The Holy Spirit as the Omniscient Lord of all creation Pt. 1

How Matthew 11:27 Proves Muhammad was a false prophet and antichrist

In this series of rebuttals I will be responding to the following post by Muslim-turned apostate-turned Muslim again-turned apostate once again-turned Muslim one more time Ibn Anwar https://unveiling-christianity.net/2017/12/24/christmas-special-holy-spirit-art-thou/.

Ibn Anwar cites the comments of two anti-Trinitarian heretics in respect to Matthew 11:27 who argue that this verse refutes the divine Personhood of the Holy Spirit:

“If the spirit is a sentient (able to sense, be self-aware), separate and distinct being with personality, then Jesus either did not know this or was very inconsistent in giving “Him” proper due. In Matthew 11:27, Jesus asserts that “…no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son…” If “the Holy Spirit” is a person distinct from the Father, and is also omniscient and almighty “God,” then would He not also have to know the Father and the Son? Jesus’ statement, then, would not have been true, and in fact would be a lie.”

The Muhammadan then poses the following dilemma for Trinitarians to contend with:

In light of the plain reading of Matthew 11:27, Christians have to choose between two possibilities:

  1. The Trinity is true and the Holy Spirit is indeed omniscient and knows the Father and the Son intimately as the third Person in the Godhead just as the first and second Persons in the Godhead know him, but this would make Jesus inconsistent or a deceiver for claiming that only the Father knows him and only he knows the Father as per Matthew 11:27.
  2. Jesus is being neither inconsistent nor a deceiver in Matthew 11:27 and that means the Trinity is false as the Holy Spirit, according to the verse in question, is necessarily demoted from the pedestal of godhood for not having omniscience.

To make things even clearer the following syllogism may help:

Premise 1: The Trinity has three Persons and each Person is equally almighty God and totally all knowing, having known each other in an eternal relationship where each Person is distinct from the other yet inseparable from the Godhead in One Essence.

Premise 2: The third Person, i.e., the Holy Spirit, according to Matthew 11:27, is not all knowing and has no knowledge of the first or second Persons in the Godhead and is left alone in the dark.

Conclusion: The Trinity is false.

In actuality the dilemma only exists in the imagination of this Muslim neophyte since,

  1. The Trinity is true and the Holy Spirit is indeed omniscient and knows the Father and the Son intimately as the third Person in the Godhead, just as the first and second Persons in the Godhead know him.
  2. Jesus is neither inconsistent nor a deceiver in Matthew 11:27, and the Trinity is still true, since the Holy Spirit is not included in our Lord’s claims that no one knows the Father and the Son.

We now put this in the form of a syllogism in order to help make things clearer for this specific Muhammadan:

Premise 1: The Trinity has three Persons and each Person is equally almighty God and totally all knowing, having known each other in an eternal relationship where each Person is distinct from the other yet inseparable from the Godhead in One Essence.

Premise 2: Since Matthew 11:27 is not addressing the Holy Spirit, and therefore has nothing to say about the Spirit’s knowledge of the Father and the Son, the only one left in the dark is this neophyte as he tries in vain to refute the overwhelming and explicit biblical arguments for the Triunity of God, particularly for the essential Deity and Personhood of God’s blessed and glorious Spirit.

Conclusion: The Trinity is a fact of who and what God is within his own eternal Being, apart from creation.

As my foregoing statements imply, I will seek to prove that our blessed Lord wasn’t including the Holy Spirit among those who do not and cannot know the Father or the Son completely and exhaustively. I will demonstrate from the God-breathed Scriptures that the Holy Spirit is an eternal, omniscient Person who is essentially one with the Father and the Son. But first I will use this very text to show from the words of our glorious Lord that he is an incomprehensible, omniscient Being who can only be perfectly understood by someone possessing an infinite mind.

Here is the passage in question along with the immediate context:

“At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to infants. Even so, Father, for it seemed good in Your sight. All things are delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son, except the Father. And no one knows the Father, except the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal Him.’” Matthew 11:25-27 – cf. Luke 10:21-22

Our Lord’s words are truly astonishing since he is basically claiming to be essentially equal to the Father. After all, no finite creature can say that s/he knows God in the same way that s/he is known by God, since God knows a person exhaustively and completely. And yet the Scriptures are clear that no one who is a mere creature is capable of knowing God exhaustively since God’s Being is beyond comprehension:

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I get up; You understand my thought from far off. You search my path and my lying downa nd are aware of all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it fully. You put Yourself behind and before me, and keep Your hand on me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is lofty, and I cannot fathom it.” Psalm 139:1-6

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unfathomable.” Psalm 145:3

“He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names. Great is our Lord and great in power; His understanding is without measure.” Psalm 147:4-5 – cf. Job 5:9; 9:10; 11:7-9; 36:26; 37:5; Isaiah 40:13-14, 17-18, 25-26; Romans 11:33-34; Ephesians 3:17-19; Philippians 4:7

Thus, the only way that Christ can know God the Father in the same way that he is known by him is if the Son possesses an infinite mind. I.e., the Son must be omniscient in order for him to know the Father perfectly and exhaustively.

That’s not all. The Lord’s saying that only the Father knows him implies that, much like the Father, the Son is a Being that is beyond the ability of any creature to know completely. This means that the Son is essentially making himself out to be an incomprehensible Being, and since the only Being that is incomprehensible is God, the Lord Jesus is therefore claiming to be God in the flesh.(1)

We will let the following Bible expositors bring out these points more clearly:

All things are delivered … – The same doctrine is clearly taught often in the New Testament. See John 3:35; John 6:46; John 10:15; Colossians 1:16-17. It means that Christ has control over all things for the good of his church; that the government of the universe is committed to him “as Mediator,” that he may redeem his people and guide them to glory, Ephesians 1:20-22.

No man knoweth the Son – That is, such is the nature of the Son of God, such the mystery of the union between the divine and human nature, such his exalted character as “divine,” that no mortal can fully comprehend Jesus. None but God fully knows him. If he had been only a mere man, this language surely would not have been used of him.

Neither knoweth any man the Father … – In the original this is, neither knoweth “anyone” the Father except the Son. That is, no man or angel clearly and fully comprehends the character of the infinite God; none but the Son – the Lord Jesus – and he to whom he makes him known, have any just apprehensions of his being and perfections. (Albert Barne’s Notes on the Whole Bible https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-11.html; bold emphasis ours)

All things have been delivered unto me of my Father (παντα μοι παρεδοτη υπο του πατρος μου — panta moi paredothē hupo tou patros mou). This sublime claim is not to be whittled down or away by explanations. It is the timeless aorist like εδοτη — edothē in Matthew 28:18 (see note) and “points back to a moment IN ETERNITY, AND IMPLIES THE PRE-EXISTENCE of the Messiah” (Plummer). The Messianic consciousness of Christ is here as clear as a bell. It is a moment of high fellowship. Note επιγινωσκει — epiginōskei twice for “fully know.” Note also βουληται — boulētai = wills, is willing. The Son retains the power and the will to reveal the Father to men. (A. T. Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/matthew-11.html; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Rejoiced in the Holy Spirit (ηγαλλιασατο τωι πνευματι τωι αγιωι — ēgalliasato tōi pneumati tōi hagiōi). First aorist middle of the late verb αγαλλιαω — agalliaō for αγαλλω — agallō to exult. Always in the middle in the N.T. save Luke 1:47 in Mary‘s Magnificat. This holy joy of Jesus was directly due to the Holy Spirit. It is joy in the work of his followers, their victories over Satan, and is akin to the joy felt by Jesus in John 4:32-38 when the vision of the harvest of the world stirred his heart. The rest of this verse is precisely like Matthew 11:25., a peculiarly Johannine passage in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark, and so from Q (the Logia of Jesus). It has disturbed critics who are unwilling to admit the Johannine style and type of teaching as genuine, but here it is. See note on Matthew 11:25 for discussion. “That God had proved his independence of the human intellect is a matter for thankfulness. Intellectual gifts, so far from being necessary, are often a hindrance” (Plummer)… But the same use and contrast of “the Father,” “the Son.” in both Matthew and Luke, “an aerolite from the Johannean heaven” (Hase). No sane criticism can get rid of this Johannine bit in these Gospels written long before the Fourth Gospel was composed. We are dealing here with the oldest known document about Christ (the Logia) and the picture is that drawn in the Fourth Gospel (see my The Christ of the Logia). It is idle to try to whittle away by fantastic exegesis the high claims made by Jesus in this passage. It is an ecstatic prayer in the presence of the Seventy under the rapture of the Holy Spirit on terms OF PERFECT EQUALITY AND UNDERSTANDING between the Father and the Son in the tone of the priestly prayer in John 17. We are justified in saying that this prayer of supreme Fellowship with the Father in contemplation of final victory over Satan gives us a glimpse of the prayers with the Father when the Son spent whole nights on the mountain alone with the Father. Here is the Messianic consciousness in complete control and with perfect confidence in the outcome. Here as in Matthew 11:27 by the use of willeth to reveal him (βουληται αποκαλυπσαι — boulētai apokalupsai). The Son claims the power to reveal the Father “to whomsoever he wills” (ωι αν βουληται — hōi an boulētai indefinite relative and present subjunctive of βουλομαι — boulomai to will, not the future indicative). This is divine sovereignty most assuredly. Human free agency is also true, but it is full divine sovereignty in salvation that is here claimed along with possession (παρεδοτη — paredothē timeless aorist passive indicative) of all power from the Father. Let that supreme claim stand. (Ibid. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-10.html; bold and capital emphasis ours)

All things are delivered unto me of my Father. He does not say, They are revealed-as to one who know them not, and was an entire stranger to them except as they were discovered to him-but, They are ‘delivered over’ [ paredothee (Greek #3860)], or ‘committed,’ to me of my Father; meaning the whole administration of the kingdom of grace. So in John 3:35, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand” (see on that verse). But though the “all things” in both these passages refer properly to the kingdom of grace, they of course include all things necessary to the full execution of that trust-that is, unlimited power. (So Matthew 28:18; John 17:2; Ephesians 1:22.)

… Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. This is “the only record, outside St. John’s Gospel, of a prayer like that which we find in John 17:1-26. For the most part, we may believe, those prayers were offered apart, on the lonely hillside, in the darkness of night; or, it may be, the disciples shrank in their reverence, or perhaps in the consciousness of their want of capacity, from attempting to record what was so unspeakably sacred. But it is noteworthy that in this exceptional instance we find, both in the prayer and the teaching that follows it in St. Matthew and St. Luke, turns of thought and phrase almost absolutely identical with what is most characteristic of St. John. It is as though this isolated fragment of a higher teaching had been preserved by them as a witness that there was a region upon which they scarcely dared to enter, but into which men were to be led afterwards by the beloved disciple, to whom the Spirit gave power to recall what had been above the reach of the other reporters of his Master’s teaching” (Dean Plumptre).

All things are delivered to me of my Father. These words, spoken late in the public ministry, evidently refer to the Almighty power possessed and frequently exercised by the incarnate Son of God. During the days of his humiliation, Jesus Christ exercised the power of Creator, Lord of the elements, Lord of the secrets of health and disease, Lord of life and death. Dean Mansel, comparing this statement, recorded both by SS. Matthew and Luke, with the language of St. John, remarks “that there is no substantial difference between the different evangelists in their views of our Lord’s Person and nature, and that the Gospel of St. John, far from being the representative of a later theology, does but more fully expound what is implicitly contained in the earliest of the Gospels.” St. Matthew (Matthew 11:28-30) here gives us that sublime invitation of the Master’s to the weary and heavy-laden. In the consciousness of his possession of all power, Jesus, with infinite compassion, offers to the great army of sufferers that rest which he alone can give. (The Pulpit Commentaries https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/luke-10.html; bold emphasis ours)

And no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will [or ‘willeth’ bouleetai (G1011)] to reveal him. What a saying is this, that ‘the Father and the Son are mutually and exclusively known to each other!’ A higher claim to equality with the Father cannot be conceived. Either, then, we have here one of the most revolting assumptions ever uttered, or the proper Divinity of Christ should to Christians be beyond dispute. ‘But alas for me!’ may some burdened soul, sighing for relief, here exclaim. If it be thus with us, what can any poor creature do but lie down in passive despair, unless he could dare to hope that he may be one of the favoured class ‘to whom the Son is willing to reveal the Father’? But nay. This testimony to the sovereignty of that gracious “will,” on which alone men’s salvation depends, is designed but to reveal the source and enhance the glory of it when once imparted-not to paralyze or shut the soul up in despair. Hear, accordingly, what follows: (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible – Unabridged https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-11.html ; bold emphasis ours)

… In the former of these, Our Lord, speaking in the most solemn manner, not only presents Himself as the Son, as the sole source of knowledge of God and of blessedness for men, but places Himself in a position, not of equality merely, but of absolute reciprocity and interpenetration of knowledge with the Father. “No one,” He says, “knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son….” varied in Luke so as to read: “No one knoweth who the Son is, save the Father; and who the Father is, save the Son….” as if the being of the Son were so immense that only God could know it thoroughly; and the knowledge of the Son was so unlimited that He could know God to perfection… (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, edited by James Orr, Volume 4, p. 2346; bold emphasis ours)

This now places the Muhammadan in a serious dilemma since his Quran not only denies that Jesus is God’s Son,

The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the Son of God’; the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted! S. 9:30 Arberry

It further denies that Jesus knows what is in God’s inner-most being in the same way that God knows his inner-most being:

And when God said, ‘O Jesus son of Mary, didst thou say unto men, “Take me and my mother as gods, apart from God”?’ He said, ‘To Thee be glory! It is not mine to say what I have no right to. If I indeed said it, Thou knowest it, knowing what is within my soul, and I know not what is within Thy soul; Thou knowest the things unseen. S. 5:116 Arberry

Hence, the words of the historical Jesus expose Muhammad as a false prophet and antichrist for denying the essential co-equality of the Father and the Son:

“Who is a liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? Whoever denies the Father and the Son is the antichrist. No one who denies the Son has the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father.” 1 John 2:22-23

That’s not all. By claiming that all things had been handed to him, Christ was claiming to be the Heir who possesses absolute sovereign control over the entire creation:

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

“Last of all, he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ So they caught him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.” Matthew 21:37-39

This again conflicts with the Muslim neophyte’s scripture, which teaches that God alone possesses absolute sovereignty,

But as for those who are niggardly with the bounty God has given them, let them not suppose it is better for them; nay, it is worse for them; that they were niggardly with they shall have hung about their necks on the Resurrection Day; and to God belongs the inheritance of the heavens and earth; and God is aware of the things you do. S. 3:180 Arberry

To God belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and of the earth; and God is powerful over everything. S. 3:189 Arberry

He unto Whom belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth, He hath chosen no son nor hath He any partner in the Sovereignty. He hath created everything and hath meted out for it a measure. S. 25:2 – cf. Q. 17:111

And that he is the Heir of all things:

It is We who give life, and make to die, and it is We who are the inheritors. S. 15:23 Arberry

Surely We shall inherit the earth and all that are upon it, and unto Us they shall be returned. S. 19:40 Arberry

and We shall inherit from him that he says, and he shall come to Us alone. S. 19:80 Arberry

And Zachariah — when he called unto his Lord, ‘O my Lord, leave me not solitary; though Thou art the best of inheritors.’ S. 21:89 Arberry

Once again, the Muhammadan is left with the problem of the historical Jesus’ words contradicting the message of Muhammad, which in turn exposes the latter as a false prophet.

Ibn Anwar’s woes are far from over as we are about to see in the second part of our rebuttal https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/the-holy-spirit-the-omniscient-lord-of-all-creation-pt-2/.

Endnotes

(1) It’s not just the NT which teaches that God has a Son who is incomprehensible and essentially co-equal to him:

“The words of Agur son of Jakeh of Massa. The man says to Ith′i-el, to Ith′i-el and Ucal: Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One (Qadoshim – Holy Ones). Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!” Proverbs 30:3-4 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Here we have an OT figure who is aware that God and his Son are two holy Ones whom no creature can fully understood since they perform acts that are beyond human comprehension.

The NT identifies that Son as the Lord Jesus Christ since he performs the very acts which Agur ascribed to God’s Son in the aforementioned passage, such as ascending and descending from heaven,

No one has ascended to heaven except He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man who is in heaven. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:13-18

As well as sovereignly controlling the winds and the waters:

“Then He entered the boat, and His disciples followed Him. Suddenly a great storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. His disciples went to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ He replied, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm. The men were amazed, saying, ‘What kind of Man is this that even the winds and the sea obey Him!’” Matthew 8:23-27

“Then He directed the disciples to get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent away the crowds. And after He had dismissed the multitudes, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was still there alone. But the boat was by this time out on the sea, many furlongs [a furlong is one-eighth of a mile] distant from the land, beaten and tossed by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch [between 3:00—6:00 a.m.] of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, It is a ghost! And they screamed out with fright. But instantly He spoke to them, saying, Take courage! I Am! Stop being afraid!(A) And Peter answered Him, Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water. He said, Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out, Lord, save me [from death]! Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt? And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat knelt and worshiped Him, saying, Truly You are the Son of God!” Matthew 14:22-32

Cross references:

A. Matthew 14:27: Exod. 3:14. Amplified Bible Classic Edition (ABC)

What makes this latter text rather interesting is that Christ claims to be the I AM and is worshiped in relation to his controlling the winds and seas, as well as in saving his people, functions which the OT ascribe to Yahweh God alone! (cf. Job 9:8; Psalm 65:5-8; 77:17-19; 107:22-32)

4 thoughts on “The Holy Spirit as the Omniscient Lord of all creation Pt. 1

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