Bassam Zawadi contends that Jesus cannot be Yahweh since he is Yahweh's Servant according to the Holy Bible. He says:
Jesus cannot be Yahweh. In Isaiah 44:24 it says that Yahweh was alone when he created the heavens and the earth. Matthew 12:18 quotes Isaiah 42:1 which says that Yahweh will send his servant. Who is that servant? It is Jesus.
Now if Yahweh was the one true God (Exodus 20:2-3) who alone created the heavens and the earth and he was the one who was to send his servant (Jesus), then that means that Jesus is not Yahweh. This means that Jesus is not God.
First, every informed Trinitarian agrees that Yahweh ALONE created everything that has been made, yet the problem with Zawadi's formulation is that it assumes that Yahweh is uni-Personal. Zawadi's argument presupposes Unitarianism, that God is a singular consciousness, a singular Person. In point of fact the God who created all things by himself is Tri-Personal, a Triune Being, as we have documented time and time again. At the conclusion of our rebuttal we will post the links where we document this biblical truth, this Divinely revealed fact.
Therefore, from the historic Christian perspective the God who created all things by himself is none other than the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
In fact, the Hebrew Bible itself expressly teaches that Yahweh used his own Word, Wisdom, Power and Spirit to create all things:
"The SPIRIT of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4
"By the WORD of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the SPIRIT (ruach- breath) of his mouth." Psalm 33:6
"How many are your works, O LORD! In WISDOM you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures... When you send forth your SPIRIT, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth." Psalm 104:24, 30
"By WISDOM the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew." Proverbs 3:19-20
"But God made the earth by his POWER; he founded the world by his WISDOM and stretched out the heavens by his understanding." Jeremiah 10:12
The NT states that Jesus is God's Word, Wisdom and Power:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made... 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 1:1-3, 14
"but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:24
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched--this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life -- the Life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the Eternal Life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us -- that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:1-3
"He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God." Revelation 19:13
Basically, this implies that Jesus existed in an eternal, personal relationship with the Father as his very own Divine Word, Wisdom and Power. This is why the NT authors could speak of Christ in such highly exalted terms without compromising monotheism. The Judaism of Jesus' day knew that God's Word, Wisdom and Power were not separate beings but intrinsic aspects of God's very own eternal Being. Hence, for the NT to describe Jesus as God's eternal Word, Wisdom and Power meant that he was(is) eternally bound up in the very identity of the one true God.
Furthermore, Zawadi assumes that since Jesus is the Servant of Yahweh mentioned in Isaiah 42:1 (cf. Matthew 12:18) he cannot therefore be Yahweh at the same time. As we already noted, Zawadi has assumed that Yahweh is uni-Personal which is why to him Jesus cannot be God if he is portrayed as being personally distinct from Yahweh. Otherwise, this would mean that Jesus was his own Servant. Yet the problem is not with Jesus being Yahweh and the Servant of Yahweh at the same time, but with Zawadi's assumption of Unitarianism which he takes as a theological given. But if Yahweh is indeed multi-Personal then there is no dilemma for one Divine Person serving another Divine Person, especially if that specific Person chooses to become a man. In other words, when the Scriptures say that Jesus is Yahweh's Servant it simply means that Jesus is the Father's Servant, the One sent to do the will of his Father:
"Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who 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 him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.'" John 6:35-40
Since Jesus is not the Father, and since the Father isn't the only Person of Deity, Jesus can therefore be Yahweh's (i.e. the Father's) Servant and Yahweh at the same time. Here we will break down the point we are making in order to help the readers fully understand our position:
More importantly, had Zawadi continued reading what Isaiah wrote he would have discovered that Isaiah affirmed that the Servant is also God. For instance, there are four Servant passages in Isaiah, commonly referred to as the Suffering Servant passages: 42:1-7, 49:1-10, 50:4-11 and 52:13-53:12. Both the Lord Jesus and the NT writers allude to all these chapters, especially Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Note the words of the Lord Jesus:
"For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: And he was numbered with the transgressors. For what is written about me has its fulfillment." Luke 22:37
In this reference Christ cited Isaiah 53:12. And now notice the following conversation between Philip the evangelist and the Ethiopian eunuch:
"Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, Go over and join this chariot. So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, Do you understand what you are reading? And he said, How can I, unless someone guides me? And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? Fo his life is taken away from the earth. And the eunuch said to Philip, About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else? Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him." Acts 8:26-38
The eunuch was reading from Isaiah 53:7-8 which Philip connected with the Lord Jesus. Hence, these references demonstrate that the Lord Jesus and the first Christians believed that the Suffering Servant passages of Isaiah prophesied the advent of Christ, accounting for why Jesus is identified as the Servant of God all throughout the NT. Yet what Zawadi doesn't realize is that Isaiah 52-53 actually identifies the Suffering Servant as an exalted divine Being who comes to atone for the sins of Gods people!
"Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you -- his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind -- so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand." Isaiah 52:13-15
After his state of humiliation the Servant is then exalted to the very status of Yahweh!
"The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD ALONE will be exalted in that day." Isaiah 2:11, 17
"The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness... Now I will arise, says the LORD, now I will lift myself up; now I will be exalted." Isaiah 33:5, 10
"For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite." Isaiah 57:15
According to the above verses Yahweh is exalted and yet dwells with the lowly in spirit as well. The NT depicts Jesus as the Servant who perfectly expresses Gods humbleness and willingness to associate with the lowly and broken hearted!
That the Servant is exalted to a status that belongs to Yahweh alone implies that he is Yahweh God:
This is precisely what the New Testament says, that Christ was exalted to the highest position of authority, to the very rank of Yahweh God:
"and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all." Ephesians 1:19-23
"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
The Servant is further identified as the very Arm of Yahweh sent to atone for and procure the redemption of God's covenant people:
"Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has THE ARM OF THE LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before is shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." Isaiah 53:1-12
This implies that the Servant is fully Deity since "Arm" is a metaphor for Yahweh's infinite and eternal power which he uses to accomplish his purposes:
"O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for thee. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble." Isaiah 33:2
"My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait." Isaiah 51:5
"The LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God." Isaiah 52:10
"Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was NO MAN, and wondered that there was NO ONE to intervene; then HIS OWN ARM brought him victory, and his righteousness upheld him. He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in fury as a mantle. According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render requital. So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives. And he will come to Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the LORD. And as for me, this is my covenant with them, says the LORD: my spirit which is upon you, and my words which I have put n your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your children, or out of the mouth of your children's children, says the LORD, from this time forth and for evermore." Isaiah 59:15-21
"Who is this that comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he that is glorious in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? 'It is I, announcing vindication, mighty to save.' Why is thy apparel red, and thy garments like his that treads in the wine press? 'I have trodden the wine press alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my raiment. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption has come. I looked, but there was NO ONE to help; I was appalled, but there was NO ONE to uphold; so MY OWN ARM brought me victory, and my wrath upheld me. I trod down the peoples in my anger, I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth." Isaiah 63:1-6
What the foregoing shows is that Yahwehs Servant is the visible manifestation of God's own Power sent to redeem his people by his death on their behalf. In other words, by identifying the Servant as the very Arm of Yahweh, Isaiah was basically stating that the Servant is an intrinsic part of God's very own eternal Being, his very own eternal Power! Isaiah was simply affirming what the NT writers said regarding Jesus being God's own Power who came to bring salvation:
"For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God... but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24
Thus, what Zawadi thought was an argument in his favor actually backfires badly against him and affirms historic Christian beliefs about Jesus!
Another response to Zawadi's argument is given here.
And now as we promised, here are the links demonstrating the biblical basis for the blessed and holy Trinity:
Rebuttals to Answering-Christianity
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page