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Answering Islam’s Desperate Attempts

By Abdullah Kareem

 

[Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV]

 

HE WROTE:

He also refutes the claim that the epistles which speak of the Deity of Christ were forgeries, not written by Ignatius, a point made by Smith:

At this point the author introduces the issue of the authenticity of the Ignatian literature that he has cited:

However, are the 15 letters attributed to Ignatius accepted as authentic? In _The Ante-Nicene Fathers_, Volume I, editors Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson state:

"It is now the universal opinion of critics, that the first eight of these professedly Ignatian letters are spurious. They bear in themselves indubitable proofs of being the production of a later age...and they are now by common consent set aside as forgeries."

"Of the seven Epistles which are acknowledged by Eusebius...,we possess two Greek recensions, a shorter and a longer....Although the shorter form...had been generally accepted in preference to the longer, there was still a pretty prevalent opinion among scholars, that even it could not be regarded as absolutely free from interpolations, or as of undoubted authenticity."

We note again that our author, though providing this information, does not directly tell his readers that *all of the citations he provided earlier were taken either from the longer version of the genuine epistles, or from those epistles that, by the "universal opinion of critics" are set aside as spurious.* In fact, in the concluding paragraph, he says that "some" phrases that show Christ as subordinate to God are eliminated by using only the genuine Ignatian writings. Actually, *all* of the author's citations are eliminated by sticking with the original writings of Ignatius. We read,

If we accept the shorter version of his writings as genuine, it does eliminate some phrases (in the longer version) that show Christ as subordinate to God, but what is left in the shorter version still does not show a Trinity. And regardless of which of his writings are genuine, they show at best that Ignatius believed in a duality of God and his Son. This was certainly not a duality of equals, for the Son is always presented as lesser than God and subordinate to him. Thus, regardless of how one views the Ignatian writings, the Trinity doctrine is not to be found in them.

Note that the author does not openly admit that if he were limited to the genuine Ignatian writings that *all* of his citations would be removed from him. Further, he asserts that the "shorter version still does not show a Trinity." He further says that "the Son is always presented as lesser than God and subordinate to him."

Thus we have the presentation of the Watchtower Society on the beliefs of Ignatius, bishop of Antioch. Millions of people world-wide have now read these words, and believe implicitly that the ancient Father Ignatius did not say "that the Son was equal to God the Father" in any way. Before we examine all the claims made by this article, we will stop to allow the true Ignatius to speak for himself. (Bold and underline emphasis ours)



RESPONSE:

Ignatius wrote 15 epistles, only seven are genuine. Some scholars reject all 15 epistles as forgeries:

The epistles ascribed to Ignatius have given rise to more controversy than any other documents connected with the primitive Church. As is evident to every reader on the very first glance at these writings, they contain numerous statements which bear on points of ecclesiastical order that have long divided the Christian world; and a strong temptation has thus been felt to allow some amount of prepossession to enter into the discussion of their authenticity or spuriousness…

There are, in all, fifteen Epistles which bear the name of Ignatius. These are the following: One to the Virgin Mary, two to the Apostle John, one to Mary of Cassobelć, one to the Tarsians, one to the Antiochians, one to Hero, a deacon of Antioch, one to the Philippians; one to the Ephesians, one to the Magnesians, one to the Trallians, one to the Romans, one to the Philadelphians, one to the Smyrnćans, and one to Polycarp. The first three exist only in Latin: all the rest are extant also in Greek.

It is now the universal opinion of critics, that the first eight of these professedly Ignatian letters are spurious. They bear in themselves indubitable proofs of being the production of a later age than that in which Ignatiues lived. Neither Eusebius nor Jerome makes the least reference to them; and they are now by common consent set aside as forgeries, which were at various dates, and to serve special purposes, put forth under the name of the celebrated Bishop of Antioch. (The Epistles of Ignatius Are Forgeries, [1]

Forged writings have been attributed to many of the early Fathers, such as Barnabas, Clement, Polycarp, and Origen. But the most comprehensive of such frauds are the famous Epistles of Ignatius. There are fifteen in all, of which eight are universally rejected as spurious, while the other seven are still the subject of controversy, although no one disputes that even these are full of interpolations. The Syriac version, which is the oldest, contains only three epistles, and there are two distinct Greek versions of the seven. All the Epistles profess to have been written by Ignatius, called a bishop of Antioch, while on his way to martyrdom at Rome. The story of his martyrdom is in the highest degree fantastic and improbable, and it is incredible that he could have written them in rigorous confinement on his journey as a prisoner under sentence of an ignominious death. (G.W. Foote, Crimes of Christianity)

The Testimony of Christians:

      (1). All scholars reject 8 of Ignatius’ alleged writings as forgeries and say the 7 remaining letters are genuine and were written in 110AD.

      (2). Some scholars reject them all as forgeries that were written about 250AD

      (3). We take the firm view that all 15 Ignatian letters are forgeries. All of the letters that claim to be written by Ignatius are fakes.[2]


Shamoun is addressing the “genuine” epistles of Ignatius, but they are all forgeries. [*]


HE WROTE:

After proving that the genuine epistles of Ignatius do contain statements regarding Jesus being fully God, while also being personally distinct from the Father, Dr. White concludes:

Let us summarize Ignatius' view. Seven times Ignatius directly calls Jesus Christ "God." Four of these times he uses the phrase "our God" or its equivalent. He expresses his belief that Jesus Christ raised Himself from the dead, and in describing Him, uses such terms as "eternal," "invisible," "impalpable," and "impassible." He speaks of Christ as "God in man," "true life in death," and as "Son of Mary and Son of God." To any serious investigator, Ignatius' belief in the deity of Christ could not be more clear.

It is truly incredible that anyone could write an article that allegedly gives an accurate view of Ignatius' view of Christ *without* citing the above passages, or even mentioning their existence! The deception is only compounded by the fact that the real Ignatian beliefs are hidden behind citations of non-Ignatian materials! We turn now to an examination of the claims made in the article itself.



RESPONSE:

There is no need to repeat ourselves. Ignatius refers to Jesus as “god” and not God Almighty. He clearly differentiates between Jesus and the Father; he never calls Jesus the Father of mankind. Ignatius refers to Jesus as “lord” (capitalized in the English) and addresses Jesus as “God” (theos). (Note: Moses is called god (theos) in the Septuagint, Ex 7:1)

According to Ignatius, Jesus did not raise himself from the dead:


Having beheld your bishop, I know that he was not selected to undertake the ministry which pertains to the common [weal], either by himself or by men, or out of vainglory, but by the love of Jesus Christ, and of God the Father, who raised Him from the dead; at whose meekness I am struck with admiration, and who by His silence is able to accomplish more than they who talk a great deal. (Epistle to the Philadelphians [1]

Jesus rejected the “Son of God” title:

John 1:49-51 “Nathaniel answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel”. v. 50 “Jesus answered and said unto him. Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these”. v. 51 “And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man”.

Nathaniel addresses Jesus as the Son of God but Jesus rejects the nomenclature, referring to himself as the “son of man”. Does it appear that Jesus delights in confusion? By repeatedly referring to himself as the son of man – when he really is something else? Is Jesus deceitful? Is he playful? Is a liar? 

Or is it that the people, accustomed to the pagan Roman habit of those times, addressing their heroes as gods, acted in a manner they considered normal by the standard pagan custom of their Roman conquerors and overlords. Jesus spares no effort to root out this heresy. (Farouk Hosein, Fundamentalism Revisited, p. 57)

Regarding the words “eternal, invisible, impalpable, and impassible”, none of these words are applied to Jesus in the Gospels! Paul, the earliest Christian writer, never calls Jesus “eternal” or “invisible”. Yet, he was teacher of the pagan mysteries.

Paul was born in Tarsus, a major centre for the Pagan Mysteries, and often uses terms from the Mysteries in his letters. He even calls himself a 'Steward of the Mysteries of God', the term for a priest in the Pagan Mysteries of Serapis. Paul quotes Pagan sages and teaches Pagan doctrines. [2]

Why should we accept the un-inspired words of Ignatius? Also, it was necessary for the early Church fathers to deify Jesus; they were former pagans accustomed to worshipping idols.

Whatever else one may believe about Jesus, it is clear both from the New Testament documents and from the creeds of the early Church that he was a fully human being. He knew hunger, thirst, weariness; he endured pain, grief, and the agony of doubt; he experienced birth and death. His appearance must have been ordinary, for on several occasions when trouble was brewing he was able to simply lose himself in the crowds. The Church of the first few centuries had little trouble selling the idea of God-in-human form to a non-Jewish audience: this kind of myth was commonplace at this time. (Tom Harper, For Christ’s Sake, p. 32)

To the common people of Greece, any description of Jesus must have seemed like a description of one of their gods, and they were probably quite ready to accept Jesus in this capacity. There was always room for one more god. However, the actual teaching of Jesus negated all their gods, since it affirmed the Divine Unity”. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus: Prophet of Islam 1992 edition, p. 62)

It is commonly supposed that religious honors were paid to the sun as a deity by a few isolated peoples or sects, such as the Parsees and the ancient Ghebers of Persia, and some African tribes. In correction of this view we are prepared to support the declaration that the worship of the Sun-god was quite universal in the ancient world. It ranged from China and India to Yucatan and Peru. The Emperor and the Mikado, as well as the Incas, and the Pharaohs were Sun-god figures. And is the belief only an empty myth? So far from being such, it is at once the highest embodiment of religious conception in the spiritual history of the race. Likewise in the ancient Mystery dramas the central character was ever the Sun-god the role being enacted by the candidate for initiation in person. He went through the several initiations as himself the type and representative of the solar divinity in the field of human experience…These Sun-god characters, of none of whom can it be said positively that they were living personages, were, it must be clearly noted, purely typical figures in the national epics of the several nations. (Alvin Boyd Kuhn, The Great Myth of the Sun-gods)

Be well assured, then, Trypho, that I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah's days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, AND HAVING DIED, HE ROSE AGAIN, AND ASCENDED TO HEAVEN; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that the devil has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? And when they tell that Hercules was strong, and traveled over all the world, and was begotten by Jove of Alcmene, and ascended to heaven when he died, do I not perceive that the Scripture which speaks of Christ, 'strong as a giant to run his race,' has been in like manner imitated? And when the devil brings forward Asclepius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ? . . . And when those who record the mysteries of Mithras say that he was begotten of a rock, and call the place where those who believe in him are initiated a cave, do I not perceive here that the utterance of Daniel, that a stone without hands was cut out of a great mountain, has been imitated by them, and that they have attempted likewise to imitate the whole of Isaiah's words?  (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho (online Source)

The Book of Acts demonstrates that Paul was preaching very similar doctrines to the pagans. They professed to believe in the blood sacrifice (crucifixion) and resurrection of their own god-men, as the following passage indicates:

Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, “What does this babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,” because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. (Acts 17:17-18)

The Gentiles already knew the stories of dying and rising gods before Paul came to them, he was only recycling the legends of the Mystery Religions.


HE WROTE:

And:

The author of the Watchtower article, however, does not seem to be aware of this. As he attempts to press each of the Fathers into a Witness mold, he makes statement after statement that would require him to have the gift of omniscience to make with certainty. He does the same with Ignatius. In the very first paragraph we read,

Assuming that all the writings attributed to him were authentic, in none of them is there an equality of Father, Son, and holy spirit.

We have seen that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are joined together in the one work of redemption by Ignatius in Ephesians 9, cited above. We noted how reminiscent this is to New Testament examples, such as that at Ephesians 4:4-5 and 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. Further, we must rightly assert that Ignatius was not a "henotheist;" that is, Ignatius was a monotheist, and did not believe in "secondary" gods. Hence, when Ignatius refers to "our God, Jesus Christ," he is not speaking of "our secondary god, Jesus Christ." Therefore, the equality of the Father and Son is to be found in Ignatius.


RESPONSE:

 

There is evidence that Ignatius considered Jesus a “secondary god” and not God Himself, he clearly distinguishes Jesus from the Father.


I know that ye possess an unblameable and sincere mind in patience, and that not only in present practice, but according to inherent nature, as Polybius your bishop has shown me, who has come to Smyrna by the will of God and Jesus Christ, and so sympathized in the joy. [1]

Ye have done well in receiving Philo and Rheus Agathopus as servants of Christ our God (theos), who have followed me for the sake of God (theos) (Epistle to the Smyrnaens, [2]


Ignatius addresses Jesus as “God” and the Father as “God” in the same line! But he clearly distinguishes Jesus from the Father. 

The Jehovah’s witnesses will not accept the epistles of Ignatius as evidence for Jesus’ divinity because they are not inspired. The New Testament provides evidence that Jesus is not God, yet none of the 27 books are inspired by God!

 

"Yet, as a matter of fact, every book of the New Testament with the exception of the four great Epistles of St. Paul is at present more or less the subject of controversy, and interpolations (inserted verses) are asserted even in these."  Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 12th Ed. Vol. 3, p. 643 

It is blasphemy to say Jesus is equal to the Father. The Quran and Bible describe God as Unique, Powerful, and Invisible.


Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. (Isaiah 46:9)

"But I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. (Hosea 13:4)

I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (Isaiah 45:23)


Ignatius violated the Ten Commandments by revering Jesus as a god.


Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)

To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (Isaiah 40:25)

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: (Isaiah 45:5)

Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:22)

I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. (Isaiah 43:11)



Jesus is recorded to have said:


They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' (Mark 7:7)

I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other. (Matthew 6:24)

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just. (John 5:30)

"I do not accept praise from men (John 5:41)

The reason why Ignatius deified Jesus is because he was influenced by the epistles of Paul. The Ebionites were persecuted for denying Jesus’ divinity, yet the Ebionites were the true followers of Jesus:

The earliest followers of Jesus were known as Nazarenes, and perhaps later, Ebionites, and form an important part of the picture of Palestinian Jewish groups in late 2nd Temple times. The Ebionite/Nazarene movement was made up of the mostly Jewish/Israelite, followers of John the Baptizer, and later Jesus, who were concentrated in Palestine and surrounding regions, and led by “James the Just,” oldest brother of Jesus, flourishing between the years 30-80 CE. They were zealous for the Torah, and continued to walk in all the mitzvot (commandments) as enlightened by their Rabbi and Teacher. [1]


Ignatius and the Pagan Mysteries:

 

There is strong evidence that Ignatius was teaching the Pagan mysteries about Jesus.


It is therefore necessary that, as ye indeed do, so without the bishop ye should do nothing, but should also be subject to the presbytery, as to the apostle of Jesus Christ, who is our hope, in whom, if we live, we shall [at last] be found. It is fitting also that the deacons, as being [the ministers] of the mysteries of Jesus Christ, should in every respect be pleasing to all. (Epistle to the Trallians, [1]

I know both who I am, and to whom I write. I am a condemned man, ye have been the objects of mercy; I am subject to danger, ye are established in safety. Ye are the persons through whom those pass that are cut off for the sake of God. Ye are initiated into the mysteries of the Gospel with Paul, the holy, the martyred. (Epistle to the Ephesians, [2]

 

What does Ignatius mean by the ‘mysteries of Christ?’ It was the pagan Gnostics of the 2nd century who learned the Mysteries of Christ!


'On the same spot where the Pope celebrates the Catholic mass, Pagan priests had also celebrated a symbolic meal of bread and wine in memory of their saviour who, just like Jesus, had declared "He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made one with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation." When we began to uncover such extraordinary similarities between the story of Jesus and Pagan myth we were stunned. We had been brought up in a culture which portrays Paganism and Christianity as entirely antagonistic religious perspectives… We have become convinced that the story of Jesus is not the biography of an historical Messiah, but a myth based on perennial Pagan stories. Christianity was not a new and unique revelation but actually a Jewish adaption of the ancient Pagan Mystery religion. (Timothy Freke, The Jesus Mysteries, p. 2)

 

In the Mysteries of Dionysus, a large bearded mask representing the god- man was hung on a wooden pole. Like Jesus, who at his crucifixion is given a crown of thorns, Dionysus was given a crown of ivy. Just as Jesus is dressed up in purple robes when he is ridiculed by the Roman soldiers, so Dionysus was also dressed in purple robes and initiates at Eleusis wore a purple sash wrapped around their bodies.' Just before he dies Jesus is given wine mixed with gall to drink. Wine was ritually imbibed by celebrants in the Mysteries of Dionysus, and the Hierophant, who represented Dionysus himself, was given gall to drink. Jesus meets his death alongside two thieves, one of whom ascends with him to heaven while the other goes to hell. A comparable mythical motif is found in the Mysteries. A common icon pictures two torchbearers either side of Mithras. One of these figures has his torch pointing upward, symbolizing the ascent to heaven, and the other has his torch pointing downward, symbolizing the descent to hell. (ibid, p. 51)


The Gospel of Thomas records Jesus saying:


Jesus said, "I disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries. (*)


The Gnostics believed Jesus was a symbolic figure; he was never crucified for the sins of mankind. He never possessed a physical body and it was Simon of Cyrene on the cross.


They claimed to know the secret Inner Mysteries of Christianity, which the Literalists did not possess. As we explored the beliefs and practices of the Gnostics we became convinced that the Literalists had at least been right about one thing: the Gnostics were little different from Pagans. Like the philosophers of the Pagan Mysteries, they believed in reincarnation, honored the goddess Sophia, and were immersed in the mystical Greek philosophy of Plato. Gnostics means "Knowers," a name they acquired because, like the initiates of the Pagan Mysteries, they believed that their secret teachings had the power to impart Gnosis-direct experiential "Knowledge of God. Just as the goal of a Pagan initiate was to become a god, so for the Gnostics the goal of the Christian initiate was to become a Christ. (ibid, p. 8)


Here is a brief explanation of Gnostic salvation: 


The Jesus story is a perennial myth with the power to impart the saving Gnosis, which can transform each one of us into a Christ, not merely a history of events that happened to someone else 2,000 years ago. (The Jesus Mysteries, p. 13)

I visited a bodily dwelling. I cast out the one who was in it first, and I went in. And the whole multitude of the archons became troubled. And all the matter of the archons, as well as all the begotten powers of the earth, were shaken when it saw the likeness of the Image, since it was mixed. And I am the one who was in it, not resembling him who was in it first. For he was an earthly man, but I, I am from above the heavens. I did not refuse them even to become a Christ, but I did not reveal myself to them in the love which was coming forth from me. I revealed that I am a stranger to the regions below. (The Second Treatise of the Great Seth, [1]


Paul, the founder of Christianity, refers to the Mysteries of Christ.


Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ. (Ephesians 3:4)

Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds. (Colossians 4:3)

Christianity is the religion of the Pagan Mysteries; Christians worship the sun in the form of Jesus. Paul was considered a great Gnostic leader by the ancient Gnostics:

It is the universal assumption that Paul, the persecutor of the early Christians, was converted by a vision of the risen Jesus, who proved his historic nature and identity by appearing to Paul in person. So it is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. The account, however, is entirely opposed to that which is given by Paul himself in his Epistle to the Galatians. He tells how the change occurred, which has been called his conversion. It was by revelation of the Christ within, but not by an objective vision of a personal Jesus, who demonstrated in spirit world the reality and identity of an historic Jesus of Nazareth, who had lately lived on earth. Such a version as that is rigorously impossible, according to Paul’s own words. His account of the matter is totally antipodal. He received his commission to preach the Christ, as he declares, "when it was the good pleasure of God to reveal his Son in me," and therefore not by an apparition of Jesus of Nazareth outside of him! His Christ within was not the Corpus of Christian belief, but the Christ of the Gnosis. He heard no voice external to himself, which could be converted into the audible voice of an historic Jesus; and nothing can be more instructive to begin with, than a comparative study of these two versions, for showing how the matter has been manipulated, and the facts perverted, for the purpose of establishing or supporting an orthodox history. What he did hear when caught up in the spirit he tells us was unspeakable; words which it is not lawful for a man to utter! He makes no mention of a Jesus of Nazareth. Indeed, Jesus of Nazareth is unknown to Paul!

Clement Alexander asserts that Paul, before going to Rome, stated that he would bring to the Brethren (not the true Gospel history, but) the Gnosis, or Gnostic communication, the tradition of the hidden mysteries, as the fullness of the blessings of Christ, which Clement says were revealed by the Son of God, the "teacher who trains the Gnostic by mysteries," i.e., by revelations made in the state of trance. He was going there as a Gnositc, and therefore as the natural opponent of Historic Christianity. (Gerald Massey, Paul the Gnostic Opponent of Peter, online Source)

He did not derive his facts from history, nor his gospel from the Apostles; he was neither taught by man nor book. He derived his gospel from direct personal revelation of the Christ within. In short, his Christ was not that Jesus of Nazareth whom he never mentions, and whom the others preached. (Gerald Massey, [1]

The Church bishop Ignatius was Gnostic, a follower of Paul. He never describes Jesus in physical form. There is complete agreement between Ignatius and Paul; the Gospel of Jesus (according to their distortion) was purely spiritual.

 


The Gnostic Paul

 

There is more evidence that Paul was a Gnostic, disciple of the Pagan Mysteries or the “Christ within”. The following passages indicate that Paul was indeed Gnostic.


We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. (1 Corinthians 2:6-7)

This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:13-14)

Paul is concise and clear, he never worshipped a crucified savior in physical form. On the contrary, Paul underwent the “Christ within” and resurrected. The entire Gospel story was literalized by the Gentile Christians (of the Catholic Church).

The Gnostics were destroyed by the Literalist Christians.

These can be broadly categorized into two different schools. On the one hand there were those we will call Literalists, because what defines them is that they take the Jesus story as a literal account of historical events. It was this school of Christianity that was adopted by the Roman Empire in the fourth century CE, becoming Roman Catholicism and all its subsequent offshoots. On the other hand, however, there were also radically different Christians known as Gnostics.' These forgotten Christians were later persecuted out of existence by the Literalist Roman Church with such thoroughness that until recently we knew little about them except through the writings of their detractors. Only a handful of original Gnostic texts survived, none of which were published before the nineteenth century. (Timothy Freke, The Jesus Mysteries: Was the “Original Jesus” a Pagan God?  p. 7)


In conclusion to this part, we recommend the following links:

 

http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/the_crucifixion_hoax_5.htm

http://altreligion.about.com/library/texts/bl_gnosticpaul.htm

http://members.iinet.net.au/~quentinj/Christianity/Paul-Gnostic.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_and_Gnosticism


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gnostic_Paul


The Blasphemy of Ignatius:

Ignatius uttered blasphemy by comparing the bishop to God!

Moreover, it is in accordance with reason that we should return to soberness [of conduct], and, while yet we have opportunity, exercise repentance towards God. It is well to reverence both God and the bishop. He who honours the bishop has been honoured by God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, does [in reality] serve the devil. (Epistle to the Smyrnaeans)

And say I, Honour thou God indeed, as the Author and Lord of all things, but the bishop as the high-priest, who bears the image of God-of God. [1]

Here is what the scholar Timothy Freke says:


Letters attributed to Ignatius likewise warn that the bishop presides "in the place of God." Indeed, the faithful should "revere, honor, and obey the bishop as if he were God!  (Timothy Freke, The Jesus Mysteries, p. 214)

This is shocking because Ignatius was a bishop, he considered himself the “divine” image of God!


HE WROTE:

But Ignatius did not say that the Son was equal to God the Father in such ways or in any other.

We have already seen that Ignatius directly asserted the full deity of Christ. He described Christ as being eternal (Polycarp 3) and ingenerate (Ephesians 7). The term "ingenerate" is the Greek "agennetos", a common patristic description of the uncreated, eternal nature of the one God. Obviously, then, with reference to eternity, the Father and the Son would be equal. How, then, does the Watchtower writer attempt to substantiate his claims? He presses into service the pseudo-Ignatian epistles, as well as the longer recension of the true Ignatian letters. The first quotation presented comes from the longer version of the epistle to the Ephesians, ironically enough, section 7. We have seen above that the real epistle contains at this point a tremendously strong Christological confession, wherein Christ is called "generate and ingenerate" and "God in man."…

Note the following items: First, in the true epistle, the term "ingenerate" used here of the Father (and clearly showing His eternal deity) is used of Christ. Second, it is highly educational to note the very next sentence in the quotation from the longer recension, a quotation, again, conveniently skipped by the Watchtower:



RESPONSE:

 

Let us quote the first passage of the Epistle to Polycarp, chapter three.


Let not those who seem worthy of credit, but teach strange doctrines, fill thee with apprehension. Stand firm, as does an anvil which is beaten. It is the part of a noble athlete to be wounded, and yet to conquer. And especially, we ought to bear all things for the sake of God, that He also may bear with us. Be ever becoming more zealous than what thou art. Weigh carefully the times. Look for Him who is above all time, eternal and invisible, yet who became visible for our sakes; impalpable and impassible, yet who became passible on our account; and who in every kind of way suffered for our sakes. [1]


Ignatius mocks the pagans for teaching “strange doctrines” when he accepts the pagan doctrine of incarnation! This doesn’t make sense.


The incarnation of an infinite God is a shocking absurdity, and an infinite impossibility. We ask in all solemn earnestness, and in the name of the intuitive monitions of an unshackled reason and an unbiased conscience, can, any man in his sober senses, who has been in the habit of reflecting before he believes, entertain for a moment the monstrous absurdity that the Almighty and Infinite Maker of the universe was once reduced to a little wailing infant, lying in senseless and helpless weakness on the lap of its mother, unable to walk a step, or lisp a word, or do aught but cry with pain or for nourishment stored in the mother's breast? What! Almighty God fallen from his burnished, dazzling throne in the lofty heavens, and reduced to helpless, senseless babyhood! Omnipotence shorn of all power but to breathe, and cry, and smile! What! that Omniscient Being, who "leads one world by day, and ten thousand more by night," becoming suddenly transformed into a human bantling, which knows no higher enjoyment than that of being "pleased with a rattle, and tickled with a straw!" Who can believe it? Ay, who dare believe it, if he would escape the charge of blasphemy? Then say not that "the man Christ Jesus," though standing at the top of the ladder of moral manhood, and high above the common plane of humanity, was yet a God -- "the Infinite Ruler of the infinite universe." (Kersey Graves, The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors, [2]

The scholar Kersey Graves further says:


There is a philosophical principle underlying the doctrine of the Divine Incarnation, whose logical deductions completely overthrow the claim of Jesus of Nazareth to the Godhead, and which we regard as settling the question as conclusively as any demonstrated problem in mathematics. This argument is predicated upon the philosophical axiom, that two infinite beings of any description of conception, cannot exist, either in whole or in part, at the same time; and per consequence, it is impossible that the Father and Son should both be God in a divine sense, either conjointly or separately. The word infinite comprehends all; it covers the whole ground; it fills the immensity of the universe, and fills it to repletion, so that there is no room left for any other being to exist. And whoever and whatever does exist must constitute a part of this infinite whole…

Again, it is conceded by Christians, that the Father is an omnipresent being; and we have shown that it is a mathematical impossibility for two omnipresent beings, or two beings possessing any infinite attributes, to exist at one and the same time. Hence the clear logical deduction that the Son could not be omnipresent, and per sequence, not God. Again, we have another philosophical maxim or axiom familiar to every schoolboy, that no two substances or beings can occupy the same place at the same time; the first must be removed before the second can by any possibility be introduced, in order thus to make room for the latter. [3]


The Muslim scholar Abul Ala Mawdudi says:

The false tendencies, born of centuries of deviations, ignorance and malpractice, now took another form. Though they accepted their Prophets during their lives and practiced their teachings, after their deaths they introduced their own distorted ideas into their religions. They adopted novel methods of worshipping God; some even took to the worship of their Prophets. They made the Prophets the incarnations of God or the sons of God; some associated their Prophets with God in His Divinity. (Towards Understanding Islam, p. 39)

There are serious problems with Ignatius saying Jesus “became visible for our sakes” which doesn’t make sense. He is influenced by the pagan ideas of ancient Rome.


Like the Trinity, the doctrine of the Incarnation was also developed long after Jesus. In fact, one can trace the stages through which Jesus was gradually deified. In ‘Q’ he was regarded as a prophet of God, as a human being and nothing more, in ‘Urmarcus’ there was an attempt to glamorize his person and attribute many miracles to him; in works of the first and second century he was presented as a mighty angel, the first born of all creation, but still a creature; and finally in the preface to John’s Gospel and other works of the third and fourth century he was made into a God.

Reason refuses to accept a man who was born of a woman, suffered from human wants, ignorance and limitations, and gradually grew in stature, power and wisdom, like all other human beings, as God. To put human limitations upon God and to believe in His incarnation in a human body is to deny the perfection of God.

The dogma of the Incarnation was taken into Christianity, like many other Christian nations, from paganism. In pre-Christian mythologies, we often read of the hero being regarded as a God. (Ulfat Aziz-us-samad, Islam and Christianity, pp. 35-36)


It is obvious that Ignatius was influenced by the Gospel of John, and John was influenced by Paul.


In teaching about Christ as pre-existent, “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature [by whom] all things were created” (Col. 1:15), clearly Paul is describing not the historical Jesus whose profile we can discern, however dimly, in the Gospels, but with a figure cast in the mold of Wisdom literature speculation – that is, with a mythological construct…Finally, many of the philosophical and mythological elements present in the writings of St. Paul and the Epistle to the Hebrews can also be found in the fourth Gospel. (Tom Harper, For Christ’s Sake, p. 109)

 

Continue to Part 4