The Biblical Basis for the Apostles’ Creed Pt. 2

I continue with my series on the Apostles’ Creed: https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/07/the-biblical-basis-for-the-apostles-creed-pt-1/.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

Seeing that the creed merely affirms belief in the Holy Spirit, and doesn’t go into details concerning his identity, I have therefore decided to provide a somewhat comprehensive case in support of the Holy Spirit being an eternal divine Person who is one in essence with both the Father and Son, and who is identified as the Spirit that belongs to both God and Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit is called God

The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: He who rules over man justly, who rules in the fear of God,” 2 Samuel 23:2-3

The Holy Spirit is called Lord

“Now the Lord is the Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, seeing the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, as in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

The Holy Spirit is identified as Yahweh God of the OT

Not only does the Holy Bible identify the Holy Spirit as Lord and as the God of Israel who speaks, it even goes as far as to apply OT passages where Yahweh or Jehovah is speaking to the Holy Spirit!

For instance, the prophet Isaiah saw Yahweh in a vision where he received his commission to become Yahweh’s spokesperson to the people of Israel:

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. One cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.’ The posts of the door moved at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Hosts.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar in his hand. And he laid it on my mouth, and said, ‘This has touched your lips, and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.’ Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for US?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me.’ He said, ‘Go, and tell this people: “Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.” Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn and be healed.’” Isaiah 6:1-10

Remarkably, Paul cites Isaiah 6:9-10 as an example of the Holy Spirit speaking to the nation of Israel:

“Being in disagreement with one another, they were dismissed after Paul had said one word: ‘The Holy Spirit accurately SPOKE to our fathers THROUGH Isaiah the prophet, “Go to this people and say: You shall certainly hear, but never understand; and you shall certainly see, but never perceive; for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.”’” Acts 28:25-27

This means that the God who appeared and spoke to Isaiah was actually the Holy Spirit!

Acts isn’t the only book to do this, since Hebrews does the very same thing when it cites the following Psalm:

“O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, and as in the day of Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers tested Me and tried Me, though they had seen My deeds. For forty years I loathed that generation and said, ‘They are a people who go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ Therefore I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter into My rest.’” Psalm 95:6-11

And attributes it to the Holy Spirit:

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of temptation in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me and tried Me and saw My works for forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, “They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.” So I swore in My wrath, “They shall not enter My rest.”’” Hebrews 3:7-11

The inspired writer further quotes Jeremiah 31:33-34 where Yahweh promises Israel that he will forgive their sins and be their God,

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law within them and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:33-34

And applies it to the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit also witnesses to us about this. For after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and lawless deeds will I remember no more.’” Hebrews 10:15-17

It is interesting to note here that it is the Holy Spirit who says he will no longer remember the lawless actions of his people Israel, showing that the Spirit has the power to forgive sins.

Hence, these Biblical references prove that, as far as the inspired Biblical witness is concerned, the Holy Spirit is actually Yahweh God who spoke to and through the OT prophets.

The Holy Spirit is eternal, uncreated by nature

“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14

The Holy Spirit is the Creator

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water.” Genesis 1:1-2

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life.” Job 33:4

The Holy Spirit is Omnipresent and Omniscient

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people, and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, that they may take a stand there with you. And I will come down, and I will speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit which is on you and will put it on them, and they will bear the burden of the people with you, and you will not bear it by yourself.’… Moses went out, and he spoke to the people the words of the Lord and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and set them around the tabernacle. And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was on him, and gave it to the seventy elders, and when the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but did not do it again. But two men remained in the camp. The name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other, Medad. And the Spirit rested on them. They were among those listed, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses and said, “Eldad and Medad prophesy in the camp.’ Then Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, answered and said, “My lord Moses, forbid them.’ Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Oh, that all the people of the LORD were prophets, and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!’” Numbers 11:16-17, 24-29

Where shall I go from Your spirit, or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell at the end of the sea, even there Your hand shall guide me, and Your right hand shall take hold of me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light shall be as night about me,’ even the darkness is not dark to You, but the night shines as the day, for the darkness is like light to You.” Psalm 139:7-12

Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice, and taught Him knowledge, and showed to Him the way of understanding?” Isaiah 40:13-14

“Nor will I hide My face from them anymore. For I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, says the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 39:29

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16

The Holy Spirit is a Person with a mind, emotions, intellect and a will

“You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them, did not withhold Your manna from their mouth, and gave them water for their thirst… For many years You endured them and warned them by Your Spirit in Your prophets, yet they would not listen. Therefore, You gave them into the hand of the people of the lands.” Nehemiah 9:30

But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; therefore, He turned Himself to be their enemy, and He fought against them.” Isaiah 63:10

“Moreover the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the east gate of the house of the LORD which faces eastward. And at the door of the gate were twenty-five men, among whom I saw Jaazaniah the son of Azzur and Pelatiah the son of Benaiah, officials of the people. Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these are the men who devise mischief and give wicked counsel in this city, who say, “The time is not near to build houses. This city is the cauldron, and we are the flesh.” Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man!’ Then the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and He said to me, Say, Thus says the Lord: Thus you have said, O house of Israel, for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.” Ezekiel 11:1-5

“Should it be said, O house of Jacob, ‘Is the Spirit of the Lord impatient? Are these His deeds?”Do not My words benefit him who walks uprightly?’” Micah 2:7

“While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Three men are looking for you. So rise and go down, and go with them, doubting nothing. For I have sent them.’” Acts 10:19-20

“In the church that was in Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they worshipped the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart FOR ME Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” Acts 13:1-2

“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27

“But that one and very same Spirit works all these, dividing to each one individually as He will.” 1 Corinthians 12:11

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you are sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30

The Holy Spirit is Israel’s Redeemer

“Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses, saying: Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in their midst, who led them with His glorious arm by the right hand of Moses, dividing the water before them, to make Himself an everlasting name, who led them through the deep, as a horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? As the cattle which go down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused them to rest, so You led Your people, to make Yourself a glorious name.” Isaiah 63:11-14

The Holy Spirit is the Agent of the New Birth/The Cause of Regeneration

“‘And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them. And you will be turned into another man.’… And it happened, that when he turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart. And all those signs came to pass that day. When they came to the hill, a group of prophets met him. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.” 1 Samuel 10:6, 9-10

“When You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, and they die and return to their dust. When You send forth Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the surface of the ground.” Psalm 104:29-30

“because the palaces have been forsaken, the populated city is forsaken. The forts and towers shall be caves forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks, until the Spirit is poured on us from on high, and the wilderness is a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest.” Isaiah 32:14-15

“Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean. From all your filthiness and from all your idols, I will cleanse you. Also, I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” Ezekiel 36:25-27

“Therefore prophesy and say to them, Thus says the LORD God: Pay attention, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves. And I shall put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I the Lord have spoken and performed it, says the LORD.” Ezekiel 37:12-14

It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life.” John 6:63

“who has made us able ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6

“not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:5

The Holy Spirit Empowers and Distributes God’s Gifts to Believers

“Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of craftsmanship to devise artistic works for work with gold, with silver, and with bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in carving of wood, to work in all manner of craftsmanship. I, indeed, I have given him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, and I have given skill to all who are specially skilled, that they may make everything that I have commanded you:” Exodus 31:1-6

“Moses said to the children of Israel: See, the LORD has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of craftsmanship,” Exodus 35:30-31

“Now Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. And the children of Israel listened to him and did as the LORD commanded Moses.” Deuteronomy 34:9

“‘And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them. And you will be turned into another man. And it will be when these signs come to you, do for yourself what the occasion requires; for God is with you.’… And it happened, that when he turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart. And all those signs came to pass that day. When they came to the hill, a group of prophets met him. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. So when all who previously knew him saw that he prophesied among the prophets, the people said one to another, ‘What is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?’” 1 Samuel 10:6-7, 9-11

“and the plans, all of which were given to him by the Spirit, for the courts of the house of the LORD and for the surrounding rooms, the storehouses of the house of God, and the storehouses of the dedicated offerings… ‘All this,’ said David, ‘the LORD made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the works of this pattern.’” 1 Chronicles 28:12, 19

“And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” Isaiah 11:1-2

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn,” Isaiah 61:1-2

“In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying: Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, saying: Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not, in your eyes, as nothing in comparison? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, says the LORD, and be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong all you people of the land, says the LORD. Work, for I am with you, says the LORD of Hosts. According to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.” Haggai 2:1-5

“And he said to me: ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel, saying: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts.’” Zechariah 4:6

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for the common good. To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But that one and very same Spirit works all these, dividing to each one individually as He will.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son

“But when they deliver you up, take no thought of how or what you will speak. For it will be given you at that time what you will speak. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks through you.” Matthew 10:19-20

“But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me.” John 15:26

“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit that lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we are debtors not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if through the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of slavery again to fear. But you have received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs: heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:9-17

“But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born from a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of His Son, crying, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 4:4-7

“For I know that through your prayer and the support of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, this will result in my deliverance.” Philippians 1:19

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that should come to you have inquired and searched diligently, seeking the events and time the Spirit of Christ, who was within them, signified when He foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, concerning the things which are now reported to you by those who have preached the gospel to you through the Holy Spirit, who was sent from heaven—things into which the angels desire to look.” 1 Peter 1:10-12

This concludes this part of my series. Lord Jesus willing, the rest of the sections will be appearing shortly.

Further Reading

Biblical Witness to the Deity of the Holy Spirit https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/biblical-witness-to-the-deity-of-the-holy-spirit/

 

 

 

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The Biblical Basis for the Apostles’ Creed Pt. 1

Here I begin a multipart series where I seek to establish the fidelity of what is commonly referred to as the Apostles’ Creed to the God-breathed Scriptures. I will seek to prove that this creed accurately sums up the Bible’s teaching in respect to God, Christ, the Holy Spirit etc.

I will now post the creed for the benefit of the readers:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

With the foregoing in perspective I now proceed to provide the biblical references in support of the statements made in this particular early Christian confession.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

“But for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist…” 1 Corinthians 8:6a

“The four living creatures had six wings each, and they were covered with eyes all around. All day and night, without ceasing, they were saying: ‘“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,” who was, and is, and is to come.’ When the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him, who lives forever and ever. Then they cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You have created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.’” Revelation 4:8-11

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

“And a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘You are My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’” Mark 1:11

“Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him.’” Mark 9:7

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth… No one has seen God at any time. The only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” John 1:14, 18

“You call Me Teacher and Lord. You speak accurately, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:13-14

“so that you are not lacking in any gift while waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by Him you were called to the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:7-9

“If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. Come, O Lord! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 1 Corinthians 16:22-23

“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by Silas, Timothy, and me, was not ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ In Him it was ‘Yes.’” 2 Corinthians 1:19

“For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly provided for you.” 2 Peter 1:11

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory, both now and forever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.

“And Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ… Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way: After His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child by the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man and not willing to make her a public example, had in mind to divorce her privately. But while he thought on these things, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for He who is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this occurred to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet, saying, ‘A virgin shall be with child, and will bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is interpreted, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being awakened from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him, and remained with his wife, and did not know her until she had given birth to her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.” Matthew 1:16, 18-25

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.’ When she saw him, she was troubled by his words, and considered in her mind what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Listen, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. And of His kingdom there will be no end.’ Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ The angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called the Son of God.’” Luke 1:26-35

He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

“From that time on, Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised on the third day.” Matthew 16:21

“Again the high priest asked Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” Mark 14:61b-62

“After the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God. Then they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” Mark 16:19-20

“For the Son of Man shall come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27

“The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all men should honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him… and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” John 5:22-23, 27

“When He had spoken these things, while they looked, He was taken up. And a cloud received Him from their sight. While they looked intently toward heaven as He ascended, suddenly two men stood by them in white garments. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why stand looking toward heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you to heaven, will come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11

“Brothers, I may speak confidently to you concerning the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. But being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of his seed according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he foresaw this and spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. God raised up this Jesus, of which we all are witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear. For David has not ascended to the heavens, yet he says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ Therefore, let all the house of Israel assuredly know that God has made this Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:29-36

“The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Son Jesus, whom you handed over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Creator of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:13-15

“God overlooked the times of ignorance, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent. For He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed, having given assurance of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31

“in the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Jesus Christ.” Romans 2:16

“But the righteousness which is based on faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?”’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or, ‘Who will descend into the deep (abysson – abyss)?”’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” Romans 10:6-7{1}

“For if we live, we live for the Lord. And if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, so that He might be Lord of both the dead and living. So why do you judge your brother? Or why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:8-12

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive his recompense in the body, according to what he has done, whether it was good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10

“But our citizenship is in heaven, from where also we await for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our body of humiliation, so that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working of His power even to subdue all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:20-21

“I command you, in the sight of God, who gives life to all things, and in the sight of Christ Jesus, who testified a good confession before Pontius Pilate,” 1 Timothy 6:13

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom… From now on a crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing… The Lord will deliver me from every evil work and will preserve me for His heavenly kingdom, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 18

“He is the brightness of His glory, the express image of Himself, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:3 – cf. 10:12-13; 12:2

“so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to save those who eagerly wait for Him.” Hebrews 9:28

“Figuratively this is like baptism, which also saves us now. It is not washing off the dirt from the body, but a response to God from a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels and authorities and powers being made subject to Him.” 1 Peter 3:21-22

We come to the end of this part of our analysis of the biblical foundations for the Apostles’ Creed. Here is the link to part 2: https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/08/the-biblical-basis-for-the-apostles-creed-pt-2/

Endnotes

{1} The Greek word for deep, abysso (i.e., the abyss), is used elsewhere in Holy Scripture to refer to the place where Satan and demons/evil spirits will be/are consigned for a period of time:

“They sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is across from Galilee. When He stepped out on land, a man from the city who had demons for a long time met Him. He wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, ‘What have You to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I plead with You, do not torment me.’ For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. It often had seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles. But he broke the shackles and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Legion,’ because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him not to command them to go out into the abyss (abysson – abyss).” Luke 8:26-31

“The fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. The star was given the key to the bottomless pit (abyssou – abyss). He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke ascended from the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace. The sun and the air were darkened by the smoke from the pit. And out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. Power was given them as the scorpions of the earth have power. They were commanded not to harm the grass of the earth, or any green thing, or any tree, but only those men who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were given authority, not to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. In those days men will seek death but will not find it. They will desire to die, but death will elude them… They had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek his name is Apollyon.” Revelation 9:1-6, 11

“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit (abyssou – abyss) and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be set free for a little while.” Revelation 20:1-3

This may suggest that our Lord descended into this particular realm after his death, and remained there for three days, so as to proclaim his victory over the powers of darkness. Christ did not descend there in order to be tormented, but to show to the nether or underworld that he had vanquished Satan’s kingdom by the power of the blood of his cross. And it is the power of Christ’s blood which now enables all true believers to overcome and conquer the influence and control of Satan and all his evil forces over their lives:

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins… For it pleased the Father that in Him all fullness should dwell, and to reconcile all things to Himself by Him, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him, I say—whether they are things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, who were formerly alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and above reproach in His sight, if you continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and are not removed from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.” Colossians 1:13-14, 19-23

“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which also you were raised with Him through the faith of the power of God, who has raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has resurrected together with Him, having forgiven you all sins. He blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us and contrary to us, and He took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed authorities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:11-15

“The great dragon was cast out, that ancient serpent called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.’” Revelation 12:9-11

More Quranic Proofs for the Deity of Christ

Jesus as the Bearer of Divine Names and Functions

In this article I am going to be examining some of the specific names and qualities, which Islamic theology ascribes to Allah and show how these very same characteristics are attributed to Jesus in the Quran itself. This in turn will prove that the Muslim scripture ends up contradicting itself in so far that it affirms the Deity of Christ, while claiming that he is nothing more than a servant of Allah.

ALLAH

As-Subbûh, Al-Quddûs: The All-Perfect, Utterly Pure

Subbuh is from Subhan, which is glorification and tanzih, disconnecting and elevating Him above any others. He is All-Perfect, All-Pure, All Glorious, far removed from everything evil and imperfect.

Quddus means pure (tahir, munazzah), pure and free of any imperfection .He is far removed from every imperfection or impurity or from anything that would detract from His glory, and disconnected from every description perceived by the senses and thought, All-Holy, All-Pure, All-Perfect.

Some say Subbuh denies imperfection and Quddus affirms perfection.

Al-Quddus is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

“He is Allah. There is no god but Him. He is the King, the Most Pure.” (59:23)

“Everything in the heavens and everything in the earth glorifies Allah, the King, the Most Pure, the Mighty, the Wise.” (62:1)

At-Tâhir: The Pure

Pure of every bad action and any imperfection or any corporal distinction.

JESUS

The Quran claims that Jesus was perfectly pure from conception:

He said, “I am the messenger of your Lord, to grant you a pure son.”  S. 19:19 Khalifa

He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. Pickthall

Here is how some of Islam’s greatest exegetes interpreted this particular text:

Al-Tabari

“… A child who is zakiyyan is one who is pure from sins…” [10th Century AD http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=1&tSoraNo=19&tAyahNo=19&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=1]

Al-Baghawi

{… zakiyyan} a righteous son who is pure from sins. [12th Century AD http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=13&tSoraNo=19&tAyahNo=19&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=1]

Ar-Razi

“… One who is zakiyy provides the following intentions: First, that he is pure from sins. Second, that he will grow in purity (be a testimonial)…Third, integrity and purity…” [13th Century AD http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=4&tSoraNo=19&tAyahNo=19&tDisplay=yes&Page=2&Size=1&LanguageId=1]

Ibn Al-Jawzi

{… zakiyyan} pure from sins. [13th Century AD http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=15&tSoraNo=19&tAyahNo=19&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=1]

Al-Baydawi

{zakiyyan} pure from sins… [14th Century AD http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=6&tSoraNo=19&tAyahNo=19&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=1]

Al-Khazin

{… zakiyyan} Ibn Abbas said: a righteous son who is pure from sins. [14th Century AD http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=18&tSoraNo=19&tAyahNo=19&tDisplay=yes&Page=2&Size=1&LanguageId=1]

The ahadith provide further confirmation for Jesus’ being absolutely sinless and perfect:

“They will go to Musa and say, ‘O Musa, you are the Messenger of Allah. Allah preferred you with His message and His Word above all othr people. Intercede with your Lord for us. Do you not see what we are suffering?’ He will say, ‘My Lord is angry today with such anger as has never existed before nor will again. I killed a soul which I was not commanded to kill. Go to someone else. Go to ‘Isa.’

“They will go to ‘Isa and say, ‘O ‘Isa! You are the Messenger of Allah and His Word which He cast to Maryam and a spirit from Him. You spoke to people while in the cradle. Intercede with your Lord on our behalf. Do you not see what we are suffering?’ ‘Isa will say, ‘My Lord is angry today with such anger as has never existed before nor will again,’ AND HE DID NOT MENTION A SIN. ‘O my soul! My soul! My soul! Go to someone else. Go to Muhammad.’ (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 68. Book of Tafsir https://bewley.virtualave.net/bukhari31.html; bold and capital emphasis ours)

And:

“… Moses would say to them: Verily my Lord is angry as He had never been angry before and would never be angry afterwards. I, in fact, killed a person whom I had not been ordered to kill. I am concerned with myself, I am concerned with myself. You better go to Jesus. They would come to Jesus and would say: O Jesus, thou art the messenger of Allah and thou conversed with people in the cradle, (thou art) His Word which He sent down upon Mary, and (thou art) the Spirit from Him; so intercede for us with thy Lord. Don’t you see (the trouble) in which we are? Don’t you see (the misfortune) that has overtaken us? Jesus would say: Verily, my Lord is angry today as He had never been angry before or would ever be angry afterwards. HE MENTIONED NO SIN OF HIS. (He simply said:) I am concerned with myself, I am concerned with myself; you go to someone else: better go to Muhammad. They would come to me and say: O Mahammad, thou art the messenger of Allah and the last of the apostles. Allah has pardoned thee all thy previous and later sins…” (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0378 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=001&translator=2&start=0&number=0378; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Now this places Muslims in a bit of a dilemma since the Quran clearly teaches that there is no creature that is completely sinless in God’s sight: 

And if Allah had destroyed men for their iniquity, He would not leave on the earth a single creature, but He respites them till an appointed time; so when their doom will come they shall not be able to delay (it) an hour nor can they bring (it) on (before its time). S. 16:61

And were Allah to punish men for what they earn, He would not leave on the back of it any creature, but He respites them till an appointed term; so when their doom shall come, then surely Allah is Seeing with respect to His servants. S. 35:45

As such, Christ could not be essentially pure and free from all moral defects if he was/is nothing more than a mere creature. Therefore, in order for him to be absolutely perfect and flawless Christ must be truly divine, just as much divine as Allah is supposed to be. 

ALLAH

Al- Muta’âlî: The High Exalted

He Who is free of imperfection and none has power like His, He who is great or supremely great, above the lies of the liars, or the Most High, who is higher than every other high one, or He who has ascendancy over everything by His power or He who is exalted above the attributes of created things. 

Al-Muta’ali is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

“Allah knows what every female bears and every shrinking of the womb and every swelling. Everything has its measure with Him, the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible, the Most Great, the High Exalted.” (13:9-10)

“May Allah be exalted above what they associate with Him!” (27:63)

Al-‘Alî, Al-‘Âlî, Al-‘A’lâ: The Most High 

Above and beyond, the High above whom there is nothing higher.

Al-‘Ali is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

“Judgement belongs to Allah, the All-High, the All-Great.” (40:11)

“Everything in the heavens and everything in the earth belongs to Him. He is the Most High, the Magnificent.” (42:4)

“Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High.” (87:1)

“Only desiring the Face of their Lord Most High.” (92:20)

“That is because Allah is the Real and what you call on apart from Him is false. Allah is the All-High, the All-Great.” (22:60)

JESUS

The Islamic scripture proclaims that Allah took Jesus to be personally with him:

When God said, ‘O Jesus! I will make Thee die and take Thee up again to me and will clear thee of those who misbelieve, and will make those who follow thee above those who misbelieve, at the day of judgment, then to me is your return. I will decide between you concerning that wherein ye disagree. S. 3:55 Palmer

But Allah raised him [‘Iesa (Jesus)] up (with his body and soul) unto Himself (and he is in the heavens). And Allah is Ever All-Powerful, All-Wise. S. 4:158 Hilali-Khan

Jesus is therefore physically dwelling wherever Allah is supposed to be. And since Allah is supposed to be on/over his throne, which is supposed to be over the entire creation,

God! There is no god but He, – the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). S. 2:255 Y. Ali

Indeed your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He Istawa (rose over) the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty). He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His Command. Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)! S. 7:54 Hilali-Khan

This means that Jesus is over all creation, and is therefore just as highly exalted as Allah himself!

ALLAH 

Al-Bâ’ith: The Raiser

The Raiser, Resurrector. To re-create, like Mu’id; revive; also to send. The One who Quickens mankind after death. To cause something to be. 

Al-Ba’ith is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

“Allah will raise up all those in the graves.” (22:7)

Al-Muhyî, Al-Mumît: The One Who Gives Life, The One who Makes Die 

The Life-Giver or Quickener who makes something alive, to be a living thing; He quickenes him or endues him with life or revives him. He revives the earth with rain and endues with intelligence. Al-Mumit is the One who causes to die.

Al-Muhyi and Al-Mumit are two of the Ninety-Nine Names.

“How can you reject Allah, when you were dead and then He gave you life, then He will make you die and then give you life again, then you will be returned to Him?” (2:27)

JESUS 

Here is where it gets rather interesting. According to the Quran, there is only one other Person who possesses the ability to create, breathe forth life, and resurrect the dead, namely, Jesus Christ!

And [he will be] a messenger to the Children of Israel, “Truly I have brought you a sign from your Lord. I WILL CREATE for you out of clay the shape of a bird. Then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird by God’s Leave. And I will heal the blind and the leper AND GIVE LIFE TO THE DEAD by God’s Leave. And I will inform you about what you eat and what you store up in your houses. Truly in that is a sign for you, I you are believers.” S. 3:49

Then God will say, “O Jesus son of Mary! Remember My Blessing upon thee, when I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit, that thou mightest speak to people in the cradle and in maturity; and when I taught thee the Book, Wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel; and how didst CREATE out of clay the shape of a bird, by My Leave, and thou wouldst breathe into it, and it would become a bird, by My Leave; and thou wouldst heal the blind and the leper, by My Leave, AND THOU WOULDST BRING FORTH THE DEAD, by My Leave; and how I restrained the Children of Israel from thee, when thou didst bring them clear proofs, and those who disbelieved among them said, ‘This is naught but manifest sorcery.’” S. 5:110

This is also what makes these Quranic verses rather remarkable. The Quran has Christ creating life and raising the dead in the exact way that Allah does so:

And when you slew a soul and cast the blame upon one another regarding it–and God is the discloser of what you were concealing–We said, “Strike him with part of it.” Thus does God give life to the dead and show you His signs, that haply you may understand. S. 2:72-73 The Study Quran (TSQ)

Hast thou not considered him who disputeth with Abraham about his Lord because God had given him sovereignty? When Abraham said, “My Lord gives life and causes death,” he said, “I give life and cause death.” Abraham said, “Truly God brings the sun from the east. Bring it, then, from the west.” Thus was he who disbelieved confounded. And God guides not wrongdoing people. S. 2:258 TSQ

Only those who hear will respond. As for the dead, God will resurrect them, and unto Him they shall be returned. S. 6:36 TSQ

Your Lord said to the angels: “I am creating a human from hardened clay of aged mud. So when I perfect him, and blow of My Spirit in him, you shall fall prostrate to him.” S. 15:28-29 Quran: A Reformist Translation (QRT)

“For they are all enemies unto me, save the Lord of the worlds, Who created me, and guides me, and Who feeds me and gives me drink, and Who, when I am ill, heals me, and Who causes me to die, then gives me life, and Who I hope will forgive me my sins on the Day of Judgment.” S. 26:77-82 TSQ

Truly We give life to the dead and record that which they have sent forth and that which they left behind. And We have counted all things in a clear registry. S. 36:12 TSQ

For your Lord said to the angels: “I am creating a human being from clay. So when I have evolved him, and breathed into him from My Spirit, then you shall submit to him.” S. 38:71-72 QRT

Just to get an idea of how amazing all of this is, note what the following Muslim scholars say in regards to the Quran’s assigning to Jesus specific potencies and titles normally attributed to the Islamic deity:

“… His creating live birds out of clay birds, healing the blind and the leper, and raising the dead are likewise recounted in 3:49 (for blind and leper, see 3:49c). These last three miraculous powers attributed to Jesus are EXTRAORDINARY in that THEY SUGGEST POWERS USUALLY RESERVED FOR GOD; God is the one who heals (26:8 [sic]); He is the raiser of the dead throughout the Quran: and the creation of birds from clay and bringing them to life by breathing upon them IS EXACTLY PARALLEL TO GOD’S CREATION OF THE HUMAN BEING (15:26-29; 32:7-9; 38:71-72). The verse repeatedly makes clear, however, that all these powers are done by God’s leave (by My Leave) and so are ultimately His. Jesus’ ability to heal and power to raise the dead are also found in the canonical Gospels, and a similar account of Jesus’ creating birds from clay is given in the noncanonical Infancy Gospel of Thomas.” (The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary, Seyyed Hossein Nasr (editor-in-chief) [HarperOne, 2015], p. 334; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The attempt to diminish Jesus’ ability to perform exclusively divine functions is unconvincing for the following reasons. First, the phrase “God’s Leave” need not mean that Jesus was given the power to carry out these amazing feats. Rather, this expression can simply mean that Allah or God gave Jesus the permission to exercise his intrinsic divine authority to perform these miraculous signs and wonders. Note, for instance, how the following verse employs this phrase:

Whosoever is an enemy of Gabriel: he it is who sent it down upon thy heart by God’s Leave, confirming that which was there before, and as a guidance and glad tiding for the believers. S. 2:97 TSQ

It is clear from the context that “by God’s Leave” means here that Gabriel had to first receive permission from Allah before he could bring down portions of the Quran to Muhammad.

The second problem with the Muslim objection is that this still leaves Muslims with the problem of their god making Jesus his partner by permitting him to share in his unique qualities and abilities. In so doing, Allah basically ended up committing the very transgression that the Muslim scripture says shall never be forgiven:

Truly God forgives not that any partner be ascribed unto Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whomsoever He will, whosoever ascribes partners unto God has surely fabricated a tremendous sin. S. 4:48 TSQ – cf. Q. 4:116; 2:22; 39:65

This now poses a major dilemma for Muslims. They must either contend with the fact that their god is guilty of shirk, seeing that he has elevated a creature to be his associate and partner in divinity. Or they must accept that Jesus is not a finite human being, but rather he is a divine being who became a man, and therefore one with Allah in his essential divine attributes.

Thus, whatever the answer a Muslim chooses s/he will not be able to get around the fact that the Quran indisputably ascribes to Jesus some of the very names and abilities, which are supposed to belong to Allah alone.

All of the names of Allah cited in this article were taken from Aisha Bewley’s article titled “The Divine Names,” which can be accessed here: http://bewley.virtualave.net/names.html

 

 

 

Allah’s Names and the Deity of Christ

How Islamic Theology Confirms Jesus’ Divine Claims Pt. 2

We continue from where we left off https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/allahs-names-and-the-deity-of-christ-pt-1/.

ALLAH

Al-Qadîm: The Timelessly Eternal 

The Timelessly or Beginninglessly Eternal, the opposite of muhdath or hâdith (that which came into existence after not having been). Al-Qadîm has no beginning or is before the beginning. He is outside linear time.

Al-Azalî: The Pre-Eternal

Relating to pre-eternity, existing without any prior non-existence and without any beginning

Al-Awwal, Al-Akhir: The First and the Last

Al-Akhir is He who remains after all His creatures have perished.

Al-Awwal is the First, preceding all others.

Al-Awwal and Al-Akhir are two of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Al-Bâqî: The Abiding

The second dimension of divine eternity along with Al-Qadîm. He will not cease to be. He is the One whose existence has no end. He is Lasting, Perpetual, Endless.

Ad-Dâ’im: The Everlasting

The Everlasting, enduring endlessly, the One who does not perish.

Al-Abadî: The Post-Eternal

The Always enduring, He who has no end and will never cease to be, the Everlasting.

Al-Hayy: The Living

Ever-Living, i.e. Deathless. 

Al-Hayy is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Al-Qâdir; Al-Qadîr, Al-Muqtadir: The All-Powerful

Powerful, meaning capable of action. The last two names are more intensive. It entails decreeing and ordaining. It is He who does what He will, according to what wisdom requires, not more or less.

Al-Qadir and Al-Muqtadir are two of the Ninety-Nine Names.

JESUS

“Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘ALL authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’” Matthew 28:18

“‘Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day. He saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old. Have YOU SEEN Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, BEFORE Abraham was born, I AM.’ Then they took up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. Going through their midst, He passed by.” John 8:56-59

“And now, O Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory which I had with You BEFORE THE WORLD EXISTED… Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may see My glory which You have given Me. For You loved Me BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD.” John 17:5, 24

“Look! He is COMING with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who PIERCED HIM. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is TO COME, THE ALMIGHTY.’ I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the isle that is called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a great voice like a trumpet, saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,’ and ‘What you see, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.’ I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And when I turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of the seven candlesticks was one like a Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and with a golden sash wrapped around the chest. The hair on His head was white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand seven stars, and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. His appearance was like the sun shining brightly. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though I were dead. Then He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid. I AM THE FIRST AND THE LAST. I AM HE WHO LIVES, though I WAS DEAD. Look! I AM ALIVE FOREVERMORE. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. ‘Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.’” Revelation 1:7-19

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The First and the Last, who was dead and came to life, says these things:’” Revelation 2:8

“‘Look, I AM COMING SOON! My reward is with Me to give to each one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, THE FIRST AND THE LASTI, JESUS, have sent My angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.’… He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I AM COMING SOON.’ Amen. Even so, COME LORD JESUS! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:12-13, 16, 20-21

ALLAH

Al-‘Âlim, Al-‘Alîm, Al-‘Allâm: The All-Knowing 

The Knower. He who knows what has been and what will be, who ever has known and ever will know what has been and what will be, from whom nothing is concealed in the earth nor in the heaven, whose knowledge comprehends all things in the most complete manner. His knowledge is timeless and essential.

Al-‘Alim is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Al-Khabîr: The All-Aware

He who has perfect knowledge, not touched by doubt or error, who knows even the most hidden. He knows what has been and what is or will be, He knows the internal qualities of things.

Al-Khabir is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

As-Samî’: The All-Hearing

The one who hears all, no matter how faint the sound, without any organ of hearing.

As-Sami’ is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Al-Basîr: The All-Seeing

The One who sees all things, both the apparent and the hidden without any organ of vision.

Al-Basir is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Ash-Shahîd: The Witness

Witness, possessing much knowledge with respect to external things, the One from whom nothing is Hidden; the Faithful in His testimony.

Ash-Shahid is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Al-Hâfiz, Al-Hafîz: The Preserver

The opposite of forgetfulness; to preserve, conserve, the opposite of to let perish. The Preserver of all things; He from whose preservation nothing is excluded, not even an atom in the heavens or the earth: He who preserves His creatures from oblivion and preserves the heavens and earth. 

Al-Hafiz is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Al-Qarîb: The Near

Near.

Al-Wafî: The Faithful

The One who is faithful to His contracts and pays in full.

JESUS

“For where two or three are assembled in My name, there I AM in their midst.” Matthew 18:20

“‘teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:20

“This is the will of the Father who has sent Me, that of all whom He has given Me, I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up at the last day.” John 6:39

“‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life. THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, nor shall anyone snatch them FROM MY HAND. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them from My Father’s hand. My Father and I are one.’ Again the Jews took up stones to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, ‘We are not stoning You for a good work, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, claim to be God.’” John 10:27-33

I WILL DO whatever you ask in My name, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I WILL DO IT.” John 14:13-14

“‘I have told you these things in proverbs. But the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in proverbs, for I will speak to you plainly about the Father. On that day you will ask in My name. I am not saying to you that I shall ask the Father on your behalf. For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world. As I said, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.’ His disciples said to Him, ‘Yes! Now You are speaking plainly and with no figure of speech. Now we know THAT YOU KNOW EVERYTHING and do not need anyone to question You. By this we believe that You came from God. Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe?’” John 16:25-31

“He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He asked him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Lord, YOU KNOW EVERYTHING. You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’” John 21:17

“To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like fine brass, says these things: I KNOW your works, love, service, faith, and your patience, and that your last works are more than the first… I will put her children to death, and all the churches shall know that I AM HE WHO SEARCHES THE HEARTS AND MINDS. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.’” Revelation 2:18-19, 23

“To the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: ‘The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says these things:’” Revelation 3:14 

ALLAH

Al-Hasîb: The Reckoner

He who takes account of the actions of man and reckons them, the One who gives what is sufficient for His slaves.

Al-Hasib is one of the Ninety-Nine Names. 

Al-Bâ’ith: The Raiser

The Raiser, Resurrector. To re-create, like Mu’id; revive; also to send. The One who Quickens mankind after death. To cause something to be.

Al-Ba’ith is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Al-Jâmi’: The Gatherer

He gathers together the creatures; the One who collects created beings for the Day of Reckoning, or the Combiner of things of similar natures and things of contrary natures in existence.

Al-Muhyî, Al-Mumît: The One Who Gives Life, The One who Makes Die

The Life-Giver or Quickener who makes something alive, to be a living thing; He quickenes him or endues him with life or revives him. He revives the earth with rain and endues with intelligence. Al-Mumit is the One who causes to die.

Al-Muhyi and Al-Mumit are two of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Al-Hakam: The Judge

The Arbiter, Allah judges and there is no reversing His judgement. 

Al-Hakam is one of the Ninety-Nine Names. 

Ad-Dayyân: The Requiter

The Judge, one who demands the accounts, retribution. He does not neglect any deed, but requites it properly.

The Prophet said, “Allah will collect His slaves and He will call to them in a voice that those who are far away will hear just as clearly as those who are close at hand: ‘I am the King, the Requiter!'” (Al-Bukhari) 

JESUS

“For the Son of Man shall come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27

“When the Son of Man comes in HIS glory, and all the holy angels with HIM, then HE will sit on the throne of HIS glory. Before HIM will be GATHERED all nations, and HE will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. HE will set the sheep at HIS right hand, but the goats at the left. Then THE KING will say to those at HIS right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of MY FATHER, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in. I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer HIM, ‘LORD, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?’ THE KING will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.’ Then HE will say to those at the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer HIM, ‘LORD, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not serve You?’ HE will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it not for one of the least of these, you did it not for Me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46

“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son GIVES LIFE to whom He will. The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all men should honor the Son, JUST AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him… Truly, truly I say to you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has given to the Son TO HAVE LIFE IN HIMSELF, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this. For the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear HIS [the Son’s] VOICE and come out—those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” John 5:21-23, 25-29

“‘All whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and he who comes to Me I will never cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who has sent Me, that of all whom He has given Me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.’ The Jews then murmured about Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread which came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus therefore answered them, ‘Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.’” John 6:38-44

I give them eternal life. They shall never perish, nor shall anyone snatch them from my hand.” John 10:28

“Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am THE RESURRECTION and THE LIFE. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’” John 11:23-27

“To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like fine brass, says these thingsI will put her children to death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the hearts and minds. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.’” Revelation 2:18, 23

ALLAH 

Al-Ghâfir, Al-Ghafûr; Al-Ghaffar: The Forgiving, The Ever-Forgiving,

The Endlessly Forgiving

Al-Ghafir who pardons a particular sin; Al-Ghafur who is in the habit of forgiving sins and covering them up; Al-Ghaffar is the One who does not cease to pardon them, one after the other. Ghafr, in the root, means to cover, veil, so to make hidden (unlike ‘afw, to efface), not to punish, to cause them to be undisclosed. The One who covers and forgives the sins of His servants.

Al-Ghafur and Al-Ghaffur are two of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Al-‘Afuw: The All-Pardoning

He who makes disappear, effaces; also has the meaning of fadl, superfluous and so it is resembles Al-Wahhab and Al-Jawad. He forgives much. He passes over wrong actions and pardons faults. More far-reaching than Al-Ghafur, which is veiling. ‘Afw is effacing.

Al-‘Afuw is one of the Ninety-Nine Names. 

JESUS

“Again, He entered Capernaum after some days. And it was reported that He was in the house. Immediately many were gathered together, so that there was no room to receive them, not even at the door. And He preached the word to them. They came to Him bringing one sick with paralysis, who was carried by four men. When they could not come near Him due to the crowding, they uncovered the roof where He was. When they had broken it open, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’ But some of the scribes were sitting there, reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this Man speak such blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?IMMEDIATELY, when Jesus perceived IN HIS SPIRIT that they so reasoned WITHIN THEMSELVES, He said to them, ‘Why do you contemplate these things IN YOUR HEARTS? Which is easier to say to the paralytic: “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Rise, take up your bed and walk”? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’ He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, rise, and take up your bed, and go your way to your house.’ Immediately he rose, picked up the bed, and went out in front of them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!’” Mark 2:1-12

“One of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. So He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down for supper. There, a woman of the city who was a sinner, when she learned that Jesus was sitting for supper in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment, and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, AND KISSED HIS FEET, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, ‘If this Man were a prophet, He would have known who and what kind of woman she is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ He said, ‘Teacher, say it.’ ‘A creditor had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they had no money to pay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered, ‘I suppose he whom he forgave more.” He said to him, ‘You have judged rightly.’ Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house. You gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with ointment. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little.’ Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Those who sat at supper with Him began to say to themselves, ‘WHO IS HE WHO EVEN FORGIVES SINS?’ He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.’” Luke 7:36-50

 

Allah’s Names and the Deity of Christ

How Islamic Theology Confirms Jesus’ Divine Claims Pt. 1

According to Islamic theology, Allah possesses specific names and qualities which cannot be ascribed to any created being, no matter how exalted that creature may be. As such, we are going to look at some of these names in order to show how Jesus applied these very same titles and functions to himself in order to prove that Christ did in fact claim to be God Almighty in the flesh. This will refute the oft repeated Muslim objection that Jesus never made divine claims for himself.

All of the names of Allah that we will be presenting here are taken from Aisha Bewley’s list titled “Divine Names”, which can be accessed at the following url: https://bewley.virtualave.net/names.html 

ALLAH 

Al-Wârith: The Inheritor

The One who inherits and continues after all others have ceased to be; thus all returns to Him. He is the true owner of all.

Al-Warith is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

 

JESUS

“He began to speak to them in parables. ‘A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the winepress, and built a tower, and rented it to vinedressers, and went to a far country… Having yet his one well-beloved son, he sent him last to them, saying, “They will revere my son.” But those vinedressers said among themselves, “This is THE HEIR. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” So they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.” Mark 12:1, 6-8

“At that time Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for it was Your good pleasure. ALL THINGS have been handed over TO ME by My Father. And no one knows who the Son is but the Father, and who the Father is but the Son and he to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.’” Luke 10:21-22

“He will glorify Me, for He will receive from Me and will declare it to you. All that the Father has IS MINE. Therefore I said that He will take what is Mine and will declare it to you.” John 16:14-15

All that are Mine are Yours, and all that are Yours ARE MINE. And I am glorified in them.” John 17:10

ALLAH 

Ar-Rabb: The Lord

Lord: master, owner; chief; the Cherisher, the one who takes care of a thing. Ar-Rabb is the one who puts right, manages, compels and guards. He is the One worshipped. Some scholars say that the name is the greatest name of Allah because of the great number of those who make supplication using it. It reflects the true relationship of a person with his Lord, containing both mastery and kindness, concern, and nurture.

 

JESUS

“While Jesus taught in the temple, He said, “How can the scribes say that Christ is the Son of David? David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet.’” David himself calls Him “Lord.” How then is He his Son?’ And the large crowd heard him gladly.” Mark 12:35-37

“You call Me Teacher and Lord. You speak accurately, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:13-14

ALLAH

An-Nûr: The Light

The light, guide, the One who illuminates; the One who is manifest, clear.

An-Nur is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

JESUS

“Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“I must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:4-5

ALLAH

Al-Haqq: The Truly Real

The Truth, the Real, the Really-existing, He whose existence and divinity are true, the One who creates according to the requirements of wisdom, justice, right, rightness, the Necessarily-existing by His own Essence, He whose existence is undeniable. Every reality exists from His essence and nothing has any intrinsic reality except Him.

Al-Haqq is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

JESUS

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6

ALLAH

As-Salâm: Perfect Peace

The Flawless, sound of every imperfection or deficiency, peace for His creatures. He is the Author of Safety, because He has rendered all His creatures safe from unsoundness and from injustice from Him, the Giver of peace.

As-Salam is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

JESUS

Peace I leave with you. MY PEACE I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

ALLAH

At-Tabîb: The True Physician

Doctor or judge.

A man said, “I am a physician,” and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah is the True Physician. Rather you are a compassionate man. Her physician is the one who created her.” (Abu Dawud)

JESUS

“Again, He entered the synagogue, and there was a man who had a withered hand. They watched Him to see whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Stand up.’ Then He said to them, ‘Is it lawful to do good or to do evil on the Sabbath, to save life or to kill?’ But they kept silent. When He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, ‘Stretch your hand forward.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how to kill Him. Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea. And a great crowd followed Him from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, and Idumea, and from beyond the Jordan. And those from Tyre and Sidon, a great crowd, when they heard what great things He did, came to Him. He told the disciples to have a small boat ready for Him because of the crowd, lest they should crush Him. For He had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed on Him to touch Him. When unclean spirits saw Him, they fell down before Him, crying out, ‘You are the Son of God.’ But He sternly ordered them not to make Him known. He went up into the mountain and called to Him those whom He desired, and they came to Him. He ordained twelve to be with Him, and to be sent out to preach, and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:” Mark 3:1-15

“And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, entreating Him, and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home, sick with paralysis, terribly tormented.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ The centurion answered and said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But speak the word only, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this man, “Go,” and he goes, and to another, “Come,” and he comes, and to my servant, “Do this,” and he does it.’ When Jesus heard it, He was amazed and said to those who followed, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say to you that many will come from the east and west and will dine with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Then Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go your way. And as you have believed, so let it be done for you.’ And his servant was healed that very moment. When Jesus entered Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother, lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she rose and served them. When the evening came, they brought to Him many who were possessed with demons. And He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all who were sick, to fulfill what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.’” Matthew 8:5-17

“As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s station. And He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ And he rose and followed Him. While Jesus sat at supper in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, ‘Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ But when Jesus heard that, He said to them, ‘Those who are well do not need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.’” Matthew 9:9-13

 

ALLAH

Ar-Ra’ûf: The All-Gentle

Intensive form of mercy, or it is to make a suffering stop, the Clement, the One who makes things easier for people than need be out of tenderness. It is more far-reaching than rahma.

Ar-Ra’uf is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

Al-Hannân: The Tender

Having tenderness; the One who shows favour or presents a favourable aspect to the one who turns from him or shuns him, having mercy. [someone who separated from someone dear to them and yearns for them and grieves for them.)

Ar-Rafîq; Ash-Shafîq: The Kind, The Compassionate

The One who is tender and gentle; the One who is very benign.

The Prophet said, “Allah is kind and He loves kindness and confers upon kindness which he does not confer upon severity and does not confer upon anything else besides it.” (Muslim)

Al-Latîf: The All-Subtle

The All-Gentle, sagacious, beneficient; Allah finds the way to come to end of every difficulty, His actions in the world are subtle, and imperceptible to normal mortals. Invisible; the One who knows subtle and obscure things. He gives to people beyond what they need and brings timeless happiness. He creates the embyro and protects it and brings forth milk, etc.

Al-Latif is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

JESUS

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I AM MEEK AND LOWLY IN HEART, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

 

ALLAH

As-Subbûh, Al-Quddûs: The All-Perfect, Utterly Pure 

Subbuh is from Subhan, which is glorification and tanzih, disconnecting and elevating Him above any others. He is All-Perfect, All-Pure, All Glorious, far removed from everything evil and imperfect.

Quddus means pure (tahir, munazzah), pure and free of any imperfection .He is far removed from every imperfection or impurity or from anything that would detract from His glory, and disconnected from every description perceived by the senses and thought, All-Holy, All-Pure, All-Perfect.

Some say Subbuh denies imperfection and Quddus affirms perfection.

Al-Quddus is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

At-Tâhir: The Pure

Pure of every bad action and any imperfection or any corporal distinction.

JESUS

“In their synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘Leave us alone! What do You have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.’” Mark 1:23-24

“He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory. But He who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:18

“He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him… Which of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe Me?” John 8:29, 46

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens, says these things:’” Revelation 3:7 

ALLAH

Al-Malik; Al-Mâlik: The King, the Master

Al-Mali is the King, the Sovereign; Al-Mâlik is the Master, Owner, Malik is the governor of beings who have the consciousness of being governed, not the case with Mâlik, who owns everything. 

Al-Malik is one of the Ninety-Nine Names. 

Mâlik al-Mulk: The Master of the Kingdom

Owner or Possessor of the Kingdom, who grants sovereignty to whomever He will. 

JESUS

The Son of Man shall send out HIS angels, and they shall gather out of HIS KINGDOM all things that offend, and those who do evil,” Matthew 13:41

“For the Son of Man shall come with HIS angels in the glory of HIS Father, and then He will repay every man according to his works. Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in HIS KINGDOM.” Matthew 16:27-28

“These will wage war with the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those who are with Him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14

“On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:16

We have a lot more examples in the second part of our discussion https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/allahs-names-and-the-deity-of-christ-pt-2/.

A renowned NT textual scholar and critic of Christianity’s defense of the veracity of Luke 23:34

Seeing how the text of Luke 23:34 has been called into question by Christian apologists who pass themselves off as scholars, especially in respect to the text and transmission of the NT, I have decided to quote noted NT scholar Dr. Bart D. Ehrman’s defense of the textual veracity of this Lukan passage. What makes this rather interesting is that Ehrman is a hostile critic of Christianity, particularly evangelical Christianity, which makes his defense of the authenticity of Luke 23:34 all the more ironic seeing that you have so-called conservative Christian scholars and apologists calling the text’s veracity into question.

Here is how Luke 23:34 reads in the Authorized King James Version (AV):

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”

According to some evangelical and reformed apologists, this prayer of Jesus may actually be inauthentic since they claim that the manuscript evidence strongly suggests that this is a verse which a later scribe (or scribes) may have inserted into the Gospel. As such, it is highly unlikely that Luke wrote these words by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

In light of this assertion I have decided to quote the following portion from Ehrman’s book, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why [HarperOne, 2005], 7. The Social Worlds of the Text, pp. 190-193, since he does an excellent job of refuting these arguments.

Anti-Jewish Alterations of the Text

The anti-Jewishness of some second- and third-century Christian scribes played a role in how the texts of scripture were transmitted. One of the clearest is found in Luke’s account of the crucifixion, in which Jesus is said to have uttered a prayer for those responsible:

And when they came to the place that is called “The Skull,” they crucified him there, along with criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:33-34)

As it turns out, however, this prayer of Jesus cannot be found in all our manuscripts; it is missing from our earliest Greek witness (a papyrus called P75, which dates to about 200 C.E.) and several other high-quality witnesses of the fourth and later centuries; at the same time, the prayer can be found in Codex Sinaiticus and a large range of manuscripts, including most of those produced in the Middle Ages. And so the question is, Did a scribe (or a number of scribes) delete the prayer from a manuscript that originally included it? Or did a scribe (or scribes) add it to a manuscript that originally lacked it?

Scholarly opinion has long been divided on the question. Because the prayer is missing from several early and high-quality witnesses, there has been no shortage of scholars to claim that it did not originally belong to the text. Sometimes they appeal to an argument based on internal evidence. As I have pointed out, the author of the Gospel of Luke also produced the Acts of the Apostles, and a passage similar to this one can be found in Acts in the account of the first Christian martyr, Stephen, the only person whose execution is described at any length in Acts. Because Stephen was charged with blasphemy, he was stoned to death by a crowd of angry Jews; and before he expired he prayed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60).

Some scholars have argued that a scribe who did not want Jesus to look any less forgiving than his first martyr, Stephen, added the prayer to Luke’s Gospel, so that Jesus also asks that his executioners be forgiven. This is a clever argument, but it is not altogether convincing, for several reasons. The most compelling is this: whenever scribes try to bring texts into harmony with each other, they tend to do so by repeating the same words in both passages. In this case, however, we do not find identical wording, merely a similar kind of prayer. This is not the kind of “harmonization” that scribes typically make.

Also striking in conjunction with this point is that Luke, the author himself, on a number of occasions goes out of his way to show the similarities between what happened to Jesus in the Gospel and what happened to his followers in Acts: both Jesus and his followers are baptized, they both receive the Spirit at that point, they both proclaim the good news, they both come to be rejected for it, they both suffer at the hands of the Jewish leadership, and so on. What happens to Jesus in the Gospel happens to his followers in Acts. And so it would be no surprise–but rather expected–that one of Jesus’ followers, who like him is executed by angry authorities, should also pray that God forgive his executioners.

There are other reasons for suspecting that Jesus’ prayer of forgiveness is original to Luke 23. Throughout both Luke and Acts, for example, it is emphasized that even though Jesus was innocent (as were his followers), those who acted against him did so in ignorance. As Peter says in Acts 3: “I know that you acted in ignorance” (v. 17); or as Paul says in Acts 17: “God has overlooked the times of ignorance” (v. 27). And that is precisely the note struck in Jesus’ prayer: “for they don’t know what they are doing.”

It appears, then, that Luke 23:34 was part of Luke’s original text. Why, though, would a scribe (or a number of scribes) have wanted to delete it? Here is where understanding something about the historical context within which scribes were working becomes crucial. Readers today may wonder for whom Jesus is praying. Is it for the Romans who are executing him in ignorance? Or is it for the Jews who are responsible for turning him over to the Romans in the first place? However we might answer that question in trying to interpret the passage today, it is clear how it was interpreted in the early church. In almost every instance in which the prayer is discussed in the writings of the church fathers, it is clear that they interpreted the prayer as being uttered not on behalf of the Romans but on behalf of the Jews.10 Jesus was asking God to forgive the Jewish people (or the Jewish leaders) who were responsible for his death.

Now it becomes clear why some scribes would have wanted to omit the verse. Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of the Jews? How could that be? For early Christians there were, in fact, two problems with the verse, taken in this way. First, they reasoned, why would Jesus pray for forgiveness for this recalcitrant people who had willfully rejected God himself? That was scarcely conceivable to many Christians. Even more telling, by the second century many Christians were convinced that God had not forgiven the Jews because, as mentioned earlier, they believed that he had allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed as a punishment for the Jews in killing Jesus. As the church father Origen said: “It was right that the city in which Jesus underwent such sufferings should be completely destroyed, and that the Jewish nation be overthrown” (Against Celsus, 4, 22).11

The Jews knew full well what they were doing, and God obviously had not forgiven them. From this point of view, it made little sense for Jesus to ask for forgiveness for them, when no forgiveness was forthcoming. What were scribes to do with this text, then, in which Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing?” They dealt with the problem simply by excising the text, so that Jesus no longer asked that they be forgiven.

Further Reading

Luke 23:34a: Answering the Apologists (Part 1) http://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2017/04/luke-2334a-answering-apologists-part-1.html, (Part 2) http://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2017/04/luke-2334a-answering-apologists-part-2.html

Did Jesus Pray “Father, forgive them”? http://www.dennyburk.com/did-jesus-pray-%E2%80%9Cfather-forgive-them%E2%80%9D/

Patristic Evidence for Luke 23:34 http://answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/lk23_34_patristic.html

James White says Luke 23:34 is not inspired Scripture http://brandplucked.webs.com/jwonluke2334.htm

 

The Only Begotten Son: A Defense of the King James’ Rendering of John 1:18

Here is how John 1:18 reads in the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible:

“No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son (ho monogenes hyios), which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

However, many of the modern English versions go with a different reading, one that is found in the two oldest extant papyri which contain John 1:18:

“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God (monogenes theos) and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” New International Version (NIV)

In this post I will reproduce renowned Bible critic and NT textual scholar Bart D. Ehrman’s lengthy discussion of these two variants since he does a superb job of highlighting the fact that the evidence overwhelmingly supports the reading of the AV. The following somewhat lengthy excerpt is taken from Ehrman’s book The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament [Oxford University Press, Inc., 1993], 2. Anti-Adoptionistic Corruptions of Scripture, pp. 78-82. All bold emphasis will be mine.

Christ, Designated as God: John 1:18

A comparable corruption appears in the prologue of the Fourth Gospel, although here the issues are far more complicated and have generated substantially more debate and indecision. I will not give an exhaustive study of all the issues surrounding the text of John 1:18; these are competently handled in the commentaries and in several recent studies.157 I will instead develop my reasons for thinking that the majority of manuscripts are right in ending the prologue with the words: “No one has seen God at any time, but the unique Son (ho monogenes hyios) who is in the bosom of the Father, that one has made him known.” The variant reading of the Alexandrian tradition, which substitutes “God” for “Son,” represents an orthodox corruption of the text in which the complete deity of Christ is affirmed: “the unique God [(ho) monogenes theos] who is in the bosom of the Father, that one has made him known.”158

External Evidence

It must be acknowledged at the outset that the Alexandrian reading is more commonly preferred by textual critics, in no small measure because of its external support. Not only is it the reading of the great Alexandrian uncials (א B C), it is also attested by the earliest available witnesses, the Bodmer papyri p66, and p75, discovered in the middle of the present century. It would be a mistake, however, to consider this external evidence compelling in itself. For in actual fact, contrary to widely held opinion,159 the discovery of the early papyri has done very little (in this instance) to change the character of the documentary alignments. This is due to the peculiar character of the verse’s attestation: even before the discovery of the papyri, scholars realized that the bulk of the Alexandrian tradition attested the reading, including witnesses that date back to the beginning of the third century.160 This means that we already knew that it must have been preserved in early Greek manuscripts of Alexandria-even before we had access to any of them. The chance discovery of two such witnesses has consequently done nothing to change the picture, but has simply demonstrated that our theories about transmission are essentially correct.161

Here it must be emphasized that outside of the Alexandrian tradition, the reading monogenes theos has not fared well at all. Virtually every other representative of every other textual grouping-Western, Caesarean, Byzantine-attests ho monogenes hyios. And the reading even occurs in several of the secondary Alexandrian witnesses (e.g., C3 ψ 892 1241 Ath Alex.). This is not simply a case of one reading supported by the earliest and best manuscripts and another supported by late and inferior ones, but of one reading almost exclusively in the Alexandrian tradition and another found sporadically there and virtually everywhere else. And although the witnesses supporting ho monogenes hyios cannot individually match the antiquity of the Alexandrian papyri, there can be little doubt that this reading must also be dated at least to the time of their production. There is virtually no other way to explain its predominance in the Greek, Latin, and Syriac traditions, not to mention its occurrence in fathers such as Irenaeus, Clement, and Tertullian, who were writing before our earliest surviving manuscripts were produced.162 Thus, both readings are ancient; one is fairly localized, the other is almost ubiquitous. This in itself does not demonstrate that ho monogenes hyios is original, but it does show the error of automatically accepting the external attestation of the Alexandrian reading as superior.

Intrinsic Probabilities

It is on internal grounds that the real superiority of ho monogenes hyios shines forth. Not only does it conform with established Johannine usage, a point its opponents readily concede, but the Alexandrian variant, although perfectly amenable to scribes for theological reasons, is virtually impossible to understand within a Johannine context. As we shall see, these points are best treated in conjunction with the one another rather than independently, for here again arguments of transcriptional and intrinsic probabilities make a rather formidable coalition.

I begin with the question of intrinsic plausibility. One of the insurmountable difficulties of accepting the Alexandrian reading as original involves ascertaining what it might mean for a first-century document to say that Jesus is “the unique God” ([ho] monogenes theos). The problem exists whether or not one chooses to read the definite article-although if external support is considered decisive, the article is probably to be preferred.163 If so, then the problem of translation is simply made more acute, not created, since in some sense the meaning of monogenes itself embodies the notion of exclusivity conveyed by the use of the article. By definition there can be only one monogenes; the word means “unique,” “one of a kind.”164 The problem, of course, is that Jesus can be the unique God only if there is no other God; but for the Fourth Gospel, the Father is God as well. Indeed, even in this passage the monogenes is said to reside in the bosom of the Father. How can the monogenes theos, the unique God, stand in such a relationship to (another) God?165

The problem is avoided, of course, with the reading that is more widely attested. Not only does this reading avoid the contradiction implied by the other, however, it also coincides perfectly well with the way monogenes is used throughout the Johannine literature. In three other Johannine passages monogenes serves as a modifier, and on each occasion it is used with hyios (John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). Proponents of the Alexandrian reading, of course, have often turned this argument on its head by claiming that scribes already conversant with Johannine usage disposed of the more difficult phrase ho mongenes theos by conforming it to the standard expression. This is certainly a possibility; but in fact, the phrase that proves difficult for John was not a problem for Christians in the second century and beyond, who, with their increasingly paradoxical understandings of Christology, could conceive of ways for Christ to be the unique God himself.166 It would be a mistake, however, to read these sophisticated forms of Christology back into the pages of the Fourth Gospel, where Jesus is on par with God (see John 10:30, 33), and so can be addressed as God (20:28, perhaps 1:1), but is never identified as “the one and only God” himself.167 One is left, then, with the problem of how to understand [ho] monogenes theos in the Johannine world if it were accepted as original.

Scholars who prefer the reading generally escape the difficulty by proposing alternative ways of construing its meaning or syntax. One common expedient involves claiming that monogenes itself connotes the idea of “sonship,” so that the word hyios is to be understood even when it is not expressed.168 In this case, the conflate reading found elsewhere in the tradition (ho monogenes hyios, theos), although corrupt in wording, is correct in meaning: the Alexandrian text (ho monogenes theos) should then be understood to mean “the unique Son who is God.”

The difficulty with this view is that there is nothing about the word monogenes itself that suggests it. Outside of the New Testament the term simply means “one of a kind” or “unique,” and does so with reference to any range of animate or inanimate objects.169 Therefore, recourse must be made to its usage within the New Testament. Here proponents of the view argue that in situ the word implies “sonship,” for it always occurs (in the New Testament) either in explicit conjunction with hyios or in a context where a hyios is named and then described as monogenes (Luke 9:38, John 1:14, Heb 11:17). Nonetheless, as suggestive as the argument may appear, it contains the seeds of its own refutation: if the word monogenes is understood to mean “a unique son,” one wonders why it is typically put in attribution to hyios, an attribution then creates an unusual kind of redundancy (“the unique-son son”). Given the fact that neither the etymology of the word nor its general usage suggests any such meaning, this solution seems to involve a case of special pleading.

The more common expedient for those who opt for [ho] monogenes theos, but who recognize that its rendering as “the unique God” is virtually impossible in a Johannine context, is to understand the adjective substantivally, and to construe the entire second half of John 1:18 as a series of appositions, so that rather than reading, “the unique God who is in the bosom of the Father,” the text should be rendered “the unique one, who is also God, who is in the bosom of the Father.”170 There is something attractive about the proposal. It explains what the text might have meant to a Johannine reader and thereby allows for the text of the generally superior textual witnesses. Nonetheless, the solution is entirely implausible.

For one thing, it posits that the “natural” meaning of the Johannine text was not understood by a number of scribes who found it so peculiar that they sought to modify it to establish Johannine usage. How is it that modern critics of the German- and English-speaking worlds can make ready sense of a passage that seems to have struck Greek-speaking scribes as so perplexing? Moreover, a moment’s reflection shows that the proposed construal is not at all the most natural. It is true that monogenes can elsewhere be used as a substantive (= the unique one, as in v. 14); all adjectives can. But the proponents of this view have failed to consider that it is never used in this way when it is immediately followed by a noun that agrees with it in gender, number, and case. Indeed one must here press the syntactical point: when is an adjective ever used substantivally when it immediately precedes a noun of the same inflection? No Greek reader would construe such a construction as a string of substantives, and no Greek writer would create such an inconcinnity. To the best of my knowledge, no one has cited anything analogous outside of this passage.

The result is that taking the term monogenes theos as two substantives standing in apposition makes for a nearly impossible syntax, whereas construing their relationship as adjective-noun creates an impossible sense. Given the fact that the established usage of the Johannine literature is known beyond a shadow of a doubt, there seems little reason any longer to dispute the reading found in virtually every witness outside the Alexandrian tradition.171 The prologue ends with the statement that “the unique Son who is in the bosom of the Father, that one has made him known.”

Transcriptional Probabilities

Why then was the text changed? It is striking that Christ as the Logos is called “God” in verse 1 of the prologue and that the burden of the passage is that this pre-existent divine being has become flesh. The word theos itself occurs seven times in the passage, the word hyios never. It may be that the context has decided the issue for the scribes, who conformed the passage to the terminology ad loc. But one must still ask what would have motivated them to do so. Here the character of our witnesses cannot be overlooked. In the early period, when the reading was beginning to establish itself in the Alexandrian tradition, it is found not only in Greek manuscripts, but also among a variety of Alexandrian writers, both orthodox and Gnostic. The presence of the reading in authors of a wide range of theological persuasion has actually served to throw investigators off the scent of its genesis; for it has been assumed that if both orthodox and Gnostic writers attest the text, it must have not been generated out of theological concerns. But the key point to register is that all those who support the text attest a “high” Christology: Alexandrians from Clement and Origen to Ptolemy and Heracleon could all affirm that the monogenes was God. The solution to the problem of the origin of the variant lies not in the orthodox-Gnostic controversy, but in that of both the orthodox and Gnostic Christians against the adoptionists.172 The variant was created to support a high Christology in the face of widespread claims, found among adoptionists recognized and opposed in Alexandria,173 that Christ was not God but merely a man, adopted by God. For the scribe who created this variant, Christ is not merely portrayed as the “unique Son.” He himself is God, the “unique God,” who is to be differentiated from God the Father, in whose bosom he resides, but who nonetheless is his co-equal.174 The Alexandrian reading derives from an anti-adoptionistic context, and therefore represents an orthodox corruption.175

163. Among all the witnesses, p75 is generally understood to be the strongest; p66, which supports the shorter text, is notoriously unreliable when it comes to articles and other short words, so that the omission here simply corroborates what one finds elsewhere throughout the manuscript. Thus Colwell, “Method in Evaluating Scribal Habits.” See further, pp. 265-66…

165. This cannot be construed as meaning that the reading is more likely original because it is “difficult.” In fact, it was not difficult for scribes, who embraced it as a useful statement of Christ’s full deity. See notes 172 and 173…

171. A final argument has occasionally been adduced in support of monogenes theos, namely, that the literary structure of the prologue more or less requires the reading, because the three statements of the opening verse are paralleled, in inverse order, by the final verse. Thus “the Word” (v. 1) is echoed by “that one has made him known” (v. 18; both relating to Christ’s revelatory function); “was with God” by “in the bosom of the Father” (both explaining his relation to the Father); and “was God” by “the unique God” (both affirming his divine character). This is an interesting argument, but one that fails to persuade me–not because the parallels do not in fact exist, but because of the way they are effected. In neither of the first two instances are the statements of verse 1 actually repeated in verse 18. As there is no reason to think that the author has changed his style with regard to the final element, the reader should expect an equivalent term, not a repetition. And that is precisely what one does find in the phrase ho monogenes hyios, a phrase that affirms Christ’s unique divine character, without stating that he is the one and only God himself (which not even v. 1 asserts, because theos lacks the article).

172. McReynolds (“John 1:18,” 115) chides M.-E Boismard (St. John’s Prologue, 65) for drawing this conclusion, but misses the point when he argues that the Gnostics would have been particularly inclined to the text. Naturally they would have been, but they are not the ones the reading functions to oppose. It is also pointless to argue that the more commonly attested reading does not fit well into an anti-Arian context (cf. Brown, The Gospel According to John, 17); clearly both readings were well worn before Arius arrived on the scene.

173. Compare Origen, Dialogue with Heraclides, 128, which condemns the “blasphemous doctrine which denies the deity of Chrst,” as well as Hom. In Luke, 17, and in Epistula ad Titum, which speaks of the Ebionites who say that Christ was born of a man and woman like everyone else, and was, as a consequence, only human…

175. Why was this the only occurrence of ho monogenes hyios to be changed in the textual tradition of the Fourth Gospel? The answer may lie in the central position it occupies within the prologue, setting the stage for the Christology of the rest of the Gospel. (Ibid., pp. 112-113)

Here is what Ehrman writes elsewhere:

We will conclude this part of the discussion by looking at one other such change. Like 1 Tim. 3:16, this one involves a text in which a scribe has made an alteration to affirm in very strong terms that Jesus is to be understood completely as God. The text occurs in the Gospel of John, a Gospel that more than any of the others that made it into the New Testament already goes a long way toward identifying Jesus himself as divine (see, e.g., John 8:58; 10:30; 20:28). This identification is made in a particularly striking way in a passage in which the original text is hotly disputed.

The first eighteen verses of John are sometimes called its Prologue. Here is where John speaks of the “Word of God” who was “in the beginning with God” and who “was God” (vv. 1-3). This Word of God made all things exist. Moreover, it is God’s mode of communication to the world; the Word is how God manifests himself to others. And we are told that at one point the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” In other words, God’s own Word became a human being (v. 14). This human being was “Jesus Christ” (v. 17). According to this understanding of things, then, Jesus Christ represents the “incarnation” of God’s own Word, who was with God in the beginning and was himself God, through whom God made all things.

The Prologue then ends with some striking words, which come in two variant forms: “No one has seen God at any time, but the unique Son/the unique God who is in the bosom of the Father, that one has made him known” (v. 18).

The textual problem has to do with the identification of this “unique” one. Is he to be identified as the “unique God in the bosom of the Father” or as the “unique Son in the bosom of the Father”? It must be acknowledged that the first reading is the one found in the manuscripts that are the oldest and generally considered to be the best–those of the Alexandrian textual family. But it is striking that it is rarely found in manuscripts not associated with Alexandria. Could it be a textual variant created by a scribe in Alexandria and popularized there? If so, that would explain why the vast majority of manuscripts from everywhere else have the other reading, in which Jesus is not called the unique God, but the unique Son.   

There are other reasons for thinking that the latter reading is, in fact, the correct one. The Gospel of John uses this phrase “the unique Son” (sometimes mistranslated as “only begotten Son”) on several other occasions (see John 3:16, 18); nowhere else does it speak of Christ as the “unique God.” Moreover, what would it mean to call Christ that? The term unique in Greek means “one of a kind.” There can be only one who is one of a kind. The term unique God must refer to God the Father himself–otherwise he is not unique. But if the term refers to the Father, how can it be used of the Son? Given the fact that the more common (and understandable) phrase in the Gospel of John is “the unique Son,” it appears that that was the text originally written in John 1:18. This itself is still a highly exalted view of Christ–he is the “unique Son who is in the bosom of the Father.” And he is the one who explains God to everyone else.

It appears, though, that some scribes–probably located in Alexandria–were not content even with this exalted view of Christ, and so they made it even more exalted, by transforming the text. Now Christ is not merely God’s unique Son, he is the unique God himself! This too, then, appears to be an antiadoptionistic change of the text made by proto-orthodox scribes of the second century. (Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why [HarperOne, 2005], 6. Theologically Motivated Alterations of the Text, pp. 161-162; bold emphasis ours)

Further Reading

In the following article, “The Text and Grammar of John 1:18” (https://bible.org/article/text-and-grammar-john-118), Noted Evangelical New Testament (NT) scholar Dr. Daniel B. Wallace has attempted to refute Ehrman’s claim that there is no example from the NT where an adjective that immediately precedes a noun of the same inflection is used substantivally.

However, in a post titled “Bart D. Ehrman, Daniel B. Wallace, and the Syntax and Meaning of John 1:18” (http://elihubooks.blogspot.com/2011/11/bart-d-ehrman-daniel-b-wallace-and.html), leading Arian and anti-Trinitarian apologist Gregory Stafford has responded to Wallace’s blogpost. Stafford has shown  that none of the examples cited by Wallace meet Ehrman’s challenge to show an adjective used substantivally when it immediately precedes a noun of the same inflection. Therefore, Ehrman’s point still stands since nothing that Wallace cited refutes Ehrman’s actual objection. Yet this doesn’t mean that Stafford’s arguments which he offers in defense of his post-biblical, heretical Arian beliefs are correct. All this means is that Wallace’s reply is simply wrong since it fails to adequately refute Ehrman’s objection.