A Counter-Challenge to Sam Shamoun and the Christian Missionaries

Pro-Pas

Recently Sam Shamoun, a well-known belligerent and provocative Christian missionary at Answering Islam, issued a “challenge” to Muslims to prove that Jesus (peace be upon him) did not claim to be God, as per the Qur’anic statement. His challenge is two-fold:

(1) Challenging Muslims to show where in the Qur’an Jesus says he is not God or not the Son of God.

and

(2) to bring the Aramaic phrase where Jesus disavows his claim to divinity.

It is obvious, however, that his demands are as preposterous as they are stupid. The Qur’an certainly quotes or paraphrases Jesus as saying that he is not God.1 and the Qur’an denies that he is a Son of God2, but in Arabic. This is because the Qur’an has affirmed itself to be revealed in Arabic text3, sent down to an Arab prophet, lest its audience uses the excuse that they will not be able to understand the Qur’an if were brought down in a foreign tongue.

Furthermore, unlike the Bible, the Qur’an is not a historical document written over the centuries by numerous scribes who were “inspired” and was later compiled into a book. The Qur’an is an Arabic text in nature and has always been in Arabic, therefore there is no need to bring an actual statement. To demand that the words of Jesus (P) be quoted in its original language would be akin to asking an English philosopher to quote the words of Confucius in his original Chinese language to a totally American audience who does not understand Chinese!

However, since Sam Shamoun has brought this needless issue up, we would like to issue a counter-challenge to the veracity of his claims. Perhaps we might be inclined to accept his premise, and indeed even acknowledge that Jesus is indeed God in the flesh as per the Christian belief, if he and his missionary brethren are able to answer the following question:

Show us where precisely, in Aramaic, does Jesus say that he is God or the Son of God as in “more than a man”?

We are not interested in quotations found in Greek, as it is generally accepted that the language Jesus, peace be upon him, spoke was Aramaic. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to demand the exact Aramaic statements from Jesus, peace be upon him, and word-for-word, in inverted commas.

Furthermore, we demand that this Aramaic quote, assuming if one exists, is one which all New Testament scholars deem authentic and agree upon without question, including all the critical scholars. Moreover, there should be absolutely no controversy whatsover over the interpretation and, of course, the authenticity of this verbatim Aramaic statement.

If the missionary decides to quote something in Greek, or anything the interpretation of which is disputed or the authenticity of which is disputed, he would fail to meet our challenge. We want, we repeat, a verbatim Aramaic quote, the authenticity and interpretation of which is not at all disputed, where Jesus says categorically “I am God” and where he claims to be the “the Son of God”, as in “more than a man”.

And only God knows best. bismika-tombstone A Counter-Challenge to Sam Shamoun and the Christian Missionaries

Footnotes

  1. See Qur’an, 5:116-117 where Jesus is explicitly quoted as follows: “And behold! Allah will say “O Jesus the son of Mary! didst thou say unto men `worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah”? He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. “Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say to wit `Worship Allah my Lord and your Lord’; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up thou wast the Watcher over them and Thou art a Witness to all things.. So basically the missionary has no case since we have here the statement of Jesus (P) who denies being God. Whether the missionary wants to believe that this is a “fictitious account”, that is not our problem. Our belief is that the portrayal of Jesus (P) in the New Testament is mostly fictitious, but it is not we who make silly challenges as the Christian missionary is fond of making! []
  2. “Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth about which they (vainly) dispute. It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter He only says to it “Be” and it is.” (Qur’an, 19: 34-35) []
  3. “A Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail; a Qur’an in Arabic for people who understand.” (Qur’an 41:3) []

22 Comments

  1. Those verses basically speak of Jesus saying that his teaching / words he did not originate from himself, but the Father. They dont make him a deity

  2. 1. Jn 14, 9
    2. Jn 16, 13-15
    3. Mt 26, 63-65

    No problem at all…

    Can you bring me the proof that Mohamed is a prophet?

    Esme

  3. OPEN CHALLENGES TO CHRISTIANS

    1.Can you bring US the Passage where Jesus says I am God.

    2.Can you bring US the verse where Jesus said God is three in One.

    3.Can you bring US the verse where Jesus claims to have dual natures i.e. fully man and fully God

  4. Denis Giron is as brainless as they come. I remember his article about the islamic concept of hell and how he believes it is not scientifically sound. For example he says it is impossible for someone to burn forever in hell because the fire will soon run out of fuel or things to burn. If you think i’m making this up then here’s the quote:

    “How can eternal fire be any kind of divine punishment that one should fear? You cannot be burned for eternity. Your body only offers a given and finite amount of fuel for fire. Eventually there will be nothing left to burn.”(Denis Giron)

    What a ridiculous argument, Giron seems to forget that hell is the punishment of God and God can do anything. He forgets that muslims believe God is all powerful and can do what he likes, this includes burning people for eternity in hell. God explains in the quran in the following way:

    “Those who reject our Signs, We shall soon cast into the Fire: as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.” (Holy Qur’an Surah 4 verse 56)

    So basically if you believe in an almighty and powerful God then such punishments are not far fetched or impossible. However, if you’re an athiest then you will believe such punishments to be impossible. Girons whole argument against the islamic concept of hell stands on one belief, the belief that God doesn’t exist. Giron fails to realise that if God truly does exist then such punishments are not impossible at all. I think Mr Giron will find that his arguments will only work the day he proves God doesn’t exist.

  5. Who invented Trinity in the first place – is what baffled us Muslims.

    Was it Paul, a Jewish pharisee (?), a heretic (?), an agent-provacteur for the Rome in leading to Jesus being persecuted (but not curcified because Iscariot was the betrayer and he was put on the cross)

    Christianity vs Islaam is really about Trinity vs TAWHEED

    Muslims, if you are bothered by constant Christian’s harrassing your thoughts and intending to pull you into their folds (like is warned in the Quran that Jews and Christians will not be satisified until you become astray, not necessarily converting to Christian but becoming apostate)

    Then please try to stop for a while reading discussions (Internet) where these kuffars tell lies and deceive your mind. Instead, search for videos, audios, etc from the like of Allahyarham Ahmad Deedat, the wonderful speech of Syeikh Khalid Yasin, and mykuliah.com collections.

    We need to debunk Christianity the way Ahmad Deedat did it lillahitaala.

  6. This coment is for Denis Giron and Christians that say that it is clear that NT declares Jesus to be god.

    Just show me where Jesus say “Iam God Almighty” thats all. Dont go to read assumptions and interpretantions and other meanings. Dont forget that being Jesus god is a the very first and the most basic teaching of Christianity, and i wonder how Jesus failed to make ONE only ONE statement that he is God,,,indeed very weird! and not only that..Just show me where Jesus taught Trinity, the word “RINITY”ever uteerd from the lips of Jesus?? Did Jesus said to the jews that for example…”Jews from now on your God is a triune god? No!! Jesus said Your God is one God..why didnt he say your God is 3 in 1 or 1 in 3?? Jesus never claimed that he is God.. so we have:

    1) Christianity claims that Jesus is God, but Jesus never said that he is God and never teached that

    2) Christianity claims that God is Triune, but Jesus never said that God is Triune and never teached that……let us accept that Jesus said that He is God(he didnt for sure) and God is Triune(he didnt for sure) then most certainly he faild to teach and elaborate for Christians or the jews in that times about these issues.

  7. You can also visit http://adeelrehman2000.tripod.com for more info

  8. Greetings Tariq…

    I am more than willing to visit islamicboard.com or islamlife.com. Have you already started a thread in one of those forums? If so, e-mail me the url – denisgiron1978@yahoo.com -. If not, start a thread at your leisure and I will take part, after you e-mail me the URL.

    Regarding the claim that Sina and I are “lovers,” my point is that a lack of evidence does not make the claim false. The truth or falsity of a claim (any claim, including claims which we may find offensive) depends solely on whether it reflects reality. So if Tariq says “Denis and Sina are lovers” and I respond “Tariq is a liar,” in no way did I prove the claim false (even though it is false). That was my point: a claim (such as “Denis and Sina are lovers” or “Muhammad burned books”) may be false, and it may lack evidence, but declaring it to be false and pointing to the lack of evidence does not demonstrate its falsity.

    Now, regarding my name being “Denis Giron,” yes, I could provide proof by furnishing such things as my New York state identification, my passport, my birth certificate, et cetera, but did I actually do that? No. I have not. My point was that I have provided zero evidence that this is my name, but the lack of evidence does not make the claim false. That was my point.

    Regarding proving a negative, I agree that is ridiculous. If you said “Denis Giron burned books,” it would be hard for me to think of a way to prove that claim false. Nonetheless, me yelling that you’re a “liar” would not prove it false. This is a simple point about logic. My point was that Nadir overstepped his bounds a bit. What he should have done was note that, thus far, Dr. Sina provided zero evidence, and left it at that (and I would have agreed with him). But Nadir took it further, and claimed that by calling Dr. Sina a liar, he had actually demonstrated the falsity of the claim.

    Now again, I agree that in the case of the claim that Muhammad “burned books,” the burden of proof is on Dr. Sina. I also have said that I, personally, do not believe Dr. Sina’s claim is true. And furthermore I have noted that Dr. Sina has yet to provide any evidence. Nonetheless, my point was a simple point of logic: even if Dr. Sina’s claim is false, Nadir yelling “liar” is not a sufficient demonstration of such. Mind you, I’m not claiming it is Nadir’s job to prove it false, but Nadir did claim that he proved it false by calling Dr. Sina a liar, when in reality that only shows that Nadir had a poor sense of what constitutes “proof”.

    If anyone on the FFI forum thinks I have proven Sina’s claim about book-burning true, then they are badly mistaken. I was unable to find any posts via the FFI search option in which posters were claiming such, but if you provide me with such a thread, I am more than willing to go on record and clarify my position in that thread.

    Anyway, if you do start a thread in one of the above-mentioned forums, e-mail me the URL. I look forward to further discussion with you on this subject and others.

  9. “To Tariq, this is not relevant, as you well know, so perhaps it is better if you e-mail me, or if you e-mail me the URL of a forum thread where you’d like to discuss it…”

    The forum at islamicboard.com or islamlife.com would be fine

    “That being said, your claim about Sina and me being lovers is not necessarily false just because you provided no evidence”
    actually it is. if it isnt then u too ARE lovers. i made the claim so i have to prove it u dont have to prove me wrong. if within a reasonable amount of time i cant, then u can safely consider me a liar.

    “(the fact that it is potentially insulting is not going to make me suddenly turn my back on this fact of logic).”
    Insulting? arent u a free minded person? wots wrong with a person in love with another person? anyways plz read wot i said again:

    “IF I was to use the same logic as Mr. Giron, I CAN easily say that Sina and Giron are lovers! I give no proof of that so that means im wrong? ”

    And plz read this part again:
    “of course u can make a similar claim against me, but it wont work. Why? because I BELIEVE THAT A PERSON IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY AND NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND as you and sina have implyed”

    I, in other words, i dont believe u to be a lover of sina, but if we WERE to follow ur logic, i could claim u to be and be happy and contented that i was right. it wouldnt matter that i presented no evidence and never will because i cant as i was wrong

    “For a less-abusive example, I have provided zero evidence that my real name is Denis Giron – do you believe, therefore, that I am lying?”
    Your name is something which IS THERE. i mean it exists. it is something which can be proven. u can prove ur name by showing a valid passport etc i can prove u wrong by maybe stealing ur passport, or showing YOUR own comment on the internet where u contradict urself.
    But wot about the burning of the books? lets suppose it didnt happen, so can i prove something WHICH ISNT THERE NOT TO BE THERE???!!!
    suppose i come up to u and tell u i HAVE a ferrari. u tell me that i need to prove it to u. so wot so i do? i show it to u along with the necessary papers proving the owners identity.
    But suppose I DONT HAVE A FERRARI? But u claim i have one. and u tell me that i have to PROVE SOMETHING THAT I DONT HAVE??!!
    wot can i do? NOT SHOW U A FERRARI? thats crazy.
    Ur analogy was false. sina says something happend in history(book burning), but it didnt happen, so how do i prove him wrong? by not showing him historical sources? HE has to prove himself right. tell me one thing, y did sina say that Prophet Muhammad(P) burned books? i mean there has got to be a reason right? knowledge does not come from inside u have to LEARN it, specially wen it comes to an event which happened centuries before sinas grand father was even born.
    i think u would agree with me that knowledge wouldnt come from inside. and ali sina seems to have knowledge of some book burning. where did he get this knowledge from? thats all Nadir Ahmads asking . till now(how much time has passed) ali sina didnt cite us the source of his knowledge so it wouldnt take a rocket scientist to conclude that sina is a liar( in my last comment i provided u with a link that PROVES sina a liar, or atleast ignorant. sina claimed that the alexandria library was burned down by muslims. now this event is something which really HAPPENED so it can be proven as to who did it.)

    “I never claimed that Dr. Sina’s claim has been proven true.”
    i know but if u go to the FFI forum you’ll see that many of his supporters are linking to ur article as a defense for sinas lie. they believe that u have proven tht sina is right!! so i request that u either write a note on the article that you havent proven sina right or remove this section. apperantly not all humans have critical thinking skills to understand that u havent proven sina right.

    ” No where have I claimed a person is guilty until proven innocent. You have misunderstood me…”
    i know u didnt cliam this. but wot about all the islamophobes out there? all they want is an article against muslims, does not matter wot the content. and u misunderstood me on the lover issue.

  10. I have several small comments to make.

    First, to DoctorMaybe, I admit that was pretty funny, but not very substantive, much less relevant.

    To Skipman, you absolutely have my persmission to repost what I wrote (though, could you e-mail me the URL of the thread you start – denisgiron1978@yahoo.com – as I’d like to see the responses of others).

    To Tariq, this is not relevant, as you well know, so perhaps it is better if you e-mail me, or if you e-mail me the URL of a forum thread where you’d like to discuss it… That being said, your claim about Sina and me being lovers is not necessarily false just because you provided no evidence (the fact that it is potentially insulting is not going to make me suddenly turn my back on this fact of logic). For a less-abusive example, I have provided zero evidence that my real name is Denis Giron – do you believe, therefore, that I am lying? And in no way has it been proven that Sina and I are lovers. There is a difference between saying that a statement has yet to be proven false, on the one hand, and saying that it is true on the other. I never claimed that Dr. Sina’s claim has been proven true. No where have I claimed a person is guilty until proven innocent. You have misunderstood me…

    Finally, to Adeel, I think you’ve misunderstood what I am about. I’m not a Christian. Nonetheless, what is this about speaking in a foreign tongue on Paltalk? Are you challenging me to utter a sentence in a language other than English over Paltalk? I can do that if you’d like, but not because I’m a “true believer”…

  11. The bible consists of countless scientific errors which even christians cant explain let us if Mr. Giron to figure them out how could a true beliver speak for tongue now Giron is on paltalk and i challenge him to speak foreing tongue if he is a true beliver.
    See The Miracles of Quran at
    http://adeelrehman2000.tripod.com

  12. I know this is off-topic but still…
    Denis Giron wrote on his website:
    “Dr. Sina made the DUBIOUS assertion that Muhammad burned all the books that were in the possession of the pre-Islamic Arab populace.”(emphasis added)
    then continues:
    “I, like Nadir, question the truth of Dr. Sina’s claim. Also, I agree with Nadir that evidence was not presented (i.e. no scholarly source was cited to back this claim up). Does this mean the claim has been disproven? ABSOLUTELY NOT!”(emphasis added)
    (http://www.geocities.com/freet.....nadir.html)

    Why not? if sina cant present evidence for his argument then he is a liar. he cant just accuse us and say we are guilty of something. its not guilty until proven innocent, its innocent until proven guilty.
    If I was to use the same logic as Mr. Giron, I can easily say that Sina and Giron are lovers! I give no proof of that so that means im wrong? ABSOLUTELY NOT???!!!
    I believe that i cant accuse u without proof. But on your website, Mr Giron, u first stated that sina’s claim is dubious, and later implyed that Sina has not been proven a liar because Nadir Ahmad couldnt prove him wrong. Please edit your page and remove the part which says:
    “evidence was not presented (i.e. no scholarly source was cited to back this claim up). Does this mean the claim has been disproven? Absolutely not! The challenge, under Nadir’s understanding, was to prove a single claim wrong.”
    (http://www.geocities.com/freet.....nadir.html)

    Either edit this page, or admit that i have ‘proven’ through your ‘logic’ that you and sina are lovers.
    [of course u can make a similar claim against me, but it wont work. Why? because I believe that a person is innocent until proven guilty and not the other way round as you and sina have implyed]

    And please read this article:
    http://www.bismikaallahuma.org.....y/#article

  13. http://www.iidb.org/vbb/forumdisplay.php?f=60

    giron can i have your permission to post “he will be worshipped” part in the above forum? i would like to know the views of agnostic jews on this issue.

  14. Quoting Jesus saying that he is the son of God will not prove Jesus’ divinity coz we’ll find thousands of god’s sons on the OT. The term can simply mean a popular phrase used at that time and not to be taken literally.

    Same thing if Jesus claims that he is the begotten son coz we can still find many begotten sons of god in the OT. In fact, god was the one who gave them the title.

    If Jesus say I am the lord, then, you’ll find many of those in England.

    Even if Jesus claim he is god, it won’t do good coz didn’t god say to Moses ” I made thee a god to pharoah….?

    The best thing is to challenge the christian to show where did Jesus say “WORSHIP ME”.

  15. Denis Giron is an agnostic who has a crush on Dr.William Lane Craig.

  16. Greetings Bassam…

    Indeed, I am in fact an agnostic, and not a Christian. Note that in my post I did not declare any of these doctrines to be true (i.e. I did not claim they reflect reality). I don’t believe there was anything distinctly Christian about my post, as I think one can sensibly argue that the Bible attributes a certain claim to Jesus without necessarily believing that claim is true. That being said, however, despite my being an agnostic, most who are familiar with my writings over the last year or so know that my position regarding Christianity has softened considerably after coming into contact with the writings and debates of William Lane Craig (the apparent slayer of Atheist intellectuals).

    Regarding Jesus being the son of God, the relevant passages in Mark 12 and 14 do seem to present him as such in a unique way (somewhat different from the way a previous prophet or mere believer might be a “son of God”). Combining this with the instance of triadic coordination in Matthew 28, we see that only one son is mentioned, thus again the term is being used in a unique way.

    Furthermore, on the subject of the instance of triadic coordination, notice that it is in the name of all three beings. So I am not certain that the shahaada is analogous. I’m sure that uttering bismillaahi wa’n-Nabee or bismillaahi wa bismin-Nabee would move a bit too close to shirk for an Orthodox Muslim.

    As for the bit about Jesus being David’s Lord, it was meant to be taken in context with the other propositions: Jesus is not merely David’s descendant, but his Lord (i.e. Master over Israel’s greatest King), he is the son of God in a unique way, and baptism/conversion is carried out in his name as well as the name of the Deity.

    Regarding Daniel 7:14, I didn’t understand the relevance of the link you offered. The question was if Jesus identified himself as divine in the quotes attributed to him in the gospels, while your link seemed to be dealing with a different subject (Biblical errancy?). I think this rather powerful point still stands: Jesus identified himself with a being who was to be worshipped by men from all nations, ethnicities and language groups.

    Interestingly enough, notice that we both could not resist the temptation to go outside the quotes of Jesus (e.g. you quoted what Luke said about Adam, and I used the text of Daniel to establish context for one of the sayings attributed to Jesus). The exercise is fun, but it seems it would make more sense to also consider what the Bible says about Jesus for fuller context (for example: the six propositions I derived from Jesus’ sayings in the synoptics represent a theology which is more fully developed in the NT). I like to make the alleged divinity of Jesus analogous to the alleged virgin birth of Jesus: there is no real evidence that Jesus was born of a virgin, and Jesus never explicitly claims to have been born of a virgin, but it is nonetheless a fact that the Bible claims he was born of a virgin (hence that aspect of Christian doctrine).

    Finally, regarding Jesus and God, I explain one view of this in the following post to a previous entry on the Bismika Allaahuma site:

    http://www.bismikaallahuma.org.....omment-488

  17. This is responding to Denis Giron.

    First I thought Denis Giron is an agnostic, not a Christian. So I dont know why he is trying to defend Christianity.

    Denis Giron said:

    if Mr. Zawadi is allowing the Christians to quote from anyquote attributed to Jesus in the Bible

    My Response:

    No, that was not my intention. I said…

    EVEN READING THE GREEK Bible we do not see Jesus claiming divinity from his own mouth in the Gospels.

    I was referring to the Gospels. Sorry if i Didnt make it clear enuff. Book of revelation was written over a 100 years later. I don’t want a quote from guy’s vision. I want a quote from Jesus’ time on earth.

    So what if Jesus is called son of God. So was Adam (Luke 3:38). Big deal?

    As for him attributing himself to the son of Man in daniel 7. Well this verse is referring to Matthew 24:30, which is a false prophecy. See this http://www.answering-christian....._bible.htm

    Regarding Matthew 28:19. Well just becuz their names are in the same sentence that does not necessarily imply coequality in essence. Just like how Prophet Muhammad’s name and Allah’s name are in the same sentence in the Shahadaah does not imply co equality between them.

    As for being david’s lord. Well we know that Lord could also mean master and not necessarily mean God.

    Jesus made it clear that the father is the only true God in John 17:3. End of story.

    By the way Denis, i only happend to check this site by coincedence. Besides that i would not have seen ur message. So if you are going to reply back to me then please email me at b_zawadi@hotmail.com

    Chowww

  18. Obviously, being that there is no Aramaic original of any of the Christian scriptures, it is impossible to give a verbatim Aramaic quote from the mouth of Jesus (assuming, for the sake of argument, that the quotes attributed to Jesus in the NT actually are from his mouth) relevant to his divinity.

    That being said, I would like to respond to the post by Bassam Zawadi. Again, if we *ASSUME* that the quotes attributed to Jesus in the NT are his words, then it is not that hard to conclude from that assumption that Jesus affirmed his own (alleged) divinity. Let me elaborate.

    To begin with something humorous, recall the famous and oft-quoted passage from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, where it is said regarding Jesus:

    [L]et us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.

    Ironically, justification for this sentiment can be found in a verse which is often called to witness by those attempting to discredit the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus: Mark 10:18. It is there that Jesus lays out a very simple biconditional proposition: “Only God is good,” or “Jesus is good if, and only if, he is God.” So it is indeed true that the words of Jesus do not leave open the option of declarimg him a good teacher who was a mere mortal.

    Far more valuable is the 12th chapter of Mark. First, to a minor degree, there is the parable of the vineyard in Mark 12:1-8. It is clear that Jesus is, in a rather subtle way, describing himself as the son of God. Later on in the chapter (Mark 12:35-37), Jesus describes himself as not merely being a descendant of David, but rather as David’s Lord. In between these two passages (cf. Mark 12:29), Jesus declares Deuteronomy 6:4 to be the greatest commandment (which seems to be a clear and obvious endorsement of Monotheism).

    Then, in Mark 14:62, Jesus explicitly accepts the title of “son of God”. From that alone it follows that if Jesus is the son of God, then God is, in some sense, the Father of Jesus, and Matthew is replete with references to a divine Father in heaven. More interesting, however, is that Jesus explicitly connects himself with the Song of Man figure in Daniel 7. As I will note below, Daniel 7:14 makes it clear that this figure is to be worshipped by men from all nations.

    Most interesting of all, however, is the formula of triadic coordination explicitly put forth in Matthew 28:19, where the disciples are told to baptize not merely in the name of God, but rather “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”.

    Thus, from the above we can derive the following doctrines from the words attributed to Jesus:

    1. There is only one God.
    2. Jesus is the son of God.
    3. Jesus is the Lord of King David.
    4. The Father is God in some sense.
    5. Jesus is to be worshipped by all men.
    6. In the baptismal formula, the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the same breath as the Father and the Son.

    What we see is that at least two, and possibly three, divine beings are discussed, yet there is only one God. Such propositions combine to form a doctrine of a multipersonal Godhead, not unlike the doctrine of the Trinity. Thus the earliest texts of the New Testament have Jesus making a series of statements that, if put together, imply a doctrine similar to the doctrine of the Trinity.

    _____________________________________________

    Somewhat controversial would be the 5th proposition of the six listed above, which is based on Daniel 7:14. I became aware of this interpretation while reading the comments in an entry on the Failed Messiah blog. For those who don’t know, this blog is primarily the home of a polemical stance against a recent strain of Jewish messianism. A cross-section of the Lubavitcher Chasidic community (quite possibly a majority) believes that their deceased Rebbe (i.e. head Rabbi) is the Messiah, and a smaller subset of that cohort believes he is God. The “Failed Messiah” blog critiques these overlapping beliefs.

    In the particular entry I was reading, there was debate, amongst those commenting, on the subject of “Elokism” – the belief that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was not merely the Messiah, but God as well (i.e. this is Christianity all over again). The proponents of this view took it for granted that he was the Messiah, and simply attempted to demonstrate that the belief that the Messiah is God is a part of Jewish belief (which has obvious implications for Jewish polemics against Christianity). One comment attempting to offer argument in favor of this position which I found quite interesting (and which influenced my understanding of Daniel 7:14) was the following:

    go read daniel 7:13 and 14. on the bar enosh rashi simply said hu melekh hamoshiach. so this is referring to melekh hamoshiach and even there it says moshiach will be worshipped (leh yiflchoon). he will be served the way g-d is served in a service.

    In short, this person who considers themself a practitioner of Orthodox Judaism is claiming that Daniel 7:13-14 is a Biblical prooftext in favor of the position that the Messiah is also God. Interestingly, I don’t believe I have ever seen a Christian employ this verse as a prooftext for Jesus’ divinity, but it seems like a strong example. So let’s examine the claim here.

    The text of this Biblical passage (which is in Aramaic) refers to one who is like a bar enash (“son of man”). While in Christian theology the son of man is Jesus, I was not familiar with Jewish interpretations of who this person was. The commentator makes reference to Rashi, a medieval Jewish exegete who is considered one of the most authoritative sources of proper doctrine and hermeneutics in Judaism. Well, I checked Rashi’s commentary on Daniel 7:13, and sure enough, regarding the “son of man” he wrote simply three words: hu melekh ha-mashiach (“he is the King Messiah”). So while Christians and Jews may not be able to agree on precisely who the Messiah is, they can agree that Daniel 7:13 is referring to this figure (in fact, it seems it is pretty much an article of faith for both religions).

    More interesting, however, is what verse 14 says about this person (which the commentator alluded to). The Aramaic text speaks of kol `ammayaa umayaa w’lishanayaa (“all peoples, nations and linguistic groups”), and then it has two rather shocking words: leh yiflchoon (“him they will worship”). I checked the verb yiflchoon (from the feh-lamed-chet root) in Franz Rosenthal’s wonderful work, A Grammar of Biblical Aramaic, and indeed it states that it can mean to worship (see also Reuven AlQalay’s Milon Ivri-Angli Shalem, or Thayer’s Lexicon).

    But many translations, both Jewish (e.g. JPS) and Christian (e.g. KJV), translate the verb not as “worship,” but rather as “serve”. Anticipating such an objection, the commentator interpreted this as meaning that the Messiah “will be served the way g-d is served in a service” (i.e. “served” in the sense of worship). Interestingly, all the usages of this Aramaic verb in the relatively small portion of the Old Testament in Aramaic pertain to serving a deity (e.g. Daniel 3:12, 14, 17, 18, 28, 6:16, 6:20, 7:27, et cetera). Also, in the Aramaic text of Ezra 7:19, a derivative of this root appears: falchan – “religious service” or “worship”.

    This is, in my opinion, a rather powerful argument in favor of the position that even the Old Testament (i.e. the Hebrew Bible of Judaism) teaches that the Messiah will be divine, and that is simply fascinating!

    Harsh critics of Lubavitcher Elokism (such as Rabbi David Berger) have complained that these doctrines will make Christian arguments seem more plausible within the Jewish paradigm. Such an objection makes the argument above especially ironic. Imagine a debate between a Christian and a Lubavitcher Elokist. Both agree that the Messiah has come, and both believe he is God in the form of a man (and that he is referred to in Daniel 7). The only thing they disagree on is who this person is (Jesus vs Menachem Schneerson). I can imagine the Christian asking rhetorically: “who best fits the description of being worshipped by people from all nations and linguistic groups?”

    But whatever the case, this sheds new light on the NT story about Jesus identifying himself with the Son of Man and being charged with blasphemy. He was idenitfying himself as a man who will be worshipped by men from all nations, ehtnic groups, and linguistic groups.

    Oh, on a side note, if Mr. Zawadi is allowing the Christians to quote from anyquote attributed to Jesus in the Bible (i.e. we assume, for the sake of argument, that all of the words attributed to Jesus are accurately reported), what about the latest and most theologically developed book of the NT: the book of Revelation. In Revelation 1:8, God is the alpha and omega, yet in Revelation 1:17-18 and Revelation 22:12-16 Jesus is describing himself as the alpha and omega, the first and the last, et cetera. It gives the impression that Jesus is identifying himself with divinity in some regard.

    I look forward to Mr. Zawadi’s comments.

  19. heres a very good article on this topic:
    http://www.answering-christian.....llenge.htm

  20. Excellent counter-challenge. Of course, the fact that such a challenge could be issued in the first place by the answering islam team, “prove that he is not…” is in itself absurd. As is the second challenge; even if Jesus does not disavow being God, does that mean he is?

    J

  21. Excellent article.

  22. I think the author did not understand Shamoun’s argument. Shamoun is saying that if you are going to ask for a quote from Jesus in Aramiac to claim he is God then he is also going to ask it from you the Muslim. Shamoun is right in this point. I dont know why the author couldn’t understand this and still continued asking for the quote in Aramiac. Because if Greek is not good enough for us then Arabic is not good enough for him because Jesus did not speak Arabic. So the author is making a mistake here.

    The author should just make the plain challenge….

    Even in your English, Greek, Arabic or any other language translated Bible show me where Jesus claimed divinity!!!!!

    EVEN READING THE GREEK Bible we do not see Jesus claiming divinity from his own mouth in the Gospels. Even in the English Bible as well. So why are we being so tough on Shamoun and the Christians by asking for a verse in Aramiac? For God sake, ask them for a verse from the English Bible! They won’t even able to do that!!!

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