Tag Archives: son of God

Refutation: Missing the Mark: Unveiling Mark’s High Christology of Divine “Inclusion”

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

Introduction

On this day has probably dawned the end of Anthony Roger’s apologetics career. I’ve read a vast majority of his “articles”, been privy to a debate with him, but I was completely flabbergasted to read his latest article on the Answering Islam website. Whether it is or not this was something hastily written in fifteen minutes or an early April fools joke, I’m still not quite sure, but whoever is managing quality control at that “website”, seriously needs to be reprimanded for allowing this to slip through the cracks. Essentially Anthony’s article boils down to:

  1. Mark’s Gospel uses the term ‘son of God’.
  2. As a Christian we believe in a literal ‘son of God’.
  3. If Mark uses this term, it must refer to the ‘son’ I believe in.

This argument can be simplified to realise its absurdity:

  1. The Old Testament in English uses the term, ‘God’.
  2. As a theist, I believe in God.
  3. Since the Old Testament uses the term God, it must refer to the ‘God’, I believe in.

If you don’t believe this was Anthony’s argument, he even explicitly states this at the beginning of his article, I quote:

“The following article seeks to show a stunning way by which Mark identifies Jesus as the divine Son of God and heir of all things.”

That ‘stunning’ way, is simply Mark using the term, ‘Son of God‘. In Anthony’s case, he tries to redefine ‘Son of God’ to be ‘Divine son of God’, unfortunately for him, the verbatim term, ‘Divine son of God‘, is nowhere to be found in the Markan gospel, or for that matter, anywhere in the Greco-Roman New Testament. He essentially begins his article by being deceitful, not that I expected any better of him.

The Son of God

He begins by conceding to the fact that many do not consider the Markan Gospel to contain a high Christology:

It is commonplace to hear that Mark’s Gospel does not embody a high Christology, and this in spite of the fact that the thesis statement at the incipit of the book, one that is explicated in the course of the narrative, boldly declares that Jesus is the Son of God.

He goes on to reference the following verses: Mark 1:1, 3:11, 5:7, 15:39, 13:32, 14:61, 1:11, 9:7. You might wonder why Anthony did not quote the verses he referenced, well that’s mostly because what he implies by referencing and then what they actually state are two fundamentally different things. For example, Anthony says:

The meaning of this title is unpacked in the ensuing narrative which makes it quite clear that Jesus is God’s Son in a unique and exclusive sense (1:11, 9:7).

Those two verses read:

  • A voice from heaven said, “You are my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with you.”
  • Then a cloud overshadowed them. A voice came out of the cloud and said, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Which turns out, isn’t that unique, David who is also called God’s son (Psalms 2:7) is said to be the heart of God:

  • And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the [son] of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. – Acts 13:22
  • But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart. – 1 Samuel 13:14

Also speaking in reference to David, the God of the Bible also says:

  • But I will never stop showing him my love as I did to Saul, whom I took out of your way. – 2 Samuel 7:15.

At this point, I’m not quite sure as to what Anthony’s definition of unique is, but that poorly written argument seems to have backfired from the moment he wrote it. Anthony then continues to show the ‘divinity of Christ’ by using one of the most absurd evidences known to reason, and I quote:

one that sets Him quite apart from angels and men (13:32)

What does Mark 13:32 actually state? It says, “No one knows when that day or hour will come. Even the angels in heaven and the Son don’t know. Only the Father knows.” Now this is a problem, if God is all knowing and Jesus is supposed to be a divine son of God, then Jesus is expected to have the same attribute of being all knowing as God. Since Jesus is not all knowing, this verse actually proves that Jesus is not a divine being.

  • If God is all knowing and God increases in knowledge, then it would mean that before God gained this knowledge He was not all knowing. Such a being cannot be God, as God is not ignorant.
  • If God is all knowing and decreases in knowledge (as is the case of Christ in Mark 13:32), then since God is ignorant, He cannot be considered to be ‘All Knowing’.

Anthony’s case for the divinity of Christ takes a further step back in his following argument, I quote:

“As the unique Son of God Jesus is to be obeyed (9:7)”

We referenced 9:7 earlier which read:

  • Then a cloud overshadowed them. A voice came out of the cloud and said, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

Apparently if God tells you to obey someone, then that person becomes a divine being, which is a problem, as God in the Old Testament did command his followers to obey many others:

  • A scepter will never depart from Judah nor a ruler’s staff from between his feet until Shiloh comes and the people obey him. – Genesis 49:10.
  • Give him some of your authority so that the whole community of Israel will obey him. – Numbers 27:20.
  • Does this then mean that Shiloh and Joshua are both divine beings, since God has commanded the people to obey them? If not, what’s the reason Mr. Rogers?

The rest of the verses follow the same pattern, he cites a verse, makes an overtly generalized statement and then when actually read the verses themselves do not seem in the least to portray what he’s trying to imply. I honestly believe that this was a last minute article, given the number of errors, contradictions and mistakes he’s made thus far it is almost impossible to believe that any actual study and research went into its writing.

The Son-Inclusio

After referencing the following two sets of passages of Mark 1:9-11 and Mark 15:33-41, Anthony makes the argument:

That these two passages strategically located at the beginning and end of Christ’s ministry form an inclusio is discernable from several notable factors.

Essentially, an inclusio takes the form (this is an analogy of the form of an inclusio, using Anthony as our main character):

  • Start of Story: Anthony likes kittens.
  • Body of Story: Anthony likes to act, his role model is Alexis Arquette.
  • End of Story: Anthony likes kittens.

Taking a page from Anthony’s book, it must be a very amazing miracle that Anthony liking kittens is at the beginning and end of his biography. As we now return to reality, I still do not understand, or grasp how Mark’s statement that Jesus is a Son of God at the beginning and end of a book about Jesus, is a miracle. Anthony definitely seems to think it’s a miracle and he gives 8 reasons why. Therefore I’m going to summarize his 8 reasons:

  1. Both passages call Jesus a son of God.

    Well that’s a bit obvious, isn’t it? This is a title reserved for many persons by God throughout the Old and New Testaments, Adam was a Son of God (Luke 3:8), God has sons and daughters (Genesis 6:2), Israel is God’s son (Exodus 4:22), David is God’s son (Psalms 2:7), Christians are the sons of God (Romans 8:14), etc. There is nothing special or unique about being referred to as the son of God and the mere fact that this title is used to describe Jesus throughout the Gospel of Mark, (including the center, not just the beginning and the end), is an awful attempt and wishful thinking by Anthony Rogers.

  2. Similar language of being baptised and having life poured out of Him.

    I’m still trying to see whether Anthony was attempting to make a poorly worded joke here or not. His reasoning works a little something like this:

    * Baptising has to do with water.
    * Water is something you pour.
    * Jesus’ life was poured out of him.
    * MIRACLE!

    Again, I am not sure this article or his reasoning was an attempt to be funny, but if indeed this is what Anthony considers a miracle and proves the divinity of Christ, then I am most certain this is as desperate as you can get.

  3. Both passages reference Elijah.

    I most certainly retract my previous declaration, this is the most ridiculous reasoning a man can make. Why would being referenced to another Prophet make Jesus a divine being? He’s being compared to a Prophet, the only way Anthony can possibly use this as an excuse to link Jesus being a divine being, with Elijah being mentioned, is if Elijah is also considered to be a deity.

  4. One passage refers to the spirit, the other uses the term ‘Jesus breathed out’.

    You would like to think at this point I was joking, however I’m not, again Anthony’s immature reasoning is really beginning to shine:

    * Spirit is a Greek word for breath.
    * Jesus breathed.
    * Jesus is God because he breathed!

    I wish I was making this reasoning up, but I’m going to quote him on this one:

    “Both passages speak or allude to the Spirit: in the former passage the reference to the Spirit is explicit; in the latter it is implicit in the word “breathed” or “expired,” ἐξέπνευσεν,exepneusen, which is a cognate word in Greek for “spirit,” πνεῦμα, pneuma.” *

  5. God speaks in the beginning of the book of Mark and at the end of Mark, Jesus speaks. Since God is speaking at the beginning of the Book and Jesus is speaking at the end, then Jesus is God. Let me quote him so no one thinks I’m making this stuff up:
    1. “Both passages speak of a voice, φωνὴν, phonen: In the former it is the voice of the Father from heaven; in the latter it is that of the Son from the cross.”

    So far this guy’s reasoning has been: Baptising has to do with water and Jesus’ life is poured out, therefore MIRACLE. Spirit is mentioned in the beginning, its Greek word means breath, Jesus breathes, therefore MIRACLE. God speaks in the beginning, Jesus has a voice, therefore MIRACLE. [I can’t stop laughing at the absurdity here!]

  6. He states and I quote, “In both passages something is said to descend: in the former it is the Spirit; in the latter it is the veil of the temple, “from top to bottom.”. Again, Anthony’s reasoning can be summed up as:

    *Spirit descends, that means he goes downwards.
    * Something was torn and wait a minute….
    * The veil was torn from top to bottom….this means…
    * The veil also descended!
    * MIRACLE!

  7. He states and I quote, “In both passages something is torn, σχιζω, skidzo: in the former passage it was the heavens; in the latter it was the veil of the temple.” Again, his reasoning can be summed up as:

    * The sky opens.
    * The veil was torn.
    * I wonder if the sky ripping open is the same word for the veil tearing, because the veil was you know, ripped in half.
    * MIRACLE! They use the same word “tear = rip”.
    * Irrefutable evidence Jesus is God!

  8. Lastly, Anthony ends his amazing comedic performance with saying: “In both passages mention is made of Jesus being or having been ministered to: the former passage refers to angels; the latter refers to Christ’s women followers.” Apparently, in Anthony’s reasoning, in a book about God where people preach to and about God, it’s a miracle that people are preaching at the beginning and end of said book. It’s like going to an action movie and being surprised that there is action at the start of the movie and at the end of the movie or it’s like reading a Harry Potter book and being surprised it involves magic at the start of the book and at the end of the book.

Conclusion

This article by Anthony has served no other purpose than to demonstrate the low level thinking involved in preaching Christianity. Not only am I ashamed for Anthony, I am ashamed that Sam Shamoun calls a man with such childish reasoning, “the greatest apologist of our time“. This article went out of the way to draw links which were far out, remotely related and was severely coated with a dressing of desperation. I’ve seen people being criticised for lack of intellectualism, perhaps even grasping for straws, but this certainly was the single most shallow use of the Bible by a Christian I have ever seen. Anthony, if you do end up reading this, please know that if this is the reasoning you employ to remain in Christianity, then I am sorry but you’re insulting yourself and God for not using the brain He gave you. I expected much better from him (who am I kidding?), but this was possibly the most degenerate, backward, irrational, pre-school, toddler reasoning I have ever witnessed from a Christian apologist. You most certainly have my pity.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam,
and God knows best.

Christmas: The Origins [Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick]

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ ,

What are the origins of Christmas? See what a historian, social activist and modern explorer has to say on this subject. It’s a pleasant introduction into a 25 minute video that goes indepth into the history, politics and theology behind the day of Christmas. Shaykh Abdullah’s speaking style is both simple and extant (to the point), yet his speech is not condemning, in fact it’s quite inviting, with that we invite both Muslims and Christians to watch his video:

For the more enthusiastic seeker with a few minutes extra to spare, the Shaykh has authored a wonderfully written article:

Since earliest times the inhabitants of the Northern countries have observed that there is a period during the year when the days begin to lengthen and the cold begins to strengthen.  This event is the Winter Solstice, the turning point when winter having reached its zenith, has also reached the point when it must decline again towards spring.  Thus, December 21st is the shortest day of the year.
It was on or about December 21st that the Ancient Greeks celebrated the Bacchanalia or festivities to honour Bacchus the god of wine.  In Ancient Rome the Saturnalia of festivals in honour of Saturn, the god of time, began on December 17th and continued for seven days.  Both festivals ended in drunkenness, obscenity and disorder.  The Druids observed this season in their great roofless temples at Stonehenge and Avebury in England.  Torches were lit and strange pagan ceremonies were enacted in honour of the Sun god and to cut the Mysterious Mistletoe to which they gave god-like powers.  Even the Ancient Egyptians celebrated this mid-winter in honour of Horus, the son of Isis, born at the close of December.

The Ancient Germanic tribes celebrated the pagan feast of the 12 Night from Dec. 25th to Jan. 6th.  The conflicts between the active forces of nature were represented as battles between the gods and plants.  The winter was the Ice-Giant, cruel and unruly, and darkness and death followed him.  The Sun god and the South Wind were symbols of light and life.  At last Thor, the god of the Thunderstorm riding on the wings of the air hurled his thunderbolt at the winter castle and demolished it.

In Scandinavian countries, great fires were kindled to defy the Frost King.  The followers of Mithra, throughout the Northern countries, called this period sol invictus representing the time of the victory of light over darkness.  Mithra, for them, was not only the Sun god, but the Mediator between mankind and the Supreme Being.  His birthday was celebrated on the 25th of December.  Sunday, the seventh day of the week (for seven was his number) was consecrated to him, and known as the Lord’s Day long before the Christian Era.

The roots of the Christmas observance, therefore, go deeply into the folklore of the early pagan traditions.  What we may read of Christmas in ancient days finds its flower in the past  and present customs of Western Civilization.  We should clearly understand one important fact.  Christmas is not the actual date of the birth of Jesus (p.b.u.h), but a compromise with paganism.  The Gospels say nothing about the seasons of the year when Jesus was born.  On the other hand, they do tell us that shepherds were guarding their flocks in the open air.  Hence, many of the early leaders of the Church considered it most likely that the nativity took place either in the late summer of early Fall.

This and countless facts point to the conclusion that Christmas (Dec. 25th) actually has nothing to do with Jesus (p.b.u.h.) and Mary (p.b.u.h.), the humble of servants of Allah who abstained from the world and submitted entirely to their lord. Christmas has actually incorporated into itself all the pagan festivals; Greek, Roman, Druid, German, Scandinavian, etc., and given them new meaning.  The wild revels of the Bacchanalia, the Saturnalia, and the Twelve Nights survive in a milder form in the merriment that marks the season of Christmas today.

“Christmas gifts themselves remind us of the presents that were exchanged in Rome during Saturnalia.  In Rome, it might be added, the presence usually took the form of wax tapers (candles) and dolls – the latter being in turn a survival of human sacrifices once offered to Saturn.  It is a queer thought that in our Christmas presents we are preserving under another form one of the most savage customs of our barbarian ancestors!  The shouts of ‘Bona Saturnalia’, which the Roman people exchanged among themselves are the precursors of ‘Merry Christmas!’ The decorations and illuminations of our Christians churches recall the temples of Saturn, radiant with burning taper and resplendent with garlands”

SANTA CLAUS
Today, when Christmas is mentioned, most people immediately think of Santa Claus. The image of Jesus, the son of Mary ((Peace be upon them) is secondary and sometimes lost in the merriment and materialism. The prices in the market place go up and we find that people are spending thousands in order to buy gifts for their friends and neighbours. Most Christians fall into debt that can last for the greater part of the year.
The problem that comes during the Christmas season for Muslims and non-Christians is that there are a number of contradictory symbols. Some of these symbols reveal an animistic religious base but others appear to be monotheistic. At the top of all of them is Santa Claus. One might then ask ‘What do pagan festivals have to do with the innocent, loveable Santa Claus?’

“Actually, in every one of these festivals, the leading figure was an old man with a large, white beard.  In the Bacchanalia, the chief god was not actually the young Bacchus, but the aged, cheery and decidedly disreputable Silenus, the chief of the Satyrs (Half man, half animal figures of Greek mythology) and the god of drunkards.  In the Saturnalia, it was Saturn, a dignified and venerable old gentleman, the god of Time.  In the Germanic feasts it was Thor, a person of patriarchal aspect, and a warrior to boot.” So, although the main figure of the Christian festival was supposed to be Jesus, the child-god born to an innocent woman, the pagan ways of the past were too strong in the hearts of the Christians to be easily dismissed.  The earlier gods were replaced by Saint Nicholas, an austere Christian Bishop who was born in Turkey in the 4th Century A.D., and became the patron Saint of children throughout the Western World.  The name Saint Nicholas has now been abbreviated to Santa Claus and even his image has changed, but one fact remains crystal clear; this merry, mystical figure that flies through the air in a reindeer-drawn sleigh is the re-incarnation of a pagan deity that is very much alive today in the minds of men.

WHY DOES SANTA COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY?
“The early Germans considered the Norse Hertha or Bertha, the goddess of domesticity and the home.  During the winter solstice, houses were decked with Fir and Evergreens to welcome her coming.  When the family and the serfs gathered to dine, a great alter of flat stones was erected and here a fire of Fir bough was laid.  Hertha descended through the smoke, guiding those who were wise in Saga to foretell the fortunes of those persons at the feast.  We learn from this story of Hertha and the reason why Santa Claus comes down the chimney instead of in at the door.”

THE CHRISTMAS TREE AND THE YULE LOG
In just about all times and continents, we find records of the worship, at some former period, of a tree as a divine object.  The Pagan Scandinavians called their greatest and most famous tree (the Ash tree) Yggdrasil.  Nobody had ever seen it, but everybody believed in it.  It was supposed to have been so big that it had three roots, one in heaven, one in hell, and one on earth.  According to Scandinavian mythology, when the roots of Yggdrasil are eaten through, the tree will fall over and the end of all things will have arrived.  The Anglo-Saxon Druids adopted this mythology and during Christmas period chose Yule log which they blessed an proclaimed that it should be ever burning.  This custom has survived and the Yule log is burnt throughout England.  The origin if he sacred tree may have been developed in Ancient Egypt and other older societies.”  Egypt had one in the palm, which puts forth a shoot every month.  From Egypt the custom reached Rome, where it was added to the other ceremonies of the Saturnalia.  But as palm trees do not grow in Italy, other trees were used in its stead.  A small fir tree, or the crest of a large one was found to be the most suitable because it is shaped like a cone or pyramid.  This was decorated with twelve burning tapers lit in honour of the god of Time.  At the very tip of the pyramid blazed the representation of a radiant sun placed there in honour of Apollo, the sun-god to whom the three last days of December were dedicated.”

HOLLY
“Some people believe that the word “Holly” is a form of the word “Holy” because of the association of these evergreens with Christmas.  This is not the true derivation, however.  Holly is merely a variation of Holin, Hollin, or Holm.  The name Holme is now used for a kind of oak.  This tree was admired by the Druids who believed that its evergreen leaves attested to the fact that the sun never deserted it. It was therefore, sacred.  It was also believed to be hateful to witches and is therefore, placed on doors and windows to keep out the evil spirits.”

CONCLUSION
This is only a glimpse at the incredible amount of distortion and paganism that has been incorporated into the Christmas doctrine and disseminated throughout the world in the name of love, giving, and the purity of the Virgin Mary and Jesus (Peace be upon them). Somewhere along the line when the Christians were being tortured and killed in Roman coliseums, somebody made the decision to make it easy for the northern people to accept these teachings. So what comes about is an adaptation and a change so that you actually have the Christmas ceremony which once represented Pagan images of nature, images based upon the worship of the sun, or the worship of the created things, now in the monotheistic religion.

It is interesting to note that as late as 1647, Britain’s Puritan Parliament had Christmas ceremony banned as pagan. St. Nicholas appeared in early European folklore as another character, sometimes known as Beowulf , or Nick or Nikker. He was said to be a demon or the evil spirit of the north. Descriptions of him show him when humanoid as an aged creature with a flowing white beard. By The 16th century, the term had become more specific, the Chrisitianized:”Old Nick” or even “St. Nicholas” meant the devil proper. In the Bible, Isaiah 14:13, the devil’s throne was in the north. Satan presided over the winter’s darkness. So the character representing evil for the northern Christians was transferred into the figure of Santa Claus. He was often covered with red fur or driven in a sleigh by winged snakes.

If Santa Claus now is flying all over the world giving gifts to children what happened to the labour of their mother and the father?  Why is Santa Claus coming down the chimney? That is because there was a belief in ancient Scandinavia that a goddess of flames would come into the home.  And so this confusion now is all put together on the Christmas occasion and people have forgotten about Isa (p.b.u.h).

In the Islamic understanding, Isa or Jesus (p.b.u.h), the son of Mary (p.b.u.h)was a very humble person who possessed only one or two changes of clothing. He used to walk bare foot most of the time. He renounced the life of materialism and wanted people to move away from focussing on gold and silver. He encouraged the Children of Israel to have spirituality and to remember the Creator.  According to most Christian and Muslim theologians, the actual birth of Jesus the son of Mary (p.b.u.h) was in the summer.  In a Qur’anic chapter called Maryam ( Quran 19:16-40), there is a detailed discourse on Mary (p.b.u.h).  She is depicted as a very pious individual who spent most of her life fasting.  When the angel Gabriel told her that she would have a son, she couldn’t believe it. He informed her that it would happen by the power of God who would breath his spirit into her she would become pregnant; and she did.  She went out of the city to a remote area.  In the Quran, 19:24-25, Allah (swt) sent the angel to tell her that water will come under her and then to shake the palm tree and rutuban janniyya, the ripe dates, will fall down from the tree.  The Arabs knew that the ripe dates come in the summer time. Even the Christians agreed with this because, according to their traditions, the shepherds were putting their flocks outside.  And in the area of Bethlehem and Nazarath this could only be done in the warm weather.

Therefore, it is basically agreed upon that Jesus (p.b.u.h.) was a humble, simple, non- materialistic person who was born in the summer.  What is happening now is a cleverly contrived mixture that is moving more towards the celebration of immorality and materialism than piety and God-consciousness.

Allah has revealed in the Blessed Qur’an , Surah An-Nisaa (157-9), the following verses:

…And because of their sayings: We killed the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger, but they killed him not nor crucified him. It appeared so to them. And lo, those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture. They killed him not for certain. But Allah took him unto Himself.  And Allah is ever Mighty, Wise.  There is not one of the People of the Book but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them.

In Surah Al Ma’idah is the following:

The Messiah, son of Maryam is but an Apostle; Apostles before him have Indeed passed away. And his mother was a truthful woman. They both used to eat food.  See how We make the communications clear to them, then behold, how they are turned away. Say: Do you serve besides Allah that which does not control for you any harm, or any profit? And Allah is the All Hearing, the All Knowing.

Say: O followers of the Book! Be not unduly immoderate in your religion, and do not follow the low desire of people who went astray before and led many astray and went astray from the right path.

Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick : Source

wa Allaahu Alam.
[and God knows best.]