Monday, March 3, 2014

A Greenhorn Gives Himself a Black Eye

Someone sent me an article on John 8:58 written by a Muslim and asked me to reply to it. He didn’t say who wrote it, so I will just refer to this person as “the author.”

After reading the article my best guess would be that this Muslim is probably an apologetic dabbler or upstart, though I have seen many seasoned Muslim apologists, some of whom boast of having come from a Christian background, make errors that are equally as egregious as those made by this author, so it is difficult to say with any certainty. To be charitable I will assume this person is a neophyte arguing from blind zeal rather than someone who has been around for a while and has no problem engaging in duplicity.

The author begins with what is supposed to be the argument of Christians for the deity of Christ from John 8:58:

Many Christians claim that Jesus in John 8:58 claims to be “I AM”, and God in Exodus 3:14 refers to Himself by this title/ name, therefore Jesus is knowingly referring to himself as a God. How can Muslims respond to this argument?

Contrary to this authors’ claim, Christians do not argue that Jesus is referring to himself as “a” God, as if Jesus is just one God among others. There is only one God according to John’s Gospel (as well as the entire NT), and Christians only affirm one. Muslims may think the Trinity is inconsistent with monotheism, but this is a conclusion that has to be argued for, not an assertion that is legitimately front-loaded into one or another of the premises in order to then infer it in the conclusion. Although the author does not run with this, he clearly miscasts what Christians believe and thereby insinuates that Christians are polytheists, which is probably due to the failure of Muhammad or his redactors to accurately describe to Muslims what Christians believe. As it is, to misrepresent Christian doctrine in this way, innocently or intentionally, is to set up a straw man and commit the fallacy of petitio principii.

The author continues:

John 8:58 is perhaps one of the best verses to disprove the deity of Christ, most Christians simply fail to see the problems with utilizing such a verse and in this article I’d like to demonstrate just how useful the “I AM” statement attributed to Christ is. Let’s first take a look at the verses in question:
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” – Exodus 3:14.
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” – John 8:58.
There is something very important to note, we must ask, who is God in Exodus 3:14? The Hebrew from the Westminster Leningrad Codex references God as  Elohiym, see here. According to Christian belief, Elohiym can either refer to the Father (God) or the Godhead (all three persons of the Trinity). If Christ is claiming to be the Elohiym of Exodus 3:14 then there exists a major problem.

Grammatically, syntactically and in its Johannine context John 8:58 clearly teaches the deity of Christ. The possible connection with Exodus 3:14, which I will address momentarily, isn’t necessary to establish this. The Greek word eimi means “[I] am,” and the addition of ego, “I,” which brings out the subject already implied in eimi, makes it emphatic. To bring this out into English we might translate it as “I, I am.” Ordinarily such a phrase would be joined with a predicate or an implied predicate can be found in the surrounding context. When the phrase lacks a predicate, either explicit or implied, as is the case here, it is considered absolute. There are seven absolute “I am” statements attributed to Jesus in John’s Gospel, and while some writers attempt to argue that an implied predicate is close to hand in the case of some of these utterances, virtually no one believes this can be done in the case of John 8:58.

The force of the emphatic and absolute “I am” statement is brought out clearly by the intended juxtaposition Jesus makes between Himself and Abraham. On one hand, Abraham was born; on the other hand, Jesus already was. In fact, the Greek is even stronger here. What this translation renders as “was born” is the Greek word egeneto, an aorist infinitive, which literally means, “became.” And since Jesus says, “I am,” ego eimi, present indicative, and that “before Abraham became,” the contrast is between one who came into being and one who exists eternally. The idea is the same as what Paul wrote in Colossians 1: “He IS before all things and in Him all things consist.” The language in both cases is that of eternal, unoriginated existence. 

Those who enter John’s Gospel through the front door would already be alerted to this idea and would not be surprised when they come across it in the narrative. In the prologue to the book, John introduces Jesus as the eternal Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….All things came into being through Him” (John 1:1, 3). In the beginning of everything, the Word already was. In fact, He was the agent through whom everything came into being. Here again we see that the Word is eternal and unoriginated, with the only additional thought being that He is also the source of everything. So the same contrast made between Jesus and Abraham in John 8:58 was made already in the prologue between Jesus as the Word and all created reality, of which Abraham is a part.

What is said in John 8:58 about existing before Abraham also receives expression in relation to John the Baptist.

John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed BEFORE me.’” (John 1:15)

“This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed BEFORE me.’” (John 1:30)

This idea is carried forward from first to last in the ensuing narrative. And since it speaks of Jesus being sent or coming from the Father or from heaven or from above upwards of fifty times, it is hard to believe that this author has even read the prologue or the narrative that precedes or follows this verse. In fact, even if we restrict ourselves to the local context of John 8:58 we see Jesus assert this several times in the same dialogue. Moreover, two of these notices even occur in conjunction with other “I Am” statements:

Then He said again to them, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews were saying, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:21-24)

So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. (John 8:28-30)

The latter passage reminds us that John fully incorporated into his gospel an understanding that Jesus, though God, i.e. the great “I Am,” did not use the equality that He had with the Father (John 5:17-18; cf. 1:1c) in any way that would circumvent the task laid upon Him as the Word made flesh (John 1:14), which meant always acting on the Father’s initiative and always doing what pleased the Father, even to the point of being lifted up on the cross (and subsequently back into glory, John 17:5).

And so, if John 8:58 is one of the best verses non-Christians have to work with as this Muslim author claims, then the doctrine of Christ’s deity is incredibly secure. There is nothing worse for any position than for one of its best arguments to fail this miserably. To be fair, while I don’t think for a minute that any verse in the Bible disproves the deity of Christ, I have to imagine that this greenhorn has let his zeal lead him into excessive bombast at this point, a common temptation for people who really believe they are right but who also realize that their argument is not as strong as they would like it to be. Some people believe that by giving themselves over to excessive hyperbole they can make up for defective arguments, and since this claim is surely defective, this author decided to hype up the claim.

As for Exodus 3:14, along with many scholars I don’t think that it is the most directly relevant verse to John 8:58. The two passages are of some relevance to one another, but the argument as stated by this author is not nuanced enough to see how that is the case. Since many Christians do not have a nuanced enough understanding of this themselves, I won’t fault the author too much, though I would encourage him, on the off chance that he reads this, to take some time out to read up on this issue, especially if he plans to try to write more apologetic pieces in the future.

A direct link between the seven absolute “I am” statements in John’s Gospel is more accurately located in the seven ani hu declarations of God in the Old Testament, rather than in the ehyeh asher ehyeh of Exodus 3:14.  Whereas ancient Jews rendered the latter into Greek as ego eimi ho on, where a predicate is supplied, the ani hu declarations are given an absolute rendering in the Greek translation (LXX), just like we find in John’s gospel. In this regard, the verse most relevant to John 8:58 is found in Deuteronomy 32:39. To see how this is the case, see my article: The Old Testament and Jewish Background for the “I AM” Sayings of the Logos – the Lord Jesus Christ: A Word that Bridges the Gap.

It is unnecessary at this point to go any further since the rest of the article is predicated on the above mistake. But even if we assume for the sake of argument that Exodus 3:14 is the best place to go to establish the OT background for Christ’s saying, nothing this author goes on to say does anything to call that into question.

According to the author the word for “God” in Exodus 3:14 is Elohim. Furthermore, the author tells us that for Christians this word can refer either to the Father alone or to all three persons together. But this isn’t correct, or at least it is not the whole truth, which means that our author has committed the fallacy of false choices or exhaustive hypotheses. Since all three persons are consubstantial, the word God is equally applicable to any single member of the Godhead, whether Father, Son, or Spirit, or to all three persons together. This means the word can either refer to the Father, to all three persons, or to either one of the other persons, whether the Son or the Spirit. On the basis of this mistake the author generates several “problems,” the first two of which are:

Problem 1:
Elohiym consists of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit of one substance, united by the Godhead. If Christ is claiming to be this Elohiym (the united Three Persons), then he is claiming to be the Father as well as the Holy Spirit. According to Trinitarian dogma, the Son is not the Father or the Spirit. In other words, if Christ is claiming to be the Elohiym (of Three Persons) then he is effectively breaking the rules of the Trinitarian dogma as the Son is claiming to be other persons in the Godhead.

Problem 2:
If the Elohiym of Exodus 3:14 is the Father alone, then Christ who is the Son is claiming to be the Father and according to Christian Trinitarian belief, the Son is not the Father. Therefore if the Christian is claiming Christ to be Elohiym – the Father, then the Christian is admitting that the Trinity in this case is a false teaching or that Christ did not believe in the Trinity that they appeal to.

Since the author believes that Elohim for Christians refers to either the Father alone or to the three persons together, he charges Christians with making an argument that supports one or another version of Modalism (though he doesn’t call it by that name), which was an anti-Trinitarian heresy roundly condemned by the ancient church. On the view that it refers to the Father alone, Christians would be guilty of saying that Jesus is the Father. On the view that it refers to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, then Jesus would be guilty of saying that He is the Father and the Spirit as well as the Son.

It is true that neither option is consistent with Trinitarianism, but since the argument is not premised on the full range of options available to Trinitarians these “problems” are irrelevant. As already mentioned, the word God according to orthodox Christianity can be and is used for any one of the Trinitarian persons considered individually, and not just for the Father individually or all three persons together. In other words, the word Elohim can be used for the Son even as it can be used for the Father by Himself or for the Holy Spirit by Himself. The only problem this leaves us with is the problem of teaching this author and other Muslims how to accurately express what we really believe. 

A third problem according to this author is the following:

Problem 3:
The Fallacy of False Equivocation.
Jack is a boy.
James is a boy.
Jack is James.
Obviously Jack is not James.
Orange is a fruit.
Apple is a fruit.
Oranges are Apples.
Obviously Oranges are not Apples.
God says I am.
Jesus says I am.
God is Jesus.
Clearly we can see that this is the fallacy of false equivocation.

Here the author switches gears before he returns in problem four to the false options he set forth above.

According to this argument Christians are guilty of equivocation. But the equivocation belongs entirely to this author. He appears to think that the phrase “I am” when used in the way Jesus used it can mean just about anything and can be spoken by anyone and isn’t a title or description that applies exclusively to the eternal God. But when Jesus said, “Before Abraham became, I Am,” He was using the phrase in a way that can only be said in truth by God. The only way out of this is to equivocate on how Jesus used the phrase, which we have already seen is an unequivocal assertion of eternal, unoriginated existence. If first century Jews reasoned like this author they wouldn’t have been upset with Jesus. Although the Jews in question did not believe Jesus was who He claimed to be, they showed quite clearly that they knew what He was claiming when they picked up stones to stone Him (John 8:59; cf. Leviticus 24:16). If this Muslim were present on the scene to hear these words spoken by Jesus, he would have been dumbfounded by the reaction of the Jews. While they gnashed their teeth and started picking up stones to kill Jesus, this Muslim would have been mumbling to himself: “Jack is a boy, James is a boy, therefore Jack is James.”

Here is the fourth and final problem this author presents:

Problem 4:
The Christian claims that while the Son cannot claim to be the Father or the Spirit, the Son can claim to be God. For explanation purposes, let’s use a common learning aid which Christians use to explain this reasoning: 
However, this makes it worse for the Christian. Consider the following examples:
You cannot say that John is an employee in the company, but you can say that John works for the company.

You cannot say that Shem and Ham are brothers, but you can say that they have the same mother and father.

You cannot say that a banana is a fruit, but you can say that the banana belongs in the fruit basket.
You cannot say that the Son is the Father or the Spirit, but you can say that the Son is the Father, Son and Spirit.
It’s a contradictory claim. The Son is not the Father or the Spirit, yet they believe the Son is the Father and the Spirit unified. Allow the Christian to ponder on this logic and see where it leads them, aid their thinking process by using the other examples provided above.

While Christians do believe that “the Son is not the Father or the Spirit,” we do not believe that “the Son is the Father and the Spirit unified.” In order to argue that Christians are guilty of making contradictory claims, it has to be the case that both of the claims are actually held by Christians. Since we affirm the former and deny the latter, there is no contradiction on our part. The contradiction exists only in the mind of this author who by this point appears to have quite a knack for misunderstanding or an almost unbridled penchant for misrepresentation.

The author offers the following conclusion:

The Christian cannot appeal to John 8:58 without disproving the doctrine of the Trinity by means of demonstrating that Christ himself did not know he could not claim to be the other persons of the Godhead. We can also demonstrate that they are applying faulty reasoning in their argumentation and thus can quickly disarm their frivolous claims.

Over the course of this article we have seen this author commit several informal logical fallacies – e.g. refuting a straw man, reasoning in a circle, equivocation, the fallacy of false alternatives, etc. The author has also demonstrated that he doesn’t know or doesn’t care to accurately express what Christians believe, is not aware of how the grammar, syntax and Johannine context of John 8:58 support the deity of Christ, and has no knowledge of the most relevant Old Testament and Jewish background to this verse.

Rather than demonstrate that Christian claims vis-a-vis John 8:58 are frivolous, the author has only disproved his own heretical perversion of what Christians believe, and since he said this verse is one of the best verses Muslims have at their disposal when the exact opposite is the case, we can see not only that he has not disarmed anyone with his arguments, but that he has only managed to give himself a black eye. 

John’s gospel is replete with evidence for the deity of Christ. This is why Muslim apologists like Paul Bilal Williams have junked any attempt to argue otherwise. Instead they try to argue against the reliability of John’s gospel on the alleged grounds that it represents a later development. This of course flies in the teeth not only of the fact that Paul, the earliest NT author, already presupposes the deity of Christ throughout his writings, but also the fact that the other NT writings, whether the synoptic gospels or the writings of James, Jude, and Peter, all presuppose it as well.

This greenhorn has a lot of work to do before returning to the apologetic fray.


Radical Moderate said...

The Muslim who came up with this argument seems to be a french fry or two short of a happy meal.

Someone really came up with this?

Deleting said...

Did it ever occur to Greenhorn Legolas that the koran doesn't read in the same way as the bible and if you read two verses before it it says"
8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see MY day: and he saw it, and was glad.
8:57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

OH, right!! You put John 8:56 and 57 in there it shows that Abraham was waiting for Jesus' day and the bible is about him and not Mohammad!!!

Tom said...

What about the next verse John 8:59
"59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple."

What was that about?

OH, the muslim will focus on ...Jesus hid himself.." they would retort, "How come God needs to hide himself".... and all that puerile debate!!

Proslogos said...

Thanks Anthony for showing clearly that scripture in its unaltered form affirms exegetically that Jesus is the Eternal One, i.e. the egw eimi of Deut 32:39; Isa 41:4; 43:10 et al and refutes the unitarian notion that Jesus Christ is a mere man

aaron said...

I know which muslim it was . it was callingchristians Aka Iljaz Ahmad. see on his blog

Derek Adams said...

"Problem 3" was particularly odd:

1) The inference here since he is a Muslim, is that he means GOD in the OT (and since he is Unitarian he presumably doesn't believe God in the OT is tri-personal), thus he means:

God (Who is the Father) says: "I am", and Jesus says "I am", therefore God (the Father) is Jesus.

Obviously a Modalist may use this argument, but he attributes this argument to the Trinitarians, as if this is the logic we would employ to show Jesus is God, as if we would confirm the premises here, when this would equally emphatically be denied by Trinitarians, so this was pointless, and would only confirm our rejection of Modalism.

How Trinitarians actually argue is that, if the Father and Son share an exclusive title that belongs to God Alone, (Say: The First and the Last) they therefore must both be God, as God alone possess this title. But since the Scripture explicitly distinguish between Father and Son as distinct persons (and not merely forms), then the single God is two persons, and the title belongs to both of them.

2) God who spoke the words: "I am" in Exodus 3, was none other than Jesus Christ who is the Messenger of the Lord, the Lord who is the messenger of the covenant who is himself God yet distinct from God (Exodus 3), thus in context, it was *not* the Father speaking. His entire argument collapses on this basis alone, as he thought that it was the Father contextually speaking who claimed: "I am", when in the Old Testament it is the Son of God who makes this claim, the Angel of YHVH who asserted his own divinity, so the Muslim would need to show explicitly where the Father himself makes the claim without begging the question and ASSUMING Unitarianism, which most Old Testament Scholars do not take credibly or seriously. For instance the evidence for the Binitarian nature of God throughout Exodus was so overwhelming the Jews in the early second century (after Jesus) had to outlaw it as belonging to Judaism, and modern Orthodox Jewish Scholars had to point this out in scholarship.

Further contemporary skeptical liberals and critics of the Bible actually attempt to claim some of the same chapters were written by different authors, and that chapters like this were originally separated and woven together later. For example why does Exodus 3 have God in the Bush but also the Angel in the Bush, the answer from the Bible Critics who understand the failure of Unitarianism to explain this, can never be: "God sent his Angel", because there are texts that explicitly show YHVH is IN the Bush and the Angel is IN the Bush, in other words it's not just the speech of YHVH conveyed through the Angel, but YHVH himself is in the Bush. So they decided to argue that originally the chapters were separated but later woven together, this is how evident the text is that 1) YHVH is in the Bush 2) The Angel is in the Bush. It's inescapable according to an objective reading, thus alternative explanations were required by biblical critics who couldn't understand the mystery of the Godhead.

However in contrast the Trinitarian has the advantage of:

A) Along with the Bible Skeptic, rejecting the inadequate explanation of Jewish Unitarianism (that the Creator sent an a created angel), which cannot adequately explain all the references in the chapter (Exodus 3) or in Exodus in General.


B) Simultaneously reject the argument that the accounts were ever separate without any extant evidence to show this to be the case, rather only baseless hypothetical jargon. which the Muslim would never accept (the same type of reasoning) when applied to his own Quran. Rather the Trinitarian can completely accept the plain theology of Exodus 3 (and the rest of Exodus), that God is more than UNI-personal. God is one while being at-least two persons.

Derek Adams said...

3) The "author" also conveniently changes terms and meanings as he sees fit. For example in his false analogy he offers "a fruit" instead of "fruit" and "a boy" rather than "boy" as if these were the equivalent of Trinitarian theology in simplified analogies, but as Anthony already noted we don't believe in: "A God" or "an I am" (as if there existed many gods or I am's), so the analogy fails. But further what happens if we use just the term "fruit" as an adjective:

Orange is fruit
Apple is fruit

Fruit is both Orange and Apple, but Orange is not Apple and Apple is not Orange.

This is similar to the Trinity in a sense that each person fully equates to God's essence. While both apple and orange are fruit in essence, they are distinct in form and shape (yet the Trinity is distinct in person-hood). Now no analogy is completely perfect to describe God's perfect unity, but this is something of an inkling to demonstrate the Trinity:

Father is God
Son is God

Both are God without being one another.

So in effect the Muslim inadequately gives insufficient analogies, but when used correctly, these analogies can be better examples than originally presented by the Author.

4) Finally, the author also made some bizarre argument that if each point (person in the illustration) of the Triangle is God, then each point must also be the other point, which miserably fails as the points of the triangle are distinct from one another (N, SW, SE) yet while all the points are distinct they all belong to the the center of the Triangle (God's Divinity).

Answering Judaism said...

Very good. This should clear the air for uniformed Trinitarians who may be mislead by the Muslim author.

Derek Adams said...

I hope our author shows up to address his Islamic mathematical claptrap I just pointed out the absurdities of the Islamic mathematical paradigm:

Carlos said...

Anyhow, concerning Trinity logic in simplest way, I usually use Dutch Flag(Red,White & Blue) logic

The Red of Dutch flag ITSELF is A Dutch Flag

The White of Dutch flag ITSELF is A Dutch Flag

The Blue of Dutch flag ITSELF is A Dutch Flag

But Red IS NOT White nor Blue
But White IS NOT Red nor Blue
But Blue IS NOT Red nor White

Muslim might argue, 'the red itself is not a dutch flag (if separated), so then also the white &the blue

Answer: That's the key word (separated)!

The Red of Dutch Flag can't be separated from the White & The Blue
of a Dutch Flag , so vice cersa

Separation means NO dutch flag!

Just as the same as Father ,Son & Holy Spirit , they are different but still

-The Father is fully God because of the Word(Son) & The Holy Spirit

-The Son is fully God because The Father & Holy Spirit

-so also The Holy Spirit

Father,Son&Holy Ghost can't be separated because The Oneness of God is the Essence of Holy Trinity

To consider them as 'separate Gods' would mean rejection of their essence

The Oneness of God can't be measured by space & distance, muslims always avoid in measuring Allah by space & distance yet they always measure the oneness of Trinity by space&distance

Deleting said...

@tom they could say that but you could also point to the other times the Pharisees picked up rocks to stone him at John 10:33 when they say 'we're not stoning you for good works. We're stoning you for blasphemy because you, being a man, make yourself out to be God'.
There's a reason why greenie went to this verse. The other one screws his argument but much like I said before Muslims try to read the bible like they do the Koran. It don't work, the Koran is a whole list of do and do nots laced threw anti-Semite and christophobic rants. Occasionally Allah is just content to sound like a drunk belligerent parrot when he screws up the telling of Noah, the destruction of sodom and Gomorrah, the arabic infancy gospel, etc...

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Anthony and Sam, I just wanted to share with you, HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF. This is not the first time the AUTHOR has lied about Christian Theology, and even had the audacity to try and twist Sam Shamouns words into saying Yahweh is not the Son!
Can you believe it?

He has a habit of appealing to certain Hebrew nouns claiming Christians believe they are only applied to the Father but not the Son.

I responded to this Author (on this blog, so he then he updated his original post on his blog and responded to me) I then responded by quoting what Sam Shamoun ACTUALLY BELIEVES and he was silenced:

"May 2, 2012 at 12:43 AM

Derek Adams said...


You are a deceiving conniving snake and your distortion of Sam Shamouns article is as low as it gets.

This is a brilliant example of mohammadan apologetics at it's best (and therefore by default the worst), quote out of context and completely manipulate the information like the great Allah the deceiver.


"Yahweh is a tri-Personal Being, eternally existing as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

In Trinitarian understanding the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit can be identified as Yahweh either individually or collectively, since all three are God fully and eternally. To break this down further note that:

All three Divine Persons can be identified as Yahweh God collectively.

Each specific Person can be identified as Yahweh. For example, the Father can be identified as Yahweh apart from the other members of the Godhead without this implying that the Son and the Spirit are not Yahweh as well. The same is true in the case of the Son or the Spirit, i.e. either one can be addressed as Yahweh apart from the other members without this meaning that the rest are not Yahweh God.

Since there are three distinct Persons of God one Person can become the Servant of the Other without that Person ceasing to be God.

One of the Divine members of the Trinity became the Servant of another Divine member, i.e. the

Father sent the Son to be his Servant without this implying that the Son is not Yahweh or that the Son became his own Servant.

Moreover, since the Father can be identified as Yahweh in isolation from the others, the Son can therefore be identified as Yahweh's Servant."


Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

I just got done reading the authors "reply" to this post by Anthony Rogers. The reply was so bafflingly (to put it non-mildly) idiotic and incoherent and filled with egregious errors, I'm not sure Anthony will think it warrants a response. I am inclined to agree, but there is some simple facts, that went over the authors airhead..

For example the author says in his original post:

"According to Christian belief, Elohiym can either refer to the Father (God) or the Godhead (all three persons of the Trinity). If Christ is claiming to be the Elohiym of Exodus 3:14 then there exists a major problem."

He quotes Anthony who corrects him and points out Eloheem can refer to the Son and the Holy Spirit individually on occasion, and then says: "This is in no way different to what I claimed previously. So the problems still persists:"

This man is so oblivious to reality he actually thinks Anthony is AGREEING with him that it "ONLY refers to the Trinity or the Father alone"

He then asserts "problems" 1, 2 still remain, despite him just agreeing with Rogers that "Eloheem" does not exclusively refer to the Father alone or the collective Trinity every-time. Of course to his vindication, he had no clue what he was reading so ended up bankrupt and ineptly and mistakenly agreeing with Rogers.

Anthony made explicitly clear that Eloheem individually can refer to the Father, Son or Holy Spirit, or collectively all three. And a simple fact goes beyond this mushroom head.

He then concedes the rebuttal offered by Rogers by asserting the prologue of John is an interpolation, in other words, John as it stands today refutes his argument, so lets go back to an imaginary John that didn't have the prologue! He changes the topic to biblical corruption when he is refuted, a red herring. That would be like me claiming Surah 1, 113, 114 are interpolations according to my view, therefore discount them in the exegesis of the Quran, completely irrelevant reasoning to a Muslim who believes these chapters belong in the Quran! And completely irrelevant to Evangelicals who believe John's prologue belongs in John!

In one of his "reasons" for believing John is interpolated he argues that the prologue is a hymn and uses different language to the rest of John. But gives no reason why John couldn't have included a hymn at the beginning of the Gospel, and gives no support for his claim that other authors did not contain anything Johannine in the slightest, a claim which has been challenged on this blog. He seems to be ridiculously unaware that in Biblical literature, quotations of poems, traditions, creeds, hymns and references etc are made frequently, because the author utilities these resources to affirm their own theology! As if this was a one off occasion made by John alone!

And because he has been previously schooled by Rogers he had to concede the two powers of heaven was a belief rampant and wide-spread in the first century. Although he personally attributes this belief as heresy and "outside" of monotheism, he gave no supporting argument, that God's word or wisdom is a "separate deity". In fact that's exactly what the enemies and opponents of the theology refer to it as! This punk might try to appeal to Philo and Justin Martyr here to try to undermine this claim, but if he does it won't be pretty for him, since his eisegesis will be easily dismantled and of course he can provide no other sources within the movement that he can twist to distort his false allegations of polytheism.

You would think after years of being in Apologetics he would have learnt basic Christian Theology, but he still hasn't learnt basics like Yahweh and Eloheem are nouns can refer to any person of the Trinity depending on the context. How shameful.

bob said...

Derek said,

"...Angel of YHVH who asserted his own divinity..."

While not the same kind of evidence, we can see that Manoah, in Judges 13:22, also bore witness of the Angel of the Lord's (Jesus) divinity.

"...because we have seen God!"

Anthony Rogers said...

Someone said it was written by Ijaz. I will leave this response up, but he is safely ignored. I guess I was dead on when I said the person appears to be a greenhorn. If he replies he is sure to ignore the grammatical and syntactical points I raised, will no doubt completely skirt the Jewish background I establish in the article I linked him to, and will probably try to change the words or meanings of what he originally wrote. And, of course, when all else fails he will attack the reliability of the book he appealed to for the best evidence against the deity of Christ. In this connection we will no doubt hear some outdated or otherwise easily answerable comment about how John's Gospel is not trustworthy, as I already said in my article.

Not too long ago he started sending me e-mails hoping for some attention. If you can believe it, his arguments there were even more ridiculous than in this article. He was so desperate that he started making wild accusations about Sam, which he said I was complicit with, all the way across the country. It was a riot. If you hear from him that Sam and I robbed the federal reserve and that David was driving the getaway car, take it with a grain of salt. Anyway, as fun as all that is, I only allow myself so much time for entertainment so I had to block him.

CharlesMartel said...

Thanks Derek.i made my comment before seeing yours. It confirms everything u said. Simply amazing.

ICA said...

The Qur’an teaches that, according to Christianity, God acquired a son through procreation with Mary. In the eyes of Muslims, the term “son of God” is believed to be, and is therefore understood, in a literal sense. But this misrepresentation is so far from the basic tenets of Christianity that any serious student of the Qur’an should begin questioning the veracity of some of the teachings of Islam on this error alone. The term “son of God” in the Bible is an anthropomorphism and is intended to be understood in a figurative sense, not in a wooden literal sense. It is a metaphor to describe a relational identity. In John 3:16, Jesus is called the only “begotten” son of God (the Greek word "monogenēs") which means “unique” or “one of a kind.” As Christians, we are all called God’s children (Matthew 5:9; Romans 8:16; Galatians 3:6; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5, etc.). But this term is an analogy to describe our relationship to our Heavenly Father. We are not literal “sons” and “daughters”. Even the angels are called “sons of God” in the Bible (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). Adam is also called the son of God as well (Luke 3:38). But Jesus is called the only “unique” son of God in Scripture for a very good reason. In the Old Testament, before Jesus came as a child into this world, He appeared before His people as the “Angel of the Lord”. He revealed Himself in the burning bush that spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. He appeared before Joshua as the Commander of the Hosts of Heaven. And in the New Testament He is the eternal “Word of God”, called the “unique son of God”, because He is God in the flesh and there is no one else like Him.

John 1:1,14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us , and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten [monogenēs] of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

ICA said...

One more thing. Because of Mohammed’s misunderstanding of what Christians believed and practiced, Islam teaches that the Christian belief of the Trinity is a polytheistic teaching of “three gods”, characterized as the “Father”, and the “Son” and the “Virgin Mary”. Not only does the “Virgin Mary” have nothing to do with the Trinity (it is the Holy Spirit, not Mary), we believe in One God only and One God that is Triune. Not three gods. To use an analogy to illustrate this, consider fire. When we observe the fire of a candle, for example, we observe three distinct things: light, heat, and a flame. Yet, the light is fire. The heat is fire. The flame is fire. Although these three are fire, are there three fires, or only one? Likewise, the Father is called God in Scripture (Phil 2:1), and so is the Son (John 1:1,14; Col 2:9), and so is the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). Even though there is a clear distinction, there is only One God. As Deuteronomy 6:4 declares, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Literally translated, “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh and our Elohim are a united one.” The Old Testament demonstrates a plurality in the Godhead that is a united One, and this distinction is reaffirmed in the New Testament: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23).

Mark Bennett (Dk) said...

Charles/Anthony said:

"I guess I was dead on when I said the person appears to be a greenhorn. If he replies he is sure to ignore the grammatical and syntactical points I raised, will no doubt completely skirt the Jewish background I establish in the article I linked him to, and will probably try to change the words or meanings of what he originally wrote. And, of course, when all else fails he will attack the reliability of the book he appealed to for the best evidence against the deity of Christ. In this connection we will no doubt hear some outdated or otherwise easily answerable comment about how John's Gospel is not trustworthy, as I already said in my article. "

A remarkable summary of his ACTUAL rebuttal without even reading it.

Prophet Anthony (PBUH) has lots of previous experience with this author's repeated use in logical fallacious material and now can perfectly summarize what's going to happen next, without even reading it.

Radical Moderate said...

Well looks like Ijaz got his un deserved attention. I think we can all move on now

aaron said...

LOL iljaz is now trying to say he didn;t imply what he said in the first article and trying to twist anthony's words around after

"In fact, even if we restrict ourselves to the local context of John 8:58 we see Jesus assert this several times in the same dialogue. Moreover, two of these notices even occur in conjunction with other “I Am” statements:"

he is trying to say Anthony is trying to restrict it to john 8:58. I think he is so illiterate he does not realize the word "EVEN" was there