January 18, 2015

Practicing Muslim Challenges Former Muslim On Christian Beliefs.

I would like to share that when I had my encounter with Jesus Christ September 2003, I was hanging off of a cliff and in desperation I was praying to God to help me and Jesus suddenly appeared with His hand extended to me and He kept repeating, Trust and Believe. I was changed instantly when I reached out for His hand and stood in front of Him. I never read the Bible, my flesh still prevented me from opening the Bible. It wasn't until a couple years later, that I found out that Jesus said, "He that has seen me, has seen the Father (John 14:9). I share the exact words Jesus made to His disciples below taken from the Bible.
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. [John 14: 9-14 NKJV]
I just typed a transcript of the video above for my readers who need to translate and for those who are unable to view the video.

Muslim from Pakistan: Assalamualaikum. So being a Muslim, my main problem is the Christian doctrine of Godhead of Jesus. So there's a couple of questions. First of all, I find this concept logically fallacious. Like there are many aspects to it's logical fallacy as in maybe, one of them could be how can God be finite and then infinite at the same time? Like saying that there could exist a square circle. It's a logical fallacy. So when you say that Jesus was God, or Son of God, you're actually saying that God existed in infinitude, living the life of Jesus, and He also is infinite at the same time. This is logically fallacious. Because you're coming from a historical standpoint.

Ex-Muslim turned Christian Nabeel Qureshi: interrupts and says, did you want me to answer that?

Muslim from Pakistan: uh uh it's the same question continued. So because you are coming from a historical standpoint, another thing that adds like the historical evidence, that supports this argument, is that the concept of Trinity, the word Trinity itself, it doesn't appear as a theological term until near the end of the second century after Jesus. So, it was first used by Bishop of Antioch 81 AD. So, we can, adding up to that, when you refer to Mark chapter 14, verse 62, is what you say Jesus claimed to be God? Are you really applying the same criteria of objectivity that you are applying previously to the Quran. When interpreting this, as meaning that Jesus is claiming himself to be God? Because if you look at it completely objectively, looking at the entire text, like there is nothing in the entire text that saying that Jesus claimed to be God. And in fact, the words you so quote that Jesus is the Son of man. So, I'm...

Ex-Muslim turned Christian Nabeel Qureshi: Those are good questions. Umm... don't go anywhere. What's your name?

Muslim from Pakistan: Munsoor.

Ex-Muslim turned Christian Nabeel Qureshi: Munsoor, where are you from?

Muslim from Pakistan: Pakistan.

Ex-Muslim turned Christian Nabeel Qureshi: Pakistan. I had the exact same questions when I practiced Islam. What I want to point out, is that first and foremost, what we have to see is what Jesus claimed for Himself. Now, the secondary stuff that follows, the theological unfolding, or unpacking, we can spend years and years debating what it means. What did He say about Himself? That's the first thing we want to look at. So, again, that's a historical perspective. Theologians argue all day long, back and forward, back and forward. Theologians argue all the time and I just sit back and watch and smile because you can't really prove it one way or another. But when it comes to historical events we can show with relative degrees of certainty if the evidence is good, if the records are good, what the most likely conclusion is. So first, and let me give you an answer and if you feel like interjecting, we can talk afterwards.

First I want to point out that you are absolutely right, the term trinity is not used until the end of the second century. What is the doctrine of God called in the Quran? In Islam. What is the doctrine of God called?

Muslim from Pakistan: Dalheed.

Ex-Muslim turned Christian Nabeel Qureshi: Dalheed. Is that in the Quran.

Muslim from Pakistan: Uhh... the word Dalheed is a derived word from Al-ḥamdu lillāh.

Ex-Muslim turned Christian Nabeel Qureshi: Al-ḥamdu lillāh, good, so you understand that the word Dalheed is not itself in the Quran. In the same way the word Trinity is not itself in the Bible. This doesn't pose a problem. The Shahada is not is not found in the Quran. You have the components of the Shahada in the Quran, but you do not have (la ela ?) in that way found in the Quran. The components are found in the Quran. With the Trinity, the components are found in the Bible. So...(gets interrupted)

Muslim from Pakistan: Uh... the word Dalheed does appear in the Hadith.

Ex-Muslim turned Christian Nabeel Qureshi: That's great. But it's not in the Quran and the Hadith is much later. So, we're looking at, you asked for the Bible and we have in the early conanical tradition, people calling God a Trinity in the early cananical tradition. In fact, much closer to Jesus' time than the Hadith were to Mohammad's time. So, which ever way you stack it, when you're consistent, you end up with a stronger case for the Trinity, for Jesus deity. Now, I want to continue on to your next part of your question, is Jesus finite or infinite? The argument is that Jesus is, you know I'd like to pose it in a slightly different way. Can Allah come onto this world if he wants? Can he be in this world if he wants?

Muslim from Pakistan: no, I wouldn't think so.

Ex-Muslim turned Christian Nabeel Qureshi: You wouldn't think so. So, Allah's omnipotence is limited. He can't come onto this world.

Muslim from Pakistan: It's like basically you, Allah can not do logically fallacious things. He can not create a square circle, right?

Ex-Muslim turned Christian Nabeel Qureshi: But how do we know that's what this is? Because for example, in Surah Al-i'Imran when Allah is talking to Moses, it says in Surah Al-i'Imran, I think it's Surah Al-i'Imran, it might be Surah 18, but double check, it says that Allah as he spoke to Moses was in the bush. Allah was in the bush. So if you want to say that meant something else, you're going to have to argue with the Quran on that one. It seems to be pretty clear, that Allah can emanate his voice from a physical place, he can be in a physical place in a sense. In the same way, we don't believe, I don't believe, that God coming to this Earth limits His omnipotence. It's not a limitation of His omnipotence. Jesus has taken on flesh. God, the Father is still everywhere. God, Jesus the Son, is here on this Earth. It's a limitation in that sense, but it's not a limitation of His nature. He's both the Divine and human nature. That's the argument.

Now I want to talk about briefly, and then we're going to have to go to the next question, but let's talk afterward for sure. You asked about the Son of man, you said that He's not calling Himself the Son of God, He's calling Himself the Son of man. I'm emphasizing to you my friend, when this hit me, again, while I was practicing Islam, when this hit me, it hit me like a bolt of lighting. The claim Son of God, according to Jews at that time was not anything Divine. Adam was called the son of God. Solomon was called the son of God. In the Psalms it says you are sons. It's not a Divine claim to call someone sons of God. When someone refers to that Son of man (and he points up), coming on the clouds of Heaven, who's going to receive glory, authority, and sovereignty power and people of every nation and language are going to worship Him with the worship due only to God. That Son of man is more than just a human, He is Divine. He's going to worshipped by all people, for all time. So, when Jesus calls Himself the Son of man, it's not the Son of God title and lot's of Christians get this wrong, so I'm not pointing the finger at you. Lot's of Christians say oh Son of man means He's human and Son of God means He's God. No, it's the other way around. In the Jewish context, Son of God was a normal, human title. Son of man from Daniel chapter 7, that was something Divine. Go back and read Daniel chapter 7. See that this man was worshipped by all people for all eternity. This man, the one who looks like a human, is worshipped by all people along side of God, the Father that's the one Jesus is claiming to be. Definitely understand that point that I'm trying to make. And so when you see that Jesus claim is found there in Mark 14:62, it's found in all the Gospels and every time Jesus uses the term, the Son of man, He's eluding to that. You can not extract that from the Gospels (New Testament/2nd half of the Bible). So please put Mark 14:62 (New Testament/2nd half of the Bible) next to Daniel chapter 7 (Old Testament/1st half of the Bible/The Jewish Torah/before Jesus) and see what Jesus is claiming for Himself.

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