Was Jesus Omniscient?
Bassam Zawadi wrote an article regarding Mark 13:32 and Jesus' omniscience (here). In it he has tried to address my articles regarding how this text affects the omniscience of the Son (here) and the Holy Spirit (here).
For the most part, we would ignore such shallow argumentation were it not for Zawadi's recent claim that he has refuted all the responses to Mark 13:32. We couldn't let this lie go unchallenged and have decided to refute those parts which are addressed to us. Lord Jesus permitting, we will be responding to Zawadi's most recent attempt of trying to once again justify Muhammad's hypocrisy and inconsistency regarding poetry in the near future, to show how once again Zawadi failed to deliver the goods.
Zawadi thinks that I contradicted myself when in fact it is the result of his inability to grasp or comprehend what I had written that has led him to think that I did:
Sam contradicts himself, he says
Thus, Christs statement regarding angels and the Son not knowing demonstrates that Jesus was referring to a specific class of individuals, namely human beings, when he said that no one knows. In other words, Jesus was saying that no human being knows the day he would come to bring judgment upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem for rejecting him, neither the angels, not even himself.
So basically this means that 'no man' knows. No human being knows. But then Sam goes on to say
The Ethiopic version adds here, "nor the son", and so the Cambridge copy of Beza's; which seems to be transcribed from (Mark 13:32) where that phrase stands; and must be understood of Christ as the son of man, and not as the Son of God; for as such, he lay in the bosom of the Father, and
However, this argument does not work. If the Son being referred to as in the verse was referring to the human part of Jesus then Jesus didn't have to repeat himself because he already included himself in the 'no man knows' part. But if he was referring to the Son of God part of him self then that would make more sense because the divine part of Jesus should not be included in the 'no man knows' part. However, that wouldn't work either because then the God part of Jesus would not be omniscient and we all know that God is supposed to be omniscient.
First, let me correct Zawadi's inability to read his sources carefully. The statement regarding Christ speaking in reference to his being the Son of Man is not my comments, but the comments of John Gill regarding Matthew 24:36. Second, note what Gill wrote in context:
The Ethiopic version adds here, "nor the son", and so the Cambridge copy of Beza's; which seems to be transcribed from (Mark 13:32) where that phrase stands; and must be understood of Christ as the son of man, and not as the Son of God; FOR AS SUCH, HE LAY IN THE BOSOM OF THE FATHER, AND KNEW ALL HIS PURPOSES AND DESIGNS; for these were purposed in him: he knew from the beginning who would betray him, and who would believe in him; he knew what would befall the rejecters of him, and when that would come to pass; as he must know also the day of the last judgment, since it is appointed by God, and he is ordained to execute it: BUT THE SENSE IS, that as he, AS MAN and mediator, came not to destroy, but to save; so it was not any part of his work, AS SUCH, to know, nor had he it in commission to make known the time of Jerusalem's ruin: but my Father only; to the exclusion of all creatures, angels AND MEN; but not to the exclusion of Christ as God, who, as such, is omniscient; NOR OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, who is acquainted with the deep things of God, the secrets of his heart, and this among others. (Source; capital and underline emphasis ours)
Gill's comments provide the reason why Jesus is distinguished from "no man", even though he himself is a man. Christ is more than a man, since he is also the Divine Son of God and is therefore superior to all men, even greater than the angels themselves:
"Now John was clothed with camel's hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, 'After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.' In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'" Mark 1:6-11
"In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the exact stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs. For to what angel did God ever say, 'You are my Son, today I have begotten you'? Or again, 'I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son'? And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him.' Of the angels he says, 'Who makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.' But of the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous scepter i the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your comrades.'" Hebrews 1:1-9
"For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, "What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You did make him for a little while lower than the angels, you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.' Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see Jesus, who for A LITTLE WHILE was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one." Hebrews 2:5-9
Zawadi then has the audacity to claim:
Also notice the deception that Shamoun tries to pull out on the readers. Shamoun tries to use the KJV translation of Mark 13:32 to show that 'no one' really means 'no man' and therefore is not inclusive of everything. However, he then uses the RSV translation for Revelations 19:12 to show the translation as 'no one' and therefore show that it doesn't mean that it is inclusive of everything.
This is outright deception because the KJV translation has Revelations 19:12 saying 'no man' and if Shamoun used that he knew that he could not use it to make the point he was trying to make. Because if Shamoun used the KJV translation then that would clearly show that God was excluded because it only said 'no man' and therefore cannot try to use it as a figure of speech.
Plus the word for the 'no man' is the same in both verses. So why didn't Sam use the same translation?
Source: http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/3/1138456828-5567.html and http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/3/1138460153-7043.html
Sam indeed at the end of the article did say that he used all translations from the RSV unless stated otherwise. However, now we know why he did what he did.
It is truly amazing that this gent accuses me of lying, while he himself blatantly lies and distorts what I actually did write and thinks he can get away with it. Zawadi is only being a good Muslim at this point since his own god and prophet condoned lying, with Allah identifying himself as the best deceiver of them all even better than Satan! (*, *).
As anyone reading my article can clearly see, I did indeed cite the Revised Standard Version's translation of both Mark 13:32 and Matthew 24:36. I only cited the KJV after I had demonstrated that the phrase "no one" in the context didn't mean every single being but every human, i.e. that no man knows the day or hour. I basically stated that the translators of the KJV correctly translated the Greek in this particular context to mean no human being knows. Now what is even more amazing about Zawadi's blatant lie is that I never denied that Revelation 19:12 refers to human beings. However, I do believe that John also intended to include angels in this group, thus my position is that John meant that no creature knows Jesus' name. Whatever the case, Zawadi has simply distorted my purpose in using this text from Revelation in order to deceive his readers into thinking that I was somehow trying to use deception.
More importantly, I used this text to prove that just because the same expression "no one" is used that doesn't mean that John was insinuating that the Father didn't know Jesus' name either. In other words, I used this text to prove that John's use of this same expression DOESN'T INCLUDE EVERY SINGLE BEING, BUT HAS A MORE LIMITED SENSE, A MORE RESTRICTED SENSE! In light of this, how could I be lying or deceptive when my whole point in using Revelation 19:12 was to actually refute the claim that just because "no one" is used this has to necessarily mean that every single person is included? Basically, Zawadi's appeal to the KJV only proved my point, it didn't refute it, since it shows that the expression doesn't necessarily include everyone, since it certainly doesn't mean that God and his Spirit do not know Jesus' name.
He then claims:
Plus Sam is forgetting that the verse says, ONLY the Father. There is no condition on the word 'only'. (seehttp://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/1/1138460990-9261.html)
There is no condition on 'only' unless it is put forth.
However, there is no condition of this sort in Mark 13:32. The verse does not say, 'only the Father except those whom he chooses to let them know'.
Neither does one find a condition in Revelation 19:12 which says that no one knows Jesus' name except those to whom Christ chooses to reveal it. What does this prove? Absolutely nothing except how desperate Zawadi is in trying to find anything to undermine the perfect Deity of Christ since he seems to realizes that his so-called "response" is utterly shallow and devoid of any sound exegesis.
Zawadi also wrote:
Plus Christians use John 21:17 to try and show that Jesus was omniscient. However, Jesus himself said that he does not know the hour. So why did the apostle say that to him? Now Christians are going to say that Jesus was talking as Son of God at that time. But why this confusion? Why doesn't Jesus explicitly state that the man part of him is not omniscient but the divine part of him is? Plus how can someone be All Knowing and not All Knowing at the same time? Its not logical. Some people might even go to argue that Jesus was a schizophrenic because of the confusing and contradicting behavior we see when his deity is being developed throughout the gospels.
A better question is why did Jesus acknowledge that the disciples' recognition of his omniscience was correct?
"'Now we know that you know all things, and need none to question you; by this we believe that you came from God.' Jesus answered them, 'Do you now believe?' John 16:30-31
The answer? Because, contrary to Zawadi, it is not an either/or situation but a both/and scenario by virtue of Christ having two distinct natures simultaneously:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men... He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father." John 1:1-4, 10, 14
"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form," Colossians 2:9 NIV
Christ could therefore be both omniscient (in reference to his Deity) and not know the day or hour (in relation to his humanity, his waking human consciousness) at the same time. This answers how a person can be both all-knowing and not all-knowing, i.e. when such a person happens to be the God-man! Since Jesus is the only God-man according to the true revelation of God, the Holy Bible, it shouldn't therefore surprise us that he would be utterly unique and quite perplexing for our finite minds to fully comprehend.
Furthermore, it is not a contradiction to say that Jesus is all-knowing and not all-knowing at the same time, but it is rather paradoxical. If the Bible taught that Jesus was all-knowing and not all-knowing in the same way and in the same sense then this would indeed be a logical contradiction. But this is not what the Holy Scriptures teach since Jesus is all-knowing in one sense (in the sense of being God and having all the properties of Deity) and not all-knowing in another sense (in the sense that he was also fully human and has all the limitations of humanity with the exception of sin).
Finally, Christ didn't need to go around distinguishing between his Divine and human natures since his words and actions would be sufficient to indicate which of his statements and functions are attributable to his Deity and which are to be associated with his humanity. Here are a few biblical examples of what we mean:
"Jesus answered her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, "Give me a drink," you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. Jesus said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I WILL GIVE HIM will never be thirsty forever. The water that I WILL GIVE HIM will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:10, 13-14
"Jesus then said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God IS HE WHO COMES DOWN FROM HEAVEN and gives life to the world. They said to him, Sir, give us this bread always. Jesus said to them, I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I HAVE COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me." John 6:35-38
Jesus, because he was a man, got hungry and thirsty. Yet, because he happens to be God, he is the Source of Life and provides spiritual and physical sustenance for all who believe in him. For more on this issue, please consult this article.
Zawadi refers to my quoting Matthew 11:27:
Sam tries to get rid of this argument by trying to use Matthew 11:27 as an example where obviously the term is not inclusive.
However, Matthew 11:27 shows that people could know the father but not because the word 'except' is not inclusive of everyone but later on in the verse Jesus makes exceptions by saying....
This is perhaps one of the best examples Zawadi could have given to prove our assertion that he cannot understand or read carefully. He isn't the only Muslim who suffers from this problem, since Osama Abdallah, Saami Zaatari and Usman Sheikh (a.k.a. "Johnny Bravo") also demonstrated these same symptoms.
My purpose in quoting Matthew 11:27 was to prove that Revelation 19:12 could not be including the Father as not knowing Jesus' name, since the Father knows the Son completely. In other words, since the Father knows everything about the Son he would also know the name of his beloved Son, thereby proving that Revelation 19:12 was not including the Father as one of those who didn't know something specific about Christ. Zawadi is therefore wrong when he claims that in this particular context I used Matthew 11:27 as another example to prove the phrase "no one" is not inclusive.
Regarding my appeal to 1 Corinthians 2:10-12, Zawadi says:
Sam goes on to state Corinthians 2:10-12 to try and show the omniscience of the Holy Spirit. However, this proves nothing except the fact that Paul's statement contradicts Mark 13:32 in which it states that ONLY the Father knows.
Zawadi's claim that Paul supposedly contradicted Mark 13:32 is a direct admission that the Holy Bible does teach that the Holy Spirit is omniscient. After all, if it didn't teach this then Zawadi would have no basis to argue that Mark 13:32 contradicts this position. Moreover, Paul didn't contradict what the text of Mark 13:32 actually says, but rather contradicts Zawadi's gross distortion and his (mis)understanding of what he thinks Mark is saying. We have already shown that the expression "no one" refers to no human being knowing and therefore doesn't include the Holy Spirit.
Zawadi now tries to pass himself off as a textual expert:
Christians clearly know that this is a problem. Even the early Christians. Notice the footnote in the NIV Bible regarding Matthew 24:36
Matthew 24:36 NIV (New International Version) ...
The Day and Hour Unknown
36"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[a] but only the Father.
- Matthew 24:36 Some manuscripts do not have nor the Son.
It seems to me that people over time tried to take off the phrase 'nor the Son' so that it would not lower Jesus' status or his deity.
Zawadi has assumed that the scribes omitted the words "nor the Son" as opposed to adding them into the text. We will let the commentary provided by the translators of the New English Translation (NET Bible) explain the science of textual criticism to Zawadi and show why the evidence supports the probability that these words were added, rather than omitted:
53tc Some important witnesses, including early Alexandrian and Western mss (?*,2 B D T ?13 pc it vgmss Irlat Hiermss), have the additional words ... (oude ho huios, "nor the son") here. Although the shorter reading (which lacks this phrase) is suspect in that it seems to soften the prophetic ignorance of Jesus, the final phrase ("except the Father alone") already implies this. Further, the parallel in Mark 13:32 has oude ho huios, with almost no witnesses lacking the expression. Hence, it is doubtful that the absence of "neither the Son" is due to the scribes. In keeping with Matthews general softening of Marks harsh statements throughout his Gospel, it is more likely that the absence of "neither the Son" is part of the original text of Matthew, being an intentional change on the part of the author. Further, this shorter reading is supported by the first corrector of ? as well as L W ?1 33 ? vg sy co Hiermss. Admittedly, the external evidence is not as impressive for the shorter reading, but it best explains the rise of the other reading (in particular, how does one account for virtually no mss excising oude ho huios at Mark 13:32 if such an absence here is due to scribal alteration? Although scribes were hardly consistent, for such a theologically significant issue at least some consistency would be expected on the part of a few scribes). Nevertheless, NA27 includes oude ho huios here. (Source; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Textual critics have long realized that scribes had a tendency to add words to parallel passages in order to make them read the same way. Moreover, a scribe may have assumed that the shorter reading may have been the result of a bad copy or an accidental omission by a previous scribe, and therefore would add what he felt were the missing words taken from its parallel. This may have been the case with Matthew 24:36, that a scribe thought that the words "nor the Son" should be there since the Markan parallel included them.
So much for Zawadi's "irrefutable" refutation.
Even though this essentially takes care of the points raised against us, we have decided to also address Zawadi's distortion of what another Christian apologist Matt Slick had written regarding Mark 13:32 (here). Zawadi states:
Matt Slick of www.carm.org said in his article http://www.carm.org/diff/Mark13_32.htm that Jesus became omniscient after the resurrection. That his divine capabilities came after the resurrection. But then that would mean that Jesus was completely a man before that. That means that Jesus was not fully god, fully man before the resurrection. That means that when Jesus was crucified, he was completely a man and you have to stop saying that God died for your sins! So that argument does not work.
We encourage the readers to carefully read what Slick wrote in order to verify for themselves that this is another time where Zawadi has shown his inability to understand what he reads. Slick clearly refers to the hypostatic union, that Jesus is both God and man at the same time, and quotes references to show that Jesus was worshiped as God while on earth and now in heaven (cf. Matthew 14:33, 28:9; Hebrews 1:6). Slick also says that during his stay on earth Christ cooperated with his human limitations and didn't exercise his Divine prerogatives, but chose to depend completely on God's Spirit to empower him for the mission he was sent to accomplish. These factors should have served as a signal to Zawadi that Slick was not denying that Jesus was fully God while on earth. He was simply denying that Christ exercised his Divine attributes during his earthly ministry, which explains what he meant by saying that the NT refers to Christ being all-knowing after his resurrection. It was at this point in time that Christ made use of his Divine characteristics since he no longer was operating with his human limitations.
To repeat: Matt Slick does not deny that Jesus was fully God while on earth, since he clearly affirms that Christ is both God and man. His position is that Jesus didn't make use of his Divine attributes since he chose to work with the limitations of his humanity and thereby depend on God's Spirit to enable him to do the work which God had sent him to accomplish.
We highly recommend Matt Slick's website since he does an outstanding job, by God's sovereign grace, of articulating and defending basic Christian theology: www.carm.org
Matt is a brilliant apologist who loves the Lord Jesus, and we encourage readers to support his ministry.
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