Tag Archives: Easter

The Easter Paradox

As it is Easter, I thought I’d just do a quick write up on why the Christian onto-theological model of God does not find much mileage in Islam. One of the classic go-to arguments by our Christian brothers and sisters is to argue that only the human nature suffered, not the divine nature. The reason this is argued is to circumvent the law of non-contradiction. What is the law of non-contradiction?

A cannot be A and not-A at the same time.

To circumvent this, we are told Jesus has two natures, so he suffered in one nature (the human nature or A) and didn’t suffer in another nature (the divine nature or B). On the surface this may seem like a reasonable response, until you break it down into notation form:

Jesus the Person {(divine nature), (human nature)}

In other words, Jesus, the 2nd Person of the Trinity and therefore God, can be said to have suffered, to say otherwise is to deny the personhood of Jesus in totality as the Trinitarian schema is presented to us. Calvinists in particular are fond of this argument but as RC Sproul has noted, other Christians accuse them of being Nestorians by dividing Jesus into two persons, a human person and a divine person. Those who argue in the form that Calvinists and most other popular Christian speakers do, fall prey to being declared apostates:as per the Council of Ephesus (431 CE):

If anyone distributes between the two persons or hypostases the expressions used either in the gospels or in the apostolic writings, whether they are used by the holy writers of Christ or by him about himself, and ascribes some to him as to a man, thought of separately from the Word from God, and others, as befitting God, to him as to the Word from God the Father, let him be anathema.

We can abstract this ontological model even further:

One Divine Being {(Father), (Son), (Holy Spirit)}

In this rendition, we can also say the Divine Being also suffered, as we are told each member of the Godhead is fully divine. Meme-ified we see:

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And:

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and God knows best.

Easter Message: Death has Dominion, Mastery and Power over the Christian God

It’s Easter, so today you’d be seeing a lot of celebrations over God’s “victory over death”. Slogans en masse such as, “He is Risen!” Perhaps though, one of the most popular verses of the Bible one would see is as follows:

  • For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. – Romans 6:9 (NIV).
  • We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. – Romans 6:9 (ESV).
  • knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. – Romans 6:9 (NASB).
  • because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. – Romans 6:9 (HCSB).

That last line is of great interest. If death no longer rules over God, does it mean that death at one point have power, dominion, mastery, rule over God? Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, says of this passage:

“death hath no more dominion over him: it once had dominion over him; it held him under its power for a time, according to the divine determination”

If God is all powerful, then how is it possible for death to be greater than God, to have power and mastery over God? Some Christians have tried to explain this by saying that God allowed Himself to “temporarily surrender” His own dominion over death, but this leads us to the inevitable problem of the Christian God losing one of its attributes, thus rendering God, powerless. What’s worse is, if God gave up His power over death, and then death overcame God – it would stand to reason that death would be more powerful than God and thus God could never “defeat” death.

In conclusion, this passage is vital for a Muslim’s da’wah to Christians. They quote it and share it, which makes it easier for us to reach out to them. This passage leads to unsettling beliefs for the Christians, God sets up rivals to Himself, God loses essential attributes, God is no longer all powerful, or at the least it can lead them to denying the hypostatic union (two natures in Christ, one divine, one human), by them arguing that death had power over one of the natures – the human or the divine, which is in itself blasphemy since the natures are unified and it is heresy to split them apart.

In contrast, in Islam, God is the master of life and death:

“How can you disbelieve in Allah when you were lifeless and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, then He will bring you [back] to life, and then to Him you will be returned.” – Qur’an 2:28.

and Allah knows best.

Is Jesus the Passover Lamb? The Ultimate Sacrifice?

Introduction: Explaining the Jewish Significance and Christian Significance (and Teaching) of Passover. 

The most significant theme of the Passover festival as celebrated by Christians is the representation of Jesus the Christ as the Passover Sacrifice (Korban Pesach). In simple terms, his sacrifice (read as: death) is seen as the sacrifice of all sacrifices through which their salvation was earned, mirroring the salvation of the Israelites from Pharaoh by YHWH (Cf. Leviticus 17:11, 1 Corinthians 5:7). Early and contemporary Christian Churches have attempted to equate the Korban Pesach with the alleged death of Jesus the Christ to establish a theological foundation for their doctrine of salvation (Cf. soteriology). Such a doctrine is best explained in the following words:

“The early Jewish believers in Jesus considered him the fulfillment of the Passover lambs that were yearly sacrificed. Thus Paul, a Jewish Christian who had studied under Rabbi Gamaliel, wrote, “Messiah, our pesach, has been sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). John in his gospel noted that Jesus died at the same time that the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple (see John 19:14) and that like the Passover lambs, none of his bones were broken (the others being crucified had their leg bones broken by the Romans—John 19:32, 33, 36). The idea behind all this was that just as the Israelites were redeemed from Egyptian slavery by an unblemished lamb, now men could be freed from slavery to sin by the Messiah, the Lamb of God.”[1]

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[Live] Debate: Is the Crucifixion a Fact?

Today at 2 PM (EST – New York, Trinidad), 7 PM (GMT – London) Br. Aqil Onque will be debating Pastor Angelos Kyriakides on the topic of the Crucifixion. The stream will go live on YouTube at the above mentioned times.

Questions for the debaters can be submitted in the YouTube Live video’s chat and will be read to the debaters during the Question and Answer session. Please indicate whether you are a Christian or a Muslim at the start of your question. Not all questions are guaranteed to be asked and the length of the Question and Answer session is dependent upon the debaters’ discretion.

and God knows best.

Missionary Mishap: Easter Violence

There are many nominal and cultural Christians that have adopted ancient Pagan practises into their faith. Many Christian groups in recent years have begun to expunge these Pagan practises from their faith, one website for Christians states:

The name “Easter” has its roots in ancient polytheistic religions (paganism). On this, all scholars agree. This name is never used in the original Scriptures, nor is it ever associated biblically with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For these reasons, we prefer to use the term “Resurrection Sunday” rather than “Easter” when referring to the annual Christian remembrance of Christ’s resurrection. – Christian Answers.

Some Christians however, see these adopted Pagan practises as sacrosanct, involiable, an essential part of the Christian tradition. This had unfortunately led to some violence in Tennessee where one outspoken group of Christian protesters were violently attacked.

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Their sign was also torn apart in the incident:

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This was the sign before it was torn, there was also an Easter Bunny on a crucifix:

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We applaud the efforts and risks that some Christians take when attempting to reform their faith and to remove its Pagan practises. We continue to pray that God guides these Christians to the truth, one step at a time, and that He protects them from harm and violence.

and God knows best.

He Is Risen: The Height of Ironies

It’s Easter again, you really can’t miss it as the popular slogan of  “He is Risen!”, it’s plastered on all social media websites by over enthusiastic Christians. There is clearly an important question that needs to be asked about this slogan. George Orwell’s, 1984 gives us a good lesson about simple and meaningless slogans, “war is peace”, “freedom is slavery”, “ignorance is strength”. Simple to shout, easy to believe in and catchy – but a little thought exposes the factitious nature of these mind numbing slogans, their only purpose meant to placate the uninitiated.

A good place to start with understanding “He is Risen!”, is to ask, is this really a surprise or a victory? If we assume that Jesus is God, and someone told us that God died, would we really be surprised that an all powerful deity did in fact, not die? Forgive me if I am oblivious to some super secret that Christians uphold, but what would be so surprising that the all powerful deity didn’t die? It would be a miracle to hear, “He is Not Risen!”, as that would be the last thing anyone would expect from an all powerful deity, the deity in question, not being powerful at all.

So, one has to ask, what’s the big deal about God not dying? Why the enthusiasm, tears and amazement, about a non-miracle? Yes, I get it, through his resurrection you have someone else pay for your sins, but that also shouldn’t be a surprise given that an all powerful deity is all merciful and all forgiving – he could already forgive your sins, with or without killing himself. It must honestly be confusing for lay-Christians to see everyone celebrating a non-miracle at Easter time and wondering what the fuss is about. I suppose tomorrow we should celebrate other attributes of God’s sovereignty while feigning amazement? Or should we simply leave the Christian faith to do that for us?

and God knows best!

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