Jesus as Thomas’ God

Responding to one Muslim’s Appeal to NT Greek Grammar

Sam Shamoun & Jochen Katz

It seems that Dr. Jamal Badawi is up to his old tricks again, going around the country engaging in public dialogues and debates, using the same worn out arguments which have been addressed at least a dozen times if not more by various Christian theologians, scholars and apologists.

Just recently Dr. Badawi engaged in a debate with Christian apologist Jon Rittenhouse which took place on February 28, 2008, at Cal Poly Pomona on the topic, "Jesus: Prophet or God?" (YouTube video)

Badawi made the following response to Rittenhouse’s quotation from John 20:28 which he used to establish the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ:

But again we find through Christian sources, based on their knowledge of the Greek language, they say this is a figure of speech in Greek where one word is the reality, the other one is intensification of that reality. So which means then Lord, he is talking to Jesus as Lord. And ‘my God’ means actually, according to Christian and some Christian interpreters, ‘you are godlike.’ You are godlike, but not God as has been interpreted.

Badawi failed to provide the name of the scholar or source behind his assertion, yet he did mention one in his debate with Dr. William Lane Craig which took place in February, 1997:

But again we find some Biblical scholar who go back and say that there are certain modes of expression in Greek. And they provide an alternative translation, that you, "My godly Lord." This is a legitimate translation, they suggest "My godly Lord," or means that "you are godlike" not literally that "you are God." (The Concept of God in Islam and Christianity; source)

Badawi then went on to say in the rebuttal period that:

He [Craig] said that this is a poor translation that I was referring to earlier on Greek. This is not my translation. This is based on a book written by a Christian theologian and former clergy who do not lose his faith because he speak very highly of Jesus. It’s called "Jesus Christ is Not God."

What Badawi didn’t mention is that this book was written by a gentleman by the name of Victor Paul Wierwille (now deceased), the founder of The Way International. Concerning Thomas’ declaration of faith in John 20:28 Wierwille believed that Thomas’ statements were an example of a figure of speech known as "hendiadys" and should be translated "my godly Lord." He writes in his book:

The specific figure of speech is called hendiadys. Literally, the figure hendiadys means "one by means of two." Whenever two words are used but only one idea intended, it is the figure hendiadys. One of the two words expresses the fact and the other intensifies it to the superlative degree, thus making the statement especially emphatic. This figure gives considerable cogency to an expression.  When Thomas exclaimed "my Lord and my God," he was observing the resurrected Christ as "my godly lord." The word "lord" expresses the fact and the word "godly" intensifies "lord" to the superlative degree. Indeed my godly lord is exactly what Jesus Christ is! (Wierwille, Jesus Christ is Not God [American Christian Press; 2nd edition, 1981], pp. 36-37)

The readers may not be aware of the fact that The Way International is a cult which distorts Biblical Christianity (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

For example, Wierwille taught that Jesus didn’t have a personal preexistence, but only existed ideally in the mind and foreknowledge of God, much like the rest of humanity. Wierwille further believed that Jesus was a miraculously conceived, sinless human being, no more no less.

Moreover, in both of his debates Badawi stated that Jesus’ claim in John 8:58 that he existed before Abraham should be understood in the sense that Christ existed in the foreknowledge of God, and referred to such passages as Acts 2:23 and 1 Peter 1:20 where the words foreknowledge and foreknew are used. Badawi has also alluded to Ephesians 1:4 in the past to establish his point that God has foreknown or preordained all of us even before the foundation of the world, showing that Christ isn’t the only Person who existed before creation in the mind of God.

In this rebuttal we seek to interact with the assertions made against John 20:28 being a confession of Jesus’ absolute and full Deity. From there we will follow it up with a response to Badawi’s denial that the NT teaches Jesus’ actual prehuman existence.

The Appeal to Cults and Liberal Scholarship –
Badawi’s Blatant Inconsistency Exposed Once More

It is amazing that not only does Dr. Badawi appeal to cult leaders such as Victor Paul Wierwille to deny the explicit NT witness to the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, he even quoted from the Jehovah’s Witnesses in his debate against Rittenhouse!

Badawi sources the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society’s The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (1985) to show that John 1:1 should be rendered as "the Word was a god." He even referenced Appendix 2A, which is found on pages 1139-1140 of the translation, to support the claim that John 1:1 can mean that Jesus is "god-like."

To see why this is a blatant distortion of what the Greek actually says we highly recommend the following articles and rebuttals:

What makes this rather sad is that Badawi is notorious for only citing from any group or scholar who has a particular axe to grind against Biblical Christianity, even having the audacity to pass this off as Christian scholarship. And yet he has the nerve to complain against those who would reference the same type of scholarship against the Quran and Muhammad, e.g. Orientalists, anti-supernaturalists, atheists, certain Muslim sects and cults etc.

After all, what would Badawi do if Christians continuously quoted only from groups such as the Nation of Islam to prove that Allah is actually a black man? What would Badawi say if we sourced Quran only Muslims to show that Q. 9:128-129 is an interpolation that should be expunged or that the Quran condemns the use of secondary sources such as the hadith literature? (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Would he be excited about us referring to the comments of the late Rashad Khalifa to prove that Muhammad wasn’t the last messenger (*) or cite groups like the Ahmadiyyas who believed that their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the long-awaited Messiah and a prophet (*)?

Would he be happy with us quoting from the late Ahmadiyyan scholar Maulana Muhammad Ali to show that the Quran does confirm the death of Jesus in passages such as Q. 3:55 and 5:117 without ever bothering to mention or interact with the responses given by the other side (*)?

If he wouldn’t be pleased with such an approach then why does he only source liberals and cult groups in his criticisms of the Holy Bible and arguments against essential Christian doctrines? Isn’t this a rather blatant example of hypocrisy and inconsistency? Will Badawi ever stop using such double standards and start being honest enough to use equal weights and measures?

"A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight." Proverbs 11:1

"Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD." Proverbs 20:10; cf. 23

And is there any Muslim who has intellectual integrity and also the courage to see and speak out against Badawi’s dishonest and deceptive debate tactics? Will there be Muslims who rise to challenge and expose such blatant hypocrisy?

Lest we be accused of committing the genetic fallacy or ad hominem argumentation, or of being inconsistent ourselves (1, 2), we are not saying that a person cannot source cultic or liberal materials. What we are saying is that Muslims shouldn’t limit themselves to sources which come only from those who are seeking to undermine Biblical Christianity, selectively citing from individuals or groups who do not speak on behalf of or represent historic Christianity. Muslims should also engage the best that conservative Christian scholarship has to offer, and to read the responses from those who do believe in the authority of the Holy Bible and who hold firmly to orthodox Christianity. Only then will a Muslim be able to know and determine whether the citations or references from liberals and cult groups have any merit or whether such assertions have already been thoroughly addressed and refuted.

For more on the inconsistent use of liberal scholarship by Muslims and how this can easily backfire against them, we suggest the following articles:

With the foregoing in perspective we can now turn our attention to Wierwille’s claims concerning John 20:28 being an example of the figure of speech known as hendiadys.

Jesus as Thomas’ God and the use of Hendiadys

As stated by Wierwille, hendiadys is a figure of speech in which two words connected by a conjunction are used to express a single idea that would normally be expressed by an adjective and a substantive (noun), such as favor and grace instead of gracious favor. For more on this figure of speech please consult the Wikipedia entry on Hendiadys.

There are several problems with Badawi’s appeal to Wierwille's explanation. First, supposing for argument’s sake that we did view this as a hendiadys construction then both Badawi and Wierwille would be wrong in proposing the translation "godly Lord" since "godly" is not the correct adjective that corresponds to the noun "God." The term "godly" describes a pious human being whose attention is wholly on pleasing God with all his life. It has a similar meaning as saying "he is a saint". The appropriate adjective is "Divine". When speaking about the attributes of God we do not call them "godly" attributes but Divine attributes. Nor is "god-like" an appropriate adjective since it communicates that someone or something is NOT divine, though possessing some similarity.

If Thomas’ exclamation were a hendiadys construction – which it is not – then one need at least use the correct adjective in the translation. Substituting the noun God with the wrong adjective reveals the utter incompetence of Wierwille and Badawi, or worse, their deliberate deception which they are willing to employ in order to attack the clear testimony of the Holy Bible.

Under the assumption that this is a hendiadys, then the correct translation is not "my godly Lord" but "my Divine Lord". What kind of Lord is Jesus? He is the Divine Lord, i.e. he is God. Thomas’ confession would still have the same meaning, exactly the meaning that Badawi wants to deny.

In other words, Badawi made two grave mistakes that expose his ignorance and shoddy scholarship. He wrongly identified this expression as hendiadys, and then he applied the hendiadys incorrectly.

Using an illustration from the realm of tools, first Badawi calls a shovel a hammer and then tries to use it to fell a tree as if it were an axe. No wonder that houses built by Badawi’s construction company keep falling apart.

Moreover, if Thomas had wanted to say "my godly Lord" he could easily have done so. Consider these passages from the New Testament:

"We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man (theosebus) who does his will." John 9:31

"Godly (eulabeis) men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him." Acts 8:2

"if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men (eusebeis) from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment." 2 Peter 2:9

Thomas (or John who recorded Thomas’ words) could easily have used either one of the above adjectives if he wanted to address Jesus as his "godly Lord", but he did not. He addressed him as "my Lord and my God" as much as Badawi may dislike it.

This leads to the second problem with Badawi’s claim. Assuming for argument’s sake that we did view this as a hendiadys the verse would then be saying that Jesus is Thomas’ Sovereign Lord, his Divine Owner and Master, a point which the NT emphasizes repeatedly such as in the following texts:

"Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism." Colossians 3:22-25

"For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." Jude 1:4

Yet the only way for Jesus to be Thomas’ (and the believers’) Divine Lord is if he is God since the Holy Bible emphatically teaches that there is only one Divine sovereign Lord:

"The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name… Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain." Zechariah 14:9, 16-17

"‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one (kyrios ho theos hemon kyrios heis estin)."’" Mark 12:29

Lest the reader misunderstand, we are not saying that Yahweh is the only Lord since there are human beings or angels who are lords in a relative sense, in the sense of having authority over another. What we are saying is that the Holy Bible repeatedly emphasizes that Yahweh is the only Lord who is Divine, who is God. Thus, if Jesus were merely a human being he could not be Thomas’ Divine Lord.

Yet since Thomas calls Jesus his Divine Lord and not merely Lord, with Christ accepting this as a valid confession of faith, Badawi (as well as his authority) faces a dilemma. What he thought was an argument refuting the Deity of Christ ends up backfiring against him and actually proves that Jesus is God since this is the only way for him to be the believers’ "godly" (i.e. Divine) Lord and to have attributes and characteristics that are exclusively Divine (as we shall see later).

The third problem with this argument is that Badawi failed to inform his audience that Wierwille believed that theos functioned as an adjective which gives "lord" a superlative sense. Yet the superlative sense means that Jesus is the highest kind of Lord there is, holding the highest order or position possible, surpassing all else, being supreme over all, precisely what the NT teaches:

"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." Romans 8:29

God’s Son is firstborn over his brothers in the sense that he holds higher rank and authority than they.

"which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." Ephesians 1:20-23

"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that 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

To be exalted to the highest place of authority and given the name above all names basically means that Christ has the same authority of God, of Yahweh.

"And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy." Colossians 1:18

"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." Colossians 2:9-10

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 3:1-2

"and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." 1 Peter 3:21-22

"and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth." Revelation 1:5

"They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers." Revelation 17:14; cf. 19:16

According to these inspired texts God raised Jesus from the dead and exalted him above all authority and dominion in order that he might reign as the Sovereign Lord of all creation both in this age and in the age to come.

The Scriptures further speak of Christ’s kingdom being eternal, as having no end:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this." Isaiah 9:6-7

"But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’" Luke 1:30-33

"and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:11

"The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.’" Revelation 11:15

Moreover, some of these references assert that Jesus’ exaltation over creation stems from his being positioned next to God’s right hand. Lest Badawi try and brush aside these verses on the grounds that these are not the words of Jesus notice what Christ stated concerning his being seated at God’s right hand:

"… Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’" Mark 14:61b-62

Not only does Christ himself say that he will be seen sitting at God’s right hand he further claims to be the Son of Man who comes on the clouds of heaven.

What makes this claim rather astonishing is that Christ is identifying himself with the Son of Man whom the prophet Daniel saw, the One who rules forever as king and whom all must worship:

"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14

Thus, Jesus believed that he is an eternal King whom all creation must someday worship!

As if this weren’t mind-boggling enough Jesus’ assertions become all the more astounding when we consider that, according to the OT, Yahweh is the One who rules on the throne as the most High over creation:

"Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD— that you alone are the Most High over all the earth." Psalm 83:18

"Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? Psalm 113:5-6

"I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven." Psalm 123:1

But this leads to serious problems both for Badawi and his source. If Jesus is ruling on the throne of God as the highest Sovereign there is, both in heaven and on the earth, then he must be God.

For more on Jesus ruling on the throne of God we recommend the following articles:

Moreover, let us see what happens when we interpret the following OT texts that speak of Yahweh being both God and King as hendiadys constructions:

Attend the voice of my supplication, My King, and my God (ho basileus mou kai ho theos mou); for to You, O Lord, will I pray. Psalm 5:3 Septuagint (LXX) [5:2 Eng.] (Source)

You are indeed my King and my God (ho basileus mou kai ho theos mou), who commanded deliverance for Jacob. Psalm 43:5 LXX [44:4 Eng.] (Source)

Yea, the sparrow has found himself a home, and the turtle dove a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even Your altars, O Lord of hosts my King, and my God (ho basileus mou kai ho theos mou). Psalm 83:4 LXX [84:3 Eng.] (Source)

By interpreting the above citations as examples of hendiadys, and using Wierwille’s and Badawi’s wrong choice of adjective, we would get the translation, "my godly King." Now would anyone suggest or think for a moment that Yahweh is merely god-like but not God? Or would a person assume that by "godly" the inspired Psalmist is affirming that Yahweh is the Divine King who holds the highest authority and is therefore supreme over all (assuming of course that these texts are all examples of a hendiadys)?

The following reference actually uses a construction similar to the one used by Thomas, with the only difference being that the words are reversed:

Awake, O Lord, and attend to my judgment, even to my cause, my God and my Lord (ho theos mou kai ho kyrios mou). Psalm 34:23 LXX [35:23 Eng.] (Source)

If this is another example of "one by means of two" then its meaning is that Yahweh is the sovereign God.

And here is a NT passage which is similar to John 20:28 in its grammatical construction:

"You are worthy, our Lord and God (ho kyrios kai ho theos mou), to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." Revelation 4:11

By once again assuming that this is a hendiadys construction we would translate this verse as "Divine Lord."

Again, does any reader actually think that this means that Yahweh is merely god-like or godly in some sense but isn’t truly and fully Divine? Isn’t it obvious that the plain and natural reading of these citations is that Yahweh is truly God and therefore the highest and most exalted Lord there is?

Yet this is the same language used for the risen Lord Jesus! What, then, does this say about Christ?

This leads us to the fourth problem that Badawi faces. The word "Lord" (kyrios) was the standard New Testament translation of the name of God in the Old Testament, Yahweh or Jehovah. To, therefore, say that Jesus is Lord in the superlative sense is to implicitly admit that the NT identifies Christ as Yahweh since, as we saw earlier, there is no higher Lord than the God of Israel.

There are, in fact, places in the NT where OT citations that speak of Yahweh are actually applied to Christ. For instance, the OT says that believers are those who call upon Yahweh and are thus saved:

"And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls." Joel 2:32

The NT applies this passage to Christ, that Jesus is the Lord whom we call on in order to be saved:

"That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’" Romans 10:9-13

There is no denying that the context here is pointing to Jesus as the Lord whom all must call upon. He is even said to be the Lord of all, both of the living and the dead:

"For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living." Romans 14:9

"You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all." Acts 10:36

The OT also speaks of calling upon the name of Yahweh in prayer:

"Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the LORD and he answered them." Psalm 99:6

Something that the NT says believers do whenever they call on Christ directly:

"To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:" 1 Corinthians 1:2

Hence, Wierwille’s argument backfires against Badawi. If Jesus is Lord in a superlative sense then he is the highest and most exalted Lord there is, and therefore must be Yahweh God!

Yet if Jesus were only a godly man, no more no less, as both Badawi and Wierwille erroneously believe, then he should have refused Thomas's words and sternly rebuked him for calling him his Divine Lord. Christ should have told him that such praise and worship is to be directed to Yahweh, the only Divine Lord there is since he alone is Lord in this superlative sense.

Finally, it is not true that the meaning of the second word always or necessarily loses its use as a noun and takes on an adjectival sense when it is used in conjunction with another substantive.

As noted by Blass and DeBrunner, "The co-ordination of two ideas, one of which is dependent on the other (hendiadys), serves in the NT to avoid a series of dependent genitives (Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (228). Chicago: University of Chicago Press). The example of Acts 23:6 is given, "on account of the hope of the resurrection of the dead" which is literally "the hope and resurrection of the dead."  Other examples given include Acts 14:17, 1:25, 1 Peter 4:14, James 5:10, Luke 2:47, 21:15, Romans 1:5, 2 Timothy 4:1, Titus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:16, etc.  What one sees in all of these examples is that one cannot simply assume that any two nouns connected by kai is an example of hendiadys.  To be able to make such a claim requires positive contextual evidence.  Is the phrase seeking to avoid a lengthy string of modifying genitives?  If not, one is hard pressed to assert the existence of hendiadys. 

Nor is John 20:28 actually a hendiadys, for that matter, since the text doesn’t quote Thomas as saying, "My Lord and God," but rather has him directly addressing Jesus as his Lord and HIS God,

"Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and MY God (ho kyrios mou kai ho theos mou – lit., ‘the Lord of me and the God of me’)!’" John 20:28

Thus, instead of "one by means of two" the grammatical construction of John 20:28 clearly shows that Thomas was using two distinct Divine titles for Christ.

In light of this, Wierwille doesn’t bother explaining how articular nouns modified by the possessive pronoun mou (e.g. "the Lord of me," "the God of me") can fit into a hendiadys usage, especially in direct address. Nor does he explain how the noun theos suddenly takes on a descriptive role when the context is one of identification, i.e. these are nominatives (the case of subject) being used as vocatives (the case of direct address), and hence are used to identify Thomas’ Lord and God. 

In other words, John’s purpose in recording Thomas’ confession is to get the readers to see the true identity of Christ as the Divine Son of God and Savior:

"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." John 20:30-31

In fact, the overall evidence from the Gospel of John proves beyond any doubt that we are to take Thomas’ confession in its plain and literal sense, e.g. Thomas wasn’t merely calling Christ his Divine Lord but was worshiping him as his Lord God in light of the resurrection which vindicated Jesus’ claims to Deity.

After all, this confession comes at the climax of a Gospel which has gone out of its way to prove that Jesus is both God and the Son of God who became flesh:

"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… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth… No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." John 1:1-3, 14, 18

A Gospel which presents Christ as sharing equal Divine honors with the Father and as having the same Divine ability to perform works which only God can carry out, such as raising the dead and giving eternal life:

"So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.’ For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. Jesus gave them this answer: ‘I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son JUST AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him… I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live… Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.’" John 5:16-23, 25, 28-29

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’" John 10:27-33

A Gospel which expressly says that once Jesus is lifted up, i.e. crucified and resurrected, the people will then come to realize that he is the Divine I AM who existed before Abraham was created and came down from the Father out of heaven to save all those who would believe in him:

"But he continued, ‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I AM (ego eimi) you will indeed die in your sins.’ … So Jesus said to them, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM (ego eimi), and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.’ … Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ … Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me… I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death… Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.’ ‘You are not yet fifty years old,’ the Jews said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham!’ ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I AM (ego eimi)!’ At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds." John 8:23-24, 28, 34-36, 42, 51, 56-59

There is simply no contextual reason to follow Wierwille's identification of the appearance of hendiadys in this text, and it is obvious the only reason he and others like Badawi even suggest that it is to deny the rather explicit testimony to the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus afforded by this passage. 

With the foregoing in perspective it is rather evident that Badawi (much like Wierwille) was simply tossing out some fancy words in order to confuse and/or impress his audience in an attempt to prevent them from seeing the full Christological import of Thomas’ confession.

This concludes the first part of our discussion. Continue with Part 2.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus, come. We hereby confess along with the apostle Thomas that you are our risen Lord and our immortal God for ever and ever! Amen.

Further Reading

Book Recommendations

For an excellent discussion and analysis of the overwhelming Biblical basis for the Deity of Christ we recommend Robert M. Bowman Jr. & J. Ed Komoszweski’s book, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ (*).

We also encourage the readers to try to get their hands on Robert L. Sumner’s book length refutation of Wierwille’s book titled, Jesus Christ is God, published by Biblical Evangelism Press, TN 1983. The book may be hard to find but worth the search since it thoroughly refutes the assertions made by Wierwille in his work.

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