Reviewing the "99 Digital Binary Interview"
Addressing Muslim Miscomprehensions About Christian Doctrine


When I was first approached by one Mushtaq Tariq with the request that I address his 99 Digital Binary Questions, I frankly was not really keen on doing so. I already had a list of other things I wanted to get done on STA.Net, and much less time in which to them because of several things in my "real world" life that were (and are) taking up more of my time than before. So, I was thinking about there being *99* of the things, and I did not feel that I could, or wanted to, budget the time.

However, I felt like dealing with this page was something the LORD wanted me to do. And looking back on the project, I see now why. Addressing these 99 Digital Binary Questions provided a perfect opportunity to treat upon several general subjects of theological difference between Christianity and Islam. This will be useful for Christians, as it will help fellow believers to not only see what the incorrect ideas Muslims may have about Christian doctrines are, but why Muslims hold these views. Likewise, it will help Muslims to understand the fallacies of many of their views of what Christians believe, and will help to point Muslims in the direction of the truth of God's Word, rather than the falsehood of centuries of accumulated miscomprehensions about Biblical Christianity.

Thus, these form the thrust of my efforts at answering these questions. Mr. Tariq, as is obvious if you click on this link to his website, intends for those addressing his questions to provide a simple "yes" or "no" answer for each one. This, as I noted even on my first survey of his site, is certainly not sufficient. Many of his questions, as I implied above, are based upon incorrect ideas about what Biblical Christians believe, even more so the finer points of theological doctrine. Many of the questions, as I found to my exasperation, were so wholly irrelevant to discussions of true Christian doctrines, that I simply had to note their irrelevancy and move on. Others, when lumped together by category (not necessarily in the order Mr. Tariq originally provided), provided fertile ground for expounding on some very interesting points of doctrine. The process of preparing this work was as much a learning experience for me as it (hopefully) will be for the reader.

With these being said, I now will direct the reader to the main body of the questions and answers below. The questions from Mr. Tariq's website retain their original numberings and are in bold red font. My responses will be in normal font.


Table of Contents

The Beginning
The Doctrine of the Trinity
The Doctrine of the Divine Sonship of Jesus
The Doctrine of the Divinity of Jesus Christ
The Doctrine of Atonement and Original Sin
Was Jesus Crucified?
Sources of Christianity
Who Is At Risk?
Conclusion
Final Question
End Notes


Q.1: Is it necessary for religion founder(s) to explain the basic belief of salvation to remove doubts?

One would expect that this would, indeed, be a necessary thing to explain to the followers of a religion. Indeed, we see that the Lord Jesus Christ did just this when He said,

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)

"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:9-10)

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)

Likewise also, the written word of God agrees with the Incarnate Word when it says speaking of Christ,

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

Jesus Christ made it very clear that salvation comes through Him, by putting complete faith and trust only in Him. He came that man might be saved, might have abundant and eternal life, and would be able to walk with God in the light of holiness, rather than in darkness. He also made it clear that there is no other way to salvation, eternal fellowship with God in heaven, than by Him. No other religion can offer the salvation that is afforded through the Son of God. All other religions, including Islam, substitute some form or another of man's works in place of complete trust in God alone.

THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY

Q.2: If you mention three persons are sitting or eating together, does it mean that they are forming one person?

This appears to be something of a leading question designed by Mr. Tariq to guide the reader into answering, "Well, no, obviously". From that answer, then, Mr. Tariq would proceed to ask why a person believes in the Trinity if "three people do not form one person".

The failure on the part of Muslims to understand the Trinity largely stems from the fact that their primary religious text, the Qur'an, presents a completely false view of the Trinity. This can be seen from the Quranic statements,

"And behold! Allah will say: "O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah'?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden." (Surah 5:116)

"They do blaspheme who say: "Allah is Christ the son of Mary." But said Christ: "O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help. They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them." (Surah 5:72-73)

" O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not "Trinity" : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs." (Surah 4:171)

Several examples of the Quranic failure to comprehend what the Trinity actually is can be seen from these ayat. The first and foremost, of course, is the simple fact that 5:116 teaches that Mary is viewed as a member of the Trinity. This, of course, is simply untrue. Even Roman Catholicism, with its rampant mariolatry, does not deign to include Mary as a member of the Godhead. In fact, the only group that has ever included Mary as a member of their "trinity" was a group of Arabian pseudo-Christians called the Collyridians. The Collyridians were a tiny sect that existed in northern Arabia around the 6th and 7th centuries. The belief that Mary is a member of the Trinity has not been found in any other group. Incidentally, the attribution of this Collyridian belief to Christians by the Qur'an shows the man-made nature of the Qur'an. The authors of the Qur'an apparently had some contact with this sect in Arabia, and included this belief into their qira as representative of Christians. One would presume that if Allah really were a god, and had revealed the Qur'an to mankind, that he would at least be able to get his facts right on what other groups believed.

Another Quranic misapprehension of the Trinity is illustrated in 5:72, "They do blaspheme who say: 'Allah is Christ the son of Mary.'" This statement is not an accurate representation of Trinitarianism, but instead suggests a form of modalism. A Christian would be true in saying that "Christ is God", but would not be correct in saying that "God is Christ". Let us take the typical Christian affirmation, "Christ is God". This is understood in the sense that Christ is one of the three persons of the Godhead, sharing the same essence and being as the Father and the Spirit, but a separate manifestation of God, distinct in person from the Father or the Spirit. Hence, when a Trinitarian says that "Christ is God", he or she is saying that Christ shares full portion in the Godhead. But, if the statement is inverted to read as the Qur'an says it, "God is Christ", this becomes then a statement that, if taken in the same logical sense as previously seen, would suggest that God was a member of a "Christhead". It takes the fundamental, underlying essence of the Godhead, and tries to say that it is characteristic of only one of the persons of the Godhead, or that God was ONLY manifested as Christ. This is a form of modalism, which was an early heresy that taught that the fulness of the Godhead was manifested in each member of the Godhead, but only one at a time. Various types of modalism taught, in forms and fashions, that God manifested Himself as either the Father, or as the Son, or as the Spirit, but not all three simultaneously. Sometimes this was taught as a sequential progression of manifestation (first Father in the OT, the Son in the Gospels, then Spirit in the rest of the NT), or it was taught as a virtual form of unitarianism, with one Person emphasised to the near-exclusion of the other two (not dissimilar from the Jesus-only Pentecostal groups found today). Needless to say, this is not orthodox Christian doctrine, and certainly runs afoul of the Scripture in Matthew 3:16-17, where all three Persons of the Godhead are depicted simultaneously and independently,

"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
The third Quranic error in understanding what the Trinity even is can be noted in both 4:171 and 5:73, where we see the statements,

"They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah."

"Say not "Trinity" : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah:"

Both of these statement suggest the attribution by the Qur'an of tritheism to the Christian belief in the Trinity. This would be the belief that Christians worship three separate, independent Gods.

Muslim theology revolves around the belief in tawhid, a term meaning "unity" or "oneness", derived from the Arabic root whd. Though Muslims often seem to emphasise the sense of "unity" (especially the more mystical sects like the Sufis), typical usage by Muslims, most notably seen in the shahada (la ilaha il Allah), "there is no god but Allah, suggests that the aspect of "oneness" may be more in mind, particularly the idea of Allah alone being god, without any others. As such, the central Muslim creed is a statement of monotheism against polytheism, very much in keeping with the cultural milieu out of which Islam developed over the first "Islamic" century. The antithetical concept then is shirk, associationism, whereby other gods are worshipped along side of Allah, most obvious in a polytheistic system such as what Islam developed out of.

Coming back to Muslim misconceptions about the Trinity, we see that the error the Qur'an commits in the ayat above is in its assumption that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three separate Gods. However, that this is not the view held by Christians is implicit in the very term Trinity. The term essentially means "one in three", and denotes the concept that there are three Persons who share a common essence and charactre. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not three separate BEINGS who have differing fundamental essences. The Father, Son, and Spirit are not three independent Gods each with their own wills, natures, etc. They are all three manifestations of the One God, Persons in the sense that the manifestations have independent *functions* (more will be said on this below), but yet all three are completely INTERdependent in that they have the same essential charactre of Godhead.

Indeed, Christians are not inconsistent when they believe in the Trinity while yet affirming that there is only ONE God. The Muslim concept of tawhid is thought to have stemmed from the earlier Jewish concept of God's oneness, as exemplified in the Sh'ma, Deuteronomy 6:4. Though the Sh'ma is often thought to argue for a unitarian god, hence a god like the Muslim's Allah, this is not actually so, as I have demonstrated before here. To say that God is ONE from the Sh'ma does NOT logically have to mean that God is unitarian, not a Trinity. The statement that God is one may simply mean that God is united, in the sense that the ehad found in the Sh'ma indicates, which itself is an implicit, if indirect, argument for uniplurality in the Godhead (i.e. a Trinity, to follow the rest of Scripture). Because the Trinity is understood by Bible Christians to be three distinct manifestations OF the ONE God, a statement that God is One does not contradict what Christians believe about God. Some of the particulars in explaining the nature of the Trinity will be presented in greater detail below.

The essential crux of the matter at hand, however, is that the Quranic statement, "They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah", assumes a teaching of tritheism on the part of Christians in that Allah (for argument's sake, the Father) is taught to be the only God, and the Trinity is said to be thus adding two other separate beings to the Father, making three gods. However, since the Son and the Spirit are understood to be indistinct from the Father as far as fundamental essence and existence are concerned, this Quranic critique of Christian doctrine does not properly address what Christians actually believe.

Many Muslims, when presented with the above, will simply choose to ignore it and continue on in the belief that Christians worship three gods, and what's more, that we know that we worship three gods. This path is often chosen, despite the fact that it does not accurately reflect true Christian belief, because to admit that the Qur'an is incorrect about what Christians believe is psychologically unacceptable to Muslims. However, Muslims need to understand that what their primary religious text teaches about the Christian Trinity does not represent what Christians ACTUALLY believe, and hence, the typical Muslim arguments against the Trinity, which approach it as a matter of associationism of other gods with the True God, do not carry any weight with knowledgeable Christians. Christians, likewise, need to understand where the Muslim gets his perceived knowledge of the Trinity, so as to know rightly how to address him for correcting his misunderstandings.

Q.3: Is trinity basic belief for salvation?

Yes. Without a belief in the deity of Christ, implied in the Trinity, then one cannot be saved and go to heaven.

Q.4: Did Moses teach and explain Trinity? (e.g. in ten commandments of Moses)

Q.5: From Adam to Moses, did any nation (e.g Jews) believe in Trinity?

Because I have already dealt with this particular issue in some detail elsewhere, I shall simply provide the link to the article, and allow the reader to peruse it at his or her leisure. The reader is invited to look at Uniplurality in the Hebrew Scriptures - How the Hebrew Scriptures Show One God with Multiple Persons. It should be clear from this essay that the Tanakh, including portions from the Torah written by Moses under inspiration, teach what logically must be understood to be a uniplurality, multiple persons of the one God, which is the essence of the Trinity. These evidences are found all throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, so a "yes" answer can be given to both of these questions. Yes, the Scriptures revealed to Moses do teach the uniplurality of the Godhead, and yes, the Jews of Old Testament times who were faithful to their Scriptures would have believed in the uniplurality of the Godhead. Indeed, some Jews after the closing of the Old Testament canon continued to demonstrate an understanding from the Hebrew Scriptures that God was one God who yet manifested Himself in multiple persons - the Targumim, the Zohar, and other writings by certain post-canonical Jewish writers make this abundantly clear.

Now the question of whether Moses EXPLAINED the Trinity is a somewhat different matter. The Torah includes passages which uniplurality can be understood as applying to God. Is this explained in a step-by-step, point-by-point manner? No, but then again, this begs the question of why it would need to have been. God reveals the Scriptures to man, and man is tasked with the job of studying them and learning them, man is to seek to understand what the Scriptures are saying, and when this is done, one of the things man comes to understand is the uniplurality of God as taught in those Scriptures. Does God explain HOW or WHY He chose to reveal Himself to us as a Trinity? No, but that does not matter. The fact that He HAS revealed Himself to us as such is enough to make it undeniable truth.

Incidentally, the Qur'an never actually "explains" the unitarian-ness of Allah, this attribute is merely presented in the Qur'an as a truism to be accepted. The Muslim who wishes to pursue the line of questioning shown here by Mr. Tariq must find the question turned right back around upon him with regards to the Muslims' unitarian god.

Q.6: Had the Trinity been the spinal cord of Christianity, Jesus would have emphasized it on many occasions and would have taught and explained it in detail to the people. Belief in the Trinity is a necessary condition for being a Christian. Word "Trinity" is absent in Bible. And Jesus did not teach and emphasize it to the Christians during his time. Were those followers of Jesus (in Jesus lifetime) considered Christians without ever hearing the term Trinity?

Q.7: Were those followers of Jesus (in Jesus lifetime) considered Christians without ever hearing the words "three in one and one in three" or "three is one and one is three"

Q.9: Did Jesus teach and explain in Bible that "One God exists in three existant & distinct persons"

Jesus DID speak on this subject, just not in a way which Muslims will readily recognise. We must understand the approach to theological development which is generally found in Islam, and recognise how this approach derives from the nature of the Islamic religious book, the Qur'an. The Qur'an is a book which was compiled from qira, recitations, a literary form common to early Arabian culture. Anyone who has read the Qur'an will note how repetitious it is, how the same story may be repeated in several different surat, and how much of it seems to be arranged poetically. There is a purpose for this. As a set of recitations, the Qur'an was designed to be memorised and recited (obviously) back to the gatherings of the religious community. Because of this, the emphasis of Quranic study is on memorisation, with hermeneutics taking the back seat. Indeed, in Islamic society, a Quranic scholar is awarded more acclaim for his ability to memorise and recite the Qur'an word-for-word perfectly rather than for developing and understanding systematic approaches to doctrine or theology. Most doctrinal development in Islam is the result of tafsir, commentaries on the Qur'an by Islamic scholars, and the development of the application of Quranic precepts to everyday law, which was a function of the various jural schools. This doctrinal development, however, focused primarily on the taking of the text and applying it in a more or less completely straightforward fashion to a particular problem in society or personal situations. Thus, the idea of systematic theology, while probably not unknown in Islam, is not developed nearly to the extent that it is in Christianity.

The end result is that Muslims will apply this approach to the Bible as well, thus taking a completely different approach to the text than is taken by a Christian. Muslims will not approach different passages in the Bible in an integrative sense. They will look for simple, direct, declarative statements concerning theological and doctrinal matters. They will not generally take different passages which cover differing aspects of a particular doctrine, and integrate them together to form a fuller picture of the doctrine (the "many facets of the same gem" approach). One incidental outcome of this approach is that Muslims will often times believe that they have found various "contradictions" in the Bible, but the contradiction only exists because two statements which may touch relatedly upon a matter do not say the exact same thing (note also, atheists and "freethinkers" are often guilty of the same). The Quranic repetition may result in several ayat saying the exact same thing. That the Bible does not do this is viewed as "contradictory", even though the challenged passages do not logically exclude one another.

Getting back to the matter at hand, we see that because of this lack of approaching the Biblical theology systematically, Muslims fail to see the many statements in the New Testament in which the Trinity is clearly seen, even if not *expressly* stated as such. Mr. Tariq's questions focuses on the fact that the word "Trinity" does not appear in the Bible. He thus exhibits what I have been talking about above. Likewise, the questions pertaining to whether the early 1st century Christians would have believed the Trinity because they did not hear the terminology of "one in three and three in one" from Jesus' lips betokens the same approach. Mr. Tariq assumes that the use of this specific term from Jesus is necessary before it can be said that Jesus "taught the Trinity". The Trinity does appear in the Bible, is clearly taught in the Bible, but because the TERM does not appear in the Bible, he mistakenly assumes that this means that the Bible does not "really" teach the Trinity. However, the doctrine is apparent when the passages pertaining to the disposition of the Godhead are synthesised, as done below.

Let us keep in mind that when the Bible speaks of Jesus' Deity, this is an implicit argument for the Trinity, since to say that Jesus is co-equal with God (the only meaningful idea of true Deity within the Biblical framework) is to implicitly argue for the Trinitarian doctrine (when we include the personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit, a matter for discussion at another time). The issue of Jesus' Deity and Sonship will be addressed in questions further down, where we will see that Jesus indeed did make claims to being God, in various ways.

Concerning what the Lord Jesus Christ directly taught about the Trinity, we will look to Matthew 28:19,

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

Though this scripture is in Greek, we must recognise that it was spoken to Jews (likely in Aramaic or Hebrew), who all were raised in the Jewish cultural milieu, and is recorded in the most Jewish of the four Gospels. When Jesus commands His disciples to go and evangelise the world and to baptise new converts in the name (singular) of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, He is essentially teaching the Trinity. Three Persons who yet share ONE name. To the Jews, the idea of "name", coming from the import of the Hebrew word sheym, extended far beyond a mere word used to identify a person. A person's "name" was their reputation, renown, charactre, etc. To intimate that the Father, Son, and Spirit share one name is to argue that they were all of one charactre and being. Hence, three Persons with one glory and renown, in essence, the Trinity.

So, yes, we can say that Jesus did teach one God existing as three separate Persons - the Trinity. Even if He did not use that word per se, the concept and practical demonstration of it is found in the Scripture.

Q.8: All mankind believe in Mathematics, but all mankind don't believe in trinity. Can Trinity (1+1+1=1) be proved by Mathematics?

I have yet to discover exactly where it was that Muslims got this particular objection, or why they think it will be a good argument to use against the Trinity. The question seems to stem from the typical Muslim misunderstanding of the Trinity as tritheistic in nature, a misinterpretation which was dealt with above. The Muslim, who mistakenly thinks that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are three separate Gods, then of course thinks that Christians are saying that three Gods are one God, and thus, believe that they have uncovered a very simple logical error on the Christians' part.

However, I have never seen a Christian teach the Trinity this way, and indeed, the argument seems to be a straw man used by Muslims. They build an obviously refutable argument which they attribute to Christians, refute it, and believe that they have "disproved" the Trinity.

Now, I would look somewhat askance at the notion that God could be defined mathematically, since mathematics is an artifice developed BY man to help him sort the world around him into logical order. God, who transcends the created world and is not knowable to man beyond what He has revealed to us, certainly cannot be contained in a mathematical equation. Mr. Tariq, of all people, ought to know this, considering the Islamic view of Allah is that he is a remote, highly transcendent deity. If we wish to define Allah as 1=1, would Mr. Tariq accept this as Allah being proven by mathematics? Would Mr. Tariq accept the notion that Allah can be defined and demonstrated by the mere human development of mathematics?

But, if we wish to rely upon mathematical illustration of the Trinity, then 1*1*1=1 would be more appropriate than the Islamic straw man presented in Mr. Tariq's question. This equation would take into account the TRUE trinitarian teaching about the Godhead, not a falsely attributed one. This equation would reflect the trinitarian teaching of the contiguity of all three Persons of the Godhead in their fundamental essence, name, charactre, reputation, etc. In other words, when we are speaking of God's underlying, foundational being, all three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, share this nature and essence equally and fully. Thus, each one is FULLY God (i.e. "1"), and all three of them are God to the same extent. Thus, they would each "overlay" completely perfectly. A crude illustration (keeping in mind that it is not a perfect illustration) of this might be if you were to overlay three completely alike pieces of paper onto each other, so that they would appear as only one piece. The Godhead is not viewed by Christians as "adding a third here, a third there", it is rather all three Persons being completely alike and united in their essence as God, differing only in the external, non-essential type of manifestations that God has chosen to manifest Himself as.

Q.10: Did Jesus teach that "Trinity is beyond human understanding" so that people to accept it without arguments and examples?

I am not sure as to where Mr. Tariq has gotten this argument, since I have not really heard any Christians make this claim, at least for the reason given by Mr. Tariq. Indeed, the Bible commands and commends Christians to take exactly the opposite approach to matters of faith and practice. Far from being told to accept doctrines taught from the Scriptures without thinking about them, Christians are told to approach the Scriptures with an open heart AND an active mind.

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

"And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures....And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks." (Acts 17:2, 18:4)

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11)

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:15)

As such, the suggestion that Christians are taught to blindly accept the Scriptures without seeking to understand them and apply them is a meritless argument. Further, the way the question is phrased seems to suggest that it is a statement designed to provide a straw man for Muslims. Instead of dealing with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity in a manner which approaches the issue reasonably, the Muslim will simply say that Christians accept the doctrine "without thinking about it" and use that as his rationale for rejecting what Christianity teaches, despite the fact that this rationale is generally not true.

Now, one *would* expect that like any other doctrine about God, the Trinity would not be entirely understandable by human faculties. This argument could be made on the simple premise that God, who is infinite, cannot be fully and completely comprehended by finite creatures such as we are. However, this sort of argument (probably common to ANY theists) is as easily reflected in the Islamic approach to God's nature and knowability, even more so, in fact, since the Allah of Islam is viewed as much more intranscendent than the personal God of the Bible. Hence, Mr. Tariq has little room to complain about the simple acknowledgement on the part of Christians that the Trinity doctrine IS conceptually difficult and not completely understandable by human minds.

Q.11: Christians assert that Jesus claimed to be God when they quote him in John 14:9: "He that has seen me has seen the Father". Didn’t Jesus clearly say that people have never seen God, as it says in John 5:37: "And the father himself which Has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have NEITHER HEARD HIS VOICE AT ANY TIME NOR SEEN HIS SHAPE". Therefore, Can any body see God?

There is no problem for a Christian to accept both John 5:37 and John 14:9 as complementary truths. The demonstration of this, however, requires two parts to the answer.

First, let us look at the aspect which Mr. Tariq seems to be primarily focusing on, which is the matter of directly experiencing God in the sense of seeing and hearing Him. We should note that in 5:37, Jesus speaks of the FATHER specifically as having never been seen or heard by those in His audience. Because Christians understand both the Father and the Son to be equally God, the issue with this verse is NOT one of whether or not anyone has seen *God* or not. Jesus speaks of the Father having been seen, and this is not exactly the same as speaking of GOD being seen. The Father is God and has not been seen, but Jesus Christ ALSO is God, and HAS been seen. When Jesus, in 14:9, says that the one who has seen Him has seen the Father, He is speaking figuratively in the sense that one who has seen Jesus has seen the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and since the Father and the Son are co-equal in every essential way, to see one (Jesus) is to have, for all intents and purposes, seen the other. This verse need not be understood in the wooden way that Mr. Tariq approaches it, and indeed, the context precludes that approach.

Now, let us look at the other aspect of answering this question. From what I have said above, one may then be tempted to say that there is a contradiction between John 5:37, which says that Jesus' audience had not heard the Father's voice, and Matthew 3:17, where we see that the Father is represented as an audible voice from out of heaven. We need to remember the context of this passage in John, and who was the audience listening to Jesus in John 5. In context, we see that Jesus statement is part of a discourse which He is giving to a hostile audience, a group of Jewish leaders who had already rejected Him and His message, and were seeking to find a way to accuse Him and condemn Him to death. This being said, we should note a couple of things pertinent to our question. One, when Jesus tells His audience that they had not heard the Father's voice, He may well be simply meaning THOSE PARTICULAR INDIVIDUALS, none of whom would likely have been present at the baptism of Christ (when the Father spoke from heaven). Hence, for Him to say that they have not heard the Father's voice is simply a matter of fact, not necessarily anything with deeper theological import.

However, the more likely answer is to note that Jesus, here too (as was seen above), was speaking figuratively. When He tells His audience, "Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape", He is speaking about the deafness of their SPIRITUAL ears. Jesus had already told them that the message He brought to them was from the Father (vv. 19,30,36, etc.). By refusing to "hear" His words, in the sense of RECEIVING or ACCEPTING them, they were essentially not "hearing" the Father. That this meaning is at least primarily what Jesus meant is shown in the very next verse, "And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not." The Son, who brought the Words from the Father, was not believed by His audience, hence, they did not spiritually "hear" these Word of the Father. Hence, there is no real conflict between these verses, certainly none that precludes Jesus from being God, just as the Jews in John 5:17-18 well understood Him to be claiming.

Q.12: Christians believe that the Holy Spirit dictates what Christian should do, yet Christians commit sins and make mistakes. Christians do not work as a robot in claimed presence of Holy Spirit. Many Christians have converted to other religions and have adopted atheism. Are they told to do that by the Holy Spirit?

This questions actually engenders TWO misconceptions on the part of the Muslim which render the question misguided.

First, we must understand that the question rests upon the mistaken (though common) belief of Muslims that anybody who is a Westerner and anybody who *claims* to be a Christian, necessarily is a Christian. However, this is nowhere near the truth. It must be understood that the Bible is very explicit about what a Christian is and is not. A person is not a Christian unless they have put their full and complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Saviour, to the exclusion of ALL other things upon which to trust. A person who believes that they are saved because they have been baptised is not a Christian. Same for a person who believes that they will be going to heaven because they are a "good person", because they are a member of a church, because they give money to the poor or to religious bodies, because they take communion, the mass, or any other religious ritual.

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy, by the washing and regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus 3:5)

As exclusionary as the teaching may be, Muslims need to realise that those people claiming to be Christians who trust in something else besides Christ, or who try to add something to simple faith in Christ, are NOT CHRISTIANS. This necessarily includes Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, Roman and other Catholics (Eastern Orthodox, Malchite, etc.), and so forth. These groups are termed "pseudo-Christian" because they use a lot of similar terminology and often have similar doctrines to Biblical Christianity in many areas. Yet, they differ from Biblical religion in that they reject salvation by faith through God's grace, implicitly if not explicitly.

Jesus Himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.

Now, it must then be understood that only those who are genuinely born again (i.e. true Christians) have the Spirit of God dwelling in them, for the Spirit is the seal and earnest of a person's salvation. The Holy Spirit does not reside in and indwell a person who is not truly saved. Hence, the actions of an unsaved religious person cannot be rightly attributed to the Holy Spirit. If a person who was formerly a Catholic rejects that religion and becomes an atheist, then the Holy Spirit cannot be blamed for that person's infidelity, as that person never had the Spirit in them in the first place.

Indeed, a person may claim to be saved, and may even make a profession of faith, but as Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." A person claiming to be saved who then rejects their former profession shows only that they never were a true Christian in the first place, this being shown by their fruit.

Further, Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit *dictates* what a believer does. The Holy Spirit guides, but man also has free will to choose whether he will respond to that guidance or will instead sin. This is amply demonstrated in Romans 7, where Paul writes about the struggle in his own flesh, where he wants to do right, but at the same time is tempted through the flesh to do wrong.

This aspect of the question likely stems from the Muslim sense of extreme hyper-predestinationalism, in which anything and everything that happens is viewed as the will of Allah. Allah in the Qur'an is presented as directing people to do whatever they do (Surah 37:96) and even as willing some to enter his mercy while others are willed to hell (Surah 76:29-31), all of this presumably based upon the actions they did in life. Even when people sin, this could be considered as being at the direction of Allah, if for no other reason than so that Allah can punish that person. Hence, it is natural that a Muslim raised in the theology of fatalism and predestinationalism will believe that a Christian who sins does so at the direction of God (as the Holy Spirit). However, this view is in error, as seen above.

Q.13: There is only one version of Quran which is memorized by Muslims word by word with correct pronounciation of the original language in which it was revealed. If Christians believe that the Holy Spirit comes and talks to them everyday, then Do Christians ask the Holy Spirit about which version of the Bible to follow since there are too many versions floating around?

Addressing the issue of there being "only one version" of the Qur'an, unchanged since it was given to Mohammed, it is manifestly obvious that this claim is simply not true. Indeed, investigations into the early history of the Qur'an, using the sparse manuscriptual evidence available, shows that there have been changes in the Arabic Quranic text. Indeed, a whole book full of differences in the Arabic Qur'an between various "transmissions" of the Qur'an have been compiled by Samuel Green.

If Mr. Tariq wishes to ask questions about which version a person should use, he first needs to look to his own house. Most Muslims in the world do not know Arabic. Though they may hear the Qur'an recited in mosque in Arabic, this does not mean they understand what they are hearing. Many pious Muslims may even memorise the Qur'an in Arabic for recitation, but not necessarily understand, or at least fully understand, what they are memorising. As such, most Muslims must use translations of the Qur'an into their native languages. However, orthodox Islamic teaching states that, once the Qur'an is translated out of Arabic into another language, it ceases to "truly" be the Qur'an, since there is the admixture of man's thoughts inherent as part of the translation process. Hence, to read the Qur'an in English, or French, or Urdu, or Malay is to not "really" be reading the Qur'an, but instead a translation which may have some admixture of the translator's own thoughts and ideas.

For Christians, however, this matter of translation is not considered an issue. Yes, it is of course possible for translations of the Bible out of the original languages to be corrupted (see my essay about the evidences for Gnostic corruptions in the New International Version as an example of this). However, it does not then logically follow that this MUST be the case every time the Bible is translated out of the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. Christian scholarship does not view the act of translation itself as necessarily introducing corruption into the text.

Indeed, the original language texts of the Bible which we have available quite clearly demonstrate the preservation of the Bible, that despite the thousands of years of time that has passed, God has miraculously preserved the full and complete readings of the Bible as was had in the original autographs. There are over 5300 copies of the New Testament in Greek, and roughly 20,000 other manuscripts of the New Testament in other early versions (i.e. Syriac, Old Latin, Armenian, mostly in the Latin Vulgate). These manuscripts, when they are taken together, demonstrate a remarkable uniformity in their readings, showing that the text has been preserved for use even today. The same can be said for the Old Testament texts. The Hebrew manuscripts that have transmitted the Old Testament to use today were copied by the Masoretes, who were very rigourous in their work of preserving the EXACT copying of a mother manuscript to the daughter. Indeed, the Hebrew Masoretic text used to translate Bibles today is practically identical to the Masoretic mss. found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, from over 2200 years ago.

Thus, Christians have, in the aggregate of the manuscripts as well as other evidences (such as the quotations of early patristic writers, showing us what the Bibles they used said), assurance that the word of God has been preserved, just as God promised it would be (Psalm 12:7, Isaiah 40:6, Luke 16:17, etc.). The texts are available to make a translation which is perfectly faithful to the originals, as long as the tiny amount of "critical" texts which differ from the rest of the manuscripts are not relied upon. As the King James is the only English version in use which relies upon the 99+% of manuscripts which are in general agreement with one another, the King James is the translation in English which can rightly be called the preserved word of God, and the same could be said for Bibles in other languages which are translated from the Textus Receptus/Byzantine form of Greek manuscripts and the Masoretic Hebrew mss.

And even the versions based upon the flawed "critical" texts are largely in agreement with the KJV and the TR/Masoretic. However, the issue of Christians having to choose between versions really is moot, since the presence of different versions is not, in and of itself, indicative of disagreement between them. And if the KJV is used, the issue becomes completely moot for the Christian.

THE DOCTRINE OF THE DIVINE SONSHIP OF JESUS

Q.16: Israel is firstborn of God in Exodus Ch4 V22. Ephraim is the firstborn of God in Jeremiah Ch 31 V9. David is begotten son of God in Psalm Ch 2 V7. Jesus was "begotten" from womb of Mary. Is Jesus "the only begotten" (John Ch 3 V16) son of God?

Mr. Tariq's question fails to recognise the dichotomy between an adopted son and a begotten son.

In the Bible, it should be noted that the term "firstborn" in many instances refers to someone being the inheritor of a man, even if this inheritor is not the literal first legitimate child had by the man. We see this principle illustrated in the life of Abraham. While Sarah was yet barren, Abram questions God concerning the promise of an heir,

"After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, LORD God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir." (Genesis 15:1-4)

Note, Abram says two things - He had no natural son of his own yet (no seed) and that Eliezer of Damascus (likely a servant born to servants had by Abram while he was in Haran in Padan-Aram, cf. v.3) was his inheritor. In fact, the Nuzi tablets, ancient documents from a site in ancient Mesopotamia which date to the period in which Abraham lived, indicate that it was the practice in ancient Near East cultures that if a couple were childless, they could adopt a freeman or a slave as their inheritor, who would bury them and inherit their belongings. In this sense, then, Eliezer could be (and was) legally considered to be the "firstborn" of Abram, even though he was a "firstborn" through adoption. Another example of this sort would be the adoption of Moses by Pharaoh's daughter in Exodus 2:10. We know that Moses himself, as a result of this adoption, stood in line to be the Pharaoh of Egypt as a result of this adoption, even though he was not of the blood of Pharaoh's line.

Thus, when God states that Israel is his firstborn (Ephraim being another name for the same), we can see that this same sort of thing is going on. God chose Israel, from among all the nations of the earth, to be His peculiar people, as we are told in Deuteronomy 14:1-2,

"Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth."

What we see in these two verses is God's adoption to Himself of Israel. Israel was to be the beneficiary of God's blessings and to be separated to God as His children because He had chosen them. Their position as sons to God was the result of His choosing them, adopting them. This is the key to interpreting the statements of Exodus 4:22 and Jeremiah 31:9 given by Mr. Tariq above.

Now, concerning the nature of Christ's Sonship, we see that it is of a fundamentally different nature. As intimated above, there are two ways in which someone can be considered the "son" of someone - through adoption or through natural kinship. Christ is not the Son of God through adoption, but He is the Son through natural kinship, though of course not of the sort known by man.

In John 8:42, Jesus tells us the nature of His filial relationship to the Father,

"Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me."

The word "proceeded" is translated from the Greek word exerchomai, a verb meaning "to come out of, come away from, come forth from". The idea in the usage here is that Jesus literally came from the Father Himself, that He was a "part" of the Father (minding the crudity of usage of that term). The facts of Jesus' Sonship as heir and His Sonship by kinship with the Father is shown in Hebrews 1:2-3,

"Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."

This passage states that Jesus is "brightness of his glory" and "the express image of his person", these referring back to the "God" in verse 1. When these scriptural statements are synthesised, this all tells us that Christ is Son and heir, yet also the Creator and holder of the same glory as God the Father, which means He has to BE God.

We see hints in the Old Testament which speak of the fact that God has a Son. The Proverbist asks the rhetorical question about God, "Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?" (Proverbs 30:4). The parallel structure of the last clause suggests that the name of the father and the son are the same name. Keeping in mind the full meaning of the Hebrew sheym "name", this passage is telling us that this son shares the same charactre, renown, glory, and reputation as God. He is God's Son, and yet IS God at the same time, for no other can share God's glory but God alone (cf. Isaiah 42:8).

Further, we see that the very passage mentioned above by Mr. Tariq, Psalm 2:7, testifies to the divine nature of the Son. We see that this passage, in its context, cannot refer to David. David never possessed, nor will possess, the uttermost parts of the earth (v. 8). This is something that will only be fulfilled by the Messiah (cf. Psalm 72:8, Daniel 7:13-14), and only at His second advent (cf. Isaiah 61:2, Luke 4:18-21). Further, we do not see anywhere that God tells us to put our trust in any man (just the opposite in fact, see e.g. Isa. 31:1, Jer. 17:5), yet Psalm 2:12 tells us to put our trust in the Son, which again indicates that the Son IS God.

What the Bible essentially teaches about the Son of God is that He was eternally preexistent. He was there before the creation of the world, and it was He through whom the world was created. Jesus' teaching on His procession from the Father indicates to us that He came forth from the Father AS a manifestation of God Himself, not by a carnal or sexual means (which would not be supported by the use of exerchomai anywise) as Muslims imagine, but by the sovereign decision of God to manifest Himself in the form of the Son to the Father for His dealings with mankind (see the section on ontological equality versus positional subordination below).

Hence, the Sonship of Christ, and the sonship ascribed to Israel of two different charactres, as are shown by the textual and cultural contexts of the relevant passages.

Q.14: If it was agreeable with God’s Majesty to have sons, He could have created a million sons the like of Jesus. Is there a big clear deal about this only son Jesus?

Q.15: A man 50 years old can be father of many children. The Age of God is infinite. Did God become father of only one son in this infinite age?

In dealing with these two questions, we come across one of the most persistent Muslim misunderstandings about Christian doctrine. When Christians speak of Christ as the "Son of God", Muslim interpret this statement quite literally, taking it to mean that God literally had a consort through whom He bore a son in the same sense as we would speak of humans doing. Their reason for doing so stems primarily from the Quranic verse below, the very language of which is reflected in Mr. Tariq's question #14,

"And Exalted is the Majesty of our Lord: He has taken neither a wife nor a son." (Surah 72:3)

This statement in the Qur'an is likely a polemical attack, not so much against Christianity, but against the pre-Islamic belief at Mecca in which Allah was a deity who had three daughters, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat.

"And they assign daughters for Allah! - Glory be to Him! - and for themselves (sons,- the issue) they desire!" (Surah 16:57, Yusuf Ali translation)

These daughters are later named in Surah 53:19-20. Thus, we see from these passages, as has also been found in archaeological evidence from Arabia, that before Islam arose, Allah was a deity who had three daughters in the mythology of the ancient Arabs. Indeed, we should note that the Qur'an seems to be offended by the idea of men ascribing daughters to Allah, not because of the ascription itself, but because of the fact that they are daughters. Note again Surah 16:57 above. The Qur'an also makes the statements, which seem to be an indication of some adoptionist tendencies on the part of the pre-Islamic pagans with regards to Allah and his daughters.

"Has then your Lord (O Pagans!) preferred for you sons, and taken for Himself daughters among the angels? Truly ye utter a most dreadful saying!" (Surah 17:40, Yusuf Ali translation)

Thus, it seems the Qur'an is teaching that the pagans believed Allah adopted his daughters from among the angels (see also Surat 43:16, 52:39) and the offence seems to stem from these angels being daughters, rather than sons (which the pagan Arabians preferred to have over daughters). However, we also know that in many ancient Near Eastern societies, the goddess Allat was paired with a male consort and was the mother of three daughters. Obviously, as one goes from culture to culture, there will be some transposition and telescoping of the mythologies, but this pairing of Allat (sometimes with a god specifically called "Allah", sometimes not) and the production of daughters who are then associated with astral bodies such as the moon and stars, was a common religious feature in pre-Islamic Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East. The fact that the Qur'an addresses this very issue indicates that the authors of the Qur'an had to deal with the remnants of this paganism, and produced these verses as a polemic against it.

Whether by adoption or by sexual procreation with a consort, neither of these concepts apply to the Sonship of Jesus Christ as it is depicted in the Bible. The Hebrew word (yalad) translated as "begotten", in Psalm 2:7 for instance, is a general word that can mean simply the idea of having a lineage from or to have come from, not necessarily just the idea of producing a child by sexual relations. Indeed, this is shown in Job 38:28,

Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?

This word "begotten" is the same word yalad. Obviously, nobody has "begotten" drops of dew via sexual relations. The same sort of general meaning is had for the Greek gennao used in the New Testament. It can mean to procreate, but this is not the only meaning, and it can also mean simply to bring something or someone forth. Just which meaning of both of these words is meant can be garnered (because gennao is used to translate the yalad from Psalm 2:7 in Hebrews 1:5) from Jesus' teachings about His procession from the Father, expounded in more detail above.

As such, this particular Muslim argument against the Christian doctrine of Christ's Sonship, based as it is upon a flawed premise (that Christ the Son is so because of God having a consort and engaging in sexual procreation), does not really address the true theological basis of the doctrine. As such, the argument per se is pretty much irrelevant for trying to convince Christians of the "baseness" (as opposed to the majesty) of their view of the relationship between the Father and the Son.

Q.18: Did Jesus claim in Bible to be son of first part of Triune God?

Q.19: Did Jesus explain in Bible with arguments his sonship of first part of Triune God?

Yes he did. In John 5:17, Jesus said, "But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." By calling God His Father, He was essentially stating that He was the Son of God. This was well understood by His Jewish audience, since in the very next verse they sought to kill Him for what He said, and the reason given is explicitly because He claimed God as His Father, thus making Himself equal with God (v. 18). Further down in the chapter, Jesus says in reference to Himself, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live" (v. 25).

Further, as seen above, when Jesus claimed to have proceeded from the Father, He was essentially making a claim to having been a manifestation of God Himself, which was an essential part of the Sonship of God depicted in the Old Testament.

THE DOCTRINE OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST

Q.20: If God appears in form of a finite man (Jesus), Can it be infinite God?

Q.21: According to most Christians, Jesus was God-incarnate, full man and full God. Can the finite (man) and the infinite (God) be one?

Q.22: "To be full" God means freedom from finite forms and from helplessness, and to be "full man" means the absence of divinity. Can Jesus be "full God" and "full Man" at the same time?

Q.23: Did Jesus teach and explain that "I am God and Man at the same time"?

These questions are based upon misunderstandings about Christian Christology. Also, they rest upon limitations which Muslims themselves place upon God through their peculiar conception of deity. Specifically, these questions (and indeed the entire Muslim objection to the doctrine of the Trinity) are asked because Muslims refuse to recognise that God can sovereignly determine for Himself how He will manifest Himself to His creatures. This deficiency in Muslim theology comes largely from the fact that Islam views Allah as being almost completely intranscendent. Allah is separated from his created works (though not, as we shall see later, from sin or wickedness) and it is viewed by Muslims as demeaning to deity to propose that God would lower Himself to make Himself into the form of one of His beings.

As I stated above, though, this sort of conception of deity is simply due to man's inability to accept that God is sovereign in how He manifests Himself to us. Muslims do not want a God who enters into creation and interacts personally with man. This sort of a God makes moral demands of people *individually*, something which Muslims (as with all lost sinners) are not comfortable with. Muslims desire a god who stays distant, who is to be worshipped, but who does not take a personal and active interest in the life of any individual person, as that would then cause that person to have to come to grips with their position as debtor before God because of their sin. Thus, Muslims have invented for themselves a deity, Allah, who does just what they want him to - stays away, is not personal, but rather who is for all intents and purposes an abstraction, one who is to be feared for what may come on the Judgment Day, but who does not interfere with their individual everyday life. Allah may reveal his book to man, but he would never reveal HIMSELF.

As such, the idea that God would manifest Himself to us in the likeness of a man, to die on the cross FOR sinful man, is offensive to Muslims. It presupposes that man is sinful. It presupposes also that God is active and personal in His interactions with His creations. Thus, to get around accepting a personal God, Muslims LIMIT what God can do with Himself, as if He would not be able to perform that which they would like not for Him to perform.

One of the most common arguments one hears against the Trinity from Muslims is that it is somehow "illogical" or "impossible" for God to be a Trinity (with the reasoning usually left somewhat "open-ended"). Yet, we have to remember that if we are dealing with God, we are dealing with a Being who is INFINITELY powerful and OMNIPOTENT. Speaking from the standpoint of logic or possibility, why can God not manifest Himself to us, at His own choice, in three PERSONS, who all are yet God and share the same Deitic essence? Is God limited, that He cannot make Himself appear in three different forms which all remain Him? Of course not. Simply from the standpoint of God's omnipotence, Muslim argumentation against the Trinity on the basis of its "illogic" or "impossibility" do nothing but demonstrate that Muslims do not view God to be omnipotent, since they obviously think that God is not capable of doing what they do not want Him to be viewed as doing. Hence, they limit God.

Now, to address one of the points of the set of questions above, we note that Mr. Tariq seems to think that it is an issue that Christ was limited by the fact that He was in the form of a man. This somehow, in Mr. Tariq's theology, means that Christ could not have been fully God, for if He was, then He would not be limited.

This argument is nonsensical on its face. First, we must understand that God is certainly both CAPABLE and WILLING to voluntarily limit the extent to which His capacities (as opposed to His essential traits) are exercised. In other words, God can choose not to exercise the full extent of any of the powers which He has to cause changes in His creation. It is fallacious to suppose that a FINITE manifestation of God's powers necessarily reduces God from the status of INFINITE. If God's power were exercised infinitely in the created world, then the created world would cease to exist, being destroyed by His infinite power. As such, whenever God exercised Himself in some means in the created world, He is de facto limiting the extent to which His power is utilised.

Now we come to the question of Christ, and His manifestation of human frailties and weaknesses while on the earth in human flesh. This is simply also a matter of God choosing not to exercise the full extent of His capabilities or powers. Christ voluntarily choose not to use many of His abilities which He had as God (a process known as the kenosis),

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2:5-7)

Thus, the Bible tells us that though Christ "thought it not robbery" (i.e. did not feel it was fraudulent) to be equal with God (which would mean He IS God), He yet made Himself of no reputation, taking on the form of man. This is God as Christ choosing to limit Himself specifically for the purpose of taking on the form of man and entering in to serve as man's Saviour.

None of this means that Christ did not HAVE all the attributes of God. He could choose to exercise His abilities as God when He chose. He could read minds. He could forgive sins. He demonstrated extraordinary control over nature and natural processes. Christ even exhibited the Deitic trait of omnipresence (John 3:13), whereby while He was standing on earth as a man, He yet was also in heaven at the same time. Most importantly, He had complete control over life and death, including His own for mankind. The Bible says (John 19:30) that Christ exercised the choice as to when He died while hanging on the cross. Further, He, as God, also gave Himself back His life and rose from the dead, completely and utterly defeating death, both for Himself and all who will trust on Him unto eternal life.

As such, Mr. Tariq's questions do not present any problem for believing that Christ is God, and that He manifested Himself to us having the dual nature of both man and God. Rather, the questions are predicated upon false and illogical philosophical assumptions about God's nature and abilities.

Q.24: Is God three-in-one and one-in-three simultaneously?

Q.25: If God is three and one at the same time, Does it mean that second member of Triune God was alive, and did not die, within three days between the claimed crucifixion and the claimed resurrection?

Q.26: If second member of Triune God was alive, and did not die, within three days between the claimed crucifixion and the claimed resurrection, then Is it SACRIFICE by death and blood of Jesus?

Q.27: If God is not three and one at the same time, Were there two Gods (Father and Holy Spirit) in Heaven within three days between the claimed crucifixion and the claimed resurrection?

Q.28: If God is three and one at the same time. Then does it mean that if second member dies, all three members also should die at the same time?

Q.29: If second part of Triune God dies for three days, Can Triune God be perfect God all over the time?

Q.30: If God Jesus (or second part of God) dies for three days and three nights, Can it be eternally immortal God?

These questions, as well, are largely based upon the failure of Muslims to understand the idea that God can VOLUNTARILY choose to limit Himself in His abilities and actions, especially when dealing with His finite creations. Muslims confuse the voluntarily action on God's part of limiting His abilities with the NECESSITY of limited abilities meaning that God is in His capacity limited. Just because God chooses to not exercise His powers to the fullest does NOT mean that He CANNOT do so. Likewise, just because God as Jesus Christ chose not to exercise His full capacities as God, does not mean that He did not HAVE these powers and abilities. This is explored more fully in the previous response.

These questions also demonstrate, again, the typical Muslim failure to understand what the Trinity actually *is*. The questions all belie the usual mistake of thinking that the Father, Son, and Spirit are separate Gods, or "parts" of God who each make up a third of the "total" God.

However, the Trinity is simply God manifesting Himself to us in three different ways. As seen above, there is certainly no room for considering an omnipotent God to be incapable of doing this. But let us look at a short example to try to explain the concept of God being ONE in essence, yet THREE in person.

Let us imagine that we have a river flowing through a certain region. Now, this river at a certain point is separated into three distinct channels. One of the channels may flow through a waterwheel, driving a mill. The second channel goes through a hydroelectric dam, turning the turbine to generate energy. The third channel flows into a lake, filling the lake, with the outflow then going on downstream as the river. At some point on downstream, the three channels flow back together, forming one flow. This is a crude picture of the Trinity. The river has ONE essence - water. When the river is split into three channels, all three STILL have this same essence, they are all water. Each of the three channels may perform a different function, but they are all the same essence. All three of the channels together are the river. The river does not lose any of its being, and all three channels are thoroughly connected to the each other by the fact that they are in flow throughout their lengths, back to where they split off, and forward to where they join together. The channels all are of the same essence (God), but each takes on a different manifestation to those who are benefited by the river (three "Persons").

Now, to address some of the questions, when Christ died, this did not mean that He was completely separated from the Father and the Spirit. His *human* nature was, thus enduring a *temporary* separation from the Father, during which He took upon Himself man's natural alienation from God. As the one who bore our sins, and to whom the sins of mankind were being laid upon, Christ's humanity was alienated from God. However, as noted above, Christ also was God by nature, and was omnipresent (John 3:13, "even the Son of Man which IS in heaven). Hence, this other side of His being, His God nature, was not separated from the Godhead. Indeed, the fact that Christ rose from the dead also shows that the alienation of His humanity from God was only temporary.

Q.17: Holy Spirit is not father of Jesus. Jesus is not father of himself. Jesus is not Son of Holy Spirit, Jesus is not Son of his ownself, therefore, Is Jesus Son of first part of Triune God?

Q.31: According to John Ch 14 V28, Jesus said: "my Father is greater than I." Father is always greater in age than Son. Is Jesus "fully" God in every respect? (like father)

Q.32: If Jesus is not "fully" God like father, then Jesus is incomplete and imperfect God. Can God be incomplete and imperfect?

These questions derive from the failure on the part of Muslims to understand the difference between positional subordination and ontological equality. Muslims come across verses like John 14:28 and think "Aha! We've got them now!". If Jesus said that the Father was greater than He, this obviously means that Jesus could not BE God, since that require Him to be equal with God, right? This line of thinking stems from an inadequate familiarity with the text, and from not systematically approaching what the entire Bible says on the subject. As such, Muslims who pull John 14:28 out of context to try to claim that it "shows" that Jesus admitted to not being God are guilty of proof-texting.

Indeed, we must realise that while Jesus said that the Father was greater than He, He also said in John 10:30, "I and my Father are one." How are these two statements to be reconciled? By looking at the context of each statement, and understanding that in each place, Jesus was speaking of a different sort of comparison. Let us begin by looking at John 10:28-30 in its context,

"And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." (John 10:23-30)

Implicit in this passage is the ontological, or essential, equality of The Father and the Son. Jesus tells His questioners that He had come to do His works in His Father's name. Thus, He is saying that He was acting as the agent through which the Father worked. However, instead of suggesting for Himself some role as a secondary intermediary or true subordinate (as proposed by Arians), Jesus continues on and affirms that the authority of His works and His claims are on par with the Father's by stating in vv. 28-29 essentially the same proposition for both Himself and the Father. He states His own ability to give eternal life to those who believe on Him, and subsequently affirms His ability to preserve those who are in Him, saying that they shall never perish not be plucked out of His hand. Jesus then attributes the same preserving efficacy to His Father.

As with the case of John 14:28ff (which will be seen below), the passage here actually gives clues to BOTH aspects, essential and positional, of the relationship between Christ and the Father. In John 14, the passage under question emphasises the positional relation, while the one in John 10 addresses the essential. Verses 28 and 29 show us the functional differences between the Father and the Son, with the Son being the agent THROUGH whom eternal life is given, while the Father is the one FROM whom this life is given. Yet, despite these functional differences, the Father and the Son partake of the same preservation of that eternal life for the believer who has trusted on Christ unto salvation. BOTH retain the same ability to completely preserve the believer, and neither can ever be forced or induced to "lose" a believing saint. In our passage, we should understand that the word "man" in both verses is italicised, indicating they are not in the Greek text. This needs mentioning to allay the possible Arian argument that these verses are merely speaking of MEN causing a believer to be lost, and that both God and the created Jesus would still each be strong enough to preserve believers from the assaults of mere men. However, the "man" in each verse is not in the original text, and as such, each statement is affirming that NO ONE can take a believer from either the Father or the Son, not EVEN the Father or the Son. The Father, implicitly, cannot pluck a believer out of the Son's hand, nor vice versa. The Father is greater than all, but the only way that the Father can be greater than all, and yet still be unable to pluck believers from the hands of the Son is if the Son and the Father are the SAME in power, and by extension, in essential being and deitic charactre. Thus, the juxtaposition of these verses presents an argument in favour of the ontological equality of the Father and the Son. Indeed, this then suggests the reality of both the Father and the Son as YHWH,

"Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear." (Isaiah 59:1)

The LORD (YHWH in the Hebrew text) is completely able to save (which involves the preservation of the believer, not just the justification), His hand is not weakened so as to be able to do this. This is reflected in John 10:28-29 with both the Father and the Son exhibiting this complete saving and preserving ability of YHWH.

Getting to verse 30, we see that this argument is buttressed by a very explicit statement, "I and my Father are one". Jesus has just finished expounding on an aspect of the Father and the Son's abilities which points to their essential equality. He now supports His claim by a statement arguing their essential UNITY. The Father and the Son are one Deity. They are equal in their power, and hence are equal and united in their being. Arians and other unitarians will argue that this statement is merely one of unity in purpose or design. This argument falls short because we must realise that if one were to have complete unity of purpose and design with God, one would have to BE God, since the Scripture is very clear that all of creation is under the curse of sin (which would, presumably, include any "created" god as the Arians envision Jesus to be). Therefore any other being besides God is under the curse of sin and cannot be in complete and total accord with God's purposes and plans. Sinful selfishness will enter in at some point, bringing disaccord between the said being and God at some point, destroying complete unity. Far from being an argument AGAINST the Deity of Christ, to state that Christ was in such complete accord with the Father in His purpose and plans as to be said to BE one with the Father is strong evidence FOR His Deity. This accord between the Father and the Son is explored in greater detail in the Tektonics article, Jesus: God's Wisdom.

Something to note here, before moving on to John 14, is that this statement of Christ's cannot be interpreted modalistically. Modalism teaches that God manifested Himself as the three Persons of the Godhead, but did so sequentially, so that He was never more than one of them at a time, or sometimes that all three Persons were merely titles given to God's one Person, as such making modalism a form of unitarianism. Thus modalists would say that the Father and the Son were one because they were only different ways of referring to the ONE person, called either the Father or the Son. This is not a valid interpretation as the neuter gender of the "one" in the Greek rules out their being one *person*.

Now, looking at John 14, we can see that all throughout the chapter, Jesus deals with His disciples in such a way as to remind and reinforce in their minds the functional relationships between He and the Father.

"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (v. 10)

"And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (v. 13)

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever." (v. 16)

"He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." (v. 24)

"But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence." (v. 31)

In the above examples, we see Christ acting as the intermediary between man and the Father, as the agent through whom the Father's revelation is brought (as the Word), and through whom the works of the Father are performed. It is not surprising then, given this perspective which pervades through this portion of Jesus' teachings to His disciples, that Christ would make a statement such as He does in verse 28. In terms of *function*, the Father IS greater than the Son, as being the Source to the Son's Agent, the Fountain to the Son's Conduit. However, this functional difference is underlayed by the deeper reality of the essential equality between the two Persons. The one does not overrule the other. Rather, the functional differences are purposefully decreed by God as the means by which God has chosen to interact with His creations.

An example which serves to succinctly illustrate the juxtaposition of these two seemingly contrary relationships between the Father and the Son is seen in I Corinthians 11:3,

"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."
Here, we see that the Bible draws a comparison between the relationship between man and woman with the relationship between Christ and God. Paul first draws a distinction between man and Christ, beings who are on two completely different levels. Christ is clearly superior to man. Paul then states that the head of the woman is the man. Well, we know that the Scriptures teach that men and women are the same in their essential nature as human beings, and also in their spiritual standing before the Lord as born-again believers (Gal. 3:28). The headship of the man over the woman (this being implicitly understood as being within the bounds of marriage) is thus not based on any ontological difference. Men are not "essentially" or "inherently" better than women. Rather, the headship is one of functionality. The man is ordained by God to be the head of the family, to be the spiritual head of the family unit. This ordinance is based upon God's sovereign decision for it to be so, not on any "betterness" on the part of men themselves. Hence, Paul illustrates the functional relationship between man and woman. Then, he illustrates the same sort of relationship between Christ and God. The Scriptures clearly teach the ontological equality between Father and Son, but yet, the head of Christ is God. This is so in the same sense, as the construction of the passage appears to indicate, as the man is the head of the woman. Hence, God (the general term often applied to the Father) is the head of Christ, but in the sense of function or position, not in essence or being.

In John 14, Jesus even lays out some indications of his ontological equality with the Father. In John 14:1, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.", Jesus indicates that He and God the objects of the same belief and faith.

"If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.....Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" (John 14:7,9)

Jesus makes an argument in these verses similar to what we saw above in John 10, concerning His complete accord with the Father. He was so completely in unity of accord and purpose with the Father's will (remember, only possible for a sinless being, not a created creature under the curse of sin), that to see Him IS to see the Father. To see Jesus speak or act IS to see the Father speak or act.

This all being said, we must again emphasise the necessity for approaching the Scriptures holistically. One cannot simply pull a verse out of its context, ignore the testimony of the rest of Scripture, and then try to build a "gotcha" out of it, as Mr. Tariq has done. His argument ignores some important concepts about the relationship between the Father and the Son which must be understood if one is to have a right understanding of God's revelation to us about Himself.

Question #32 then becomes irrelevant as we have seen that Christ *is* fully God, of the same essence as the Father. God's sovereign choice in how He manifests Himself to us and for what purpose does not negate His essential nature and being as it is present in all three manifestations of the Godhead.

Q.33: Is Jesus SECOND member of Triune God?

Q.34: Did Jesus claim in Bible to be "SECOND member of Triune God?"

Q.35: Did Jesus explain in Bible with arguments his "SECOND membership" of Triune God?

These questions are irrelevant, as they address *terminology* which is used to describe the truth of the Trinity and Christ's deity, not *ideas* upon which these doctrines are based. The qualm here is one that is entirely semantic, and is therefore basically meaningless from a doctrinal standpoint.

Q.36: Christians consider the Old Testament as God’s Word. Christians cancel the parts of the Old Testament that dealt with punishment (example: the punishment for adultery). Christians also believe that Jesus is word of God. Does it mean that Jesus or part of Jesus also has been cancelled by Christians?

Q.71: The Sabbath is a holy day devoted to worship and pray. Christians are in trouble here. Sunday isn't the Sabbath of the God of old testament. That God, specifically and repeatedly, requires the Sabbath to begin at sundown on Friday and continue till sundown on Saturday. All Christians break this commandment every week. Did Jesus order Christians to adopt SUNDAY as Sabbath and leave Saturday?

Q.77: Circumcision is order of God to Paul, Genesis Ch17 V14, Leviticus Ch 12 V3. Jesus himself was circumcised (Luke Ch2 V21). Circumcision was later abolished by Paul (Galatians,5:2): "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing."Did Jesus ALSO order to Christians abolish and cancell CIRCUMCISION?

This question fails to recognise that the particular portions of the Old Testament in which theocratic laws (i.e. laws specifically set forth for the theocracy of Israel) are laid out were applicable only to Israel as a distinct nation with whom God was dealing during the time of Israel's occupancy of the land of promise. These specific laws, including such things as stoning for adultery and other judicial punishments, do not directly apply to believers in other eras, such as the present dispensation of the churches in which God is calling out believers from among all nations.

At the same time, the general principles of the law, based as they are in God's holiness and sovereign determination of what is right and what is wrong, are still held to the account of people in all ages. The fundamental attributes and determinations of God do not change through the ages, only His specific dealings with different groups of people at various times. Thus, we see the situation presented in Scripture where the specific laws of God handed down to Israel which would be for the purpose of governing a theocratic society are NOT to be considered binding on a Christian, though the general principle based upon God's righteousness IS, and is still the basis upon which a Christian will be judged for the righteousness of his or her own conduct before God. To take adultery as an example, the specific punishment against adultery, that of being stoned to death, was a law handed down as part of the governance of theocratic Israel. The general principle of the sinfulness of adultery, however, is still in operation, though there is no theocratic law in the Christian dispensation to hand down a punishment, since indeed, Christians do not make up a theocratic national body. For a Christian to commit adultery would still be a sin, however, as it is a violation of God's eternal principle that one man and one woman are to be joined in lifelong marriage, and that any other scheme is a violation of this original design.

Indeed, that the specific law given to govern theocratic Israel is not meant as the end all and be all of God's dealings with man is shown by Jesus Christ Himself.

"At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day. And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him." (Matthew 12:1-14)

In this passage, Jesus pointedly demonstrates that the sabbath was not made to be a bind upon man. The Bible clearly illustrates that the purpose of the sabbath day was to commemorate the seventh day of creation, when God left off from all His works of creation. The sabbath day was not designed to be the yoke upon man that the Pharisees had falsely made it into. Jesus points out that the spirit of the law is what is REALLY important, and used the examples of David's technical violation of the law, and the technical violations of the law by God's priests, as examples of how the more fundamental reality of God's eternally righteous decrees were what God is really interested in. David broke the law of Israel by taking and eating of the shewbread which was reserved for the priests only. Yet, he did so because of his need to gain strength from eating so that he might continue to do the work which God had set before him to do. Likewise, though the sabbath was set aside as a day apart from mundane labour, the priests of God always carried out their particular daily labours every day, even on the sabbath, as their service to God was the important matter. Jesus stated, "But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless", quoting Hosea 6:6 from the Old Testament.

Whereas the specific laws of Israel were given for the purpose of leading Israel to an acceptance of their Messiah when He came (a lesson which many of them did not heed), the giving of GRACE by God preceded the giving of the law. God's grace, His giving of righteousness to those who do not deserve it but yet who can freely obtain it by putting their trust in the LORD, is the basis for God's dealings with man as far as righteousness is concerned. We see that God is more concerned that people abide by this fundamental, underlying purpose of righteousness which God has ordained, than that they make some technical adherence to the laws given to Israel which may be kept by compulsion rather than by desire. We see this principle exemplified in Old Testament passages such as,

"For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalm 51:16-17)

"For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6:6)

"Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:6-8)

God desires that man freely and willingly submit to trusting in Him and then abiding by His eternal principles of righteousness. God is not pleased by technical adherence to His laws, which may be made, but yet without any true desire to do righteousness in the heart of the person keeping the law. God wants heart-felt obedience and worship, not obedience given because of a sense of compulsion.

Thus, the specific laws of God which pertained to theocratic Israel, while illustrating general and eternal truths about God's righteousness and will, are not required for righteousness for those who have trusted the LORD in their hearts and been redeemed by Him and made righteous by His grace through their faith. We should note that Paul's supposed rejection of the Law is not a disannuling of any portion of the Word of God. Rather, Paul merely illustrates in his epistles that because of the grace of God given to sinners who put their trust in the LORD, the keeping of the law is not necessary FOR obtaining salvation. Indeed, as the Bible over and over again states, no one is able to keep the whole law completely. The law itself states that a person is cursed if they do not keep the whole law (Deut. 26:27), and the New Testament merely reiterates this fact (James 2:10) while also affirming the impossibility on the part of man to actually do this (Romans 3:23).

When Paul states the inefficacy of circumcision, he is not condemning circumcision as an institution per se. Rather, he is simply illustrating all that I have said above - that the law is not capable of saving a person, and thus, for a person to put their trust in their ability to keep the law (i.e. obedience by compulsion) rather than in the LORD's grace to save them (obedience from love and desire to please God), really amounts to that person REJECTING God's grace, and thus their only means of being saved. Circumcision enters into this equation due to the specific issue involving it that Paul needed to deal with in his epistles, which was that certain Jews were demanding that Gentile believers be circumcised FOR salvation. In other words, circumcision as a part of keeping the law FOR salvation (something which even the Old Testament is against, as we have seen above) was being preached, and thus, the eternal principle of God's grace was being attacked. The underlying truth of God's righteousness was being rejected in place of superficial adherence to a rule which was originally designed by God only as a TOKEN of entering into covenant with Him. The covenant relationship of salvation was being rejected for the external SIGN of that covenant. Indeed, we see from Scripture that circumcision was ONLY a sign, and was given to Abraham as such (which was not then part of the law given specifically to Israel).

Likewise, the sabbath day, while being part of the law handed down specifically to Israel (though not rigidly delineated by the hour as Mr. Tariq implies in his question), was a signpost of a more fundamental truth of God's order, that of setting aside a day in which to remember and honour the rest that God sanctified after His work of creation. While part of the law to Israel, the sabbath is shown in Scripture to have been a general principle operating even before the time of Israel. Man has ALWAYS and nearly ONLY held to a seven-day week, at all times in history and in all societies, whether godly or heathen. Man recognised from the very time following creation, the principle of ordering the week on seven days. This law was codified for Israel. It is not, again, mechanistically binding on Christians, though the general principle of setting a day aside to honour the LORD IS. We should note that nowhere in the New Testament, in Paul's writings or otherwise, is the law of the sabbath specifically set up as binding on Christians. Indeed, just the opposite can be argued from Jesus' refutation of the Pharisees who attempted to force Jesus and His disciples to adhere to a legalistic definition of the sabbath.

What we DO see is that the practice of the early Christians in the New Testament was to set aside the FIRST day of the week to honour the LORD and set apart from their mundane labours (Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 16:2). This is because it was on the first day of the week that the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, thus completing the act of redemption and justification which He had come to earth to do. Just as the seventh day commemorated the finishing of God's creation, so the first day then began to commemorate the finishing of God's RE-CREATION (cf. II Cor. 5:17).

As such, we see that the charges being made by Mr. Tariq, when we look more fully at what Scripture says, are not valid. Paul certainly was not denying or throwing out the law, he was merely affirming what the Old Testament itself says, which is that man's salvation comes not from keeping the law (which we can never do completely anywise), but from putting out trust in the LORD through faith. The law was meant as a guide to Israel of what was right and wrong, and as a schoolmaster leading them to understand the grace of God which desires willing obedience, not coerced acquiescence.

THE DOCTRINE OF ATONEMENT AND ORIGINAL SIN

Q.37 : Is it possible that a powerful Christian King (e.g President of U.S.A George Bush) crucify his own innocent son due to fruit of a tree eaten by two americans (in white house garden) without permission?

Q.38 : Jesus is called Son of Man and Son of Adam in Bible. Will you like to be crucified due to that stolen fruit, which was eaten by your dead grandfather before your birth?

Q.39: Christians believe that Jesus was also Son of God. Can you crucify your innocent son due to one fruit stolen by dead grandfather of your slaves?

Q.40: Can you LOVE your criminal slaves/servants/employees so much that you crucify your innocent son to save them from Police?

Q.41 : Suppose that you are billionaire and very rich. There are thousands of slaves work in your hundreds of gardens. Now two slaves eat the fruit of a tree without your permission. Will you crucify your innocent Son (or let him crucify) to pardon all slaves working in the garden?

This series of questions seem to belie a great deal of ignorance about even the basics of the Christian doctrines of sin and atonement. Further, the questions also serve to illustrate some of the differences between the Muslim god Allah and the God of the Bible.

Concerning the doctrine of sin, we note that Mr. Tariq seems to exhibit an incomplete understanding of what Christianity teaches. For instance, his question #41 simply misunderstands the doctrine that the curse of sin is something passed down THROUGH generations. Adam and Eve were not two from among thousands, the sin of whom was then imputed to all the other thousands who did no sin. The fact of man's uniform reprobacy is the result of our DESCENT from Adam and Eve. Hence, question #41 is well-nigh irrelevant.

As for the rest of the questions, they seem to rest more on arguments from incredulity than on any serious theological basis. Essentially, Mr. Tariq personally does not accept the doctrines of sin and atonement taught by the Bible, therefore, his non-acceptance IS his argument against these doctrines. This is circular reasoning.

We should understand that, far from being incredible or unlikely, the Christian doctrine of the atonement is the ONLY view of reconciliation between God and man that can exist when a completely just and holy God, who yet loves His creations, is taken into account. Only the doctrine of the atonement synthesises successfully the facts of God's justice and holiness with His love for mankind. The Allah worshipped by the Muslims does not do this, and as we will see, is neither loving, nor holy.

First to address the issue of holiness as it relates to God. Christianity teaches that God is completely and inalterable holy. "Holy" is a term which means, "separate from sin". To say that God is "holy" is to say that He neither commits sin, nor allows it even into His presence. He is completely separated from the very presence of sin and wickedness. Because of this holiness on the part of God, man by his very nature as sinner, cannot enter into the presence of God. Hence, man is separated from God in this life (prayers will not be heard, cannot expect God's specific blessings, etc.) because he has no relationship with God. Man is also separated from God in the next life, meaning that when the natural man dies, he cannot enter into God's presence in heaven, and can only go to hell. Man does not enter into hell because God is capricious or desires to condemn us, but rather because His very being and nature, as holy, simply disallows the entry of sin into His holy presence. Coupled with His holiness is His justice, that part of God's nature that demands that transgressions against His eternal law be punished. God has sovereignly determined that sin must be punished with death. Because God's holiness is infinite, the only punishment that is equal to paying the price is eternal death in hell.

This is where the love of God comes in, and the purpose of the atonement made known. Though God is just and holy, He also loves us as His creations. This is why He manifested Himself to us as the Incarnate Son, and entered into the world in the likeness of sinful man. The way that God decreed for His creations who are under the curse of sin to be freed from that curse, to be forgiven of their sins, and to be able to enter into a relationship with God that will last for eternity is for His Son, God Himself, to take the penalty of death upon Himself. So, the question #40 certainly should be answered in the affirmative, at least as God has revealed to us about Himself. God certainly CAN and DID sovereignly determine to love us enough to send His Son to be crucified, taking death upon Himself in our place. The question of "can" God do this is answered simply by pointing out that God is SOVEREIGN, He can do whatever He likes.

Christ, as God, took death upon Himself, and thereby satisfied the penalty against sin. Christ, as God, was infinitely able to pay the penalty of death against sin, thereby satisfying God's infinite punishment against sin. That is what the essential of the atonement is - Christ's sacrifice of Himself propitiating, or satisfying, the just anger of God against sin. Christ, as God, did not ever sin, however, and because of this, He had what is called "merit". Theologically speaking, "merit" means that He is in a position to be considered righteous *of His own accord*. His righteousness was not given to Him by anyone, but instead resides in Himself as an inherent characteristic, due to His Deity, for ONLY God can be sinless. Because Christ voluntarily chose to pay the penalty for sin, He then is in a position whereby He can choose to bestow HIS merit upon US. This He chooses to do for anyone who is willing to accept that they have no merit of their own before God, are a sinner, and choose to repent of that sin and trust in what Christ Himself did on the cross. Christ GIVES His own merit to those who put their faith in Him unto salvation. Hence, the atonement that Christ effected upon the cross by the shedding of His blood (and remember, only by the shedding of blood is the remission of sin, as God chose to decree, Lev. 17:11, Hebr. 9:22), is derivatively extended to the believer who chooses to identify with Christ in faith, for they are in essence admitting their own inability and concurrently His ability. This all takes place as God's provision for reconciling the seeming paradox of His holiness and justice against His love. He HIMSELF, as Christ, effected the reconciliation and satisfied His own infinite anger against man's sin.

Now, Mr. Tariq may find it unbelievable that God could, or would, submit to taking our place under His own wrath against sin, but we must understand that the god worshipped by Muslims is neither infinitely holy, nor sacrificially loving.

Indeed, the Qur'an speaks more of those whom Allah does NOT love than those who he does. Even when the Qur'an mentions those whom Allah loves, it is those who are already doing what Allah wants them to do. The Allah of the Muslims does not love those who are not reconciled to him or who are in rebellion against him.

This view of Allah is of interest here. It shows the Islamic error of teaching that man is basically good. Islam does not really have a concept of man as having a "sin nature". Man does evil, and man does good, and these evil and good deeds will be weighed against each other and will be the basis of a man's judgment at the Judgment Day. Thus, man is essentially in charge of his own destiny (illusionally, of course, remember the Islamic predestinationalism from above), do good instead of evil and you can go to Paradise. Islam does not see the need for an atonement for sin, as sin is something conditional, rather than terminal. There is no need in Islamic theology for an overarching atonement to be made so as to allow man to be cleansed and forgiven of his sins. Islam teaches that Allah simply forgives sins when asked, without there being anything done about the underlying cause of the sin.

As such, we should recognise that Allah is not a *holy* god. Allah has no essential and inherent separation from sin. Because man is not viewed as being in an INHERENT state of sin, conditional acts of forgiveness are sufficient to merit Allah's favour and receive entry into Paradise. Indeed, the Qur'an teaches that as long as a man has asked forgiveness for his "major" sins, his "minor" sins will automatically be forgiven. Despite the Muslim denial of man's sin nature, it's reality ought to be empirically obvious to any with the least amount of perception. All human beings tend towards rebellion against God's laws. Those who think they do not are merely trying to revise or ignore God's laws to suit their own purposes and self-image. As such, Islam's Allah allows unatoned sin into his presence, making Allah insufficiently holy to truly be God.

As such, because of Islam's perceived lack of need for an atonement, there is no necessity for Allah to be sacrificially loving towards his creations. Rather, Allah in Islam is taught as a distant deity, exalted yes, but in a manner which disconnects him from man. Man does not have a personal relationship with Allah in Islam. Rather, the relation between man and Allah is that of a client-patron, without any real care or interest beyond that of a the patron providing the stated protections and benefits to a client who fulfills his obligations.

As a result, though Muslims believe they exalt God with their view of Him, rather they are debasing the view of Deity. In their zeal to create a god who is too transcendent to enter into flesh and become like man so as to save man, they neglect that God has the capacity to LOVE His creations such that He will voluntarily choose to do so. In their drive to promote a god who sweeps sin under the carpet rather than requiring its covering, they deny to God His holiness, His complete separation from and wrath against sin. As such, Islam's view of deity is one of incomplete holiness and incomplete love. In essence, Islam's view of deity takes on in many ways the characteristics of man himself, with his fickleness, capriciousness, and lack of true and complete holiness.

Q.42: Do Christians assign to God that (Q.37 to Q.41) which they dislike for themselves?

The question is phrased wrongly, and again shows a misunderstanding of Christian doctrine on Mr. Tariq's part. It is not Christians "assigning to God" something which they dislike for themselves, but rather something for which they themselves (and indeed, everyone else) are *incapable* of fulfilling. Because man is a sinner by nature and by practice (empirically observable to anyone with their eyes open), we are simply not capable of ever paying the debt to God's holiness and justice for our sins. There is not a question of whether or not we like or dislike Christ's dying for us, and whether or not we like our own meritlessness in the sight of God. This does not enter into the equation at all. Rather, it is the simple fact that no man anywhere, because of sin, is able to stand unaided before a completely holy God. If a man sins even once, it is as if he has broken the whole of God's law, and he comes under God's judgment against sin. Since all have sinned (Romans 3:23), all are incapable.

Q.43: Do Christians believe that (due to Q.42 above) better things (salvation and paradise) will be theirs?

Obviously we do.

Q.44: Is the following verse of Quran totally wrong? (i.e. 100%false? to explain Q.37 to Q.43) "They (Christians) assign to God that which they dislike for themselves, and their tongues assert the falsehood that the better things will be theirs, no doubt for them is the fire, and they will be first to be hastened on into it, and left there be neglected. (Quran: Surah 16 Verse 62)

Yes it is.

Q.45 : If a father crucifes his innocent son due to one tree eaten by two slaves, Will the father be criminal and sinner? Q.46: Is the first part of Triune God criminal and sinner? (due to Q.45 above)

Irrelevant questions, as God the Son freely and voluntarily gave Himself to take the place of man in the penalty against sin, which is death.

Q.47 : Suppose that you are billionaire and very rich. There are thousands of slaves work in your hundreds of gardens. Now two slaves eat the fruit of a tree without your permission. If your son voluntairly offers his crucifixion to forgive those slaves, then Is your Son Stupid? Q.48: Is Second member of Triune God and Son of first part of Triune God Stupid? (Due to Q. above)

Not only are these questions apparently designed by Mr. Tariq to merely provoke an emotional reaction, but they don't even actually make any sense, in the context of the discussion.

How would it be "stupid" for someone to voluntarily choose to make a sacrifice for someone which the recipient of grace could not do for themselves? Is it "stupid" to give charitably to someone who is less fortunate than ourselves? This is, in a very extreme form, exactly what God did for us through His volitional atonement for us. Rather than being "stupid", such extreme form of charity would rightly be called "noble".

But again, this demonstrates one of the flaws of Islam's religious system, which is that it is based upon a client-patron relationship between Allah and man. Allah does not do anything for man out of selfless love, according to Islam, but rather because man fulfills certain obligations to Allah. Vice versa, man does not serve Allah out of any love for Allah's intrinsic being or for grace already given, but rather because "loving" Allah will result in benefits being bestowed.

In Christianity, the benefits (salvation) are bestowed before man even comes to love God, this being the result of God's own selfless love. "But God commendeth his love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." God did not need man to first fulfill a set of obligations before He gives grace. Rather, He gave grace so that we then could serve Him out of love.

Q.49: Christians say that "GOD LOST His only son to save us". God owns the whole universe. Did God lost his son to himself?

Incorrect question. Christians don't say that God "lost" His Son, they say that He *gave* His Son. Likewise, the Son gave Himself, and the two members of the Godhead were in complete accord.

Q.50: Is Humanity created by God destined for heaven unless they chose to disobey Him and refuse His mercy?

This question is more or less moot as there is no mere human being who has ever NOT chosen to disobey God. Mankind is completely and fully rebellious against God, and chooses to refuse His mercy. Only those who accept that Jesus Christ is God Himself and who choose to trust the sacrifice He made for them of Himself, actually accept the mercy of God. Whoever rejects Christ has rejected God's mercy, and therefore is condemned to hell if they die having continued to reject Him.

Q.55 : Is it necessary for God to drink blood of his own innocent son due to one tree eaten by two slaves?

Q.57: Christians believe that Jesus was man and God. Thus, God did not demand sacrifice of animals (which are daily slaughtered and eaten), but sacrifice of Man. Is sacrifice of Man demanded by Cannibals? (for eating, / for their gods)

Q.58 : Is the first part of Triune God Cannibal (Q.57 above) of flesh of Jesus (on cross) and Dracula of blood of his own Son (on cross)?

??? These questions have no relevance, as the Bible never says that God "drank the blood" of His Son. I'm hard pressed to see where Mr. Tariq got this notion from. Nor does it ever say that we are to eat the flesh of His Son. The context of John 6, the passage misinterpreted by Catholics to justify their doctrine of transubstantiation, clearly shows that Jesus was meaning a *spiritual* sense when He said that we were to eat His flesh and drink His blood. Indeed, a literal meaning CANNOT be inferred because to apply a *literal* meaning would then violate the Old Testament law which forbade the eating of blood. A fuller exposition of this can be found here

Q.56: The Law students are taught: "A Justice delayed is justice denied." Jesus got punishment for sin of Adam when Adam had died thousands of years ago. Is it Justice delayed justice denied?

Perhaps Allah operates on man-made laws and principles of justice. *God* does not, however, and as such, the question is moot. God has His own timetable for how he conducts His affairs, something that even Muslims ought to recognise from what their own religious texts teach. Further, we should note that the redemption brought to man by Christ through Christ's taking of our punishment upon Himself was not *actually* delayed. In the Old Testament, human beings were justified by faith in the then-coming Messiah, the redeemer first promised in Genesis 3:15. These Old Testament saints were saved by faith by their belief in God's then-coming promise (see Genesis 15:6) as people in our time are saved by faith in the fulfilled promises of God. Hence the promise of God, and the salvation concurrently carried with it, was always in operation, even before Christ's earthly ministry.

Q.60: Christians believe that Jesus was man and God. First part of God demanded death of second part of God, which was also "fully" God. Do Atheists and infidels believe in death of God?

This is a rather silly question, I think we can all agree? Obviously they do not, which is why they are "atheists" and "infidels". Why would they believe in the death of God when they do not believe in God in the first place?

Q.61: According to Christians, those who have not been baptized will go to Hell. So even the infants and babies go to Hell if not baptized, since they are born with an inherited original sin. Is it Justice of God to punish people for sins they never committed?

This question is also irrelevant, since the Bible does not teach that babies go to hell, nor does the Bible teach that baptism saves the soul. Neither are Biblical Christian teachings.

The Bible teaches that baptism is an ordinance which a new convert engages in to publicly show his or her identification with Christ and the work He did for the convert (dying and raising back to life). However, this is ALL that the Bible teaches baptism to be. There is no saving efficacy attached to baptism in the Bible. The Bible never indicates that baptism can give salvation, indeed just the opposite is taught in varying means in the Scriptures.

Some claim that baptism is necessary for salvation, using verses like Mark 16:16 as their basis,

"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

However, note that the second clause in the verse does not mention baptism. It merely says that a failure to believe results in damnation, not a failure to be baptised. Verses like this, and like Acts 2:38, instead of teaching that baptism saves, only show that baptism ought to be considered as a command of the LORD which the believer should be obedient to as quickly as possible. In the New Testament, the typical pattern for a new convert was to believe, and then be baptised almost immediately after their profession of faith. However, the vast majority of New Testament verses detailing this are quite clear that salvation by faith comes FIRST, and then baptism.

We can see a couple of examples in the Bible where it is quite clearly shown that baptism is not needed for salvation, and cannot give salvation.

"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)
Here we see that one of the thieves who was nailed to a cross next to Jesus acknowledged that Jesus was the Saviour, and put his faith in Christ to bring him to heaven. This man was not baptised. He COULD NOT have been baptised, even if he had wanted to be. Yet, Jesus told this man that he would be in heaven that very day. The man was saved, yet was not baptised. Likewise, we see the example of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8. The Bible says that Simon believed the preaching of Philip and was baptised (v.13). Yet, later on, Simon showed that he had not TRULY put his trust in Christ (i.e. he made a false profession), when he tried to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit, as if it were some sort of magical ability (v. 18-19). This received the prompt rebuke from Peter,

"But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity." (Acts 8:20-23)

Peter basically told this man that he was not saved, and was still under the bondage of sin and in a lost condition. This man was baptised, but he was not saved.

Hence, baptism is clearly shown in the Scriptures to be incapable of conferring salvation to anyone, so the whole idea of infant baptism is thus completely unscriptural. Infant baptism is wholly non-Christian, having originated in the corrupt and paganised Catholic religion. As such, the idea that a baby can be *saved* by being baptised (or have his or her original sin washed away, thus opening the way of grace, as Catholics teach) is not a true Christian teaching. Likewise, it is completely non-Christian to suggest that a baby will be damned to hell if it dies without baptism.

Indeed, the Bible indicates that babies, if they die, will go to heaven. This is shown in the example of the death of King David's infant son,

"And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." (II Samuel 12:18-23)

David knew he could not bring his dead infant son (seven days old) back. But, David knew also that he would *go to his son* one day, in other words, that his baby child was in heaven, and that David would one day be reunited with the child in heaven.

The reason that infants who die will go to heaven is due to the fact that infants are not capable of making choices of right and wrong for themselves. Though they have a sin nature, as we all do from birth, they are not capable of consciously sinning because they cannot understand that something is wrong, and then choose to do the act anywise (i.e. sin). In other words, there is a certain level of development that must be reached for each person before they become personally responsible for their sin debt against God's holiness and His Law. This point differs for each depending on the speed at which they mature intellectually to the point of being able to understand right from wrong. Paul writes in Romans 7:9,

"For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died."

This is basically a statement of what I wrote above. Before Paul was old enough to understand right and wrong (i.e. as a small child), he was alive without the law. This means that he was not held accountable for having broken God's law, thus he was not under the penalty for having broken God's law, which is death (Romans 6:23a). But, "when the commandment came", when Paul reached the age where he was intellectually mature enough to understand the difference between right and wrong, and thus to consciously choose to do wrong on certain occasions, "sin revived" and he died. This means that he became accountable for his sin, then, and his sin caused him to come under the judgment of God against sin (death), and thus need the forgiveness and atonement that only comes through Jesus Christ.

Before reaching this point, young children and infants are safe in the grace of Christ which was generally conferred by the mere fact that He shed His blood to atone for our sins, and thus, all sins are atoned for by His blood.

Q.62: Is it Justice to punish Jesus for sin of Adam?

This question is phrased in such a way as to indicate that Mr. Tariq does not understand the nature of Christ's sacrifice. Christ was not "punished" for the sin of Adam. Christ, instead, chose to take Adam's punishment upon Himself. This may seem to merely be a semantic quibble, but it actually addresses a fundamental misunderstanding on the Muslim's part about the nature of Christ's sacrifice.

To punish Jesus for the sin of Adam, in the sense that seems to be implied by Mr. Tariq's question, would suggest that Christ *deserved* this punishment. He did not, since He did not sin even once, and hence, to be punished in this particular sense WOULD be unjust.

However, this is not the presentation seen in Biblical doctrine. Jesus was not being "punished" for the sins of the world in the sense that He had any personal responsibility imputed to Himself for those sins. Rather, He volitionally chose to take upon Himself the punishment for our sins. This is the essence of the vicarious atonement. "Vicarious" is a word meaning, "to be in place of". Christ took our place in the punishment against sin, which is death. There is no "injustice" in paying a penalty which another cannot pay. Indeed, to do so is an act of mercy and charity, the supreme example of which is shown by Christ's voluntary taking of our punishment upon Himself. It was not "unjust" because it was not FORCED upon Christ due to any false imputation to Him of any sin.

WAS JESUS CRUCIFIED?

Q.59 : Is the first part of Triune God Cannibal (in Catholic Lords Supper) of flesh of Jesus and Dracula of blood of his own Son (in Catholic Lords Supper)?

Q.63: Was Jesus daily killed, eaten and drunk by Christians in Lord's Supper until 1517? (when Protestant founder Luther found it a wrong belief)

Q.64: If Jesus is crucified (or killed in Lord's Supper) 10 times, 100 times, 5000 times or ten billion times, even then, Will he be responsible for my sins?

This is an irrelevant question, since the Bible never teaches transubstantiation, and the idea was not present in apostolic Christianity. The idea that Christ is being resacrificed in the Mass is a Roman Catholic teaching which is wholly foreign to Bible-based Christianity. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I will again point the reader here.

Q.65: Did first part of Triune God become happy to enjoy painful crucifixion of his own innocent Son?

This question is irrelevant. Christ the Son willingly gave Himself, and both He and the Father were in complete accord. No imputation of "sadism" can be imputed to God the Father.

Q.51 : Can God very trivially and effortlessly forgive the sins of all of Humanity no matter if they were to fill the lofty regions of the sky?

Q.52: Is the forgiveness of original sin of Adam more difficult for God than creating everything we can ever see, hear or imagine?

Q.53: If God had wanted to save us, Could He have done that without sacrificing Jesus?

Q.54 : Did God left any way open to save his own son from painful death of cross?

Q.66: Had first part of Triune God power and authority to save his son from crucifixion?

Because God from the foundation of the world decreed that the atonement for man's sin was to be made through the completely efficacious atoning death of His Son, then in an ontological sense, no, God did not have the power and authority to do so. This is because His doing so would have been to overrule His own decree. However, as God does not lie, and is not a capricious deity such as the Allah worshipped by Muslims, this question is irrelevant due to God's stated immutability of ultimate purpose. The negative answer to this question is not implying a *failure or inability* on God's part, but rather is highlighting His complete and total *ability* to both determine beforehand His purposes and then maintain that determination. He is not capricious or inconstant, which is what the positive answer to this question that Mr. Tariq would have desired would imply.

Q.67: If Jesus is God and had full authority to forgive all sins, in spite of this, he preferred to die, then was it SUICIDE?

This question is largely irrelevant as it fails to factor in God's HOLINESS, which was seen above. Jesus as God certainly did have the authority to forgive sins (e.g. Mark 2:1-12). However, God has also decreed that sins can ONLY be forgiven when a sinner puts their trust in God and repents of their sins. The object of faith for ANY saint, whether Old or New Testament, was Jesus Christ. The New Testament believer looks back to the finished work of Christ on the cross. The Old Testament believer looked forward, in their time, to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. Either way, however, ultimately faith in God was always faith put in the provision that God decreed from eternity past for the covering and abolishing of sin, which was the sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ. Indeed, because Jesus is God, He HAD to die on the cross, because to not do so would be to countermand God's own plan of salvation for mankind. If He, hypothetically speaking, had chosen not to endure the crucifixion, then He would not have atoned for the sins of the world, and there would be no means by which ANY person could then be saved. Without Christ, a person is completely lost. Muslims view Allah as simply forgiving sin on the cheap without anything covering over or atoning for the sins of man in the sight of God. As was discussed above, this demonstrated the Muslim conception of deity to be incompletely holy - i.e. Allah is not a god who has total hatred for and separation from sin. YHWH in the Bible, who Jesus is, IS a holy God, and yet also loving towards man, and thus could not fail to carry out the self-sacrifice for man's sin which allows man to be reconciled to God.

The portion of the question about this being a suicide on Jesus' part is irrelevant. The Bible never indicates that suicide, at least in the sense of giving your life in place of another, is wrong. Indeed, Jesus said,

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

While it may *technically* be correct to label self-sacrifice for another person as "suicide", practically speaking this is a patently ridiculous misuse of the term. Indeed, this particular portion of the question seems to be posed by Mr. Tariq because of the typical Muslim insistence that suicide is wrong, most often used to try to "prove" that Muslim suicide bombers are acting contrary to the teachings of Islam (never mind that the Muslim religious texts also state that giving oneself for jihad, presumably including losing your life, is a "noble" act). I would consider Mr. Tariq's question to be hypocritical, since his own religious texts extol the virtues of giving oneself up for jihad (which can lead to death, and thus would be "suicide"), while yet he tries to criticise Christ for giving Himself up to provide atonement for the sins of the whole world (a much nobler cause, to be sure, than any amount of Muslim jihad).

Q.68: A real sacrifice is when you can’t get back what you have offered. God recoverd the same offering after only three days and three nights. Is it a DRAMA of Sacrifice?

This questions fails because of the wrong definition of a "real sacrifice". Sacrifices throughout the Scriptures are depicted as being both presented to God, and also a portion partaken of by the offerers of the sacrifice. The sacrifice may have been wholly dedicated to God, but the Law of God made men partakers of portions of what they had sacrificed. Likewise, as the sacrifice for sin was God offering Himself for us on the cross, He was both dedicated to Himself and yet retained Himself.

Mr. Tariq has simply made up a false and misleading definition of a "real sacrifice".

Q.69 : Jesus on the cross was shouting "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" according to Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:33. Did Jesus want to die on the cross?

Considering that Jesus voluntarily allowed Himself to be taken by the Sanhedrin guards, and stated that if He wanted to, He could call down twelve legions of angels to prevent His trial, one would seem to think that, yes, He wanted to die on the cross, fulfilling the plan of salvation sovereignly established by God since the foundation of the world.

His quotation of Psalm 22:1 is meant to emphasise the separation which Christ's nature as humanity experienced while taking mankind's sins upon Himself. Just as man is naturally cut off from fellowship with God by our sins until we repent and trust on Christ, so also was the human aspect of Christ's dual nature temporarily separated from God as a symbol of His complete identification with the created being for whom He was dying.

SOURCES OF CHRISTIANITY

Q.70: Did Jesus ask any one to BE a "CHRISTIAN"?

This question is irrelevant since it attempts to make a point which is wholly semantic, but has no substance. However, in the sense that Jesus asked people to follow Him, and to follow Christ (be His disciple) is to be a Christian, then yes, Jesus asked people to be Christians.

Q.72 :December 25, which was the birthday of Roman pagan sun-god Mithra (See Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2003), was introduced as Jesus' birthday, centuries after Jesus left the earth. Did Jesus order to adopt 25 December as CHRISTMIS?

Q.73 :Although the Bible clearly predicted and forbade the decoration of Christmas trees in Jeremiah 10:2-5. Then Did Jesus order Christians to decorate CHRISTMIS TREES?

These questions is also irrelevant. These are artifices added in by the Roman Catholic religion centuries after the fact. They have no bearing on Biblical Christianity, per se. However, I WOULD question Mr. Tariq's lack of knowledge concerning the Christmas tree. Mr. Tariq cites Jeremiah 10:2-5, but apparently has failed to note that context of that passage is one of pagans cutting down and decorating trees as idols to be worshipped. Christmas trees, on the other hands, are used as decorations, and certainly are not worshipped. Christianity does not engage in pagan activities like worshipping trees or stones, nor walking around giant stones as an act of worship carried over from pagan religious rituals.

Q.74: Jesus went to synagouges for preaching. (Matthew Ch 4 V23 and Matthew Ch 9 V35). Did Jesus ever went to CHURCH for preaching and worship?

Yet another irrelevant question. A synagogue was the traditional Jewish house of worship. Early Christians met in the synagogues until they were put out by the Jews. A "church" is an assembly of believers, just as a synagogue was. This argument is about later terminology, not Christian doctrine or practice, and is thus both semantic and irrelevant.

Q.75: Did Jesus order to adopt sign of CROSS as Blessed and Holy Symbol for Christians?

This is irrelevant. Christians adopted the cross as a symbol of remembrance concerning Christ's work on the cross, with which there is certainly nothing wrong. It is similar to the adoption in Islam of the crescent moon, a commemoration of the early lunar worship which was monotheised and developed into Islam. Christians adopted a symbol that was associated with their God (Jesus Christ) to distinguish themselves, just as Muslims adopted a symbol (the crescent moon) which was associated with their god (the pre-Islamic moon deity al-ilah), so as to distinguish themselves.

Q.76: Half of the New Testament of Bible written by a man who never even met Jesus in his lifetime. PAUL claimed with no proof that he had met Jesus. Was Paul more preferrable and eligible than 12 disciples of Jesus who remained in his company, learnt directly from Jesus mouth and sacrificed their wealth?

The Muslim stands on shaky ground with this question. By saying that there was "no proof" for Paul's claim to having spent time with Christ, they are contradicted by the fact that the other apostles recognised in Paul signs of apostleship and teaching from Christ that could only have been present if true. Further, there were other witnesses to Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus who, if Paul had been lying, certainly could or would have been able to tell people about it.

This question also demonstrates a fundamental ignorance concerning the concept of Scriptural inspiration. There is no need for a writer used by God to pen a portion of Scripture to be an apostle. Indeed, New Testament writers such as James, Jude, Luke, and Mark were not. Inspiration of Scripture involves the process of God's Spirit moving upon a man of God, supernaturally directing him to write down the things God wanted written down as revelation. This person need not be an apostle, so the question of the legitimacy of the books written by Paul does not rest on whether he was an apostle or not.

This question seems to derive from the Muslim conception of Mohammed as Allah's Messenger, a position very similar to that of an apostle for Jesus Christ (the term "Apostle" used to be used in English-language Muslim literature, but has fallen out of favour in recent years due to the Christian overtones of the word). Because Allah is believed to have given the Qur'an to Mohammed, Muslims will naturally assume that a person whom Christians claim as an inspired writer of Scripture *must* be an apostle. However, inspiration does not depend on apostleship, and thus the Muslim assumption is incorrect.

When we consider the Muslim recollection of Mohammed's claim for messengership from Allah, we can see that it has far less evidence than that of Paul's claim to apostleship from the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, the Muslim stories about Mohammed claim that he received the qur'a yearly from Allah, while in a cave alone. This, of course, lends to Mohammed absolutely no verifiable credibility. With Paul, at least, he could be examined by others who had walked and talked with Jesus Christ, and could be questioned about certain things about Christ which only they would have been privy to, so as to ascertain the authenticity of his claim to apostleship. The fact that he was so readily accepted by the other apostles shows that he met the standards, both in terms of doctrinal orthodoxy and apostolic authenticity. Given that there was no one else against whom Mohammed's claims could be checked, we have, literally, only the word of later Muslim biographers to authenticate this claim made for Mohammed. Whereas there were people in Paul's day who could "fact-check" what he said and claimed, this was not possible with Mohammed. Thus, there is absolutely no way that the stories of Mohammed could be verified.

Q.78 : St.Paul never met with Jesus, yet his 14 letters are included in Bible which explain first time philosophy of incarnate Godhead of Jesus and Redemption of sins by Jesus death. He rejects many teachings of law and Jesus e.g circumcision. Did He get his teaching (including cancellation of circumcision) from God?

The question of Paul's apostolic authority was dealt with above, in that he was accepted as "authentic" by the other apostles, who would have recognised in him the marks of one who had spend personal time with Christ while in the desert after his conversion. Concerning the matters of Christ's incarnation and the atonement, these have been dealt with in sufficient detail above to demonstrate that they did not originate with Paul, but instead have firm Old Testament bases. Finally, concerning the supposed rejection of the law by Paul, this also has been dealt with above.

Q.79: Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2003 - Trinity The term trinitas was first used in the 2nd century, by the Latin theologian Tertullian, but the concept was developed in the course of the debates on the nature of Christ. In the 4th century, the doctrine was finally formulated; using terminology still employed by Christian theologians, the doctrine taught the coequality of the persons of the Godhead. Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. Word "Triune God" is not in Bible. Word "Trinity" is absent in Bible. Words like "Three in one, one in three" or "Three are one, and one are three" are also absent in Bible. Is Trinity a corruption formulated after CENTURIES?

Q.80: The formulation of the Trinity by Athanasius, an Egyptian deacon from Alexandria, was accpted by the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, i.e. more than three centuries after Jesus had left. Is it corruption after CENTURIES?

The claims that Mr. Tariq makes here in these questions are verifiably false. The doctrine of the Trinity was neither formulated by Athanasius, nor did it make its appearance in the 4th century. Indeed, there are evidences which demonstrate both a belief in the Trinity and a belief in the Deity of Christ going back into the apostolic period. These are delineated below.

These are just a small sample of quotations from writers in the 1st and 2nd centuries who expounded the doctrines of the Trinity and of Christ's deity (through which the doctrine of the Trinity is derivative), from the Bible, even if not using that specific term, just like Christians today would understand it. Hence, Mr. Tariq's claim that the doctrine of the Trinity did not appear until centuries after Jesus left the earth, and that it is a "corruption" simply do not hold true. Evidence from Christian writers all the way back to the generation of people who walked with Christ when He was on the earth demonstrates that the belief on the part of Christians was that Jesus IS God, and concurrently, that God is a Trinity.

Q.82: There are available many websites (e.g. www biblestudytools net) that can search entire Bible. There are available many softwares on Internet (e.g. Bible seeker on www.lockettefamily.com) that can search five (05) words from Bible with "all" or "any" options. So you can easily see with such softwares howmany times word(s) were used in Bible. You can see that Word "Harlot" exists 48 times in Bible "Nakedness" exists 43 times. "Trinity" exists 0 times , "Christianity" exists 0 times. in KJV Bible. Does it mean that Word "Harlot" is 48 times more mentionable than Word "Trinity" in Bible?

Q.83 : Word "Harlot" exists 48 times in Bible "Nakedness" exists 43 times. "Trinity" exists 0 times , "Christianity" exists 0 times. in KJV Bible. Does it mean that Word "Nakedness" is 43 times more mentionable than Word "Christianity" in Bible?

Q.84: Word "Harlot" exists 48 times in Bible "Nakedness" exists 43 times. "Trinity" exists 0 times , "Christianity" exists 0 times. in KJV Bible. Does it mean that The nakedness of a Harlot is ( 48 + 43 ) times more important than Trinity in Christianity?

As with certain other questions above, these questions seem geared more to excite an emotional response than to present any serious presentation of fact or reason. Certainly, they cannot be taken seriously by anyone wishing to know the truth. Leaving the inherent perjorativeness of the way they are framed aside, we can see also that these questions rest on no foundation of actual contextuality. As has been shown above, the Trinity is clearly seen in the New Testament, and the uniplurality of God, upon which the Trinity rests, is clearly seen in the Old.

Again, we note the typical Muslim tendency to focus on a specific word, without regard for whether the concept indicated by the word appears in the text. After all, the word "Bible" does not appear in the Bible, yet I think we all will agree that the Bible exists.

Indeed, if one wishes to pose questions along the lines Mr. Tariq is following, we should note that at no place in the Qur'an, not even once, does the name "Mohammed" appear, at least not in the Arabic text, that I am aware of. Now, in English translations such as that of Yusuf Ali, the name Mohammed is added in parentheses, which in his translation of the Qur'an indicates a clarifying addition which is not part of the original Arabic text. Indeed, Muslims find Mohammed in the Qur'an *not* by actually reading about him in it, but rather by assuming that the statements speaking to "the Prophet" or to "the Messenger" are directed to Mohammed.

Q.81: Did Jesus teach that THREE parts of Trinity are "co-equal", "co-eternal" and "the same substance"?

Yes. Remember, in Matthew 28:19, He states that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all share the same NAME, which in a theological sense implies that they shared the same essence, charactre, and reputation. This means that they were "co-equal" etc.

Q.85: Did Jesus in Bible claim to establish "Christianity" on earth?

Q.86: Is Jesus founder of the Religion which is known by "CHRISTIANITY"?

Again, these are irrelevant questions as they deal merely with semantics, not with the core reality of the existence of Christianity, whether by that name or by some other such as "the way". Incidentally, these particular questions seem to rest in the inordinate significance which Muslims attach to the name "Islam" as a "proof" of that religion's divine origins. However, the "proof" of a religion is not the name attached to it, but rather its ability to give true salvation and change lives, which only Bible Christianity can do.

WHO IS AT RISK?

Q.87: Christians believe only in Jesus. Muslims believe in both Muhummad and Jesus. Then, Is ISLAM more Secure Religion than Christianity?

Q.88: One who refuses from truth (YES) and believes in false,(NO) Does he deceive himself?

These questions strike me as also being irrelevant. Christians do not need any other than Jesus, because Jesus is the Son of God who died to pay the penalty for our sins, and who rose again to defeat death and hell, and provide deliverance to lost souls. Mohammed still lies in his grave. He did not and could not defeat and overcome death by his own power, nor did he bring any teaching which truly allows people to break free from the bonds of sin. As seen above, Islam does not call on people to TRULY repent of their sins, indeed, if a person stays away from the "big" sins, then Islam teaches that Allah more or less forgives your "little" sins (which seems to echo the "mortal" versus "venial" sins taught by Roman Catholicism).

Christians do not recognise the prophethood of Mohammed, and as such this question is irrelevant to us. It means as much as asking if Christianity has less security because we do not believe in Buddha or Joseph Smith or Marshall Applegate.

CONCLUSION:

Q.89 : Do you believe in THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY?

Q.90 : Do you believe in THE DOCTRINE OF THE DIVINE SONSHIP OF JESUS?

Q.91 : Do you believe in THE DOCTRINE OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST?

Q.92 : Do you believe in THE DOCTRINE OF ATONEMENT AND ORIGINAL SIN?

Yes on all counts.

Q.93: Do you believe in Death of Jesus?

Yes. I also believe in His resurrection from the dead.

Q.94 : Do you believe Jesus is SOURCE OF CHRISTIANITY?

Since Jesus is the Word of God in the sense that He was Himself revelation from God incarnated into the form of man, and the Word of God shows in the OT the coming of the Messiah and the atonement He made for man's sin, then yes, Jesus is the source of Christianity. He is the author and finisher of the Christian's faith.

Q.95 : Are Christians more AT RISK than Muslims?

No. Indeed, Muslims are at risk of God's wrath because they have replaced the true God with a false god of man's own creation, and have given reverence to a false prophet who was not of God. God's Word says,

"If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee." (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)

And also,

"To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20)

Mohammed was a false prophet, and this is shown by the fact that what Mohammed taught goes against what God's Law says as revealed in the Bible. Indeed, the Qur'an and the ahadith contain many stories and commandments which are directly contrary to God's revealed Word in the Bible. Because Mohammed spoke not to the law and to the testimony, it is manifest that he had no light, no wisdom, in him.

Q.96: If you, as a Christian, learned of Islam, was it from the true Muslims?

I learned about Islam from a variety of sources, including Islam's own religious texts. Further, I suppose this all depends on one's definition of a "true Muslim".

Q. 97: Have you failed to defend Christianity in this Digital Binary Interview?

I don't believe so. However, the Muslim who is predisposed to blindly accept what Islam teaches and to blindly reject anything disagreeing with Islam would probably think that I have.

Q. 98: If you have failed to defend Christianity in this Digital Binary Interview, Are you ready to accept Islam?

NO.

FINAL QUESTION:

Q.99: Is Islam the fastest growing religion in the World? According to GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2003, ISLAM is the "FASTEST-GROWING RELIGION" of the World. Following information has been obtained from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2003:

FASTEST-GROWING RELIGION: Islam is the world's fastest-growing religion. In 1990, 935 million people were Muslims and this figure had escalated to around 1.2billion by 2000, meaning that around one in five people follow Islam. Although the religion began in Arabia, by 2002 80% of all believers in Islam lived outside the Arab world. In the period 1990-2000, approximately 12.5 million more people converted to Islam than to Christianity.

Here we see an example of one of the most typical claims used by Muslim missionaries - the claim that Islam is "the world's fastest growing religion". This has to be the mother of all bandwagon arguments, sort of the religious equivalent of saying that because Michael Jordan wears Nikes, so should you. However, like most other "everybody's doing it!" arguments, this one is neither very persuasive, nor even true.

One could conceive of Islam as being the fastest growing religion, based upon birthrates that are found in Muslim countries, which tend to be very much higher than those found in the industrialised West. Indeed, much of Islam's growth, as will be seen later, IS due to population growth. However, let us first examine the claim that "approximately 12.5 million more people converted to Islam than to Christianity", coming from that quite scholarly source, the Guiness Book of World Records. Ali Sina, the proprietor of Faith Freedom International, provides in one of his articles a very revealing factoid dealing with this issue. Sina provides a link and transcript of an interview which occurred on the Al-Jazeera website in which an important Muslim cleric Ahmed Al-Qataani, discussed his fears concerning the future of Islam in Africa. In this interview, he openly states that "In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity." This is, of course, not something which we would heard from Muslims who are dealing with Westerners, where al-taqiyya must be maintained. However, among themselves, Muslims appear to be a bit more forthright, and worried that they are losing adherents.

Further, let us look at some hard statistics concerning the growth of religious groups from the 2001 volume of the World Christian Encyclopedia. First, let us note the rates of growth for the whole world, between Islam and Christianity (which here includes all groups, including Catholics, Orthodox, etc). Indeed, Islam's growth rate does outpace Christianity's, 2.13% to 1.39%. However, when we look at the numbers, we see that Christianity grew by a total of 24,286,666 people in the decade 1990-2000, while Islam grew by a total of 22,588,676 people, about 1.7 million less. The reason Islam's percentage growth rate is higher is because of the fact that Islam has fewer adherents to begin with, roughly 1.1 billion versus 1.8 billion. It's easier to get a larger percent growth rate per added unit when your starting base is smaller. Indeed, this is shown by the fact that the Zoroastrian religion grew by 2.65%, making THEM the "world's fastest growing religion". Of course, due to the extremely tiny number of Zoroastrians in the world to begin with, this phenomenal growth rate was achieved with the addition of a mere 58,471 new Zoroastrians.

Now, let us look at what these statistics say as far as growth through conversions is concerned. Again, looking at the first table, we see that Christianity added a total of 2,883,011 people to its numbers as a result of conversion to the religion. Islam added only a total of 865,558. Indeed, most of Islam's growth was due to the birthrate, which if you run the numbers on the table, accounted for 96.17% of Islam's total growth. In comparison, Christianity also grew a lot by birthrate (mostly in African, Asian, and Latin American countries with high fertilities), accounting for 88.13% of its growth. Still, the percent of total growth by conversions for Christianity was roughly three times that for Islam.

Indeed, Christianity is undergoing phenomenal growth in the Third World. As Dale Hurd tells us, Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds in Africa, in China, and most everywhere the Gospel is preached in the developing world. Hurd states as an example,

"Back in 1900, there were about 10 million Christians in Africa, representing about 10 percent of the population. Today there are 360 million, representing just under half the population. That is one of the most important changes in religious history, and I think most of us didn't notice it."12

And as was just recently reported, the Bible is being gobbled up by hungry buyers in Brazil. Likely the same can be said for other places in Latin America where Bible-based Christianity is being preached.

Hence, the claim that Islam is the world's fastest growing religion is not true (technically, it's Zoroastrianism). And the belief that Islam is advancing by some giant wave of worldwide conversions is also simply not true. Christianity, of the Evangelical, Fundamentalist, and Charismatic varieties, is spreading all across the developing world at a tremendous pace.

End Notes

(1) - Huleatt fragments 1-3, Matthew 26:7-15
(2) - Barnabas, Epistle of Barnabas, 5
(3) - Aristides, Apology of Aristides, 16
(4) - Justin Martyr, First Apology of Justin Martyr, cap. lxix
(5) - Traditionally ascribed to one Pionius, The Encyclical Epistle of the Church at Smyrnam (a.k.a. The Martyrdom of Polycarp), 14
(6) - Mathetes, Letter to Diognetes, 11
(7) - Tatian the Assyrian, Address to the Greeks, 21
(8) - Athenagorus, Plea for the Christians, 10:2-4
(9) - fragment of Melito's writings, found in the Guide of Athanasius of Sinai, 13
(10) - Theophilus of Antioch, To Autolycus, cap. xv
(11) - Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Lib. I, cap. viii.5
(12) - D. Hurd, "A Tidal Wave of Christianity",
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