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By a member of the MuslimAnswers.net Team
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيم
o The following is a critical commentary on “Saint” Athanasius’ work “On the Incarnation of the Word”. The author of this work is of course important from our point of view in looking for who the “defenders of Christian orthodoxy” are, and then basing any objections on this fact. In the case of Athanasius, his very important role against Arianism, and his position as a “Father of the Church” cannot go unnoticed in the importance of his works for Christian dogma.
o There is something I would like to say about the “Arian” dogma, based on what I have read. And this is that some Muslims many times champion the cause of Arianism, while I personally do not know why they would do this: Normal Trinitarian dogma holds the persons of the Trinity to be coequal and cosubstantial to each other (In Islamic theology we would say they are alleging ‘tamthil’ for the persons [that is, total equality]). The bulk of the Arians said that the “Son” is “like” the “Father” but not “equal” to the “Father”. In Islam we would say they are alleging ‘tashbih’. But the point is that ‘Tashbih’ (similarity) is also disbelief. Perhaps those who write on this matter from our Muslim side are not aware of this matter of Islamic theology, which is why they think that Arianism had a correct idea about God.
Introductory description of the Book
o In the details about this book, it is written that the well-known Christian author C.S. Lewis said that modern-day Christians could benefit from reading ancient texts such as this work of Athanasius. I will not endeavor to directly attack this statement, but I will say that if we make an analogy with Muslims and the Islamic texts, it is clear that the fundamental matters of the relihgion were known to the Ummah from the very inception of Islam, and that the early elucidations of faith, such as Abu Hanifah’s (Rahimahulla) Fiqh al-Akbar, or at-Tahawi’s (RAA) treatise on ‘Aqeedah are very important for the Muslim to read. We, unlike many other religions, are not in need of “Reformed Churches” to rewrite the fundamentals of our religion. Indeed, tradition and a thorough methodology (in all areas) is the bedrock upon which Islam and the Muslims can flourish, and if these are taken away, then there is really nothing left at all – may Allah save us from such a calamity.
Chapter 1 of the book (Creation and the Fall)
“We also, by God’s grace, briefly indicated that the Word of the Father is Himself divine, that all things that are owe their being to His will and power, and that it is through Him that the Father gives order to creation, by Him that all things are moved, and through Him that they receive their being.”
o We respond that if they want to use the term ‘Word of God’, why are they alluding to the ‘Word of God’ as the “attribute” through which He ‘uses’ His will and power, and through which He orders the creation? Rather the ‘Speech of God’ (or as they call it, the ‘Word of God’) is the attribute of God that pertains to His Knowledge, and through which He informs, instructs, threatens, etc. What we see at this stage already then from this author, is that the ‘Word of God’ is taken as a body separate from Him. Of course, the reason is that “Word of the Father” in here is not merely an attribute in the Islamic sense of understanding, but a “Him” in addition to “the Father”. There may be some “Trinity-based” answers to this statement of mine, but I tell the readers to concentrate on what the author is saying in here, that there is one “Father” and another “Him”, the “Word of the Father”.
“The things which they, as men, rule out as impossible, He plainly shows to be possible”
o Here we come to the issue of normal impossibility versus actual impossibility. So we say, do they mean that absolutely everything that a person can think of is possible (that is, do they mean to say that there are no ‘intrinsic impossibilities’, only ‘contingent impossibilities’?). If they mean this, then we ask them, why do you argue with Atheists concerning the Existence of God, if existence and non-existence are not dissimilar in your mind? Rather, we know that they have, as a foregone conclusion, admitted to themselves that some attributes of God negate their opposites. In the case of the ‘Atheist vs. Christian’ debate, Existence necessarily negates non-Existence… it is intrinsically impossible that the Being which Exists eternally can cease to Exist, for otherwise it is not an Eternally Existent Being. Of course, the way the above relates to our discussion is that if we both agree that God’s nature intrinsically does not allow for subordination to apparent material causality (and I truly hope we can agree on this), then the whole issue of “God becoming man” is a mute point. If they say that no, there are only contingent possibilities, then they have to answer concerning their arguments with Atheists, and why they take such a stern view against them when the matter is only one of contingent impossibilities.
“things which these wiseacres laugh at as “human” He by His inherent might declares divine.”
o If we say that something is connected to the Might of Allah, we are saying that is within the realm of possibilities. This is because it is malleable, subject to specification. However, what is subject to specification is not divine, and the one connecting Allah’s Might and Power with the intrinsically divine has a lack of clarity in the definitions used. Yes, we can envisage that there is a “declaration” of some sort, but then this would not be a declaration by God, since this would be a declaration opposite to the reality of things, and this scenario cannot be attributed to Allah the Exalted.
“He has not assumed a body as proper to His own nature, far from it, for as the Word He is without body.”
o What we say to this is that alright, taking a body is not of His Nature as per this admission – highlighted by the saying “for as the Word He is without body”. So then how is it is said that God intakes of a human nature, while at the same time retaining His divine qualities? Or if we may rephrase the question: “It is said that ‘as Word’ God is without a body. Then ‘as what’ do you claim that He is with a body?” The one with a keen mind will notice that the Christian is claiming there are two modalities of God, one without a body, and one with a body. And as we mentioned above, this comes back to the problem of specification and need, and that Allah is free from “modalities”.
o We can also see the weakness of this assertion if we consider the Christian claim that taking a body is not ‘proper’ to God’s nature, but He has done so nevertheless due to whatever reasons they may bring (love of humanity, as a consequence of the original sin, etc.) We do not want to concentrate on the reasons right now, but we need to concentrate on the claim itself. If by ‘proper to God’s nature’ they mean that this is absolutely necessary of Him, then the opposite cannot ever be attributed to God. Such an opposite attribute does not befit God; it is ‘improper’, if we use their terminology. If they mean ‘proper’ in the way humans are attributed with ‘being proper’ (that is, someone may behave properly or improperly), then they are saying that His attributes are not Eternal, but rather that they are changing just like the qualities of the creation. And when they say that, it means that the being they call ‘God’ is in fact another creation. When we understand this, we come back to the problem of specification, need, and “modalities”.
“He has been manifested in a human body for this reason only, out of the love and goodness of His Father, for the salvation of us men.”
o The matter is not about love or care for humanity. The matter is about what is possible to be attributed to God and what cannot possibly be attributed to Him. Even an analogy in this temporal world may serve to illustrate the matter better: a husband may talk about how much he loves his wife, but if she is pregnant and about to deliver, will he be able to ‘transfer’ this pregnancy to himself so that the wife’s pain burden may be released? Obviously not, since the human male is by definition the gender that does not give birth to young. This is not the best example that we can give in terms of total actual impossibilities, but we felt it was appropriate to bring this up since ‘love’ is being used as a smokescreen in this case, and such type of thinking is simply invalid.
“…the renewal of creation has been wrought by the Self-same Word Who made it in the beginning.”
o We have to say: The ‘Word’ who has changed from his original nature as per their saying, cannot be attributed with creating the Universe, when his own existence is only a possibility. And this is what we already know, since as per the author, he may or may not retain his attributes eternally (according to the author, he may be with body as is ‘proper’ for him, or without a body due to external reasons). In such a case, ‘Godhood’ cannot be attributed to the being we are talking about, since this so-called ‘Word of God’ needs a being other than itself to actualize the changes that occur to it.
o But someone may now ask: Well then, isn’t ‘God the Father’ or ‘God the Holy Ghost’ the other members of the trinity who do bring about such changes in ‘God the Son’? [Later on we will see that in fact according to the Christian, it is the ‘Son’ who brings about such changes to himself, and this needs a slightly different type of refutation. But this question has to be answered in case someone brings up such a possibility, even if it is not mentioned by the authorities of the Christian religion.]
o We say that there are two choices that can be made in here: (1) they realize that ‘God the Son’ is actually a being that is needy of other than itself to actualize anything that happens to it, so he is not ‘God’ or (2) that the other two ‘persons’ of the Trinity (the ‘Father’, and the ‘Holy Ghost’) are also needy and need something other than themselves to bring about any change in them. In both of these cases we would have being that is not Divine whatsoever, but rather, a being that is a relatively powerful creation, but even so, still a creation.
o But then someone may say that there are different tasks that each one accomplishes with the help of the other part of the trinity, and that it just so happened that the Son needed the help of the ‘Father’ and the ‘Holy Ghost’ in order to accomplish the task of saving humanity. To this we say that again they have rendered their concept of ‘God’ as unacceptable, since the existence of multiple Omnipotents and multiple ‘Supreme Gods’ is logically incongruent. And this is so, since in such a case (1) if there is disagreement among them then the one whose position wins out is the true God and the rest are not the true God. Note that if the ‘winner’ or the ‘preponderant one’ shifts, then none of them is the true God at all or (2) if they always agree, then they could do nothing without reaching an agreement, which means again that each unit of the trinity would need the consent of the other for any act to be performed, indicating weakness. (3) if they say that no, the agreement is eternally the same for all of them, and at the same time, in the same essence, etc. we say that this is not what their religion teaches, since there is difference in their constitution and ‘persons’ (which is why this concept of trinity is spelled out as it is to begin with). If they still insist, we say that the reason why the Christians are so adamant about differentiating between “Father”, “Son”, and “Holy Ghost”, is precisely because they are not the same entity, they are different entities (persons, in Christian nomenclature). When any entity is different than a second entity, then we know through that there is something about the essence of Entity 1 which makes us able to differentiate him from Entity 2. Otherwise Entity 1 = Entity 2 in all respects, and we would be unable to tell them apart, due to the reason that Entity 2 is actually Entity 1 (or Entity 1 is Entity 2, the numbering would not matter in here in such a case).
“There is thus no inconsistency between creation and salvation for the One Father has employed the same Agent for both works, effecting the salvation of the world through the same Word Who made it in the beginning.”
o There are two issues in here: Firstly, the use of the word ‘Agent’ is crucial in here, since it shows that there is a fundamental difference between ‘the Father’ and the ‘Agent’ who is ‘the Son’ (as per the Christians). So it is crystal-clear that here we are talking about an entity that is different from ‘the Father’. Again, when there is a “Body 1” that is different than another Being, we know that this “Body 1” is essentially different that this Being. So we know that the ‘Agent’ or ‘the Son’ is fundamentally different in Essence from ‘the Father’, using only what is known of Christianity.
o There is a second issue, which is that we have to pay close attention to the use of the term ‘Word’. If we see the dictionary definition, we see that ‘Word’ is not a being, it is not an agent. But in here it is being used as an Entity separate from ‘the Father’ named ‘the Word’, which in human form is called ‘the Son’. So we have to keep this matter in mind, and not get confused by the use of the term “Word”, since the way this term is used by the Christian author makes it clear that it is far beyond what we would understand by this and its related terms (such as ‘Speech of God’, etc.).
“For if all things had come into being in this automatic fashion, instead of being the outcome of Mind, though they existed, they would all be uniform and without distinction.”
o For the time being, we can ignore that the word ‘Mind’ was used, since it is an inappropriate term. But more importantly, the Christian is accepting that in order for differences between things to be realized in the Universe, a Being exists which does not reside in the Universe (nor is it possible for ‘residence in the Universe’ to be attributed to Him, since His attributes are perfect). So the author understands that the bodies in the Universe do not have any intrinsic preference in and of themselves which would give them exact qualities and characteristics which differentiate them from other bodies, shapes, etc. So ‘Uniformity’ or ‘Lack of Preference for one quality over the other’ is what we have when we consider bodies in their capacity to ‘choose’ their specific qualities – bodies in and of themselves have no power to choose at all in this regard. A Creator who is different in His Attributes from the creation and does not resemble the creation is what is absolutely necessary for the Universe to exist. This is the Islamic position, and we have to use this reality “ruthlessly” against anyone who later on propounds something to the contrary of this.
“This distinctness of things argues not a spontaneous generation but a prevenient Cause; and from that Cause we can apprehend God, the Designer and Maker of all.”
o In fact, what every body and every single change in the Universe points to is the true God. Also, our arguments are not only for the establishment of a ‘First Cause’, but rather for the establishment of the ‘real reason’ behind each and every single movement and particle that we see in the Universe, and from what we are unable to sense as well. It is also important to take notice that “distinctness of things” is another type of nomenclature signifying what we call the “need for specification” and the “nature of modality” that requires specification to be applied to it.
“But those who hold this view do not realize that to deny that God is Himself the Cause of matter is to impute limitation to Him, just as it is undoubtedly a limitation on the part of the carpenter that he can make nothing unless he has the wood.”
o The author is talking about the view of the Naturalists and Atheists. One important point we have to mention in here: They are accepting that God creates things when they were previously nothing, and they are also accepting that God cannot be like His Creation… because what would be the big deal of having a ‘slab of matter’ and then making the Universe out of that? Such would be the work of a creation, not of the creator.
o So here we see a contradiction: On the one hand they are saying that God is the creator of matter (He is eternally not matter [God existed but matter did not exist, and then God brought matter from non-existence to existence]), but they also say that God became a body (i.e. matter). If we remember that God’s Attributes are Eternal, they are saying then that God is eternally both matter and not matter. Of course, we could also say that the Christians are at one point saying that God’s Attributes are Eternal and at the other hand they are time-specific (such contradictions could be noted at length, but there is no need to do so since the reader can notice such contradictions).
o Moreover, the Christian seems to understand in here that making the Universe out of pre-existing matter would be a flaw in God, since it would mean that God needs something (an instance of matter in undifferentiated form) in order to create something else (matter in specific, differentiated form). So they understand that God has no needs. What we say is that they should also apply this to the ‘Incarnation’ issue, since a body by definition has a huge number of needs, and such needs cannot be attributed to God. Even if we were to imagine that Jesus came to this world as a grown-up man, without needing to grow up, eat, or sleep, he would still have a huge number of needs. At the very least, he would need a place in which to exist and dwell, and this need or requirement is enough to show that he is not God. Of course, we know from the Biblical narrative that much more than this was needed by Jesus as per the Christian religion, but we want to show that even if someone says that their ‘God’ came to this world in his perfect grown-up form, and fasted and meditated all his life without ever eating or sleeping, this would still not remove the many relative flaws he has (that is, these are flaws with respect to ‘Godhood’, not with respect to humanity).
“Then, again, there is the theory of the Gnostics, who have invented for themselves an Artificer of all things other than the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… How then could the Artificer be someone different, other than the Father of Christ?”
o Here the interesting thing is that they are making reference to ‘the Father of Christ’. We say, this shows that in their minds they have separated the three so-called entities or persons of God, and they cannot bring themselves to the understanding that God is One. For if, as they claim, all three were one and exactly the same, then why is ‘the Father of Christ’ mentioned here as the ‘Artificer’? Why do they not refer to the ‘Holy Ghost’ or the ‘Son’ as a ‘Co-Artificers’ or as the “Only Artificer”? We know that they will do this when prompted, but this sentence shows their true state of mind with respect to the question of ‘Who created the Universe?’
o Some people may stop us at this point and say that there was a mention above of ‘the Word’ being the Maker employed by ‘the Father’ to bring about the Universe into being, and that this shows that both the ‘Father’ and the ‘Son’ were eternally involved in the Creation of the Universe. For whoever brings forth this argument, we say that “two entities acting eternally” is ditheism, pure and simple. The only option for the Christian is to say that ‘the Word’ was a mode of the one God, but this would go against everything that “traditional Christianity” teaches, as such a belief has been termed as heretical by the bulk of Christianity. [Let it be known though, that as with Arianism, those who hold to a type of modalism such as Oneness Pentecostals are also heretics as far as Islam sees it with respect to their belief in Allah, since they also believe in the “Incarnation”, even if that “incarnation” is of “one God” that is “undifferentiated in Heaven” . We need to make this clear, since simply being against normal Trinitarianism does not grant the person a correct understanding on Allah the Exalted].
”Paul also indicates the same thing when he says, ‘By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which we see now did not come into being out of things which had previously appeared.’”
o Basically what they are saying is that there is this attribute of God called ‘the Word of God’, and this attribute is ‘used’ for creating, framing, etc. Our response is that they are firstly taking the idea that God commanded events to occur very literally (in the sense of thinking that God actually speaks serially with letters and words), and secondly they have said that this attribute of God has become immersed with creation.
o At this point, some people may ask: Well then, what about the Muslim belief that Musa (Alayhi Salaam) heard the actual speech of Allah? (Note that the answer below is from the viewpoint of those ‘Ulama who held that Musa (Alayhi Salaam) did indeed hear the actual speech of Allah, and not the view that what is heard is that which points to the actual speech of Allah… for in the latter case the apparent problem does not arise).
o To this we say that Allah the Exalted enabled Musa to listen to Allah’s Eternal Speech, but Musa’s hearing and his understanding of it was totally specified and created by Allah, and Musa (Alayhi Salaam) heard and comprehended from His Speech whatever Allah willed. There was no immersion of Allah or His Attribute of Speech into the created world, neither in the air, nor in waves, nor in the Tur Mountain.
o Also, what is confusing the people is that they see God as speaking in words and letters, speaking, then stopping, then speaking again, and so on, just like the Speech of humans. And they think that hearing has to be only of serially occurring sounds, letters, and wave vibrations, while this is not necessarily the case. Allah can will for the person to hear something that is not from a direction, and is not letters or words. That is, hearing can be connected to something other than letters, words, sound waves, and so forth.
o However, some may insist that the matter is still incoherent, as for them, it is impossible for there to be a union of an action of the human having God or His Attributes as the actual, literal “object” without there being some sort of common locus between the human being and God. We can answer this by telling the people to consider that when someone is said to have “remembered Allah by mentioning Him”, there is nothing metaphorical about the act of remembrance of the person or his act of mentioning, as these are literally true. And we know that Allah is also true and is not metaphorical in this case at all. And yet, there is no locus or point of literal “contact within the Universe” between the creation and Allah.
o Of course, this problem arose in the first place since the Christian thought that the created human actions of hearing, remembering, and mentioning necessitated an ontological similarity between Allah and the Creation in order for such created activities to have true meaning when Allah is the Being remembered, mentioned, etc. But we see that such an assumption is simply wrong (By the Will of Allah, there will be a separate article dealing with this issue with more elucidation, and we will link to that article in this location whenever it is complete).
“For God is good–or rather, of all goodness He is Fountainhead, and it is impossible for one who is good to be mean or grudging about anything.”
o To those who say that we are not to use logic when delving into matters of religion, and of the Christian religion in particular, we say that here stands in front of them one prime example of logic being used. He is stating that ‘God is good’ and as a logical consequence, it is impossible for meanness and grudginess to be attributed to Him. So he is doing this without referring to scripture of the Christian religion; so we say that likewise, wherever we find a fault, we will attack it using reasoning and logic.
o As an additional point, we need to say that the phrase ‘God is good’ has the implication that God is a being subject to moral standards of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. We reject this, and say that God does what He wills, and has no judge. This is generally more important to notice in the discussions about the Christian phrase “God is Love”, so we need to bear this in mind.
“Grudging existence to none therefore, He made all things out of nothing through His own Word, our Lord Jesus Christ”.
o I will skip the discussion about “Word” and “Speech” since that was already covered above. What the Muslim would find curious is the author’s statement: “Grudging existence to none…” It seems to be a quite inexact statement, because as we know, the existence of created things is not a necessity, that all possible existents actually come into existence, but rather, that certain possibilities are excluded when a particular event or being comes into existence with its particular space-time coordinates. The problem in this statement is that the author is trying to tie existence with “God as Love”, and while such a phrase may have an emotional effect on some or many of his readers, it cannot possibly be true upon closer inspection.
“…and of all these His earthly creatures He reserved especial mercy for the race of men. Upon them, therefore, upon men who, as animals, were essentially impermanent, He bestowed a grace which other creatures lacked—namely the impress of His own Image, a share in the reasonable being of the very Word Himself, so that, reflecting Him and themselves becoming reasonable and expressing the Mind of God even as He does, though in limited degree they might continue for ever in the blessed and only true life of the saints in paradise.”
o Basically what the Christian is saying here is that animals are originally contingent, but humans were not meant to be that way, but were supposed to be eternal due to sharing in God’s image and ‘the very Word himself’. Or to put it more precisely, humans were transformed from animal-like impermanence to God-like reasoning and eternal life.
o We say that the author is imprecise. Anything that is the ‘Universe’, or ‘matter’ or a ‘body’ is impermanent or contingent. There is no blame on the human beings in this issue, but the Christian does not seem to realize this, thinking that impermanent or contingent means animalistic. He thinks that eternity is a ‘state’ that is gained of the body itself. But in reality ‘eternity’ for created things only means that God has decreed to create state after state, change after change in those bodies, and He has informed us that such people will remain forever blessed, forever in the abode of peace. So in reality there is no difference between the animals and the humans in this respect regarding their base nature: It is only through the Mercy of God that He has decreed that while the existence of animals will be cut off at some point, the existence of the humans in the Afterlife will not be cut off.
o Someone may point out and say that we are misrepresenting the matter, due to the fact that the author mentions that the humans are meant to share in the ‘reasoning’ and ‘Mind of God’, but only to a limited extent, while we are maliciously portraying it as a total sharing.
o We say the main objection is with respect to the word “sharing”. They are saying that “the Word shares” totally with the “Father” the attributes of reasoning and intellect, in such a way that they are basically equal in such characteristics. We say this is setting up a second Being as God, and we have explained this matter already.
o But the issue does not stop here: The Christian also says that the human has a “lesser share” of the reality of these characteristics as well embedded within him. Among the problems with this train of thought is their implying that God’s attribute of knowledge is divisible, such that one being (“the Word” or “the Son”) can have this entire share, while the normal human being has a “smaller share” of God’s knowledge.
o But we point out that anything which is divided into portions is a creation, as is anything whose attributes consist of smaller parts put together; both of these cannot be attributed to the true God. With respect to the comment that we humans have knowledge while God also has knowledge, we say this is nothing but a coincidence of linguistic terms. The reality of God’s knowledge versus our knowledge cannot be comprehended at all by the human, nor can God’s knowledge (as His Attrbute) be inserted or embedded within us at all, either fully or “partially”.
o In synthesis then, based on the quote above, what the Christian author is alluding to then, is that the difference between God and the creatures is only one of quantity, and that there is no ontological difference between God and the creatures, something that we Muslims will reject outright.
“But since the will of man could turn either way, God secured this grace that He had given by making it conditional from the first upon two things–namely, a law and a place.”
o It seems as if the Christian thinks that the will of man is something totally independent of the ‘Will of God’. This is of course, pure blasphemy since it posits that God is unable to have control over at least some part of His Creation. This goes against the very idea of who God is, and lowers Him to the level of a very powerful creation, but only that, a creation.
o But beyond this, when we are told that man’s staying in eternal life was conditioned upon his will, either to stray or to remain in the straight path, then we know that the supposed grace of “eternal life” is in fact something other than life eternal per se, since sempiternal attributes are not connected to God’s Will, let alone those of the creation. Unfortunately however, the Christian author seems to be wavering from one side to the other in this regard.
“But if they went astray and became vile, throwing away their birthright of beauty, then they would come under the natural law of death and live no longer in paradise, but, dying outside of it, continue in death and in corruption.”
o So this is a statement again, saying that humans had the possibility of being subject to death and corruption (for there is no way that an impossible occurrence could have befallen the first humans, or humanity at large). Again then, for the author, the attribute of sempiternal existence is in a paradoxical relationship with death and corruption. This juxtaposition of contradictions, when accepted by the author and any reader, will easily pave the way for accepting the clause that “The Word of God became man”, since at that stage, the difference between divine and created attributes has been thoroughly blurred.
“…it was our sorry case that caused the Word to come down, our transgression that called out His love for us, so that He made haste to help us and to appear among us.”
o We need to point out that the human beings themselves are being presented as the cause for some of the actions of God (or of God’s attributes if that is what they say). So we have a big inconsistency being presented here, that of the Creator being actually and really influenced by the creation. This shows that the being they call ‘God’ is actually a creation, for the Being to whom belongs ‘Godhood’ cannot be attributed with being literally influenced by the creation; besides, it would lead to endless circularity, with the ‘Creation’ causing something to the ‘Creator’ who is turn causes something in the ‘Creation’ and so forth.
o As for ‘love’ being brought up again as a reason for the “Incarnation”, we know the attachment people will reflexively have for “God’s Love” to improve every situation and to do away with all problems. But even if we were to take “Love” as an attribute of God (merely as a supposition in here), then this would only be connected to possibilities, such as forgiving mankind of their transgressions. But to say that this also entailed “God becoming Man”, then “Love” would not be connected to such a situation, since the clause in question has no substantive meaning.
“It is we who were the cause of His taking human form, and for our salvation that in His great love He was both born and manifested in a human body.”
o Note that in here an ‘Eternal Plan’ which included ‘God coming in human form’ is not shown, but rather the reverse is shown: ‘God’ having to make haste to give back life to humanity after they had lost it. This automatically means that His Perfect Knowledge, and His Perfect Will are compromised, since they are susceptible to change, depletion, addition, and so forth, all of which cannot be attributed to the true God. Of course, all of this is underlined by the statement that we human beings were the actual, effective cause of “God manifesting Himself in human form”, a statement that would subject God (even in His pre-human “form”) to the strictures of material causality.
“and as they had at the beginning come into being out of non-existence, so were they now on the way to returning, through corruption, to non-existence again.”
o For many it may go without saying, but what we can obviously see here is the characterization of man as a merely possible existent. This obvious is of importance when we see the human’s existence likened either with intrinsically necessary existence or with something intrinsically impossible to come into being. Of course, as we have mentioned before, this is due to the sloppiness and inconsistency in the terms used, which makes a “sleight of hand” imperceptible to the reader, and even sometimes to the author himself.
“The presence and love of the Word had called them into being; inevitably, therefore when they lost the knowledge of God, they lost existence with it; for it is God alone Who exists, evil is non-being, the negation and antithesis of good.”
o In our discussions with Christians, we sometimes come across some of them who say that the laws of reasoning have nothing to do with God – one is simply supposed to keep the faith, regardless of any apparent direct logical contradictions. To them, we say to carefully consider this passage and to notice that the laws of reasoning are being expressly used in here: A thesis is presented with respect to God and His Nature, and its antithesis is said to be absolutely incorrect. Even though we disagree vehemently with the way these laws are being applied by the Christian, it cannot be denied that they are trying to apply them one way or the other. The matter of dialectics cannot simply be thrown away without there being any repercussions.
o One comment has to be made about the phrase “evil is non-Being”. If they mean that evil does not have permanent independent existence, then this is not something specific to “created evil” only, but it even applies to the best well-behaved and obedient human beings as well.
o However, if what they mean is that it is absolutely impossible for evil to come into Being then there is a problem: How can it be said that something that absolutely cannot exist can have an effective impact on human beings, a possible existent?
o What we see then is that “evil” is made analogous with a “false God” which cannot come into Being at all. But of course, if such is the case, then how can this “Anti-God” have even temporal existence, let alone have a direct effect on humanity? This is something that the reader should ponder upon, knowing that the Muslim position is that Allah is the Creator of Satan and all of Satan’s actions (and at the end of the day, our scholars say that there is wisdom behind all of Allah’s creation, even the “created evil things”)
“By nature, of course, man is mortal, since he was made from nothing; but he bears also the Likeness of Him Who is, and if he preserves that Likeness through constant contemplation, then his nature is deprived of its power and he remains incorrupt.”
o It is very strange that there is so much adamancy in pushing for “Likeness” between God and mankind, when at most there is only a coincidence of the words used to describe the Attributes of God and the creatures, but without there being any ontological similarity.
o What happens is that the “ontological similarity” angle steps in, and the contradiction between “possible existence” and “ontological sharing of some of God’s attributes” is passed of as the truth of this matter.
o They say that the nature of man is mortal, but through constant contemplation, incorruptibility – and as an extension eternal life – may be attained. We have to wonder why is the human beings very own actions being presented as a possible dam to ward off mortality. It seems that the phrase: “man’s nature” is not properly defined: If it is something intrinsic in mankind, then contemplation cannot reverse it. If it is something extrinsic, a merely possible matter within man, then there is obvious no “Likeness” between God and man, for reasons already discussed.
“And being incorrupt, he would be henceforth as God, as Holy Scripture says, “I have said, Ye are gods and sons of the Highest all of you: but ye die as men and fall as one of the princes.””
o What we need to stress here is the biblical Verse quoted above. Whoever wrote this (and for the Muslim, it is inconceivable that Dawud (Alayhi Salaam) would be the writer of such a phrase) is showing, at least subliminally, the way in which the term “son of God” may take a turn towards “ontological similarity” between “son” and “God”. This is because when this term is brought together with the term “gods”, so that it becomes “gods and sons of God”, then in the mind of many, the thought of ontological similarity may become possible, as we clearly see here with Athanasius.
o What a number of the scholars of the Muslims mention is that the reason why we do not accept for anyone to be called a “son of God” even out of respect is that the mind will immediately drift towards setting up a genus called “Godhood”, with “Father” and “Son” or “Father”, “Mother” and “Son” occupying the specific reification of the abstract “Godhood” schema. This is not restricted to Christianity, but is seen whenever the term “son of God” becomes prominent.
o (As an aside, if it is said that the Jews have kept their monotheism intact even with the use of this term we would first say that their case would be an exception if at all true. But the truth is that Judaism has been historically quite fluid with respect to what is presented as the truth of God, His Nature, and Attributes. This is without even considering the practices and beliefs of lay Jews in this respect, which would open another route in this discussion. Perhaps we will tackle this particular question later on, but we just need any one who brings up this objection to keep this in mind).
“This, then, was the plight of men. God had not only made them out of nothing, but had also graciously bestowed on them His own life by the grace of the Word. Then, turning from eternal things to things corruptible, by counsel of the devil, they had become the cause of their own corruption in death;”
o A literal understanding of ‘God’s Life’ is presented here. Thus, they are saying that God gave ‘His life’ or ‘part of His Life’ to the human being in a literal sense. This is the reason why it is said that humans were first in an ‘eternal state’ before coming down to a state of death and non-existence. We have mentioned the problems with this understanding above but we just want to emphasize that the ‘eternity’ in here is understood by the Christian author as being intrinsic to the nature of primordial man, since it was a literal part of God which had been given to the man as per his view.
“…though they were by nature subject to corruption, the grace of their union with the Word made them capable of escaping from the natural law, provided that they retained the beauty of innocence with which they were created.”
o The problems in here are basically the same ones we discussed before: Confusion over the nature of humans, invalid use of the term “union”, and the humans’ capability being shown as having the potential to change the ontological relationship between God and man.
o If someone asks, well then, man cannot change the ontological relationship between himself and God, but why do you say that God Himself cannot change this? We believe this is a variant of the “Unliftable Stone Paradox”, with the question being: “If God is Omnipotent, can He create another God?” (which is what “changing the ontological relationship between man and God” would mean.)
“”God created man for incorruption and as an image of His own eternity; but by envy of the devil death entered into the world.” When this happened, men began to die, and corruption ran riot among them and held sway over them to an even more than natural degree, because it was the penalty of which God had forewarned them for transgressing the commandment.”
o Again, we see the same general inconsistencies as before. The phrase that “men began to die” after the devil mad corruption enter into the “human chain” is of interest. Dying, although a painful experience for everyone, is a natural reality. We see the difference between formal Islam and Christianity very clearly in here: The Holy Qur’an itself says that men are (originally) created weak. Any favor they receive is from Allah only, and not through their previous or original “union with a hypostasis of God”. Man is weak, and there is no shame or embarrassment in enunciating this truth.
Chapter 2 of the book (The Divine Dilemma and its Solution in the Incarnation)
“Man, who was created in God’s image and in his possession of reason reflected the very Word Himself, was disappearing, and the work of God was being undone.”
o Here, the thesis is that man, due to the corruption and death that had entered the world, was effectively undoing God’s work of creation. Of course, the strange thing about this is the very idea that God’s work can be undone by a created agent (whether man, the devil, etc.) – in this case, man is sort of an independent “self-destructing agent”. From the above discussion, we know that life is given by Allah, but so is death. Both are manifestations of Allah’s Power, and His Glory shines through in both cases.
“It would, of course, have been unthinkable that God should go back upon His word and that man, having transgressed, should not die; but it was equally monstrous that beings which once had shared the nature of the Word should perish and turn back again into non-existence through corruption.”
o Here we see the Christian again stating the ‘sharing’ nature of ‘the Word’ with primordial man. We have to wonder again as to how ‘corruption’ can have any connection with the possibility of changing the nature of ‘eternal life’, where ‘eternal life’ is one of the qualities which is supposedly fundamental to the human.
o Thus, if we accept that it is fundamental, it cannot be changed by anything external (think of the human being’s existence in terms of the 3 or 4 dimensions of existence. If he starts committing evil deeds, is there any way that he becomes stripped from some of the dimensions where he existed in? Obviously not, since his existence as a being within a certain place and time is basic to him, and the goodness of his deeds is not relevant to his being within the confines of space-time).
o We suspect that the Christians will say that the ‘union’ is metaphorical, not real. To this we say that if such was the case, there would be no need for the Christian author to go through such pains in order to say that the human’s conditions changed from the ‘blessed eternal’ to ‘almost non-existent’. If he had thought that the human was always truly contingent and unable to remain in existence except through the power and decree of God, the presentation of an actual, literal union with ‘the Word’ would not have come up at all. Rather, we understand is what we have said all along, that the Christian seems to think of humans as part Creation and part Creator, thus committing a huge error in belief and opening the door for even more errors to be committed.
“It was unworthy of the goodness of God that creatures made by Him should be brought to nothing through the deceit wrought upon man by the devil; and it was supremely unfitting that the work of God in mankind should disappear, either through their own negligence or through the deceit of evil spirits.”
o They are presenting God as a being who does things based fully on moral goodness and badness, much like the humans would do things based on what they consider to be good or bad. Also, notice that the devil is being practically presented as an independent being with full, independent powers of authority separate from God.
“As, then, the creatures whom He had created reasonable, like the Word, were in fact perishing, and such noble works were on the road to ruin, what then was God, being Good, to do? Was He to let corruption and death have their way with them? In that case, what was the use of having made them in the beginning?”
o Here they are portraying a very ‘human version’ of God: He brings the humans into existence but due to the independent power of the devil and evil spirits, His initial plan is derailed. This is why the question is framed as “what they was God, being Good, to do?” This would be very similar to the way a human being agonizes over the derailment of his original plan by unanticipated conditions, which then force him to draw up and undertake a second plan in order to rectify the unforeseen circumstances. The other two questions also intensify this ideology, as the Christian author seems to ‘get into the Mind of God’ (as per his fancy) to tell us what was ‘going on in God’s Mind’ at that time.
o We Muslims say that such a portrayal of God is totally incorrect and that it is a blasphemy against God. This is so because God does not act serially, nor is His Knowledge gained serially (as it obviously seems to be the idea of the Christian author above). Any being whose Actions or Knowledge are subject to change (measured by the parameter of time) cannot be the Creator, and is in fact a creation just like other creatures of this world.
“Surely it would have been better never to have been created at all than, having been created, to be neglected and perish; and, besides that, such indifference to the ruin of His own work before His very eyes would argue not goodness in God but limitation, and that far more than if He had never created men at all.”
o Here a conglomeration of incorrect thoughts is brought together: First, we see the idea that humans were originally meant to be eternal in the sense of being necessary in existence; we have already discussed this many times before.
o Second, we notice that the actions of humans, devils, and evil spirits are apparently not controlled by God to begin with, which is why the term ‘indifference’ is used. After all, the possibility of a being showing indifference towards something only surfaces if that being is not directly connected with the workings of that thing or things. From here, we see a very ‘Deist’ Christian theology: God created the first humans as beings, but after that their actions and all their works are directly created by them. (We Muslims abhor such a view, since it takes God out of the total running of the Universe and all the things inside the Universe, and portrays an image of man as a creator alongside God).
o Third, the erroneous notion that ‘God is morally good’ is brought up again, with the added problem that the overall trajectory of humanity is placed as the judge to determine whether God’s actions are ‘good’ or ‘bad’. In this way it is being said that the Creator has become a sort of judge for God, and this is something that has no meaning attached to it.
o Fourth, the Christian author leans towards saying that God’s creation of the Universe and of man removed a limitation of God (the author implies that it would have been a small limitation, but a limitation nonetheless). We say that this is itself a limitation, since if ‘God’ had to create certain things so that a limitation would be avoided or removed, then this means that ‘God’ has needs and is not self-subsisting, and this proposition is an impossibility.
o That is, according to the author, in order for ‘God’ to be a ‘good God’ or a ‘better God’, He had to create nice and good human beings, a nice and good Universe. And this view compartmentalizes ’God’ into discrete time periods and immediately implies change. That is, the implication is that ‘God was ok’ before the Creation, then ‘God’ became ‘better’ after creating humans nice and pure, but had humans totally gone into non-existence due to the stain of sin, then ‘God’ would have become ‘bad’ or ‘unwise’ for having created something and not even being able to stop it from committing evil even in the face of eternal death.
“…it was unthinkable that God, the Father of Truth, should go back upon His word regarding death in order to ensure our continued existence.”
o There are a number of things here: The phrase presented here is ‘going back upon His Word’. This entails a promise. When a ‘promise’ is issued by God, this is informing us of what will certainly occur when the circumstances present take place. This is unlike the promises of humans, where there is no definite foreknowledge of what will occur in the future.
o But the manner in which the Christian presents this ‘promise’ in fact shows another blasphemy against God. It is said that God promised death, without further stipulations, for the human race if the fruit from the forbidden tree was eaten. Later on, when the consequences of such a sin and of evil in general became obvious, then a second plan of action was put into effect which included the incarnation of ‘the Word’ and so forth.
o Again this shows God as a being whose knowledge is increased from time to time, and who undergoes mood swings as he sees his creation carry out their deeds. We know that this is what the Christian thinks because he is showing a ‘softening of God’s heart’ vis-à-vis the situation of mankind: First He unconditionally sentences mankind to death, but then His ‘Love’ wins out which leads to the supposed ‘incarnation’, crucifixion, and resurrection.
“Was He to demand repentance from men for their transgression? You might say that that was worthy of God, and argue further that, as through the Transgression they became subject to corruption, so through repentance they might return to incorruption again. But repentance would not guard the Divine consistency, for, if death did not hold dominion over men, God would still remain untrue. Nor does repentance recall men from what is according to their nature; all that it does is to make them cease from sinning.”
o They are saying that through mere repentance the ‘condition’ of death itself could not be changed. So for them it is not a matter of repenting for one’s sins, but rather of the fulfilling of God’s promise tied to the sinning of the first man. They say that it is all well and good if man stops sinning, but it does not bring them back to the ‘eternal state’ they were first in. So we see that the ‘incarnation theory’ is not really about sinning or lack of sinning, but about God and His alleged ‘promise’ He had delivered to mankind which was tied to their actions.
o We say that the Christian is bringing up the same error he presented to us before: He thinks that the change in mankind’s condition from ‘necessary existence’ to ‘possible existence’ or ‘non-existence’ was tied to the original sin (or more precisely to God’s Promise related to the sin of man), and that there needed to be something extraordinary done in order to change the condition back to one of ‘necessary existence’.
o Again we say that man’s nature is what it is, that of a creature who has no ‘share’ in ‘intrinsically necessary existence’, a creature who has no ‘share’ in the Attributes of ‘Godhood’. To say that God, either through His initial Promise, or through His ‘Incarnation’ would change this fundamental nature of mankind is to cling on to unreality. We have to stress once more that this is not a matter of God’s “lack of Power” to bring about such a change, but it is basically a consequence of the Uniqueness of God and of Godhood, in that His Attributes (such as necessary existence) are exclusively for Him, and are not for any other being or beings.
o There is also the additional issue that, even if we suppose (against the truth) that God could incarnate Himself in man, take on and “defeat death” head-on, how would that liquidate the original promise? This has to be brought up, since if the promise was indeed true (that death would rule over man if he sinned), then “death” cannot be undone even with an alleged crucifixion and resurrection, since death’s “ontological eternity” is acknowledged in the original promise supposedly made by God.
o Of course, the problem arises in here from the fact that the Christian sees death not as a possible state that God chooses for His creatures whenever He wills, but rather as an independent “being” standing face-to-face against God and trying to undermine Him through whatever means possible. In this context, the “crucifixion” and “resurrection” is a “Battle of Titans”, where “God” finally vanquishes death and removes its effect on humanity.
o But of course, the Muslim says that there is nothing “titanic” about possible non-existence at all. It is simply a state fully under the control of Allah. While the Muslim perspective may not appeal to “Hollywood-type” minds, we say that the “dramatic narrative” value is not something to be considered in such a case.
“What—or rather Who was it that was needed for such grace and such recall as we required? Who, save the Word of God Himself, Who also in the beginning had made all things out of nothing? His part it was, and His alone, both to bring again the corruptible to incorruption and to maintain for the Father His consistency of character with all.”
o Here they are demonstrating one more time that the ‘Word of God’ is not an attribute of God, but rather a Being separate from ‘God the Father’. This is further attested with their saying that it was the role of the ‘Word of God’, and ‘His alone’ to bring the corrupted back to incorruption, the supposed lesson being that this is not the domain of ‘God the Father’.
o The angle concerning the possibilities with respect to corruption (that is possible corruption vs. intrinsic incorruptibility) have been discussed before. Also, the issue of consistency (in that God’s “Promise” cannot be superseded even with His “incarnation” and “crucifixion”) has also been discussed above.
“For He alone, being Word of the Father and above all, was in consequence both able to recreate all, and worthy to suffer on behalf of all and to be an ambassador for all with the Father.”
o This explanation still does not remove the inconsistencies we noted earlier. If we imagine that the Word of the Father was the ‘Agent’ through which creation was brought into existence, then it should also be the agent through which the first promise to mankind would have been delivered. Once we know this, then how can it be said that the ‘Word becoming flesh’ could have undone the first promise without running into inconsistency, especially since the same ‘agent’ is being used to make promises and supersede previous promises?
o We also have an issue of nomenclature. If we notice carefully, we see that previously this agent was called ‘Word of God’, and now it says ‘Word of the Father’. If we take the ‘Word’ to be God (the normal Christian understanding), it would read ‘God of the Father’ or ‘God of God’, something which makes no sense.
o Finally, the issue of ambassadorship crops up. It seems that the ground is being prepared for the Christian to say that there is a “two-way link” in the person of the ‘Word’: On the one hand the ‘Word is God’, but he is also very much a ‘man’. We have discussed some of the problems inherent in this thinking, and will bring up some more objections to this thesis as required further down this text.
“For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God entered our world.”
o We have the same problem we have previously mentioned: If it is said that the ‘Word of God’ is incorporeal and immaterial, then that is what he is, and there can be no literal joining or connection between that which is necessarily immaterial and incorporeal and the world which is material and corporeal.
o If on the other hand what is being said is that change is possible due to certain purposes or circumstances, then the supposed incorporeality of ‘the Word’ was not intrinsic to it, but rather needed some other agent to specify the moments of corporeality versus the moments of incorporeality. This would disprove that the being they call ‘the Word’ could possibly be God, because God’s nature does not change, nor can He be influenced by the creation or another agent.
“In one sense, indeed, He was not far from it before, for no part of creation had ever been without Him Who, while ever abiding in union with the Father, yet fills all things that are.”
o We have to ask in here, what does ‘filling all things’ mean in here? One could say that this is strictly with ‘His Knowledge’, but the mode of presentation up to now from the Christian suggests otherwise. What is being said then, is that ‘The Word’ was in literal union with ‘the Father’ while also literally filling all things on earth and in the Universe at large.
o Our response in here is quite clear: On the one hand, ‘literal’ union with ‘the Father’ cannot be claimed in here, since the Christian has gone out of his way to show that ‘the Word’ is a distinct being who has certain tasks and responsibilities peculiar to him only and not to ‘the Father’. On the other hand, it is also claimed that ‘the Word’ was in a state of ‘dwelling’ or ‘incarnation’ even before the ‘formal Incarnation’ took place. And this is also something that is to be totally rejected from both sides.
“But now He entered the world in a new way, stooping to our level in His love and Self-revealing to us.”
o Let the reader consider the crucial word ‘stoop’ in here: When someone stoops down to enter something, it is because bending or lowering are part of what is innately possible to his nature and that capability has been actualized with his stooping. Now, the Christian is applying this to God, and saying that ‘the Word’ lowered Himself to our level in order to demonstrate His ‘love’.
o The careful reader will note the inappropriateness of this terminology; for when anyone says that God lowers Himself to a certain plane or within certain dimensions, it means that existing in those dimensions is something inherent in His Nature. This is an obvious contradiction to the true nature of God, since (even as this Christian author recognized earlier) it is impossible that the Creator is of the same genus as the Creation…otherwise what we have is merely one creation (the Christian concept of ‘God’) apparently (but not technically) giving life to another creation (the Universe, mankind), while in reality there has to be a Being other than the ‘Christian God’ or the ‘Universe’ which originates the actual creation.
o And again, the issue of “Love” comes into the picture, but we know this is merely a smokescreen to cover up the real impossibility of what is being proposed. Yes, the heart and the mind have different spheres of application, but there is no actual contradiction between the two in the true religion of God. There is complementarity, but if someone sees a direct contradiction, they should know the religion that calls for this is overplaying its hand.
o One more thing we want to mention is concerning this phrase “new way” of entering the world. For the Christian, it seems that there is an old way of Incarnation, and a new way of Incarnation. For us Muslims though, both the “old” and the “new” are invalid suggestions.
“He saw the reasonable race, the race of men that, like Himself, expressed the Father’s Mind, wasting out of existence, and death reigning over all in corruption.”
o We see in here that for the Christian, ‘God the Son’ (the Word), just like ‘God the Father’ sees things in a serial manner and gains information serially, which are contradictory to the true nature of the true God.
o In addition to this, we have to wonder whether the human race is being referred to in here as a literal ‘expression’ of the ‘Father’s Mind’. It is mentioned in here that ‘God the Son’ is an ‘expression of the Father’s Mind’, and that the human race likewise a similar expression. We are left to believe that expressions of the ‘Father’s Mind’ are separate beings. If the Christian is very adamant on saying that ‘God the Son’ is not a separate being from ‘The Father’, then they cannot deny that each human being is separate from ‘God’.
o And yet again the mention of ‘reasonable race’ is brought up. It seems that for the Christian, reason is something eternal just like their conceptualization of how ‘life’ was for the primordial man; that is, either you have it eternally as part of your innate being, or you do not have it. As mentioned previously by us, this idea runs into many problems when it is compared to what true ‘Godhood’ is.
“He saw, too, how unthinkable it would be for the law to be repealed before it was fulfilled. He saw how unseemly it was that the very things of which He Himself was the Artificer should be disappearing.”
o Here we notice another problem: God ‘the Word’ (and by extension, ‘the Father’) regards the human beings as His work in very much the same way that a carpenter regards a house as his work: They are proud of their achievement, and do not wish for it to be damaged or destroyed. In other words, they have an emotional attachment to their work, and their work fulfills a need inside of them.
o All of these qualities are quite fine and good for normal ‘artificers’ such as potters, carpenters, shoemakers, and so forth, but they are not to be applied to God. The reason for this is simple: God has no needs which need to be fulfilled by something He creates. It is the same for Him whether the creation exists or does not exist, as it is impossible that His Creation ‘lords’ over Him, which is exactly what happens in the ideology of this Christian author.
o If it is said by the Christian that God has no needs but He willed to save them due to His Love for them, we say this is not the totality of the case as per their admission. What they are making us imagine is a situation where God, like an artisan or craftsman, works hard to create the human beings and is proud of his work. When evil enters the human race, it is very much like termites that would enter a house built by a carpenter: They are unforeseen elements that the builder fears, but is unable to stop with his original plan.
o This is precisely why the alleged disappearance of the human race is said to be ‘unseemly’ to God, because- as per the Christian view- it is very disappointing for God’s ‘heart’ that after all of the work He had put in to create man and to give him eternal life, what He created is disappearing and becoming destroyed due to the effects of corruption in the world.
o Before we move on, we need emphasize that the Muslim view is strict in saying that God creates each and every single action of the creation, whether these are devils, angels, or humans. There is not even a slight movement of the smallest subatomic particle which happens without His Will, Power, and Decree. When the reader understands this, they will know that it is impossible that God has needs as portrayed by the Christian, nor can he suffer from disappointment in the way shown by the Christians, since He controls and decides the fate of every single created thing. After all, disappointment and heartbreak are qualities of the creation which occur to us due to our inability to have total control on all the variables of our environment. But with God, the situation is not like this at all, nor can it ever be like this.
o Someone at this junction may ask, that Allah is portrayed in the primary Islamic scriptures as being “pleased” or “displeased” at the actions of His servants. We say that in the theology of Islam, we do not give “Kayfiyya” (a “how”, a modality, which is what applies strictly to the creation) to such phrases, and we pass them along as they come. Besides, a number of our scholars have mentioned that these terms refer to the Iradah (Will) of Allah to reward of punish someone. Of course, this last statement will need to be verified, but there is really no way that one can compare, on a theological plane, what the Christian above is saying about “God” and what Islam says about Allah.
“All this He saw and, pitying our race, moved with compassion for our limitation, unable to endure that death should have the mastery, rather than that His creatures should perish and the work of His Father for us men come to nought, He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own.”
o There is again an amassing of different types of problems above: Firstly, our analysis done above is vindicated by the use of phrases such as ‘pitying our race’ and ‘unable to endure that death should have the mastery’. It would have been all well and good if the inability to endure and the pitying occurred to some being which to begin with has the possibility of becoming depressed and sad for the sake of others.
o But in here the reference is being made to God, the Lord of the Worlds. And when we analyze the meaning of a phrase such as ‘unable to endure’, we see the contradictions laid bare: If a being or thing in unable to endure, this means that he has a limit of endurance, beyond which it is not possible for that being or thing to take the load of whatever is put on it.
o If it is said that we are taking the meaning of ‘endurance’ too literally, we say that endurance can be in physical matters or in spiritual and emotional matters as well. It is common human experience that sometimes we are unable to endure certain instances of the suffering on ourselves or others, or of the emotional pain being inflicted on ourselves or others. But this is the domain of the creation only, since the creation is the one that has a limit for enduring emotional pain and suffering. To extend such a thing to God means that the ones doing such an ‘extension’ do not understand who God is at all.
o Secondly, we can examine the phrase concerning the possibility of ‘the work of His Father for us men come to nought’. This saying shows that in the Christian mind, it is possible for the actions of the Creator to have no real effect. This is again a contradiction in terms, since the only logical conclusion that comes from this is that there is a ‘Higher God’ who determines whether or not the works and actions of ‘The Father’ have a true effect or not, or more precisely, that there is a ‘Higher God’ that grants an actual effect to all the works and actions of ‘The Father’.
o Thirdly, we finally come to the ‘Incarnation’ issue, highlighted by the phrase ‘He took to Himself a body, a human body even as our own.’ So we see that the Christian author has been preparing the reader through the length of the previous pages for his mind to accept the incarnation of God.
o After all, we really see no difference between ‘God’ as envisaged by the author and the common human beings: (1) They both ‘create’ things at an initial state but do not control every single aspect of them after these things (or their initial physique and spirit) have been ‘created’. (2) Additionally, there are aspects which are similar to them: there are many carpenters in the world so there is similarity in here; in the case of ‘God’ as portrayed by the Christians, the human race was given ‘eternal life’ by default, meaning that they shared with God the quality of ‘Independent Everlastingness’ and were similar to Him in this respect. (3) They both experience addition in their knowledge, so in much the same way that a carpenter learns more the dangers which threaten the house he built, ‘God’ learns about the evils that surround the human beings on this earth. (4) Likewise, just as this carpenter may need to devise a second plan of action in order to save his prized work, so does ‘God’ need to plan something in addition to what He had come up with initially in order to save his own work. (5) And the basis of this second plan is also quite similar, which is that both the carpenter and ‘God’ do not wish to see their work lost, and are grieved and saddened when their hard work is threatened with destruction.
o We have thus seen how the Christian author has already belittled God to the point of imagining him to be a human being. But now the author explicitly says that God actually became a human being, which is even a step further from what he had mentioned up to now.
o Before we move much further, we have to give an explanation as to why Muslim consider ‘incarnation’ or ‘in-dwelling’ of God within His Creation to be absolutely impossible. People do ask this question, and at times this is framed to us in a way of accusing us of denying God’s Powers and Ability (with a question such as “Are you the one to tell God what He can and cannot do?”).
o The careful reader will know by now that this is not a matter related to God’s power or ability, but rather tied to the intrinsic impossibility of God to be attributed with the attributes of creation; anything that entails God taking on the attributes of creation is not tied to His Power, since His Power is tied to possibilities.
o If a more detailed explanation is required, we will mention that a human being is a body and a mass. Anything that is a mass or a body requires specification from something other than itself. We do not need to go very deeply into this, for the Christian author earlier readily accepted this fact when he said that a Creator other than “nature” was required, for otherwise every creation would be similar to the next creation in every way.
o The Muslim expands on this and says that the body which ‘God’ allegedly took according to the Christians is a body like all others, and is subject to the same restrictions as all other bodies (as far as its needing to be created by a being other than it). In fact this angle is emphasized by the Christian when he says that ‘the Word’ took to Himself ‘a human body even as our own’. Thus, any objections that this had to be a ‘different body’ in its intrinsic constitution from ‘other bodies’ are discarded by the Christian himself at the very outset. When we know the above, it follows that there is no way that anyone can point to a body and say ‘This is God’, since the one who creates the body is God, while any given body is distinct from God.
“Nor did He will merely to become embodied or merely to appear; had that been so, He could have revealed His divine majesty in some other and better way.”
o The ‘Will of God’ is being tied with something that is impossible in itself. The Christian is saying that ‘God’ could have willed something else, but He willed the ‘Incarnation’ instead. We say that this shows ‘God’ for them to be a being that does not know what is possible and impossible, since He can “will” things that are intrinsically impossible. Basically, the case in here is the same as the one with “God’s Power”: The connection is with those things that are hypothetically possible, not with “non-things” that are only a confused jumble of words without any possible meaning behind them.
“He took our body, and not only so, but He took it directly from a spotless, stainless virgin, without the agency of human father—a pure body, untainted by intercourse with man.”
o We have to raise an objection concerning the thought that if a body comes about without the agency of a human father, then this gives it a superior quality as far as its “need to be created” is concerned. We say that there would be no distinction between the normal bodies and this “untainted body” in this respect, since even in this latter case, there was a need to identify which woman would be the mother of this body, as well as the exact time and place that this body would manifest itself in.
o In fact, even if the body had appeared without a mother, and had suddenly appeared in the midst of people as a full-grown man, there would still be many needs attached to this body and many specifications that had to be determined for this body, such as its exact location, time of appearance, its exact coordinates at every instant, and so forth. So whatever the case may be, a body has a need for specification that has to be fulfilled by something other than itself.
o There are some people who may say that in the case of the ‘Incarnation’ our argument is not strong, since in this case the body of the ‘Son’ was not subject to the restrictions as far as needing a creator other than itself is concerned.
o To this we say that the sanctity of the body allegedly taken up by ‘the Word’ was related to its being untainted by sin, not from the other characteristics of bodies. After all, the entire discussion of the Christian centers on how to get rid of the corruption and sin of mankind, not on how to make man and their bodies free from needing spatial coordinates, or from the other intrinsic abstract needs that bodies have by their very definition.
o As a secondary issue, the Muslim will point out that if someone says that “intercourse” is foul and ugly as far human beings are concerned, then what about the waste produced by humans as a result of eating and drinking? To be sure, Muslims do not attach ritual impurity with the bodily fluids of the Prophets, but in here we are engaging the Christian on his own terms, in order to show that one hypothetical objection may be applied to another similar arena, and that the Christian would not have an easy way out in such a case. The Christian is not saying that Jesus (Alayhi Salaam) could not be a Prophet because of intercourse between his parents, but that his coming down as a “God-Man” would have been importune in the face of intercourse – to this we say that humans do many other actions that are “importune” in this context, so why is the “intercourse” brought about as the only blameworthy action?
“He, the Mighty One, the Artificer of all, Himself prepared this body in the virgin as a temple for Himself, and took it for His very own, as the instrument through which He was known and in which He dwelt.”
o We say that if the ‘Artificer’ is preparing the body which He himself ‘took up’ or ‘dwelt in’, then it is being said that the ‘builder’ and the ‘building’ are of one and the same genus. In such a case, the ‘Godhood’ of God is claimed to be non-existent. As we have shown before, this is impossible in itself, regardless of other considerations such as ‘love’ and ‘compassion’.
o Consider that if one says that a carpenter built a house so that he can dwell in the house, we would know that this is possible since both the carpenter and the house are beings limited by the workings of space-time. We would know that the ‘carpenter’ is inherently limited, for even if he had never built the house it would not remove the fact that he is limited by the directions of space and the moments of time, and his dwelling in a house is simply a manifestation of the reality of this carpenter. Whether he dwells in a house he himself built, a house someone else built, or he sleeps in the street, the inherent need of him to dwell somewhere is never removed from him.
“Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father.”
o Here we see the admission that the body that ‘the Son created’ was really not that much different from that of other bodies, since it was still liable (or limited) by the “corruption of death”. What is interesting is that the body taken up by ‘the Son’ was not like that of “untainted man” (in the sense of it being ‘eternal’ as per the Christian dogma), but was still subject to death and corruption like the bodies of “corrupted man”. (Of course, the explanation may be given that this was in order that the ‘Son’ may take the same ‘tainted nature of man’ that was prevalent at that time, but in that case the above explanation of how ‘intercourse with a man’ had not affected the ‘Son’s body’ does not seem to be related with the other ‘reality’ they are trying to portray.)
o Additionally, observe that the body of the ‘Son of God’ can be ‘surrendered to death’. Here they are taking ‘death’ as an all-powerful entity or being that has to be pacified in order for redemption to occur … this would once again be an attestation that the Christian believes ‘God’ not to be the true God with proper attributes of ‘Godhood’, since the entity or being which needs to give something of Himself in order to achieve a goal cannot be the true God.
o Also notice that in here we have the admission of the substantive difference between the ‘Son’ and the ‘Father’. If the ‘Son’ and the ‘Father’ were truly one in Essence, how could the ‘Son’ offering his body to the ‘Father’ be of any use, since it would be null and void given that the body is being offered to Himself only, and there is no real sacrifice when one offers something to one’s self or does something for one’s own purposes.
“This He did that He might turn again to incorruption men who had turned back to corruption, and make them alive through death by the appropriation of His body and by the grace of His resurrection.”
o We say that resurrection also needs to be specified by a being other than the one who is being resurrected. After all, it is the bringing of a body from death to life, so it is a change that needs specification.
“Thus He would make death to disappear from them as utterly as straw from fire.”
o Here again the idea is brought up that death could actually disappear from human beings in a literal manner. Remember that what was being claimed is that there was a “share” of ‘Godhood’ in the human beings that had been lost, and this is exactly what the “Incarnation” was supposed to bring back to humans. So it cannot be said that this was a process carried out simply to make humans capable to enter the Eternal Paradise once again, but rather that the ontological break was “undone” – and this is the biggest issue we have a problem with, as we have discussed before.
“The Word perceived that corruption could not be got rid of otherwise than through death; yet He Himself, as the Word, being immortal and the Father’s Son, was such as could not die. For this reason, therefore, He assumed a body capable of death, in order that it, through belonging to the Word Who is above all, might become in dying a sufficient exchange for all, and, itself remaining incorruptible through His indwelling, might thereafter put an end to corruption for all others as well, by the grace of the resurrection.”
o To the above we say: Once we determine that a certain being in immortal, this means that death is not applicable to that Being at all; there is no connection between Himself and death in any “shape” or “form”. This also means that his existence is absolutely necessary and not connected to the parameter of time (since if it was, it means that there could be a change in the status of this Being, such that it could be possible for Him to be alive in one moment and dead at the next).
o The Christian is attempting a workaround for this by saying that the body was assumed, even though it was not really inherent in the “Son’s” nature. We say that this is a contradiction in terms, since one can only assume that which is concomitant with one’s nature. If the nature of a Being is to be immortal and for His existence to be unconnected to time, then there can be no real joining of this Being with some entity that possesses its opposites, such as possibility of death and so forth.
o For the people to understand this with a simpler example, if someone says that a triangle assumed an extra side so that it became a “four-sided triangle”, we would say that they are fooling themselves. Either they should state that the triangle has become a rectangle, or that the extra side has not been assumed. But to insist that this triangle now has four sides is a contradiction that no one would accept as true. Much more so then, the case with what the Christian imagines to be the case with ‘God the Word’, as the propositions when taken together cannot be true.
“It was by surrendering to death the body which He had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from every stain, that He forthwith abolished death for His human brethren by the offering of the equivalent.”
o Maybe we are not following the narrative thoroughly from our side, but from what we can see, there is still no logical evidence provided as to why the assuming of a body by ‘God’ would necessarily destroy death, even with a resurrection. The only reasoning we can glean from them is that death was unable to keep its grip on “God the Word” (that is, his resurrection occurred after the crucifixion) and thus it was shown that death could not keep “every single human dead”. But then again, another narrative could be constructed by the skeptic, wherein “God the Word” becomes the weak one, since death could hold him, even if it was for a few instants, and even if death was eventually destroyed. Whichever way, the Christian logic is not thorough and rigorous.
o But even ignoring all the other inconsistencies, what the Christian claims would require an amended promise by “God”; either this, or it would be shown that the first promise by “God”, of death irrevocably ruling over humans after the “Original Sin” was not well-thought out by “God”/”God the Father”.
o Or looking at it from another angle, if the “Word” somehow became the “first human” to overcome and defeat death, it would still require an act of choice from “the Father” in order to accept this “sacrifice”, since this overcoming of death in and of itself does not confer anything on humans as a whole.
o It seems the Christian author – and Christians in general – are trying to play on our emotions: A ‘Son’ sees that the ‘Father’s’ plan has become derailed, so the ‘Son’ makes a tremendous sacrifice in order to right the ship so as to say, and the ‘Father’ too, moved by the magnanimity of the ‘Son’s’ action, decides to accept what the ‘Son’ has done and whom he has acted in behalf. Again, this talk of relational and filial ‘Love’ may be all good and proper with respect to created creatures, but when applied to God, such things just have no meaning nor reality behind them.
“You know how it is when some great king enters a large city and dwells in one of its houses; because of his dwelling in that single house, the whole city is honored, and enemies and robbers cease to molest it.”
o This is nothing but likening God to His creation in an improper manner. It is possible for the king to dwell inside one of the houses of the city because he is intrinsically a body which occupies a space. So all he has done is to choose a residence within a city. If he was not in this city, he would have to be in some other place, and he would never be anything other than a body needing a place to live in. What the statement above implies is that “God” is just a very powerful human-like king who decides to honor a specific body or place.
“Even so is it with the King of all; He has come into our country and dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enemy against mankind have been foiled and the corruption of death, which formerly held them in its power, has simply ceased to be.”
o This shows again that the Christian does not hold God to be the one who specifies and decrees the actions of all the creatures, whether they are good or bad. For the human King whose visit to a city results in the ceasing of evil deeds by the robbers and enemies does not have any true control over such robbers and enemies. All that he can do is to provide a high standard of living for all the people in his kingdom, and then hope that his internal enemies will not undertake any operations against him or against the upright subjects in his kingdom. So the human king in this case is quite subject to the circumstances prevalent in his kingdoms that are not in his full control.
o This is very similar to what the Christian is attributing to “God”: The corruption of death and the designs of Satan are seen as something which has effective independent power over humanity, and only through the superior death of the ‘Son of God’ are these removed from the face of the earth.
o As far as Islam is concerned, God has no needs, so the “corruption of death” could have been overturned by God without any intermediate steps, as all of these intermediate steps are needs if they are attributed to God. If the issue of the “fulfillment of promise” is brought up, we say, as we had mentioned before, that the Christian conception of this matter shows a “God” that gains knowledge serially and who undergoes changes in His moods and feelings, all of which are impossible to attribute to the true God.
“This great work was, indeed, supremely worthy of the goodness of God. A king who has founded a city, so far from neglecting it when through the carelessness of the inhabitants it is attacked by robbers, avenges it and saves it from destruction, having regard rather to his own honor than to the people’s neglect.”
o Again there is confusion between who is God and who human beings are. A king founds a city and takes honor in founding this city, precisely because there is some benefit and rank for the king in the establishment of this city that had not previously been there. This is why he considers an attack upon this city as an affront to his honor, since he has to maintain his reputation against all attempts to smear it. Notice that the king has no actual control over the actions of such enemies, but can only prevent them from entering the city, or act to save it once the enemies break though the barriers designed to keep them out.
o We cannot say that the same type of action is worthy of God: There was no “coming to perfection” of Him when the creation came into existence, nor is there anything which occurs in the Universe – not even the worst actions of the disbelievers- except that it is fully within the cognizance, will, and decree of God. So it is impossible that the ‘honor of God’ is directly threatened by the actions of the creation.
“Thus by His own power He restored the whole nature of man.”
o The same issue is seen again: The ‘Word of God’ by ‘His Power’ restores men to eternal life. But as we have mentioned before, God’s Power to effect changes is in connection with changeable things, not with respect to supposedly “eternal” things; that is, what does not change, which is God Himself only – needless to say that the original author is very confused.
o Of course, this confusion over eternity and changes is visible even in the first few chapters of the Bible, where we see a ‘God’ taking strolls in ‘His Garden’ (as for example, in Genesis 3:8). We know that there are different interpretations for this passage of the Bible, many of which downplay the anthropomorphic suggestions of such Verses. But even with such interpretations, what we see is that the continuous mention of ‘tashbih’ (similitude between God and the creation) obviously leads to cases where the theologians themselves confuse eternity, temporality, and changes as they apply to God and to the Creation.
“”Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, He also Himself assumed the same, in order that through death He might bring to nought Him that hath the power of death, that is to say, the Devil, and might rescue those who all their lives were enslaved by the fear of death.””
o This is from a passage in the Bible included in the author’s work. We can see how there is sharing between what is God’s and what is the Creation’s. We also urge the readers to pay attention to how the Devil is made to be the being that has true power over death. From an Islamic point of view, such a presentation is the height of blasphemy, since no one has true power over life and death at any point of time other than God. Even the Devil himself is a creation subjected to all of the constraints of other creatures, and cannot move even one step or formulate even one thought except if God has decreed for it to be so.
“For by the sacrifice of His own body He did two things: He put an end to the law of death which barred our way; and He made a new beginning of life for us, by giving us the hope of resurrection.”
o There is one phrase in here that is of interest: “hope of resurrection”. If it is said that the “law of death” is abolished as far as the humans are concerned, then it should be in the sense of a “forceful abolition”, where the effect is achieved for all those it is intended without it being connected to anything else. However, if it is said that resurrection or “eternal life” for the common humans can only be achieved after belief in ‘the Word’s’ crucifixion and resurrection, then this is not really a change in the ‘law of death’, but a supposedly modified ‘promise of God’
o And a strange one at that too: How can the change in the very nature of mankind be tied to whether individual humans accept the alleged sacrifice of ‘the Son’ or do not accept it? If such a change occurred, then it must be effective “automatically”, and not based on the personal choice of each individual into the doctrine of “Crucifixion and Resurrection”. What is seems to be, at the end of the day, is in fact another layer of contradictory signals coming out of the Christian author, due to not considering the matters carefully.
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. Just as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”
o This is another passage from the Bible. As a response to this, we reiterate that the Christian is placing the true cause of certain states fully within the sphere of contingent human actions. This is why the action of Adam is given such disproportionate importance in this regard, since it is believed to have been fully controlled and brought into existence solely through his own effort and power. The promise of death due to sin is one thing, but the sin itself is taken to be the real creation of man as well.
o We say that given such a view about the relationship between God and His Creation, the blasphemy has already been fully articulated and taken up as an article of faith at this stage itself, even without a need to add any more beliefs regarding “Incarnation”, “In-Dwelling”, or any other creed.
Chapter 3 of the book (The Divine Dilemma and its Solution in the Incarnation — continued)
“When God the Almighty was making mankind through His own Word, He perceived that they, owing to the limitation of their nature, could not of themselves have any knowledge of their Artificer, the Incorporeal and Uncreated. He took pity on them, therefore, and did not leave them destitute of the knowledge of Himself, lest their very existence should prove purposeless.”
o This is the start of a section dealing with some other reasons that Christians have for the “Incarnation”. We immediately notice that the serial characteristics of the “Christian God” are on full display again: He perceives of things within His creation and feels pity for them only after He starts creating such creatures.
“and why should God have made them at all, if He had not intended them to know Him? But, in fact, the good God has given them a share in His own Image, that is, in our Lord Jesus Christ, and has made even themselves after the same Image and Likeness. Why? Simply in order that through this gift of Godlikeness in themselves they may be able to perceive the Image Absolute, that is the Word Himself, and through Him to apprehend the Father; which knowledge of their Maker is for men the only really happy and blessed life.”
o Again we see similarity being attributed between the Creator and the Creation. What is being said is that one of the reasons why humans were made in the way they were was that there was the element of actual similarity between ourselves and God (or “God the Son”), and due to this similarity ‘the Son’ come and dwell amongst us in a form and body that was exactly like ours.
o There also seems to be what we would call the “Theory of Multiple Mirrored Perceptiveness”. What the Christian is saying is that there is full understanding of ‘the Father’ by ‘the Word’. By creating the humans in the same ‘Likeness’ as ‘the Word’, the humans may come to perceive the ‘Father’ just as the ‘Word’ perceives the ‘Father’. This is much in the same way that a candle is reflected on a mirror and can be seen either as the original candle or as the reflection on the mirror.
“For the law was not given only for the Jews, nor was it solely for their sake that God sent the prophets, though it was to the Jews that they were sent and by the Jews that they were persecuted.”
o Even though this is a secondary matter in our discussion, but we should note that the Christian believes that Prophets were sent only to the Jewish nation, the Jews standing so as to say in place of all humanity. This is in contrast to Islam, where the Qur’an teaches that Allah has sent a Prophet to every nation on this Earth at some point or the other.
“What was God to do in face of this dehumanising of mankind, this universal hiding of the knowledge of Himself by the wiles of evil spirits? Was He to keep silence before so great a wrong and let men go on being thus deceived and kept in ignorance of Himself? If so, what was the use of having made them in His own Image originally? It would surely have been better for them always to have been brutes, rather than to revert to that condition when once they had shared the nature of the Word.”
o This reasoning is very similar to the one previously forwarded by the Christian. Just as we have pointed out previously, “God” is made to look like a human being who in this case wishes for people to know Him but who cannot control the influence of evil spirits insofar as keeping humanity from knowing who God is.
o We also need to note the phrase “nature of the Word”. In here, “the Word” is said to have a very close copy in humanity, so much so that their nature is shared. And it is interesting to note that “brutes” or wild animals are presented as the exact opposite of human beings. As Muslims, we would disagree with this, and we would say that human beings in their nature are akin to animals and not to God, with whom we cannot share any of His attributes or characteristics in the real sense.
o If there are those who object to us saying we are close to “brutes”, we say that the thinking of human beings and their “reason” is a creation from God, and a gift from Him. However, this is not in any way related to us “sharing” in “God’s Reason”, since God’s Knowledge and Will are without a modality and are not compartmentalized by any of the parameters that apply to created beings. What is common in the case of animals and humans is that both of us are under the decree and will of God with respect to whether He wishes to grant us reasoning and thinking capabilities or not. What we see is that animals generally do not have these capabilities while humans do possess them. But all that this means is that God has actualized the possibility of “higher rational thinking” in humans, while such a possibility has not been actualized in animals.
o But we Muslims say that it is the height of arrogance to imagine that we humans have become or are “God-like” simply due to some “rational thinking” that has been bestowed upon us by God, and that it is very necessary for all human beings to desist from thinking in terms of similarity between ourselves and God in this respect.
“Similarly, what possible profit could it be to God Himself, Who made men, if when made they did not worship Him, but regarded others as their makers? This would be tantamount to His having made them for others and not for Himself.”
o Note that in the mind of the Christian, when people worship God it has a profit, a benefit to Him. This is “God” feels angry or jealous when idols and false gods are being worshipped, since He feels that there is no benefit then to His Creation of humanity. We Muslims however, say that God does not benefit from the worship of any of us, nor does He become distressed at the disobedience of any of us. Matters of “profit” and “loss” do not apply to Him, since such a thing would mean that His nature changes, and such is impossible to attribute to God.
o Someone might say that, according to Islam, didn’t Allah create thinking creatures so that they may worship Him, and does He not reward or punish them based on what they do? The answer is yes, but there is no “profit” or “loss” involved for Allah in these matters. The only profit or loss is for the human beings themselves.
“Even an earthly king, though he is only a man, does not allow lands that he has colonized to pass into other hands or to desert to other rulers, but sends letters and friends and even visits them himself to recall them to their allegiance, rather than allow His work to be undone. How much more, then, will God be patient and painstaking with His creatures, that they be not led astray from Him to the service of those that are not, and that all the more because such error means for them sheer ruin, and because it is not right that those who had once shared His Image should be destroyed.”
o This is another example of how an earthly king is brought into the picture and how an utterly incorrect similitude is brought up again. As one can notice, the reason why the King tries to hold on to what he has colonized or otherwise owns is because he is afraid that the hard work he has put into establishing his rule over such lands will be undone by rival princes and rulers; this all points to needs within the king, since he has the need to feel that he has ownership over large swathes of land, and the need to be looked up as a powerful person by his peers and subjects. But all these things are impossible to attribute to God, since there is no difference to God as to whether people worship Him or not.
“What, then, was God to do? What else could He possibly do, being God, but renew His Image in mankind, so that through it men might once more come to know Him? And how could this be done save by the coming of the very Image Himself, our Savior Jesus Christ? Men could not have done it, for they are only made after the Image; nor could angels have done it, for they are not the images of God. The Word of God came in His own Person, because it was He alone, the Image of the Father Who could recreate man made after the Image.”
o Let me be frank with the readers: You know, all this talk of “Images” and the repetitive use of the term “Images” really does conjure up forms and shapes in one’s mind. And it is difficult to think of it in any other terms, since we are allegedly the Image of the (Image of (God)), somewhat analogous to the double-mirror example we had discussed previously.
o This also seems to be one of the reasons why Godlikeness of the humans and the possibility for Divine Incarnation is taken so seriously and literally by the Christians. If it is said that, Image (of God) = God, then Image (of Image (of God)) collapses to Image (of (God)) = God.
o I know that many objections might be made to this mathematical treatment of the issue and that the logical thoroughness is simply not there with these “formulas”, but it is difficult not to think of it in these terms when all signs seem to be pointing that way.
“He assumed a human body, in order that in it death might once for all be destroyed, and that men might be renewed according to the Image. The Image of the Father only was sufficient for this need. Here is an illustration to prove it. / You know what happens when a portrait that has been painted on a panel becomes obliterated through external stains. The artist does not throw away the panel, but the subject of the portrait has to come and sit for it again, and then the likeness is re-drawn on the same material. Even so was it with the All-holy Son of God.”
o Here the Christians are giving a very vivid example of how humans and “God” are quite similar and share an exact likeness to each other. And this is so, because a portrait can only be drawn of a subject that is confined to the limitations of space-time. So in the case of the portrait, the subject of the painting and the painting itself are similar in nature, insofar as both of them are limited by the dimensions. If someone says that they are not really the same, since one is in three dimensions and the other one is in two dimensions, we say that it really does not matter, since both the painting and the live human are subsumed under some dimensions and limitations; besides, if what was made as a likeness had been a sculpture rather than a painting, this particular objection would not have been raised.
o We are bringing this up regardless of whether the portrait is perfect or whether it needs re-painting, since in either case, there is an ideal initial stage where the painting of the subject is an exact replica on canvas of the subject is in real life. So in both cases, “God” and “Godhood” are said to have a literal likeness in the shape of human beings, and this exact likeness is what the “Incarnation” of “the Son” was meant to bring back one more time as per the dogma of the Christians.
“Once more, then, it was the Word of God, Who sees all that is in man and moves all things in creation, Who alone could meet the needs of the situation. It was His part and His alone, Whose ordering of the universe reveals the Father, to renew the same teaching. But how was He to do it? By the same means as before, perhaps you will say, that is, through the works of creation. But this was proven insufficient.”
o The Christian is saying that the original work of creation by ‘the Word’ was insufficient in making men realize their true purpose, and that a similar endeavor by ‘the Word’ would have also proved short of the mark, especially given the situation that humans were in. This again points to a human-like “construction worker”, who has the ability to carry out the building of homes, but cannot foresee all potential future problems – there is no need to repeat our previous criticism of this ideology in here.
“Men had turned from the contemplation of God above, and were looking for Him in the opposite direction, down among created things and things of sense. The Savior of us all, the Word of God, in His great love took to Himself a body and moved as Man among men, meeting their senses, so to speak, half way. He became Himself an object for the senses, so that those who were seeking God in sensible things might apprehend the Father through the works which He, the Word of God, did in the body.”
o Here we see the Christian saying a number of things, among them: Firstly, that “God” has a physical residence that is literally “above”. This is as problematic for the Muslim as the belief in the “Incarnation”, since both of them are attributing physical location and limitations upon God, and both are disbelief.
o Second, that the “Word of God”, out of His Love for us, understood that people were looking for Him in the things of sense (that is, in material things) and duly obliged to meet our wrong expectations, albeit “half-way”. We saw that there is no “half-way” place for anything which is a body. That thing which is a body has all the fundamental base characteristics of a body, not one-fourth of them, or one-half of them. The other problem that this line of thinking engenders is the thought that the remaining one-half or three-fourths of the Essence of that Being could contain within itself the opposite of a body. Note that we are not bringing the term “opposite of a body” to mean a ghost or something like that, but to point out that mutually exclusive characteristics cannot be predicated of a single Being. As we had previously mentioned, the Christians in principle do accept this, but contradict themselves as they reveal more and more of their dogma.
o Third, it is important that the Christian mentions “the Son” becoming an object for the senses. This conclusively shows that the “God” of the Christians accepts change within Himself, as anything that can literally become something else does so only because it is the realization of one from a number of possibilities connected to its qualities and characteristics.
“When, then, the minds of men had fallen finally to the level of sensible things, the Word submitted to appear in a body, in order that He, as Man, might center their senses on Himself, and convince them through His human acts that He Himself is not man only but also God, the Word and Wisdom of the true God.”
o This is very similar to the previous quote, with the only addition being that the “Word” apparently has to wait for the minds of men to be directed towards certain things (in this case, purely sensible things), after which he can take the characteristics of that thing in order to lead them alright. In addition to the contradiction of joining man and “God”, the contradiction of “God” perceiving things and gaining knowledge serially is also presented again.
“The Word was not hedged in by His body, nor did His presence in the body prevent His being present elsewhere as well.”
o If he was not hedged or enclosed by the body, then how is it said that the body was of the same nature as that of other people, and that he was an object of the senses in this world? We say that being an object of the senses applies only if the object is a material thing which is the object or reference is enclosed, so that it may be differentiated from other objects that may be perceived by the senses.
o Also, note that presence is shown as being a physical presence. The reason is because presence in a body is physical, so presence in heavens or beside “God the Father” is to be seen physically as well. So the contradictions are not removed by the quote above.
“When He moved His body He did not cease also to direct the universe by His Mind and might.”
o Even when the Christian says that ‘the Son’ is divine, movement is still being attributed to Him. This is crucial, since we already know that movement is change (and it can be nothing other than change), and all change is specified by a being other than itself.
“The marvelous truth is, that being the Word, so far from being Himself contained by anything, He actually contained all things Himself. In creation He is present everywhere, yet is distinct in being from it”
o If what is meant is containment in the literal sense, then they are attributing likeness between God and His creation. This is necessarily so, since containing things cannot happen except if there is a container, and for the things in the Universe, this container has to have some size and measurement, while all these are impossible to be attributed to God.
o The same problem is seen with the phrase “present everywhere”. If they mean actual and real presence, then the being which is present has to be identical “in being” with the place (the ‘where’) that is being talked about. So distinctness would not apply in here, once similarity and likeness has been established.
o If however, they mean presence only due to creation, then this should necessarily also apply to the alleged “body of the Word as man” – and coupled with the statement that there is distinctness between “the Word” and whatever exists “everywhere”, this would only be in the favor of the Muslim position, that the man called Jesus (Alayhi Salaam) is utterly distinct from the Creator.
“…ordering, directing, giving life to all, containing all, yet is He Himself the Uncontained, existing solely in His Father. As with the whole, so also is it with the part.”
o The Christian is attributing parts and –in his mind- partitioning God the Exalted. This is inevitable, since their ideology cannot direct the people except to think of God in parts. Besides, if “the Word” exists “in His Father”, then this seems to refer to a sort of interpenetration, and such an idea only befits created bodies.
“Existing in a human body, to which He Himself gives life”
o They say ‘the Son’ exists in a body He Himself created and gave life to. They say then, He himself specifies everything of this body. So for this particular body, its qualities and characteristics are “self-created”.
o We say such an exposition voids their argument for the existence of a Creator. If someone asks why, this is because they claim that there are some changes, some specifications in bodies which are self-created (meaning they do not need a Beginningless Creator). If it is said that this is only for the ‘Son’ and not for any other body, we say that this would be a contradiction to one of the principles they were trying to previously establish: That the body assumed by ‘the Son’ was a “body even as our own”, meaning that the intrinsic necessary qualities of the ‘Son’s’ body are the same as those of all other bodies. Once we have established this, if it is said that one body can be self-created and self-maintained, why should we deny this possibility to every other body that is not ‘the Son’s’?
o (In fact, they had somehow already presented such a situation when they said that the actions of the human beings are created by themselves, or that the evil spirits, the Devil and death have true independent control over people, but the above is only a new facet of their ideology)
o If it is still being insisted that the ‘Son’ or ‘the Word’ is the Being from which everything is molded and fashioned, we say that the Christian is still bound to accept that absolute distinction between entities cannot rationally co-exist with likeness and similitude between such entities. This is the natural result of identifying and having knowledge about the existence of things.
o If such a rule was discarded, then the Christian would not be able to tell God apart from the Devil, or of the true God from the false idols that people worshipped. Why? Because there would be no attribute of God that we present, save its opposite could also be true. Such a situation would totally void any chance of us having a meaningful definition of who God is, since the words used to describe Him, such as Creator, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, etc., would not mean anything at all.
o But the Christian accepts the absolute distinction between God and the devil, or between God and idols, so our request is only to extend this to what follows this, namely the absolute distinction between God and the bodies that occupy the Earth. And it is strange that the Christian states that God is Incorporeal (meaning that incorporeality is an Eternal characteristic of God which cannot be overturned), yet He also states that He became a body. So these incongruities need to be removed and this is the main subject of our commentary.
“He is still Source of life to all the universe, present in every part of it, yet outside the whole”
o What is being presented here is a sort of panentheism very prominent in certain ideologies (such as the Hindu ideology): God is present everywhere and He is also beyond it. That is, He exists both inside the Universe permeating every particle of it, and outside the Universe controlling its destiny. This is of course, a combination of contradictions that cannot be accepted. We will not attack it from the “Hindu” angle, since there is no in-depth explanation from the Christian leaning towards such a Hindu-style interpretation. But we just need to point out its general impossibility.
“His body was for Him not a limitation, but an instrument, so that He was both in it and in all things, and outside all things, resting in the Father alone.”
o First of all, we need to mention that God does not need instruments, nor does He use instruments or physical means in the direct manner being shown throughout Christianity.
o Moreover, the above quote is nothing but a retreat into paradox: It is being said that ‘the Son’ was in a body, inside all bodies, but also outside all bodies, residing in the Father alone. To this we say that the Christian has to first understand what being ‘in a body’ implies: It means that the dimensions of bodies are inherent in the being we are talking about, and there is no way to go around it.
o Also, he has to realize that being both “in all things” and “outside all things” does not have any factual meaning, and in another instance of bringing together mutually exclusive characteristics and presenting it as truth.
“Not even His birth from a virgin, therefore, changed Him in any way, nor was He defiled by being in the body. Rather, He sanctified the body by being in it. For His being in everything does not mean that He shares the nature of everything, only that He gives all things their being and sustains them in it.”
o First of all, a birth, whether from a virgin lady or otherwise, is a change, so the one who undergoes birth undergoes a change and turns into something he was not before. The matter of being defiled by a body or sanctifying it has no relevance in here, since a blessed and pure body is still a body as far as its fundamental qualities are concerned.
o Concerning the phrase that ‘the Word’s’ “being in everything does not mean that He shares the nature of everything” we say this is incorrect, based on at least two points: Firstly, the Christian was previously attempting to say that the human being at first shared in the nature of ‘the Father’ as expressed in ‘the Word’, so this quality of ‘sharing’ was already forwarded by them. Secondly, “being in something” necessarily means that there is a direct connection between that being and the general qualities of the genus under discussion. So sharing is inevitable in such a case.
“Just as the sun is not defiled by the contact of its rays with earthly objects, but rather enlightens and purifies them, so He Who made the sun is not defiled by being made known in a body, but rather the body is cleansed and quickened by His indwelling, “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.””
o This is not a very appropriate example, since sunshine is a type of energy emitted from a mass. We cannot discard the fact that the sun is a material object interacting at a physical distance with other material objects such as animals, humans, and plants, and giving them heat and energy. So there is quite a lot of similarity between the sun and the objects enlivened by the sun in terms of both of them being intrinsic masses with all the qualities associated with masses.
o Concerning defilement, again, this is something external to the fundamental qualities of bodies. It is mentioned through a biblical Verse that ‘the Son’ did not sin nor did he deceive through his speech. We say that abstaining from sin and deceit will not elevate any person to the station of ‘Godhood’, as we have previously explained. Besides, sinning and lying are not connected to ‘Godhood’ to begin with, while the possibility of sinning and lying does exist within the human being, thereby exposing another inconsistency in the Christians’ belief.
“You must understand, therefore, that when writers on this sacred theme speak of Him as eating and drinking and being born, they mean that the body, as a body, was born and sustained with the food proper to its nature; while God the Word, Who was united with it, was at the same time ordering the universe and revealing Himself through His bodily acts as not man only but God.”
o The same problems are being reiterated by the author. It is important that the mention of eating and drinking is mentioned, since it shows that the body of ‘the Word’ had bodily needs that were beyond those that are minimally necessary for a body to exist as such.
o Concerning the literal ‘uniting’ of God with this body, we have already mentioned the impossibility of this. We need to mention that “revealing Himself” in here is taken to be a literal physical revealing, and in such a case, adding the disclaimer that ‘the Word’ reveals Himself as ‘God’ is incongruous.
“From such ordinary acts as being born and taking food, He was recognized as being actually present in the body; but by the extraordinary acts which He did through the body He proved Himself to be the Son of God.”
o We say that the execution of miracles cannot be a proof that the body through which such miracles are shown has attributes of ‘Godhood’. This is because miracles do not remove the base qualities of that person through which such miraculous acts are shown by God to the common people. Rather that person remains as a body throughout the appearance of the miracle, as well as before and after that.
“That is the meaning of His words to the unbelieving Jews: “If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not; but if I do, even if ye believe not Me, believe My works, that ye may know that the Father is in Me and I in the Father.””
o This is a biblical passage in the gospel of John. We have mentioned the frailty of the claim that miraculous works are evidence of actual ‘Godhood’ of the body through which they are manifested. Here we will concentrate on the phrase ‘the Father is in Me and I in the Father’.
o What the Christian is trying to show in here is that there is perfect unity of essence and of all attributes between ‘the Son’ and ‘the Father’. We say that such a statement is wrong as per the other sayings of the Christians, where ‘the Son’ and ‘the Father’ are shown as distinct beings… such as when it was mentioned in this very work that the crucifixion was done so that ‘the Son’ could offer his body to ‘the Father’. An obvious disjunction and separation between the two is being presented in here, and it cannot be dismissed merely by saying that they are indeed one only for the purpose of maintaining the Christian doctrine.
“Invisible in Himself, He is known from the works of creation; so also, when His Godhead is veiled in human nature, His bodily acts still declare Him to be not man only, but the Power and Word of God.”
o Again, if it is said that God is Invisible in Himself, then seeing Him in a body is something that is not connected to Him at all. Also, when they say that ‘Godhead’ is veiled in human nature, it means that actual ‘Godhead’ or ‘Godhood’ can be veiled by contingent earthly states, which is an unacceptable thing to say. It also harkens back to the ‘half way place’ previously brought up by the Christian, where it was claimed that ‘the Son’ met the expectation of the humans halfway between ‘Godhood’ and ‘humanity’, something whose errors we have also presented.
“…and who could see-Him curing all the diseases to which mankind is prone, and still deem Him mere man and not also God? He cleansed lepers, He made the lame to walk, He opened the ears of the deaf and the eyes of the blind, there was no sickness or weakness that-He did not drive away. Even the most casual observer can see that these were acts of God. The healing of the man born blind, for instance, who but the Father and Artificer of man, the Controller of his whole being, could thus have restored the faculty denied at birth?”
o God grants for wondrous deeds to be performed at the hands of whoever He wishes. But this does not mean that the person or body from whose hands the miracles are shown is God, for the reasons we mentioned above. Even if such wondrous deeds reach to the level where there is no “sickness or weakness” in anyone in the world that was not driven away, it makes no real difference to the inherent nature of the person or body in question.
o At the end, this ‘evidence from miracles’ is weak even when compared to ‘miracles’ or ‘wonders’ as a whole. For if it is said that ‘God the Son’ cured all sicknesses and brought many back from the dead, and someone (hypothetically or in reality) either before or after him was also able to bring forth such miracles or wonders at his hands, would we say that he is ‘God in the flesh’, or a ‘God-man’, or a ‘type of God’? The logical basis for this does not seem to be strong even in this narrow consideration of the matter.
“And would not anyone infer from the fact of that body being begotten of a virgin only, without human father, that He Who appeared in it was also the Maker and Lord of all beside?”
o This is once more not a proof in favor of divinity of ‘the Son’. Whether someone has a biological father or not, as long as he is a human he remains a body, with all of the attached issues pertinent to bodies.
Chapter 4 of the book (The Death of Christ)
“Even the very creation broke silence at His behest and, marvelous to relate, confessed with one voice before the cross, that monument of victory, that He Who suffered thereon in the body was not man only, but Son of God and Savior of all. The sun veiled his face, the earth quaked, the mountains were rent asunder, all men were stricken with awe. These things showed that Christ on the cross was God, and that all creation was His slave and was bearing witness by its fear to the presence of its Master.”
o This is from the beginning of the chapter entitled “The Death of Christ”. We will deal with the incoherence of the title when the exact subject matter comes up. But in here we will consider the author’s claim that the whole of humanity, plus the sun, the earth, and the mountains bore witness that Christ was God.
o We say that the testimony of people is valid only as far as this is connected with the possibility of their witnessing an event is concerned. But here the testimony that is being presented is that of these people testifying that Christ is “God”. Regardless of the authenticity of such testimony as per the rules of narrator reliability, we have to say that such is an interpretation and not a testimony. Not only this, but it is an invalid interpretation that goes against the sound mind and against what the mind is forced to accept once it ponders upon this subject (that is, of the impossibility of God to incarnate in a body).
o This is extended to the sun, the mountains, etc. in an attempt to show that they too recognized the ‘Godhood’ of Christ. Again, regardless of the historical accuracy of such a claim, we say that an arbitrary interpretation has been assigned to the “actions” of the mountains, the sun, the earth (since such things cannot utter the true meaning behind what they are really trying to convey through their actions). Not only this, but if the sun or the mountains were to somehow be given the capability to speak, and through their speech they were to say that Christ (or any human being) is “God”, such would have to be rejected due to the joining of mutual contradictions that their statements would necessitate.
o So the reader should know: The certainty that we have with respect to absolutely true knowledge (as well as its corollary, the absolute certainty that its diametrically opposite proposition is absolutely false) is so strong that even the speech of the sun or the mountains should not make us doubt about absolutely true matters. And the common man can see that he would believe the mountain’s “Speech” for example, (as a very low-level example) if such speech told him that 5 apples plus 3 apples makes 10 apples, since he knows that there is something totally wrong with this statement, regardless of the unusual or wondrous manner in which it is conveyed to him. And likewise is the case for the supposed statement that a body (such as Christ) is literally “God”, since the contradictions are not removed due to the extraordinary and wondrous events. Extraordinary events may be used to support a possible (if unlikely) postulate, but not an impossible one.
“…that none save our Lord Jesus Christ could give to mortals immortality…”
o Here is another direct quotation showing that “eternal life” for the human race is understood to mean that it is a state in and of itself that is attained, rather than a situation connected to the Will of God and His Promise to create change after change in the human beings. As we had mentioned before, the mortal nature of mankind (that is, his innate nature of being merely possible in existence) is not overturned and cannot be overturned even when he is in Paradise, as at every single state he is under the power and decree of God.
“In the same act also He showed Himself mightier than death, displaying His own body incorruptible as the first-fruits of the resurrection.”
o This phrase, of Jesus being “mightier than death” is of interest to us. We have of course discussed this matter before, but what strikes me is that here we have death; death is meant to signify the non-existence of a being, its termination. It is a state, but if someone where to mistakenly “hypostatize” it, then it would in fact be nothing at all. From this starting point, it is really strange that “death” moved on to personify an actual being, and not only that, but also a being with independent power over men, so much so that only after “God’s” alleged crucifixion and resurrection was it ‘conclusively shown’ that God is indeed mightier than death. From so many different angles, we can see that the overarching Christian narrative is fundamentally flawed.
“The body of the Word, then, being a real human body, in spite of its having been uniquely formed from a virgin, was of itself mortal and, like other bodies, liable to death. But the indwelling of the Word loosed it from this natural liability, so that corruption could not touch it.”
o The Christian is trying to say that the body of ‘the Word’ was originally mortal like all other bodies, but that through the union with ‘the Word’ the evils of death and corruption were abolished from it. We say that in such a case, there would be no way that death could even have had a connection to this body to begin with, because the state that cannot touch something cannot have any link with it.
o Now, saying that the marvelous thing is that death could not keep the body of ‘the Word’ in the state of death except for a short while (meaning that death was “defeated”) is alluding again to death as a state with its own independent power, which is why all of this process has to be done in order for it to be “vanquished”.
o What is unclear in here is (as usual) the result of the joining of mutually exclusive opposites. Thus, if the “body of Jesus” was intrinsically mortal, then that is its nature and the discussion is over. If the alleged indwelling loosened it from death, then we are back at square one, without a solid definition of what we are talking about. The author seems to be implying a gradual “loosening” of the power of death within the “body of Jesus”, and he gets confused over the definitions of “nature”, “intrinsic”, “liable to change”, and other similar definitions pertinent to this discussion.
“The death of men under ordinary circumstances is the result of their natural weakness. They are essentially impermanent, so after a time they fall ill and when worn out they die. But the Lord is not like that. He is not weak, He is the Power of God and Word of God and Very Life Itself. If He had died quietly in His bed like other men it would have looked as if He did so in accordance with His nature, and as though He was indeed no more than other men. But because He was Himself Word and Life and Power His body was made strong, and because the death had to be accomplished, He took the occasion of perfecting His sacrifice not from Himself, but from others. How could He fall sick, Who had healed others? Or how could that body weaken and fail by means of which others are made strong?”
o Notice how it is said that “the Son” is both the “Word of God” and the “Power of God”. This may not seem like a big statement, but we have to keep in mind that multiple “attributes of God” apparently have separate bodies and essences as far as the Christian is concerned.
o Now, with respect to the “death of the Son”, we say that every single death comes to a man due to some weakness inherent in his body, whether the death is a relatively peaceful death due to some illness, or a violent death such as a crash or an execution. And so is the case with “crucifixion” as well, since there are a huge number of pressures placed on the body which eventually cause the body to die from the crucifixion. Whether it is due to asphyxia, or cardiac failure, or any other medical factor, the truth is that the Christian cannot deny that the body of “the Word” had certain inherent limitations that would have ultimately lead to death under the pressure of crucifixion. Thus, our answer to the last question posed by the Christian author is that, as per the accounts of his religion, “the Son’s” body definitely weakened and failed during the crucifixion and in this he was no different from any other human being.
o Regarding the rhetorical questions (i.e. “How could Jesus fall sick, when he had cured others?” etc.) such queries emanate from the rule that “the one who possesses something in a small quantity cannot give large quantities of it to someone else”. This is all a very proper supposition, but only with respect to created beings, not with respect to God, since for God the matter is beyond the comparison between small and big quantities.
“And as to the unsuitability of sickness for His body, as arguing weakness, you may say, “Did He then not hunger?” Yes, He hungered, because that was the property of His body, but He did not die of hunger because He Whose body hungered was the Lord.”
o Hunger is a weakness of the body and shows its need for food, whether the person starves to death or not. Note that in order to remove hunger from his body “the Son” had to eat, so all of the limitations related to hunger remained with him. The attempt to tie hunger with death is a way for the Christian to say that death from starvation is lowly and not befitting God as opposed to death by crucifixion.
o But as we said just above, death itself is the realization of many limitations inherent inside the body. The method of death does not remove the fact that these limitations exist, and that their interplay is what precipitated the death of any given individual.
“Similarly, though He died to ransom all, He did not see corruption. His body rose in perfect soundness, for it was the body of none other than the Life Himself.”
o If what is being forwarded is that ‘the Word’ is “Life” in the ontological sense, then death can absolutely have no connection with “Life” at all, even for three days or any period of time. However, if it does manage to have an effect on “Life”, even momentarily, then this points to problems in the formulation of the concepts and definitions of “life” and “death”.
“He did not lay aside His body by an individual act of dying, for to Him, as Life, this simply did not belong; but He accepted death at the hands of men, thereby completely to destroy it in His own body.”
o Again, if death simply did not belong to the ‘Word’, then how will his destruction of it in ‘His own body’ affect the common believing humans, to whom death does belong and for whom there is a connection with their bodies. After all, it is only with the potential connectivity with a given state wherein a certain possibility may or may not be actualized.
“But there again, if His body had fallen sick and the Word had left it in that condition, how unfitting it would have been! Should He Who healed the bodies of others neglect to keep His own in health? How would His miracles of healing be believed, if this were so? Surely people would either laugh at Him as unable to dispel disease or else consider Him lacking in proper human feeling because He could do so, but did not.”
o We see that an exaggerated amount of importance is being placed on the “health” of Christ. As we mentioned before, even death by crucifixion has a long list of medical conditions associated with it, so it cannot be said that the person who dies due to crucifixion did so while his body remained perfectly healthy during the entire ordeal. (And this is certainly not what the Christians claim about the alleged crucifixion of Jesus, but rather they affirm these medical conditions and have conducted their own studies and experiments in this respect). So it is very strange that a medical condition which takes time to develop and present itself is seen as unbefitting to the majesty of “the Son” in bodily form, while the medical condition or conditions which develop due to the crucifixion are not seen as strange, even though both of them are basically of the same nature even if the time span of their realization is different.
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3 thoughts on “(Draft Work) Commentary on ‘The Incarnation of the Word’”
“o Someone might say that, according to Islam, didn’t Allah create thinking creatures so that they may worship Him, and does He not reward or punish them based on what they do? The answer is yes, but there is no “profit” or “loss” involved for Allah in these matters. The only profit or loss is for the human beings themselves. ”
can one say that ALLAH owns our deeds and beliefs and they will all go back to him ?
Based on the lay knowledge I have about this matter, the Ownership of Allah (in the absolute sense of the term) extends to the beings and their actions, thoughts, etc., and the ownership of the human being in this respect is only a relative acquisition. Whenever I get a chance, I will ask an ‘Aalim concerning this matter, in order to get a proper scholarly confirmation of this Insha Allah.
I asked a Shaykh about your question, but he said it is not clear and he cannot give a response to unclear questions. Perhaps if you could methodically go through the proper texts with someone qualified in the language you know best, then you may ask your doubts from this qualified person directly.
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