April 21, 2008
Is Jesus Really God?
Hameed Abdul Karim
In his letter titled ‘The adoration of my Lord and God’ (DM April 2, 2008) Mr. Victor Ivan Silva says that Mr. Lucien Perera and he had given many verses from the Bible to support their claims that the Blessed Jesus Christ (peace be on him) was/is God. I beg to differ. The crucial question that arises out of this discussion is not so much the divinity of Jesus but whether he said he was God. And I reiterate there is no place anywhere in the New Testament where Jesus had said ‘I am God’. Period.
Fortunately I am not alone in this assertion. In fact I am in good company. The company of no lesser a person than Jesuit father Joseph Fitzmeyer. In answer to the question whether Jesus really put forward a claim to be God, father Fitzmeyer, in a remarkable admission, says ‘the Gospels have not so presented that claim’. This can be found in Michael Baigent’s latest book ‘The Jesus Papers’. Fr. Fitzmeyer is one of many experts on the Dead Sea Scrolls and professor of biblical studies at the Catholic University of America and a consultant for the Pontifical Biblical Commission.
Up until the Council of Nicaea there were those devout followers of the beloved Jesus Christ to whom the thought of Jesus being God in human form was blasphemy. They were called the Unitarians and their leader was Arius. At the Council of Nicaea convened by the Roman emperor Constantine, Arius and his followers objected to the proposal that Jesus be made divine. But to no avail. In the end the divinity of Jesus was made official dogma by a vote of 217 to 3. This event took place 325 years after Jesus’ alleged crucifixion. I say alleged because the Qur’an says Jesus was neither crucified not killed and Baigent provides evidence to confirm this Islamic belief in his book ‘The Jesus Papers’. But that’s another story.
Even today there are sects and denominations of Christianity that don’t believe Jesus to be God, despite reading the same Bible which they might call by other names.
Christians says God is ‘immutable’ i.e unchanging. How then can it be said that he passed through the state of death. Did God die on the cross? If God is unchanging as Muslims, Jews and Christians believe, how is it possible that he grew in knowledge (Luke2:52)?
Anyway the book of Job (Ayoob – peace be on him) provides an excellent test to prove that the blessed Jesus Christ is not God. In chapter 25 verse 4-6 it says ‘How then can man be righteous before God? How can he who is born of woman be clean? Behold, even the moon is not bright and the stars are not clean in his sight, how much less man, who is a maggot and the son of man who is a worm’.
Well, we all know Jesus was born of woman. Surely there can be no dispute on that point. If no man born of women is clean, how then can he become God? These biblical verses are enough to prove that Jesus is not God.
Mr. Silva unfairly accuses me of quoting Dr. Hans Kung out of context. This is not true. Mr. Silva must tell me where I have quoted Dr. Kung out of context instead of generalising the issue. He goes on to say the Bible contains 73 books. He is referring to the Douay Version which is the Catholic Bible. The King James Version and other versions of the Bible contain only 66 books. The Protestants removed 7 books from the Douay Version claiming they were apocrypha or of doubtful origin. So now we have one Bible that contains 73 books and another that contain only 66. I don’t wish to comment on the difference. I leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions.
Still I will readily concede that there are certain sections in the Bible that could be attributed to divine authority. But at the same time there are sections that no believer who loves God almighty (may He be glorified) could ever say that God inspired people to say such things. Since the material I am referring to is of an embarrassing nature, I will not go into details. Instead I’ll give a few references and readers may check on them and make up their minds. Please read Genesis 19:35-37, Genesis 38, Ezekiel 23, Song of Solomon chapter 7, 2 Samuel 13:5-14 and 2 Samuel 16:21-23. If Jesus Christ is God as Mr. Silva claims, could these ‘revelations’ be attributed to him?
Almost all Christian scholars now admit that St. Matthew did not write the Gospel ‘according’ to him. This is how Matthew 9:9 goes – ‘As Jesus passed forth from thence he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom and he said to him ’follow me’. And he arose and followed him’. You don’t have to be a whiz kid to figure out that St. Matthew could not have written this section. Moreover we have St. Paul, who had never seen Jesus in real life and who had quarreled with James, the brother of Jesus, denying his own total inspiration. In 1 Corinthians 7:25 he states that he writes without God’s inspiration on a particular subject. Could this section also be classified as the word of God because it’s in the Bible even though Paul says these are not the words of God but his own?
According to Islam God almighty has always been ‘active’. Neither sleep nor slumber overtakes Him. And so a Muslim is amused when it’s said God rested on the 7th day after creating the universe in 6 days (or periods of time).
Mr. Silva makes a frail attempt to wish away the contradictory reports of Judas’ suicide by claiming that ‘to commit suicide by hanging (Matthew 27:5) one has to throw oneself from a height’. But this is not the case, is it? This is how Acts 1:18 reports the incident - ‘Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity and falling headlong he burst asunder in the midst and all his bowels gushed out’. A far cry from hanging himself!
There are quite a few conflicting reports in the Gospels. One such report is the incident where John the Baptist (peace be on him) contradicts Jesus Christ. According to Jewish beliefs, Elias was to come before the Messiah and Jesus himself gave credence to this belief when he said Elias had come already but they did not know him. Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:11-13). The Jewish leaders then went to John the Baptist and asked him if was the Messiah and he quite rightly said no, because Jesus was the Messiah. Then they asked him if he was Elias and surprisingly he said ‘no’, thus contradicting Jesus. The third question is the decisive one. They asked him ‘Are you that Prophet’ and he said ‘no’. What this line of questioning reveals is that after Jesus the Jews were expecting another prophet. Who could that prophet be? Could it be the holy prophet Muhammad ( peace be on him)?
Daily Mirror April 21, 2008