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Rebuttal to Sam Shamouns article
AN EXAMINATION OF JOHN 1:1, AND COLOSSIANS 2:9
AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE ON NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTOLOGY
Before proceeding to the rebuttal, I would just like to wish all my brothers and sisters a Ramadan Kareem! This is indeed a great month for us all.
It will be our specific aim throughout this study to examine three key biblical passages and their significance on Christology. The orthodox Christian position is that the historical Jesus was the eternal God who became man for our salvation. After his resurrection, Christ continued to remain the God-man, two natures united in one person. The New Testament records are held by believing Christians to be the inspired Word of God as well as reliable historical accounts on the life of Jesus. We will examine the New Testament, especially the three specific passages in question, to see if they support the historic Christian view of Jesus Christ.
Yes, let us examine these verses, just like all the other verses you bring up these 3 will also fail just like the rest. Please visit this link to see proof from the Bible that Jesus is not God:
So Jesus is not God, so Shamoun has to stop and trying to prove something he cant prove, he always fails!
"In the beginning was (en) the Word, and the Word was with (pros) God, and the Word was God."
The term en is the imperfect tense of the verb eimi, and denotes continuous existence or action in the past. Just how continuous depends on the context itself. In this passage, the Word is seen as already existing when the beginning of all things occurred. Not only was he already in existence at the time of the beginning, but was continually existing having no beginning in sight. This implies that the Word is eternal.
The Word is also seen has having eternally coexisted with a specific person called God (Greek, ton theon- the God, with the definite article implying that John has a specific person in mind). The term pros implies that not only is there a distinction between the Word and God, but that the Word is also personal. The Word is not just an impersonal attribute existing in the mind of God, but is a distinct person who has coexisted with God from eternity:
"John's use of the preposition pros 'with' is significant. It implies that the Father and the Son had an intimate as well as eternal relationship. Lenski explains:
The preposition pros, as distinct from heos, para, and sun, is of the greatest importance... The idea is that of presence and communion with a strong note of reciprocity. The Logos, then, is not an attribute inferring in God, or a power emanating from him, but a person in the presence of God and turned in loving, inseparable communion toward God and God turned equally toward him. He was another and yet not other than God.
"John's use of the preposition pros is also significant in that it shows that he did not view the Logos and the Father as being the same person. They are two distinct persons in an intimate eternal relationship of fellowship and communion." (Robert Morey, Trinity-Evidence &Issues [Word Publishing; Grand Rapids, 1996], pp. 321-322)
"... Here John uses the preposition... (pros). The term has a wide range of meanings, depending on the context in which it is found. In this particular instance, the term speaks to a personal relationship, in fact, to intimacy. It is the same term the apostle Paul uses when he speaks of how we presently have a knowledge comparable to seeing in a dim mirror, but someday, in eternity, we will have clearer knowledge, an intimate knowledge, for we shall see "face to (pros) face" (I Corinthians 13:12). When you are face-to-face with someone, you have nowhere to hide. You have a relationship with that person, whether you like it or not... In John 1:1b, John says the Word was eternally face-to-face with God, that is, the Word has eternally had a relationship with God." (James R. White, The Forgotten Trinity- Recovering the Heart of Christian Belief [Bethany House Publishers; Minneapolis, MN, 1998], p. 52)
John also states that "the Word was God", with the term God implying the nature of the Word. Hence, the Word has eternally existed in the nature of God. John goes on to say:
"The Word became (egeneto) flesh (sarx) 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." John 1:14
The term egeneto implies a point of origin in time. Hence, whereas the Word eternally existed with the nature of God, he was not always flesh. Rather, he became flesh at a specific point in time. This is precisely what Trinitarianism teaches, namely that the eternal Word of God became man in order to make known more fully the character of God. (cf. John 1:18)
Ah yes, the famous John 1:1. Taken from https://www.answering-christianity.com/john1_1.htm:
Let us look at John 1:1 "In
the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." This is often presented from the Gospel of John to prove that
Jesus was God. There are however several problems with this claim:
By this verse it is assumed that Jesus was the "word" and since the
word was God and became flesh, Jesus is God. The statement that John reproduced in his
gospel however was uttered not by John but by A Philo of
Alexandria, years before Jesus or John were born. It is therefore completely unlikely
that Philo was even remotely referring to Jesus.
There is also another reason for not capitalizing the "G" in John 1:1, considering the Greek of the above verse which disproves the assertion that Jesus is referred to as God in the verse. In the verse above, the first time the word God is used, the Greek is "TON THEOS", which means "a god". However, the stronger Greek word "HO THEOS" which means "Divine God" was used for satan in 2 Corinthians 4:4. The NIV Bible Author wrote "god" for Satan instead of "God", which the word itself literally means The God. The second time the word God is used,"....and the word was God," the word for God is TONTHEOS, which also means "a god".
Europeans have evolved a system of capital and small letters non-existent in Greek. The God, HOTHEOS is translated as God with a capital G, whereas Tontheos, which means A or ANY God is translated with a small g, god. In this case however, we see the unlawful translators trying to prove Jesus being God by putting capital G for both whereas it doesn't belong in the case of the "word".
Further from Muslim-SA:
188.8.131.52 John 1:1
Another verse quoted in defense of the "Trinity" is the verse of John 1:1 :
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
When I first learned of this verse it appeared to me that I had finally found my elusive goal. However, after substantial research into Christian theological literature, I would later come to learn that this verse too can not be interpreted to justify a "triune" God. My own experience has shown that this verse is the one most popularly quoted by most Christians in defense of the Trinity. For this reason I shall spend a little more time in it's analysis than in the analysis of the other verses.
First of all, it is quite obvious from simply reading the above verse that even in the very best case, this verse speaks only of a "Duality" not a "Trinity." Even the most resolute conservative Christian will never claim to find in this verse any mention whatsoever of a "merging" of a Holy Ghost with God and "the Word." So even if we were to accept this verse at face value and just have faith, even then, we find ourselves commanded to believe in a "Duality" and not a "Trinity." But let us see if this verse does in fact even command us to believe in a "Duality." To do this we need to notice the following points:
1) Mistranslation of the text:
In the "original" Greek manuscripts (Did the disciple John speak Greek?), "The Word" is only described as being "ton theos"(divine/a god) and not as being "ho theos" (The Divine/The God). A more faithful and correct translation of this verse would thus read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was divine" (If you read the New World Translation of the Bible you will find exactly this wording).
Similarly, in "The New Testament, An American Translation" this verse is honestly presented as
"In the beginning the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was divine."
Testament, An American Translation, Edgar Goodspeed
and J. M. Powis Smith, The
And again in the dictionary of the Bible, under the heading of "God" we read
"Jn 1:1 should rigorously be translated 'the word was with the God [=the Father], and the word was a divine being.'"
The Dictionary of the Bible by John McKenzie, Collier Books, p. 317
In yet another Bible we read:
"The Logos (word) existed in the very beginning, and the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine"
The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, by Dr. James Moffatt
Please also see "The Authentic New Testament" by Hugh J. Schonfield and many others.
If we look at a different verse, 2 Corinthians 4:4, we find the exact same word (ho theos) that was used in John 1:1 to describe God Almighty is now used to describe the devil, however, now the system of translation has been changed:
"the god of this world (the Devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not."
According to the system of the previous verse and the English language, the translation of the description of the Devil should also have been written as "The God" with a capital "G." If Paul was inspired to use the exact same words to describe the Devil, then why should we change it? Why is "The God" translated as simply "the god" when referring to the devil, while "divine" is translated as the almighty "God" when referring to "The Word"? Are we now starting to get a glimpse of how the "translation" of the Bible took place?
Well, what is the difference between saying "the word was God," and between saying "the word was a god (divine)"? Are they not the same? Far from it! Let us read the bible:
"I have said, Ye (the Jews) are gods; and all of you are children of the most High"
"And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh"
"the god of this world (the Devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not."
2 Corinthians 4:4
What does all of this mean? Let me explain.
In the West, it is common when one wishes to praise someone to say "You are a prince," or "You are an angel" ..etc. When someone says this do they mean that that person is the son of the King of England, or a divine spiritual being? There is a very slight grammatical difference between saying "You are a prince" and between saying "You are THE prince," however, the difference in meaning is quite dramatic.
Further, it is necessary when translating a verse to also take into account the meaning as understood by the people of that age who spoke that language. One of the biggest problems with the Bible as it stands today is that it forces us to look at ancient Hebrew and Aramaic scriptures through Greek and Latin glasses as seen by people who are neither Jews, Greeks, nor Romans. All of the so called "original" manuscripts of the NT available today are written in Greek or Latin. The Jews had no trouble reading such verses as Psalms 82:6, and Exodus 7:1, while still affirming that there is only one God in existence and vehemently denying the divinity of all but God Almighty. It is the continuous filtration of these manuscripts through different languages and cultures as well as the Roman Catholic church's extensive efforts to completely destroy all of the original Hebrew Gospels (see last quarter of this chapter) which has led to this misunderstanding of the verses.
The Americans have a saying: "Hit the road men." It means "It is time for you to leave." However, if a non-American were to receive this command without any explanation then it is quite possible that we would find him beating the road with a stick. Did he understand the words? Yes! Did he understand the meaning? No!
In the Christian church we would be hard pressed to find a single priest or nun who does not address their followers as "my children." They would say: "Come here my children", or "Be wary of evil my children" ... etc. What do they mean?
A fact that many people do not realize is that around 200AD spoken Hebrew had virtually disappeared from everyday use as a spoken language. It was not until the 1880s that a conscious effort was made by Eliezer Ben-Yehudah to revive the dead language. Only about a third of current spoken Hebrew and basic grammatical structures come from biblical and Mishnaic sources. The rest was introduced in the revival and includes elements of other languages and cultures including the Greek and Arabic languages.
Even worse than these two examples are cases when translation into a
different languages can result in a reversal of the meaning. For example, in
the West, when someone loves something they say "It warmed my heart." In
2) Basic message of John:
Now that we have seen the correct translation of the verse of John 1:1, let us go a little further in our study of the intended meaning of this verse. This verse was taken from the "Gospel of John." The very best person to ask to explain what is meant by a given statement is the author of that statement himself. So let us ask "John" what is his mental picture of God and Jesus (pbuh) which he wishes to convey to us:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him."
So the author of John tells us that God is greater than Jesus. If the author of this Gospel did indeed wish us to understand that Jesus and God are "one and the same," then can someone be greater than himself? Similarly,
"Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come [again] unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."
Can someone "go" to himself? Can someone be "greater" than himself?
"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:"
If John meant to tell us that "Jesus and God are one and the same" then shall we understand from this verse that God is saying to Himself "Self, glorify me so that I may glorify myself"? Does this sound like this is the message of John?
"While I (Jesus) was with them in the world, I kept them in thy (God's) name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled."
If the author of John wanted us to believe that Jesus and God are one person then are we to understand from this verse that God is saying to Himself "Self, while I was in the world I kept them in your name, self. Those who I gave to myself I have kept ..."? Is this what the author intended us to understand from his writings?
"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
Similarly, did the author intend us to interpret this as "Self, I will that they also whom I have given myself be with me where I am; that they my behold my glory which I have given myself, for I loved myself before the foundation of the world"?
So, we begin to see that in order to understand the writings of a given author, it is necessary to not take a single quotation from him in a vacuum and then interpret his whole message based upon that one sentence (and a badly mistranslated version of that sentence at that).
3) Who wrote the "Gospel of John"?:
The "Gospel of John" is popularly believed by the majority of regular church-goers to be the work of the apostle John the son of Zebedee. However, when consulting Christianity's more learned scholars of Church history, we find that this is far from the case. These scholars draw our attention to the fact that internal evidence provides serious doubt as to whether the apostle John the son of Zebedee wrote this Gospel himself. In the dictionary of the Bible by John Mckenzie we read
"A. Feuillet notes that authorship here may be taken loosely."
Such claims are based on such verses as :
"This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true."?
Did the apostle John write this about himself? Also see , , , 20:2, 21:7, and -23. The "disciple who Jesus loved" according to the Church is John himself, but the author of this gospel speaks of him as a different person.
The Gospel of John was written at or near
"Since the beginning of the period of modern critical study, however, there has been much controversy about [the Gospel of John's] authorship, place of origin, theological affiliations and background, and historical value"
The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 2, Abingdon Press, p. 932
4) Who "inspired" the author of this gospel to write this verse?:
The words of John 1:1 are acknowledged by most reputable Christian scholar of the Bible as the words of another Jew, Philo of Alexandria (20BC-50AD), who claimed no divine inspiration for them and who wrote them decades before the "gospel of John" was ever conceived. Groliers encyclopedia has the following to say under the heading "Logos"("the word"):
"Heraclitus was the earliest Greek thinker to make logos a central
concept ......In the New Testament, the Gospel According to
T. W. Doane says:
"The works of Plato were extensively studied by the Church Fathers, one of whom joyfully recognizes in the great teacher, the schoolmaster who, in the fullness of time, was destined to educate the heathen for Christ, as Moses did the Jews. The celebrated passage : "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word Was God" is a fragment of some Pagan treatise on the Platonic philosophy, evidently written by Irenaeus. It is quoted by Amelius, a Pagan philosopher as strictly applicable to the Logos, or Mercury, the Word, apparently as an honorable testimony borne to the Pagan deity by a barbarian........We see then that the title "Word" or "Logos," being applied to Jesus, is another piece of Pagan amalgamation with Christianity. It did not receive its authorized Christian form until the middle of the second century after Christ. The ancient pagan Romans worshipped a Trinity. An oracle is said to have declared that there was 'First God, then the Word, and with them the Spirit'. Here we see the distinctly enumerated, God, the Logos, and the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, in ancient Rome, where the most celebrated temple of this capital - that of Jupiter Capitolinus - was dedicated to three deities, which three deities were honored with joint worship."
From Bible Myths and their parallels in other religions, pp. 375-376.
6) What was "The Word"?
"O people of the book! commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which he bestowed upon Mary, and a spirit preceding from him so believe in Allah and his messengers. Say not "Three," desist! It will be better for you, for Allah is one God. Glory be to him. Far exalted is he above having a son. To him belong all things in the heavens and the earth. And enough is Allah as a disposer of affairs."
The noble Qur'an, Al-Nissa(4):171
In the Qur'an we are told that when God Almighty wills something he merely says to it "Be" and it is.
"Verily! Our (Allah's) Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it "Be!" - and it is"
The noble Qur'an, Al-Nahil(16):40 (please also read chapter 14)
This is the Islamic viewpoint of "The Word." "The Word" is literally God's utterance "Be." This is held out by the Bible where thirteen verses later in John 1:14 we read:
"And the Word was made flesh".
In the Qur'an, we read:
"The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: 'Be.' And he was."
The noble Qur'an, Aal-Umran(3):59.
Regarding what is meant by Allah by "a spirit preceding from him" I shall simply let Allah Himself explain:
"And [remember] when Allah said to the angles: 'I shall create a human (Adam) from sounding clay, from altered mud. So when I have fashioned him and have breathed into him of my spirit, then fall down in prostration before him'"
The noble Qur'an, Al-Hijr(15):29
So John 1:1 doesnt really mean much Mr. Shamoun!
"Jesus said to them: 'Most truly I say to you, Before Abraham came into existence, I AM (prin Abraam genesthai ego eimi)."
This passage is perhaps one of the strongest affirmations to the Deity of Christ, and yet one of the most controversial as well. The reason for this is that many Trinitarians see echoes of Exodus 3:14 here where we are told:
"God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM (ehyeh asher ehyeh). This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.'" NIV
Hence, Jesus' I AM statements seemingly identify him with the I AM of Exodus, Yahweh God. If this is the case, this would affirm that Jesus explicitly claimed to be Yahweh God.
However, not all agree that Jesus' I AM statements are direct claims to Yahweh. This is based primarily on the fact that the phrase "I AM WHO I AM" can legitimately be translated as "I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE." This is due to the verb from which the phrase stems.
The Hebrew phrase ehyeh asher ehyeh is derived from the verb hayah, "will be." It is often given the following meanings in standard Hebrew Dictionaries: "was, come to pass, came, has been, has happened, become, pertained, better for thee."
Other meanings include:
1a) to happen, fall out, occur, take place, come about, come to pass
1b) to come about, come to pass
2) to come into being, become
2a) to arise, appear, come
2b) to become
2b1) to become
2b3) to be instituted, be established
3) to be
3a) to exist, be in existence
3b) to abide, remain, continue (with word of place or time)
3c) to stand, lie, be in, be at, be situated (with word of locality)
3d) to accompany, be with "
Furthermore, the phrase "I AM" is used 72 times in the Hebrew Bible by a number of Prophets including David, Moses, etc.
When used of Yahweh it implies two things. First, it implies that
Yahweh is a timeless Being, that
In order to establish the case that Jesus was claiming to be Yahweh, we must see in what matter does Jesus use the phrase. Does he use it to imply timeless existence and sovereignty? Or did he use it to simply identify himself as the person whom others were seeking much like the blind man of John 9:9 did when asked if he were the one healed by Jesus?
Fortunately, we don't have to look far to find the answer to our question since the answer is there in John . Jesus' usage of the phrase is to contrast Abraham's beginning with his lack of beginning. In others, Jesus was unlike Abraham since the latter was brought into existence whereas Christ always was. This is brought out more clearly in the Greek verbs John uses to contrast Abraham's origins with the timeless existence of Christ, namely genesthai and eimi:
"... the aorist genesthai 'came into being,' used of Abraham, is contrasted with the present eimi, which can express duration up to the present, 'I have been <and still am>' as well as the simple present, 'I am.' Jesus claims that his mode of existence transcends time, like God's, and his I am is understood by the Jews as a claim to equality with God..." (J.N. Sanders & B.A. Mastin as cited by Robert M. Bowman Jr., Jehovah's Witnesses Jesus Christ &The Gospel of John [Baker Book House; Grand Rapids, MI, 1995], pp. 111-112 bold emphasis ours)
Bowman goes on to say in refutation of Jehovah's Witnesses' misinterpretation of this passage:
"He (Jesus) chose the term that would most strongly contrast the created origin in time of Abraham with his own timeless eternality, the present tense verb eimi... Thus, had Jesus wished to say what JWs understand him to have said- that he merely existed for a long time before Abraham- he could have said so by saying, 'Before Abraham came into existence, I was,' using the imperfect tense emen instead of the present tense eimi. (This point was made by Chrysostom and Augustine, and reaffirmed by such Reformers as Calvin, and is also a standard observation found in most exegetical commentaries on John and never, to this author's knowledge, disputed in such works.) Such a statement would have left open the question of whether or not Jesus had always existed, or whether (like the angels) he had existed from the earliest days of the universe's history. Or, had he wished to make it clear that (as JWs believe) he had himself come into existence some time prior to Abraham, he could have said so by stating, 'Before Abraham came into existence, I came into existence" (by using the first person aorist egenomen instead of eimi), or perhaps more simply, 'I came into existence before Abraham.' Having said neither of these things, but rather, having chosen terms which went beyond these formulations to draw a contrast between the created and the uncreated, Jesus' words must be interpreted as a claim to eternality." (Ibid., pp. 115-116 bold emphasis ours)
"What is it about this contrast between genesthai and eimi that has led to such a solid consensus throughout the centuries among biblical scholars that the words contrast created origin with uncreated eternal existence? By itself, of course, the word eimi does not connote eternal preexistence. However, placed alongside genesthai and referring to a time anterior to that indicated by genesthai, the word eimi (or its related forms), because it denotes simple existence and is a durative form of the verb to be, stands in sharp contrast to the aorist genesthai which speaks of 'coming into being.' It is this sharp contrast between being and becoming which makes it clear that in a text like John 8:58 eimi connotes eternality, not merely temporal priority." (Ibid., p. 114 bold emphasis ours)
"If all Jesus wanted to say was that He existed before Abraham, all He had to do was to use the imperfect tense 'I was.' But this would not have caused a riot and an assassination attempt. It is His use of the present tense and the way He said it that made them riot." (Robert Morey, Trinity, p. 364 bold emphasis ours)
Interestingly, we find the same form of verbs used in the Greek Septuagint version of Psalm 90:2 where Yahweh's timeless existence is contrasted with the creation of the mountains:
"Before (pro) the mountains were brought into existence (genethenai)... from age to age, you are (su ei).
Note the similarity in wording to John 8:58. Both use synonymous Greek terms to contrast the creation of one with the timeless existence of the other. Rob Bowman notes:
"The word pro, like prin, means 'before,' and some manuscripts of the Septuagint actually have prin instead of pro. The verb introduced by these prepositions in both cases is ginomai: in Psalm 90:2 genethenai is the aorist passive infinitive of ginomai, while in John genesthai is the aorist active infinitive. The use of the active voice instead of the passive voice, of course, does not affect the parallel between the two texts in terms of the created-eternal contrast. These aorist infinitive phrases are then set in contrast to a present indicative main clause in each case: in Psalm 90:2 LXX it is su ei, while in John 8:58 it is ego eimi. These two clauses are identical in terms and meaning except for the fact that the former is second person while the latter is first person; and again, this difference does not affect the parallel in question.
"Thus the tense mood forms are identical, the syntactical relations between the two verbs in each passage are identical, and the verbs themselves used in each passage are identical. In other words, it is as if John (quoting Jesus' words in Greek) had taken the relevant words from Psalm 90:2 LXX, perhaps substituted prin for pro, replaced 'the mountains' with 'Abraham' and changed su ei from second person to first person and genethenai from passive to active. One could hardly ask for a more exact parallel, unless the passage itself were actually quoted. Since the parallel in question is fundamentally one of tense (since the issue is the significance in relation to time of the present tense of eimi in John 8:58), and since none of the differences between the two texts affect that parallel, it would be safe to conclude that eimi has the same force in John 8:58 that ei has in Psalm 90:2 LXX. In Psalm 90:2, the Septuagint rendering su ei is clearly intended to assert the eternal preexistence of Yahweh in contrast to the created origin of the mountains... To be consistent... John 8:58 just as clearly affirms the eternality of Jesus." (Ibid., pp. 117-118 bold emphasis ours)
Other scholars who agree include the following:
"... The vast majority of translators see, as do many commentators, that there is a clear differentiation being made here between the derivative existence of Abraham and the eternal existence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many scholars rightly point out the same contrasting of verbs as seen in the prologue of John as well as the same kind of differentiation found in the Septuagint Greek rendering of Psalm 90:2." (White, Forgotten Trinity, p. 97 bold emphasis ours)
"... The tense of the verb eimi is not in question. It is the present indicative tense. A.T. Robertson comments:
I am (ego eimi). Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God. The contrast between genesthai (entrance into existence of Abraham) and eimi (timeless being) is complete. See the same contrast between en in 1:1 and egeneto in . See the contrast also in Ps. 90:2 between God (ei, art) and the mountains (genethenai). See the same use eimi in John 6:20; 9:9; , 28; 18:6." (Robert Morey, Trinity, p. 364)
Finally, Bowman includes the following scholars in support of the connection between Ps. 90:2 and Jn. 8:58:
"Once again, it must be understood that the position taken here is not original. A multitude of scholars have recognized the parallel between Psalm 90:2 LXX and John 8:58 and noted its significance as confirming that Jesus' words connote eternality. Among these should be mentioned Barnes, Barrett, Brown, Bultmann, Godet, Hengstenberg, Hoskyns, Lindars, Milligan and Moulton, Plummer, Robertson, Schnackenburg, and Winer. Not one biblical scholar has ever disputed the parallel or denied that it confirmed the traditional interpretation. Unless some important considerations have been overlooked, this exegetical conclusion would seem to be as well established as any could be." (Bowman, Jehovah's Witnesses &Jesus, pp.118-119)
These preceding factors clearly affirm that Jesus' I AM statement in John 8:58 served to both affirm his timeless existence and identify him with Yahweh, especially in light of the similarities to Psalm 90:2.
In an attempt to deny the fact that Jesus was claiming eternal preexistence, certain critics assert that Jesus was claiming to have preexisted in the foreknowledge of God much like Jeremiah whom God had known before creating him. (cf. Jeremiah 1:5)
This interpretation cannot be sustained for the following reason:
"... As has already been mentioned (in chapter 6), John Calvin debated persons in his day who interpreted the passage to mean that Jesus was eternally known by God in his foreknowledge. This view survived late into the nineteenth century, when it was effectively put to rest by the orthodox observation that the emphatic ego allowed for no other interpretation but that Jesus himself was the one who existed eternally. Thus, Godet, a famous nineteenth-century biblical scholar, wrote:
'If,' says Luthardt, 'it follows from the apposition between to be and to become, in this saying, that the existence of Christ is eternal, it follows quite as clearly from the ego that this existence is personal.' This, too, is proved by the comparison with Abraham. For there would have been a touch of charlatanism on the part of Jesus in suddenly substituting an impersonal principle for His person, in His reply to the Jews, who were accusing Him of making Himself the contemporary of Abraham. If one of the two existences compared is personal, the other must be so too, otherwise, this statement, marked as it is by the greatest solemnity, is not a serious one." (Bowman, Jehovah's Witnesses & Jesus, p. 113 bold emphasis ours)
Hence, the person of Jesus is eternal, having neither beginning of days nor ending of life.
Earlier we indicated that the phrase used in Exodus 3:14 implied both the sovereignty of God and his eternality. We have seen that Jesus' I AM statement in John is used to affirm his timeless existence, but we have yet to discuss his usage of the term to imply his sovereign power. A classic example of such a usage is to be found at John 18:4-6:
"Jesus, therefore, knowing all the things coming upon him, went forth and said to them: 'Whom are you looking for?' They answered him: 'Jesus of Nazarene.' He said to them, 'I AM.' Now Judas, his betrayer, was also standing with them. However, when he said to them, 'I AM.' They drew back and fell to the ground."
The reaction of the soldiers when they fell back is an indication of the sovereign power of Christ in that with one word he could have destroyed any attempts of arresting him. Such power is only true of God, not of a creature. This event is a foretaste of what shall eventually occur at Jesus' seconding coming:
"Therefore, God has highly exalted him to the highest place and given him the name that is above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of those in heaven and of those on the earth and of those underneath the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (i.e., the Sovereign Yahweh) to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
In light of the preceding evidence, there can be no doubt that Jesus' I AM statements were meant to identify him with the I AM of Exodus .
Since I have already responded to this argument I will post what I said:
As for Jesus saying I AM, this does not prove he is God. Let us post some of the verses Shamoun posted:
So Jesus said to them, When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me." John 8:28
That is the important part of the verse which Shamoun missed. Those words basically prove that without a doubt Jesus is not God. Why would Jesus make such a statement after making a claim that he is God? You believe Jesus saying I AM makes him God, if so then why would he say such a statement right after saying I AM? The fact is Jesus said those words to show he is a prophet and that he is not God and the fact that he says I AM means nuthing special it is just the desire of Christians to make it seem as if Jesus is claiming to be God when he is claiming something totally opposite.
Shamoun then posts:
"Your father Abraham was overjoyed to see my day, and he saw it and was glad. Then the Jewish people who had been listening to him replied, You are not yet fifty years old! Have you seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I AM! Then they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out from the temple area." John 8:56-59 NET
No where in those passages does Jesus say he existed before Abraham, this is bad mis handling and mis-understanding of the text. The fact that Jesus said that before Abraham he was, does not mean he existed literally. I would like Shamoun to prove me wrong on that and show me the passages do in fact show Jesus EXISTED before Abraham, because no where in those passages do we see Jesus claiming that he did exist and was on earth or in heaven. Shamoun may believe that this passage shows that he did exist: Your father Abraham was overjoyed to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.
Not even this passage shows Jesus as being existent before Abraham; let us look at it for ourselves.
Abraham was overjoyed to see my day. So in fact when Jesus says MY DAY it basically means
MY TIME, so Abraham was happy to see Jesus' time come and finally bring the children of
Israel back to God, and of course Abraham would we overjoyed because they are his
offspring! If Jesus existed before Abraham he would have said Your father Abraham
was overjoyed to see ME, Not to see my
day. To see my day means to see my time, and what time is that? The time when Jesus is
sent by God to bring the children of
Now of course the Jews who couldnt think outside the box misunderstood what Jesus meant just like Shamoun does, and they took it for something else that he literally existed before Abraham: Then the Jewish people who had been listening to him replied, You are not yet fifty years old! Have you seen Abraham?
So they took it in a literal sense, however so let us even look at Jesus' answer which will even make it more clear that he did not literally exist before Abraham, let us quote the Jews remarks and Jesus' response: Then the Jewish people who had been listening to him replied, You are not yet fifty years old! Have you seen Abraham? Jesus said to them, I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I AM!
Jesus did not say he existed before Abraham! Look at his response and you can see it for yourself that Jesus did not say he literally existed before Abraham. Jesus never said I SAW ABRAHAM, he said BEFORE Abraham was that I AM. Christians will say that is proof! Actually it is not, because before Abraham so was I and Shamoun and every other living being on this planet. God has foreknowledge of all his creation before he even creates them and puts them into existence. However so I know many Christians will be saying well what was so special about Jesus saying that? It isnt something very special since we are all already known before our existence and so on. However when you get the big picture it makes very much sense to why Jesus would make such a statement. Let us see the reasons.
1- Abraham is the father of the Jews, and a very important figure to them. He is loved and honoured by all Jews and has a very high status.
2- Jesus is the messiah to the Jews, their saviour.
3- Jesus was a prophet sent to the Jews to bring them back to God.
when you have all those three points it becomes clear that Jesus was showing the Jews of
his own HIGH STATUS. Jesus was sent to the Jews, who were from Abraham, and Jesus was
their messiah and prophet, and the Jews honour and love Abraham. So Jesus said that to
show them of his own importance to them ranking right beside Abraham. He was showing them
that he is on the same rank and high status of Abraham. That is exactly why Jesus used
Abraham and not Adam or Noah. Jesus used Abraham because Jews are from Abraham and Jesus
was sent to the Jews. So Jesus is basically showing his importance to them and that even
before his existence and his creation that God had already planned on sending him to
So the fact is, Jesus saying I am didnt make him God. The verse doesnt even show that Jesus literally existed before Abraham or that the Jews wanted to kill him for claiming to be God. Jesus is fully man and is not God at all.
the fact is, Jesus did not mean he was God when he said I AM.
Now my question to Shamoun is this, why didnt Jesus say
before Adam? The fact is if Jesus wanted to show he is God, he should use Adam, NOT
Abraham. As I said, the reason why he didnt use Adam and used Abraham is because
Jesus was conveying a different message, not the message that he was God. Now I am also
glad to see Shamoun posting some objections to some arguments
such as why didnt Jesus say I was? The argument still stands, because if Jesus was
God, then he would have been there BEFORE Abraham, sadly Jesus did not say that, he said I
AM, meaning God already knew about him and had already planned on creating Jesus and
sending them to the children of
As for the soldiers falling, let me ask Shamoun this, why indeed they fall down? Did they fall down because they believed he was God? If so does that make Jesus God? Secondly did the men even know Jesus? They were asking if he was Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus replied that he is and they fell down. Why did they fall down? Did they know Jesus or see him do anything special for them to fall down? The soldiers were simply asking if he was Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus answered them saying yes I AM HE, so does anyone else when asked if he is a certain person says I AM HE, does that make that person God? However so, let us look at the context of John 18:4-6 and every one will see for themselves how Shamoun tries to make something up from nothing even with his own book, and how he tries to deceive people into believing something when the actual context doesnt support his argument at all. Let us start from John 18 verse 1 all the way to verse 12:
Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which
he entered, and his disciples. 2 And Judas also,
which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes
resorted thither with his disciples. 3 Judas then,
having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh
thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Jesus therefore,
knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom
seek ye? 5 They answered him,
Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas
also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6 As soon then as he
had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7
asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8
answered, I have told you
that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: 9
That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake,
Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. 10
Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his
right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. 11
said Jesus unto Peter, Put
up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
12 Then the band and
the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
Ah yes so when the soldiers fell to the ground when Jesus said I AM HE, it was because they fell down in worship to him because they thought he is God! Hilarious indeed I must say as the context and situation does not even support that or show such a thing happening. The very same soldiers who fell were the very same soldiers sent to capture Jesus for execution. Very funny that for no apparent reason they fall to the ground in worship for Jesus. However so just say they did, then why did they still arrest Jesus and took him to the people who wanted him dead? Why didnt they just let Jesus escape since they fell down for Jesus when he said I AM HE apparently because they believed he was God. So they knew he was God and yet they still took him as a prisoner and beat him and so on. Very bizarre indeed. That is the first flaw in Shamoun's silly argument, it is INCONSISTENT.
Secondly having read the context it is apparent they did not fall to the ground for worship or respect, but they were stunned and amazed that they had gotten Jesus, the man they wanted right there in front of them so when Jesus affirmed who he was they walked a bit backward excited and so on and tripped or something like that. Or the verse is not a literal fall. However so the fact is that they did NOT fall down to the ground in worship and respect for Jesus because they believed he was God.
So as you can see, John 18:4-6 in no way shows Jesus is God, Shamoun purposely lied and tried to deceive the readers. However lets go back to Jesus saying I am in John 8, when we turn to the Greek, we find out that the way Jesus said it is different than the way THE God said it in Exodus, it was not in the same identical matter.
In Exodus this is what it says:
God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt
thou say unto the children of
Kai eipen ho Theos pros Moouseen Egoo Eimi Ho Oon kai eipen outoos ereis tois uiois Israeel Ho Oon apestalken me pros umas
In John it says:
"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
Eipen autois Ieesous, ameen ameen legoo humin, prin Abraam genesthai egoo eimi.
So as you can see, there is indeed a difference in the I am of Exodus with the I am of John. The case is Jesus is not God.
"For in Him dwells (katoikei) all the fullness (pleroma) of the Deity (theotetos) bodily (somatikos)."
This is perhaps one of the most powerful NT passages where the dual natures of Christ is explicitly taught. This will become more evident as we examine the key Greek words Paul was inspired to use. The first word dwells is in the present tense and implies that this is an eternal indwelling. Hence, Deity shall eternally dwell in Christ bodily. This indicates that the one person of Christ will forever remain both God and Man at the same time.
The second term that is of interest is Paul's use of the Greek word pleroma-fullness. Evidently, Paul had in mind a group of heretics called Gnostics. Seemingly, these men had tried to deny that Jesus had actually come in the flesh, since to them all matter was evil and therefore God could not incarnate, and denied that Jesus was fully God. These Gnostics believed that only a tiny fraction of divine power or pleroma resided in Christ. Paul refutes this by saying that the whole fullness of that which makes God absolute Deity resides in Jesus, and this eternally, not just a tiny fraction of it. Which brings us to the word Paul uses for Deity, namely theotetos.
According to Dr. Robert Morey this word "is only found here in the New Testament. It is derived from theos and means 'absolute Deity.' All the lexicons, grammars, and commentaries define theotetos as absolute Deity.' Thayer defines it as 'diety, i.e., the state of being God." (Morey, Trinity, p. 361)
Dr. James White notes:
"... The term Paul uses here of Christ refers to the very essence of deity rather than a mere quality or attribute. Thayer notes as one of his sources the work of Richard Trench on synonyms in the New Testament. Trench said of these two terms (i.e. theotes and theiotes):
... yet they must not be regarded as identical in meaning, nor even as two different forms of the same word, which in the process of time have separated off from one another, and acquired different shades of significance. On the contrary, there is a real distinction between them, and one which grounds itself on their different derivations; theotes being from Theos, and theiotes not from to theion, which is nearly though not quite equivalent to Theos, but from the adjective theios... But in the second passage (Col. ii. 9) St. Paul is declaring that in the Son there dwells all the fullness of absolute Godhead; they were no mere rays of divine glory which gilded Him, lighting up His person for a season and with a splendor not his own; but He was, and is absolute and perfect God; And the Apostle uses theotes to express the essential and personal Godhead of the Son.
"This is why B.B. Warfield hit it on the head when he said of this passage, 'that is to say, the very Deity of God, that which makes God God, in all its completeness, has its permanent home in Our Lord, and that in a "bodily fashion," that is, it is in Him with a clothed body.'" (White, Forgotten Trinity, pp. 85-86 bold emphasis ours)
As has been already alluded to, the term somatikos-bodily implies that Jesus retains his human nature forever. In order for Christ to have the fullness of Deity eternally indwelling Him bodily he must have a material body since God is Spirit. (cf. John 4:24) This implies that prior to Christ's incarnation he existed without either a material or spiritual body, and only took a material form when born of the virgin. It is this body, now glorified, that contains the fullness of Deity forever.
Colossians is not the only place where Jesus' dual natures are presented. We find allusions to this fact in several places some of which include the following:
"While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, 'What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?' They said to Him, 'The Son of David.' He said to them, 'How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying: "The LORD said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your footstool.'" David then calls Him, "Lord," how is He his Son?'" Matthew 22:41-45
The only way for Christ to be both David's Lord and Son is if He was both God and Man at the same time. Jesus affirms that this is precisely so in Revelation
"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star."
Jesus is the Root of David implying that Christ is the source of his existence, as well as his Offspring, i.e. his descendant. Hence, Jesus is the God-Man, two natures united in one Person. One final passage to seal the case for Jesus' dual natures:
"who are the Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen" Romans 9:4-5 NKJV
Other translations read:
Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God overall, forever praised Amen. NIV
Their ancestors were great people of God, and Christ himself was a Jew as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. NLT
They re descended from the patriarchs and from their flesh an blood came Christ who is above all, God ever blessed! Amen. JB
Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. KJV
To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. NRSV
This brief examination of the three key biblical passages should be sufficient in establishing the case that the New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus is the God-man, two natures united in one person.
So if the fullness of God dwelt in Jesus, then why would satan try and tempt Jesus? Satan already would know God is in Jesus so why would he try and tempt him? Thats one problem you must solve for us. It makes no sense for satan to try and tempt Jesus while satan knew the fullness of God was in Jesus, and Jesus himself must have known this, so why did satan try and tempt Jesus like he did? The fact is satan did this is because Jesus is not God, nor did satan take Jesus as God, and Jesus knew he wasnt God. Secondly if the fullness of God is in Jesus, then this means God went to the bathroom, went to sleep, went to eat, and went to cry and pray! Thirdly this also means your God is not all-knowing, since Jesus stated he doesnt know the last hour, since the fullness of God was in him, then this means God to didnt know therefore he cant be God. Or was that the man part only? Question, when do you know the man Jesus is talking and not the divine Jesus? The fact is you dont but you have to guess. Secondly, what happens to the divine spirit of Jesus when the man part of Jesus takes over? Is it hiding? Is it conscious? Where is it? Thirdly, how can the human nature overcome the divine nature of God? That is illogical and IMPOSSIBLE. So this verse actually leaves you with more problems than solutions, but anyway, Paul said it, not Jesus, and Paul is a liar so I for one could care less to what he has to say. Much more could be said to show how silly this verse is, but that should be enough.
This brief examination of yours on three key biblical passages to show that Jesus is God completely failed. Jesus is not God, get over it, you will never be able to prove it, and whatever information you bring I will always be there to refute it, insha'Allah. J
Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.
Rebuttals to Sam Shamoun's Articles section.
A Muslim's Rebuttals section.
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