the Bible. No loving enemies there…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. 1 Sam. 15 is an extension of Deuteronomy 7, 9 and the book of Joshua – to drive the Canaanites, Amorites, and the other pagan tribes out of the borders of the land of Israel. Unless they repented. In Joshua 2, we see Rahab and her family was saved because she repented and turned to the true God. And God gave those pagans 400 years of patience to repent. (Genesis 15:13-18) The command was not to go on after that and expand war beyond the borders of Israel. The Israelites did not bother the Canaanites (Phoenicians) in what is today known as Lebanon.

    But that was a temporary thing. There is no more Biblical Israel in existance today with that as a command to carry out. After the coming of Jesus, the atonement and resurrection and ascension, the new covenant, and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD – there is no more Israel. (modern Israel of 1948 onward is not Biblical Israel, since they reject their own Messiah and God. Most Jews today are atheists or skeptics or agnostics. But they do have the right to exist, since the original creation was carving out some of that original land from the Ottoman Turks, who were justly punished for joining Germany in WW 1.)

    Any way – the great commission is for all nations – Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:44-49, Revelation 5:9; 7:9. The church has no right to do wars and never has Biblically. Many aspects of the Crusades (except the self-defense aspect) and all aspects of Inquisitions were violations of the Bible rather than obedience to it.

    When Jesus returns, the judgement comes (Revelation chapters 19-20) – God has the right to send people to hell and judge people. Even you believe that in Islam.

    Islam from 622 AD, onward has done aggressive unjust wars and expanded always until it is stopped. Conquering Byzantine Empire, N. Africa, Spain, Balkans, Persia, Constantinople, Bulgaria, Greece, into India, etc. – that was all unjust wars.

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  15. “So God has his times and seasons for when he shares his authority to take and give life. And the church today is not Israel, and we are not a political entity. Therefore the word we have from the Lord today is, “Love your enemy. Pray for those who abuse you. Lay your life down for the world. Don’t kill in order to spread the gospel, but die to spread it.” John Piper

    I agree with that.

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  16. Ken you forget that God exists outside of our space-time continuum and (unlike Jesus) has a complete and perfect knowledge of all things which to us mortals are past, present and future. He is not limited like us.

    I totally agree with that. Except I did not forget that. The difference God can also use human personality and human language and grammar to guide the writers of the OT and NT.

    ‘The Qur’an is very human – everyone can come up with Monotheism.’

    This is a remarkably silly statement to make and shows your lack of familiarity with the Holy Quran. The Book calls itself a ‘reminder’, and says it is NOT bringing a new message

    Ok, I knew that; and can see that. The Qur’an skipped the NT of grace and went back to harsh punishments of the law, executions, and aggressive warfare also to kill pagans if they didn’t repent, and to subjugate Christians and Jews. The Qur’an affirms some new stuff from the NT – jesus as Messiah, which most Jews today reject; the virgin birth of Jesus; that He was a great prophet and brought the gospel, etc. Except also the Qur’an did not see the Messianic prophesies about the atonement (Daniel 9:24-27; Isaiah 53) and the hints that Messiah would be God in the flesh, by the Son of God passages (Psalm 2, Proverbs 30:4) and existence from eternity (Micah 5:2) and virgin birth. (Isaiah 7:14)

    but is calling humanity back to the pure worship of the One True God – just as Abraham did. Christians have gone astray and invented man-made ideas that compromise this pure doctrine (‘trinity’, divinity of the man Jesus etc). The Quran corrects these aberrations.

    Jesus Al Masih said, “Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and saw it, and was glad” and “before Abraham was born, I am” – John 8:56-58

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