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Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun’s article

A Series of Answers to Common Questions

By

Sami Zaatari

 

 

 

Question:
 
    According to John 5:37, Jesus said that no one had ever seen God at anytime or ever heard his voice. And yet people did see Jesus, which proves that Jesus cannot be God.

 
http://answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_seeing_god1.htm

 

 

He wrote:

 

Answer:

 

As it is often the case in polemical arguments, the paraphrase of the passage misrepresents Jesus’ words in several ways. Jesus did not make a general statement ("no one ever") but addressed a particular group of people ("you"). Moreover, he spoke about the Father, not about God in general. Since Jesus is the Son, not the Father, the above conclusion is invalid. Here is what that passage actually says:

 

    "And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent." John 5:37-38

 

The questioner is assuming that Jesus meant that no one at any time has seen God or heard his voice, when in actuality his comments were addressed to a specific group, not to everyone. Jesus was saying that those specific Jews whom he was directly addressing hadn't seen or heard God. But even here Jesus clearly says that the Father has testified concerning him, implying that God had indeed spoken and revealed himself in some way to people in order to testify on behalf of his Son.

 

 

 

My response:

 

To begin with, can I please see proof of Muslims bringing up that verse? Shamoun starts of by accusing Muslims of mis-interpreting the verse, almost every single Muslim knows that the Father is not Jesus. So I would like to ask Shamoun to bring proof or evidence that Muslims have brought up John 5:37 as an argument against Jesus being God. I am not calling Shamoun a liar, I am just asking for him to bring the proof that such arguments have been made using that verse.

 

Shamoun then goes on to say that Jesus was referring to a specific group of people, since he says 'you'. I must ask Shamoun how does he know this? Just because Jesus said 'you' does not mean he is addressing a specific group, and secondly if this point is true, then does this mean the people who are not being specifically referred to in the verse have seen God? Or have heard God? According to Shamoun yes, since Jesus is just referring to those specific Jews, so this means those Jews and who are not addressed in this same manner, have all seen God, and heard God. So we already see the flaws of Shamoun's argument.

 

More problems arise as well if we use this argument, if this statement made by Jesus was not a general statement to every one, but just a few specific Jews, then what else in the Bible from the mouth of Jesus is referred to for a specific group of people, and what is not referred to for a specific group of people. Let us take an example:

 

Mark 3:31-35:

31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. 32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

 

Does this refer to everyone? Or does it refer specifically to the people who were present with him? Many more examples could be shown, but however the point is clear, Shamoun's argument regarding a specific group of people simply does not work.

 

He wrote:

 

The following Scriptures explicitly state that many have both seen and heard from God:

 

    "Micaiah continued, 'Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the LORD said, "Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?" One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, "I will entice him." "By what means?" the LORD asked. "I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets," he said. "You will succeed in enticing him," said the LORD. "Go and do it." So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.'" 1 Kings 22:19-23

 

    "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.' At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. 'Woe to me!' I cried. 'I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.' Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, 'See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.' Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" Isaiah 6:1-8

 

My response:

 

The following verses explicitly state that no one has seen God.

 

John 1:18: No man hath seen God at any time,

 

Exodus 33:20: And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live 

 

So those verses make it crystal clear that no man has seen God at any time, and that no man can see his face, and if any do they shall then die.

 

However so, there are several verses in the Bible which show men have seen the FACE of God and have not died, either Christians accept those verses to be in contradiction with the verses I quoted, or they agree that when the Bible claims that someone has seen the face of God, or have seen God, it basically means they have seen the glory of God and the power of God, not them literally looking at God.

 

The same goes with the verses Shamoun posted, either he accepts those verses as a contradiction, or he accepts the fact that they basically mean they saw the glory and power of God, which is a completely different case.

 

However so, if Jesus is indeed God, then one must ask how could people have seen him and live? Or did Jesus come in a disguise? Or a costume, which is the flesh? The fact is Jesus cannot be God, for no man has seen God, and man cannot see the face of God, for if they did they would die.

 

He wrote:

 

"As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened." Daniel 7:9-10

 

"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" Matthew 3:16-17

 

"Then John gave this testimony: 'I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water TOLD ME, "The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit." I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.'" John 1:32-34

 

"While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!'" Matthew 17:5

 

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.' We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain." 2 Peter 1:16-18

 

"Father, glorify your name!' Then a voice came from heaven, 'I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.' The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, 'This voice was for your benefit, not mine.'" John 12:28-30

 

My response:

 

Shamoun is basically showing verses where the Father can be heard. That is no problem for me, but the fact remains that God cannot be seen at any time, and Jesus was seen, therefore Jesus is not God. Simple logic, or either the Bible contradicts itself on this issue, or I am just confused about what the Bible says, then again God is not the author of confusion (1Cr 14:33). So were still left with a few inner Bible contradictions.

 

He wrote:

 

In light of the foregoing, we can now take a closer look at the passage to see what the Lord Jesus actually meant:

 

    "And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent." RSV

 

Jesus was telling these Jews that their rejection of him demonstrated that God hadn't enabled them to realize that he was speaking and revealing himself to them, since if he did they would have believed in the One whom he had sent.

 

My response:

 

Yes that is all nice, but the fact remains, God cannot be seen, Jesus was seen with no trouble at all, therefore Jesus is not God. Simple logic.

 

He wrote:

 

The Scriptures clearly teach that it is only through God illuminating and drawing a person can he/she believe the revelation that God is giving in Scripture and/or Christ:

 

    "‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day’ ... And he said, ‘This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.’" John 6:44, 65

  

 "Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you CANNOT bear to hear my word ... Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God." John 8:43, 47

 

My response:

 

There is nothing to refute there. However the fact remains, God cannot be seen, Jesus was seen, and therefore he is not God. Simple logic

 

He wrote:

 

As the Lord Jesus told Peter, after the latter confessed that Christ was God's Son:

 

    "He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.’" Matthew 16:15-17

 

Peter's confession demonstrated that he had both heard and received revelation from God regarding who Christ truly was. The unbelieving Jews, on the other hand, had shown by their unbelief that God hadn't testified to their conscience about who Jesus is.

 

My response:

 

Let us go over the verse Shamoun posted because the verse itself proves Jesus is not God. Basically Jesus admitted he guides nobody and he neither teaches nor reveals anything to anyone, but it is the Father who does so. A clear explicit verse showing Jesus is not God.

 

Jesus takes away full responsibility of him being the one who guided Simon to believing such a thing. Jesus puts full responsibility on the Father. Jesus does this because the message he teaches to the people is not his own, and he can guide no one and bring them to the truth on his own but it is the Father who does so. Hence we find out that Jesus was just a prophet, a warner who came to spread the truth, which he had received from God, and that it is not him who reveals these teachings but God himself reveals these teachings to Jesus to warn the people and bring them to God.

 

Therefore once again we see proof from the NT that Jesus is not God. I must thank Shamoun for the verse, because once again he has shown that Jesus is not God according to his own book. So in light of the proceeding verse we can conclude:

 

1- Jesus guides no one to the truth, or reveals any teachings or messages of his own.

 

2- It is the Father (God) who reveals the truth, and it is the Father (God) who guides the people, and that the message and revelations that we have is from the Father (God).

 

3- We clearly see that all teachings and doctrine Jesus reveals, are not his own but from the Father. Hence Jesus is only a plain warner, one to spread the message of God making him a prophet.

 

So Jesus is not God, but a prophet.

 

He wrote:

 

Ironically, in their stubbornness and obtuse refusal to believe in Jesus, they failed to see that the very One standing before them was the visible manifestation and revelation of the invisible God:

 

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

 

    "Then Jesus cried out, 'When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.'" John 12:44-45

 

    "'If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.' Philip said, 'Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.' Jesus answered: 'Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.'" John 14:7-11

 

Thus, they failed to realize that seeing Jesus was to see the very human form of God!

 

My response:

 

Jesus is not the human form of God! Jesus is not even God! Jesus is not God in any single shape or form! What the Jews failed to realize was that Jesus was a prophet, sent by God to warn them and teach them about God's message so they would open up their eyes and hopefully God would open their eyes and their hearts. As for john 14:7-11 I have already addressed this in a previous rebuttal (*). As for John 12:44-45, I couldn’t agree more with Jesus. When you believe in Jesus you believe in God because you are following and obeying God's teachings, which is the Gospel, which is what Jesus taught. Hence believe in Jesus you believe in everything that was sent to him which was to bring people to God. So believe in Jesus, you believe in God, how could you not believe in Jesus while believing in God when it is God who sent Jesus? How could you believe in God when you don’t believe Jesus who is coming with the commands and teachings of God? When you see Jesus you do see the one who sent Jesus. I couldn’t agree more. However, you don’t literally see God. You see the power and glory of God through Jesus i.e. his miracles and his teachings. How could Jesus do all those miracles on his own? Hence when you see Jesus performing miracles you are seeing the power of God because it is God who gives Jesus the power to do such miracles. Remember none of Jesus' miracles were on his own. All of them were with the help of God, same with his teachings.

 

He wrote:

 

To summarize, the passage is not denying that people have seen or heard from God. It is simply stating that those particular Jews, whom the Lord Jesus was addressing, showed through their unbelief that God hadn't enabled them to accept and realize the fact that the Person standing before them was God's self-revelation to them. In other words, it wasn't that God hadn't made himself known to them, since he definitely had in the Scriptures and through the Person and work of Christ. But that, despite the revelation they were receiving, God hadn't set them free from their spiritual blindness in order to be able to discern the fact that he was clearly speaking to them in his Son.

 

A similar objection is often raised based on John 1:18 which is the topic of discussion in Part 2.

 

 

My response:

 

To summarize, Jesus is not God, Jesus was only a prophet of God. Once again, God cannot be seen, Jesus was seen, therefore Jesus is not God. Simple logic, case closed.

 

To move on to part 2 click here (*)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.

Rebuttals to Sam Shamoun's Articles section.

Sami Zaatari's Rebuttals section.


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