A response to 1.2.2.13

A logical analysis

Introduction

This section is, essentially, a combination of several arguments that Al-Kadhi will make throughout his book. In order to avoid repetition, I will refer you to the sections which answer the issues raised by Mr. Al-Kadhi.

Mr. Al-Kadhi opens this section by citing Mark 12:30 which (in spite of his brief para-phrase) says that we should love God with our hearts, souls, and minds. He proceeds to quote 1 Corinthians 14:33 which says that God is not the author of confusion. Al-Kadhi then launches into his familiar attack against the concept of the Trinity by saying: "So, if God's nature is not one of confusion, then it should not be necessary to command us to simply "have faith" in the Trinity because it is a "mystery." Is this not fair? Is this not what the Bible and Jesus himself say? So let us use our minds and be inquisitive. Let us ask questions so that we may indeed be able to truthfully claim that we have loved God `with all our minds'."

The Need for a Blood Sacrifice

Mr. Al-Kadhi then raise the question : "why is a blood sacrifice (in Jesus) necessary to save men and women from their sins? He asks: "This sin was so great that it could not be forgiven by any normal means. This sin was so great that God could not simply say "You are all forgiven." This sin was so great that even the sacrifice of a sinless mortal would not do. This sin was so great that it was necessary for God Almighty to offer up His only begotten son as the only possible purifying sacrifice for the sins of humanity. The only possible way for God to forgive humanity this tremendous sin was to have his son delivered to his mortal enemies so that they might beat him, spit on him, whip him, strip him, cut him, humiliate him, hang him up on the cross, and finally kill him. In this manner, God would finally be able to grant us the forgiveness He so wishes to bestow upon us. (1 Corinthians 15:3 "Christ died for our sins", Romans 5:6 "Christ died for the ungodly" etc.)"

In all fairness to Mr. Al-Kadhi, this is a very good question. Jesus gave his mortal body and blood for the forgiveness of the sins of all of humanity. This is a theme that is repeated many times in both the Old and New Testaments. The books of Leviticus (16:15) , (17:11) and Hebrews (9:22), both tell us that "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness". The Bible also tells us that the penalty for sin is death. In the Old Testament, the sacrifice of an animal was a symbolic death of an innocent life that was to pay the penalty of human sins. Jesus paid for our sins in the New Testament.

Why did Jesus have to die for my sins and for Mr. Al-Kadhi's sins? Why was the sacrifice of an all pure and sinless Jesus necessary? These questions are answered in several other sections: Why is a Blood Sacrifice Necessary. Other excellent papers include: Why can't God just forgive our sins?, and Why was it necessary for Jesus to die on the cross?. I urge all of my Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as my Christian brothers and sisters, to read these articles and give serious thought to these issues - they are of eternal importance.

Mr. Al-Kadhi's Logic Problem (or what happened???)

Mr. Al-Kadhi asks: "However, when we look closely at this picture we find a number of problems. For example, if Jesus (pbuh) is part of a divine Trinity which makes up the essence of God Almighty, and if this God is ONE God and not THREE gods, and if Jesus (pbuh) died on the cross, then what happened to God Almighty?. Did the Trinity die also, or was a third of the Trinity ripped away from the whole, then tortured, killed, and sent to hell for three days, while the remaining two thirds (of God?) remained in its crippled form a safe distance away? Who was overseeing the heavens and the earth while all of this was happening? A crippled Trinity? No one? If I am made up of heart, mind, and soul, and one of them dies; what happens to the rest of me? Are they ONE or THREE? If God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are three names for the same being, (definition of the "Trinity" required by Isaiah 43:10-11 and many other verses) and not three separate gods, then the "death of Jesus" is just another way of saying "the death of God the 'Father'," which is also another way of saying `the death of the Holy Ghost'."

The Bible does not say that God died, or that God was crippled, or that the Trinity died or was crippled. The body of Jesus, which was the incarnation of God's word (God's word made flesh), suffered inhumane and brutal torture and death. Jesus was a real man as well as the true God. He was the incarnation of God's word in a human body. Jesus was conceived, was born, and ate, slept, and felt pain like all other man. A major difference, however, was that Jesus (unlike everyone who was born before or after Him) was sinless, because He was God.

God is a spirit, both Christians and Muslims agree on this. God created matter, but he does not consist of matter. By the very definition of God, God cannot die and the spirit of Jesus did not die. While the body of Jesus was in the tomb, God the Father was in heaven and the Spirit (soul) of Jesus continued to exist. Incidentally, Muhammad's body lies in a grave in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Mr. Al-Kadhi and I both agree that Muhammad had a spirit (soul) and that his spirit is somewhere at this very moment - although we probably do not agree on where it is! The body of Jesus was dead and in the grave for three days. Where was his Spirit? Before Jesus died on the cross, he told the repentant thief "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43).

Mr. Al-Kadhi's False Dichotomy

Mr. Al-Kadhi tells us that : "Some members of the clergy will object that it was not Jesus "per se" who died, but rather it was only "his human form" that died. His "godly" form was not affected. It is described as one describes someone removing his coat. This leaves us with a dilemma, because it leaves us with one of two cases:

1) Either Jesus (pbuh) "himself" did NOT die, but only shed his earthly body (as it were), and in this case we must ask, where then is the great sacrifice in this shedding of a useless shell? Did we not just agree a few minutes ago that the sacrifice of a sinless mortal was not sufficient in order to erase the sins of all of humanity? Did we not just claim that it must be a sinless "GOD" that must die? How then is Jesus' shedding of this useless mortal shell which is not his actual essence an ultimate sacrifice in atonement for all of mankind's sins? How is it any different than the sacrifice of any normal human being? Did the death of Jesus' coat atone for the sins of all mankind? Can Jesus not simply make one thousand more human "shells" for himself to inhabit? Is his discarding of one of them an "ultimate sacrifice for the sins of all humanity"?

2) Or, Jesus (pbuh) "himself" died, in which case, since he is claimed to be part of the "Trinity", and the "Trinity" is claimed to be ONE god, not three (required by Isaiah 43:10-11, Deut. 4:35, 4:39, 1 Kings 8:60, Isaiah 45:5 and many other verses), then God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are all claimed to have died, since they are all "the same essence."

This is, what philosophers call, a disjunctive syllogism. In other words, Jesus simply cannot win according to the argument that Al-Kadhi has constructed.

Premise number one is that Jesus did not die, but "only shed his earthly body" - which is, according to Mr. Al-Kadhi : "Did we not just agree a few minutes ago that the sacrifice of a sinless mortal was not sufficient in order to erase the sins of all of humanity?" No Mr. Al-Kadhi, we did not agree to this! Jesus was not just "any normal human being" - even your Koran says otherwise! Did the death of Jesus atone for the sins of all of mankind? Yes, it did! Could Jesus make "one thousand more human shells for himself to inhabit?" Whether he can, or cannot, is not the issue, it was not the will of God for Jesus to do this!

Premise number two claims that if Jesus is a member of the Trinity, and if He died, than the entire Trinity has died along with Him. This premise cannot be true because God cannot die, even if the earthly body of Jesus was in the grave, his soul continued to exist.

Incidentals

1. Did Jesus go to God to be judged?

Al-Kadhi claims : ""And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost" Luke 23:46

When people die they go to their Lord to be judged. If Jesus (pbuh) was, as claimed, a part of a Trinity and the Trinity is only ONE god (as required by the above verses), then Jesus was with God in a Trinity before his death. It was only after his death that he was claimed to have left God, died, and gone down into hell for three days. However, this verse tells us a completely different story. It claims that Jesus' essence was somewhere other than already with God while he was on earth (otherwise it would not have to go to Him) and was now going to God. Also read John 17:11: "I come to thee. Holy Father." And John 17:13: "And now come I to thee"...etc."

Jesus was on earth in a human form, and He was on a mission of salvation on behalf of all of mankind. He did not go to the Father to be judged, since He was without sin. The passage to which Al-Kadhi refers does not even suggest that Jesus was going to God the Father to be judged.

Mr. Al-Kadhi continues : "Now, God Almighty is claimed to have "begotten" Jesus (pbuh). He is claimed to be the "father" of Jesus. Naturally a father is present before he "begets" his son (no matter how you wish to define "beget"). Before Jesus (pbuh) was "begotten," was the "Trinity" a "Duality"? Was God complete? Explain Isaiah 43:10-11. If Jesus (pbuh) was "begotten" then he is not eternal, but the definition of the Trinity which was first put together in 325 C.E. when the Trinity was first officially defined requires the "co-eternity" of God and Jesus (pbuh)."

Once again, Al-Kadhi intentionally misses the entire point. The Bible says: "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58). Before the universe was created, Jesus existed.

2. Who has seen God?
Mr. Al-Kadhi continues his critique by saying : "If Jesus is one face of a "Trinity" and the Trinity is one god not many, then anyone who sees Jesus has seen God, however, John 1:18 says "No man hath seen God at any time." And we have just read in the Athanasian creed (Nicean creed) that "God" is a "Trinity" made up of "the Father," the "Son," and the "Holy Ghost." We also read therein that God is not three gods but one God. If this is the case then anyone who has seen Jesus has seen "God." But the Bible tells us that this is not the case."

The issues raised in this passage, as well as related passages, are discussed in Who has seen God?.

3. Jesus claims to not even know when "that day" would occur

Al-Kadhi says: "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" Mark 13:32.

Is he not part of God? Is the "Trinity" not ONE god? The fact that one "personality" of God has knowledge not available to the other "two thirds" is a clear indication that they are distinct and separate beings, and not three faces of one being."

Perhaps Jesus did not know the hour because he assumed our human nature and, like all of us, needed to live by faith and obedience. Jesus could have been unaware of the hour simply because He did not want to know. I believe that Jesus was trying to tell us that it is presumptuous, for humans to attempt to determine ( by mathematical calculation and over-analyzing prophecy) what the Son of God did not know, or did not want to know.

Conclusion

Al-Kadhi concludes: "There are many such questions to be raised about this supposed Trinity which defy common sense. When someone loves God "with all thy mind" and they "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" are they not presented with countless contradictions regarding the "Trinity"? I am speaking about the logic of Jesus (pbuh) here and not blind faith. Jesus is beseeching us to use our minds but we would rather follow others who demand blind faith. Jesus (pbuh) tells us

"If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23."

The Trinity is a human explanation that is an attempt to understand the nature of God. The Trinity is the means by which God, God's Word, and God's Spirit saves us from our sins. Mr. Al-Kadhi confuses Christian debate, self analysis, and discourse throughout his book with dissent. As a Christian, I believe that God gave me the intelligence to seek Him, although I will never completely comprehend Him. Compare this idea with what Muhammad taught about "thinking too much": "Allah has hated you...[for] asking too many questions." (Bukhari, vol. 2, no. 555; and vol. 3, no. 591) Also : "Abu Harairah reported the Messenger of Allah said: 'He who does not chant the Koran (vain repetition) is not of us." (Bukhari Book 3, Chap. 36, No. 61) Why would God hate us for using the brains that He gave us and for asking questions? Why would God merely wish that we chant His scriptures in "vain repetition" without making any attempt to understand the meaning of God's word?


The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
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