Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

A Rebuttal to Shabir Ally’s Response to Dr. James White Pt. 2

Sam Shamoun

We continue with our refutation to Ally’s response to Dr. White.



During the debate I showed evidence that this transformation took place. I showed, for example, how systematically through the gospels from Mark to John the image of Jesus gradually evolved so that he moved from a son of God to the Son of God.



Contrary to what Ally claims here, all four of the Gospels depict Jesus as THE Son of God since they all testify that Jesus is God Incarnate.

For instance, the Synoptic Gospels all agree that John the Baptist was the forerunner whom the prophets Isaiah and Malachi announced would be sent to prepare for the coming of Yahweh God to his people. And they also agree that John was sent to prepare the way for Jesus:

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before THY face, who shall prepare THY way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make HIS paths straight—’ John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 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, ‘Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.’” Mark 1:1-11 – cf. Matthew 3:1-3, 11-17; Luke 3:1-6, 15-17; John 1:14-15, 23, 26-29; 3:22-36

This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.’  I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”” Luke 7:27-28 – cf. Matthew 11:10-11

We even have Acts itself confirming that John was sent to announce the coming of Jesus:

“And Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’” Acts 19:4

Now this poses a serious challenge to Ally’s assertion that Jesus’ image evolves from Mark to John, since the prophecies that Mark and the other Gospels quote do not speak of the coming of a mortal messenger. Rather, these OT passages predict that Yahweh himself will come to his own temple and that all flesh will see his glory:   

“A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’… Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Behold your God!’ Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:3-5, 9-11


“Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord (ha Adon) whom you seek will suddenly come to HIS temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:1

The words ha Adon are only used of Yahweh in the OT, just as the following verse shows:

“Therefore the Lord (ha Adon) says, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: ‘Ah, I will vent my wrath on my enemies, and avenge myself on my foes.” Isaiah 1:24 – cf. 3:1; 10:16, 33; 19:4; Exodus 23:17; 34:23; Micah 4:13

Moreover, the Holy Bible is crystal clear that the Temple in Jerusalem was built for the worship of Yahweh alone. The Temple wasn’t built for man since it was intended to be God’s dwelling-place on earth:

“And David the king said to all the assembly, ‘Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great; for the palace WILL NOT BE FOR MAN but for the Lord God.’” 1 Chronicles 29:1

“Then Solomon said, ‘The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. I have built thee an exalted house, a place for thee to dwell in for ever.’” 2 Chronicles 6:1-2 – cf. Matthew 23:21

This makes it abundantly clear that both Isaiah and Malachi are speaking of the Lord God Almighty himself coming to dwell with his people. And yet all of the Gospels agree that these prophecies were fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ!

As such, this proves that all the Gospel writers believed that Jesus Christ is Yahweh God Incarnate, even though they also knew that he wasn’t the Father or the Holy Spirit.

Here is a breakdown of the above so as to help the readers see this point more clearly:

A. The Synoptic Gospels testify that John the Baptist is the forerunner whom both Isaiah and Malachi said would be sent to prepare the people for the coming of Yahweh God Almighty.

B. The Synoptic Gospels also proclaim that John came to announce the coming of Jesus.

C. This means that all three Gospels concur that Jesus is the Lord God Almighty whom the prophets Isaiah and Malachi proclaimed was coming to his temple and dwell with his people.

And since Ally likes liberal critical scholars so much we have decided to quote from some of them to see what they have to say concerning this issue:

“The parallelism clearly indicates that ‘in the wilderness’ modifies ‘prepare the way of the LORD,’ with ‘LORD’ meaning God, Yahweh. Isaiah 40:3 was already understood eschatologically in first-century Judaism, as illustrated by the Qumran community, which went into the wilderness to fulfill this scripture literally. The text of the LXX allows for the voice of the prophet to be heard in the wilderness. Mark had already combined this text with Mal 3:1 and Exod 23:20 and applied it to the Baptist. The Isaiah segment follows the LXX exactly, except for the substitution of ‘his’ for ‘our God,’ thus transferring Isaiah’s prophecy of the advent of God TO THE LORD JESUS. Matthew omits the non-Isaiah part of the text, but otherwise follows Mark verbatim… In all this, Matthew has interpreted John as a precursor of Jesus, a parallel figure who also already knows himself to be subordinate to the Messiah, unworthy even to carry his sandals.” (M. Eugene Boring, “The Gospel of Matthew: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections,” The New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes [Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN 1995], Volume VIII: New Testament Articles, Matthew, Mark, pp. 156, 158; capital and underline emphasis ours)

“The voice crying in the wilderness uses the words of the prophet to sound the beginning of the good news. The prophetic texts suggest that the one for whom the messenger prepares the way IS GOD, whose royal power will liberate a captive people (cf. Isa 40:9-10). Both John (v. 4) the Baptizer and Jesus (vv. 12-13, 35. 45) emerge from the wilderness to preach to the people. The Community Rule found at Qumran indicates the importance of this Isaiah tradition. Members of that Jewish sect looked upon their wilderness community as the place in which the righteous prepared the way of the Lord. however, unlike the Essenes, Jesus is not merely founding a community whose faithful obedience to the Law would anticipate God’s final coming in judgment, such as we find at Qumran. INSTEAD, JESUS IS THE LORD.” (Ibid., “The Gospel of Mark: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections,” by Pheme Perkins, p. 531; capital and underline emphasis ours)

“… The quotation of Isaiah 40 repeats not only v. 3 but the next two verses as well. Although Isa 40:3 is quoted in Matt 3:3; Mark 1:3, and John 1:23, only Luke quotes Isa 40:4-5 with its universalizing allusions to ‘every valley,’ ‘every mountain and hill,’ and ‘all flesh.’ The quotation follows the Septuagint text with minor changes. Luke changes ‘make our God’s paths straight’ to ‘make straight his paths’ SO THAT IT CAN APPLY TO JESUS MORE EASILY, and omits the following clause from v. 6: ‘and the glory of the Lord will be seen’ (cf. Luke 2:9). The last phrase, ‘the salvation of God,’ also appears in Acts 28:28 (see also Luke 2:30).” (Ibid., The Gospel of Luke: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections, by R. Alan Culpepper, Volume IX: Luke, John, p. 81; capital and underline emphasis ours)

There’s more:

“… The prologue relates the promise of OT prophets (1:1-3) to JBap as the one who prepares the way (1:4-8) AND TO JESUS THE LORD AS THE ‘COMING ONE’ (1:9-15). It introduces Jesus as God’s Son and Servant… Son of God: Though absent from a few mss., this phrase is well attested from the 2d cent. on. It prepares for the important Marcan theme of Jesus as the Son of God, which reaches its climax in the centurion’s confession (15:39). 2. Isaiah the prophet: A variant reading ‘the prophets’ can be explained because the quotation from 1:2b is not from Isa. Mark may have used a collection of OT quotations and so attributed it to Isaiah. behold I send … : The quotation is a combination of Exod 23:20 and Mal 3:1… 3. prepare the way … : Isa 40:1-5, which describes Israel’s way back from exile in Babylon, became in Jewish circles a classic expression of God’s comfort and salvation. Mark 1:3 quotes the LXX text of Isa 40:3 except at the very end, where ‘his’ (Jesus’) appears instead of ‘our God’s.’ In the Christian context, JBap was the voice in the wilderness AND JESUS WAS THE LORD WHOSE WAYS JBAP PREPARED AND MADE STRAIGHT7. The stronger one: In JBap’s preaching the epithet could have referred to God’s arrival in power at the coming of the kingdom, but in the Marcan context IT UNDOUBTEDLY REFERS TO JESUS; JOHN PREPARED THE WAY OF THE LORD JESUS. to loosen the strap of his sandals: With respect to Jesus, JBap confesses his unworthiness even to perform the service customarily done by a slave…” (Daniel J. Harrington S.J., “The Gospel According to Mark,” The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, edited by Raymond E. Brown, S.S., Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S.J., Roland E. Murphy, O.Carm. [Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 1990], pp. 598-599; capital and underline emphasis ours)

“… Isa 40:3 is quoted in the LXX form, and references to Yahweh ARE TRANSFERRED TO JESUS…” (Ibid., Benedict T. Viviano, O.P., “The Gospel According to Matthew,” p. 637; capital emphasis ours) 

“… What John is about is in fulfillment of God’s promise of a new exodus, which will be from the exile of death and sin and will be accomplished by Jesus, whose way John prepares… Whereas the LXX of Isa 40:3 has ‘prepare the way of our God,’ Luke has ‘prepare his way,’ a clear reference to John’s preparation of the way of Jesus and one he shares with Mark 1:3.” (Ibid., Robert J. Karris, O.F.M., “The Gospel According to Luke,” p. 686; underline emphasis ours)    

All we can say is, OUCH!

There is additional evidence that the Synoptic writers believed that Jesus is the very God whom the OT said was going to come. In all of the Gospels (including John’s), the Baptist testifies that Jesus will baptize people with/in the Holy Spirit:

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’ Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented.” Matthew 3:11-15

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.” I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John bore witness, ‘I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.’ The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’” John 1:29-36

See also the above citations.

Yet both the Hebrew Bible and the Quran agree that this is a function which God alone carries out.

For instance, the OT states that it is Yahweh who gives his Spirit to his people:

“For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Ezekiel 36:24-28 – cf. 37:12-14; 39:29

“You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit. And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.” Joel 2:27-32 – cf. Isaiah 32:14-15; 34:16; 44:1-3; 59:19-21

And the Muslim scripture says that it is Allah who breathes his spirit into man and who sends a spirit from himself in order to strengthen believers in their faith:

He Who has made everything which He has created most good: He began the creation of man with (nothing more than) clay, And made his progeny from a quintessence of the nature of a fluid despised: But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him something of His spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and feeling (and understanding): little thanks do ye give! S. 32:7-9 Y. Ali

Thou wilt not find any people who believe in God and the Last Day, loving those who resist God and His Apostle, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein (for ever). God will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of God. Truly it is the Party of God that will achieve Felicity. S. 58:22 Y. Ali

Since Jesus baptizes people with the Holy Spirit this means that he must be God in the flesh since this is a work which God alone carries out. There is simply no way around.

Hence, another one of Ally’s arguments bites the dust since all four Gospels present Jesus as the preexistent divine Son of God who became flesh for our salvation.

It is now time to proceed to the third part of our refutation.