CHRISTIANITY & BIBLE
By: Aftab Khan
The Author & Books:
Aftab Ahmad Khan, is an ardent student of Semitic religions. After retirement form military as a Brigadier, he is dedicated to research and writing with broader and pragmatic perspective. A graduate of Command & Staff College Quetta and Pakistan Air War College also attended a course in USA. He has held various command, staff and instructional appointments. In quest for knowledge he completed Masters in Business Administration as well in Political Science. He also served in corporate sector. He has widely traveled including North America, Europe, Middle East, China, Far East and Australia. He articles are regularly published (www.defencejournal.com).The research work has been compiled in the form of following books, being published in same sequence, freely made available for the benefit of humanity:
1. The Creator
2. The Creation
3. The Guidance
4. Islam: The Broader Perspective
5. The Final Messenger & Scripture
6. The Last Prophet (pbuh) [three articles]
7. Islam: A General Introduction (edited and updated translation of: “Ta’rif-e-Aam Bi-Din Il-Islam” by: Sheikh Ali al-Tantawi).
8. Significance of Knowledge
9. Philosophy & Impact
10. Jesus: Christianity & Bible
11. Islam and the People of the Book(Jews & Christians)
12. The Fundamentals of Islam
13. Metaphysics [Invisible world, predestination & salvation]
14. Modern Challenges
15. Islam and Society
16. The Infallible Imamate
PUBLICATION, translation and reproduction of books by Aftab Ahmad Khan, in full or in part on non commercial basis is permitted subject to following:
The contents should not be altered to mean what is not intended to be meant by the author. It will be appreciated if the author is also informed.The law of the land is fully respected and not violated.
The reference of the author, e mail, web sites, blog is mentioned:
In the name of God, The Most Gracious, The most Merciful
Presently more than half of world population comprise of Christians and Muslims. These great faiths, along with the small but economically and politically powerful Jews are linked to the common ancestor, the great patriarch and Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him). These civilizations have greatly influenced the whole world during last two millenniums. Despite believing in the same One God, which Abraham and his children worshiped, there is an element of suspicious, mistrust and hatred, developed trough long historically process.
Major chunk of Byzantine Empire and Spain fell to Muslims after 7th century. It was followed by the ‘Crusaders’, the series of wars fought from the late eleventh through the thirteenth centuries, in which European Christian kings and warriors on instigation of Popes, set out to gain control of the lands in which Jesus lived, known as the Holy Land. The Crusades had several lasting results, while exposing the Europeans to the goods, technology, and customs of Asia, they left lasting scars of animosity and hatred among the Christian (Western) and Islamic civilizations.
Islam is misunderstood due to many fallacies, which exist among Christians, non Muslims and even amongst some Muslims. The main reasons contributing towards these delusions are; historic, geopolitical, social, cultural, economic, and religious and lack of understanding of Islam, and its values due to restricted and subjective view. Attributing every violent act performed by some Muslims, to Islam is not fair. Islam is strictly the monotheist religion of ‘Peace’ literally and from core, it does not encourage violence or suicide, rather killing of innocent people is considered as a crime against humanity. (Qur’an:4:29, 5:32, 17:33). The legitimate warfare by the state is to be conducted strictly within laid down limits (Qur’an:2:216,190-193, 60:8-9).
Besides Abraham, Moses and other biblical prophets, Jesus Christ is highly revered by Muslims as the last Hebrew Prophet, miraculously born a belief also shared by many Christians. Qur’an goes a step farther by declaring Jesus and Mary as a Sign of God, for (Aayah-Li-Al-Alamen) the entire universe (Qur’an;21:91). Though the Jews not only reject and disbelieve in Jesus Christ but treat him with contempt. The two books: “Jesus Christ: Christianity and Bible”, and “Islam and the People of the Book (Jews & Christians)” are modest endeavor to present the pragmatic perspective of Jesus, Christianity, Bible and their relationship with Islam by synthesizing the works of great scholars. The commonalities of his teachings with Islam, which despite being obscured (under the subjective, tainted implausible views with the sole objective of supporting certain doctrines) by theologians with vested interests, still can be found even in the existing Scriptures. It is hoped this effort will contribute in removing some misconceptions and misunderstandings to bring the two great civilizations closer. Efforts have been made to be as precise as possible without any prejudice, or contempt. However error or omissions if any are incidental for which forgiveness from God is sought: “Our Lord! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake.”(Qur’an;2:286).
Brigadier Aftab Ahmad Khan(R)
MA, MBA, LADSC(USA)
19 March, 2009
E MAIL: email@example.com
CHAPTER:1-JESUS CHRIST LIFE &TEACHINGS…
CHAPTER:2-EVOLUTION OF CHRISTIANITY-NEW FAITH
CHAPTER:4-MONOTHEISM IN CHRISTIANITY
CHAPTER:5-DOCTRINES REFUTED IN BIBLE
CHAPTER:6-JESUS AND DIVINITY
CHAPTER:7-MAIN BRANCHES OF CHRISTIANITY
CHAPTER:8-IMPACT OF ISLAM ON CHRISTIANITY
CHAPTER:10-THE GOSPEL OF JESUS BY BARNABAS
CHAPTER:11-MONOTHEISM IN BIBLE
CHAPTER:12-PROPHET MUHAMMAD(PBUH)IN BIBLE
LIFE AND TEACHINGS
“Think not that I (Jesus) have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. . . . Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these Commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;” (Gospel-Mathew;5:17-20).
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”(Bible;Acts;2:22).
“And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those (earlier prophets), confirming the truth of what ever there still remained of the Torah (Law); and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein there was guidance and a light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God conscious.”(Qur’an;5:46).
Nazareth, the Palestinian city was the home of Mary (Luke;2:39), and here the angel announced to the Virgin Mary the birth of the Messiah (Luke;1:26-28). Name Nazareth, separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew word netser, a "shoot" or "sprout." Some, however, think that the name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Palestine is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew notserah, i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.
Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on the steep slope of a hill, about 100 Km north of Jerusalem, while Bethlehem was about 8 Km south west of Jerusalem. The main road for traffic between Egypt and the interior of Asia used to pass by Nazareth to Damascus. Jesus grew up at Nazareth from his infancy to manhood (Luke;4:16); and here he began his public ministry in the synagogue (Mthew;13:54), at which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him down from the cliff whereon their city was built (Luke;4:29). Twice they expelled him from their borders (Luke;4:16-29;Mthew;13:54-58); and he finally retired from the city, where he did not many mighty works because of their unbelief (Mthew;13:58), and took up his residence in Capernaum.
Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him), the son of Mary was the Messenger of God through His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him (spirit as breathed to Adam & every human). He was miraculously born to pious and chaste virgin Marry without father around 6 B.C in Bethlehem in Judea.(Qur’an; 19:16-40, Matthew;1:18-25 & Luke; 1:28-35). God says in Qur’an: “When the angels said "O Mary! God gives you the good news through a Word from Him that you will be given a son: his name will be Messiah, (Jesus Christ) the son of Mary. He will be noble in this world and the Hereafter; and he will be from those who are very close to God.”(Qur’an;3:45). “She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: God creates what He Wills; whenever He decides to do anything, He only says it to 'Be' and it is!”(Qur’an;3:47) similarly Bible narrate, the creation by God through His Word or Command : “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”(Genisis;1:3), “And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” .”(Genisis;1:20). “And We made the son of Mary and his mother as a Sign: We gave them both shelter on high ground affording rest and security and furnished with springs”.(Qur’an;23:50). “He (Jesus) said: "I am indeed a servant of God (Abdullah): He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet;” (Qur’an;19:30). “This similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam: He created him from dust then said to him: "Be" and he was.”(Qur’an;3:59). According to the Jewish law he was circumcised and taken for presentation at the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke; 2:21-24).
This incidence of angel Gabriel’s visit to Virgin Mary concerning the birth of Jesus has been narrated in “The Gospel of Jesus” according to his disciple Barnabas: “In these last years a virgin called Mary, of the lineage of David, of the tribe of Judah, was visited by the angel Gabriel from God. This virgin, living in all holiness without any offense, being blameless, and abiding in prayer with fasting, being one day alone, there entered into her chamber the angel Gabriel, and he saluted her, saying: 'God be with thee, O Mary'. The virgin was affrighted at the appearance of the angel; but the angel comforted her, saying: 'Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God, who hath chosen thee to be mother of a prophet, whom he will send to the people of Israel in order that they may walk in his laws with truth of heart.' The virgin answered: 'Now how shall I bring forth sons, seeing I know not a man?' The angel answered: 'O Mary, God who made man without a man is able to generate in thee man with- out a man, because with him nothing is impossible.' Mary answered: 'I know that God is almighty, therefore his will be done.' The angel answered: 'Now be conceived in thee the prophet, whom thou shalt name Jesus: and thou shalt keep him from wine and from strong drink and from every unclean meat, because the child is an holy one of God.' Mary bowed herself with humility, saying: 'Behold the handmaid of God, be it done according to thy word.'
The angel departed, and the virgin glorified God, saying: 'Know, O my soul, the greatness of God, and exult, my spirit, in God my Saviour; for he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden, insomuch that I shall be called blessed by all the nations, for he that is mighty hath made me great, and blessed be his holy name. For his mercy extendeth from generation to generation of them that fear him. Mighty hath he made his hand, and he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of his heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. Him who hath been hungry hath he filled with good things, and the rich he hath sent empty away. For he keepeth in memory the promises made to Abraham and to his son for ever'.”(Barnabas:1).
The Christ (Mashiah):
He is called Jesus of Nazareth, (Nazareth being his place of his abode). The name Jesus is derived from a Greek rendering of the Hebrew name Joshua, or in full Yehoshuah (Yahweh is deliverance). The title Christ is derived from the Greek christos, a translation of the Hebrew mashiakh (anointed one), or Messiah. In the Bible, traditionally the Hebrew kings on accession to power used to be consecrated by a touch with holy oil taken from the Temple. This rite became synonymous with ‘king’. Hence in Judaism, mashiah is the expected king of the Davidic line who would deliver Israel from foreign bondage and restore the glories of its golden age. The Greek translation of the New Testament term, Christos, became the accepted Christian designation and title of Jesus of Nazareth, indicative of the principal character and function of his ministry. More loosely, the term messiah denotes any redeemer figure; and the adjective messianic is used in a broad sense to refer to beliefs or theories about an eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world. Thus “Christ” was used by Jesus' early followers, who regarded him as the promised deliverer of Israel and later was made part of Jesus' proper name by the church, which started to regard him as the redeemer of all humanity. Jesus' descent is traced through the family of Armam (Imran; father of Moses) through 10th-century B.C. Prophet and king David (peace be upon him) and great Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) the ancestor of Jews and Muslims. Not much information is available about his life, Matthew alone (Mathew;2:13-23) describes the flight into Egypt, when he as a child was taken out of reach of the Judean king Herod the Great.
The Messenger of God:
Jesus was the Messenger of God, which is mentioned at many places in the Scriptures: “And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”(Mark;6:4),“And the crowds said, ‘This is the prophet Jesus of Nazareth of Galilee.”(Matthew;21:11), “They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.”(John;9:17);“He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.” (Matthew;10:40-41), Jesus said:” And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” (John;17:3), “Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.” (John;4:34).“So Jesus answered them, "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me; if any man's will is to do his will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.”(John;7:16-17), “So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, "You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord; he who sent me is true, and him you do not know.”(John;7:28), “So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me: I knew that thou hearest me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me.”(John;11:41-42), and “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.” .”(John;13:16). According to Qur’an: “He (Jesus) said: "I am indeed a servant of God: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet;” (Qura’n;19:30); "And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said, 'O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of God (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed.' But when he came to them with clear signs, they said, 'This is evident sorcery!”(Qur’an; 61:6).
‘Gospel of Jesus’ also Mentions as a Prophet:
The Gospel of Jesus according to Barnabas also mentions Jesus as a Prophet of God, and not His Son:
"Jesus, having received this vision, and knowing that he was a prophet sent to the house of Israel, revealed to Mary his mother, telling her that he needs must suffer great persecution for the honor of God, and that he couldn't any longer abide with her to serve her." (Barnabas:10)
"And when he had said this, the crowed drew high, and when they knew him they began to cry out: ' Welcome to thee, O our God !' and they began to do him reverence, as unto God. Whereupon Jesus gave a great groan and said: ' Get ye from before me, O mad men, for I fear lest the earth should open and devour me with you for your abominable words!' Whereupon the people were filled with terror and began to weep."(Barnabas:92)
"Then Jesus, having lifted his hand in token of silence, said: ' Verily ye have erred greatly, O Israelites, in calling me, a man, your God. And I fear that God may for this give heavy plague upon the holy city.....I confess before heaven, ....that I am stranger to all that ye have said; seeing that I am man, born of a mortal woman, subject to the judgment of God, suffering the miseries of eating and sleeping, of cold and heat, like other men,.. Whereupon when God shall come to judge, my words like a sword shall pierce each one (of them) that believe me to be more than a man," (Barnabas:93)
The Gospels mention nothing concerning Jesus from the time he was 12 years old until the time he began his public ministry, about 18 years later. All three Synoptic Gospels record Jesus' public ministry as beginning after the imprisonment of John the Baptist (Prophet Yahya, peace be upon him), and as lasting for about one year. The Gospel According to John describes it as beginning with the choosing of his first disciples (John;1:40-51), and as lasting for perhaps three years.
Jesus Performed Miracles, Eased Law:
God says: “And will make him (Jesus) a messenger unto the children of Israel, (saying): Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by God’s leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by God's leave. And I announce unto you what ye eat and what ye store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if ye are believers. And (I come) confirming that which was before me of the Torah, and to make lawful some of that which was forbidden unto you. I come unto you with a sign from your Lord, so keep your duty to God and obey me. Lo! God is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path”.(Qur’an;3:49). Also at Mathew;4:23,9:35, Luke; 4:22, 9:11, 3:8 and Acts:4:16. Once an adulteress was brought in front of Jesus Christ, to be stoned to death according to Mosaics Law, he said: “.."Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”(John;8:7). His voice rose in the middle of the Temple, making a new law on adultery, for the sinless to judge sin. There was none eligible; Jesus Christ asked her not to do it again. No mortal can judge sin, only God the Most Merciful. Hence Jesus Christ relaxed the Law of stoning to death for adultery.(Jhon;8:1-12).
Capernaum, Nahum's town, a Galilean city is frequently mentioned in the history of Jesus Christ. Capernaum became "own city" of Jesus Christ. It was the scene of many acts and incidents of his life (Mathew;8:5,14-15; 9:2-6,10-17; 15:1-20;etc.). The impenitence and unbelief of its inhabitants after the many evidences Jesus gave among them of the truth of his mission, brought down upon them a heavy denunciation of judgment (Mathew;11:23). This city lay on the great highway from Damascus to Acco and Tyre. Using Capernaum as a base, Jesus, accompanied by his 12 chosen disciples, traveled to neighboring towns and villages, proclaiming the advent of the kingdom of God, as had many of the Hebrew prophets before him.
When the sick and infirm asked help from him, he sought to heal them by divine power. He stressed the infinite love of God for the humble and weak, and he promised pardon and eternal life in heaven to the most hardened sinners, provided their repentance was sincere.
Essence of Teachings; Sermon on the Mount:
The essence of the teachings is presented in the Sermon on the Mount, where he said: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew;5:17-20) also the Beatitudes (Matthew; 5:3-12) and the Lord's Prayer (Matthew; 6:9-13).
Enmity of the Pharisees:
Jesus' emphasis on moral sincerity rather and relaxation in strict adherence to religious ritual incurred the enmity of the Pharisees (Jewish dominant religious party of scholars and priests), who feared that his teachings might lead to disregard for the authority of the Law, or Torah. Others feared that Jesus' activities and followers might prejudice the Roman authorities against any restoration of the Davidic monarchy. Despite this growing opposition, Jesus' popularity increased, especially among social outcasts and the oppressed, which was taken as a threat to their domination and authority by the community of priests.
Conspiracy to Kill Jesus Christ & Ascent:
Jesus continued preaching and performed numerous miracles, particularly the raising of Lazarus in Bethany (John;11:1-44). The most significant moment in Jesus' public ministry, however, was Simon Peter's realization at Caesarea Philippi that Jesus was the Christ (Matthew;16:16; Mark;8:29; Luke;9:20). During final days, he disputed with the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees questions about his authority, tribute to Caesar, and the resurrection. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, the priests and scribes, concerned that Jesus' activities would turn the Romans against them and the Jewish people (John;11:48), conspired with Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, to arrest and kill Jesus by stealth, “for they feared the people” (Luke;22:2, John;11:47-53) places the conspiracy before Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. A crowd led by Judas Iscariot was sent by the religious authorities to arrest him in Gethsemane. The supreme council of the Jews, the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus to death for false accusation of blasphemy in 30 C.E. Even according to Christians the alleged crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is a mystery, with divergent views with in the disciples and the followers of Jesus.
Neither Killed Nor Crucified:
Jesus Christ was neither killed nor was he crucified, as alleged by the Christians and the Jews, but he was raised up to God. It has been clarified by God: “And (then Children of Israel) plotted and planned and God too planned and the best of planners is God. Behold! God said: "O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject Faith to the Day of Resurrection; then shall ye all return unto Me and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.(Qur’an;3:54-55);“That they said (in boast) "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary the Apostle of God"; but they killed him not nor crucified him but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubts with no (certain) knowledge but only conjecture to follow for of a surety they killed him not. Nay God raised him up unto Himself; and God is Exalted in Power Wise. And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death (As only as a Messenger of God and a human being); and on the Day of Judgment He (Jesus) will be a witness against them (Qur’an;4:157,158,159). Ahmed Deedat, an authority on Bible and Christianity in his book ‘CRUCIFIXION OR CRUCI-FICTION’ has deliberated on this aspect through references and internal evidence from Bible, summary of salient points is mentioned later.
Crucifixion Refuted in ‘Gospel of Jesus’:
Barnabas, the close disciple of Jesus, writes: “..Then God seeing danger of his servant, commanded Gabriel, Michael, Rafael and Uriel, his ministers, to take Jesus out of the world. The holy angels came and took Jesus out by the window that looketh toward the South..." (Barnabas:215)
"Judas truly did nothing else but cry out: 'God, why hast thou forsaken me, seeing the malefactor hath escaped and I die unjustly?' Verily I say that the voice, the face, and the person of Judas were so alike to Jesus, that his disciples and believers entirely believed that he was Jesus; wherefore some departed from the doctrine of Jesus; believing that Jesus had been a false prophet, and that by art magic he had done the miracles which he did: for Jesus had said that he should not die till near the end of the world; for that at that time he should be taken away from the world." (Barnabas:217)
"...And though I have been innocent in the world, since men have called me "God," and "Son of God," God, in order that I be not mocked of the demons on the day of judgment, hath willed that I be mocked of men in this world by the death of Judas, making all men to believe that I died upon the cross. And this mocking shall continue until the advent of Mohammed, the messenger of God, who, when he shall come, shall reveal this deception to those who believe in God's law."(Barnabas:220)
"....Wherefore, when the messenger of God shall come, he shall come to cleanse away all wherewith the ungodly have contaminated my book." (Barnabas:124)
Return to this World:
Jesus was raised up alive to God, he will return before end of the world to prove that he was only a messenger of God, nothing more. He will then establish the Kingdom of God, all submitting to the will of God (Islam) believing him as only as a Messenger of God and a human being. The life and teachings of Jesus were often matters for dispute and varying interpretations in the Christian history. Early in the life of the church, for example, it became necessary to regularize beliefs about Jesus and his role, to aid in conversion and to answer those Christians who adopted views unacceptable to church leaders. The concepts of Christology, Incarnation, Trinity, and Original Sin are concoction, interpolation and misinterpretations.
Similarity in Birth of Jesus and Adam:
In brief the birth of Jesus resemble in a way with birth of Adam. Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and his mother Marry are Signs of God. Jesus (peace be upon him) the son of Mary, never claimed divinity, or said, “I am God” or that, “worship me”. He was just a Messenger of God, who was sent to guide his nation, with miracles which he performed with the will of God. He was a sign of God who preached the worship one God, he confirmed the Torah and made lawful some of that which was forbidden to the children of Israel. Once Children of Israel tried to kill him, God saved him and raised him up unto Himself, he is still living in heaven, will reappear before the Final Day, when the world will be purified of sin and unbelief.
The Apostolic Mission in Scriptures:
The Apostolic mission of Jesus Christ is highlighted in scriptures, God says: “And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those (earlier prophets), confirming the truth of what ever there still remained of the Torah; and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein there was guidance and a light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God conscious.” (Qur’an; 5:46);“Surely, have sent to every nation a messenger (saying): ‘Worship God and avoid false gods.”(Qur’an;16:36). Jesus (peace be upon him) clearly announced the nature of his mission that he was sent by God to confirm the then existing Law. This is clearly evident in the statements attributed to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) in the Gospel of Mathew:” Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew;5:17-20).
The Bible mentions the prophetic nature of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) task:"… and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me." (John;14:24). "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Prophet Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent."(John;17:3). Thus the essence of the message of Jesus was that only God deserves to be worshipped and that the worship of anyone or anything besides God or along with God is false. Jesus said: ‘It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”(Luke;4:8). Jesus not only called people to this message but he also practically demonstrated it for them by bowing down in prayer and worshipping God himself. In Mark;14:32, it is stated: “And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he (Jesus) said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I pray.’ ”And in Luke; 5:16, “But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.”
Gospel and Qur’an are unanimous on the apostolic mission of Jesus (peace be upon him): "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."(Acts;2:22). The God says in Qur’an: “The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. See how we make the revelations clear for them, and see how they are turned away!”(Qur’an;5:75). “He was no more than a servant: We granted Our favor to him (miracles, wonders and signs) and We made him an example to the Children of Israel.” (Qur’an;43:59). Paul, the self appointed 13th disciple of Jesus, deviated from the prophetic mission of Jesus, his teachings and systematically cancelled the Laws. He never learned any thing from Jesus directly, but claimed to get the revelation (Galatians;1:12), which no one could confirm or deny. In his letter to the Romans, he stated, “But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” (Romans; 7:6).
CHAPTER: 2: EVOLUTION OF NEW RELIGION - CHRISTIANITY
Early Christians Were Monotheist:
After ascent of Jesus Christ, the original followers of Jesus Christ continued to live as Jews and practiced what Jesus had taught them. It did not occur to any of them that they could ever be regarded as followers of a new religion. They were devout and practicing Jews and they were distinguished from their neighbors, only by their faith in the message of Jesus. In the beginning they did not organize themselves as a separate sect and did not have a synagogue of their own. There was nothing in the message of Jesus, as understood by them, to necessitate a break with Judaism.
However, they incurred the enmity of the vested interests among the Jewish higher echelon. The conflict between the Jews and the followers of Jesus was started by the Jews because they felt that the Christians would undermine their “authority”. The gulf progressively began to widen. During the siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E, they left the city; and refused to take part in the Bar Coachaba rebellion in 132 C.E. These two events brought to the surface the difference between the followers of Jesus Christ and the Jews.
Question of Origin of Jesus & Nature:
The question of the origin of Jesus, his nature and relation to God, which later became so important, was not raised among these early disciples. The belief that Jesus was a man super-naturally endowed by God was accepted without question. Nothing in the words of Jesus or the events in his life led them to modify this view. According to Aristides, one of the earliest apologists, the worship of the early Christians was more purely monotheistic even than of the Jews.
Impale’ment of New Disciple Paul:
With the conversion of Paul (4–64 C.E) a new period opened in Christian Theology. Paul a Jew and an inhabitant of Tarsus, had spent a long time in Rome, he was a Roman citizen. He realized the strong hold which the Roman religion had on the masses. The intellectuals were under the influence of Plato and Aristotle. Paul seems to have felt that it would not be possible to convert the masses in the Roman Empire without making mutual adjustments. But his practical wisdom was not acceptable to those who had seen and heard Jesus. However, in spite of their difference, they decided to work together for the common cause.
The theory of redemption was the brain child of Paul, a belief entirely unknown to the disciples of Jesus. Paul's theory involved the deification of Jesus. The Pauline period in the history of the Christian Church saw a change of scene and principles. In place of the disciples, who had sat at the feet of Jesus, a new figure, who had not known Jesus, had come to the forefront. In place of Palestine, the Roman Empire became the scene of Christian activity. Instead of being a mere sect of Judaism, Christianity not only became independent of Judaism but also became independent of Jesus himself.
Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) presented a spiritual message and main ideas concerning human conduct. Christian theology, however, was shaped principally by the work of Paul who added new doctrines and the worship of Jesus Christ to the spiritual message of Jesus. Paul became the foremost proselytizer of the new religion of Christianity. His influence on Christian theology proved to be the most permanent and far-reaching of all Christian writers and thinkers. As a young man, he went to Jerusalem to study under Rabbi Gamaliel, an eminent Jewish teacher. Though Paul was in Jerusalem at the same time as Jesus, it is doubtful whether the two men ever met.
After Jesus, the early Christians were regarded as heretics and suffered persecution. For a while, Paul (Saul) himself participated in this persecution (Acts:7:58). However, during a journey to Damascus (37 C.E) he claimed that Jesus spoke to him in a ‘VISION’, so he was converted to the new faith. It was the turning point of his life. The one-time opponent of Christianity became the most vigorous and influential proponent of the new religion.
In 40 A D, he went to Jerusalem, but the disciples were afraid of him. It was Barnabas, one of the earliest disciples of Jesus Christ, who introduced him to them, and convinced them to accept him as a Christian, even though reluctantly. After some time he had again to flee from Jerusalem to Tarsus to save his life. Barnabas was sent by the apostles on a special and important mission to Antioch. Barnabas brought Paul from Tarsus so that he might help him in his mission at Antioch; and both of them worked there for a whole year. All this time Saul (Paul) was subordinate to Barnabas.
During the first missionary journey (45 C.E to 49 C.E) Barnabas was the leader of the mission. It was indeed the missionary journey of Barnabas which is erroneously ascribed to Paul. Paul was planning to bypass all the disciples and even his benefactor, Barnabas, and to gain pre-eminence for himself. He wanted to be second to none.
Council of Jerusalem (50C.E):
It was experienced by the preachers that the gentiles were reluctant to convert, because some ignorant people had advocated that to attain salvation it is obligatory that in addition to believing in Jesus Christ they have to also adhere to all the rites and customs of Law of Moses like circumcision etc, thus Luke wrote: “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, saying, Except you be circumcised after the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”(Acts;15:1). Obviously this was wrong teaching, though the custom of circumcision etc were obligatory part of Law of Moses and Jesus Christ but were neither fundamental to the basis of faith or disbelief nor the only way to salvation. So if the potential convert is asked to believe in the basic doctrines without precondition of circumcision it does not imply that the custom of circumcision is cancelled for all but a minor evil is accepted to save the gentiles from disbelief. This compromise technique was adopted by the disciples to facilitate the conversion of gentiles. A delegation, comprising Paul and Barnabas, was appointed to confer with the elders of the church in Jerusalem on this issue.
Relaxation of Law to Facilitate Gentiles Conversion-Not Permanent Abrogation:
In the conference of the Christian Apostles held in Jerusalem around 50 C.E, the ensuing apostolic conference (Acts;15:2-35), led by the apostle Peter and James, were persuaded to relax the adherence of Law for the Gentile Christians. After debate, it was decreed that Gentile Christians did not have to observe the Mosaic Law of the Jews. The general intention of disciples is evident from the speech delivered by Peter: “Now therefore why test God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.”(Acts;15:10-11). [If Peter’s aim was to totally cancel the Law for the gentiles, then it would also been cancelled for the Jewish Christians, because Peter considers the Law as burden for the gentiles as well as the for themselves (Jews)]
It may be kept in view that the purpose of the Council of Jerusalem was not to determine whether the Law of Torah is obligatory for the gentiles or not? The in-depth analysis indicates that as far as the viability of the Law of Torah is concerned the disciples had no doubt in their mind, they all agreed to the obligation to adhere to these laws: The issue was only to relax them for the gentiles to facilitate their conversion. For this reason while describing those who wanted the gentiles to adhere to the Law, Luke wrote: “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees who believed, saying, It is needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.”(Acts;15:5). In response James decreed: “Therefore my judgment is, that we trouble not them, who from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from defilements of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time has in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.”(Acts;15:19-21). Hence the general letter written by this Council to the gentiles states: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That you abstain from anything offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if you keep yourselves, you shall do well. Farewell.”(Acts;15:28-29)
It is amply clear from above that the disciples of Jesus Christ did not intend to cancel or abrogate the Law of Torah altogether but compromised on its application for gentiles (Not Jewish Christians) temporarily to facilitate easy conversion of gentiles from paganism to the new faith. However when Barnabas and Paul reached Antioch, Paul took undue advantage of the Decree of the Jerusalem Council and started preaching that the Law of Torah has been abrogated completely: “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”(Galatians;2:19) and later: “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”(Romans;7:6).
Barnabas & Paul-Split on Doctrinal Differences:
Obviously acceptance of self made doctrines by Paul, implied total deviation from the teachings of Jesus Christ, who had said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”(Matthew;5:17). Hence Peter and Barnabas opposed Paul, which has been mentioned by Paul: “But when Peter came to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed. For before certain men came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them who were of the circumcision. And the other Jews joined likewise with him; so that Barnabas also was carried away with their hypocrisy.”(Galatians;2:11-13).
After this incidence Barnabas separated himself fro Paul: “Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also. And some days later Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought it not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being commended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”(Acts;15:35-41).
There was strong opposition by the disciples (Peter and Barnabas,) to the new doctrines being preached by Paul contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. This resulted in to rebellion by the Galatians against Paul. Then Paul wrote 2nd letter to Galatians, in which he instead of claiming support of Disciples, opposed them and tried to prove that he did not need to learn from Disciples as he was getting direct revelations (Glatinas:1:11-12).
After this rift, there was a parting of the ways. In the Acts, Barnabas disappears after the rift, because the recording of the Acts of the Apostles was done by the followers of Paul. Pauline Christians grew in number and strength because Paul had compromised with Roman beliefs and legends. A stage was later reached when kings were used as pawns to further the ends of the Church. However Barnabas was able to record the original teachings of Jesus Christ which remains available to the truth seekers even now despite all the malicious efforts to obliterate them. Commandment of Jesus about Barnabas is: “If he (Barnabas) comes un to you, receive him”(Clossians;4:10)
In the ‘Opening’ of “The Gospel of Jesus” Barnabas clarifies the doctrinal differences as reason of his split with Paul:
“True Gospel of Jesus, called Christ, a new prophet sent by God to the world: according to the description of Barnabas his apostle: Barnabas, apostle of Jesus the Nazarene, called Christ, to all them that dwell upon the earth desireth peace and consolation. Dearly beloved the great and wonderful God hath during these past days visited us by his prophet Jesus Christ in great mercy of teaching and miracles, by reason whereof many, being deceived of Satan, under presence of piety, are preaching most impious doctrine, calling Jesus son of God, repudiating the circumcision ordained of God for ever, and permitting every unclean meat: among whom also Paul hath been deceived, whereof I speak not without grief; for which cause I am writing that truth which I have seen and heard, in the intercourse that I have had with Jesus, in order that ye may be saved, and not be deceived of Satan and perish in the judgment of God. Therefore beware of every one that preacheth unto you new doctrine contrary to that which I write, that ye may be saved eternally. The great God be with you and guard you from Satan and from every evil. Amen.”
CHAPTER-3:AMBIVALENT TERMINOLOGIES & DOCTRINES
Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) has been wrongly claimed to be the Son of God by Paulian followers. This is just a fabrication and misnomer. The use of the terminology ‘son of God’ and Father (for God) need to be understood as per its use among Hebrews and their scriptures, because Jesus Christ was himslf a Jew, sent with the misson for the guidance of Jews, he said:I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”(Mathew;15:24)
Son of God:
The Hebrews believed that God is One, and had neither wife nor children in any literal sense, hence it is obvious that the expression “son of God” merely metaphorically meant to them “Servant of God”; one who, because of his faithful service, was close and dear to God, as a son is to a father. Christians who came from a Greek and Roman background, later misused this term. In Greco-Roman heritage, “son of God” signified an incarnation of a god or someone born of a physical union between male and female gods. When the Church cast aside its Hebrew foundations, it adopted the pagan concept of “son of God”, which was entirely different from the Hebrew usage. Consequently, the use of the term “son of God” should only be understood from the Semitic symbolic sense of a “servant of God”, and not in the pagan sense of a literal offspring of God. In the four Gospels, Jesus is recorded as saying: “Blessed are the peace-makers; they will be called sons of God.”(Mathew;5:9), “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the SONS OF GOD.”(Romans; 8:14). The term ‘Son of God’ has been used numerously for people near to God like Prophet Jacob, David & Solomon in the Bible. ( 2 Samuel 8:13-14, Psalms;2:7, 89:26-27: Job 1:6, Psalms 2:7, Luke;3:38, 4:41, 9:22, Hosea;1:10, Jeremiah;31:9, Job;2:1,38:4-7, Genesis;6:2, Deuteronomy;14:1, Exodus;4:22-23).
Even the angels are referred to as ‘sons of God’: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.”(Job;1:6). According to the Bible of King James Version of 1611 : “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only ‘BEGOTTEN’ Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. (John;3:16). The word ‘BEGOTTEN’ used here (John;3:16) has been expunged in the Bible- Revised Standard Version, being wrongly added because word ‘BEGOTTEN’ does not exist in the original Greek script. In the Gospels Jesus is reported to have repeatedly called himself “Son of man”(Mathew;9:6, Luke;9:22). At eighty five places “Son of man” has been mentioned in New Testament. Jesus even rejected being called “Son of God”: “And demons also came out of many, crying, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.”(Luke;4:41). God says: “Further to warn those who say "God has begotten a son." They have no knowledge, nor do their forefathers. Dreadful is the word that comes from their mouths. They speak nothing but a lie.”(Qur’an;18:4-5).
Likewise use of the term ‘abba’, (dear father) by Jesus’ should be understood similarly: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”. (Romans;8:15). The word ‘Father’ is used for the ‘God’ or the ‘Lord’ not as biological father but in the spiritual sense as The Creator & Sustainer at many places in the Bible: “Do you thus requite the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?” (Deuteronomy;32:6);“Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?” (Malachi;2:10);“As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear him.” (Psalms;103:13).
It is mentioned:” For all who are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God.”(Romans;8:14). “He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation”(Psalms;89:26), “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”(Mathew;5:48),“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven” (Mathew; 6:1),“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Mathew;6:6),“Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knows what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Mathew;6:8),“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Mathew; 6:9),“(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things.” (Mathew; 6:32).
Jesus said to Mary; "...go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend to my Father and your Father; and to my God, and your God...." (John;20:17). Joseph is called a father to Pharaoh(Genesis; 45:8), Abraham is called the father of a multitude of nations (Genesis;17:5), and Job is called the father of the needy (Job;29:16). “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”(John;5: 37).“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” (Jhon;14:16). “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me”. (John;5:30).
Even in some of the writings of Paul, which the Church has taken to be sacred, Jesus (peace be upon him) is referred to as a “man”, distinct and different from God. Paul writes: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1Timothy;2:5). Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) did not say that to have the eternal life of paradise, man should believe in him as Almighty God or worship him as God, or believe that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) would die for their sins. On the contrary he said that the path to salvation was through keeping the Commandments. It is indeed striking to note the divergence between the words of Prophet Jesus Christ and the Christian dogma of salvation through the sacrifice of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). James Barr has recently argued forcefully that it did not have the specially intimate sense that has so often been attributed to it, but that it simply meant “father”. To think of God as “our heavenly Father” (Mathew;6:14) was by no means new, for in the Lord’s prayer Jesus is reported to have taught his disciples to address God in this same familiar way.
Aberrant Doctrines of Christianity:
In Christian theology, out of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, no fewer than fourteen are attributed to Paul; hence Paul is the most important single author of the New Testament (Epistles and the Acts of the Apostles). Paul’s influence on Christian theology has been incalculable. His doctrine includes:
Divinity of Christ:
Jesus was not merely an inspired human prophet, but was actually divine.
Jesus; The Son of God:
Paul taught the Gentiles to turn "to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. Paul explained to them that Jesus was not merely a normal human prophet but a "Son of God" and that this "Son of God" "(Corinthians; 1:9-10), Who died in atonement for the sins of all mankind.
The Original Sin:
Paul also enunciated the doctrine of original sin; disobedience of Adam to God, making all humanity a born sinner.(Romans; 5: 12-19).
Justification by Faith Alone:
Christ died for sins of humanity, and his suffering can redeem them. Man cannot achieve salvation by attempting to conform to Biblical injunctions, but only by accepting Christ; conversely, if one accepts Christ, his sins will be forgiven.
Disregard The Law:
Since obedience to the law alone cannot provide salvation, Paul insisted that there was no need for converts to Christianity to accept Jewish dietary restrictions, or to conform to the rituals of the Mosaic Code, or even to be circumcised. Jesus said; “THINK NOT THAT I HAVE COME TO ABOLISH THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS; I HAVE COME NOT TO ABOLISH THEM BUT TO FULFIL THEM. . . . Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these Commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven;” (Gospel- Mathew;5:17-20). Paul said; “BUT NOW WE ARE DISCHARGED FROM THE LAW, DEAD to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.”(Romans;7:6). Several of the other early Christian leaders disagreed strongly with Paul on this point, and if their views had prevailed, it seems doubtful that Christianity would have spread so rapidly throughout the Roman Empire.
Paul- As The Apostle of Gentile:
Paul, more than any other man, was responsible for the transformation of Christianity from a Jewish sect into a world religion. His central ideas of the “DIVINITY OF CHRIST” and of “JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE” have remained basic doctrine to “Christian Thought” throughout all the intervening centuries. Paul was not as successful in preaching to the Jews as some of the other early Christians. In preaching to non-Jews, however, Paul was outstandingly successful, so much so that he is often referred to as the “Apostle to the Gentiles”. No other man played so large a role in the propagation of Christianity as Paul. The main reason of success among the gentiles was that the gentiles, (Greco-Roman pagans) found the ideas propagated by Paul very close to their established beliefs, thus the new faith became quite acceptable to them. The pagan gentiles worshiped many sons of almighty Zeus (The principal god of the Greek pantheon, ruler of the heavens, and father of other gods and mortal heroes), Jupiter and other such gods like Attis, Adonis, Dionysus, etc. They believed that these pagan gods had died for their sins and been resurrected. Paul taught the Gentiles to turn "to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come"(Corinthians; 1:9-10).
Paul explained to them that Jesus was not merely a normal human prophet but a "Son of God" and that this "Son of God" died in atonement for the sins of all mankind. The gentiles immediately saw the parallels and the great degree of similarity with that which they already believed. All they had to do was to change a few labels. In this manner, Paul managed to convince the gentiles to accept the "Religion of Jesus." This is because, unlike the Jews, the religion of the Greeks already accepted "father gods" and "son gods," the death of gods, the resurrection of gods, the incarnation of gods, divine savior gods, the eating of the flesh of gods, and the drinking of the blood of gods...etc. All of these concepts were not new to them. Thus Paul became a great leader among them and was named "Saint Paul" and “Apostle to the Gentiles”.
Based on St Paul’s concept of divinity of Jesus, the concept of Trinity was developed during three centuries. According to Encyclopedia Britannica:
“The Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon; by excluding several extreme positions from the circle of orthodoxy, paved the way for the formulation of the doctrine of the Trinity in the 4th century after Christ. The God is believed to be consisting of three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Since 5th-century theologians were able to describe the relation between the divine and the human Christ by analogy to the relation between the Father and the Son in the Trinity. There were three divine persons in one divine essence; such was the outcome of the controversies in the 4th century. But there were also two natures, one of them divine and the other human, in the one person Jesus Christ. Over the relation between these two natures the theologians of the 5th century carried on their controversy. The abstract questions with which they sometimes dealt in that controversy, some of them almost unintelligible to a modern mind, must not be permitted to obscure the fact that a basic issue of the Christian faith was at stake: how can Jesus Christ be said to partake of both identity with God and brotherhood with humanity?’ Ultimately it was concluded that God literally became incarnate as a human in the form of Jesus. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: "The three Persons (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) are Co-Equal and Co-Eternal: all alike are Uncreated and Omnipotent (supreme)."
Rejection by Several Christian Denominations:
This"Trinitarian Monotheism" has been rejected by several Christian denominations and Christian-based religions. The only one verse in the whole of Bible which, the supporters interpreted to supports this Christian dogma, and that is: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these THREE ARE ONE."(The first Epistle of John; 5:7,8). (in some volumes this changed as : “There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and THESE THREE AGREE”). In the foot not of this verse in ‘New International Version Bible’ it is written; ‘NOT FOUND IN ANY GREEK MANUSCRIPT BEFORE THE SIXTEEN CENTURY. Dr C.I, Scofield, D.D. backed by eight other D.D.'s in a footnote to this verse opine: "It is generally agreed that this verse has no manuscript authority and has been inserted.”The fundamentalist Christians still retain this fabrication whereas; in all the modern translations including the Revised Standard Version (RSV) this pious deceit has been unceremoniously expunged.
The Doctrine of Jesus Concerning God:
In The Gospel of Jesus, according to Barnabas, chapter:17, the true faith of believers and concept of God was explained by Jesus Christ: “When Jesus had said this, Philip answered: 'We are content to serve God, but we desire, however, to know God, for Isaiah the prophet said: "Verily thou art a hidden God," and God said to Moses his servant: "I am that which I am.” Jesus answered: 'Philip, God is a good without which there is naught good; God is a being without which there is naught that is; God is a life without which there is naught that liveth; so great that he filleth all and is everywhere. He alone hath no equal. He hath had no beginning, nor will he ever have an end, but to everything hath he given a beginning, and to everything shall he give an end. He hath no father nor mother; he hath no sons nor brethren nor companions. And because God hath no body, therefore he eateth not, sleepeth not, dieth not, walketh not, moveth not, but abideth eternally without human similitude, for that he is incorporeal, uncompounded, immaterial, of the most simple substance. He is so good that he loveth goodness only; he is so just that when he punisheth or pardoneth it cannot be gainsaid. In short, I say unto thee, Philip, that here on earth thou canst not see him nor know him perfectly; but in his kingdom thou shalt see him for ever: wherein consisteth all our happiness and glory.'
Philip answered: 'Master, what sayest thou? It is surely written in Isaiah that God is our father; how, then, hath he no sons?' Jesus answered: 'There are written in the prophets many parables, wherefore thou oughtest not to attend to the letter, but to the sense. For all the prophets, that are one hundred and forty-four thousand, whom God hath sent into the world, have spoken darkly. But after me shall come the Splendour of all the prophets and holy ones, and shall shed light upon the darkness of all that the prophets have said, because he is the messenger of God' And having said this, Jesus sighed and said: 'Have mercy on Israel, O Lord God; and look with pity upon Abraham and upon his seed, in order that they may serve thee with truth of heart.
His disciples answered: 'So be it, O Lord our God!' Jesus said: 'Verily I say unto you, the scribes and doctors have made void the law of God with their false prophecies, contrary to the prophecies of the true prophets of God: wherefore God is wrath with the house of Israel and with this faithless generation.' His disciples wept at these words, and said: 'Have mercy, O God, have mercy upon the temple and upon the holy city, and give it not into contempt of the nations that they despise not thy holy covenant.' Jesus answered: 'So be it, Lord God of our fathers.”(Barnabas:17)
Jesus Christ Never Claimed Divinity:
God says that in hereafter, Jesus will be questioned: “After reminding him of these favors, God will say: "O Jesus son of Marry, Did you ever say to the people, "worship me and my mother as gods beside God?" He will answer: "Glory to You! How could I say what I had no right to say? If I had ever said so, you would have certainly known it. You know what is in my heart, but I know not what is in yours; for You have full knowledge of all the unseen. I NEVER SAID ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT YOU COMMANDED me to say that is TO WORSHIP GOD, WHO IS MY LORD AND YOUR LORD. I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them; but when You called me off, You were the Watcher over them and You are a Witness to everything. If You punish them, they surely are Your servants; and if You forgive them, You are Mighty, Wise.”(Qur’an;5:116-118). According to Bible Jesus said: “Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN (Surrender to will of God: Islam). On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU; DEPART FROM ME, YOU EVILDOERS’.”(Methew;7:21-23).
God says:” Certainly they have disbelieved who say: "Christ the son of Mary is God." While Christ himself said: "O children of Israel! WORSHIP GOD, MY LORD AND YOUR LORD." Whoever ascribes divinity to any one besides God, un to him will God deny paradise, and the hellfire will be his home. There will be no helper for the wrongdoers.(Qur’an;5:72). This statement of Jesus still exist in three Gospels: “Then said Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE.” (Mathew;4:10, Luke;4:8), “Jesus said to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and MY GOD AND YOUR GOD.”(John;20:17). A study of the Christian scriptures reveals that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) never claimed divinity. In fact there is not a single unequivocal statement in the entire Bible where Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) himself says, "I am God" or where he says, "Worship me". In fact the Bible contains statements attributed to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) in which he preached quite the contrary: "My Father is greater than I." (John;14:28). "My Father is greater than all." (John;10:29). "…I cast out devils by the Spirit of God…." (Mathew;12:28). "…I with the finger of God cast out devils…."(Luke;11:20). "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."(John;5:30). Prophet Jesus refuted even the remotest suggestion of his divinity, as evident form Bible: "And behold, one came and said unto him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ And he said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”(Mathew; 19:16-17). God addresses the Jews and Christians: “O people of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of God aught but truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an Apostle of God and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in God and His Apostles. Say not "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for God is One God: glory be to him: (for Exalted is He) above having a son. To him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is God as a Disposer of affairs.”(Qur’an;4:171). “Say: He is God the One and Only; God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being; He begets not, and neither is He begotten; And there is nothing that can be compared with Him.”(Qur’an;112:1-4).
Jesus a Human, Prophet Not God-The Gospel of Jesus:
The Gospel of Jesus according to his disciple Barnabas mentions that Jesus is a Prophet of God, and not His Son as evident form following:
a. "Jesus, having received this vision, and knowing that he was a prophet sent to the house of Israel, revealed to Mary his mother, telling her that he needs must suffer great persecution for the honor of God, and that he couldn't any longer abide with her to serve her." (Barnabas:10).
b. In reply to a question by Philip, Prophet Jesus said: "God alone hath no equal. He hath had no beginning, nor will he ever have a end, ... He hath no sons, nor brethern, nor companions."(Barnabas:17).
c. "And when he had said this, the crowed drew high, and when they knew him they began to cry out: ' Welcome to thee, O our God !' and they began to do him reverence, as unto God. Whereupon Jesus gave a great groan and said: ' Get ye from before me, O mad men, for I fear lest the earth should open and devour me with you for your abominable words !' Whereupon the people were filled with terror and began to weep."(Barnabas:92).
d. "Then Jesus, having lifted his hand in token of silence, said: ' Verily ye have erred greatly, O Israelites, in calling me, a man, your God. And I fear that God may for this give heavy plague upon the holy city.....I confess before heaven, ....that I am stranger to all that ye have said; seeing that I am man, born of a mortal woman, subject to the judgment of God, suffering the miseries of eating and sleeping, of cold and heat, like other men,.. Whereupon when God shall come to judge, my words like a sword shall pierce each one (of them) that believe me to be more than a man," (Barnabas:93)
The Original Sin:
The many Christian legends in many languages about the lives of Adam and Eve have their origin in Jewish writings about the biblical first man and woman. The most important of these ancient works are the Latin Vita Adae et Evae (Life of Adam and Eve) and a Greek work closely parallel to it, named erroneously by its first editor the Apocalypse of Moses. The narrative runs from the fall to the death of Adam and Eve. The religious message in the story involves the repentance of Adam and Eve after their expulsion from paradise - and the description of their deaths does not show any traces of the idea of ORIGINAL SIN, which was important in later Christian theology.
According to this doctrine, the sin committed by Adam (peace be upon him) of disobeying the command of God, passes on to all human making them sinner by birth. So; “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Roman;12:19). The inheritance of sin of ancestor by the descendants is against all ethics, morality and common logic. It is against the explicit pronouncement of God in Bible: “The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffers for the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die." (Ezekiel;18:20-21). “He pardons the believing sinners if they repent and seek His forgiveness: “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”(Isiah;43:25); “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.”(Jermiah;31:34); “that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”(Jermiah;36:3); “To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness;”(Daniel;9:9); “But there is forgiveness with thee, That thou mayest be feared”(Psalms;103:4).
Repentance & Forgiveness in New Testament:
The concept of repentance and forgiveness also exist in New Testament: “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”(Luke;15:7), “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”(Luke;15:10), “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.”(Luke;15:21-24); “And forgive us our debts,”(Mathew:6:12, Luke;11:4).
Personal Responsibility, Accountability:
God has repeatedly emphasized the personal responsibility and individual accountability: “No bearer of a burden will bear another's burden, and if a heavy laden person cries out for help, none will come forward to share the least of his burden, even though he be a close relative. O Prophet! You can only admonish those who fear their Sustainer- though they cannot see Him - and establish Prayer (Salah). He that purifies himself does so for his own good. To God is the destination of all.”(Qur’an;35:18); “He that seeks guidance, shall be guided to his own advantage, but he that goes astray does so to his own loss. No bearer shall bear the burden of another on the Day of Judgment. And during your worldly life, We do not inflict punishment until We send forth a Messenger to make truth distinct from falsehood.”(Qur’an;17:15); “Say: "Should I seek another Sustainer besides God when He is the Sustainer of everything?" Every soul will reap the fruits of its own deeds; no bearer of burdens shall bear the burden of another. Ultimately you will return to your Sustainer, and He will resolve for you your disputes.”(Qur’an;6:164)
The last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him, prophesized in Bible by Moses and Jesus) said, "Every child is born with a true faith (i.e. to worship none but God Alone) but his parents convert him to Judaism or to Christianity or to Magainism” (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith, 2.440, Narrated by Ibn Shihab). God says: "The pure God's Islamic nature (true faith i.e. to worship none but God Alone), with which He has created human beings." (Qur’an;30:30).
According to Islamic Doctrine; every one is accountable for his deeds, Adam (peace be upon him) committed the first sin, he repented, thus was forgiven by God; “..thus did Adam disobey His Lord and allow himself to be seduced (by Satan). But his Lord chose him (for His Grace): He turned to him and gave him guidance.”(Qur’an;20:121-122). To attain salvation, a person must combine faith and action, belief and practice: “As to those who believe and work righteousness verily We shall not suffer to perish the reward of any who do a (single) righteous deed”.(Qur’an;18:30). "Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy they will attain salvation" (Qur’an;23:102).
Views of Christian Scholars:
Renowned scholar Steve A. Johnson writes: “In Islam the notion of original sin is regarded as inconsistent with the justice of God. How could a Just and Loving God make an innocent child responsible for, or at least bear the guilt for the sins of a distant ancestor?” Major Yeats-Brown, in his "Life of a Bengal Lancer", summarizes the Christian Doctrine of the Original sin and Atonement in just a single sentence: "No heathen tribe has conceived so grotesque an idea, involving as it does the assumption, that man was born with a hereditary stain upon him: and that this stain (for which he was not personally responsible) was to be atoned for: and that the creator of all things had to sacrifice his only begotten son to neutralize this mysterious curse."
Rejection of ‘Law’ against Mission of Jesus:
Paul insisted that there was no need for converts to Christianity to accept Jewish dietary restrictions: “…there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteems anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” (Romans;14:14). The circumcision, which was instituted by God (Genesis;17:9-10) and enforced by the law (Leviticus;12:3; John;7:22) was opposed by Paul, thus he was denounced (Acts; 21:21); “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”(Ephesians;2:15). He did not insist to conform to the rituals of the Mosaic Law, because to him, obedience to the Law alone cannot provide salvation. Paul wrote: “But now we are discharged from the law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.”(Romans;7:6).
This is deliberate outright rejection of the mission and teachings of Jesus (peace be upon him) who said: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew;5:17-20). Hence it is logical to conclude that ‘Christianity’ as generally practiced today has nothing to do with Christ except that the name. It is based on the doctrines devised by Paul, who claimed to be his disciple and apostle long after his accession to heaven, though Jesus said: “The disciple is not above his master”: (Luke;6:40).
Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
Jesus was a sign of God who preached to worship one God. He was not killed but God raised him up unto Himself. Muslims believe that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) is still living, he will appear before the Final Day, after the coming of the Mahdi (rightly guided one), when the world will be purified of sin and unbelief. There will be a final death before the final Resurrection, but all would have believed in the faith of Islam before that final death. Narrated by Abu Hurayrah: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: There is no prophet between me and him, that is, Jesus (peace be upon him). He will descent (to the earth). When you see him, recognize him: a man of medium height, reddish fair, wearing two light yellow garments, looking as if drops were falling down from his head though it will not be wet. He will fight the people for the cause of Islam. He will break the cross, kill swine, and abolish jizyah (poll tax on non Muslims). God will perish all religions except Islam. He will destroy the imposter (Antichrist) and will live on the earth for forty years and then he will die. The Muslims will pray over him”.Sunan of Abu-Dawud, Hadith: 2025).
Expansion of Christianity:
After Jesus, the Romans rule continued, however after unsuccessful Jewish uprising, the Jewish temple was burnt in 70 C.E and Jews dispersed, all over the world mostly they were treated as lower class citizens. They were forced to live in ghettos. God says: “We broke them up into sections on this earth. There are among them some that are the righteous and some that are the opposite. We have tried them with both prosperity and adversity: in order that they might turn (to us).”(Qur’an;7:168). However in the Islamic world they enjoyed respect and authority. With the conversion of Constantine-I, to (monotheistic-Arian)Christianity in the beginning of 4th century, Palestine became fully Christianized. Khosrow II, king of Persia, launched an invasion; his troops captured Jerusalem in 614 C.E destroyed churches, and carried off the True Cross. In 628 the Byzantine emperor Hercules recovered Palestine, and he subsequently restored the True Cross to Jerusalem.
The Christianity; after brutally suppressing the internal resistance by monotheists (Arianis) to the complex doctrine of Trinity, expanded exponentially with the efforts of missionaries in Europe, Africa and later in Asia. The main reason was ‘good marketing’ by St.Paul, who ‘designed the product’ (Christianity) to make it attractive and acceptable for his initial clients (pagans) by blending the pagan doctrine with the monotheism preached by Jesus and his ancestor Abraham, applying the label of Christ. The Monotheists Christians like Arius despite initial successes were ultimately suppressed due to oppression and persecution. With emergence of Europeans as global colonial powers, Christianity got additional boost and it became a dominant religion of the world. With the revival of original true faith of Abraham (Islam) through the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in seventh century C.E, all the false concepts stand fully exposed: “Truth has come and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood by its nature is bound to perish.”(Qur’an;17:81).
CHAPTER:4: MONOTHEISM IN CHRISTIANITY
There is a common perception that Christianity has always been following the doctrines like Trinity , Original, Redemption and Crucifiction of Christ; this is far from truth. After doctrinal differences with Paul, the monotheists like Barnabas did not sit idle but continued preaching the true message of monotheism of Jesus Christ. The followers of Barnabas never developed a central organization. Yet due to the truthfulness of simple theology and devotion of their leaders, their number increased very fast. These Christians incurred the wrath of the Church and systematic effort was made to destroy them and to obliterate all traces of their existence including books and churches. The lesson of history, however, is that it is very difficult to destroy faith by force. Their lack of organization became a source of strength because it was not so easy to pick them up one by one. Later many doctrines and groups appeared inspired by the teachings of Barnabas; however they avoided mentioning name of Barnabas due to the fear of persecution.
Monarchianism was a Christian dissent sect that developed during the 2nd and 3rd centuries C.E. It opposed the doctrine of an independent, personal subsistence of the Logos, affirmed the sole deity of God the Father, and thus represented the extreme monotheistic view. Though it regarded Christ as Redeemer, it clung to the numerical unity of the Deity. Two types of Monarchianism developed: the Dynamic (or Adoptionist) and the Modalistic (or Sabellian).
The Dynamic Monarchianism held that Christ was a mere man, miraculously conceived, but constituted the Son of God (servant of God, in Hebrew terminology) simply by the infinitely high degree in which he had been filled with divine wisdom and power. This view was taught at Rome about the end of the 2nd century by Theodotus. About 260 C.E it was again taught by Paul of Samosata. It is the belief of many modern Unitarians Christians. Modalistic Monarchianism took exception to the "subordinationism" of some of the Church Fathers.
Modern research has brought to light odd facts about these Christians. They are like the crests of waves and looking at them one can visualize a whole body of ocean not yet visible. It is noticed that up to the 4th century C.E there existed a sect known as Hypisistarians who refused to worship God as father. They revered God as an All Mighty Ruler of the world, He was the Highest of all and no one was equal to Him.
Paul of Samosata:
Paul of Samosata, a Monarchianist was a Bishop of Antioch in 260 C.E. He was of the view that Christ was not God but a man and a prophet, he was a man who was born of Mary, through whom God spoke his Word (Logos). He differed only in degree from prophets who came before him and that God could not have become man substantially.
Bishop Lucian of Antioch:
History come across another Bishop of Antioch; Lucian. As a Bishop his reputation for sanctity was not less than his fame as a scholar. He came down strongly against the belief of Trinity. He deleted all mention of Trinity from the Bible as he believed it to be a later interpolation not found in the earlier Gospels. He was martyred in 312 C.E by torture and starvation for refusing to eat meat ritually offered to the Roman gods.
Arius (250-336)–A Remarkable Unitarian:
Arius (250-336 C.E) is the famous disciple of Lucian of Antioch He was a Libyan by birth. Peter Bishop of Alexandria ordained him a Deacon but later excommunicated him. Achilles the successor of Peter again ordained Arius as priest. Alexander the next Bishop of Alexandria once again excommunicated him. Arius however had gathered such a large following that he became a headache for the Church. If kept out of Church he could be a great danger to her but he could not be accommodated within the Church as he wanted to establish the unity and simplicity of the Eternal God. He believed that how so ever much Christ may surpass other created beings he himself was not of the same substance as God. He was as human being as any other man. His teachings gave rise to a theological doctrine known as ‘Arianism’, which, in affirming the created, finite nature of Christ, was denounced by the early church as a major heresy. As an ascetical (renouncing material comforts and leading a life of austere self-discipline, especially as an act of religious devotion.), moral leader of a Christian community in the area of Alexandria, Arius attracted a large following through a message, which accented the absolute oneness of the divinity as the highest perfection, with a literal, rationalist approach to the New Testament texts. This point of view was publicized about 323C.E through the poetic verse of his major work, Thalia ("Banquet"), was widely spread by popular songs written for labourers and travelers.
Hence the monotheistic teaching of Arius spread like wild fire and shook the very foundation of the (Pauline) Church. The controversy that was simmering for three hundred years suddenly became a conflagration. No man dared to oppose the organized Church but Arius did, and remained a headache for her whether he was ordained a priest or was excommunicated. During this time some events changed the history of Europe.
Arianism- The Monotheistic Christianity:
Arianism may summarized as; “The Christ is not truly divine but a created being. Arius' basic premise was the uniqueness of God, who is alone self-existent and immutable; the Son, who is not self-existent, cannot be God. Because the Godhead is unique, it cannot be shared or communicated, so the Son cannot be God. Because the Godhead is immutable, the Son, who is mutable, being represented in the Gospels as subject to growth and change, cannot be God. The Son must, therefore, be deemed a creature who has been called into existence out of nothing (through Word, Logos or Command) and has had a beginning. Moreover, the Son can have no direct knowledge of the Father since the Son is finite and of a different order of existence.”
How Trinitarians Became Dominant Group:
Emperor Constantine-I brought a greater part of Europe under his rule and secondly he began to support the Christians without accepting Christianity. To the soldier prince the different creeds within the Christian faith were very confusing. In the Imperial Palace itself the controversy was raging not less fiercely. It appears that perhaps the Queen Mother was inclined towards Pauline Christianity while his sister Princess Constantina was a disciple of Arius. The Emperor was wavering between the two faiths. As an administrator he was interested only in uniting all the Christians within one Church. It was at this time that the conflict between Arius and Bishop Alexander became so widespread and so violent that it became a law and order problem. So the Emperor anxious to maintain peace in the newly unified Europe had to intervene.
Council of Nicea (325) & Doctrine of Trinity:
In 325 C.E a meeting of all denominations of Christianity was called at Nicea (Now Isnik, a village). Bishop Alexander was not able to attend the conference and he deputed his lieutenant Athanasius, who subsequently succeeded Alexander as Bishop of Alexandria. The conference had many prolonged sessions. Emperor Constantine could not grasp the full implications of the ecclesiastical confrontation, but he was very clear in his mind that for maintaining peace in his realm the support and cooperation of the Church was necessary. Accordingly he threw his weight behind Athanasius and banished Arius from the realm. Thus the belief of Trinity became the official religion of the empire.
Arianism (Monotheism) as an Official Faith:
Fearful massacre of Christians (Arians) who did not believe in Trinity followed. It became a penal offence to possess a Bible not authorized by the Church and according to some estimates as many as 270 different versions of the Bible were burnt. Princess Constantina was not happy at the turn of events. The Emperor ultimately was persuaded to accept the faith of the men he killed. The result was that Arius was called back in 346 C.E. The day Arius was scheduled to visit the Cathedral of Constantinople in triumph, he died suddenly. The Church called it a miracle. The Emperor knew it was a murder. He banished Athanasius and two other Bishops. The Emperor then formally accepted Christianity and was baptized by an Arian Bishop. Thus Monotheism became the official religion. Constantine died in 337 C.E followed by Emperor Constantanius, he also accepted the faith of Arius (monotheism).
Monotheism Accepted, True Christian Faith:
Conference of Antioch (341 C.E)
In 341 C.E. a Christian church council was held in Antioch (modern Antakya in southeastern Turkey) and Monotheism was accepted as a correct interpretation of Christian faith. This council was held on the occasion of the consecration of the emperor Constantine-I's Golden Church there. It was the first of several 4th-century councils that attempted to replace orthodox Nicene theology with a modified Arianism. Attended by the Eastern emperor Constantius-II and about 100 bishops. The council developed four creeds as substitutes for the Nicene, all of them to some degree unorthodox and omitting or rejecting the Nicene statement that Christ was "of one substance" (homoousios) with the Father. The disciplinary 25 canons of Antioch are generally thought to have come from this council, but some scholars believe they were the work of an earlier council (330) at Antioch.
Council of Sirmium (351 C.E):
This view was confirmed by another Council held in Sirmium in 351 C.E. As a result Arianism was accepted by an overwhelming majority of Christians. St. Jerome wrote in 359 C.E that 'the whole world groaned and marveled to find itself Arian'. Indeed, for more than 40 years after the death of Constantine, Arianism continued to be the official orthodoxy of the Eastern Empire.
Arians Declined in Numbers but Survived:
After Constantius' death (361 C.E), the orthodox Christian majority (Trinitarians) in the West consolidated its position. The persecution of orthodox Christians conducted by the Arian emperor Valens (364-378 C.E) in the East and the success of Basil the Great of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus led the Homoiousian majority in the East to toe the line of the Nicene party. When the emperors Gratian (367-383 C.E) and Theodosius-I (379-395 C.E) took up to favour orthodoxy, Arianism had to recede. In 381 C.E the second ecumenical (concerned with establishing or promoting unity among churches or religions.) council met at Constantinople. Arianism was proscribed, and a statement of faith, the Nicene Creed, was approved. However the basic doctrines of Arianism continue to survive and expand with different forms & names within Christianity and beyond.
DOCTRINES REFUTED IN BIBLE
The SALVATION only comes through keeping of the COMMANDMENTS, was the teaching of Jesus: “And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”(Mathew;19:16-17). Paul nailed the Law and the Commandments to the CROSS: “having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”(Colossians;2:14). Paul claimed that salvation can only be obtained through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”(Roman;10:9-10), “If Christ be not risen from the dead, then our preaching is vain, and your faith is also vain.”(1Corinthians;15:14).
Gospel of Jesus-‘Opening’:
True ‘Gospel of Jesus’ by his disciple and apostle Barnabas; Christ was a new prophet sent by God to the world. “According to the, apostle of Jesus the Nazarene, called Christ, to all them that dwell upon the earth desireth peace and consolation. Dearly beloved the great and wonderful God hath during these past days visited us by his prophet Jesus Christ in great mercy of teaching and miracles, by reason whereof many, being deceived of Satan, under presence of piety, are preaching most impious doctrine, calling Jesus son of God, repudiating the circumcision ordained of God for ever, and permitting every unclean meat: among whom also Paul hath been deceived, whereof I speak not without grief; for which cause I am writing that truth which I have seen and heard, in the intercourse that I have had with Jesus, in order that ye may be saved, and not be deceived of Satan and perish in the judgment of God. Therefore beware of every one that preacheth unto you new doctrine contrary to that which I write, that ye may be saved eternally. The great God be with you and guard you from Satan and from every evil. Amen”.
Death of Jesus Christ on the Cross?
The death of Jesus Christ on the cross is the centre of all Christian theology. All Christian statements about God, about creation, about sin and death have their focal point in the crucified Christ. All Christian statements about history, about the church, about faith and sanctification, about the future and about hope stem from the crucified Christ.
Jesus Not Killed-Internal Evidence of Bible:
Jesus Christ was neither killed nor was he crucified, as alleged by the Christian theologians and the Jews, but that he was alive. The renowned South African scholar and authority on Bible, Ahmed Deedat in his book: ‘CRUCIFIXION OR CRUCI-FICTION’ has deliberated on this aspect through references and internal evidence from Bible. The salient points of his pragmatic arguments are summarized below:-
1). Jesus was reluctant to die! Because he had worked out a strategy of defense to repel the Jews, because he wanted to remain Alive! (Matthew 26:37-38)
2). He beseeched God for help: With strong crying and tears for God Almighty to keep him Alive!(Luke 22:44 Matthew 26: 37-39).
3). God "Heard" his prayers: Which means that God accepted his prayers to keep him Alive! (Hebrews;5:7).
4). An angel of God came to strengthen him: In the hope and belief that God will save him Alive!(Luk;22:43).
5). Pilate (Roman ruler) finds Jesus not guilty! Good reason to keep Jesus Alive! (John;18:38).
6). Pilate’s wife shown a dream in which she was told that: "No harm should come to this just man (Jesus)." In other words, that he should be saved Alive! (Matthew;27:19).
7). Jesus was supposed to be on the cross for only three hours: According to the system in vogue, no man could die by crucifixion in such a short time which means that even if he was fastened to the cross — he was Alive!
8). The other two — his "Crossmates" on their respective crosses were alive: So Jesus too, for the same period of time must be Alive!
9). Encyclopedia Biblica under article "Cross", column 960 says: "When the spear was thrust — Jesus was Alive!”
10). "Forthwith" Came there out blood and water: “Forthwith” means straightaway, immediately which was a sure sign that Jesus was Alive! (John;19:34).
11). Legs of Jesus were not broken — as a fulfillment of prophecy (Psalm;34:20): "Legs" can be of any use only if Jesus was Alive! (John;19:33),(Matthew;13:14).
12). Thunderstorm, earthquake, and darkening of the sun all within 3 hours! : (Divine help in acceptance of his prayer) to disperse the sadistic mob to enable his "secret disciples" to help, keep him ALIVE! (Matthew;12:49,Mark;15:47)
13). Jews doubted his death: They suspected that he had escaped death on the cross — that he was Alive! (Matthew;27:62-64). The Jews were suspicious because it was all very "fishy" ;
a. The tomb within easy reach.
b. Helping hands of his "secret" disciples.
c. His "Crossmates" still alive.
d. His legs not broken, whereas those of his "cross-mates" were!
e. Quick and easy permission granted by Pilate to obtain the body of Jesus.
14). For these and many more reasons, the Jews were suspicious. They felt that they had been cheated. Jesus was Alive! (?) So they ran to Pilate. But they had missed the bus again! They were 24 hours late (too late)!
15). Pilate "marvels" to hear that Jesus was dead: He knew from experience that no man can die so soon by crucifixion. He suspected that Jesus was Alive!(Mark;15:44).
16). Jesus was kept in a big roomy chamber (by his helpers): Close at hand, and big and airy for willing hands to come to the rescue. Providence was out to keep Jesus Alive!
17). Stone (blocking entrance) and "winding sheets" had to be removed: Only necessary if Jesus was Alive!
18). Report on winding sheets: German Scientists who carried out experiments on the "Shroud of Turin" said that the heart of Jesus had not stopped functioning — that he was Alive!
19). Ever in disguise (as gardener)! : Disguise not necessary if Jesus was "resurrected" (spiritualized). Only necessary if he was Alive! (John;20:15), (Hebrews;9:27).
20). Jesus forbade Mary Magdalene to touch him: "Touch me not" for this reasons that it would hurt; because he was Alive! (Joh;20:17).
21). Jesus said: "Not yet ascended unto my Father”: In the language of the Jews, in the idiom of the Jews, he was saying, "I am not dead yet", in other words, "I am Alive!" (Joh;20:17).
22). Mary Magdalene was not afraid on recognizing Jesus: Because she had seen signs of life before. She was looking for a Jesus who was Alive!
23). Disciples petrified on seeing Jesus in the upper-room: All their knowledge about the "crucifixion" was from hearsay, therefore, they could not believe that Jesus was Alive! (Mark;16:11,13). (Acts; 2:24, Matthew; 6:30; 8:26; 74:37; 76:8; and Luke;72:28).
24). Jesus ate food again and again in his post ‘CRUCIFIXION’ appearances: Food was only necessary if he was Alive! (Luke;24:30).
25). Jesus never showed himself to his enemies: Because he had escaped death by the "skin of his teeth". He was Alive!
26). Jesus took only short trips: Because he was not resurrected, not spiritualized, but Alive!
27). Testimony of men around the tomb: "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" (Luke 24:4-5): That he is not dead, but alive!
28). Testimony of angels: ". . angels who had said that he was Alive!"(Luke;24:23). Did not say, "Resurrected" but the actual word uttered by the angels was "Alive!"
29). Mary Magdalene testifies: ". . . they heard that he was Alive, and had been seen by her, they believed not."(Mark;16:11): Mary did not vouch for a spook, or ghost or spirit of Jesus but a ‘Live’ Jesus. What they could not believe was that the Master was Alive!
30). Dr. Primrose testifies: That the "water and the blood", when Jesus was lanced on the side, was on account of an upset in the nervous vessels because of the scourging by staves. Which was a sure sign that Jesus was Alive!
31). Jesus had himself foretold that his miracle will be the miracle of Jonah! “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him (Jesus), "Teacher, we wish to see a sign (miracle) from you. But he answered them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign; but no sign shall be given to it except the sign (miracle) of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man (Jesus) be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”(Mathew;38-40). According to the Book of Jonah, Jonah was Alive, when we expected him to be ‘Dead’; similarly when we expect Jesus to be DEAD, he should be Alive!
Jesus was not Crucified, but Raised Up:
The contradictions in the crucifiction and resurrection claims have also been mentioned in “Gospel of Jesus” according to disciple Barnabas, which are being mentioned here jus for information and additional knowledge:
a. "..Then God seeing danger of his servant, commanded Gabriel, Michael, Rafael and Uriel, his ministers, to take Jesus out of the world. The holy angels came and took Jesus out by the window that looketh toward the South..." (Brnabas:215).
b. "Judas truly did nothing else but cry out: 'God, why hast thou forsaken me, seeing the malefactor hath escaped and I die unjustly?' Verily I say that the voice, the face, and the person of Judas were so alike to Jesus, that his disciples and believers entirely believed that he was Jesus; wherefore some departed from the doctrine of Jesus; believing that Jesus had been a false prophet, and that by art magic he had done the miracles which he did: for Jesus had said that he should not die till near the end of the world; for that at that time he should be taken away from the world." (Brnabas:217)
Hence the internal evidence from Bible conforms to the saying of God: “And (then Children of Israel) plotted and planned and God too planned and the best of planners is God.(Qur’an;3:54). “That they said (in boast) "We killed Jesus Christ the son of Mary the Apostle of God"; but they killed him not nor crucified him but so it was made to appear to them and those who differ therein are full of doubts with no (certain) knowledge but only conjecture to follow for of a surety they killed him not. Nay God raised him up unto Himself; and God is Exalted in Power Wise. (Qur’an;4:157,158).
Jesus Christ Surrendered to God–A Muslim:
Jesus was the servant of God, who had submitted his will to God. By definition; Muslim is a person who SUBMITS HIS WILL TO GOD. Jesus (peace be upon him) said; “I can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is righteous; because I SEEK NOT MINE OWN WILL, BUT THE WILL OF HIM THAT SENT ME.”(John;5:30), “Thy will be done”.(Mathew;6:10,26:42). Hence Jesus is a Muslim as per this definition. Muslims worship the same one God, worshiped by Jesus, they are required to offer obligatory prayers (salah), keep fast (saum) and spend on charity (zakah) practice humility which was also practiced and preached by Jesus(Mathew;17:21, 23:23-24, 26:36, 1Peter;4:8).
Muslims are circumcised as was the Jesus (Luke;2:21-24).
Muslims greet in the same manner as Jesus (peace be upon him) greeted in Hebrew ‘Sholam alay kum’(Luke;24:36), the Islamic greeting in Arabic: “Assalaamu alai kum” both meaning ‘Peace be on you’.
Food, Attire and Appearance like Muslims:
Muslims also do not eat pork nor indulge in intoxicants. Attire and appearance of Jesus with a beard is same as of a faithful Muslim.
Exalted Status of Marry in Qur’an:
Mary, the mother of Jesus is highly respected by Muslims. Qur’an accords her a high status: “We made her and her son a sign for the universe.”(Qura’n;21:91). While she is cursorily mention in Bible, Qur’an names Chapter Number 19 after her and mentions her by name at least thirty three times. She is seen modestly dressed with her head covered; the Muslim women are also dressed modestly like Mary.
Glorified Status of Jesus Christ in Islam:
Jesus was the last Hebrew prophet, who was sent by God to preach the implantation of the Law of Moses to the Jews (Mathew;5:17-20) and make lawful some of that which was forbidden to them(Qur’an;3:49,50). Muslims believe in Jesus as messenger of God(Bible;Acts;2:22), his miraculous birth without father(Qur’an;19:16-40, Matthew;1:18-25 & Luke;1:28-35), the miracles performed by the will of God(Qur’an;3:49, Mathew;4:23,9:35, Luke; 4:22, 9:11, 3:8 and Acts:4:16). They further believe in the revelations (scripture) he received form God, who saved him and raised him up to Himself, to be sent back to this world before end of time.
The Qur’an has clearly emphasized the importance to the Muslims of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). Jesus was no doubt was sent with a direct mission to the Israelites; he was also a universal sign. In Qur’an (21:107) the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been termed as a Mercy unto Humanity (Rahmatun lil Alamin), in the same Chapter (21:91) Mary and Jesus have been termed as a "Sign to Humanity" (Ayatun lil Alamin) due to miraculous birth of Jesus to virgin Mary. It is important that though many prophets are mentioned in the Qur’an the word Alamin (universe or humanity) has been used "only for Prophet Jesus and Mohammed (peace be upon them). In addition to his mission to the Israelites Jesus was commissioned with the task of heralding to the world the advent of the Last and the greatest. (John;14:16,15:26,16:7,12-14, Qur’an;6:20) [detailed description follows].
Jesus was sent to Israelites to guide them and ease some of the commandments. But the Jews did not believe in him and tried to kill him, God raised him to Himself alive. The followers of Jesus subsequently changed the teachings of Jesus, by evolving new concepts like Trinity, and raising Jesus to the level of divinity and son of God. These wrong concepts have been clarified by God through His last scripture, Qur’an and last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) but they deny as the Jews denied Jesus. If Christian is the one who follows the teachings of Jesus, then Muslims are more Christians than those who call themselves as Christians but follow the teachings of Paul. This forms sufficient basis to bring Muslims and Christians closer.
JESUS AND DIVINITY
“Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shall thou serve.”(Luke;4:8);“Certainly they have disbelieved who say:" God is Christ, the son of Mary." While Christ himself said: "O children of Israel! Worship God, my Lord and your Lord..”(Qura’n;5:72);“
Did Jesus Christ Claim Divinity?
Jesus is the only prophet of God who has been claimed to be divine by main groups of his followers lead by self declared disciple and apostle Paul (Saul, a Jew who was actively involved in persecution of early followers of Jesus, but later converted). They support their claim from various verses form the Bible. A study of the Christian scriptures reveals that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) never claimed divinity, being a prophet of God for the Jews, he performed his mission sincerely. In fact there is not a single unequivocal statement in the entire Bible where Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) himself says, "I AM GOD" or where he says, "WORSHIP ME". Actuality the Bible contains statements attributed to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) in which he preached quite the contrary: (John;14:28, John;10:29, Mathew;12:28, Luke;1:20, John;5:30, Mathew;19:16-17, Luke;24:39-43). God says in Qur’an: “O people of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of God aught but truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an Apostle of God and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in God and His Apostles. Say not "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for God is One God: glory be to him: (for Exalted is He) above having a son. To him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is God as a Disposer of affairs.(Qur’an;4:171). The critical examination of the most common arguments given by Christians to support their claim of divinity of Jesus will reveal, whether the existing concepts are in line or against the clearly stated mission and teachings of Jesus in the Gospels.
Jesus, The Messenger of God For Jews:
The divinity of Jesus is negated, due to his status as Prophet of God for the Israelites, like many prophets sent for them previously by God. It is mentioned in Qur’an: “He (Jesus) said: "I am indeed a servant of God: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet;” (Qura’n;19:30). The Bible also clearly indicates that he was sent by God as His messenger: “… I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”(Mathew;15:24), “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew;5:17-20), “And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honour, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”(Mark;6:4),“And the crowds said, ‘This is the prophet Jesus of Nazareth of Galilee.”(Matthew;21:11); “And there was a division among them. So again they asked the once blind man, “What is your account of him? - for he opened your eyes.” “He is a Prophet,” he replied.”(John;9:17); “And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:”(Luke;24:19); “Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.”(Luke;13:33).
Jesus Repeatedly Emphasized Prophethood:
Jesus repeatedly emphasized his Prophethood: “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me. He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.” (Matthew; 10:40-41), Jesus said:” And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”(John;17:3), “Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.” (John;4:34).“So Jesus answered them, "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me; if any man's will is to do his will, he shall know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.”(John;7:16-17), “So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, "You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord; he who sent me is true, and him you do not know.”(John;7:28); “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. And I knew that you hear me always: but because of the people who stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent me”(John;11:41-42), and “Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.” (John;113:16). "And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said, 'O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of God (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me and giving glad tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed.' But when he came to them with clear signs, they said, 'This is evident sorcery!”(Qur’an;61:6).[Ahmed" or "Muhammad" meaning "the one who praises" or "the praised one" is almost the translation of the Greek word PERICLYTOS. In the Gospel of John;14:16, 15:26, and 16:7, Jesus (peace be upon him) actually prophesized “Ahmed” by name, word 'Comforter' in Greek PARACLETOS, PERICLYTOS refers to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)].
Analysis of Claims of Divinity of Jesus:
There are a number of verses from Bible, which have been interpreted by the Catholic and Protestant Churches as evidence for the Divinity of Jesus Christ. However, a critical analysis of these verses, reveals that, either their wordings are ambiguous, leaving them open to a number of different interpretations, or they are later additions not found in the early manuscripts of the Bible. The most commonly quoted arguments are being examined here.
God Need Not to Say, He is God:
It is argued that God is not required to say that He is God, like a doctor does not keep saying he is a doctor, so Jesus Christ did not say openly that he was God. It is well known fact that a person becomes a doctor after prolonged studies and efforts well known to people all around. God has His signs which prove His existence. As God says: “O Mankind! Worship your Lord Who created you and created those who came before you; by doing this you may expect to guard yourself against evil.”(Qur’an;2:21). Similarly it is mentioned in the Bible: “And Jesus answered and said unto him, It is written, Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shall thou serve.”(Luke;4:8). Hence if Jesus asks his followers to worship the God, he would have also asked them to worship him if he claimed to be God but he did not do so because he knew that he was not God but His messenger.
Seen Me, Seen Father:
Jesus said that: ‘he who seen me has seen the Father’ so it is argued that he was divine. According to the Gospel of John: “Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has SEEN ME HAS SEEN THE FATHER; how can you say, `Show us the Father'?”(John;14:8-9). This verse once read in conjunction with other verses the matter gets clarified: “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.”(John;1:18), “They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also.”(John;8:19), “Jesus answered him, "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.”(John;14:23-24), “He who hates me hates my Father also.”(John;15:23). “They said to him therefore, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father; if you knew me, you would know my Father also.”(John;8:19), “Not that any one has seen the Father except him WHO IS FROM GOD; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”(John;6:46-47).
It is evident that; No one has ever seen God, phrase ‘SEEING GOD’ is not used in lateral sense but metaphorically. Hence here, ‘seeing GOD’ means KNOWING, LOVING, BELIEVING and ACTING on the will of God (perform good deeds) and his prophet, Jesus. God says: “O believers! Obey God, obey the Prophet (Qura’n;4:59).
Thomas Said ‘My Lord My God’: After the episode of crucifixion (crucifiction), Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus did not believe that Jesus was alive, till he puts his fingers in the wounds of Jesus. Eight days later, Jesus walks once more into the upper-room, and he finds Thomas there this time: “Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.”(John;20:27).Thomas realizes the heel he has been. He had signally rejected every proof that Jesus was ALIVE! Every other disciple, beside Judas Iscariot the traitor, had testified that they had seen Jesus and felt him and eaten food with him, but Thomas WOULD NOT BELIEVE! What would he not believe? That the living, pulsating Jesus was making his rounds - Not a ghost of Jesus. Now, being confronted with the physical reality of his presence, demonstrating his physical, material body, he was forced to exclaim: “My Lord and my God!” (John;20:28). The mark of exclamation (!) was not there in King James Version of Bible, but after thorough research, it has been placed in ‘Revised Standard Version’ of Bible. Did Thomas realize at that juncture that Jesus Christ was his Jehovah? Did he and the other disciples fall down in prostration before him? Never! His words were the words of self-reproach commonly uttered by people in routine, if some one missed the train and say; “My God! I missed the train!” It does not imply that the listener is being addressed as God. Hence the incidence does not prove the divinity of Jesus.
The Alpha and Omega:
Jesus claimed divinity, the argument goes, when he said: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (King James Version; Revelation;1:8). Alpha (The 1st), Omega (the last) are the attributes of God. However in the Revised Standard Version, biblical scholars corrected the translation and wrote: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (RSV;Revelation;1:8). A correction was also made in the New American Bible produced by Catholics. The translation of that verse has been amended to put it in its correct context as follows: “The Lord God says: ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the one who is and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’ ” Hence after this correction, it becomes evident that this was a statement of God wrongly attributed to Jesus.
The Pre-Existence of Christ- ‘I Am’:
It is claimed that Jesus is divine because he existed prior to his appearance on earth: “Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”(John;8:58). However, the concept of the pre-existence of the prophets and of man in general, exists in both the Qur’an and the Old Testament: “Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”(Jeremiah;1:4-5).
Prophet Solomon said: “Ages ago I was set up at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water, Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth; before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world When he established the heavens, I was there.”(Proverbs;8:23-27).
God addressed Prophet Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding... You Know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!” to (Job;38:4 & 21). In the Qur’an, God says: “When your Lord gathered all of Adam’s descendants (before creation) and made them bear witness for themselves, saying: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They all replied: Yes indeed, we bear witness. [That was] so you could not say on the Day of Judgment: ‘We were unaware of this.” (Qur’an;7:172).
Accordingly, the statement of Prophet Jesus; “Before Abraham was, I am,” cannot be used as evidence of his divinity. Jesus ostensibly have spoken about God’s knowledge of His prophets, which predates the creation of this world in the perspective of John;8:54-58.
One with God:
While quoting out of context, Jesus is reported to have said, “I and the Father are one.” (John;10:30), hence he is considered to be claiming divinity. However, when the Jews accused him of claiming divinity, based on that statement, “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, Ye are gods?” He clarified for them, with a scriptural example well known to them, that he was using the metaphorical language of the prophets which should not be interpreted as ascribing divinity to himself or to other human beings. Further evidence is drawn, whereby people asked Jesus to show them the Father, and he reportedly said: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.” (John;14:10-11).
These expressions would imply Jesus’ divinity, if the rest of the Gospel of John is disregarded because, Jesus is also recorded as saying to his disciples, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”(John;14:20). Thus, combined result of Jesus’ statements at (John;14:10-11) and (John;14:20) is that: Jesus was with the Father and Father in Jesus, disciples of Jesus in Jesus and Jesus in them (disciples), hence Father in Jesus and all his 12 disciples, ‘all one’; 14 Gods![1+1+12=14] Jesus did not mean physical union. These symbolic statements mean ONENESS OF PURPOSE and NOT ONENESS OF ESSENCE.
The symbolic interpretation is further accentuated when Jesus said, “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou has sent me.” (John;17:20-21).
In the Beginning was the ‘Word’:
The most frequently quoted ‘proof’ for Jesus’ divinity is: “In the beginning was the ‘Word’, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth...” (John;1:1&14). It is to be kept in view that, these statements were not made by Jesus Christ, nor were they attributed to him by the author of the Gospel according to John. Consequently, these verses do not constitute evidence for Jesus’ divinity, especially considering the doubts held by Christian scholars about the Fourth Gospel. Most of the Bible scholars opine that: “The two pictures painted by John and the synoptic gospels (i.e., the Gospels of Matthew, Mark & Luke) cannot both be historically accurate....The words attributed to Jesus in the Fourth Gospel are the creation of the evangelist for the most part, and reflect the developed language of John’s Christian community.”
The Greek term used by the anonymous author of the Fourth Gospel (by John) for “WORD” is logos. In doing so, the author identifies Jesus with the pagan logos of Greek philosophy, which was the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning. The idea of the logos in Greek thought may be traced back at least to the 6th-century-BC philosopher, Heracleitus, who proposed that there was a ‘logos’ in the cosmic process analogous to the reasoning power in man. Later, the Stoics [Stoics; are members of a Greek school of philosophy, founded by Zeno about 308 B.C., believing that human beings should be free from passion and should calmly accept all occurrences as the unavoidable result of divine will or of the natural order.] defined the logos as an active, rational and spiritual principle that permeated all reality. The Greek-speaking Jewish philosopher, Judaeus Philo of Alexandria (15 BC-45 CE), taught that the logos was the intermediary between God and the cosmos, being both the agent between God and the cosmos, being both the agent of creation and the agent through which the human mind can comprehend God. The writings of Philo were preserved and cherished by the Church, and provided the inspiration for a sophisticated Christian philosophical theology. He departed from Platonic thought regarding the Logos (Word) and called it “the first-begotten Son of God”.
The identification of Jesus with the ‘Logos’ was further developed in the early Church as a result of attempts made by early Christian theologians and apologists to express the Christian faith in terms that would be intelligible to the Hellenistic world. Moreover, it was to impress their hearers with the view that Christianity was superior to, or heir to, all that was best in pagan philosophy. Thus, in their apologies and polemical works, the early Christian Fathers stated that Christ was the ‘Preexistent Logos’.
The Greek word for ‘God’ used in the phrase “and the Word was with God,” is the definite form hotheos, meaning ‘The God’. However, in the second phrase “and the Word was God”, the Greek word used for ‘God’ is the indefinite form tontheos, which means ‘a god’. Consequently, John;1:1, should more accurately be translated, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” Therefore, if the Word was a ‘god’ in the literal sense, it would mean that there were two Gods and not one. However, in Biblical language, the term ‘god’ is used metaphorically to indicate power. For example, Paul referred to the devil as “god” in 2nd Corinthians;4:4, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.” Moses is also referred to as “god” in Exodus;7:1, “And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.” Jesus is clearly mentioned as a man and messenger of God: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know”(Acts;2:22).
‘Word’ As Command:
Miraculous birth of Jesus through ‘Word form God’ has been mentioned: “When the angels said "O Mary! God gives you the good news through a Word from Him (kalimah min -hu) that you will be given a son: his name will be Messiah, (Jesus Christ) the son of Mary...”(Qur’an;3:45). “She said: "O my Lord! how shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: God creates what He Wills; whenever He decides to do anything, He only says (Word) it to 'Be' and it is!.”(Qur’an;3:47). Similarly, the act of creation through command (word) is also mentioned in Bible: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”(Genisis;1:3), “And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven” .”(Genisis;1:20).“for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities- all things were created through him and for him.”(Clossians;1:16).
Hence the ‘Word form God’ implies ‘the Order of Creation’ by God through His word or command. The word or command of God can not be equated with God as the revelations to the messengers are words of God but not God. The Word is of God, it is His but not Him. If Mr. X says ‘PEN’, the word ‘PEN’ is the word by Mr. X but ‘PEN’ is not Mr. X himself.
Son of God:
It is claimed that since Jesus is the only begotten son of God and the son is like father, so Jesus is divine. According to the Bible of King James Version of 1611 : “For God so loved the world, that he gave his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”(John;3:16). According to the Greek Dictionary of The New Testament’; by James Strong The word ‘SON’ is the English translation of word; uiJo>v,-hwee-os’; used in the ancient Greek script, means a “son” (sometimes of animals), used very widely of immediate, remote or FIGURATIVE kinship: child, foal, son.
The word ‘BEGOTTEN’ used here (John;3:16) has been expunged in the Revised Standard Version of Bible, being wrongly added because word ‘BEGOTTEN’ does not exist in the original Greek script. “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is BORN Of God and knows God.”(1John;4:7). Here, ‘BORN’ is the translation of Greek: genna>w,-ghen-nah’-o; meaning: ‘to procreate [properly of the father, but by extension of the mother; figurative to regenerate: bear, be born, bring forth, conceive, be delivered of, gender, make, spring; Translation from ‘Greek Dictionary of The New Testament’; by James Strong]. According to this verse, the millions of people who love God, are BORN Of God, obviously ghen-nah’(beget) has been used metaphorically, in the sense of knowing and closeness to God, like at John;3:16.
Expression: Son of God as Servant of God:
The Hebrews believed that God is ONE, and had neither wife nor children in any literal sense; hence it is obvious that the expression “son of God” merely meant to them “Servant of God”; one who, because of his faithful service, was close and dear to God, as a son is to a father. Christians who came from a Greek and Roman background, later misused this term. In their heritage, “son of God” signified an incarnation of a god or someone born of a physical union between male and female gods. When the Church cast aside its Hebrew foundations, it adopted the pagan concept of “son of God”, which was entirely different from the Hebrew usage. Consequently, the use of the term “son of God” should only be understood from the Semitic symbolic sense of a “servant of God”, and not in the pagan sense of a literal offspring of God. In the four Gospels, Jesus is recorded as saying: “Blessed are the peace-makers; they will be called sons of God.”(Mathew;5:9), “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of god.”(Romans; 8:14). The term ‘Son of God’ has been used numerously for people near to God like Prophet Jacob, Solomon, David in the Bible. (Some references are; 2nd Samuel 8:13-14, Psalms 89:26-27: of Job 1:6, “Psalms 2:7, in Luke 4:41, Hosea;1:10, Jeremiah;31:9, Job;2:1,38:4-7, Genesis;6:2, Deuteronomy;14:1, Luke;3:38, Exodus;4:22-23, 2Samuel;8:13-14, Psalms;2:7, 89:26-27, Luke; 4:41 and 9:22). Even the angels are referred to as ‘sons of God’: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.” (Job;1:6).
Son of Man & Son of God in New Testament:
In the Gospels Jesus is reported to have repeatedly called himself “Son of man”(Mathew; 9:6, Luke;9:22). No less than eighty five places term “Son of man” has been mentioned in New Testament. Jesus even rejected being called “Son of God”: “And demons also came out of many, crying, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.”(Luke;4:41). God says: “Further to warn those who say "God has begotten a son." They have no knowledge, nor do their forefathers. Dreadful is the word that comes from their mouths. They speak nothing but a lie.”(Qur’an;18:4-5). Hence in the Bible, wherever Jesus, prophets or others are referred as son or sons of God, it is metaphorical and not in literal sense. Consequently claim of divinity of Jesus is not valid.
Jesus Addressed as God, Father:
An other argument given to support the divinity of Jesus is that Jesus addressed God as Abba Father, hence he was son of God, so divine: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father”(Romans;8:15). The Hebrew word Abba~,-ab-bah'; is of Chaldee origin means father, similarly the word used in the ancient Greek script is path>r -pat-ayr’; means “father, parent”(literal or figurative, near or more remote). Hence the use of the term abba, “dear father” by Jesus’ should be understood similarly: The word ‘Father’ is used for the ‘God’ or the ‘Lord’ not as biological father but metaphorically in the spiritual sense as The Creator & Sustainer at many places in the Bible: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God.”(Romans;8:14). “He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation”(Psalms;89:26), “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”(Mathew;5:48),“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven” (Mathew;6:1); “But you, when you pray, enter into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.”(Mathew; 6:6),“Be not therefore like them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him”(Mathew;6:8);“After this manner therefore pray: Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name”(Mathew; 6:9);“For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things.” (Mathew; 6:32), Jesus said to Mary; "...go to my brethren, and say to them, I ascend to my Father and your Father; and to my God, and your God...." (John; 20:17).
Metaphorical use of word ‘Father’ in Bible:
The metaphorical use of word ‘Father’ is also found with other prophets in Bible, Joseph saying: “And now it was not you sent me here, but God; and he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and Lord of all his house, and governor over all the land of Egypt.”(Genesis;45:8), “… Abraham; for a father of a multitude of nations have I made thee.”(Genesis;17:5), and Job is called the father of the needy (Job;29:16). Again by theologians alluding to Psalms;110, Jesus is a called Priest or a Father of the priesthood, forever. “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.”(John;5: 37).“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” (Jhon;14:16). “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me”.(John; 5:30).
Even in some of the writings of Paul, which the Church has taken to be sacred, Jesus (peace be upon him) is referred to as a “man”, distinct and different from God. Paul writes: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1Timothy;2:5). Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) did not say that to have the eternal life of paradise, man should believe in him as Almighty God or worship him as God, or believe that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) would die for their sins. On the contrary he said that the path to salvation was through keeping the Commandments. It is indeed striking to note the divergence between the words of Prophet Jesus Christ and the Christian dogma of salvation through the sacrifice of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). James Barr has recently argued forcefully that it did not have the specially intimate sense that has so often been attributed to it, but that it simply meant “father”. To think of God as “our heavenly Father”(Mathew;6:14) was by no means new, for in the Lord’s prayer Jesus is reported to have taught his disciples to address God in this same familiar way: “Thus therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in the heavens, let thy name be sanctified,”(Mathew;6:9).
Jesus Addressed as Lord:
It is argued that since Jesus was addressed as ‘Lord’ and he did not object, hence it proves his divinity. [According to Oxford dictionary, ‘lord’ means: ‘master, lord and master, ruler, leader, chief, monarch, sovereign, king, emperor, prince, governor, commander, captain, overlord, suzerain, baron, potentate, liege, nobleman, peer, aristocrat, feudal lord, landowner, lord of the manor, seigneur; duke, earl, viscount. To believe in the Lord God, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ, Christ the Lord, the Redeemer, the Saviour.’] According to a research, the word Lord has been used in New Testament KJV, at 736 places, out of this, at 731 places word Lord is used as translation of Greek;koo’-ree-os; [ku>riov from ku~rov meaning: (supremacy); supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by implication Mr. (as a respectful title): God, Lord, master, Sir]. According to ancient Greek scripts, Jesus has been referred respectfully as; koo’-ree-os, translated as ‘Lord’, where as it also means Sir, Mr. (as a respectful title). Hence instead of using Lord for Jesus as one of the meanings of koo’-ree-os, Jesus could have also been addressed as master, Sir or Mr. as a respectful title. Word ‘Lord’ besides being used as a title for God has also been used as respectable title for HUSBAND and MAN OF AUTHORITY or RULER in Old Testament: “And Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord (husband) being old also?”(Genesis;18:12). In Genesis;44:18-20, the brothers of Joseph addressed him ‘Lord’ as a token of respect because Joseph was holding the seat of high authority in the government of Egypt. [‘Lord’, here is the translation of Hebrew; ynda; 'adown, aw-done, meaning to rule; sovereign, i.e. controller (human or divine): lord, master, owner. In Old Testament for ‘The One God’, a special name from Hebrew; hwhy-Yhovah, yeh-ho-vaw'; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God:- Jehovah, the Lord’ has been used for example at Genesis;25:23-24.]
At five places (Luke;2:29, Acts;4:24, 2Peter;2:1, Jude;1:4, Rev;6:10) word Lord is used as a translation of Greek; despo>thv, des-pot’-ace; meaning: an absolute ruler (“despot”); Lord, master. It is mentioned in New Testament that; Simeon was a righteous and devout man of Jerusalem; he was looking for the promised comforter of Jews. When child Jesus was brought at the temple, Simeon took him up in his arms, blessed God and said; “Lord (des-pot’-ace), now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word Luke;2:29). Richard Francis Weymouth in; ‘The New Testament In Modern Speech’ has translated it as: “Now, O Sovereign Lord (des-pot’-ace), Thou dost send Thy servant away in peace, in fulfillment of Thy word, (Luke;2:29). Obviously here word Lord (des-pot’-ace) has been used for The God, the Supreme Deity. Similarly the other verses: “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God (theh’-os) with one accord, and said, Lord(des-pot’-ace), thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:”(Acts;4:24);“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who shall secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord (des-pot’-ace-that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”(2Peter;2:1). “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord (des-pot’-ace) God (theh’-os-, deity, God),, and our Lord ( kurios koo'-ree-os; Mr. as a respectful title, God, Lord, master, Sir) Jesus Christ.”(Jude;1:4).“And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord (des-pot’-ace), holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”(Revlation;6:10). It is evident that the Greek; des-pot’-ace has been translated as Lord for God, ‘husband’ and ‘man of authority’ in Bible. The Greek; koo’-ree-os, has also been translated as Lord for more than one meaning including God, the titles of respect like Mr. Sir and master; which has been used for Jesus, hence it does not support the claim of divinity of Jesus by claimants.
Jesus Called Rabbi:
It is claimed that since Jesus was addressed as Rabbi, hence he was divine: “Now there was one of the Pharisees whose name was Nicodemus a ruler among the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher from God; for no one can do these miracles which you are doing, unless God is with him.”(John;3:1-2). Word ‘Rab’ (Hebrew:br rab) has its origin from Aramaic, meaning : captain, elder, chief, full, great, lord, master, stout, mighty, exceedingly, abundant (in quantity, size, age, number, rank, quality). An expounder of the (Jewish) law is called a Rabbi: doctor (teacher) of the law. Rabbi, as an official title of honor: Master, Rabbi.
Jesus Accepted Worship?
Hebrews had various traditions of paying homage and respect, which may be confused to mean ‘worship’. Some have been mentioned in the Bible: Bowing frequently to the ground (Genesis;33:3-4); Falling prostrate on the ground (Esther;8:3; Mathew;2:11; Luke;8:41); Embracing and kissing the feet (Mathew;28:9; Luke;7:38,45); Kissing the dust (Psalms;72:9; Isaiah;49:23). Some example are: And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;”(Genesis;19:1); “And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,”(Genesis;18:2); “And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street.”(Judges;19:20).
It is reasoned that Jesus is divine because he accepted the WORSHIP of some of his followers. Conversely, a closer look at the texts indicates that this view is based on dubious translation and misinterpretation. The term “WORSHIP” is found in the narrative mentioned in ‘King James Version’ and ‘The Revised Standard Version’, about three wise men who came from the East. They were reported to have said, “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to WORSHIP him.”(Matthew;2:2). The word translated as WORSHIP, form the ancient Greek script is ‘PROS-KOO-NEH’-O’(proskune>w-proskun’ew) probably derivative of Koo’-Ohn (ku>wn-ku’wn);a primary word; a dog, “hound”, literal or figurative) dog (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literal or figurative) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): worship. A careful look at the narrative in perspective reveal that the wise men of east came to see the ‘King of Jews’, NOT the ‘GOD OF JEWS’, the logical meanings of the Greek word ‘proskune>w-proskun’ew’ should be Prostrate Oneself In Homage (do reverence to, adore) as customary done in the East to the kings. The men of East did not say; ‘Where is the baby born to be the GOD OF THE JEWS? Had they instead of KING said ‘GOD OF JEWS’, the possibility to WORSHIP him would have had some rationale.
The WORSHIP as related to God, is mentioned in an other place in Bible: “We know that God hears not sinners: but if any man be a WORSHIPPER of God, and do his will, him he hears. Since the world began it was never heard that any one opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this MAN were not from God, he could do nothing.”(John;9:31-33). Here besides calling Jesus as a MAN from God, the word ‘WORSHIPPER of God’ is used which is translation of Greek word ‘qeosebh>v-theh-os-eb-ace’; (derived from qeo>v and se>bomai); meaning: reverent of God, i.e. pious - worshipper of God. Hence proper world for WORSHIP-RELATED WITH GOD in Greek is ‘qeosebh>v-theh-os-eb-ace’ and not proskune>w,- pros-koo-neh’-o. In continuation of same narrative, the miraculously cured blind man said: “And he said, Lord, I believe. And he WORSHIPPED him.”(John;9:38). The word WORSHIPPED used here for Jesus, is the translation of Greek word proskune>w,- pros-koo-neh’-o also used in verse Matthew;2:2, explained above, meaning PROSTRATE ONESELF IN HOMAGE and not qeosebh>v- ‘theh-os-eb-ace’; used to express reverence and – worship of God.[Translations from; ‘Greek Dictionary of The New Testament’; by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D.]
The comparison of different translations of verse 9:38 of Gospel according to John is self explanatory:
1). “And he said, Lord, I believe. And he WORSHIPPED him” (King John’s Version)
2). “He said, "Lord, I believe"; and he WORSHIPED him”(Revised Standard Version)
3). “And he said, I believe, Lord: and he did him HOMAGE”(Darby Translation: by John Nelson Darby)
4). “I believe, Sir,” he said. And he THREW HIMSELF AT HIS FEET.”(By Richard Francis Weymouth)
5). “and he said, “I believe, sir,’ and BOWED before him.” (Young’s Bible 1863: By Robert Young).
The most accurate and relevant translations is found at serial 5), ‘Young’s Bible Translation New Testament 1863 Version: Translated by Robert Young who translated ‘proskune>w,- pros-koo-neh’-o’ as BOWED and not as worship.
In The American Bible, the scholarly translators added a footnote that: ‘This verse, omitted in important MSS (manuscripts), may be an addition for a baptismal liturgy. This verse is not found in important ancient manuscripts containing this Gospel. It is probably a later addition made by Church scribes for use in baptismal services’. George M. Lamsa, a renowned authority on the Bible and its original language, elucidate; ‘The Aramaic word seg-eed', worship, also means to bend or to kneel down[cgid, seg-eed'; (Aramaic) worship, corresponding to Hebrew; cagad, saw-gad'; to prostrate oneself (in homage), fall down].
Easterners in greeting each other generally bowed the head or bent down. ...‘He WORSHIPPED him’ does not imply that he worshipped Jesus in a manner as God is worshipped. Such an act would have been regarded as blasphemous and a breach of the First Commandment in the eyes of the Jews, and the man might have been stoned. But he knelt before him in token of homage and gratitude.’ Hence it is appropriate to understand the word WORSHIP used in the context for Jesus in the translations of New Testament, to mean ‘bowed in homage and gratitude’.
Jesus Preached to Worship only One God:
Jesus Christ repeatedly preached to worship only God: “And Jesus answered and said unto him, It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve”(Luke;4:8), “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers.(John;4:23),“Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father(Islam: Surrender to will of God) who is in heaven On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers’.”(Mathew;7:21-23). “I John am he who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God [qeo>v, theh’-os; the Supreme Divinity]”(Revelation;22:8).
The final scripture, the Qur’an, clarifies such issue by quoting a conversation which will take place between Jesus and God on the Day of Judgment: “When God will say: ‘O Jesus, son of Mary, did you tell people: “Worship me and my mother as two gods instead of God?” ’...(Jesus will say): ‘I only told them what You commanded me to say: “Worship God, my Lord and your Lord ...” (Qura’n;5:116-7).
Jesus Performed Miracles with Will of God:
The performance of miracles by Jesus does not make him divine because previously many prophets have been performing miracles with the power and authority granted by God. Elisha served small quantity of bread to hundred people to their fill (2Kings;4:42-44), cured leper (2Kings;5:14), and blind (2Kings;6:17-21), raised the dead alive (2Kings;2:34), (2Kings;13:21). Elijah also raised the dead as alive (1Kings;17:21-24). Jesus walked over water, where as Moses took the children of Israel through the water: “And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.” (Exodus;14:22).
Hence performance of miracles is not the criteria to prove the divinity because they are performed with the power and will of God. Jesus cautioned against false prophets: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”(Mathew;24:24).
Jesus and The Prophesies of Isaiah:
It is a common perception among the Christian theologians that the prophesy of advent of Jesus exist in Old Testament in the Book of Isaiah; “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a VIRGIN (hmle `almah al-maw') shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”(Issiah;7:14). Here the word VIRGIN is a translation of Hebrew word Mle `alam aw-lam'; means: young woman who is veiled, concealed, hidden, secret, damsel, maid, virgin. Al-maw'a is feminine of `µl,[,-`elem, eh'-lem; means properly, something kept out of sight, i.e. a lad: young man, stripling; eh'-lem; It is derived from alam, aw-lam'; a primitive root; to veil from sight, i.e. conceal (literally or figuratively): - X any ways, blind, dissembler, hide (self), secret (thing).
In Hebrew; lawnme [‘Immanuw'el im-maw-noo-ale']means; WITH US (IS) GOD; Most of the scholars agree that Immanuel, is a type name of Isaiah's son. It is evident that in actual perspective it is being mentioned at; Issiah;7:14, that a young woman will bear a son who shall be called by the name Immanuel. Translating al-maw' as VIRGIN, and name Immanuel in literal sense ‘God is with us,’ is nothing but interpolation, concoction to apply this prophesy to Jesus without any historic and literal justification, as it is well known fact that Jesus was never called Immanuel.
History & Analysis of Prophesies of Isaiah:
The historic milieu of the Prophesies of Isaiah have been explained at Encyclopedia Britannica:
During the Syro-Ephraimitic war (734-732 B.C), Isaiah began to challenge the policies of King Ahaz of Judah. Syria and Israel had joined forces against Judah. Isaiah's advice to the young King of Judah was to place his trust in Yahweh. Apparently Isaiah believed that Assyria would take care of the northern threat. Ahaz, in timidity, did not want to request a sign from Yahweh. In exasperation Isaiah told the King that Yahweh would give him a sign anyway: "Behold, a YOUNG WOMAN shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."(Issiah;7:14). [It is striking that ‘virgin’ has been replaced as ‘young woman’.] Thus, by the time this child is able to know how to choose good and refuse evil, the two minor kings of the north who were threatening Judah will be made ineffective by the Assyrians. The name Immanuel, "God is with us," would be meaningful in this situation because God on Mt. Zion and represented in the person of the king would be faithful to his Covenant people.
Ahaz, however, placed his trust in an alliance with Assyria under the great conqueror Tiglath-pileser III. In order to give hope to the people, who were beginning to experience the Assyrian encroachments on Judean lands in 738 B.C, Isaiah uttered an oracle to "the people who walked in darkness": "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God (la-'el, ale), Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."(Isaiah;9:6). Isaiah trusted that Yahweh would bring about a kingdom of peace under a ruler. ‘MIGHTY GOD’ has been translated from Hebrew; la-'el, ale [which is a shortened from of lyia" -'lya 'ayil ah'-yil; which means, properly, strength; hence, anything strong; specifically a chief (politically); also a ram (from his strength); a pilaster (as a strong support); an oak or other strong tree: - mighty (man), lintel, oak, post, ram, tree. Hence lae - 'el, ale; means; strength; as adjective, mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity): God (god), X goodly, X great, idol, might(-y one), power, strong]. Hence proper meanings of lae-'el, ale according to the context in this verse should be MIGHTY MAN or STRONG MAN and not MIGHTY GOD.
This Prophesy is Not Applicable to Jesus:
As evident from analysis of verse, Isaiah;9:6:
(1) Jesus never desired to rule: “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”(John;18:36). “They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”(Mathew;22:21).
(2) The word ‘Mighty God’ is incorrect translation, however ‘God’ is used in Bible for prophets, metaphorically in the sense of power or judge, for example: “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a God to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.”(Exodos;7:1); “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.”(Psalms;82:6).
(3) ‘Everlasting’ has been used metaphorically indicating long period: “And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.”(Ezekiel;37:25). “He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.” (Psalms;21:4).
(4) ‘Father’, (Hebrew; ba 'ab awb) father is used in literal or figurative and remote application for forefather or chief. Joseph said: “So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and Lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”(Genisis:45:8). Job said: “I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.”(Job;29:16).
The Prophecies of Deutero-Isaiah:
Second Isaiah contains the very expressive so-called Servant Songs. Writing from Babylon, the author begins with a message of comfort and hope and faith in Yahweh. The people are to leave Babylon and return to Jerusalem, which has paid "double for all her sins." As creator and Lord of history, God will redeem Israel, his chosen servant. Through the Servant of the Lord all the nations will be blessed: "I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations." The Suffering Servant, whether the nation Israel or an individual agent of Yahweh, will help to bring about the deliverance of the nation. Though Second Isaiah may have been referring to a hoped-for rise of a prophetic figure, many scholars now hold that the Suffering Servant is Israel in a collective sense. Christians have interpreted the Servant Songs, especially the fourth, as a prophecy referring to Jesus of Nazareth--"He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…,"(Isiah;53:3) but this interpretation is theologically oriented and thus open to question, according to many scholars.
Trinity & Preaching to Gentiles:
The concept of God as preached by Jesus is of one God: “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: (Mark;12:29), “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why do you call me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments. He said unto him, Which? Jesus said, You shall do no murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The young man said unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If you will be perfect, go and sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.”(Mathew;19:16-23). “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.(Ephesians;4:5-6).
However the Christians claim divinity of Jesus when, on the basis of: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:”(Mathew;28:19).
An objective analysis, make this questionable because, although compiled from the same source, the Gospel according to Mark does not support this view: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”(Mark;16:15). Similarly in other books there is no mention of three: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”(Acts;2:38),“For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”(Acts;8:16), “And he directed that they should be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they begged him to remain with them for a time.”(Acts;10:48). Therefore the early Churches did not adopt to baptize in the names of three.
As already mentioned, which is being repeated hare that; the only one verse in the whole of Bible which, the supporters interpreted to supports this Christian dogma, and that is: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one."(The first Epistle of John;5:7,8). (in some volumes this changed as : “There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and THESE THREE AGREE”. In the foot not of this verse in ‘New International Version Bible’ it is written; ‘NOT FOUND IN ANY GREEK MANUSCRIPT BEFORE THE SIXTEEN CENTURY. Dr C.I, Scofield, D.D. backed by eight other D.D.'s in a footnote to this verse opine: "It is generally agreed that this verse has no manuscript authority and has been inserted.” The fundamentalist Christians still retain this fabrication whereas; in all the modern translations including the Revised Standard Version (RSV) this pious deceit has been unceremoniously expunged.
Jesus never claimed that he was sent for Gentiles; he insisted that he was sent for the Jews: “But he answered and said, I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”(Mathew;15:24). He rather strictly forbade preaching Gentiles: “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and charged them, saying, Go NOT into any way of the Gentiles, and ENTER NOT into any city of the Samaritans: but GO rather to the lost sheep of the HOUSE OF ISRAEL.”(Mathew;10:5-6), “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”(Mathew;19:28). Hence the conflicting references attributed to Jesus seems to be fabrication, concoction and interpolation.
Jesus Did Not Claim to be God:
God says:” Certainly they have disbelieved who say: "Christ the son of Mary is God." While Christ himself said: "O children of Israel! WORSHIP GOD, MY LORD AND YOUR LORD." Whoever ascribes divinity to any one besides God, un to him will God deny paradise, and the hellfire will be his home. There will be no helper for the wrongdoers.( Qur’an;5:72). This statement of Jesus still exist in three Gospels:
“Then said Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE.”(Mathew;4:10, Luke;4:8)
“Jesus said to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and MY GOD AND YOUR GOD.”(John;2017).
According to the Christian scriptures Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) never claimed divinity. In fact there is not a single unequivocal statement in the entire Bible where Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) himself says, "I am God" or where he says, "worship me". In fact the Bible contains statements attributed to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) in which he preached quite the contrary: "My Father is greater than I." (John;14:28). "My Father is greater than all."(John;10:29). "…I cast out devils by the Spirit of God…." (Mathew;12:28). "…I with the finger of God cast out devils…." (Luke;11:20). "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me."(John;5:30). Prophet Jesus refuted even the remotest suggestion of his divinity, as evident form Bible: "And behold, one came and said unto him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ And he said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Mathew;19:16-17).
God says in Qur’an: “O people of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of God aught but truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) an Apostle of God and His Word which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in God and His Apostles. Say not "Trinity": desist: it will be better for you: for God is One God: glory be to him: (for Exalted is He) above having a son. To him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is God as a Disposer of affairs.(Qur’an;4:171). “Say: He is God the One and Only; God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being; He begets not, and neither is He begotten; and there is nothing that can be compared with Him.”( Qur’an;112:1-4).
Jesus will be questioned in the hereafter: “After reminding him of these favors, God will say: "O Jesus son of Marry, Did you ever say to the people, "worship me and my mother as gods beside God?" He will answer: "Glory to You! How could I say what I had no right to say? If I had ever said so, you would have certainly known it. You know what is in my heart, but I know not what is in Yours; for You have full knowledge of all the unseen. I NEVER SAID ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT YOU COMMANDED me to say, that is TO WORSHIP GOD, WHO IS MY LORD AND YOUR LORD. I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them; but when You called me off, You were the Watcher over them and You are a Witness to everything. If You punish them, they surely are Your servants; and if You forgive them, You are Mighty, Wise.”(Qur’an;5:116-118). According to Bible Jesus said: “Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN (Islam: Surrender to will of God). On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU; DEPART FROM ME, YOU EVILDOERS’.”(Methew;7:21-23).
THE MAIN BRANCHES OF CHRISTIANITY
Christianity with official patronage got a big boost through sympathy of Emperor Constantine-I, who despite initial inclination to Council of Nicea in 325C.E was later baptized by an Arian (monotheistic) bishop. Hence Arianism regained ascendancy but lost in last quarter of 4th century. However Arianism continues to play its role even now under different names and titles. However gradually through historic process Christianity got divided in to three main groups; The Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholics and Protestants. The fourth group may also be added as monotheists or Unitarians (Anti-Trinity), gradually gaining popularity. The institution of Papacy played major role in this division.
Papacy & Its Role:
Papacy is the system of central government of the Roman Catholic Church. Bishops led the early church, the bishop of Rome being accorded special respect by the end of the 1st century C.E in part because of the belief that St. Peter was the first bishop of that city. In the early church, especially in the 3rd–5th century, Pope was a title of affectionate respect for any bishop. It is still used for the Eastern Orthodox patriarch of Alexandria and for Orthodox priests, but around the 9th century it came to be reserved in the West exclusively for the bishop of Rome, head of the Roman Catholic Church. Catholic doctrine regards the pope as the successor of St. Peter the Apostle and accords him supreme jurisdiction over the church in matters of faith and morals, as well as in church discipline and government.
St. Cyprian challenged that position of honour of Pope in the 3rd century and in the 4th–5th century the power of the see of Constantinople rose to challenge that of Rome; the rivalry would culminate in the Schism of 1054 between the Eastern and Western churches.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, the papacy found protection under the wing of Charlemagne and his successors; in the 9th–10th century the German emperors controlled it. In 1059 Pope Nicholas-II responded by vesting the right to name a new pope exclusively with the College of Cardinals. To establish the papacy's supremacy in Christian society, Gregory-VII excommunicated Henry-IV of Germany for disobedience to papal commands and decreed that civil rulers could not invest churchmen with temporal power. In the next centuries, the papacy developed into one of the most important and influential institutions in Europe, and Urban-II, Innocent-III, and Gregory-IX were among the most significant popes of the period.
The worldliness and corruption of the papal court that emerged at the same time and the “Babylonian Captivity” of the papacy at Avignon led to the Western Schism and eventually to the Reformation. The Council of Trent, the 19th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church (1545-63), is highly important for its sweeping decrees on self-reform and for its dogmatic definitions that clarified virtually every doctrine contested by the Protestants.
In the 19th century the papacy lost its remaining temporal powers when the Papal States were incorporated into the new Kingdom of Italy. It maintained a conservative religious position. Papal infallibility in matters of doctrine was asserted by the First Vatican Council in 1870. The idea that the pope is the absolute ruler of the church was espoused. The Second Vatican Council gave the bishops, clergy, and laity more voice.
One of the three major branches of Christianity, is officially known as Orthodox Catholic Church. Its adherents live mostly in Greece, Russia, the Balkans, Ukraine, and the Middle East, with a large following in North America and Australia. The titular head of Eastern Orthodoxy is the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople (Istanbul), but its many territorial churches (including the huge Russian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church) are governed autonomously by head bishops or patriarchs, who must be unmarried or widowed even though lower orders of the clergy may marry. Eastern Orthodoxy also boasts a strong monastic tradition. The separation of the Eastern churches from the Western, or Latin, branch began with the division of the Roman Empire into two parts under Constantine. The formal break was made in 1054 C.E.
Doctrinally, Eastern Orthodoxy differs from Roman Catholicism in that it does not accept the primacy of the pope or the clause in the Western creed that states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father (God) and the Son (Jesus). The Orthodox Church accepts the decisions of the seven ecumenical councils as well as several later ones. It maintains that there are seven sacraments and has a worship service that is theologically and spiritually rich. In the early 21st century, Eastern Orthodoxy had more than 200 million adherents worldwide.
Largest single Christian denomination in the world, with some one billion members, or about 18% of the world's population. The Roman Catholic Church has had a profound effect on the development of Western civilization and has been responsible for introducing Christianity in many parts of the world. It regards itself as the only legitimate inheritor of the ministry of Jesus, by virtue of an unbroken succession of leaders beginning with St. Peter the Apostle and continuing to the present day. It holds that the pope is the infallible interpreter of divine revelation. Church organization is strictly hierarchical. The pope appoints and presides over about 150 cardinals. Each of the church's 500 archbishops is the head of an archdiocese. These in turn are divided into about 1,800 dioceses, each headed by a bishop. Within dioceses are parishes, each served by a church and a priest. Only men can enter the priesthood, but women who wish to enter holy orders can become nuns, who are organized into orders and convents. The basic form of worship is the mass, which celebrates the sacrament of the Eucharist. Theologically, Roman Catholicism differs from Protestantism with regard to its understanding of the sources of revelation and the channels of grace. With Eastern Orthodoxy it asserts that both scripture and church tradition are revelatory of the basis of Christian belief and church polity. It sets the number of sacraments at seven (baptism, penance, Eucharist, matrimony, ordination, confirmation, and anointing of the sick); its rich sacramental life is supplemented by other devotions, chiefly Eucharistic services and devotions to the saints. The Second Vatican Council (1962–65) promoted the role of the laity in the church, abolished the Latin mass, and strove to improve relations with other religions. Pope John Paul-II actively promoted better ties with people of other faiths, especially with Jews, and remained a popular pope despite controversies over the role of women in the church, clerical celibacy, and church opposition to divorce, contraception by artificial means, homosexuality, and abortion. Although faced with many challenges, the church remained one of the largest and most significant religious bodies in the world at the start of its third millennium.
The Protestant movement; one of the three major branches of Christianity, originating in the 16th-century ‘Reformation’ culminating in break up with Roman Catholicism and the establishment of Protestant churches. The term applies to the beliefs of Christians who do not adhere to Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy. A variety of Protestant denominations grew out of the Reformation. Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a German theologian and leader of the Reformation. His opposition to the wealth and corruption of the papacy and his belief that salvation would be granted on the basis of faith alone rather than by works caused his excommunication from the Catholic Church (1521). Luther confirmed the Augsburg Confession in 1530, effectively establishing the Lutheran Church. The followers of Martin Luther established the evangelical churches of Germany and Scandinavia; John Calvin and more radical reformers such as Huldrych Zwingli founded Reformed churches in Switzerland, and Calvin's disciple John Knox established a church in Scotland (Presbyterianism).
Another important branch of Protestantism, represented by the Church of England and Episcopal Church, had its origins in 16th-century England and is now the Protestant denomination closest to Roman Catholicism in theology and worship. The doctrines of the various Protestant denominations vary considerably, but all emphasize the supremacy of the Bible in matters of faith and order, justification by grace through faith and not through works, and the priesthood of all believers. In the early 21st century there were nearly 350 million Protestants in the world. There are many subgroups with in Protestants mainly Adventist, Baptist, Society of Friends, Mennonite and Methodism.
Yet there are many Christian groups believing in ‘Christian Monotheism’ based upon the Creed of Jesus: “..'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark;12:29-30). Against the doctrine of Trinity they insist on the unity or unipersonality of God- hence name ‘Unitarian’. They believe in the universal salvation of all souls as opposed to Original Sin.
Some call themselves “Religious Liberals” or “Unitarians”. Jesus is considered as a teacher, prophet, fully and unequivocally human, to be honored but not worshiped. The Bible is considered as a human record of people’s long struggle to understand their origin, destiny and God. Bible as a book of wisdom for consideration and respect but not an inerrant unquestionable authority. Bible is read in the light of reason, insight of biblical criticism and scholarship. They accept existence of divergent views with reverence and believe in dialogue with people of other faiths. They claim their root in 16th century Reformation. Believe in the right of people to have direct relationship with God without mediation of priest or church.
INITIAL IMPACT OF ISLAM
The light of Islam (attainment of peace through submission to the Will of One God, preached by all messengers of God from Adam- Noah-Moses to Jesus) was illuminating the world from 610-632 C.E through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the descendent of Prophet Ishmael (eldest son of Abraham) as prophesied in the previous scriptures [Deuteronomy;18:18,19, Song of Solomon;5:16; John;16:12-14; 15:26; 16:7 also affirmed in Qur’an;6:20; 61:6; 3:71; 3:42-47. ‘Gospel of Jesus’ according to Branbas, Chapter:124, 136,220. Also in the Zoroaster, Buddhist and Hindu Scriptures: ‘Bhavishya Purana in the Prati Sarag Parv III Khand 3 Adhay 3 Shloka 5 to 8’; Bhavishya Purana in the Pratisarag Parv III Khand 3 Adhay 3 Shloka 10 to 27; Bhavishya Purana, Parv - III Khand 1 Adhay 3 Shloka 21-23; and Samveda Book II Hymn 6 verse 8].
Emperor Heraclius Invited to Islam:
After successfully establishing the Islamic state at Medina Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) invited the rulers and people of neighboring areas, to Islam including Eastern Roman emperor Heraclius (610-641 C.E). The letter and details are recorded in Sahih Bukhari Hadith Number:6, Volume:1, narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas. According to this Tradition (Hadith) the letter addressed to Heraclius reads:
"In the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful (This letter is) from Muhammad the slave of God and His Apostle to Heraclius the ruler of Byzantine. Peace be upon him, who follows the right path. Furthermore I invite you to Islam, and if you become a Muslim you will be safe, and God will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation of Islam you will be committing a sin by misguiding your Arisiyin (peasants). (And I recite to you God's Statement:) 'O people of the scripture! (Jews and Chritians) Come to a word common to you and us that we worship none but God and that we associate nothing in worship with Him, and that none of us shall take others as Lords beside God (Allah). Then, if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims (those who have surrendered to God).' (Qur’an;3:64).
Heaculius called for the visiting Arab traders, Abu Sufyan (uncle of the Propeht, then a nonbeliever and his enemy) was on a buisness trip, he was produced in the court of the Emperor. After asking many questions about the Propeht and his message, Heaculius was convinced that Muhmmmad (peace be upon him) was a true messenger of God. Heraclius then wrote a letter to his friend in Rome who was as good as Heraclius in knowledge. Heraclius then left for Homs (a town in Syria) and stayed there till he received the reply of his letter from his friend (from Rome) who agreed with him in his opinion about the emergence of the Prophet and the fact that he was a Prophet.[Contemporary Pope Honorius I (Pope from 625 to 638 C.E) favoured Monothelitism; a formula proposed by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius.]
Then Heraclius invited all the heads of the Byzantines to assemble in his palace at Homs. When they assembled, he ordered that all the doors of his palace be closed. Then he came out and said, 'O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give a pledge of allegiance to this Prophet (i.e. embrace Islam).' (On hearing the views of Heraclius) the people ran towards the gates of the palace like onagers but found the doors closed. Heraclius realized their hatred towards Islam and when he lost the hope of their embracing Islam, he ordered that they should be brought back in audience. (When they returned) he said, 'What already said was just to test the strength of your conviction and I have seen it.' The people prostrated before him and became pleased with him, and this was the end of Heraclius's story (in connection with his faith).
However Heraclius had sought in 638 C.E to placate Monophysite by promulgating the doctrine of Monothelitism. The victorious Muslims granted religious freedom to the Christian community in Alexandria, and the Alexandrians quickly recalled their exiled Monophysite patriarch to rule over them, subject only to the ultimate political authority of the conquerors. In such a fashion the city persisted as religious community under Arab Muslim domination more welcome and more tolerant than that of Byzantium.
The Monotheist Pope Honorius (625-638 C.E):
The Doctrine of One Mind-One God:
Pope Honorius (pope 625-638 C.E)was contemporary of Prophet Mohammed (peace be on him, preaching period: 610-632). He grasped the truthfulness of message of Islam [most likely through Emperor Heraclius] whose tenets he observed, were very much resembled those of Arius (monotheism preached by Jesus Christ). Thus he found the linkage between Islam and Christianity. In his letters he began to support the doctrine of 'One Mind', because if God has three independent minds the result would be chaos. The logical conclusion pointed to the belief in the existence of one God. This doctrine was not officially challenged for about half a century. In October 638C.E Pope Honorius died. In 680 C.E, i.e. 42 years after his death, a council was held in Constantinople where Pope Honorius was anathematized (cursed, condemned). This event is unique in the history of Papacy when a Pope was denounced by a succeeding Pope and the Church.
Emperor Leo Abolished Image-Worship:
The Byzantine Emperor Leo-III (717-741) surnamed Isauricus, undertook, in the face of so many difficulties, to purify the church of its detestable idols. Probably the creed of Islam and the success of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) greatly influenced Leo. Besides, there was a very general feeling among Christians in the East, that it was the increasing idolatry of the church that had brought down upon them the chastisement of God by the invasion of Muslims. The Christians were constantly hearing from both Jews and Muslims the odious name of idolaters. The great Iconoclastic Controversy evidently arose out of these circumstances. The Iconoclasts (those who rejected images) objected to icon worship for several reasons, including the Old Testament prohibition against images in the Ten Commandments (Exodus:20:4) and the possibility of idolatry. The defenders of icon worship insisted on the symbolic nature of images and on the dignity of created matter.
L. F. M. Sozzini (1525-1565 ) Challenged Trinity:
The next two personalities of this faith that deserve mention were members of the same family. L. F. M. Sozzini (1525-1565 C.E) was native of Siena. In 1547 C.E. he came under the influence of Camillo a Sicilian mystic. His fame spread in Switzerland. He challenged Calvin on the doctrine of Trinity. He amplified the doctrine of Arius, denied the divinity of Christ and repudiated the doctrine of original sin and atonement. The object of adoration according to him could only be the one and only one God.
Sozzini was followed by his nephew F. P. Sozzini (1539-1604 C.E). In 1562 C.E he published a work on St. John's Gospel denying the divinity of Jesus. In 1578 C.E he went to Klausenburg in Transylvania whose ruler John Sigisumud, was against the doctrine of Trinity. Here Bishop Francis David (1510-1579 C.E) was fiercely anti-Trinitarian. This led to the formation of a sect known as ‘Racovian Catechism’. It derives its name from Racow in Poland. This city became the stronghold of the faith of Arius.
Central to Socinus' teaching was the attainment of eternal life through the study of divinely revealed Scripture. He saw Christ as a real man, though without sin, who by his suffering taught men how to bear their own sufferings. In his view, faith is more than the belief that the teaching of Christ is true; it also results in repentance for sins and in an obedience that leads to eternal life.
A rationalist Christian group was formed in the 16th century that embraced the thought of the Italian-born lay theologian Faustus Socinus hence named Socinian. The Socinians taught a rationalist interpretation of the Scriptures, and they accepted Jesus as God's revelation but a mere man, divine by office rather than by nature; Socinians thus rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. One of the Socinians' central doctrines was that the soul dies with the body, but that the souls of those who have persevered in obeying Jesus' commandments will be resurrected. The Socinians also advocated the separation of church and state.
John Biddle (1615-62), an English Socinian, whose knowledge of the Greek text of the New Testament convinced him that the doctrine of the Trinity was not of scriptural origin, published his Unitarian convictions in Twelve Arguments Drawn out of Scripture . . . (1647) and other works; English readers, moreover, were exposed to Unitarian views through Socinian books published in the Netherlands.
Theologian Earl Morse Wilbur (1866-1956) advanced the thesis, now widely accepted, that the history of Unitarianism in Poland, Transylvania, England, and America gains unity from certain common themes. These themes are freedom of religious thought rather than required agreement with creeds or confessions, reliance not on tradition or external authority but on the use of reason in formulating religious beliefs, and tolerance of differing religious views and customs in worship and polity. Their teachings historically have included the unity of God, the humanity of Jesus, mankind's religious and ethical responsibility, and the possibility of attaining religious salvation through differing religious traditions. They emphasize the authority of the individual's religious conviction, the importance of religiously motivated action for social reform, democratic method in church governance, and reason and experience as appropriate bases for formulating religious beliefs.
Trinitarians however has maintained hold upon major population not due to ideological superiority but due to aggressive missionary activities coupled social welfare projects like education, health, charity, material benefits along with coercion and persecution wherever feasible.
Among the present-day Christians a large number of men and women still believe in one God. They are not always vocal. Due to the crushing power of the Churches they cannot express themselves and there is not much communication between them. However with the advancement in communication specially the cyber world, such groups have started to vent their views.
In the end it will be of interest to quote Athanasius the champion of Trinity. He says that: “Whenever he forced his understanding to meditate on the divinity of Jesus his toilsome and unavailing efforts recoil on themselves, that the more he wrote the less capable was he of expressing his thoughts”. At another place he pronounces his creed as:
“There is not three but ONE GOD”.
“He has revealed to you this Book (Qur’an) with the Truth, confirming whatever there still remains of the scripture which preceded it, as He revealed the Torah and Gospel, aforetime as a guidance unto mankind, and it is He who has bestowed (upon man) the standard by which to discern the true form the false. Behold, as for those who are bent on denying God’s messages-grievous suffering awaits them: fro God is almighty, an avenger of evil.”(Qur’an;3:3-4)
Islam and Previous Scriptures:
It is part of articles of faith of a Muslims to believe in all the previous messengers of God and the scriptures; in the original form in which they were revealed upon them. God says: “(Qur’an is a guide for those) who believe in this Revelation (Qur'an) which is sent to you (O Muhammad) and the Revelations which were sent before you (Torah, Psalms, Gospel...) and firmly believe in the Hereafter.”(Qur’an;2:4); “And We verily sent Noah and Abraham and placed the Prophethood and the Scripture among their seed, and among them there is he who goeth right, but many of them are evil-livers.”(Qur’an;57:26). “Lo! We inspire thee as We inspired Noah and the prophets after him, as We inspired Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and Jesus and Job and Jonah and Aaron and Solomon, and as we imparted unto David the Psalms;(Qur’an;4:163). "Surely, We sent down the Torah (to Moses), wherein is guidance and light; by its laws the Jews have been judged by the prophets who surrendered themselves to God, the rabbis and the doctors of law, because they were entrusted the protection of God's book and were witnesses thereto".(Qur’an;5:44). “And We caused Jesus, the son of Mary, to follow in the footsteps of those (earlier prophets), confirming the truth of what ever there still remained of the Torah; and We bestowed on him the Gospel wherein there was guidance and a light, confirming the truth of whatever there still remained of the Torah, and as a guidance and admonition unto the God conscious.” (Qur’an;5:46).
The scriptures revealed to the earlier prophets were meant for specific period and nation which, with the passage of time got distorted, because the Rabbis and Doctors of Law entrusted with the responsibility of their protection failed to do so. These scriptures underwent distortion, addition, and omission: "- - Some of the Jews pervert words from their meanings-" (Qur’an;4:46). "So woe to those who write the Book with their hands, and then say: 'This is from God,' that they may sell it for a little price. So woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for their earnings"(Qur’an;2:79). “To you, O Muhammad, We have revealed this Book (Qur’an) with the truth. It confirms whatever has remained intact in the scriptures which came before it and determining what is true therein. Therefore, judge between people of earlier revelations according what God has bestowed from high, and do not follow their errant views, forsaking the truth has come unto thee. We have ordained (different) law and Way of life for each of you. If God wanted He could have made all of you a single nation. But He willed otherwise in order to test you in what He has given you; therefore try to excel one another in good deeds. Ultimately you all shall return to God; then He will show you the truth of those matters in which you dispute.”(Qur’an;5:48).
All the divine revelations (scriptures) except Qur’an are extinct. The Bible; which besides Torah, Psalm and Gospel also contain other scriptures, books and commentaries by mostly unknown scribes attributing to known messengers and personalities. The Torah, Psalm and Gospel as available in the Bible may contain the original revelations in some form which pass the test of Qur’an; the criterion to distinguish right from wrong: “Blessed is the One Who has revealed Al-Furqan (the criterion to distinguish right from wrong: The Qur'an) to His servant, that he may be a Warner to the worlds;” (Qur’an;25:1). “And say: "Truth has come and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood by its nature is bound to perish.”(Qur’an;17:81). The authenticity, accuracy and originality of Torah, Psalm and Gospel as revealed scriptures is doubtful, which is also evident from the long history and complex process of compilation and canonization.
The Books of Bible:
Bible is the sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity, derived from Greek biblos ("book") can be compared with byblos ("Papyrus": The writing material of ancient times and also the plant from which it was derived). In the fifth century, name ‘Bible’ began to be given to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came gradually into use in the English language. Interestingly the word ‘Bible’ does not exist in the scripture. The order as well as the number of books differs between the Jewish Bible, the Protestant and Roman Catholic versions of the Bible.
The four bodies of written works of Biblical literature, consists of: (1) The Old Testament writings according to the Hebrew canon; inter-testamental works, including (2) The Old Testament Apocrypha; (3) The New Testament writings; and (4) The New Testament Apocrypha. Apocryphal (secret) is referred to books not publicly read in churches, generally these books were considered less authoritative, accepted only by individual Christian writers or by minority heretical groups.
The sixty-six different books of the Bible were composed by many different writers, in three different languages, under different circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests, tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at various periods during the space of about 1600 years. It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The sixty-six books of Bible which include 39 books of Old Testaments and 27 books of New Testaments were chosen, after a bit of haggling, by the Catholic Council of Carthage in 397 C.E; almost four hundred years after the time of Jesus. English Bibles list 39 books for the Old Testament because of the practice of bisecting Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, and of counting Ezra, Nehemiah, and the 12 Minor Prophets as separate books. The complete Bible, i.e. the Old Testament and the New Testament put together, contains 73 books. However, the Protestant Bible i.e. the King James Version contains only 66 books as they consider 7 books of the Old Testament to be apocrypha, i.e. of doubtful authority. Therefore the Old Testament of the Catholics contains 46 books and that of the Protestants, 39 books. However the New Testament of both these sects contains 27 books. Hence the Bible of Protestants consists of total 66 books and the Bible of Catholic has 73 books. The 66 common books of the Bible are as listed in Appendix-III.
The division of the Bible into chapters and verses is altogether of human invention, designed to facilitate reference to it. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later period, in the ninth century C.E, into verses. The modern system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced by Cardinal Hugo (died 1263 C.E) about the middle of the thirteenth century The system of verses for the New Testament was introduced by Stephens in 1551 C.E, and generally adopted, although neither Tyndale's nor Coverdale's English translation of the Bible has verses. The division is not always wisely made, yet it is very useful.
Role of Bible in History & Culture of West:
The literature of the Bible has played a special role in the history and culture of the Western & Christian world. There are over forty different major versions of Bible, suitable to the doctrine of different followers, one claiming to be batter and more accurate than other. The main versions are: The King James (Authorized) Version, The English Revised Version, The American Standard Version, The Revised Standard Version, Jewish Versions, The New English Bible and The Catholic Versions.
Bible has been translated in almost all the languages of the world. According to Encyclopedia Britannica; there is no reliable evidence of any pre-Islamic Arabic translation of Bible. Only when large Jewish and Christian communities found themselves under Muslim rule after the Arab conquests of the 7th century did the need for an Arabic vernacular Scripture arise. The first and most important was that of Sa'adia ben Joseph (892-942 C.E), made directly from Hebrew and written in Hebrew script, which became the standard version for all Jews in Muslim countries. The version also exercised its influence upon Egyptian Christians and its rendering of the Pentateuch was adapted by Abu al-Hasan to the Samaritan Torah in the 11th-12th centuries. Another Samaritan Arabic version of the Pentateuch was made by Abu Sa'id (Abu al-Barakat) in the 13th century. Among other translations from the Hebrew, that of the 10th-century Karaite Yaphith ibn 'Ali is the most noteworthy.
The Old Testament:
The Old Testament is the Bible of the Hebrews and their Jewish descendants down to the present. In its general framework, the Old Testament is the account of God's dealing with the Jews as his chosen people, customs, and ceremonies. The term Old Testament was devised by a Christian, Melito of Sardis, around 170 C.E to distinguish this part of the Bible from the New Testament. The names given to the Old Testament in the writings of the New Testament are; "The Scriptures" (Mathew;21:42), "Scripture" (2Peter;1:20), "The Holy Scriptures" (Roman;s1:2), "the Law" (John;12:34), "The Law of Moses, The Prophets, and The Psalms" (Luke;24:44), "The Law And The Prophets" (Mathew; 5:17), "The Old Covenant" (2Corinthians;3:14). Jewish Bible includes only the books known to Christians as the Old Testament.
Thirty Nine Books:
The Old Testament consists of thirty-nine books, concerned with the Hebrew God, Yahweh, and purports to be a history of the early Israelites. The arrangements of the Jewish and Christian canons differ considerably. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox versions of the Old Testament are slightly larger. The Protestant and Roman Catholic versions of the Old Testament place the books in the same sequence, but the Protestant version includes only those books found in the Bible of Judaism. The content of the Old Testament varies according to religious tradition, the Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Protestant canons all differing from each other as to which books they include.
According to the Hebrew canon the Old Testament, has 24 books; the first six books narrate how the Israelites became a people and settled in the Promised Land. The following seven books continue their story in the Promised Land, describing the establishment and development of the monarchy and the messages of the prophets. The last 11 books contain poetry, theology, and some additional historical works. Throughout the Old Testament, the Jews' historical relation to God is conceived in reference to the ultimate redemption of all humanity. The Old Testament's profoundly monotheistic interpretation of human life and the universe as creations of God provides the basic structure of ideas in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
History of Writing & Compilation:
Except for a few passages in Aramaic, the Old Testament was written originally in Hebrew. The composition of the various books of The Old Testament began in about 1000 B.C. and continued for more than a thousand years. Much oral material was included. This was repeated from father to son, revised over and over again, and then put into written form by various editors in different languages, under different circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests, tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at various periods during the space of about 1600 years. There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The writers and editors often worked in different locales and in different time periods and were usually unaware of each other. Their work was primarily intended for local use and it is unlikely that any author foresaw that his work would be included in a "Bible." No original manuscripts exist. There is probably not one book which survives in anything like its original form. There are hundreds of differences between the oldest manuscripts of any one book. These differences indicate that numerous additions and alterations were made to the originals by various copyists and editors. The Old Testament as adopted by Christianity numbers more works because: Firstly the Roman Catholic canon, derived initially from the Greek-language Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible, absorbed a number of books that Jews and Protestants later determined were not canonical; Secondly Christians divided some of the original Hebrew works into two or more parts, specifically, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles (two parts each), Ezra-Nehemiah (two separate books), and the Minor Prophets (12 separate books).
Subdivisions of Hebrew Canon:
The recognized subdivisions of three main divisions of the Hebrew canon are: (1) The Torah; or Pentateuch, contains narratives combined with rules and instructions in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Pentateuch, together with the book of Joshua (hence the name Hexateuch) can be seen as the account of how Israel became a nation and of how it possessed the Promised Land. (2) The Nevi’im, or Prophets, continues the story of Israel in the Promised Land, describing the establishment and development of the monarchy and presenting the messages of the prophets to the people. Prophets is subdivided into the Former Prophets, with anecdotes about major Hebrew persons in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, and stories of the Latter Prophets exhorting Israel to return to God in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets. (3) The Ketuvim, or Writings, include speculation on the place of evil and death in the scheme of things (Job and Ecclesiastes), the devotional and erotic aspects, theology and some additional historical books. The poetical works and drama to be found in Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles. In the Apocrypha of the Old Testament, various types of literature are represented; the purpose of the Apocrypha seems to have been to fill in some of the gaps left by the indisputably canonical books and to carry the history of Israel to the 2nd century B.C.
The meaning of "Torah" is often restricted to signify the first five books of the Old Testament, also called the ‘Law’ or the ‘Pentateuch’. These are the books traditionally ascribed to Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), the recipient of the original revelation from God on Mount Sinai. Jewish, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant canons all agree on their order: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The written Torah, in the restricted sense of the Pentateuch, is preserved in all Jewish synagogues on handwritten parchment scrolls that reside inside the ark of the Law. They are removed and returned to their place with special reverence. Readings from the Torah (Pentateuch) form an important part of Jewish liturgical services. The term Torah is also used to designate the entire Hebrew Bible. Since for some Jews the laws and customs passed down through oral traditions are part and parcel of God's revelation to Moses and constitute the "Oral Torah," Torah is also understood to include both the Oral Law and the Written Law. Rabbinic commentaries on and interpretations of both Oral and Written Law have been viewed by some as extensions of sacred oral tradition, thus broadening still further the meaning of Torah to designate the entire body of Jewish laws.
Torah comprises of those commandments and instructions raveled to Moses starting with his appointment of apostleship till his death, spread over forty years. It include the Ten Commandments given by God on the stone tablets, while Moses got the remaining commandments written, twelve copies were prepared and handed over to each of the twelve tribes. One copy was given in the protective custody to the Levite, which is called Torah. This was intact in the form of Book till the first destruction of Jerusalem. The Levite’s copy of Torah along with stone tablets was kept in the box of covenant. It was so much ignored that during repairs of Temple the Hilki'ah, the chief priest found it and presented to king:” And Hilki'ah the high priest said to Shaphan the secretary, "I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD." And Hilki'ah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, "Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workmen who have the oversight of the house of the LORD." Then Shaphan the secretary told the king, "Hilki'ah the priest has given me a book." And Shaphan read it before the king. And when the king heard the words of the book of the law, he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilki'ah the priest, and Ahi'kam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Micai'ah, and Shaphan the secretary, and Asai'ah the king's servant, saying, "Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”(2Kings;22:8-13).
It is due to this apathy that few copies of Torah lying in the Temple were lost for ever, during destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (588 B.C). But the streets and walls of Jerusalem were again to be built, in troublous times (Daniel;9:16,19,25), after a captivity of seventy years. This restoration was begun B.C. 536, "in the first year of Cyrus" (Ezra;1:2-3,5-11). Ezra with the help of other notables arranged the entire history of Children of Israel which is now available in the form of first seventeen books of Old Testament.
In the broadest sense Torah (Taurat) is claimed to be the substance of divine revelation to Israel, the Jewish people: God's revealed teaching or guidance for mankind. The actual Torah revealed to Moses is scattered in the books, which can be identified to begin with the phrases, where ever the writer writes; “the God said to Moses” or” Moses said, the Lord your Lord says” and ends with other events i.e.” And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”(Exodus;3:4); “And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.”(Exodus;4:21). Wherever the author gets in to his explanations and exegesis, it becomes difficult for normal reader to distinguish the Torah from the exegesis. However the experts of ‘revealed scriptures’ can distinguish the divine revelations with some accuracy. Qur’an considers these scattered phrases as Torah and verifies them. If these scattered phrases are compiled and compared with Qur’an, it may be found that apart from some differences in parts, there is no difference in their basic teachings. Hence it becomes evident that the original source of both the books is the same. God says: “We have sent thee inspiration as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him; We sent inspiration to Abraham Ishmael Isaac Jacob and the Tribes to Jesus Job Jonah Aaron and Solomon and to David We gave the Psalms.”(Qura’n;4:163).
Not part of Old Testament, Talmud (in Hebrew: Study, or Learning), is the scholarly interpretations and annotations on the Mishna, the first authoritative codification of Jewish Oral Laws, which was given its final form early in the 3rd century CE by Judah ha-Nasi and on other collections of oral laws, including the Tosefta. The Talmud is, first and foremost, a legal compilation, although it treats of matters from all areas of human interest. Its material is presented in a unique dialectical style in which a piece of Talmudic text is focused upon and all efforts to understand and interpret it are recorded. The religious beliefs of the Talmudic rabbis are clearly reflected in the decisions, ideas, and attitudes of the Talmud, which considers both ritual and social law to be of divine origin. Each of two groups of Jewish scholars (amoraim), one in Palestine and the other in Babylonia, independently produced a Talmud. Although the two groups addressed the same Mishna and consulted with one another, their work resulted in two separate collections of law, lore, and commentary. The amoraim of Palestine labored for about two centuries, completing their work 400 CE, approximately one century earlier than their counterparts in Babylonia.
The Babylonian Talmud (Talmud Bavli) is consequently more extensive than the Palestinian Talmud (Talmud Yerushalmi) and, for that reason, more highly esteemed. Neither of the Talmuds covers every section of the Mishna; some commentaries were never written, and, presumably, others have been lost. There is also a large body of interpretive literature on the Talmud. Because study in the ancient academies was conducted orally, it is not known when the Talmud was first written down. The Palestinian Talmud was first printed in Venice in 1523-24 and the Babylonian Talmud in Spain in 1482. The standard version, first printed in Vilna in 1886, carries on each page a portion of the Mishna and its related Talmud, commentaries, and references. The Talmud has continued to be of major importance to Orthodox Jews throughout the world. Since the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948, Conservative Jewry has increased its interest in Talmudic study, while some leaders of Reform Jewry have adopted Talmudic dialectic and the responsa form of interpretation. Modern Talmudic scholarship is centered in Israel and the United States.
The New Testament:
New Testament is the second, later, and smaller of the two major divisions of the Christian Bible, and the portion that is canonical (authoritative) only to Christianity. The New Testament consists of twenty-seven books, the work of early Christians and reflects their beliefs about Jesus; it claims to be a history of what Jesus taught and did. Shorter in size but, through its associations with the spread of Christianity, it has wielded an influence far out of proportion to its modest size. Like the Old Testament, the New Testament is a collection of books, including a variety of early Christian literature (excluding the scriptures opposed to Trinity, like Gospel of disciple Barnabas). Christians see in the New Testament the fulfillment of the promise of the Old Testament. It relates and interprets the New Covenant, represented in the life and death (as believed by Christians) of Jesus, between God and the followers of the Christ. Like the Old Testament it contains a variety of kinds of writing.
Among its 27 books, are selected recollections of the life and acts and sayings attributed to Jesus in the four Gospels; a historical narrative of the first years of the Christian Church in Acts of the Apostles; Epistles or letters of advice, instruction, admonition, and exhortation to local groups of Christians, 14 attributed to Paul, one (Hebrews) probably in error, and seven by three other authors; and an apocalyptic description of the intervention of God in history, the Book of Revelation. The books are not arranged chronologically in the New Testament. The Epistles of Paul, for example, which address the immediate problems of local churches shortly after Christ, are considered to be the earliest texts. The books are instead arranged in a more logical narrative order, the Gospels (Injeel) telling the life of Jesus and his teachings; the Acts detailing the work of Christ's followers in propagating the Christian faith, it carries the story of Christianity from the Christian belief of Resurrection of Jesus to the end of the career of Paul.
The Letters or Epistles, relate with the teaching the meaning and implications of the faith; it carries the correspondence by various leaders of the early Christian church, chief among them Paul, applying the message of the church to the sundry needs and problems of early Christian congregations. The Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse) is prophesying future events and the culmination of the divine purpose; it is the only canonical representative of a large genre of apocalyptic literature that appeared in the early Christian movement. The setting of the New Testament within the Christian community is one factor that makes a biography of Jesus or a history of the 1st-century church difficult or impossible. A history of the New Testament is made difficult by the relatively short time span covered by its books when compared with the millennium and more of history described by the Old Testament. There is less historical information in the New Testament than in the Old, and many historical facts about the church in the 1st century therefore must be arrived at by inference from statements in one of the Gospels or Epistles.
New Testament - History of Compilation:
Oral Traditions Put into Writing: The oral traditions have been put into writing from Aramaic to Greek from 50-70 C.E. Jesus conveyed orally to the people what God had originally revealed to him. His disciples, too, propagated it among the people by the spoken words in such a manner that they presented an admixture of their Prophet's life-story and the verses revealed to Jesus. None of this material was put into writing during the lifetime of Jesus (peace be upon him) or even in the period immediately following him. It fell to the lot of the Christians whose vernacular was Greek to transform the oral traditions into writing. It must be borne in mind that Christ's native tongue was Syriac or Aramaic and his disciples, too, spoke the same language. Most Greek-speaking authors heard these traditions in the Aramaic vernacular and committed them to writing in Greek. None of these important writings are dated prior to the year 50-70 C.E.
Authority & Chain of Transmission not Cited:
There is not a single instance in these works where the author has cited an authority for an event or maxim attributed to Jesus in order that one could construct a chain of transmission. Furthermore, even their works have not survived. For the period of a century and more the only "Scriptures" used by the first Jewish followers of Jesus were the Greek Septuagint translations (commonly designated LXX) of the Hebrew Old Testament, "the Law and the Prophets", supplemented by various Jewish apocrypha and the Sibylline Oracles (150 BC to C.E 180); these were the only "authorities" appealed to by the early "Church Fathers" when preaching their new faith. The Gospel of Barnabas was popularly taught by the end of 5th century. Nowhere do they quote the books which we know today as the "New Testament." "With the exception of Papias, who speaks of a narrative by Mark, and a collection of sayings of Jesus, no Christian writer of the first half of the second century (i.e., up to 150 C.E.) quotes the Gospels or their reputed authors."
New Teachings Added in Teachings of Jesus:
The apostles and many other people writing "gospels" would travel to other lands and be followed by a number of people who would adopt this man's gospel as his "Bible" as named later. Now, even the unscrupulous began to write "gospels" and to claim they were from a given apostle or that they themselves were receiving divine inspiration. Many new and innovative teachings began to be introduced into the religion of Jesus (peace be upon him).
Evolution of Divergent Beliefs:
Enmity, hatred and war began to break out between these groups. Each person claimed that they alone held the "true" Gospel of Jesus (peace be upon him) and no one else. Their beliefs now ran the gamut between various groups:
1). Those believed Jesus (peace be upon him) to be a mortal messenger of God and nothing more (Arianians).
2). People claiming partial divinity for Jesus (peace be upon him)
3). People claiming Jesus (peace be upon him) to be a true god, but independent of God himself.
4). Who called for a concept which later became to be called “Trinity”.
5). Who claimed that Mary (peace be upon him) too was a god;
6). Who believed in two gods, one good and the other evil. This is when the war of the gospels began.
Each group cursed and damned other groups. Christian sects butchered one-another right and left. There were numerous great debates and councils, one can think of. However, none of these groups had sufficient might to totally dominate and silence the others for good. They needed an undefeatable ally, so they began to look to the Roman Empire for support.
Support of Roman Empire:
The Roman Empire was a pagan empire; however, it was the dominant "superpower" of the time. Anyone who could enlist it's aid would have an unconquerable ally at their side and would themselves be undefeatable. [Similarity with Jewish ascendancy over USA in present times is striking.] On the Roman side, Emperor Constantine (Emperor of Rome from 306 to 337 C.E) was greatly troubled by the swelling ranks of his Christian subjects and the great division among their ranks which did not bode well for the continued stability of his empire. Most of these fringe sects now began to fade into insignificance and the matter was now left between those who believed in the Unity of God and those who believed in a concept later called "Trinity." The Roman Empire’s support fluctuated between these two groups for a long time until the Trinitarian's finally gained the upper hand and all but wiped the Unitarians off the face of the earth. They selected and collected the "truly inspired" gospels (supporting admix of pagan, polytheist doctrines as against Unitarianism, preached by Jesus Christ and his genuine disciples like Barnabas and followers like Arian of Alexandria) into one volume which later became the "New Testament." They burned all other gospels. Many sweeping campaigns of "Inquisition" were launched. Everyone found possessing any of these "false" Gospels was put to death and his Gospel burned.
Atrocities and Bloodshed:
This state of affairs continued for many centuries and many people were convicted of heresy and burned to death at the stake for a great variety of reasons. Yet others had their land and property confiscated and were imprisoned. Physical torture was casually used in order to extract a confession of guilt which would then be used to justify a verdict of death by burning. Some of the methods used to extract a confession of guilt were the stretching of limbs on the rack, burning with live coals, and the strappado (a vertical rack). Denial of the charges without counterproof or refusal to confess resulted in the most severe punishments. Examples of these people include the philosopher Giordano Bruno, Galileo, Joan of Arc, and the religious order of knights called the Templars among countless hundreds of thousands of others. Even their bodies were exhumed after death and burnt.
Ultimately, over twelve million people were put to death by the Church inquisition. The inquisitions reached their height around the middle of the fifteenth century in a massive and vicious persecution campaign the major targets of which were the Marranos (converts from Judaism) and Moriscos (converts from Islam), many of whom were suspected of secretly adhering to their original faiths. Whenever a scholar of Christianity would stumble upon the truth and begin to write about it his works would invariably be destroyed (e.g. Sir Isaac Newton, the 16th century Spaniard Michael Servetus, etc.). John Biddle (1615-62 C.E), an English theologian was involved in English translation of Bible from Greek. His knowledge of the Greek text of the New Testament convinced him that the doctrine of the Trinity was not of scriptural origin, he published his Unitarian convictions in Twelve Arguments Drawn out of Scripture . . . (1647 C.E). He was repeatedly imprisoned and persecuted. Even the Popes themselves would sometimes recognize the falsehood of the "Trinity" and the fact that it was a later fabrication. One of these popes, Honorius I (Pope from 625 to 638 C.E), was officially cursed forty eight years after his death by the Synod which was held in Istanbul in 680 C.E.
Translation, Retranslations and Distortions:
The translations also had their toll on the originally of script. In the 4th century C.E, the Pope commissioned a review of the Latin translation. In the sixteenth century, this was discarded and a fresh translation from Greek into Latin was prepared. The four Bibles were more probably rendered into Syriac language from Greek in 200 C.E nevertheless, the oldest Syriac manuscript extant was written in the 4th century. A hand-written copy dating back to the 5th century C.E, contains in most parts a different version. Among the Arabic translations made from Syriac none is known to have been prepared before the 8th century C.E. It is a strange fact that about seventy different versions of the Bible were prepared, four of which were approved by the leaders of the Christian religion, while the rest were rejected by them. However, credibility of this material with authenticity to any extent as regards the character and message (Gospel) of Jesus is doubtful. Presently there are over forty different major versions of Bible, suitable to the doctrine of different followers, one claiming to be batter and more accurate than other. The main categories are: The King James (Authorized) Version, The English Revised Version, The American Standard Version, The Revised Standard Version, Jewish Versions, The New English Bible and The Catholic Versions.
Books of Bible– Doubtful Authenticity:
Conference of Nicea: In 325 C.E in the Conference of Nicea (Iznik-Turkey), four Gospels were selected out of a minimum of three hundred available and the rest, including the Gospel of Barnabas (most authentic), were ordered utterly destroyed. All Gospels written in Hebrew were also ordered to be destroyed.
Councils of Laodicea & Carthage: In 364 C.E, another council in Laodicea confirmed decisions of Nicea and added six books as believable. In 397 C.E another conference was held at Carthage, with 126 learned participants. They confirmed the decisions of the two previous Councils and also added six more Books.
Conferences at Trullo, Florence and Trent: Three more conferences were held after this in Trullo, Florence and Trent (1545-63 C.E). They confirmed the decision of the Council of Carthage and included nearly all the previously doubtful books in the list of acknowledged books. The status of these books remained unchanged until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.
Protestants Repudiation: During 16th Century, the Protestants repudiated the decisions of the councils and declared that there are only 66 truly "inspired" books of God, and not 73 as claimed by the Catholics. If it is blasphemy to take even a title from the Bible, who is blaspheming? Those who added these seven books from the very beginning, or those who expunged them.
The Main Author of New Testament- St. Paul:
St. Paul all but totally obliterated the religion of Jesus (peace be upon him) based upon the authority of his alleged "visions". His teachings were based more upon his personal philosophy and beliefs than any attempt to cite words or actions of Jesus (peace be upon him) himself (e.g. Galatians;2). His followers slaughtered all Christians who would not forsake the teachings of the apostles for his teachings and he was later made the "majority author" of the Bible and countless authentic gospels were burned and labeled apocrypha by his followers. "St. Paul" is claimed to be the author of 14 books of New Testament. It can be seen that the current religion of "Christianity" is based more on the doctrines and writings of Paul than anything else. The Gospels which are popularly believed to have been written first were in actuality written long after the writings of Paul.
Real Authors of Gospels and Books Unknown:
The Christian scholars, with extensive research are uncovering extensive evidence that these Gospels were not even written by their claimed authors. Richard Francis Weymouth in his ‘Weymouth’s New Testament In Modern Speech’ writes at the beginning of Gospels of ‘Matthew’: “There are ample reasons for accepting the uniform tradition which from earliest times has ascribed this Gospel to Levi the son of Alphaeus, WHO SEEMS TO HAVE CHANGED HIS NAME TO ‘MATTHEW’ on becoming a disciple of Jesus. Our INFORMATION AS TO HIS SUBSEQUENT LIFE IS VERY SCANTY. After the feast which he made for his old friends (Luke 5:29) his name only appears in the New Testament in the list of the twelve Apostles. Early Christian writers add little to our knowledge of him, but his life seems to have been quiet and somewhat ascetic. He is also generally represented as having died a natural death. WHERE HIS GOSPEL WAS WRITTEN, OR WHERE HE HIMSELF LABORED, WE CANNOT SAY- - - - The date of the Gospel, as we know it, is somewhat uncertain, but the best critical estimates are included between 70 and 90, C.E. Perhaps, with Harnack, we may adopt 75, C.E.The book was evidently intended for Jewish converts, and EXHIBITS JESUS AS THE GOD-APPOINTED MESSIAH AND KING, the FULFILLER OF THE LAW and of the highest expectations of the Jewish nation.”
The more Christian scholars study the Bible, the more it becomes painfully apparent that what is popularly referred to today as "Christianity" should more appropriately be named "Paulanity." Even when a book is claimed to be truly "inspired" it is still found that the Church cannot say with 100% assuredness who wrote this "inspired" book.
The authors of the ‘Revised Standard Version’ of Bible by Collins say that the author of "Kings" is "Unknown," the book of Isaiah is “mainly credited to Isaiah, parts may have been written by others." Ecclesiastics: "Author, Doubtful, but commonly assigned to Solomon." Ruth: "Author, Not definitely known, perhaps Samuel." and so on so far. God says: "Verily, those who conceal that which God has sent down of the Book and purchase a small gain therewith, they eat into their bellies nothing but fire. God will not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and theirs will be a painful torment. Those are they who purchase error at the price of guidance, and torment at the price of pardon.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Humanity, Religion, Culture, Ethics, Science, Spirituality & Peace