Sunday, May 27, 2012

Is Jesus God?- Book Review Pt. 1

Continuing with Shabir Ally’s book as intended.  Addressing arguments not addressed in the previous post:

Mark 6:5,6- Jesus was not God  because He had some limitations in his hometown.
Well, these were the limitations that the Father had given Him, Shabir.  Limitations that only those that the Father chooses will come to the Son (John 17:6).    Limitations that the Son of God eagerly took on.  Yet, the Son did heal the few sick people that the Father gave Him in His hometown.   
However, there were not as many miracles for them as there might have been- since their hearts were hard towards Him.  Indeed, not as many miracles since His hometown was scandalized (ἐσκανδαλίζοντο) by Him.

Mark 8:22-26- Jesus is not the all-powerful God because his first healing failed.
No, the first healing actually brought about sight.  
Sight of men being as dull as "walking trees".  A terse and witty aphorism.  Spit does that.
And the second healing brought about clear (τηλαυγῶς) sight.  Distant sight.  Sight beyond sight.
An excellent illustration of a people “seeing yet not seeing” of a few verses previous.   And a repeat of a dual-stage healing from the previous chapter.   
A repeat of a dual-stage healing for a dichotomous people.  For people both dull of heart and dull of mind.

Mark 13:32- Jesus is not all-knowing God.
Now, rather than appealing to the standard dual-nature explanation which Shabir is scandalized by- let’s try another tack. 

Let’s consider the consequences of Jesus knowing everything.  Let’s consider how little Jesus would have empathized with us if He had actually known everything.  Consider how Jesus provided a finer human example for us by not actually knowing everything

Let's consider how Jesus had faith in ‘the promise’... and that we should have similar faith in things unseen.  The faith by which Jesus was also approved (Hebrews 11:2) by the Father.

Consider also, that the Holy Spirit is not included in that all-knowing circle either.  That the Holy Spirit is partly out of that that all-knowing circle.  An aspect that does not appear to scandalize Christ or Christians either.
Does not scandalize Christians who believe that the Holy Spirit is also God.   Does not scandalize Christ or Christians  because of their faith in an extraordinarily functional Godhead here.  An extraordinarily intimate Godhead.  As scandalous as this Godhead may appear to others.

Proverbs 8:22- Jesus was created.
Tricky one Shabir.   
But here we have a peculiar textual variant in the Septuagint.  Check out the informative textual note on that verse in the highlighted hyperlink above. 

And good ol’ Grudem has a great comment on this passage as well- in his chapter on The Trinity (Systematic Theology- ch. 14): 

‘That even if this translation does refer to the actual person of Jesus rather than to personifications of Wisdom (which are clearly made in this chapter and the next)… then this Septuagint translation should be far more consistent in its obscure translation of the Hebrew qänänî in other places as well. And that the other Greek translations (texts of Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotian) of this passage do not translate the Hebrew in this peculiar way.’

Mark 5:30- Jesus was unaware and out of control.
Mark suggests that Jesus was unaware of who touched Him and couldn’t control His healing power… if you actually take Marks words at ‘plain value’.  Yet not all things are to be taken at ‘plain value’.  

It seems to me that Jesus is actually being facetious here, since He knew "immediately" when power had proceeded from Him (Luke 8:46).  And that it would have been rather dull of Jesus not to have anticipated such a procession of power… with so many “pressing against Him”.  After all, many people need healing of one form or another.  And Jesus didn't heal all people that touched Him... or even that kissed Him.
So when Jesus requested confession of the barest-of-contact with Him [fringe of His cloak]- it was for illustration purposes for the multitude following Him.  To illustrate a constant theme of His.  To illustrate that the barest-of-faith in Him [not faith plus works, Shabir] will make you “well”. 
And notably, Jesus uses a word here that implies some sort of salvation (σέσωκέν).  The same word that Jesus used of the woman washing His feet with her hair (Luke 7:50).  A sinful woman who was somehow saved of her sin.   Not saved by her hair… but merely by her faith in Him.

Yes, here in Mark we have a marvelous illustration of the sufficiency of faith.  An illustration of a woman believing, “If only…” (Matt. 9:21).  Not about believing ‘if this plus this, then this’ but… “If only this I will be well”.   About even a minimal faith in Christ making you “well”. 

A minimal faith and a minimal Christ that is missing in Islam. 
A faith and a Christ that is fatally missing in the religion of Islam... contrary to their contentions.

Contentions that I hope to address in our next post… before we continue with more misunderstandings in Shabir’s book.