Review: Jesus the Christ, Man, God or Both? – Ijaz Ahmad vs CL Edwards

Note: This is a review done by Br. Paul Bilal Williams via his website, ‘Blogging Theology‘. Br. Paul is a well established orator and debater from the United Kingdom and has studied Christianity and Islam for several years.

Jesus the Christ, Man, God or Both? – Ijaz Ahmad vs CL Edwards

A Review of the Debate by Paul Williams 

Ahmad’s opening statement threw down the gauntlet:

‘If we are to be fair and objective in our study of who the Messiah was, then we can’t work backwards, that is to start with the bias we already have and then look at the previous scriptures to justify our claims and beliefs. This is a form of revisionism.‘

He has in mind here a favourite methodology adopted by Christians: that of reading into Jewish texts their own later beliefs about Jesus. Scholars call this practice ‘eisegesis’.

Though Ahmad did not mention well known Christian apologist Dr Craig in his opening presentation, he could have called him as a witness for his defense as Dr. William Lane Craig would agree with him! Though Craig’s comments focus on Jesus’ alleged death and resurrection, they perfectly demonstrate how Christians read back into the Jewish Bible beliefs that no Jew ever held about their Messiah.

Craig writes:

‘Early Christians were convinced that Jesus’ resurrection, like his crucifixion, was, in the words of the old tradition quoted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. 3-5, “in accordance with the Scriptures.” In Luke’s story of Jesus’ appearance on the road to Emmaus, the risen Jesus chastises the two travelers: ” ‘Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24. 26-27).

The difficulty is that when we ask, “What Scriptures are they thinking of?”, we come up with sparse results. Hosea 6.2 ‘ “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him” – has been suggested because it mentions the “third day” motif found in the old formula cited by Paul.

But Hosea 6.2 is never explicitly cited by any New Testament author, much less applied to Jesus’ resurrection. In the apostolic sermons in the Acts of the Apostles, we find Psalm 16.10 interpreted in terms of Jesus’ resurrection: “For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit.” But if we look at the principal Old Testament passage cited in the Gospels with respect to Jesus’ resurrection, we find the story of Jonah and the whale. “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12.40).

Now the problem for the theory in question is that nobody, especially a first century Jew, reading the story of Jonah and the whale would think that this has anything whatsoever to do with Jesus’ burial and resurrection! Similarly for Psalm 16.10; this has to do with David’s confidence that God will not allow him to see defeat and death. And as for Hosea 6.2, this has nothing to do with resurrection of the dead but with the restoration of the national fortunes of Israel.

The point is that no one who did not already have a belief in Jesus’ resurrection would find in these Scriptures any impetus to think that Jesus had been raised from the dead. To this we may add the fact that in Jewish belief the resurrection of the dead was always an event at the end of the world involving all the people, an event which obviously had not yet taken place.

Once the disciples came to believe in Jesus’ resurrection, then they could go to the Scriptures looking for verses to validate their belief and experience, and passages like Jonah and the whale and Psalm 16.10 could be re-interpreted in light of Jesus’ resurrection. But to think that the belief in Jesus’ resurrection was derived from the Old Testament is to put the cart before the horse; it gets things exactly backwards.’


What a stunning admission by Craig! At a stroke all those much vaunted “prophesies” in the OT about Jesus the Messiah turn out to be entirely absent from the Jewish Bible and can only be ‘discovered’ there if you artificially graft Christian beliefs onto the texts, in disregard of the original context and original meaning of the passages. But this is the standard ‘orthodox’ way Christians use the Bible to justify their beliefs.

Ahmad convincingly demonstrates that the Jewish Messiah was never considered to be divine or God at any time but was always expected to be only a man like other mortals.

Therefore the Christian belief in a Divine Messiah is unJewish and alien to the Torah. The final Prophet to mankind Muhammad (pbuh) was sent to correct these blasphemous excesses by Christians. Today 1.6 billion of his followers have learnt this lesson well.


A few comments on the opening statement by CL Edwards

Edwards boldly states:

After seriously studying the first century evidences concerning Christ, while being logically consistent, I had to change my position, and I now hold to the hypostatic union i.e the belief  Jesus had two natures. There is no historical proof anyone during this time held Jesus to be just a man.

He might need change his position once more as scholars have long realized that the earliest Christians did not believe Jesus was divine. Read Peter’s sermons in Acts and ask yourself did he consider Jesus to be God (see Acts 2:22 & 2:36 for example)? Read Mark’s gospel: Jesus prays to God; is ignorant about various matters; denies he is ”good”;  feels abandoned by God on the cross. Does such a man seem like God in the flesh to you?

Much of Edwards presentation is simply a list of proof texts culled from the Bible. He does not show any critical awareness of how Christology developed in the New Testament, and just how radically different Mark’s gospel is from John’s gospel in its portrayal of Jesus.

As every undergraduate in Bible studies knows, it is clear that there has been a development in the way Jesus is presented in the pages of the New Testament. Look at the earliest gospel to be written, that of Mark.

This shows us a very human figure. Here are 7 examples:

1) Jesus is a man who prays to God (1:35)

2) Jesus is unable to work miracles in his own town (6:5) – but see Matthew’s redaction of Mark in 13:57-58.

3) Jesus confesses his ignorance about the date of the End of the world (13:32).

4) Jesus did not know the identity of a woman who touched him and had to ask his   disciples for help (Mark 5:30) – but see Matthew’s redaction in 9:20-21.

5) Jesus was so irritated by the absence of figs he cursed a fig tree even though it was not the season for figs (Mark 11:14) – but see Matthew’s redaction in 21:18-22.

6) Jesus even denies that he is perfectly good (Mark 10) – but see Matthew’s redaction of Mark in 19:17.

7) Mark portrays Jesus despairing of God’s help at the crucifixion as he cries: ‘My God my God why have you abandoned me?’ (15:34) – Luke and John both omit this.

So it seems clear that in the earliest gospel Jesus does not exhibit any of the attributes of God that Jews, Christians and Muslims commonly accept: unlike God, Jesus is not all knowing; he is not omnipotent; he is not perfectly good; he is not eternal; he is notimmortal; he is not unchanging. Therefore it seems obvious that he cannot be God.

If we read the last of the four gospels to be written, the gospel of John, we move into a different world. Here Jesus seems to move effortlessly through his ministry, he is clearly portrayed as a divine figure, indeed as “God” himself.

Instead of Jesus saying in Mark’s gospel “Why do you call me good – no-one is good but God alone”, John has Jesus say: ‘Before Abraham was I am’.

In the very first chapter of the gospel according to John, the Prophet John the Baptist proclaims Jesus to be ‘The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ when he first meets him.  But in the earlier synoptic gospels, John the Baptist not only does not say this but half way through Jesus’ ministry sends messengers to Jesus asking “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” (Matthew 11:2)

So even this brief survey has shown the enormous evolution of the story of Jesus which occurred in less than two generations after Jesus was taken up by God.

Unlike in the earlier gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke, in John Jesus speaks with a clear awareness of his divine existence with God from before his time on earth (5.19ff and 8.12ff make this clear). But the question cannot be ducked: whether the Jesus of the fourth gospel was intended to be historical, whether Jesus of Nazareth actually spoke in the terms used by John. Were the claims about Jesus in John’s gospel already in place from the beginning of Christianity? It seems hardly likely.

Few scholars today would regard John as a source for information regarding Jesus’ life and ministry in any degree comparable to the Synoptics gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. It is worth noting briefly the reasons why scholars think this:

One is the very different picture of Jesus’ ministry, both in the order and the significance of events and the location of Jesus’ ministry. For example, the cleansing of the temple happens at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in John but occurs at the end of Jesus’ ministry in the synoptic gospels. A clear contradiction.

Another is the striking difference in Jesus’ style of speaking – much more discursive and theological in John, in contrast to the aphoristic and parabolic style of the Synoptic gospels. Jesus’ way of speaking is the same, whether Jesus speaks to Nicodemus, or to the woman at the well, or to his disciples, and very similar to the style of John the Baptist, and indeed very similar to the 1st Letter of John. The conclusion is unavoidable that the style is that of the author of the gospel of John rather than that of Jesus himself.  

Probably most important of all, in the synoptic gospels Jesus’ main message is the Kingdom of God and he rarely speaks of himself, whereas in John the Kingdom of God hardly features and the discourses are largely about Jesus’ own self-consciousness andself proclamation. To put it simply, in the earlier gospels Jesus does not preach about himself but God and his kingdom. In John, Jesus speaks about himself and his Father. Had the striking ‘I am’ claims of John been remembered as spoken by Jesus, how could any gospel writer have ignored them so completely as the Synoptics gospels do?

In conclusionEdwards could benefit from an introductory course in New Testament studies to bring him up to speed with what his own scholars are teaching!


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  • On my way out the door, I will make time to read this when I get back home God willing. Actually I came to give you a link to another review of our debate

  • “5) Jesus was so irritated by the absence of figs he cursed a fig tree even though it was not the season for figs (Mark 11:14) – but see Matthew’s redaction in 21:18-22.”

    The words below maybe offensive, but why should christians care what is offensive and what is not? remember, infront of thier chidlren, close to muslim organisations they don’t give a damn when they scream “peodophile prophet”

    Written by H Mcall

    In the earliest Synoptic Gospel of Mark 11: 12 – 13 ( = Matt. 21: 18 – 22) we are informed that, after leaving Bethany with his disciples, a hungry Jesus sees a fig tree in the distance. Jesus (followed by his disciples) makes a beeline to it thinking he’s going to get some tasty figs for lunch. But ironically, this all knowing Son of God has screwed up big time! The fig tree has no delicious figs to feed his ravenous appetite; but only leaves. Mark even amplifies Jesus’ mistake in noting that: Hey, it’s not the season for figs, Jesus (you dummy)!

    (Interestingly, while the Gospels present Jesus as being able to read the mind of the woman at the well about her past life (John 4: 16 – 19), the present thoughts of Pharisees (Matt. 12: 25), and even predicting what Peter will do and say at his arrest (Luke 22: 34), he just can’t seem to use all his God given mental ability to locate a single damn fig . . . . where’s God when you need Him!)

    So what does this righteous and sinless Son of God do? He throws a temper tantrum just like some bratty kid who can’t get what he wants. Now this God Incarnate summons his divine supernatural power to attack and kill a fig tree (Mark 11:14 & 20; = Matthew 21:9) which was just doing what God created it to do (Luke 21: 29 – 30). (1)

    Since the Gospels are redactions (The Synoptic Tradition), the Gospel of Luke saves the day by reworking Jesus’ actions from an embarrassment into a parable of which the early Christians would be proud of. In Luke (13:6-9) Jesus’ immature rant is completely rewritten and then, ironically, placed on the lips of Jesus so you know this is going to be great damage control:

    From Luke:
    And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. 7“And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ 8“And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; 9and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”

    Thus, the irrational action taken by Jesus in killing the fig tree has now been totally transformed into a parable about a patient and wisdom-aged farmer (every godly trait Jesus does not have in Mark and Matthew’s Gospels) who goes three times to the fig tree wanting its fruit only to find none.

    Finally, the famer directs his vinedresser to “Cut it down and reuse the ground.” However, the vinedresser pleads with the farmer not to be so impatient, but just give the fig tree one more chance by patiently waiting another year to which the famer agrees to do.


    The author of Luke /Acts has taken an embarrassing story about Jesus from the other two Synoptic Gospels in which an out-of-control (but sinless Jesus . . . sure! ) action is given a total make over being reworked into a parable of man guided with intelligent wisdom.

    Finally, by putting this reworked temper rant on the lips of Jesus as a parable, Luke has saved Jesus’ ass and has helped transform him into the dignified and divine savior the Church expected!

    (The theme for this post is drawn from an article by Robert M. Grant (Carl Darling Buck Professor Emeritus of Humanities and of New Testament and Early Christianity; University of Chicago) Grant’s view is supported by Kurt Aland, Synopsis of the Four Gospels (United Bible Societies, 1972). See The Cursing of the Fig Tree p. 238.

    1. The action of Jesus in both Mark and Matthew are on the same immature level as the spoiled child of Jesus in the Childhood Gospel of Thomas.

    A great solution would have been for Luke to rewrite the story and have Jesus use his “magical power” (sorry), Godly power to have caused figs to grow out of season. But this would have contradicted Mark and Matthew’s stories. So, if you’re going to lie, be creative at it and Luke sure did!

  • you were pathetic CL, Ijaz shouldnt have bothered to even be serious with you.
    Not to mention your pathetic ” I did not sir” during the time when Ijaz was in the mic. you dont even know what a debate decorum is in Pal talk.
    Not to mention you didnt even answer Ijaz questions in the cross fire, you were beating around the bush.

    so here is my review:
    CL got circumcised.


  • Hi Mansubzero
    As usual no respected for the respected Jesus and talking about things you don’t understand.
    Here is a comment about the fig tree being cursed from the scholar F.F.Bruce

    “The other miracle is the cursing of the barren fig tree (Mk. xi 12 ff.), a stumbling block to many. They feel that it is unlike Jesus, and so someone must have misunderstood what actually happened, or turned a spoken parable into an acted miracle, or something like that. Some, on the other hand, welcome the story because it shows that Jesus was human enough to get unreasonably annoyed on occasion. It appears, however, that a closer acquaintance with fig trees would have prevented such misunderstandings. ‘The time of the fig is not yet,’ says Mark, for it was just before Passover, about six weeks before the fully-formed fig appears.

    The fact that Mark adds these words shows that he knew what he was talking about. When the fig leaves appear about the end of March, they are accompanied by a crop of small knobs, called taqsh by the Arabs, a sort of fore-runner of the real figs. These taqsh are eaten by peasants and others when hungry. They drop off before the real fig is formed. But if the leaves appear unaccompanied by taqsh, there will be no figs that year. So it was evident to our Lord, when He turned aside to see if there were any of these taqsh on the fig-tree to assuage His hunger for the time being, that the absence of the taqsh meant that there would be no figs when the time of figs came. For all its fair foliage, it was a fruitless and a hopeless tree.” (Bruce, Are The New Testament Documents Reliable?

  • Hi Mansubzero
    You are so ignorant here you are mocking about Jesus acting like a spoilt child as he does in the gospel of Thomas, the writings of Gnostics the very same book that is the source for the Koran’s verse of the baby Jesus talking from the cradle.

    Work it out I thought the koran was meant to be ORIGINAL scripture from Allah not false scripture from the Gnostics 2nd and 3rd century writings, if you want to go toe to toe with me in regards to the sources for your scriptures we go.

    I don’t know if you are a Muslim because I don’t know any that speak about Jesus like you, as if you are proving something.

  • you ignorant bum, did you get your a ss handed to you on unveiling christianity about the gnostic gospels? can you explain how do stories flying around in the 1st century prove that they are authentic and go back to jebus/deciple? lol the gospels are in greek, not aramaic /hebrew. the gnostic stories are in greek. can you show where in the gnostic gospels the baby begins to speak and DEFENDS his mother? can you prove that stories about spoilt bratt jesus COULDN’T go back to ORAL traditions in the 1st century? remember the stories in your book have a source and that it the torah

    for example look @ this website

    Reasons to entertain a smidgen of doubt about Jesus raising the
    daughter of Jairus

    Filed under: Gospel of Mark — Neil Godfrey @ 6:01 pm

    Is this story a unique historical event that was related by
    eyewitnesses or do we have evidence that the author was basing this
    narrative on a similar story or stories well known to him?

    YOU WANNA ATTACK THE qur’aan you meat worshipping bum, then lets ATTACK the stories in the bible, because the authours to whom i have linked to above provide an awesome case for mark USING stories out of the ot

    question 4 u and the bum u quoted

    why would an all knowing good need to WALK to a tree to find FIGS on it?
    if he was ignorant about what was on the tree from a DISTANCE , then why not ignorant of the season considering that his hunger must have got to his brains and blinded him?

    how does bruce ff know jebus had DEALINGS with the tree in march?
    lets see if you try to link passover with march
    do not worry i will be back soon

  • why did n’t matthew EXPANd on the “tasqh” escuse ?

  • “The fact that Mark adds these words shows that he knew what he was talking about. When the fig leaves appear about the end of March, they are accompanied by a crop of small knobs, called taqsh by the Arabs, a sort of fore-runner of the real figs. These taqsh are eaten by peasants and others when hungry. They drop off before the real fig is formed. But if the leaves appear unaccompanied by taqsh, there will be no figs that year”

    one is wondering how these christians know when the encounter took place? why can’t it be argued that the not all knowing god in flesh, who could not see FRUITS on a tree from a DISTANCE, walked to it IN A COMPLETELY different season. isn’t it possible that the leaves which fall off are unaccompanied by taqsh because the season is not right? meaning there is nothing wrong with the tree and jesus in order to satisfy his hunger murdered an innocent tree?
    you can’t find nothing on figs trees, not even taqsh when the season isn’t right, why did this guy bring “end of march” when he cannot prove that the encounter took place at the end of march in the RIGHT SEASON?

    if matthew had know about the “tasqh” escuse and he knew that the season was right, why did he omit the escuse? instead why did he speed up the affect of the curse?

    When he came to it he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.”

    he clearly is saying “it WAS NOT the season for figs”

    meaning he knew that there was nothing WRONG WITH THE tree.

    but a flesh worshipping christian called ff bruce reads into marks mind and thinks the tree is completely FRUITLESS item lol.

    biblos interlinear

    SEASON = kairos

    it was
    of figs

    “For all its fair foliage, it was a fruitless and a hopeless tree.””

    WHAT A load of BS

    that it TOOK more than 24 hours for the deciple 2 notice that the tree had withered to its roots
    makes the tree not “hopeless”
    notice how matthew SPEEDS up the curse’s AFFECT 2 “withered @ once”

    and in mark the deciples HEARD it and even if they SAW the tree there was NOTHING amazing to talk about because what was HEARD was REMEBERED the following day by petere when he said that the TREE withered.

  • to all READERS except christians, READ marks WORDS AND see 4 urself, did mark CONSIDER THE tree “hopeless”

  • “if you want to go toe to toe with me in regards to the sources for your scriptures we go.”

    if i went toe to toe with you, i wouldn’t try to reason with you, i’ll spark u with a left hook.

  • i’m not finnished with you yet “defendkrist” . give me one week to expose ff bruce . btw is ff bruce a botanist?

  • QUOTE:
    “FF Bruce’s was using a an anachronistic explanation that was popular in Britain doing his day (1930 -1980) in that the Bible could be explained by understanding modern Arabs from the Middle East and then applying this Sitz im Leben for the Gospels authors.

    Using the etymology of Arabic words was exactly what the late Sir Geoffrey Driver (son of the Oxford Hebrew scholar SR Driver) did in the first edition of the New English Bible (1970) for the Old Testament . . . big mistake!

    I had personal conversation with Bill Holladay (editor of A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament) about 20 years ago and he complained to me about Driver’s false assumption in using modern Arabic to redefined Classical Hebrew words. Dr. Holladay said he and his group of scholars had to totally revise the 2nd ed. of the New English Bible to correct all Driver’s misguided errors.

    I would likewise heed Bill Holladay’s warning in what FF Bruce stated also.”

  • QUOTE:
    Aramaic of 1st century v aramaic of 4th century

    Also, once again the anonymous author failed to take into account the considerable difference between Galilean Jewish Aramaic (a West Aramaic language) of the 1st c. CE and Syriac (a Christian East Aramaic language) of the 4th-5th c. CE in seizing upon particular vocabulary items. We know next to nothing about GJA of that period and have no idea whether those lexical items even existed in that dialect.

    arabic and syriac have rather different grammars and different vocabulary.

    Also there are many cases where we simply don’t understand the meaning of words or the grammar. In that case, it may be helpful to find parallels in other literature of the era, which might mean Akkadian, Ugaritic, Persian, etc. in the case of the Hebrew Bible.

    interpret Biblical Aramaic with an Arabic lexicon

    Jerry, to interpret Biblical Aramaic with an Arabic lexicon is just as futile as interpreting the Qur’an with a Syriac lexicon *cough*..Christoph Luxenberg..*cough*

    Though, later Arabic etymological descendants of Aramaic etymons may have hints of their original root meanings, the interpretive taint they undergo through the ages renders them outright inadmissible as an evidence regarding the earlier Aramaic etymon’s actual meaning. Whew, that was a run-on and a half.

    To answer your question: “..if we don’t turn to Arabic or Hebrew for help in interpreting an Aramaic word, what should we turn to?”

    You turn to an Aramaic Lexicon to understand an Aramaic word. Not Arabic. Not “Chineese” (sic). We’re talking about Old Judean Western Galilean Aramaic.

    To turn to Arabic which is a Nabatean offspring to understand Western Aramaic of the 1st century CE is just plain ridiculous to put it as politely as possible.

    SO TELL me “defendkrist” HOW did THE verse about jesus cursing fig TREE read like in aramaic/syriac/hebrew IN THE 1st century?

    oh, i forgot, NO 1ST century manuscript of mark EXISTS lol

    and the LATE 3rd century manuscripts are all in GREEK

  • notice that ff broch is trying to save jesus by making a connection between “tasqh” and “for it was not the season for figs” what happens when you expose and remove that connection?
    jesus , as mark tells us, was an ignorant who was

    1. hungry
    2. could not see what was on a tree FROM A distance
    3. killed it for no GOOD REASON.


  • Hi Mansubzero
    I don’t think you have any chance to left hook you are not a real Muslim or if you are then your example is very bad, you have made about 6 responses if possible I might answer you.

    YOU WANNA ATTACK THE qur’aan you meat worshipping bum, then lets ATTACK the stories in the bible, because the authours to whom i have linked to above provide an awesome case for mark USING stories out of the ot

    If you look at the 29 stories (dirty or explicit ) in the bible ** this is from Ijaz check it out so I’m not having a go at the koran but this is what you guys are doing to us.

    If you want to debate like an adult then maybe you should change the way you speak because its not any affect on me, and I won’t be throwing insults.

    Please remind when I spoke to Ibn Anwar about the Stories of the Gnostic gospels in the koran, I never challenged anyone on that topic.

    SO TELL me “defendkrist” HOW did THE verse about jesus cursing fig TREE read like in aramaic/syriac/hebrew IN THE 1st century?
    oh, i forgot, NO 1ST century manuscript of mark EXISTS lol

    What sort of material would the 1st century manuscripts have been written on? You are such a donut…

    The Samarkand (Othman Koran) manuscript in the Soviet Library in Tashkent, Uzbekistan also uses the Kufic script, indicating late 8th century. Many believe it is the oldest in existence. Only About one-third of the original survives.

    Mansubzero where is the rest of the koran? This is 700 years AFTER our bible and some of your own koran is missing…you’re a joker!

  • @defendchrist, your outdated arguments against the Quranic text have been confuted:

    Secondly, both Muslim and non-Muslim academics unanimously affirm that post Uthmanic preservation is a fact.

    Thirdly, unlike the Bible, the Quran was transmitted and preserved orally, hence we are not solely dependent on manuscripts.

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