Jesus the avatar ? – a short muslim critique about God incarnate

incarnation-of-god.jpg

Jesus christ as the shaktyavesha avatara an empowered god incarnate in modern hinduism

The trinitarian belief system which  holds that Jesus was the real God Almighty who incarnated into a human body and thus taking on 100% human nature while retaining 100% divine substance, was and always the most notorious point at issue between Christianity and Islam.

Amazing it may seem, as christians love to tell us that God incarnated into a man in order to show God’s love to human and to save them from hell (1), but this, to muslim ears, are out of touch the true Semitic concept of deity and does sound intuitively wrong. God, the ultimate reality of all being, surely must be always be singular, unseen and undivided deity without any imagery (2).

From the muslim viewpoint who see themselves as the true heirs of semitic monotheism, this desemiticising of God into a concept more like  Sanskrit Avatara resulted in dire consequences.

The Quran stated:

مَّا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ

‘The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers the like of whom had passed away before him… (Surat al-Ma’ida, 75)

قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا أَهْوَاءَ قَوْمٍ قَدْ ضَلُّوا مِن قَبْلُ

O people of the Book – Do not exaggerate in your religion other than the truth, and follow not the vain desires of a people who went astray before you.’ (Surat al-Ma’ida, 77)

The Qur’anic term for ‘exaggeration’ used here, ghuluw غلو, became a standard term in Muslim heresiography for any tendency, Muslim or otherwise, which attributed divinity to a revered and charismatic figure (3).

On the Question about God who incarnate into a man

According to christian belief :

God, as creator, to whom all things are possible, can, if He wishes, join a human nature to himself.  The resulting person would be fully human and also fully divine.(4)

This is the crux where Islam (and also Judaism) disagree. Islamic scholars provide a clear demarkation that although God posses absolute power (Al Qudraatu القدرة) to do all things (5), but he cannot do things that are logically impossible (Maa yastahiilu haqillahu ta’ala ما يستحيل في حق الله تعالى).  In other words the fact that God possesses ultimate power does not mean that God will perform something which does not have the possibility of actualization (6):

  • God cannot create a two dimensional shape that is both square and round.
  • God cannot create a man who is both married and a bachelor.
  • God cannot add a human nature on to his divine nature, and the resulting person be both human and divine which is logically impossible.

Of course God could enter into a human body. He could even share consciousness with a human person inside a human body. But these beings would never be ‘fully’ divine and ‘fully’ human, but some kind of mixture. Because if God become a man and God become 100% it mean God become equals with man (and share human weakness such as wrongful, dependent on others which is impossible for God (7).

Trinitarian would normally say that muslims try to keep God in a very small box, and limits Him to abilities that only the finite mind can comprehend. However this argument put the idea of God outside the realm of the logicality and deviates into unintelligible, meaningless philosophical speculation if not a logical fallacy.

Using jewish scriptures, trinitarians are keen to point to the burning bush which Moses encountered at Horeb (Exodus 3:1-4) and the cloud covers the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34) to show that God can manifested in many forms,and surely God can also incarnate into man. But the jews believe those manifestation were the works of God’s agent: the angels (throughout jewish scripture, visions of God are accompanied by the sighting of angels).  The jewish interpretation  are more in line with semitic monotheism that the Angel(s) of the Lord who was commissioned to speak God’s words throughout the Scriptures. Sometime He  is called “Lord” on behalf of conveying God’s message to Prophets of God Nabī Āllah نبي الله, but the Angel of the Lord is not God incarnate as trinitarians insist.

But even if for argument sake, it was really God who manifested in various incarnation forms in the jewish Bible, why do not trinitarians maintain the same relationship between Jesus and God as the relationship between God and the burning bush or between God and the tabernacle cloud etc. Why trinitarian theologian limit only three members of godhead instead of five (- add the bush and the cloud )?.

If anything, trinitarian concept of God becoming a man mixes semitic monotheism and paganism. To worship YHWH through “human nature” for it breaks away with biblical  principles that God is not a man (8)  and we should not put trust in “son of man” in which there is no salvation (9).

Allah knows best.

Notes:
  1. Catechism: The Son of God Became Man
  2. The essence of Judaism: Unity of God 
  3. Sh. Abdal Hakim Murad’s The Trinity: a Muslim Perspective 
  4. I take the stance by the adherence of calvinists “classical” orthodoxy like the apologist James White in his debate with brother Abdullah Kunde on the topic “Can God become man
  5. إِنَّ اللّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ “Allah has the perfect Power over all things” [Q 2:109]
  6. Medieval Sunni theologian Abu Ishaq al-Isfara’ini recorded this narration in his Islamic jurisprudence: (my own translation)

    رُوي أن سيدنا إدريس عليه الصلاة والسلام جاءه مرة إبليس في صورة إنسان وكان سيدنا إدريس يخيط وفي كل دخلة وخرجة يقول سبحان الله والحمد لله، فجاءه إبليس اللعين بقشرة وقال له: الله تعالى يقدر أن يجعل الدنيا في هذه القشرة؟

    فقال له سيدنا إدريس: الله تعالى قادر أن يجعل الدنيا في سَمّ هذه الإبرة أي ثقبها، ونخس بالإبرة في إحدى عينيه وجعله أعور

    “Narrated that  prophet Idris peace be upon him received Satan as visitor in the form of man  at that time when prophet Idris is sewing (his clothes) while he is praising Allah. Satan ask whether God with His power is able to put the world in the (egg) shell.
    Prophet Idris replied : ” God is able to put the world into this needle hole” while at the same time he puncture one of the man eye so he then became one-eyed.

    <The moral story is the Satan like to mock God’s power by saying inappropriate illogical aspect of His ability>

  7. Islamic theologians call this impossibility of God’s attribute as  Mumatsalatu Lil Hawadits (مماثلة للحوادث) means “Equals with God Creations”.
  8. Lo eesh El“– לֹ֣א אִ֥ישׁ אֵל֙ “God is not a man” that He should be deceitful, not a “son of man” that He should relent » Numbers 23:19 .  It is argued that the verse can not be used as an argument against the Incarnation (Richard Zetter one the contributor of this blog has written about this ), I would argue this is still the case. If anything, it is the acquired human nature after the incarnation that oddly makes god-man a 100% human. To be a human in fulness he has to have the shortcomings of change his mind or lying .  Worshipping a hybrid but unseparated god-man constitutes worshipping a human and that is certainly something guilty of idolatry.
  9. אַל־תִּבְטְח֥וּ בִנְדִיבִ֑ים בְּבֶן־אָדָ֓ם ׀ שֶׁ֤אֵֽין ל֥וֹ תְשׁוּעָֽה

    Put not your trust in the great, in son of man who cannot save. [Ps 146:3]

    Interestingly the very root of hebrew word teshuah תְּשׁוּעָה  used in that verse means salvation. It does seem to me that this verse prophesies a danger of worshipping the “son of man” ben Adam בֶן־אָדָ֓ם  a man mistakenly thought as god incarnate thus a warning for believing in false salvation.

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Categories: Christianity, God, Islam

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119 replies

  1. “God cannot add a human nature on to his divine nature, and the resulting person be both human and divine which is logically impossible.”

    Mere assertion and not illogical at all. What is illogical is that your argument boils down to “god can create a stone that is too heavy for him to lift.” It’s very childish and simplistic. You have made absolutely no logical argument to show that an incarnate god is of the same logical order as square circles – you have merely asserted it.

    “Of course God could enter into a human body. He could even share consciousness with a human person inside a human body. But these beings would never be ‘fully’ divine and ‘fully’ human, but some kind of mixture. Because if God become a man and God become 100% it mean God become equals with man (and share human weakness such as wrongful, dependent on others which is impossible for God (7).”

    Special pleading – a fatal logical fallacy. Also, self-contradictory and anti-islamic. Allah is not immanent in any way shape or form – you are falsifying islamic theology. You have just argued that allah can enter creation, into a human body with his full divine nature intact, yet do so without destroying said body. In other words, allah is capable of withholding his powers to enter creation without destroying it and you have refuted your own argument. Your version of allah possession would require that he withhold his full divine nature to prevent destruction of living matter and that would entail him becoming fully human. God’s divine nature can be encompassed in matter without him losing his divine attributes.

    “Amazing it may seem, as christians love to tell us that God incarnated into a man in order to show God’s love to human and to save them from hell (1), but this, to muslim ears, are out of touch the true Semitic concept of deity and does sound intuitively wrong. God, the ultimate reality of all being, surely must be always be singular, unseen and undivided deity without any imagery (2).

    From the muslim viewpoint who see themselves as the true heirs of semitic monotheism, this desemiticising of God into a concept more like Sanskrit Avatara resulted in dire consequences.”

    This is just plain untrue. The Smeitic concept of deity – particularly the jewish one – was naturally one of plurality.

    This podcast will tell you why……
    http://podcast.foundjs.org/the-bodies-of-god-and-the-world-of-ancient-israel-part-iv

    Also, Alan Segal in his work, the Two Powers in Heaven, argues that biblical scripture demands that we understand that yahweh is a plurality, and that accepting the deity of jesus as part of a plural god was very jewish and semitic.

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    • //Allah is not immanent in any way shape or form – you are falsifying islamic theology. //

      I am using the word “enter” only to help describe the situation that Allah is the absolute, un-alterable reality that God knows the whereabouts of each and everyone of His creations. God are nearer to us human than our jugular vein (by God’s Knowledge) not that God is immanent. Your trinitarian mindset prevents you to affirm such God who a single and absolute truth that transcends the world; a unique and indivisible being who is independent of the entire creation.

      Plurality of yahweh, plural god?? really sounds like greco roman paganism or even hinduism to me.

      I read works on early christianity in relation to 1st century judaism written by scholars like Schafer, Boyarin including Alan Segal, you misrepresent Segal position, in his work, the Two Powers in Heaven, he view that there was already clear ‘orthodoxy’ in first-century Judaism and the ‘two powers in heaven’ belief was condemned as a heresy in rabbinic literature just as the same belief was condemned as a heresy in first-century Judaism. The jews even worshipped golden calf it dont mean that is what Prophet Moses taught.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Eric

      You have avoided addressing the errors I pointed out in your logical process and reasoning.

      “I am using the word “enter” only to help describe the situation that Allah is the absolute, un-alterable reality that God knows the whereabouts of each and everyone of His creations. ”

      Your point makes no sense and it sounds like you are moving the goalposts. Your assertion was that…..

      Of course, God could enter into a human body. He could even share consciousness with a human person inside a human body.

      Once allah “enters” a human being, then he must have surrendered his divine nature, effectively becoming human, otherwise whatever human he entered would die. Are you sure you know what you are talking about?

      You have already refuted your own argument.

      “I read works on early christianity in relation to 1st century judaism written by scholars like Schafer, Boyarin including Alan Segal, you misrepresent Segal position, in his work, the Two Powers in Heaven, he view that there was already clear ‘orthodoxy’ in first-century Judaism and the ‘two powers in heaven’ belief was condemned as a heresy in rabbinic literature just as the same belief was condemned as a heresy in first-century Judaism. The jews even worshipped golden calf it dont mean that is what Prophet Moses taught.”

      The pharisees as the forerunners of modern rabbinic judaism pushed the idea of absolute oneness – and they were condemned by jesus. And they were merely one sect of many in 1st century Judah. There was no oneness orthodoxy at the time because up to that time and beyond – as Sommer and Segal show – biblical scripture demanded the interpretation of a plural god.

      Like

    • //There was no oneness orthodoxy at the time because up to that time and beyond – as Sommer and Segal show – biblical scripture demanded the interpretation of a plural god.//

      Clearly you misrepresent Segal and Sommer’s view. As I mentioned Segal view this “two powers of heaven” as heresy to mainstream judaism, whereas Sommer talks about the concept of Shekinah and Sefirot in kabbalism which he call fluidity/creativity in some (not all) of early jewish thought which was opposed by other prominent jewish thinkers like the Maimonides, as a theological of different manifestation of god this concept later christian may adopt it but in a wrong direction, because it is not the same association as jesus as being god to christians. Dr. Sommer even talked about trinity as being “worst than heretics“.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Eric

      And you have come nowhere near showing how an incarnate god is of the same logical order as a round square. You seem to have dropped that attempt at logical argumentation.

      Like

    • “The pharisees as the forerunners of modern rabbinic judaism pushed the idea of absolute oneness – and they were condemned by jesus.”

      Where does Jesus condemn the Pharisees for the Jewish belief in God’s absolute oneness? You assume what you have not demonstrated.

      Mark 12:

      “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

      “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

      No hint of Trinitarianism there!

      Liked by 1 person

    • There’s no denial of trinitarianism there either.

      Can you address the logical errors I pointed out in Eric’s argument? How is an incarnate god of the same logical order as a round square?

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    • which jewish sect in 1st century palestine believed that god consisted of internal echads /singular persons?

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    • Kev:

      “There’s no denial of trinitarianism there either.”

      In the Jewish context belief in the absoluteness Oneness of God is assumed. Trinitarianism is utterly absent from the teaching about God in the Torah. The unitarian monotheism of Isaiah 40–55 is very clear. Jesus assumed it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • which jewish sect in 1st century palestine said that god consists of INTERNAL echads?

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    • “In the Jewish context belief in the absoluteness Oneness of God is assumed. Trinitarianism is utterly absent from the teaching about God in the Torah. The unitarian monotheism of Isaiah 40–55 is very clear. Jesus assumed it.”

      Nonsense. The scholars I have mentioned – in addition to Michael Heiser – all have shown that jewish thought was perfectly comfortable with a plural monotheistic god. Jesus in no way disavowed this notion – he assumed it as Mark 14 shows.

      Mr Heathcliff

      Any chance you’ll have a go at showing how an incarnate god is like having a square circle? Eric and Paul can’t show this.

      Like

    • “Nonsense. The scholars I have mentioned – in addition to Michael Heiser – all have shown that jewish thought was perfectly comfortable with a plural monotheistic god. Jesus in no way disavowed this notion – he assumed it as Mark 14 shows.”

      “plural monotheistic company”

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    • mr heathcliff

      So you’re avoiding the glaring logical fallacy in Eric’s objection to incarnation?

      Like

  2. Even if God can incarnate in a human, there’s no reason to think of Jesus as God. Jesus didn’t display any of the attributes of God. The NT portrays Jesus as a human who did some miraculous things, just like the prophets of old. That’s it.

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    • incarnate
      adjective
      ɪnˈkɑːnət/
      1.
      (especially of a deity or spirit) embodied in human form.

      so what exactly of a god BECOMES visible? since god is invisible, what in his “invisibleness” becomes visible and corporeal?

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    • if nothing in the “invisibleness” of god becomes anything and it always remains SEPARATE from bringing into existence today and tomorrow , then what incarnated?

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    • Kmak

      “Even if God can incarnate in a human, there’s no reason to think of Jesus as God. Jesus didn’t display any of the attributes of God. The NT portrays Jesus as a human who did some miraculous things, just like the prophets of old. That’s it.”

      You don’t understand the doctrine of the incarnation. Your comment is so badly conceptualized that it’s not even wrong. Jesus was fully human – that’s the point. He didn’t incarnate to show his divine attributes in human flesh, no one says that. And you should read the NT before you make those claims – he is clearly portrayed as far more than the prophets of old.

      Even the quran cannot deny jesus’ uniqueness by saying jesus was sinless.

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    • Kev. Exactly what did Jesus do that would lead us to conclude he was fully divine?

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    • “He didn’t incarnate to show his divine attributes in human flesh, no one says that. And you should read the NT before you make those claims – he is clearly portrayed as far more than the prophets of old.”

      i did. and i have a question. why is john the only pagan writer who has an “i am he” statement blow away the arresting powers yet all 3 synoptics say that the pagans easily man handled your pagan jewish god after he was identified?

      here is an “i am he” statement which has a magical effect on fo, but it gets left out ?

      you said “divine attribute in human flesh”

      what in your invisible god became visible?

      what in his “invisibleness” became visible?

      what exactly became physical within “invisibleness” of god?

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    • kmak

      He affirmed his deity multiple times.

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    • mr heathcliff

      Are you still working on addressing that logical fallacy in Eric’s article?

      Like

    • how can you worship a human being who was poked by another human being ?

      yhwh said this in the ot:

      15You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, 16so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, 17or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. 19And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. 20But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.

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    • Kev. ‘He affirmed his deity multiple times.’

      Anyone can claim to be God. Exactly what did Jesus do, not say, that would lead to the logical conclusion that he was fully divine?

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    • kmak

      What is the doctrine of the incarnation?

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    • Please answer my question first. If Muhammad(saw)’s claiming to be a Prophet isnt enough to actually make him a Prophet, why would Jesus claiming to be a deity be enough to make him fully divine?

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    • “What is the doctrine of the incarnation?”

      but i thought yhwh was displaying power with full force when he was leading out his children from egypt?

      since it was a god who already entered the earth and was leading out his kids, why was jesus not seen doing any of this ?

      there are miracle workers who used to control the weather before jesus was born.
      there are miracle workers who used to part the sea (moses) and control the sun (josh) before jesus was born.

      you trust in a poked god who did not display anything yhwh did in the past.

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    • kmak

      I’ve answered your question, you just don’t like the answer. Mohammed performed no miracles like the prophets of old. That’s reason enough to question his claims.

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    • “Jesus was fully human – that’s the point. He didn’t incarnate to show his divine attributes in human flesh, no one says that”

      but he was fully god on earth according to your dumb ass beliefs.

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    • “Mohammed performed no miracles like the prophets of old. That’s reason enough to question his claims.”

      but your god being fully god and fully man did not perform anything like yhwh in the old testament. you must believe that when yhwhs spirit enters the earth it is more poweful than jesus who is fully god and fully man on earth.

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    • Kev. So what did Jesus do that indicates fully divinity?

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    • kmak

      I’ve answered your question, dude. Jesus claimed divinity, claimed to have comes to serve and give his life for the remission of sin, predicted his own death and resurrection, and surpassed all the previous prophets, and he was sinless as the quran affirms.

      His miracles alone stand him in contrast to previous prophets.

      Although not comprehensive, all of the above stand to confirm the credibility of his claims.

      What does mohammed have by contrast? A book that is claimed to be perfectly preserved? There is nothing miraculous about preserving a book. If preserving a book is an example of divine miracles, then humans have become divine because we can preserve books with ease.

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    • “his miracles alone stand him in contrast to previous prophets.”

      was yhwh of old more powerful than fully man and fully god on earth? was he displaying more power than the new testament god? so a jew can argue that yhwh of old in front of millions of jews was more powerful than a false flesh/idol god performing miracles which were hardly witnessed by anyone.

      ///////////////
      Stories in which Jesus commands the dead to come back to life, grow less secretive, more public, more impressive, and play a more important role in the story when you read them starting with earlier Gospels and ending with the fourth Gospel.

      http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2013/10/stories-in-which-jesus-commands-dead-to.html

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    • kev, this might make you cry for more than a month :

      Moses was a unique prophet. One essential difference between him and all other prophets is that his prophecy was verified to the whole nation in shared prophecy. All heard God speak at Sinai (Ex. 19 and 20; see also Deut. 4). When the entire nation heard the voice of God, they all knew firsthand that Moses was his prophet. A second difference between Moses and all other prophets is the clarity of his prophecy: “When there are prophets among you, I the Lord make myself known to them in visions; I speak to them in dreams. Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house. With him I speak face to face—clearly, not in riddles; and he beholds the form of the Lord” (Num. 12:6-8). If one is going to be a prophet like Moses, unique from all other prophets, it must be in one of these two ways, or both.

      Jesus was not publicly verified. The paucity of the Christian claim that Jesus is like Moses is shown in comparing the Sermon on the Mount to Sinai. The only similarity is that a mountain was involved. Moses did not teach from the mountain as Jesus did, but he brought the Torah down from the mountain. Before that, however, the entire people heard God speak. At Sinai, Moses became fully authenticated by God. But this did not happen for Jesus. While he taught on a mountain, this is nothing more than any human being could do on any topic. It is a world of difference away between him teaching on a mountain and Moses bringing the Torah down from Sinai.

      Moreover, their teaching is vastly different. Moses taught only what God gave him. He did not pretend to be the author of the teachings he brought down. Jesus, on the other hand, contrasted his words to that of the Torah, making his teachings superior to those given by God. Sometimes a Christian will say that Jesus was teaching against the oral Torah, but this is clearly not true. When Jesus says, “You have heard it said…” he goes on to quote the written Torah. The difference between Moses and Jesus could not be clearer on this matter. Moses was publicly verified by God and did not claim to be the author of God’s Torah. Jesus was not publicly verified by God and juxtaposed his words to the Torah, making his teachings superior.

      On the other possible point of similarity, no evidence can be offered that God spoke to Jesus with the clarity that he spoke to Moses. Even if a Christian claimed such a thing, that would be no proof. In what way could the Christian demonstrate that to be true? One can claim anything. And even if one accepted the gospels as true accounts, it would not be clear from them that Jesus experienced such clarity of prophecy. Contrast, for example, the way Moses’ face shined after speaking with God and the way Jesus’ hometown saw no special qualities in him to the point where he had trouble working miracles among them (Ex. 34:29-35; Matt. 13:54-58, Mk. 6:1-6). No good reason can be given to believe that Jesus heard from God as clearly as Moses did.

      Since the Christian sees so much similarity between the births and childhoods of Jesus and Moses, it is worth pondering also their deaths—or what happened after their deaths. When Moses died, God took care of the body, keeping the burial place a secret (Deut. 34:5-6). After his death, no one can be looking to Moses. One’s attention is to be focused on God. This shows the great love of God for Moses, not only because He buried Moses (so to speak) but because Moses would not be a stumbling block for Israel. Moses’ role as servant of God was preserved, and no shrine could be made to Moses at his gravesite.

      God gives no such protection to Jesus. Not only did Jesus feel abandoned at his death, afterward he received no protection. His disciples taught that he came back from the dead. God allowed Jesus to suffer the great dishonor of being made into an idol, venerated just as Caesar’s and other men were venerated. Jesus was allowed the ignominy of being a source of confusion, a distraction from God and His Torah. If he felt forsaken at his death, how much more he would have been afterward if he knew that he was an idol.

      After these considerations, one sees that the claim that Jesus is the prophet like Moses is empty. The similarities they share are largely superficial and do not relate to the role of either as prophet. When the essential qualities of Moses as a prophet distinct from other prophets are considered, no similarities are apparent between the two. In the end, Moses led people to God, while Jesus became an idol. The differences between them are greater than the similarities. If Deut: 18:15-19 is referring to a particular prophet who will be like Moses, he has not yet come. However, the truest reading does not refer one to a particular future prophet like Moses, and one need not wait expectantly for such a prophet to appear.

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    • kev, do you see? even the jews apply your own bs on jesus .

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    • Kev: Jesus claimed divinity, claimed to have comes to serve and give his life for the remission of sin, predicted his own death and resurrection,

      That’s all it takes to be fully divine?

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    • quote:
      Kev: Jesus claimed divinity, claimed to have comes to serve and give his life for the remission of sin, predicted his own death and resurrection,

      ////////
      but the jews don’t care kev. they have the sinai experience and according to them it trumps everything jesus said and did.

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    • kev, was yhwh who was god on earth displaying more powers than the new testament god who was also on earth? do you not see that jews consider their god more powerful than your puny poked god?

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    • kmak

      “Jesus claimed divinity, claimed to have comes to serve and give his life for the remission of sin, predicted his own death and resurrection,”

      No, but it is what the incarnation is all about. I thought you knew that.

      But it is still far more than what mohammed had – his only “miracle” is a book that is supposed to be preserved, even though humans are perfectly capable of preserving books without divine intervention.

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    • “No, but it is what the incarnation is all about. I thought you knew that.”

      kev, your pathetic answer forgot that your god was FULLY god on EARTH?

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    • “But it is still far more than what mohammed had – his only “miracle” is a book that is supposed to be preserved, even though humans are perfectly capable of preserving books without divine intervention.”

      kev, the jews believe they have a more powerful deity than your fully god and fully man on earth. they believe that yhwh ON earth WAS greater and more POWERFUL than a PUNY miracle worker who had miracle malfunction in his HOMETOWN.

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    • @Kev: If Jesus was fully man and Jesus was also fully divine. Can you should one occasion where Jesus the man worshiped Jesus the Divine. Now that would prove his full humanity/divinity. Short of that is your mumbo jumbo.

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    • Rational Muslim

      I’d like to answer your question but my comments are being deleted. Meanwhile, as someone who seems to value rational processes, can you address the glaring logical fallacy in Eric’s original article? The other muslims on the thread have avoided it like a pulled pork sandwich.

      Like

    • Rational Muslim

      “If Jesus was fully man and Jesus was also fully divine. Can you should one occasion where Jesus the man worshiped Jesus the Divine. Now that would prove his full humanity/divinity. Short of that is your mumbo jumbo.”

      Your reasoning is mumbo jumbo.

      According to kmak, what jesus said is irrelevant because “anyone can claim anything”, so you have thrown out a different and apparently ad hoc objection to jesus’ divinity, contrdicting kamk’s objection. Worse, still, your assertion is a false dichotomy the premises of which are far from established. There is no logical or theological reason why jesus would have to pray to his divine self.

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  3. Kev, when Jesus quoted the Shema, in Mark 12: 29, where is the evidence that he assumed Trinitarian doctrine? Also, if you claim that Jesus was aware of the Trinity, believed in the Trinity, and was for all purposes, a Trinitarian, then it is incredibly shocking that Jesus did not explain it, elaborate on it or dealt with the issue.

    There is an axiom, that the greater the importance a doctrine is for salvation, the greater clarity and evidence it must be communicated in. The Deceptive Messiah, whom you worship as God, clearly failed the axiom.

    Please answer the above points raised in an honest way, without resorting to distractions diversions and nonsense.

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    • Avi

      Jesus claimed deity whilst speaking of the father in heaven and the holy spirit as divine persons who have agency. And he reminded us that these three aspects of god who posses agency are one. That’s pretty clear to me.

      I could ask you the same question: why aren’t some of the doctrines of islam clearly stated in the quran – quran only muslims point out that almost none of the practices of muslims that express their submission to and worship of allah and hence their salvation are actually stated in the quran.

      For example, there’s no precise command for fasting for ramadan and the quran even gives contradictory commands about it. Even allah’s possession of 99 attributes is not stated in the quran.

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    • Avi

      Here is an interesting link to a quran alone site that shows clearly how islam is largely un-quranic…..

      http://www.quran-islam.org/articles/part_6/do_hadith_followers_follow_the_quran_(P1527).html/

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    • ” And he reminded us that these three aspects of god who posses agency are one. That’s pretty clear to me”

      your god is a feature and not a person ? he is a part /feature of ?

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    • mr heathcliff

      how do you reconcile your islamic practice with the actual words and commands of the quran?

      Like

    • Jesus is unitarian. His God is the Father of Israel = YhWH alone.

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    • Kev “Jesus claimed deity whilst speaking of the father in heaven and the holy spirit as divine persons who have agency. And he reminded us that these three aspects of god who posses agency are one. That’s pretty clear to me.”

      Pretty clear to me that you are a polytheist Kev!

      You worship three distinct divine personal deities

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    • Burhanuddin1

      “Jesus is unitarian.”

      No he wasn’t. “Before Abraham, IAM!”

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    • Omar

      that makes no sense.

      Yahweh is one being, not three deities.

      Like

    • Yes Jesus is unitarian. The HS is not he God of Jesus.

      Why talk about Jesus in past tense? He still is human and has a God.

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    • YHWH is not a three person being. YHWH is the Father of Israel = Father of Jesus alone.
      There is NO God beside him. e. g. Deuteronomy32:39

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    • Kev “that makes no sense. Yahweh is one being, not three deities”.

      Your not making sense Kev

      YHWH’s one being is not made up of three distinct divine persons

      Your notion of ‘oneness’ only exists in your mind Kev not in the bible..

      I pray you come to your senses one day Kev where you will realise that your erroneous belief in trinitarian ‘oneness’ is not what the beloved Jesus taught you in the bible amin!

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    • i can’t believe it that kev is understanding his god as a company.

      what is worse is that each person in his company = individual echad

      3 echads

      define company
      the fact or condition of being with another or others, especially in a way that provides friendship and enjoyment.

      they tell us that each 100 % person/echad fully enjoys the other 100 % person /echad

      then they have “one god” or “one divine echad nature” which is ETERNAL to the 3 echads

      god then must be imagined as singular echad and company echad at the same time

      externally he is “one divine nature” which is PERSONLESS

      internally he is COMPANY

      how can this not be polytheism ? an intellectual polytheist has been armed with arguments by the trinitarians. any intellectual or philosophical hindu can make a case using trinitarian argumentation.

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    • “Yahweh is one being, not three deities.”

      yhwh is a company. team. partnership. you are a polytheist. each echad in the team is fully aware of what the other knows. this is not “one god” this is “one company”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Christians have misunderstood the Jewish concept of agency where the Angel speaks and behaves as though God himself, they grasped literally what the Jews took figuratively. For example, before God is introduced into the narrative the Exodus clearly says “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush” so the angel was speaking to Moses as the messenger speaking for the King in the first person. During ancient times the messenger from another land was treated as though the king himself, attacking the messenger was attacking the king and signified a declaration of war. The psalm 45:6 addresses the King David using the words “Your throne, O God will last forever” and psalm 82:6 describes the angels as “gods” which is figurative and poetic. David was “God” in the sense of representation and Moses is called “God unto the Pharaoh” (Ex. 4:16, 7:1) because he speaks on God’s behalf. For example, Moses is the speaker in Deut. 18:18, most people think God is speaking in that verse. There is a oneness of purpose between God and His prophet (John 10:30). If the Jews had some concept of plurality it wasn’t something literal, but Justin Martyr took it extremely literally and claimed, without any explicit support from the Hebrew Bible, that Christ himself was the angel speaking to Moses in the burning bush. According to the Quran we find God emanating His voice from the direction of the fire, there is no burning bush. Hebrew parallelism is another poetic Jewish device that Christians misunderstood, as demonstrated by Matthews gospel making Jesus sit on two donkeys at the same time. Personification was taken literally too, but Philo allegorically described the logos as a living being coexisting beside God and Christology was heavily influenced by Philo’s teachings about the Logos. Philo took Exodus 7:1 extremely literally and imagined how Moses’ body was transformed into Cosmic matter. Where did Christians get the idea of making Jesus the Son of God in the divine sense? It was the Roman Imperial Cult. Long before Jesus the Roman general Julius Caesar was worshipped as a Divine being after his death. He transferred divinity and godhood over to his begotten (adopted) son Octavian known to history as Caesar Augustus. This is how Caesar Augustus became the Son of God years before Jesus emerged. It is obvious that borrowing took place, it confirms what the Quran says (9:30). The ancient Greeks identified their god Hermes as the Logos centuries before Jesus.

    Read this paper: http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/articles/jesus-christ-divine-agents-speaking-and-acting-in-gods-stead

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    • “hristians have misunderstood the Jewish concept of agency where the Angel speaks and behaves as though God himself, they grasped literally what the Jews took figuratively. ”

      The jews took these passages literally too. See Dr Benjamin Sommer.

      Like

    • kev, so according to you, yhwh was “god on earth” ?

      guess what kev, the jews believe yhwh was more POWERFUL and greater than your puny new testament god

      he proved his power in front of hundreds and thousands (disbelievers included)

      your god had miracle malfunction in his own family town

      enjoy this article kev :

      Moses was a unique prophet. One essential difference between him and all other prophets is that his prophecy was verified to the whole nation in shared prophecy. All heard God speak at Sinai (Ex. 19 and 20; see also Deut. 4). When the entire nation heard the voice of God, they all knew firsthand that Moses was his prophet. A second difference between Moses and all other prophets is the clarity of his prophecy: “When there are prophets among you, I the Lord make myself known to them in visions; I speak to them in dreams. Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house. With him I speak face to face—clearly, not in riddles; and he beholds the form of the Lord” (Num. 12:6-8). If one is going to be a prophet like Moses, unique from all other prophets, it must be in one of these two ways, or both.

      Jesus was not publicly verified. The paucity of the Christian claim that Jesus is like Moses is shown in comparing the Sermon on the Mount to Sinai. The only similarity is that a mountain was involved. Moses did not teach from the mountain as Jesus did, but he brought the Torah down from the mountain. Before that, however, the entire people heard God speak. At Sinai, Moses became fully authenticated by God. But this did not happen for Jesus. While he taught on a mountain, this is nothing more than any human being could do on any topic. It is a world of difference away between him teaching on a mountain and Moses bringing the Torah down from Sinai.

      Moreover, their teaching is vastly different. Moses taught only what God gave him. He did not pretend to be the author of the teachings he brought down. Jesus, on the other hand, contrasted his words to that of the Torah, making his teachings superior to those given by God. Sometimes a Christian will say that Jesus was teaching against the oral Torah, but this is clearly not true. When Jesus says, “You have heard it said…” he goes on to quote the written Torah. The difference between Moses and Jesus could not be clearer on this matter. Moses was publicly verified by God and did not claim to be the author of God’s Torah. Jesus was not publicly verified by God and juxtaposed his words to the Torah, making his teachings superior.

      On the other possible point of similarity, no evidence can be offered that God spoke to Jesus with the clarity that he spoke to Moses. Even if a Christian claimed such a thing, that would be no proof. In what way could the Christian demonstrate that to be true? One can claim anything. And even if one accepted the gospels as true accounts, it would not be clear from them that Jesus experienced such clarity of prophecy. Contrast, for example, the way Moses’ face shined after speaking with God and the way Jesus’ hometown saw no special qualities in him to the point where he had trouble working miracles among them (Ex. 34:29-35; Matt. 13:54-58, Mk. 6:1-6). No good reason can be given to believe that Jesus heard from God as clearly as Moses did.

      Since the Christian sees so much similarity between the births and childhoods of Jesus and Moses, it is worth pondering also their deaths—or what happened after their deaths. When Moses died, God took care of the body, keeping the burial place a secret (Deut. 34:5-6). After his death, no one can be looking to Moses. One’s attention is to be focused on God. This shows the great love of God for Moses, not only because He buried Moses (so to speak) but because Moses would not be a stumbling block for Israel. Moses’ role as servant of God was preserved, and no shrine could be made to Moses at his gravesite.

      God gives no such protection to Jesus. Not only did Jesus feel abandoned at his death, afterward he received no protection. His disciples taught that he came back from the dead. God allowed Jesus to suffer the great dishonor of being made into an idol, venerated just as Caesar’s and other men were venerated. Jesus was allowed the ignominy of being a source of confusion, a distraction from God and His Torah. If he felt forsaken at his death, how much more he would have been afterward if he knew that he was an idol.

      After these considerations, one sees that the claim that Jesus is the prophet like Moses is empty. The similarities they share are largely superficial and do not relate to the role of either as prophet. When the essential qualities of Moses as a prophet distinct from other prophets are considered, no similarities are apparent between the two. In the end, Moses led people to God, while Jesus became an idol. The differences between them are greater than the similarities. If Deut: 18:15-19 is referring to a particular prophet who will be like Moses, he has not yet come. However, the truest reading does not refer one to a particular future prophet like Moses, and one need not wait expectantly for such a prophet to appear.

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  5. Kev, why do you never answer what you are asked? Just be honest for once, instead of mentioning the Qur’an etc.

    Why is the Doctrine of the Trinity clearly not expounded, by Jesus?

    Liked by 2 people

    • He does.Matthew 28:19

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    • Mat 28:19 …. where do the mentioned three distinct persons collectively form one divine being = One God? lol…

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    • Why was my post deleted?

      Like

    • It seems wordpress consider your comment as spam. Dont dump links , articulate your point.

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    • Too bad. Avi would have had his question answered.

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    • It’s a mystery

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    • Avi

      I’m not sure why you are unhappy with my response earlier…..
      https://bloggingtheology.net/2017/01/15/jesus-the-avatar-a-short-muslim-critique-about-god-incarnate/#comment-39215

      and here…..
      https://bloggingtheology.net/2017/01/15/jesus-the-avatar-a-short-muslim-critique-about-god-incarnate/#comment-39215

      The concept of the trinity is well expounded upon in the NT. As I said, Jesus claims divinity, and the Holy Spirit is portrayed as having personal qualities. At the same time, JEsus is clear that all these divine persons – himself, the father, and the holy spirit – are not separate gods because the Shema.

      Thus god is three persons in one being.

      As for mentioning the quran, I find your objection puzzling.

      You have quoted liberal scholars – atheists or agnostics who would savage the islamic texts – to disprove christian theology, yet, you seem to be a believing muslim and not an atheist who is pursuing an atheist agenda. To me, atheist or agnostic objections to christianity are irrelevant to this debate.

      What is important are the objections to christianity as outlined and expounded upon in the supposedly “revealed” word of allah, whoever, or whatever he or it is. That would make the most sense.

      At the end of the day what this boils down to which theology we should trust more.

      Muslim religious practice is not informed by the quran to any great degree – as the link I posted earlier shows. To me this makes the claims of the quran suspect since even muslim practice draws most heavily from sources outside the quran (namely the hadith and histories) which – I have to say – have credibility issues since they appear long after the events they describe.

      So, atheist and agnostic objections are no use here. The quran doesn’t even provide sufficient information to understand what or who allah is, it provides insufficient guidance on almost all of muslim religious practices (eg. the 5 pillars are dubiously supported in the qruan), and shows very little evidence that its writers were familiar with any specifics of the NT or OT.

      At the end of the day, the strongest argument that muslims could possibly bring against the trinity is a logical one. Sadly, none of you guys have been able to make a logically sound argument that both denies the trinity, and incarnation, yet does not also destroy islamic theology. In fact, I have seen no sound logical argument presented by muslims that comes even close.

      Maybe you could attempt this?

      Like

    • Avi

      Just posted a long reply but it seems as though it has been deleted. Sad.

      Like

  6. Mathew 28:19 is a forgery, as admitted Bible scholars.

    Even if it were not, it doesn’t even imply the concept of the Trinity. Mere mentioning of three different things together is not the concept of the Trinity.

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  7. ”As far as the New Testament is concerned one does not find in it an actual doctrine of the Trinity”

    Bernard Lohse, A Short History of Christian Doctrine, Fortress Press, 1966, 38

    ”The NT does not contain the DEVELOPED DOCTRINE of the Trinity”

    The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology 2: 84

    ”The Bible lacks the express declaration that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence”

    Ibid.,quoting Karl Barth

    Kev, why?

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  8. I wanted to share some thoughts on the original article. I have not read all the discussion in the comments section, so forgive me if something here overlaps with something already discussed in the correspondences above.

    Portions of the original article which caught my eye include those which depicted Christian belief in the Trinity and/or the Incarnation as…

    «out of touch the true Semitic concept of deity»,

    «desemiticising of God into a concept more like Sanskrit Avatara»,

    ..and that it…

    «mixes semitic monotheism and paganism».

    So too the remark that…

    «The jewish interpretation are more in line with semitic monotheism».

    Such comments leave me wondering what our reference point is for determining the proper “Semitic monotheism”. I would hope it is not to simply presuppose orthodox Islam as the reference point, as such would strike me as potentially circular (i.e. to presuppose an orthodox Islamic view and then reach a conclusion which agrees with such), if not potentially anachronistic (e.g. holding belief in the Trinity or the Incarnation to a standard developed after it). So I would ask what our methodology is for determining the proper “Semitic monotheism,” as I would suspect that if we looked at the history of all Semites, a spectrum of views would be found therein (depending on how we define “Semite” of course).

    The eighth footnote of the article invokes Numbers 23:19, and even links to an article by Richard Zetter from last September, so I would like to share a slightly adapted version some comments I made on that article, which are relevant here.

    First, it may be worthwhile to contemplate the first four words of Numbers 23:19 together with the first three words of Exodus 15:3…

    The first question I would ask is if “God” (El) in the verse in Numbers is referring to the same Being as “the Lord” (Yah__) in the verse in Exodus? I think most of us would agree, the answer is yes.

    Beyond that, note that the verse in Numbers has a proposition being negated, and the waw/vav employed therein results in that proposition constituting a logical conjunction. So a second question becomes: are we to read the text as negating the entire proposition, or each of its conjuncts individually? In other words, there is a difference between saying…

    “it is not the case that God is an īsh (“a man”) and one who lies [i.e. God is not a man that lies],”

    …on the one hand, and saying…

    “God is not an īsh (“a man”) and, [aside from that] God does not lie [i.e. God is neither a man nor does God lie],”

    …on the other. I know some will be tempted to (perhaps intuitively?) treat the verse as meaning the latter, but I suspect that if the text is read literally (which is generally what those who wish to wield the verse as a polemic against the Incarnation tend to do), it reads plainly as a negation of the conjunction as a whole (not a negation of each individual conjunct therein). To explain this in a way which employs basic formal logical language, the proposition seems to be of the structure…

    ~(P & Q),

    …rather than…

    ~P & ~Q.

    This raises a third question, relevant to the first: if the two texts are referring to the same single Being, what are we to make of one verse saying that Being is an īsh (“a man”) and the other verse saying that same Being is not an īsh (“a man”)? The obvious answer is to say “well, one use is metaphorical and the other is literal”. But even that concedes that the word īsh can be used in different ways, and can help us reassess the second question, above. The verse is not saying God is not an īsh in any sense of the word. Once that is conceded, it has the potential to strengthen the aforementioned point about the verse negating a conjunction, not each individual conjunct therein (i.e. God is not an īsh that lies, which is not necessarily a denial that God is an īsh of any sort whatsoever). And of course one might try to say the point is an īsh is necessarily a liar, but if God is a sort of īsh who doesn’t lie (which is a conclusion one might reach if the two verses are read together in a hyperliteral sense), then that assertion seems unfounded.

    Beyond that, it is worth noting that Targūm Onqelos (i.e. the ancient and essentially the “official” Jewish Aramaic translation) to Numbers 23:19 renders the opening lā k’miley b’ney enashā meymar Elahā (i.e. “the word of God is not like the words of the sons of men”):

    In other words, there are even ancient Jewish exegetes who did not see the text as denying the ability of God to take human form; rather, they saw it as a commentary on the difference between the trustworthiness of God’s speech vis a vis that of the words of [mere] men.

    Furthermore, even if the verse did bluntly mean God is not a man, it should be noted Christians can agree with that as well. The triune God is something profoundly different from a mere human being. Yes, Christians believe one Person within God acquired a human nature in addition to His divine nature (and we even call that Person a man by virtue of His possession of an authentic human nature), but that is still profoundly different from saying the one God (which comprises the three Persons therein) is a mere human.

    For a light analogy, the statement…

    “God comprises three Persons and one of those Persons was enclothed in a human form”

    …is as different from the statement…

    “God is a man”

    …as the statement…

    “Michael Jackson enclothed his hand in a glove”

    …is from the statement…

    “Michael Jackson is a glove.”

    Moreover, if we are exploring the possibility of God taking on a human form in a Semitic context, Genesis 18:1-3 would strike me as a very relevant text. So I’d like to discuss some key points from the passage and beyond. I would lay out the salient points as follows:

    [Gen 18:1] God appears to Abraham.

    [Gen 18:2] Abraham sees three men. Historically there have been Trinitarians who saw an allusion to the Trinity, but I don’t want to argue for such here; rather, we will leave the question open, and I will simply assert that the text has at least one of the men being God, with the identities of the other two being open to question (i.e. my position is they are messengers, but whether those messengers are created or uncreated, whether they are Persons within God or not, is left open to question, as I won’t address it here).

    [Gen 18:3] After prostrating (in verse 2), Abraham employs the plural “adonay” while using singular possessive suffixes. This is significant because adonay can mean “my lords” or “my LORD” (the latter being in reference to God), but the singular possessive suffixes (e.g. `eyneKHA, “your (singular) eyes” and `abdeKHA, “your (singular) slave”) implies he is addressing something singular (an easy conclusion is he is addressing one person among them as “adonay” [there is another, more complex, controversial alternative, but I won’t get into that here]). To address one as adonay while in prostration seems to be clear he recognizes that one as God (especially when this comes on the heels of the text saying God appeared to him). [On an interesting side note, in the aforementioned Targūm Onqelos, Gen 18:3 has Abraham saying [yod-yod], text that stands in the place of the Tetragrammaton, i.e. an unambiguous reference to God.] [By the way, in verse 4 he switches to a plural possessive suffix for their feet, thus we could read that as transitioning from addressing one to addressing all three.]

    [Gen 18:13-15] There’s some talk about Sarah having a son, which she laughs at, and then God (i.e. the LORD) asks why she laughed (i.e. why she doubts the power of God to give her a son), and she responds (with a denial). The easy conclusion is that they are having a conversation with someone in their presence, and the easy conclusion is that it is one of the “men” (presumably the one Abraham called Adonay).

    [Gen 18:22] The text says men went to Sodom while Abraham stood before the LORD. It seems to imply the LORD has a precise location, the location where they all were before a portion of the group departed (again buttressing the point that God appeared before Abraham). But here’s a fun question: how many men departed? All three? Well, see the next passage examined:

    [Gen 19:1] The text states that TWO messengers went to Sodom. When reading this in the light of Gen 18, the implication seems to be God was one of the three “men,” and in verse 22, two men departed while the LORD stayed behind, with those two who departed being the messengers who arrive at Sodom. [If one wishes to object that 18:22 does not employ the dual, note that neither is it employed here in 19:1 for the messengers.]

    In short, a literal reading of Genesis 18-19 leans strongly towards the conclusion that God appeared to Abraham in the form of a man. Thus begging the question asked at the outset: how do we conclude belief in divine incarnation is necessarily contrary to Semitic monotheism?

    Regarding Old Testament texts that seem to depict God taking on a form resembling something in creation, the article asks this question:

    «why do not trinitarians maintain the same relationship between Jesus and God as the relationship between God and the burning bush or between God and the tabernacle cloud etc. Why trinitarian theologian limit only three members of godhead instead of five (- add the bush and the cloud )?»

    I would pose the counter question: why couldn’t one of the Persons of the Trinity be the one who engaged in those appearances? For example, Genesis 3 seems to hint at another such case, as it seems, if read literally, to have God moving through the garden, and Adam and Eve hiding from Him (thus it seems to imply God was moving via something akin to a physical form). So who was moving in the garden with Adam? Even the aforementioned Targūm Onqelos in that verse says it was Meymrā (which a Christian mind might nod and say, ah yes, it was the Logos moving through the garden).

    But ultimately, the salient point here is that it seems a belief in something akin to divine incarnation (something where God takes on a form resembling creation, and interacts with humans via that form) is not contrary to Semitic monotheism. [One might go so far that those who argue otherwise are introducing an innovation.]

    ***

    Finally, I want to make a quick comment about the article employing the phrase “100%”. Dyophysitism, as I understand it, is not saying God is like a glass in which one pours a certain amount of divinity, and then a bit more humanity on top of it, and each by itself (the divinity and the humanity) equals 100% of the volume of God. When people throw around the phrase “100%,” I wonder what they are quoting. What Christian source employs such a phrase? The Creed of Chalcedon describes Christ as…

    τέλειον τὸν αὐτὸν ἐν θεότητι καὶ τέλειον τὸν αὐτὸν ἐν ἀνθρωπότητι

    …and…

    θεὸν ἀληθῶς καὶ ἄνθρωπον ἀληθῶς

    …and I would propose that they are not saying two different things; rather, they clarify each other. That is to say, referring to Him as truly or authenticall human and truly or authentically God, the text means He possesses what is essential to humanity and essential to what is divinity. It is not measuring ratios of portions of the whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Denis, thanks for your comment, appreciated.

      You present interesting ideas I will reply to you later if time permit, God Willing.

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    • Shalom Rabbi. I hope you well. Clearly, you speak(write) like a man with religious knowledge and authority. This is all great and swell but the main problem, for me anyways, is that there is absolutely no evidence that Jesus taught the doctrine of the Trinity. A doctrine so important, upon which rests salvation of mankind to know the True God and the True Christ, and Jesus would fail to mention it? That seems impossible to believe. Christians claim ”The crucifxion is an established undeniable historical fact about Jesus. Islam denies this. Therefore Islam is false” Dr nabèel used this logic to convert from Kufr( Ahm,adiyyism) to Kufr (Christianity). As James White is fond of saying, yet always fails to apply, ”Lets be consistent”. There is no credibe evidence that Jesus was teaching that he and the father share the same ontology ( ousia) alongside the Holy Ghost. And yet these 3 are distinct persons within a Triune Being, playing distinct functional roles within redemption etc. This entire explaination is absurd. You really believe Jesus was preaching “ontological oneness and functional variance” in Greek, to the Israèlites? These are clearly later doctrinal philosophical innovations, not the preachimgs of a 1st century jewish prophet in the backwaters of galillee. Even the Trinitarian theeologians, scholars and historians have admitted that Jesus was not a Trinitarian. Prof Larry Hurtado for instance.

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    • Essentially, the historical critical record, which Dr Nabeel used to establish that Islam is incorrect (due to contradicting the crucifixion event) can be used to A) “prove” historically that Jesus was not a Trinitarian (as Hurtado and other Trinitarian scholars argue, in addition to pretty much every single liberal, unitarian etc scholar) and B) that Islam is True since the Qur’an consistently argues the point that Jesus was a Unitarian Monotheist, as affirmed by the Title of Professor Buzzard’s Book “Jesus was Not a Trinitarian”.

      Look if Jesus was a Trinitarian, then he surely did a good job of Hiding it! That would mean Jesus was a deceptive serpent who did not clarify the true identity of God in Mark 12:28-32. Therefore he was a liar.

      OR HE FORGOT. OR DID NOT CARE. ALL THESE EXPLAINATIONS MAKE NO SENSE.

      The explaination that makes sense, is the one affirmed by Historians and Scholars including Ehrman, i.e the Trinity is a later development.

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    • “…and I would propose that they are not saying two different things; rather, they clarify each other. That is to say, referring to Him as truly or authenticall human and truly or authentically God, the text means He possesses what is essential to humanity and essential to what is divinity. It is not measuring ratios of portions of the whole.”

      does the god bit truly and authentically trump the god bit which is truly and authentically god- human?

      so it is not complete god anymore , but “truly and authentically” god ?

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    • Nota Bene: This comment will contain responses to three persons (Eric bin Kisam, Burhanuddin, and Avi; greetings to all three gentlemen).

      *+*+*+*+*+**+*+*+*+*+*

      [Reply to Eric bin Kisam]

      Thank you, Eric, and please do take your time. The great thing about these correspondences is precisely that they give us the space to take our time (e.g. deal with matters in life first).

      *+*+*+*+*+**+*+*+*+*+*

      [Reply to Burhanuddin1]

      Indeed, Burhanuddin, as some of the material in my post above is also found at that thread, as I myself alluded to, there is some discussion there. However, there are also portions which are not discussed. So just to give a short summary…

      (1) To my knowledge, the question of how we determine the true Semitic monotheism is not discussed there (though, to be clear, it was not among my comments there either).

      (2) I did compare Numbers 23:19 to Exodus 15:3, there (with the same color coded image), but there was no further discussion on that.

      (3) I did bring up Onqelos’ approach to Numbers 23:19, there, and there was some brief discussion on the subject, but more could be said (much of the responses to my initial post on the subject moved into other territory).

      (4) There is brief discussion on Genesis 18, but not to the depth that it is examined here.

      *+*+*+*+*+**+*+*+*+*+*

      [Reply to Avi]

      Avi wrote:
      «Shalom Rabbi […] you speak(write) like a man with religious knowledge and authority»

      Just be clear, I’m not a rabbi (at least not in the mainstream sense of the word). I’m not even Jewish (at least not in the mainstream, or Rabbinic/Halakhic sense of the term). Nor am I any sort of expert or scholar. I’m merely a student of some subjects relevant to what is discussed in this thread.

      Avi wrote:
      «there is absolutely no evidence that Jesus taught the doctrine of the Trinity»

      I have a few thoughts on this subject.

      First, in discussions between people of different philosophical worldviews, “evidence” of what Jesus taught can be a murky thing (e.g. an atheist and mythicist like Richard Carrier might say we don’t have evidence of Jesus teaching anything whatsoever). Even if we enter into a paradigm where we believe some of the words attributed to Jesus by the New Testament were actually uttered by them, which statements is going to be a matter of speculation.

      Second, and related to the first point above, while I would agree that the New Testament does not have Christ laying out a fully developed doctrine of the Trinity, I do believe that even if we restrict Christian doctrine to the statements of Jesus (i.e. excluding the Pauline Epistles and even narrative material of the rest of the NT), they collectively approximate something close to the doctrine of the Trinity, when read against the backdrop of the Hebrew Bible. For example, in Matthew 28:19, Christ orders the disciples to baptise not merely “in the Name of God,” but rather in the Name of three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. While Jesus is not quoted as explicitly calling the Father the Creator, I think it is fair to assume (based on the Hebrew Bible and the NT quotes attributed to Jesus, that the Father participated in our creation). Job 33:4 and Psalm 104:30 can be read as referring to the Holy Spirit participating in creation. As for the Son, as per Mark 14:60-64, He is the figure in Daniel 7:13-14 who resembles a human yet is worshipped by men from all nations and linguistic groups. Moreover, He bears titles like “the First and the Last” (read Revelation 1:17 together with Isaiah 44:6). Ergo, taken collectively, we have triadic baptismal formula which references two Persons who participated in creation and a third Person who bears the titles of God, and is worshipped by men from all nations, despite resembling a human. That’s pretty close to the Trinity (and I have no problem using the rest of the Bible, and Church Tradition, to bridge the gap). I know some are skeptical about whether some (or even any) of these statements were uttered by the historical Jesus. But, as per point one, above, I do not believe any such skeptic has a sound methodology for determining what was and was not uttered by Christ. As a Christian, I believe such statements were uttered by Him.

      Third, even without the second point above, it is worth noting that Christian doctrine is not reducible to the quotes attributed to Jesus in the Bible. For an example I often give, the Bible never quotes Jesus as affirming the Virgin Birth, yet Christians nonetheless believe He was born of a virgin, because the Bible says so (i.e. Christian doctrine is also derived from the Biblical narrative beyond the quotes attributed to Jesus).

      Fourth, I don’t think this would be problematic for my first post in this thread (i.e. my response to Eric’s article), because much of the focus was the plausibility or possibility of divine incarnation within the paradigm of Semitic thought (i.e. even if Jesus never taught the Trinity, that tells us nothing about whether divine incarnation is possible within Semitic thought; I think it is obvious that, in history, there have been non-Trinitarians who believed in divine incarnation despite their worldview being firmly within the paradigm of Semitic corpora).

      Avi wrote:
      «A doctrine so important […] and Jesus would fail to mention it?»

      I sense a problem with this line of thought. The tacit rule seems to be that if a doctrine is very important, then it would be mentioned by Jesus. However, your own rule, then, would become an important doctrine, as it would serve as a sort of gate-keeper, setting the bar for all other important doctrines, yet this rule itself is also not found in the words attributed to Jesus. Ergo, I fear the tacit rule may be potentially self-defeating.

      I hope you will forgive me for skipping over your disagreements with the methodologies of Nabeel Qureshi and James White, as (a) they are not here to defend themselves, (b) I did not stake out their precise positions in my comment on Eric’s article, and thus (c) I fear such discussion takes us farther away from the original topic(s).

      Avi wrote:
      «if Jesus was a Trinitarian, then he surely did a good job of Hiding it! That would mean Jesus was a deceptive serpent who did not clarify the true identity of God in Mark 12:28-32.»

      I would more carefully say that He was not always forthcoming with the fullness of doctrine, but Christ knows best what was appropriate in giving settings, relevant to His plan. I would note that in Mark 1:40-45, we are shown that one point of keeping certain things secret is such has a direct effect on how a certain stage of His ministry would be carried out. In Mark 4:11-12, we see that there was a deliberate plan for many people to have an only partial sense of the truth. In Mark 9:9, we see that the embargoing of details was temporary, which is to say certain secrets would be revealed at a later time. In Mark 11:27-33, we see Jesus withholding information from the chief priests, yet, later on, in Mark 14:60-62, we see Jesus being more blunt and explicit about His identity when responding to th priests at His trial. In short, Mark seems to convey to the reader the idea that the truth is slowly revealed, in pieces, at their appropriate times (à la Ecclesiastes 3:7), with deeper ideas being revealed at a later stage.

      Interestingly, some have argued that the ancient Church used the different Gospels for teaching Christians at different stages of development, with Mark being for those undergoing catechesis and John being for those more fully initiated into the faith. One prominent proponent of that view was the Greek Orthodox priest John Romanides (cf. his “The Ancestral Sin,” (Zephyr, 2002), pp. 72-73). Romanides himself appealed to the Encyclical Letter of the Council of Egypt included in the first chapter of Athanasius’ “Apologia Contra Arianos,” which criticizes those who “parade the sacred mysteries before catechumens,” and cites Tobit 12:7 for justification of that criticism (cf. “Apologia Conta Arianos,” chapter I, part 11, in Philip Schaff & Henry Wallace (eds.), “Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers,” (Cosimo, 2007), vol. IV, p. 106).

      Like

    • Dennis,
      The Scholarly consensus among NT Textual critics is that Matthew 28:19 contains the added text insertion of the Trinitarian formula which does not appear in the earliest copies. Are we to believe you over the scholars on this?

      “It is often affirmed that the words in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost are not the ipsissima verba [exact words] of Jesus, but…a later liturgical addition.” ~ The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, I, 275

      http://www.onenesspentecostal.com/matt2819-willis.htm

      http://www.trinitytruth.org/matthew28_19addedtext.html

      Like

    • Greetings Ibn Issam

      «The Scholarly consensus among NT Textual critics is that Matthew 28:19 contains the added text insertion of the Trinitarian formula which does not appear in the earliest copies.»

      The conclusion is a popular one (especially on the internet), but it is not based on manuscript evidence (for something representative of the opinions of scholars based on the manuscript evidence, consider recent editions of the Nestle-Aland platform); rather, it is somewhat more speculatively based on (a) it not appearing in certain texts, like Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History (though it does appear in the Didache, Eusebius’ Letter on the Council of Nicaea, and a piece by Hippolytus), and (b) references to baptism in the Name of Jesus, simpliciter, elsewhere in the NT (but I find this unpersuasive, as I have encountered KJV-onlyist churches that baptise “in the Name of Jesus,” yet that would not mean the triadic formula was not in KJV bibles in the 21st century).

      As for the quote you shared from the Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, is this the commentary on Matthew done by R.T. France? I ask because I read France’s commentary on Matthew for the TNTC years ago, and recall him saying almost the exact opposite about Matthew 28:19 (i.e. he noted the argument against the reading, but then noted the lack of manuscript support, and rejected the idea of using Eusebius to correct the text). So I just want to confirm we have the same commentary in mind, and, when time permits, I’ll try to dig it up again (e.g. during a trip to the library).

      Liked by 1 person

    • Denis would appear to be quite correct from my own reading on the question.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Denis, my reply to your comment below, I am pressed with time so it is very quick.

      //Portions of the original article which caught my eye include those which depicted Christian belief in the Trinity and/or the Incarnation as…//

      «out of touch the true Semitic concept of deity»,

      «desemiticising of God into a concept more like Sanskrit Avatara»,

      ..and that it…

      «mixes semitic monotheism and paganism».

      So too the remark that…

      «The jewish interpretation are more in line with semitic monotheism».

      Such comments leave me wondering what our reference point is for determining the proper “Semitic monotheism”. I would hope it is not to simply presuppose orthodox Islam as the reference point//

      Of course I presuppose Islam but for all fairness I am relying on the text in the TaNaKH and the teaching of orthodox Judaism as our baseline in determining whether not the theological principle that all trinitarian believe (that  is he Doctrine of the Incarnation  or the belief that Jesus is 100% man and 100% god) is a proper semitic monotheism (Judaism had been the first of the three semitic offshoot and we muslims consider that Judaism is sort of “ancient” Islam therefore it was of the same divine origin and semitic root). The problem is Judaism do not consider the belief in god incarnate as a monotheism, on the contrary the teaching of Judaism consider the belief in  as either being an Avodah Zarah (foreign worship) or a Shituf (associating god) at best.

      Of course Islam and Judaism is not exactly the same religion but on the most crucial matter in semitic monotheism: the “proper” understanding of the One God to whom we worship which is super important for our salvation, there are no disagreement.

      //First, it may be worthwhile to contemplate the first four words of Numbers 23:19 together with the first three words of Exodus 15:3…

      //The first question I would ask is if “God” (El) in the verse in Numbers is referring to the same Being as “the Lord” (Yah__) in the verse in Exodus? //

      Yes.

      //are we to read the text as negating the entire proposition, or each of its conjuncts individually?

      It means what it means that “it is not the case that God is an īsh (“a man”) and one who lies [i.e. God is not a man that lies],”

      OR

      “God is not an īsh (“a man”) and, [aside from that] God does not lie [i.e. God is neither a man nor does God lie],”//

      This a very convoluted argument and clearly you commit a  fallacy here, it can be read both ways and of course you can insist on the first sentences BUT we must  FIRST agree that to a new definition of God. That God is the same as an אִ֥ישׁ  . In the TaNaKH the context is and always that being a God is not the same as being an אִ֥ישׁ first and foremost and then also because being an אִ֥ישׁ must constitutes a weakness of telling lies an ‘unGodly’ quality.

      Lets test your reasoning into practice. When one says:

      Eric is not a bird that can fly.

      It can only mean that Eric is not a bird, and being bird constitutes the ability of being able to fly (of course some species of ‘bird’ dont fly  but neither that mean therefore Eric is a kiwi :-)…) A human and a bird are two different things and well established facts so the only logical  and natural conclusion  is that Eric is not a bird and for sure Eric can not fly.

      Everybody who know me in real life know for certain that I ain’t a bird (I am a fully grown human in his mid forties). Unless my parent have told people otherwise, that I am actually a bird disguising as a man (Im sure they didn’t)   one can not say that the sentence mean “Eric is a bird and one who fly [i.e. Eric is not a bird that flies]” …well I must admit that does not prevent me to tell my neighbor  that Im actually a kind bird which does not fly 🙂

      If we are forced to use your logic because God is described as an אִישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה “ish Milchama” “a man of war”  if we were to extend such logic in Genesis when it says the three men it must be refering to God?  that would mean everywhere in the Torah it says “אִישׁ” it can refer to God! Like כִּי-יִקַּח אִישׁ אִשָּׁה “Ki yikach ish es isha” “when a man takes a woman…” Does that mean God can marry a woman? …hardly convincing!.

      //Beyond that, it is worth noting that Targūm Onqelos (i.e. the ancient and essentially the “official” Jewish Aramaic translation) to Numbers 23:19 renders the opening lā k’miley b’ney enashā meymar Elahā (i.e. “the word of God is not like the words of the sons of men”):

      In other words, there are even ancient Jewish exegetes who did not see the text as denying the ability of God to take human form; rather, they saw it as a commentary on the difference between the trustworthiness of God’s speech vis a vis that of the words of [mere] men.//

      It is a bit of a stretch to suggest that the aramaic  לא כמלּי בּני אנשׁא מימר אלהא  talk about  God’s “speech who is actually God Himself. This Targumic  designation is meant to avoid anthropomorphism, so it is not meant to be understood literally. In rabbinic literature the מימר  is an agent of God sent through his angel to Abraham.

      //Moreover, if we are exploring the possibility of God taking on a human form in a Semitic context, Genesis 18:1-3 would strike me as a very relevant text. So I’d like to discuss some key points from the passage and beyond. I would lay out the salient points as follows:

      [Gen 18:1] God appears to Abraham.

      [Gen 18:2] Abraham sees three men. Historically there have been Trinitarians who saw an allusion to the Trinity, but I don’t want to argue for such here; rather, we will leave the question open, and I will simply assert that the text has at least one of the men being God, with the identities of the other two being open to question (i.e. my position is they are messengers, but whether those messengers are created or uncreated, whether they are Persons within God or not, is left open to question, as I won’t address it here).

      [Gen 18:3] After prostrating (in verse 2), Abraham employs the plural “adonay” while using singular possessive suffixes. This is significant because adonay can mean “my lords” or “my LORD” (the latter being in reference to God), but the singular possessive suffixes (e.g. `eyneKHA, “your (singular) eyes” and `abdeKHA, “your (singular) slave”) implies he is addressing something singular (an easy conclusion is he is addressing one person among them as “adonay”//

      It could well be because the reason  Abraham employ the singular pronouns simply because he directed his words and acts of salutation to the “Adonay” (אֲדֹנָֽי = God)  the One who sent the sh’loshah anashim  as “the messengers” of God, who were the malachim as I understood it.  Therefore God  “appeared” via the malachim not God himself.  So the word “appear” wayyera here should be understood as “present”. It is from  the context in verse 22 that we can derive proper understanding of its meaning. It is clearly that the three angels were separate from God because that verse tells us that the malachim had left and were going towards S’domah, but Abraham was still standing before God’s Presence.

      I am sure my understanding of the text do not conflict with the understanding with the jews who had received  and  read the Torah and passed on from generation to generation. You should question yourself  why did the Jewish people and their sages NEVER understand it that the three men (or only one one them) was god incarnate but the angels of God.

      I may reply the rest of your comment later when I have time. God-Willing

      Like

    • Greetings Eric

      Eric wrote:
      «Judaism do not consider the belief in god incarnate as a monotheism, on the contrary the teaching of Judaism consider the belief in as either being an Avodah Zarah (foreign worship) or a Shituf (associating god) at best.»

      This is actually debatable, as even to this day there is some disagreement among Jews (see the controversy over Lubavitcher philosophy as covered in David Berger’s The Rebbe, The Messiah, and The Scandal of Orthodox Indifference; Berger would agree with your sentiment, but documents fairly well established orthodox Jews who would disagree). Beyond that, we seem to have implications of divine incarnation in certain Rabbinic texts (e.g. the curious case of the Sabā d’Sabīn who addresses Shim`on bar YoHai in the Zohar, vol. I, 22a, corresponding to parshat B’reshīt, paragraph 159, in the Sūlam, which is believed to be properly part of the Tīqūney Zohar). Moreover, even for those Jews who deny the possibility of divine incarnation, there is the question of whether such is a later development (as the TaN”aKh seems to permit such, as will be discussed below).

      ***

      Regarding my query on how we should interpret the conjunction in (לא איש אל ויכזב), you wrote the following:

      Eric wrote:
      «This a very convoluted argument and clearly you commit a fallacy here, it can be read both ways»

      I’m not sure what fallacy you believe I have committed simply by noting two different sorts of negated conjunctions. However, I am surprised you assert that it could be read both ways, as that would seem to imply two different meanings of the text. Permit me to clarify that the two different kinds of negated conjunctions can have different truth values in the same settings, as is illustrated by the following very simple truth table:

      Eric wrote:
      «you can insist on the first sentences BUT we must FIRST agree that to a new definition of God. That God is the same as an אִ֥ישׁ»

      Interestingly, in your response you did not address the reading in Exodus 15:3. You agreed that both verses are referring to the same being, but did not explain how you understand the verse in Exodus. It would seem the text explicit calls God an īsh without necessitating that God be a mere human being (i.e. the semantic range of īsh may be a bit more complex).

      Eric wrote:
      «Lets test your reasoning into practice. When one says:
      Eric is not a bird that can fly.
      It can only mean that Eric is not a bird»

      I’m not so sure that is implied by the structure of that statement. Of course you’re using an example where we already agree that you are not a bird, but the structure of the sentence itself does not require such a conclusion.

      For example, suppose there is a dog named Spot. We could say “Spot is a bad dog,” which would have the same meaning as “Spot is a dog which is bad”. The negation of that would be “Spot is not a bad dog,” or “Spot is not a dog that is bad.” The negated sentence is not actually a denial that Spot is a dog; rather it is a denial that Spot is a specific kind of dog; namely, one which is bad.

      To illustrate this further, consider a couple examples taken from the internet:

      EXAMPLE 1: “the Gurney’s Pitta is not a bird that can be spotted often in the wild”
      SOURCE: http://raredelights.com/24-worlds-rarest-beautiful-birds/
      COMMENT: The proposition is not denying that the Gurney’s Pitta is a bird; rather it is denying that it is the kind of bird which is often seen in the wild.

      EXAMPLE 2: “A properly clipped bird is not a bird that can’t fly at all, rather they have to expend more energy to gain altitude”
      SOURCE: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=22012&forum=13
      COMMENT: The proposition is not denying that properly clipped birds are birds; rather it is denying that it is a necessarily flightless bird.

      To explain this in a bit more structured way, we have a specific thing, X, we have a general kind of thing, Y, and we have a predicate which Ys might bear, P. With that in mind, a proposition of the structure…

      “X is not a Y that [bears predicate P]”

      …is not necessarily denying that X is a Y. Rather, it can be understood as simply denying that X is a kind of Y.

      With that understanding, and returning back to Numbers 23:19, the verse does not say God is not a man in a vacuum; rather, there is a conjunction. The phrase lo īsh El wīkhazeb (לא איש אל ויכזב) can be understood as negating the possibility of God being an īsh and lying. That would not necessarily be a denial that God is an īsh; rather it could be read as meaning God is not a specific kind of īsh – the kind that lies.

      Eric wrote:
      «If we are forced to use your logic because God is described as an אִישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה “ish Milchama” “a man of war” if we were to extend such logic in Genesis when it says the three men it must be refering to God? that would mean everywhere in the Torah it says “אִישׁ” it can refer to God!»

      I’m at a loss as to how you reached such a conclusion. If we say “Denis is a man,” that does not mean every reference to a man is therefore a reference to Denis. Likewise, the phrase “Yah___ is an īsh” necessitate that every reference to an īsh is therefore a reference to Yah___.

      ***

      Moving on to how Targūm Onqelos rendered Numbers 23:19…

      Eric wrote:
      «It is a bit of a stretch to suggest that the aramaic לא כמלּי בּני אנשׁא מימר אלהא talk about God’s “speech who is actually God Himself. This Targumic designation is meant to avoid anthropomorphism, so it is not meant to be understood literally. In rabbinic literature the מימר is an agent of God sent through his angel to Abraham.»

      This doesn’t seem to address the point I was actually making. I was not arguing that Onqelos’ rendering of Numbers 23:19 refers to “God’s speech who is actually God Himself;” rather, I was showing that Onqelos’ rendering of the verse shows that ancient Jewish translator did not see the verse as denying God is a man. Instead, the focus in his understanding of the verse (as captured in his translation) was to compare the words of men to the word of God. Onqelos’ rendering is lā k’miley b’ney enashā meymar Elahā (i.e. “the word of God is not like the words of the sons of men”), and that is far from an obvious denial of the possibility of divine incarnation.

      ***

      Moving on to Genesis 18…

      Eric wrote:
      «It is from the context in verse 22 that we can derive proper understanding of its meaning. It is clearly that the three angels were separate from God because that verse tells us that the malachim had left and were going towards S’domah, but Abraham was still standing before God’s Presence.»

      But you seem to have missed a key point in my argument. Yes, the “men” who went to Sodom, in verse 22, are malākhīm, but how many of them departed? Verse 22 does not say, but Genesis 19:1 states that TWO messengers (shney ha-malākhīm) arrive at Sodom. The easy conclusion to reach, when reading 18:22 together 19:1, is that of the three men present, two departed, and one remained, and the one who remained was Yah___.

      Moreover, Genesis 18:22 states that Abraham remained standing before God. You more obscurely rendered it “God’s presence,” but that’s not what the text says. A fairly straight reading of the text is that God appeared before Abraham, spoke with Abraham, and had location, proximity to and then distance from Abraham, all of which implies a form.

      Eric wrote:
      «I am sure my understanding of the text do not conflict with the understanding with the jews who had received and read the Torah»

      We can only speculate. But on this note, it is crazy that both RaSh”Y and B’reshīt Rabah (49:7) claim that the latter part, about Abraham standing before God, is a tīqūn soferīm (תיקון סופרים), i.e. a “correction of scribes,” and that the text originally had the order reversed (i.e. God standing before Abraham, as per RaSh”Y). Now, that’s just an assertion on their part (i.e. the alleged change would’ve had to be extremely early, as even the Septuagint agrees with the current Masoretic reading), but such a claim is striking (as, if one were to accept such a claim, it would beg the question, was the text once even more in favor of an incarnational reading?).

      Like

    • Hi Denis, sorry for coming back late, my reply to your comment below,

      Eric wrote:

      «Judaism do not consider the belief in god incarnate as a monotheism, on the contrary the teaching of Judaism consider the belief in as either being an Avodah Zarah (foreign worship) or a Shituf (associating god) at best.»

      //This is actually debatable, as even to this day there is some disagreement among Jews (see the controversy over Lubavitcher philosophy as covered in David Berger’s The Rebbe, The Messiah, and The Scandal of Orthodox Indifference; Berger would agree with your sentiment, but documents fairly well established orthodox Jews who would disagree).//

      Jews did all sort of things including worshipping a golden calf that does not mean Judaism teaches that golden calf was a god incarnate. I will argue that positing god-incarnate worship (besides Hashem worship) as Judaism teaching is a gross misrepresentation of jewish faith. And with regard to your reference to modern day Lubavitcher controversy, I have yet heard anyone worshipped the rebbe and believe that he was god in flesh.

       

      //Beyond that, we seem to have implications of divine incarnation in certain Rabbinic texts (e.g. the curious case of the Sabā d’Sabīn who addresses Shim`on bar YoHai in the Zohar, vol. I, 22a, corresponding to parshat B’reshīt, paragraph 159, in the Sūlam, which is believed to be properly part of the Tīqūney Zohar). Moreover, even for those Jews who deny the possibility of divine incarnation, there is the question of whether such is a later development (as the TaN”aKh seems to permit such, as will be discussed below).//

      Can you cite me the original text and source in Zohar which indicate that the divine incarnation?

       

      //Regarding my query on how we should interpret the conjunction in (לא איש אל ויכזב), you wrote the following://

       

      Eric wrote:
      «you can insist on the first sentences BUT we must FIRST agree that to a new definition of God. That God is the same as an אִ֥ישׁ»

      Interestingly, in your response you did not address the reading in Exodus 15:3. You agreed that both verses are referring to the same being, but did not explain how you understand the verse in Exodus.//

      Quite simple really in Exodus 15:3 that איש here means a the Head  or master of war; (just like use of אִ֥ישׁ in Ruth  1:3 אֱלִימֶ֖לֶךְ אִ֣ישׁ נָעֳמִ֑י =Elimelech (is) the head(or husband) of Naomi)  not that God is the same as an אִ֥ישׁ as in straight forward meaning.

       

      Eric wrote:
      «Lets test your reasoning into practice. When one says:
      Eric is not a bird that can fly.
      It can only mean that Eric is not a bird»

      Of course you’re using an example where we already agree that you are not a bird, but the structure of the sentence itself does not require such a conclusion.//

      By the same token, by the definition it has been agreed that “God is not a man”.

      //For example, suppose there is a dog named Spot. We could say “Spot is a bad dog,” which would have the same meaning as “Spot is a dog which is bad”. The negation of that would be “Spot is not a bad dog,” or “Spot is not a dog that is bad.” The negated sentence is not actually a denial that Spot is a dog; rather it is a denial that Spot is a specific kind of dog; namely, one which is bad.//

      If that the case we must first establish and agree that God is a man, albeit one which is not specific kind of man (who are lying) however that introduce the whole new meaning of being God diminishing all together what constitutes being God.

       

      Eric wrote:
      «If we are forced to use your logic because God is described as an אִישׁ מִלְחָמָ֑ה “ish Milchama” “a man of war” if we were to extend such logic in Genesis when it says the three men it must be refering to God? that would mean everywhere in the Torah it says “אִישׁ” it can refer to God!»

      //I’m at a loss as to how you reached such a conclusion. If we say “Denis is a man,” that does not mean every reference to a man is therefore a reference to Denis. Likewise, the phrase “Yah___ is an īsh” necessitate that every reference to an īsh is therefore a reference to Yah___.//

      Denis is a man among other men but all of them belong to “man”kind category.  God can  never belong to the same category with man.***

      Eric wrote:
      «It is a bit of a stretch to suggest that the aramaic לא כמלּי בּני אנשׁא מימר אלהא talk about God’s “speech who is actually God Himself. This Targumic designation is meant to avoid anthropomorphism, so it is not meant to be understood literally. In rabbinic literature the מימר is an agent of God sent through his angel to Abraham.»

      //This doesn’t seem to address the point I was actually making. I was not arguing that Onqelos’ rendering of Numbers 23:19 refers to “God’s speech who is actually God Himself;” rather, I was showing that Onqelos’ rendering of the verse shows that ancient Jewish translator did not see the verse as denying God is a man. Instead, the focus in his understanding of the verse (as captured in his translation) was to compare the words of men to the word of God. Onqelos’ rendering is lā k’miley b’ney enashā meymar Elahā (i.e. “the word of God is not like the words of the sons of men”), and that is far from an obvious denial of the possibility of divine incarnation.//

      “the word of God is not like the words of the sons of men” don’t necessarily mean that God must “speaks” the same way sons of men “speaks” in order to get His message across or known to men therefore necessity of incarnation. God “words” can be known to men through scriptures or even  God’s presence  felt through His Shekhinah. But we can not  consequently say that God’s “words” (מימר) is God who incarnate and dwell at some some finite place and time.

      ***

      Moving on to Genesis 18…

      Eric wrote:
      «It is from the context in verse 22 that we can derive proper understanding of its meaning. It is clearly that the three angels were separate from God because that verse tells us that the malachim had left and were going towards S’domah, but Abraham was still standing before God’s Presence.»

      //But you seem to have missed a key point in my argument. Yes, the “men” who went to Sodom, in verse 22, are malākhīm, but how many of them departed? Verse 22 does not say, but Genesis 19:1 states that TWO messengers (shney ha-malākhīm) arrive at Sodom. The easy conclusion to reach, when reading 18:22 together 19:1, is that of the three men present, two departed, and one remained, and the one who remained was Yah___.

      Moreover, Genesis 18:22 states that Abraham remained standing before God. You more obscurely rendered it “God’s presence,” but that’s not what the text says. A fairly straight reading of the text is that God appeared before Abraham, spoke with Abraham, and had location, proximity to and then distance from Abraham, all of which implies a form.//

       

      If two of those beings are malachim  then it could just as well be that all of them are malachim. By the way in verses 19:10-13 it refers to the angels as “Men”, so it is obvious, that these are the same “Three men” selosah anashim as before. That is the most natural way to understand this passage.

       

      Eric wrote:
      «I am sure my understanding of the text do not conflict with the understanding with the jews who had received and read the Torah»

      //We can only speculate. But on this note, it is crazy that both RaSh”Y and B’reshīt Rabah (49:7) claim that the latter part, about Abraham standing before God, is a tīqūn soferīm (תיקון סופרים), i.e. a “correction of scribes,” and that the text originally had the order reversed (i.e. God standing before Abraham, as per RaSh”Y). Now, that’s just an assertion on their part (i.e. the alleged change would’ve had to be extremely early, as even the Septuagint agrees with the current Masoretic reading), but such a claim is striking (as, if one were to accept such a claim, it would beg the question, was the text once even more in favor of an incarnational reading?).//

       

      Although I dont consider Rashi as the most authoritative (my order is the Masorets, Targum Onkelos, Tafsir Saadia gaon and Ibn Ezra) I hardly think that Rashi favor of an an incarnation reading, what he surely meant by that was  the ontological nature of the entire chapter of Genesis 18:1-33  all of this that constituted the substance of the God “appearance” to Abraham.

      Also Rav Saadia the greatest gaon who predates Rashi maintains that it was the Angels ملاك الله who came and visit Abraham and he refer them as men of God ولي الله.

      Rasag Gen 18 3.JPG

       
       

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  9. I think our Christian friends will find that last footnote eye-opening.

    Concerning Psalm 146:3

    “Interestingly the very root of hebrew word teshuah תְּשׁוּעָה used in that verse means salvation. It does seem to me that this verse prophesies a danger of worshipping the “son of man” ben Adam בֶן־אָדָ֓ם a man mistakenly thought as god incarnate thus a warning for believing in false salvation.”

    I wonder if any Jews use this to refute the idea of a human blood atonement for sins

    Liked by 2 people

    • Greetings Yahya

      Psalm 146:3 refers to a ben Adam she-eyn lo t’shū`ah (בן־אדם שאין לו תשועה), a son of man (or descendant of Adam) who does not have t’shū`ah. In contrast to that, if there was a man who did have t’shū`ah, it could be said of him yesh lo t’shū`ah (יש לו תשועה). I mention this because Psalm 144:10 refers to God as ha-Noten t’shū`ah la-malakhīm (הנותן תשועה למלכים), the One Who gives t’shū`ah to the kings. If God gave t’shū`ah to a king, couldn’t it be said of that king, yesh lo t’shū`ah? Is the Psalm saying a man (a descendant of Adam), by definition, lacks t’shū`ah? Or is it describing a specific kind of man, who happens to lack t’shū`ah?

      The point of the above is to serve as a thought experiment, to illustrate that the text can be read in a variety of ways. I am fine with reading the text as meaning that salvation ultimately comes from God. But I do not agree that it means that a descendant of Adam, by definition, cannot possess salvation or play any role in our salvation. I’m fine with saying that is typically true of humans, but I do not think the text precludes an extraordinary case like that of Christ (Who, although, in one sense, is a descendant of Adam, is not a mere man, and is Someone Who has direct relevance to our salvation, as per the will of God).

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    • where does god say in the hb that he will become a sacrificial salvation?

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    • Neither Psalm 146:3 nor Psalm 144:10 says something about an “extraordinary case like that of Christ” or “Someone Who has direct relevance to our salvation, as per the will of God”.

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    • Burhanuddin, I was not claiming either text explicitly refers to such; rather, I was arguing that the text appealed to by Yahya and Eric does not preclude such.

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    • mere speculation

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    • “Who, although, in one sense, is a descendant of Adam, is not a mere man,”
      ???

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  10. Excellent Article.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. God by definition is creator. Creator existed before his creation. So obviously creator is not part of His creation.

    Now to imagine that creator somehow becomes part of creation. In what sense? If it means in literal sense then we have to “assume” material (here I am using this word to denote anything that exists in creation) then we have to logically understand it in terms of “material” properties. God by definition existed before material existed, so you have a contradiction now

    If we assume God entered a thing in literal sense, then the only way for us” human to really understand it will be in terms of “creation” or material thing. But since God is not created or material thing, we can’t understand it that way?

    So what do you do? In my reading of virtually all the theology from 2/3rd till today on this topic, this tension was always present in Christian theology.

    I also see similar tension among many Muslim theologian who wanted to understand “essence” of God. So what is the solution?

    God by definition is outside of creation, and we the creation can only understand what is in creation. Our brain has neither “evolved” nor created to understand essence of something outside of universe

    God by definition is infinite ( la mahdood) and creation by definition are finite ( mahdood). A finite can’t contain an infinite.

    God by definition is unlimited (in knowledge, power, authority etc.) and creation by definition are limited (mahdood). So a limited thing can’t contain an unlimited.

    And so forth

    Solution: To me as Muslim i have to state what I know. I can only know that revelation tells me. Outside of revelation one can only speculate. I understand God through his names and attributes. The bottom line is I need to know enough about God that He thinks is necessary for me to know , to be able to worship Him and obey Him.

    How did Jesus understand God? Well he believed in God, he worshiped him, he didn’t worship anyone besides him. He didn’t worship “the son” or the “holy spirit” . If he was God or wanted himself to be worshiped as God, he would have established a temple, shown people how to worship a “triune” God and removed any doubt about who he is. But he didn’t. Why go above and beyond what Jesus did? And established? When you interpret rest of Gospel with this fact in mind and you will be fine.

    This is how Jesus established worship of God.

    Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it (Matt. 7:24–27).

    You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 22:34–40).

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    • Greetings, RM. Interesting post.

      «to imagine that creator somehow becomes part of creation. In what sense?»

      Perhaps in the sense of acquiring and animating a secondary form, and moving through creation via that form.

      Of course any interaction between God and creation is difficult to grasp, and may even be beyond our comprehension (at least in this life?). Consider an analogy: on multiple occasions, the Qur’an describes God as creating by simply saying kun (with the text then adding fa-yakūn, and it happens, it comes into being, et cetera). Initially the concept seems simple, but when trying to contemplate what it means, it can actually come off as quite mysterious. First off, how does God “say” such? Presumably He is not forming the word with vocal chords and a mouth, but then what does it mean to say He “said” it? Did He form an audible sound, somewhere? If so, how, and where? Does He have a precise location from which the statement is sent forth? Or is it more akin to a “thought”? If so, where does this “thought” occur? In a specific location? Nowhere? And how does the statement, whether it is merely thought or declared audibly, cause other things to pop into existence? When we begin to dig into the concept, we may conclude we have no idea what it actually means.

      The point of the above is to establish this rule of thumb: even if a proposed interaction between God and creation is mysterious, or beyond our comprehension (especially the “mechanics” thereof), that does not mean said event is therefore impossible.

      «God by definition is infinite»

      I would at least agree that God is, in actuality, infinite, as this is something I believe as well, but it begs the question, infinite in what sense? Surely we don’t mean in the sense of volume and mass, right? I think here too, we have a bit of a mystery, but I am nonetheless comfortable with saying that God is in some sense could be described as a dimensionless, volumeless infinite. That’s something not quite graspable by the mind, but it opens the doors to all sorts of interesting concepts (which may come up later in our correspondence).

      «A finite can’t contain an infinite»

      I would say that an infinite can enter into something finite, so long as it is not limited to what it enters into. For an analogy, consider the following image:

      It is meant to illustrate a simple concept. Imagine the red area representing a finite plane. And imagine the blue object stretching upwards and downwards infinitely, and passing through that plane. Within the plane, the infinite blue entity might seem finite, but it is actually not limited to that plane.

      «God by definition is unlimited (in knowledge, power, authority etc.) and creation by definition are limited (mahdood). So a limited thing can’t contain an unlimited.»

      But can an infinite acquire something finite? If we had a hypothetical ocean with an infinite amount of water within it, could a finite ice cube float atop it? If a finite immaterial person can animate a finite physical form, cannot an infinite immaterial person also animate a finite physical form? As for knowledge, is it possible for a single person to possess multiple ranges of knowledge with different levels of information therein? I think the answer is yes.

      «I can only know that revelation tells me. […] How did Jesus understand God?»

      I juxtaposed these to statements to ask: is revelation limited to statements attributed to Jesus? Or does revelation extend beyond that? Christians generally believe the latter.

      «If he was God or wanted himself to be worshiped as God, he would have established a temple, shown people how to worship a “triune” God and removed any doubt about who he is.»

      I do not agree that if a Person is divine, then they will necessarily get to establishing a temple dedicated to themself. Nor is it obvious that if a Person is divine they would necessarily reveal that to all persons at all times. Nor is it obvious that God would remove all doubt from all persons (it seems clear that, in both our faiths, God permits quite a bit of doubt on a variety of subjects to exist among huge swaths of our species).

      Having said that, from the Christian perspective, the truth of Jesus is revealed in the Scriptures (for those with Catholic or Orthodox leanings, such is also further explained in Church Tradition and Creeds).

      «Why go above and beyond what Jesus did?»

      Doctrine is not limited to the quotes attributed to Him. For example, we do not have a record of Him endorsing the doctrine of the Virgin Birth. Are we therefore “go[ing] above and beyond what Jesus did” when we teach that He was born of a virgin?

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    • “Perhaps in the sense of acquiring and animating a secondary form, and moving through creation via that form.”

      but then how do we know that when god said “let there be light” the “invisibleness” of god did not become something ? how do we know that the sun and moon don’t contain god?

      when a person thinks something does that thinking literally BECOME something material?

      when god speaks does his “invisible” speaking literally become form and material?

      why do we not bow down to the forms we see in the heavens? maybe they are literally some form of god?

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    • “If a finite immaterial person can animate a finite physical form, cannot an infinite immaterial person also animate a finite physical form? As for knowledge, is it possible for a single person to possess multiple ranges of knowledge with different levels of information therein? I think the answer is yes.”

      your question is like asking can a finite human being with finite eyes see 100 % like gods seeing ?
      maybe you do believe that an INFINITE can turn FINITE eyes into OMNISCIENT seeing just like his ?

      in your mind is there something of finite material in the invisibleness of god?
      is there some kind of different existences within god which can make him become subject to his own powers ?

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    • Greetings Tony

      I’m not sure I understand the questions of your first post, though, correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect you’re trying to argue that if this particular incarnation is possible, then other sorts of incarnations could be possible as well? If that is the gist of your questions, I would only say that my argument for the plausibility or possibility of the Christian belief in the Incarnation does not hinge on me being able to disprove every other claim of divine incarnation.

      «your question is like asking can a finite human being with finite eyes see 100 % like gods seeing ?»

      Honestly, I’m really not sure that’s analogous to my question at all. My question was working within the assumption that we, embodied humans, may be instances of finite immaterial persons somehow animating material forms. While others can share if they reject that description, in the mean time I would also entertain the possibility that God might be described as an infinite immaterial Being, and wonder aloud: what would preclude such a Being from being able to animate a material form?

      Regarding your question about turning something finite into something infinite, that differs from what I was proposing, which was something infinite acquiring something finite.

      «in your mind is there something of finite material in the invisibleness of god?»

      I’m not sure I understand the question. But, while I await clarification/elaboration, I will say that I believe God is ultimately outside of time and space, but can (and has) acquire(d) physical forms, via which God interacted with creation.

      «is there some kind of different existences within god which can make him become subject to his own powers ?»

      Could you elaborate on this question?

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    • Rational muslim

      Sorry, but merely asserting random and ad hoc powers and capabilities to god is not a logically sound argument.

      You are making the same stale argument that Eric made – “god can create a stone that is too heavy for him to lift”. Your presumption is fallacious.

      The logical conclusion to your argument is that humans possess capabilities that allah does not. We are capable of withholding our full power, yet, you are implicitly asserting that allah cannot do this. Your error is fatal. I am capable of limiting my strength without losing it to allow me to hold a newborn without crushing its bones. You are saying that allah does not have this capacity. Strange.

      Being a creator, does not mean that god cannot enter it – you have begged the question, this is what you should be proving, not taking for granted.

      You have come nowhere near explaining why allah cannot be encompassed in human form, whilst maintaining his full divine nature. Arguments from incredulity are not persuasive.

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  12. Denis Giron Jesus cannot be God because he is referred to as ‘’Lord’’, ‘’Son of God’’ or because he is ‘’worshipped’’ or because he is given Divine Titles/Attributes or because he is called ”God”. You can not use these reasons to argue that Jesus is God or that he is part of the Trinity or that these serve as indications that he must have claimed Divinity since the earliest Christians worshipped him. I hope you know why. It seems you are either unaware or being deceptive. Which one is it? I will go with the latter.

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    • To be fair, Avi, I did not claim Jesus is God because He is called Lord or Son of God. My argument was a bit more nuanced. I was sharing that, while I do not limit Christian doctrine to the quotes attributed to Jesus by the Bible, if, hypothetically speaking, we did limit doctrine to such, against the backdrop of the Hebrew Bible, it is possible to come up with a close approximation of something like the doctrine of the Trinity (e.g. Christ teaching us to do things in the Name of two Persons Who participate in creation and a third Who resembles a human yet Who bears some of the titles of God and is worshipped by men from all nations). And recall I was responding to what you wrote regarding what Jesus taught.

      For an analogy, it would be somewhat like saying: if we allow the narrative material in Matthew and Luke to be a source of Christian doctrine, then we can come up with a doctrine which posits that Jesus was born of a virgin. That doesn’t prove for everyone that the historical Jesus actually was born of a virgin; rather, it is working within the paradigm of establishing doctrine under certain conditions.

      I honestly don’t see the need for rather uncharitable accusations of being “deceptive”.

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    • Look you can’t have it both ways.

      Did disciples of Jesus ( and john the baptist ) know who Jesus was? Christian theologians claim that his disciples knew who he was and that’s why you derive this type of theology from Gospels who was given by disciples ( or followers of disciples)​ according to your belief
      .

      However if they knew ​who Jesus was ( e.g God according to your belief) ​then​ the question arises, ​ why ​​they ​didn’t ​worship him as God? When I asked this same question to a group of missionary who came last month to our mosque, they said disciples of Jesus were knuckleheads!!!! what a disgusting description of Disciples of Jesus. To us they were holy people. Quran describes them ( the disciples) as “hawariyoon” who were completely and totally dedicated to Jesus and were willing to die for him and his message. So they were certainly not knuckleheads.

      So ​you have to ​
      choose ​one of the two logical options:

      ​Option #​
      1. They knew who Jesus was: ​B​ut ​we know based on Gospel records that ​they didn’t worship ​Jesus as God which they would have done in every gathering had they known Jesus was God. Since they didn’t worship Jesus as God means they knew Jesus was NOT God. I am not talking about isolated incidence that people “worshiped” Jesus. you can interpret that “worship” as action of respect like Nebuchadnezzar did to Daniel.

      To God you will worship every single time and each person will do that, every time he appears before them and there is no evidence for this in entire Gospel.

      ​Option# ​
      2. They didn’t know Jesus was God: Well in that ​case no one else​ ​ would​ know divinity of Jesus either. The knowledge from them as per your belief is contained in Gospels. and you use Gospel records to understand teaching and position of Jesus. Don’t you? and now you have this dilemma that they knew Jesus was NOT god and somehow later theologians came to know Jesus was God? How silly and ridiculous is this conclusion.

      Some ​will ​say Jesus revealed everything about himself to his disciples after resurrection. Well ​that also doesn’t help. ​​Based on Gospel records, ​Jesus was with his disciples for few days after ​his Resurrection. But then too we see that they didn’t worship Jesus as God during that time either. Isn’t this a clear proof that Jesus is not God?

      So in either case it is clear that for Disciples and John the Baptist, Jesus was not God. ​Now what do you do with verses that teach Jesus is God. Well there are both type of verses. The verses that show humanity of Jesus and also verses that has been used to raise Jesus to the level of divinity.

      Ones you understand the correct position of disciples of Jesus then you would interpret verses in bible correctly. They are not very difficult either and they are not road blocks. You need some hermeneutics and historical critical methods to understand the correct meaning. None of those verses are explicit in saying Jesus was God. Also there were many sects in 1st/2nd century who rejected divinity of Jesus like ebionites. So it is possible to reconcile all verses of Bible with humanity of Jesus but not with his divinity.

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    • Denis Giron, lets cut the chase. Instead of asking for historically verifiable claims of Jesus claiming Divinity, postulating Trinitarian Doctrine etc. I will ask the following:

      Present the Most Clearest and Explicit Biblical Verses that Teach the Deity of Jesus (OT/NT). If you wish, post everything you have. I do not mind.

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    • Greetings RM

      RM wrote:
      «Did disciples of Jesus ( and john the baptist ) know who Jesus was?»

      I would say that their understanding of Jesus evolved over the course of His ministry, on into the period after the Resurrection, on into the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and the doctrine continued to unfold with the choosing of Paul and the inspiration of Scripture. Hence why the Christian understanding of Jesus is derived from the Bible as a whole (for an analogy, Christians do not hinge the Virgin Birth on a disciple being quoted as teaching that doctrine during Christ’s earthly ministry, or even immediately after the Resurrection; rather the doctrine is believed the Bible teaches such, and I’m sure many would be willing to see that as being part of a later stage of the disciples’ understanding of Jesus).

      RM wrote:
      «why ​​they ​didn’t ​worship him as God?»

      Well, it depends on what one means. As per the New Testament, we see, after the Resurrection, one declaring Jesus to be God (John 20:28), others praying to Him after He was gone (Acts 7:59), and then the text of the New Testament itself affirming that He took part in creation (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:10, 1 Corinthians 8:6), declaring Him our God (2 Peter 1:1), declaring that He taught His equality with the Father (John 5:18), et cetera. Collectively it seems the later stages of that unfolding of understanding points to a recognition of Jesus’ divinity.

      RM wrote:
      «it is clear that for Disciples and John the Baptist, Jesus was not God.»

      That is not clear. I would agree there were stages where many did not understand certain things, but I would not agree that none ever came to grasp His divinity.

      RM wrote:
      «Now what do you do with verses that teach Jesus is God. Well there are both type of verses. The verses that show humanity of Jesus and also verses that has been used to raise Jesus to the level of divinity.»

      I would understand those as collectively being part of a dyophysite framework.

      «there were many sects in 1st/2nd century who rejected divinity of Jesus like ebionites.»

      Honestly, we have very little information on the Ebionites. Moreover, they are not here to defend themselves or be cross examined, thus we (i.e. Christians) cannot discuss with them (a) their concept of Scripture, (b) how they understand certain texts within Scripture, (c) the extent of extra-Scriptural tradition they recognize, et cetera. Therefore, I don’t think we can say how sound their position may or may not be within a given paradigm.

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    • @Denis

      DG “Well, it depends on what one means. As per the New Testament, we see, after the Resurrection, one declaring Jesus to be God (John 20:28), others praying to Him after He was gone (Acts 7:59),”

      At least by time of resurrection or after it, disciples knew who Jesus was? Is there a single incidence in the entire 4 gospels where disciples worshiped him collectively as God? If your claims is that Jesus claimed to be God in front of his disciples then did they believe him? In that case they must have worshiped him. But there is not one incidence like that.

      Now individual cases of this or that guy “worshiping” him , actually proves my point. That collectively, the disciples didn’t think Jesus was God but may be “stray” follower misunderstood and worshiped him. But that is if we understand the term “worship” necessarily as worship of god, not as respect that was also done in similar form.

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    • Greetings RM

      «At least by time of resurrection or after it, disciples knew who Jesus was?»

      I would say that even then, their understanding continued to evolve (hence my reference to the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and later the writing of Scripture).

      «Is there a single incidence in the entire 4 gospels where disciples worshiped him collectively as God?»

      No, such is not mentioned explicitly, but I would be careful with trying to argue from silence, as in John 20:26-29, the disciples are all present when Thomas declares Jesus God, and the text also lacks any explicit mention of condemnation from the others present.

      Moreover, I previously gave the analogy of the Virgin Birth. The New Testament does not record the disciples going out and teaching or telling people that Jesus was born of a virgin. But that does not mean the belief therefore did not exist among them (more over, Christians would take statements in the narrative material of the New Testament as representative of apostolic belief).

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    • So you admit that by the time of departure of Jesus, his disciples were still not sure he was God. As such basically what disciples taught couldn’t be used as evidence that Jesus was God! You can’t have it both ways.

      Even at later time we don;t see disciples gathering together and worshiping Jesus. There s no evidence to support this.

      Heck simple question. Did Jesus himself know he was God? or Holy ghost was God? WE know that Jesus worshiped his God , the Father. Did he ever worship God the Son or the Holy ghost?

      If not then that closes the argument that Jesus thought he was God, else he would have worshiped himself (the humanity of Jesus worshiping divinity?) if not at least he would have worshiped holy ghost!

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    • «So you admit that by the time of departure of Jesus, his disciples were still not sure he was God.»

      As per the aforementioned John 20:26-29, we have an open declaration that He is God, with no apparent condemnation. I think the New Testament is witness to coming to grasp His divinity, but precisely when the full understanding set in is not clear (e.g. it could have been Pentecost for some).

      «Even at later time we don;t see disciples gathering together and worshiping Jesus.»

      This was already covered. An appeal to silence can go the opposite direction, in light of what is mentioned above. Moreover, consider the virgin birth analogy (the lack of an explicit recording of them going out and teaching the Virgin Birth does not mean none therefore believed in the Virgin Birth).

      «Did Jesus himself know he was God?»

      He alludes to His divinity in several places. Moreover, I would say the unfolding of the New Testament revelation was as per His will.

      «Did he ever worship God the Son»

      He is not recorded worshiping Himself, but He does imply that those who declare He is God can be blessed (cf. John 20:28-29).

      «that closes the argument that Jesus thought he was God, else he would have worshiped himself»

      That does not follow at all. Being divine does not require one to worship themself (even if they take on an incarnate form).

      «at least he would have worshiped holy ghost!»

      Not necessarily, but it is an interesting question regarding the relationship between the two.

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    • “That does not follow at all. Being divine does not require one to worship themself (even if they take on an incarnate form).”

      the same person who is truly human has to worship the same person who is not truly human otherwise does the same person who is truly human even know that it is truly god?

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    • DG: “«at least he would have worshiped holy ghost!»

      Not necessarily, but it is an interesting question regarding the relationship between the two.”

      Well the logical outcome of this position is that even if you know there is God, you don’t have to worship Him.

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  13. Denis Giron, lets cut the chase. Instead of asking for historically verifiable claims of Jesus claiming Divinity, postulating Trinitarian Doctrine etc. I will ask the following:

    Present the Most Clearest and Explicit Biblical Verses that Teach the Deity of Jesus (OT/NT). If you wish, post everything you have. I do not mind.

    Like

    • With all due respect, Avi, why? We seem to be getting farther and farther away from my first comment on the original article (which was mainly about the plausibility of divine incarnation within a Semitic paradigm). Even if I don’t present any verses in favor of Jesus’ divinity, that has little negative effect on the argument in my first comment.

      Moreover, I find it somewhat unfortunate that while I have tried to directly engage your comments, you are not showing me a similar courtesy. In my first reply to you, I wrote quite a bit in an attempt to engage some of your positions, and you seem to have just swept it all away, in an attempt to “cut the chase” and focus on an argument that differs somewhat from my original comment in this thread.

      Nonetheless, to meet your request, the verses which I feel show the divinity of Jesus are:

      – John 1:1, which states that He is divine,

      – John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:10 and 1 Corinthians 8:6, which affirm His role in creation,

      – John 5:18 which affirms Him having an equality with the Father,

      – Philippians 2:5-7 and Colossians 2:9 which seem to depict Him as divinity in human form,

      – Mark 14:60-64, which identifies Him with the figure in Daniel 7:13-14 who resembles a human yet is worshipped by men from all nations,

      – John 1:18, John 20:28, 2 Peter 1:1, which have Him bearing the title “God”,

      – Revelation 1:17, which has Him bearing a title of God (cf. Isaiah 44:6),

      – Matthew 28:19, which groups Him together with two other Persons who took part in creation (which for me, when combined with Isaiah 44:24 provides the Biblical context for interpreting the curious shifts from plural to singular in Genesis 1:26-27).

      I look at all those texts, and I see a collective picture that comes very close to what Church Tradition holds, and thus I left Church teaching fill in the rest for me.

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    • Denis Giron Thank you for engaging with me. I am extremely sorry for being rude. I re-read what I wrote and realised, I have actually been quite rude. And I am actually very sorry, it’s not you, it’s me. I hope you forgive me. It seems Shamoun has really made the environment extremely combative but nevertheless this does not justify my rude comments. It won’t happen again, God-Willing. Thanks for complying with my request. Would you like me to respond to the verses that you posted or should I direct you straight to the service, with which to engage on wider platform?

      Liked by 3 people

    • No worries, Avi, and I appreciate your kind remarks.

      Feel free to share your thoughts on the verses, though mostly I’m hoping the discussions I take part in, here, can eventually move back towards the theme of my first comment, which attempted to explore the plausibility of divine incarnation within a Semitic paradigm.

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    • DG: I looked at all the verses. Again my question is, did the disciples of Jesus had the same understanding on these verses that you have? If so why they didn’t worship Jesus right away? Or did the wisdom of these verses dawned on them at a later date?

      As for arguing from silence [from ur prev com]. Well it is very important. Jesus forbade ( like Moses) to worship anyone beside One god. You don’t worship or trees, cows, stars, idols etc on the basis this silence. No one ever saw Jesus or his disciples worshiping these things, so they are not God.

      In the likewise manner if Jesus and disciples didn’t choose to worship Jesus or Holy Ghost then they can’t be God either. Please tell me where am I mistaken.

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  14. Denis Giron, since you are a reasonable, fairly objective fella, I shall direct you to this resource, in which in every verse that you have quoted has been throughly analyzed and many many others have been, and explained which is quite shocking for Trinitarians. I hope you carefully analyze through the scriptures theirin and grant me your feedback. Appreciate it. Thanks.

    John 1:3, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:10 and 1 Corinthians 8:6, John 5:18 all of these and many more addressed. http://www.angelfire.com/space/thegospeltruth/trinity.html

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  15. God is not a certain type of man? God is not man full stop:

    1Samuel 15:28-29- 28. And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you, today; and has given it to your fellow who is better than you. 29. And also, the Strength of Israel will neither lie nor repent, for He is not a man to repent.”

    Job 10:4-7-4. Do You have eyes of flesh, or do You see as a man sees? 5. Are Your days like the days of a mortal, or are Your years like the days of a man, 6. that You should search for my iniquity and seek my sin? 7. It is in Your knowledge that I will not be condemned, but no one can save [me] from Your hand.

    So according to the bibles testimony God did not become jesus.

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