Monday, January 23, 2012

A Muslim agrees with the Greek of John 1:1, that the orthodox/Traditional interpretation is the right one

A Muslim confesses that the Orthodox / Traditional Interpretation of John 1:1 is the correct meaning of the Greek text. (That Arian and Jehovah's Witnesses' treatment of this text is wrong.)
Now, this Muslim, Paul Williams, does not believe that John 1:1 is "God-breathed" or inspired, or that the apostle John actually wrote the Gospel of John, and he does not believed it is truth, but he does admit that the traditional /orthodox interpretation is the right one of the intention of the Greek text; and that is a great start in communication.
Since very few Muslims bother to learn New Testament Greek, it is refreshing to find one who says he knows Koine Greek, and claims to have even memorized John 1:1-18 in the original. That is quite remarkable and a real breakthrough. One of the things that probably facilitated this is that this person claims to have been a Christian before, and converted to Islam a few years ago. (His name is Paul Bilal Williams, a British convert to Islam, who is the Director of the Muslim Debate Initiative. The Muslim Debate Initiative is a team of Muslim Debaters including Abdullah Al Andalousi, Sammy Zaatari, and Abdullah Kunde)
From the combox discussion and back and forth with several Muslims, including Abdullah Kunde, and Paul Bilal Williams, in a Muslim’s article about the Debate on the Incarnation between Abdullah Kunde and Dr. James White:
Notice the “exemplary behavior” of 2 particular Muslims, one who goes by “Rambo John” and another who is named, “Rehan Ullah”.  [ No longer there, as Paul Williams has changed his web-site several times over the past few years.]

Dr. White mentioned on a recent Dividing Line about Shabir Ally being motivated by Dr. White’s challenges to him to study NT Greek again. I remember that at the time I watched that particular debate. That is very refreshing to learn that Shabir is willing to do that. Hopefully, he will be able to them correct all the mistakes of Ahmed Deedat and Zakir Naik’s butchering of John 1:1 from their approval of Jehovah’s Witnesses kind of treatment of that and other verses.
Paul Bilal Williams says he can read the Greek New Testament and admits that the Arian and Jehovah’s Witnesses’ interpretation of John 1:1 is wrong.
Paul wrote:
“I find it somewhat curious that you feel yourself competent to judge a scholarly translation from the quranic Arabic but do not read Arabic yourself as you have confessed!
[ I admitted I don't know Arabic, but I do know Farsi, and can recognize all the Arabic words in the Qur'an that have come into the Farsi language. ]
At least when I write about the NT I can read the original!”
Paul Bilal Williams wrote:

“Just look at parts of the King James Old Testament – it is often unreadable because it sticks too closely to the original.”
My Response: No. It is difficult today because we don’t speak that way in English anymore. But there are more “word for word” translations in modern English, like the New American Standard version, the English Standard Version, and the New King James, and the NIV is a good translation also (the old one, not the “gender neural ones”; the NIV is a more dynamic equivalent translation, although it leaves out the connector “gar” (for) γαρ too many times, among other issues. But all of those translations are fine and good translations of the Bible in English.
If you can read Greek, then do you really understand John 1:1; and since you claim to read Greek and understand it, can you explain the significance of the word order, the Predicate nominative issue, and why the Jehovah’s Witnesses translation of John 1:1 is wrong?

Paul Williams said, on January 11, 2012
“if you can read Greek, then do you really understand John 1:1; and since you claim to read Greek and understand it, can you explain the significance of the word order, the Predicate nominative issue, and why the Jehovah’s Witnesses translation of John 1:1 is wrong?”
Claim? Lol. I know the prologue of John 1 in Greek by heart and Yes, I do understand 1:1 and Yes, the JW translation is wrong and Yes, I accept the traditional translation of the verse:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So what?
My response:
Very good Paul; I commend you for that – Mash’allah!
Explanation of "Mash'allah!" ماشاءالله [“Mash’allah” is said in a positive way in all Muslim cultures for encouragement for something well done or well said. In Iranian culture is the equivalent of “bravo” or “way to go!” or “good for you!”. It literally means, “Whatever Allah wills”. The meaning is like, “God has willed you to do good or give a right answer.”
Here is an online explanation from a Muslim:
" "Mash'allah" literally means 'Whatever Allah (God) wills'. It is often used in occasions where there is surprise in someones' good deeds or achievements. For example people say Mashallah when someone does very well in their exams.” ]

I am glad you recognize that the JW translation and interpretation is wrong of John 1:1. 
You know all of John 1:1-18 by heart in Greek? حافظه ؟ (Hafezeh) – by memory?
 If so; very good. Double Mash’allah !

I wrote this little article a while back:
If one only has a beginning knowledge of Greek, it is very dangerous. The grammar and Greek syntax of John 1:1 determines the right theology. The doctrine of the Deity of Christ and the eternality of the Son is based on Scripture, not the Council of Nicaea. The Council of Nicaea is based on Scripture, and derives secondary authority from the only infallible authority – the Scriptures.
 Another Roman Catholic, “Nick the Catholic” also has an article with a title that claims that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were right about John 1:1. “JWs are correct about John 1:1; Jesus is not God” ( !!!) 
Then he clarifies later from his controversial, heretical, and inflammatory title. He says they were right if they mean “the Father is not Jesus”; ie the same person; but they are not right in that the JWs deny that Jesus is God or Deity.
 The predicate nominative issue is the key interpretive issue, more important than the definite article issue.

and the Word was God. 

καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

And God was the Word. 

Daniel Wallace has a good word on this issue: 
“We know that “the Word” is the subject because it has the definite article, and we translate it accordingly: “and the Word was God.”
Two questions, both of them of theological import, should come to mind:
1) Why was θεὸς (Theos) thrown forward? And
2) why does it lack the article?

In brief, its emphatic position stresses its essence or quality: “What God was, the Word was” is how one translation brings out this force. Its lack of a definite article keeps us from identifying the person of the Word ( Jesus Christ) with the person of “God” (the Father). That is to say, the word order tells us that Jesus Christ has all the divine attributes that the Father has; lack of the article tells us that Jesus Christ is not the Father. John’s wording here is beautifully compact! It is, in fact, one of the most elegantly terse theological statements one could ever find. As Martin Luther said, the lack of an article is against Sabellianism [Modalism]; the word order is against Arianism.

To state it another way, look at how the different Greek constructions would be rendered:


καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν ὁ θεὸς = “and the Word was the God” ( ie, the Father, Sabellianism, [or Modalism])


καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν θεὸς = “and the Word was a god” (Arianism) [also Jehovah’s Witness theology]


καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος “and the Word was God” (orthodoxy) [sound, Biblical doctrine)

Jesus Christ is God and has all the attributes that the Father has. But He is not the first person of the Trinity. [the Son is not the Father] All this is concisely affirmed in καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. “ 
Basics of Biblical Greek, William D. Mounce, Zondervan, 1993, p. 28-29. (Quoting Daniel Wallace)

So, here we have the principle of Sola Scriptura as the basis for all sound doctrine and theology. The first four Ecumenical councils were right, only because they got the Bible right. We don’t need Popes or any idea of an “infallible church council”. The Scriptures themselves teach us sound doctrine, and the good and right decisions in the Ecumenical councils derive their rightness from Scripture itself. Only Scripture is infallible. Here we see the Greek grammar and syntax teaching us the distinction between nature and person. God revealed the doctrine of the Trinity based on the Scriptures alone; Sola Scriptura stands.



51 comments:

Paul said...

Hi Ken

I am a little surprised at your amazement at my views on John 1:1. Muslims do not believe that the NT is the original gospel proclaimed by Jesus, and most NT scholars do not think John the apostle wrote the gospel named after him. Furthermore, the NT was put together as a canon centuries after Jesus' time and does not even claim to be inspired or the 'Word of God' (unlike the Quran which clearly does).

How does the Quranic revelation see itself in relation to previous books like the Bible?’

God speaks to his prophet, Muhammad (pbuh), in the Quran saying:

And unto thee O Prophet have We vouchsafed this divine writ, setting forth the truth,
confirming the truth of whatever there still remains of earlier revelations and determining what is true therein.

Judge, then, between the followers of earlier revelation in accordance with
what God has bestowed from on high, and do not follow their errant views, forsaking the
truth that has come unto thee.

Unto every one of you have We appointed a different law and way of life.
And if God had so willed, He could surely have made you all one single community: but He willed it otherwise in order to test you by means of what He has vouchsafed unto you.

Vie, then, with one another in doing good works! Unto God you all must return; and then He will make you truly understand all that on which you were wont to differ. (Surah 5:48)

Sam said...

Williams has again decided to use Asad's butchering of Q. 5:48 even though I wrote 2 articles correcting this:

http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/williams/quran_on_bible1.html

http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/williams/quran_on_bible2.html

With that said, here is a more literal translation:

And We descended to you The Book with the truth, confirming to WHAT (IS) BETWEEN HIS HANDS from The Book (musaddiqan lima bayna yadayhi), and guarding/protecting (muhaimin) on it, so judge/rule between them with what God descended and do not follow their self attractions for desires about what came to you from the truth, to each from you We made/put God's decreed way of life/method/law and order, and a clear/easy/plain way, and if God wanted/willed, He would have made you one nation/generation, and but to test you in what He gave you, so race/surpass (to) the goodnesses/generosity (good deeds), to God (is) your return altogether, so He informs you with what you were in it differing/disagreeing (P). Ahmed Ali

Neither the word musaddiqan nor the word muhaimin mean what Asad wanted them to mean. As I proved from both the immediate and over all contexts of the passage, the meaning is that the Quran testifies to the authority and veracity of the Scriptures in the possession of the Jews and Christians of his day and that the Quran was given to determine for the Muslim community which of the previously revealed commands were still binding upon them, and which have been abrogated, no more no less.

In fact, here are two more articles on the meaning of muhaimin, the firt of which quotes extensively from the commentaries of renowned Muslim exegetes such as al-Tabari and al-Qurtubi

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/muhaimin.htm

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/muhaymin2.htm

So IF Williams is going to be (the emphasis being on if) then he is going to have to stop parroting Asad's butchering of a verse in order to mislead people into thinking that Muhammad thought that our Scriptures were corrupted. Let me quote a narration which shows what Muhammad's attitude was towards the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians:

Abu Dawud recorded that Ibn `Umar said, ‘Some Jews came to the Messenger of Allah and invited him to go to the Quff area. So he went to the house of Al-Midras and they said, “O Abu Al-Qasim! A man from us committed adultery with a woman, so decide on their matter.” They arranged a pillow for the Messenger of Allah and he sat on it and said…

<> He was brought the Tawrah and he removed the pillow from under him and placed the Tawrah on it, saying…

I TRUST YOU and He Who revealed it to you.>> He then said…

<> So he was brought a young man…’ and then he mentioned the rest of the story that Malik narrated from Nafi`. These Hadiths state that the Messenger of Allah issued a decision that conforms with the ruling in the Tawrah, not to honor the Jews in what they believe in, for the Jews were commanded to follow the Law of Muhammad only. Rather, the Prophet did this because Allah commanded him to do so. He asked them about the ruling of stoning in the Tawrah to make them admit to what the Tawrah contains and what they collaborated to hide, deny and exclude from implementing for all that time. They had to admit to what they did, although they did it while having knowledge of the correct ruling…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Q. 5:41: http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=776&Itemid=60)

Muhammad not only praises the copy of the Torah which the Jews of his day possessed, he even testified that he believed in it! He says absolutely nothing of the text of the Torah being corrupt.

Continued in the next post.

Sam said...

This is my second reply to Williams.

What makes this all the more ironic is that Williams' oldest extant sira on Muhammad actually testifies that John's Gospel is actually the very same Gospel which God revealed to Jesus!

“Among the things which have reached me about what Jesus the Son of Mary stated in the Gospel which he received from God for the followers of the Gospel, in applying a term to describe the apostle of God, is the following. It is extracted FROM WHAT JOHN THE APOSTLE SET DOWN FOR THEM WHEN HE WROTE THE GOSPEL FOR THEM FROM THE TESTAMENT OF JESUS SON OF MARY: ‘He that hateth me hateth the Lord. And if I had not done in their presence works which none other before me did, they had not sin: but from now they are puffed up with pride and think that they will overcome me and also the Lord. But the word that is in the law must be fulfilled, "They hated me without a cause" (i.e. without reason). But when the Comforter has come whom God will send to you from the Lord's presence, and the spirit of truth which will have gone forth from the Lord's presence he (shall bear) witness of me and ye also, because ye have been with me from the beginning. I have spoken unto you about this that ye should not be in doubt.’

“The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muhammad; in Greek he is the paraclete. (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], pp. 103-104)

The above Muslim biographer quotes John 15:23-16:1 and says that it is taken from the Gospel of Christ which John wrote down for Jesus’ followers! And do notice that he never once states that this particular Gospel is corrupt or unreliable.

I say ironic because this happens the very Gospel which Williams is constantly attacking, even going so far as to misquote conservative scholars in order cause people to doubt its historical credibility!

Hopefully, now that Williams has been corrected a second time he will stop repeating the same old error over and over again.

Sam said...

This "So IF Williams is going to be" should have been "So IF Williams is going to be honest..." Sorry for the typos.

Sam said...

BTW Ken, I noticed that Williams never did answer your question directly. You asked him to "explain the significance of the word order, the Predicate nominative issue, and why the Jehovah’s Witnesses translation of John 1:1 is wrong?," Williams responded by laughing and claiming that he had memorized the entire prologue in Greek. However, that didn't answer your questions concerning the significance of the word order or the predicate nominative issue.

To have memorized the prologue is one thing, but to understand what it actually means is quite another thing altogether. After all, there are countless number of Muslims who have memorized the Quran and yet have no clue what they are reciting or what the words mean.

So again, could Williams be so kind as to explain the significance of the word order of John 1:1, specifically the implications that the preverbal predicate nominative has on the meaning of theos in relation to the logos?

NameBrandFaucets said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ken said...

Paul Williams wrote:
I am a little surprised at your amazement at my views on John 1:1 .

I am genuinely gratified and thankful to meet a Muslim who agrees that the Greek grammar of John 1:1 has the meaning of the Deity of Christ, that Jesus is the Word of God, and that the grammar of John 1:1 is against both Arianism/ Jehovah’s Witness doctrine of Jesus, and is against the Modalism/Sabellianism doctrine of Jesus.

As I wrote, this is a very significant breakthrough in communication, because most other Muslims, especially Muslim apologists such as the late Ahmed Deedat and now, Zakir Naik, have been distorting the meaning of this text for years, and spreading that distortion to many other Muslims. And so, you are obligated to correct them in their errors, since you claim to follow The Truth ( Al Haqq = الحق )


Muslims do not believe that the NT is the original gospel proclaimed by Jesus, and most NT scholars do not think John the apostle wrote the gospel named after him.

Yes, I acknowledged just that in my article. Of course, you are wrong. The Gospel according to John records the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth, as does Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and they are all four "God-breathed". (2 Tim. 3:16-17) The message contains the original gospel proclaimed by Jesus, and the Gospel of John is truth from the Father, (John 17:8; 17:17) and God-breathed. The human author of the Gospel of John was the apostle John himself, inspired by God, and the Qur’an says the disciples of Jesus were believers, faithful, had integrity, and helpers of Allah. Surah 3:52; 61:14 And they are the ones who were victorious.

Furthermore, the NT was put together as a canon centuries after Jesus' time and does not even claim to be inspired or the 'Word of God' (unlike the Quran which clearly does).



The gospel of John was quoted as inspired Scripture long before the canon of the 27 books finally were all gathered under one “book cover” – either Origen’s list around 250 AD or Athanasius in 367 AD. But the gospel of John existed in 100 AD and was quoted by others in 150, 180, 200, 250, 300, 350 AD. And we have the John Rylands fragment of John 18 that dates to between 120-130 AD. It could have been written in the 60s, before 70 AD, as some scholars do think. Most think it was written between 80-95 AD.

All the books of the NT were written separately to particular communities. Galatians was written to the area of what is today called Turkey, in the central part of Anatolia. Romans was written to Rome, Italy. Thessalonians and Philippians and Corinthians were written to cities in Greece. Ephesians and Colossians were written to cities in western Asia Minor, today Turkey. I Peter was written to different areas in what is today known as central and western Turkey. (see I Peter 1:1) Same with the 4 gospels, they were separate and had different destinations and origins as far as place and authors and they were sent out individually as scrolls. They are all quoted extensively, especially by Tertullian and Irenaeus in 180-200 AD.
.

How does the Quranic revelation see itself in relation to previous books like the Bible?’



Muhammad, or whoever wrote the verses pertaining to the Injeel and Torah, and Zobur, (Qur'an Surah 5:46-48; 5:68; 10:94; 2:136; 29:46, and many others) thought they were confirming and protecting these previous Scriptures, even though they didn’t know very much of what they taught.

Ken said...

Paul Bilal Williams wrote:

God speaks to his prophet, Muhammad (pbuh), in the Quran saying: 

And unto thee O Prophet have We vouchsafed this divine writ, setting forth the truth,
confirming the truth of whatever there still remains of earlier revelations and determining what is true therein.

 Judge, then, . . .

(Paul Williams quoting Surah 5:48 from the Muhammad Asad version.)

As Sam has pointed out, you are using an English translation of the Qur’an (Muhammad Asad), that does not agree with any of the other English versions.

Both the Arabic, the context, and the various English translations of the Qur’an, Surah 5:48, all demonstrate that the word for “confiming” (the صادق ، صدق (Sadeq / Sadeqa ) root; and the word for “guardian” or “protecting” or “preserving” – muhaymin. – all point to the previous Scriptures not being allowed to be lost or corrupted or changed. “Muhaymin” -
مهیمناَ

“whatever there still remains of earlier revelations and determining what is true therein.” – these words are just not there in Arabic. Full stop.



It means that the Qur’an not only testifies to the authority and preservation of the Holy Bible but also guards and protects it from corruption. It does not indicate the way that the reference you gave has translated Surah 5:48 – it seems to be a very free and Tafsir (commentary interpretation) of the word, based on later Islamic theology after they discovered, – “oops! “Mecca, Medina, Baghdad, Damascus, we have a problem, there are many contradictions with the Qur’an and what we are now finding when we talk with the more orthodox Christians in Mesopotamia and Syria and Jerusalem and Egypt and other places.”

Some other English Versions of the Qur’an on Surah 5:48 –

“… confirmatory of previous Scriptures, and their safeguard…” A.J. Arberry

“… It confirms the Scriptures which came before it and stands as a guardian over it… “ N.J. Dawood

“… confirming the earlier revelations, and preserving them (from change and corruption)…” Ahmed Ali

“… confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety…” Yousef Ali

“… confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it… “ Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall

“… confirming the Scripture that came before it and Mohayminan (trustworthy in highness and a witness) over it (old Scriptures)… “ Hilali-Khan

“… confirming the Book before it, and a protector for it…” Mufti Taqi Usmani

“… verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it…” Shakir

“… and fulfilling that which was revealed before it in the Book, and as a guardian over it…” Sher Ali


Paul W. wrote to me in the combox: “Read. Inwardly digest. Learn.” (on Qur’an 5:48)

In order to read and digest and study and learn properly, I look at much more evidence than your one lone English translation (and very recent) that is not a word for word translation, but a very theologically biased agenda type of translation.
It is who you seems to need to learn more about many things.

Ken said...

Sam wrote:
Muhammad not only praises the copy of the Torah which the Jews of his day possessed, he even testified that he believed in it! He says absolutely nothing of the text of the Torah being corrupt.

Thanks so much Sam for your work and your comments here! Indeed, you are correct.

The above Muslim biographer quotes John 15:23-16:1 and says that it is taken from the Gospel of Christ which John wrote down for Jesus’ followers! And do notice that he never once states that this particular Gospel is corrupt or unreliable.

I say ironic because this happens the very Gospel which Williams is constantly attacking, even going so far as to misquote conservative scholars in order cause people to doubt its historical credibility!

Hopefully, now that Williams has been corrected a second time he will stop repeating the same old error over and over again.

This is excellent and the fact that Ibn Ishaq quoted from John 16 and affirmed it is just the solid proof of how wrong Muslims are on this issue. I also pointed this out in the combox, but Williams didn't answer, and the other Muslims, Rehan Ullah and "Rambo John" cursed and mocked and got angry and called me names. They are shining examples of holiness and integrity and purity!

BTW Ken, I noticed that Williams never did answer your question directly. You asked him to "explain the significance of the word order, the Predicate nominative issue, and why the Jehovah’s Witnesses translation of John 1:1 is wrong?," Williams responded by laughing and claiming that he had memorized the entire prologue in Greek. However, that didn't answer your questions concerning the significance of the word order or the predicate nominative issue.

So again, could Williams be so kind as to explain the significance of the word order of John 1:1, specifically the implications that the preverbal predicate nominative has on the meaning of theos in relation to the logos?

Indeed, for him to answer those questions demonstrate that the Bible is true and Islam is false. As Williams likes to say, "Full stop".

Thanks for these excellent comments Sam and good content!

David Waltz said...

With all due respect to both Ken and Paul, the grammar/translation of John 1:1c is not as straight forward as they both seem to suggest. JWs did not invent the translation, "and the Word was a god"; fact is, it is quite ancient. Note the following:

Coptic John 1:1c

Belsham's translation in, The New Testament in an Improved Version, 1809, page 200, also reads as, "and the Word was a god". Robert Young in his, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, states that "AND THE WORD WAS GOD" is, "more lit. 'and a God (i.e. a Divine Being) was the Word,' that is he was existing and recognized as such." (Part 2 - NT, p. 54.)

There are also the ancient comments of Origen on this verse (probably the most skilled Greek scholar of the Christian church in the ante-Nicene period), who made a clear distinction between ho theos (the Father) and theos (the Word/Son). The Father is "Autotheos, God of Himself", but the Word/Son "is made God by participation"; and is "a second God".

Two modern debates on John 1:1 are further testimonies to the fact that more than one translation is possible:

Hommel vs. BeDuhn

Hartley vs. Stafford

I could add much, much more, but the above should suffice for now.


Grace and peace,

David

Paul said...

Ken & Sam

I always find it somewhat amusing that you feel you have a God-given right to demand answers to your many questions as if you are school masters and I am a pupil with nothing else to do!

Let me be quite clear: if I wish to spend time and answer a question I will; if I have other things I wish to spend my time on, then I may not answer any further questions at all. It so happens that most of the issues you raise I have already spent time answering on my blog.

Btw, Ken, I find your attitude pretty patronising: you are astonished that a Muslim covet such as myself who has spent many years studying Christianity and who learnt NT Greek at university (yes really) should actually be able to read the NT in its original language!

You clearly presuppose that we are all ignorant. Maybe there lurks within you a little bit of racism Ken? 'These ignorant muslims - could they be civilised after all? Good grief - they are even familiar with ancient Greek!'

You might be amazed to learn that I speak conversational French too!

oh and I speak the Queens English fluently - care to test me on my verbs? lol

Paul said...

JW Wenham has this note to the section 'Special uses of the article' in his classic work: ‘The Elements of New Testament Greek’ (which was the text I worked from at uni):

‘In ancient manuscripts which did not differentiate between capital and small letters, there would be no way of distinguishing between Θεος ('God') and θεος ('god'). Therefore as far as grammar alone is concerned, such a sentence could be printed: θεος εστιν ó Λογος, which would mean either, 'The Word is a god', or, 'The Word is the god'.

The interpretation of John 1:1 will depend upon whether or not the writer is held to believe in only one God or in more than one god. It will be noticed that the above rules for the special uses of the definite article are none of them ridged and without exceptions. It is wiser not to use them as a basis for theological argument until the student has reached an advanced stage in the knowledge of the language.‘

(page 35)

Ken said...

Paul Williams wrote:
Btw, Ken, I find your attitude pretty patronising: you are astonished that a Muslim covet [sic; convert] such as myself who has spent many years studying Christianity and who learnt NT Greek at university (yes really) should actually be able to read the NT in its original language! 

You clearly presuppose that we are all ignorant.

No, I actually wrote "Mashallah!" twice, which is a positive attitude of "bravo!" "way to go!", "very good", etc.

If you look at it below, it is clearly a very positive attitude that I have, because since you do agree that the traditional view (that all orthodox Christianity has taught - RCC, EO, Protestantism) is the correct view of the grammar of John 1:1, and at the same time, those such as Ahmed Deedat and Zakir Naik got John 1:1 wrong, I never wrote or said or presuppose that all Muslims are ignorant. Some of the most intelligent people I know in the world are many of my Iranian friends, Arab friends, Turkish friends, and other Muslims I have met from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India, Kurdistan, and African Muslims. I only mention Ahmed Deedat and Zakir Naik because I have heard them butcher and distort John 1:1, and that is all I said/wrote. I think that it is you who are judging me very harshly. I bent over backwards to focus only on arguments/reason/texts from the Bible and the Qur'an/logic/issues. Most of the time you also focus on the issue. This time you did not and you crossed the line and you have sinned and shame on you! Allah sees your heart of harshness against me right now.

Again:
I am genuinely gratified and thankful to meet a Muslim who agrees that the Greek grammar of John 1:1 has the meaning of the Deity of Christ, that Jesus is the Word of God, and that the grammar of John 1:1 is against both Arianism/ Jehovah’s Witness doctrine of Jesus, and is against the Modalism/Sabellianism doctrine of Jesus.

As I wrote, this is a very significant breakthrough in communication, because most other Muslims, especially Muslim apologists such as the late Ahmed Deedat and now, Zakir Naik, have been distorting the meaning of this text for years, and spreading that distortion to many other Muslims. And so, you are obligated to correct them in their errors, since you claim to follow The Truth ( Al Haqq = الحق )

Ken said...

Paul Williams wrote:
Maybe there lurks within you a little bit of racism Ken? '

Wow. I am really offended that you would write that. That is really harsh and sinful and evil in your heart.

It seems you have no argument or reasons or logic, then you throw the racism card out. I have actually lived in a Muslim country and learned one language fluently, another one enough to talk for shopping and talking to taxi drivers, and eaten food and had my Muslim friends in my home and been in their homes for hours with lots of tea, coffee, roasted pumpkin seeds, pistachios, sheesh kebabs, etc. You should repent of your harshness to me, Paul. I am disappointed in your turn here.

It seems you cannot deal with my arguments.



These ignorant muslims - could they be civilised after all? Good grief - they are even familiar with ancient Greek!' 

You might be amazed to learn that I speak conversational French too! 

oh and I speak the Queens English fluently - care to test me on my verbs? lol

As I wrote before, I clearly have proven by 27 years of knowing and spending time with Muslims and reaching out to them in first listening and learning one of their languages and culture and seeking to understand them.

Many Muslims are very intelligent and impressive. Many of them are much smarter than I am, as I see their engineering and science and learning and math and challenges to my thinking. Full stop. Digest it and learn it and repent of your malicious personal insult to me.

I am genuinely impressed with you being able to speak conversational French, and of course, your English is better than mine, as you are English and I have heard some of your debates.

I even wrote that your admission of John 1:1 is a great step in communication between Christians and Muslims; yet you have trashed that progress by claiming to know my heart and insulting me by calling me a racist. How dare you!

I genuinely love Muslims and wish them and you peace ( John 14:27) and want to see many from all nations and cultures be saved by Al Masih and His eternal atonement. (see Revelation 5:9)

Paul said...

I am sorry that you were offended by my suggestion that there might lurk some racism in your subconscious Ken but I felt genuinely patronized by your amazement that I was not what you consider to be the typical ignorant Muslim.

I think you find it very hard to believe that there might actually be Muslims out there who have an in depth knowledge of the Bible, Christology, historical theology, Patristics, the Reformation, and contemporary Christian issues.

Yes Ken its true. So please don't patronise us any more...

best wishes

Paul

Ken said...

David Waltz:
Thanks for weighing in on the issue and always challenging.

Based on what Dan Wallace wrote in explaining the Greek, the predicate nominative issue, the lack of definite article with Theos, and its meaning, the word order, and what the meaning would have been if both logos and theos had had the definite article, Wallace demonstrates why Sabellianism/ Modalism is wrong and why Arianism is wrong.

And the fact that Athanasius was an Egyptian and surely Coptic was his mother tongue, right? And since Athanasius defended the traditional view; so, I don't find your arguments very weighty.

Ken said...

Paul,
You are the one who gave the attitude that I am an "ignorant fundamentalist", and that I need get up to speed on the best intelligent scholarship and accept James Dunn, E. P. Sanders, and Bart Ehrman's conclusions and presuppositions, etc. Your attitude was much more arrogant, condescending and "patronizing" in the negative sense; but I didn't say much about that.

I am very impressed with you and your knowledge and you are well read and maybe, along with Shabir Ally and Bassam Zawadi and Abdullah Kunde and Abdullah Al Andolousi, your challenges I find are right up there at the top - I am sincerely impressed with all of these I have named. I was very impressed with Bassam Zawadi's two debates against Thabiti Anayawibile.

I am also genuinely impressed with Yaser Qadi, even though I have not yet had time to listen to much of him; but wish to.

Also, I was very impressed with the gentleman that Dr. White played on his recent Dividing Line show - Abu Mussab Wajdi Akkari - I was impressed with his communication skills, although obviously, I think he is wrong. But, he seemed sincere and really trying to communicate.

I am sorry I failed in communicating with you, even though I never called you names equivalent to what you chose to call me, the very pejorative and negative name in the west, a "fundamentalist", or talked down to you by saying you need to be more well read in more intelligent scholarship. ( I did say you need to learn more, in response to your patronizing and talking down to me; yes, I admit.)

I think that I put up the best effort at sincere communication, and it seems to me that it is you who sought to destroy that communication here. Sad.


I tried to be gracious and stick to the issues. Eric Fadli was good most of the time, but Rehan Ullah and "Rambo John" were just rude and crude and dirty.

You joined in with them with your "racist" comment.

Sam said...

Brother Ken,

Here is an excellent analysis of the sahidic version of John 1:1 and why anti-trinitarians shouldn't be jumping for joy over this particular ancient translation of the Greek of John: http://www.forananswer.org/Top_JW/From%20QEOS%20to%20NOUTE.pdf

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

You posted:

==David Waltz:
Thanks for weighing in on the issue and always challenging.==

Me: And thank you.

==Based on what Dan Wallace wrote in explaining the Greek, the predicate nominative issue, the lack of definite article with Theos, and its meaning, the word order, and what the meaning would have been if both logos and theos had had the definite article, Wallace demonstrates why Sabellianism/ Modalism is wrong and why Arianism is wrong.==

Me: If theos in the predicate had the article, I don't think that it would prove Sabellianism/ Modalism; John's grammar can allow it either way (i.e. with or without the article). Further, the absence of the article does not prove Arianism, but then, one need not translate the passage as "the Word was a God", to defend Arianism either. When all is said, the verse, theologically speaking, is open to more than one interpretation, and especially so if one accepts theos instead of ouios as the correct reading in verse 1.18.

==And the fact that Athanasius was an Egyptian and surely Coptic was his mother tongue, right? And since Athanasius defended the traditional view; so, I don't find your arguments very weighty.==

Me: The "arguments" I linked to in my first post are not mine. The debates are particularly useful, in that both sides of the issue each present very solid cases; which suggests to me, that one's presupposed theology will determine how one interprets John 1:1.


Grace and peace,

David

Ken said...

Sam,
Thanks for the link concerning the Sahidic dialect of Coptic version of John 1:1.

Good work - this is the same man (Robert Hommel) who argued for the Trinitarian/orthodox/traditional view in a debate that David Waltz linked to. Interesting.

there were several Coptic dialects that the Bible was translated in the early centuries.

I wonder which of the Coptic dialects was Athanasius' mother tongue?

Turretinfan said...

Paul: What race, exactly, is a Muslim?

-TurretinFan

Ken said...

David Waltz wrote:

"There are also the ancient comments of Origen on this verse (probably the most skilled Greek scholar of the Christian church in the ante-Nicene period), who made a clear distinction between ho theos (the Father) and theos (the Word/Son). The Father is "Autotheos, God of Himself", but the Word/Son "is made God by participation"; and is "a second God"."

Origen was from Alexandria also, as was Clement of Alexandria. Were they Coptic/Egyptian? or mostly Greek ?

I find Origen's phrase "a second God" (as Justin Martyr's similar phrase that I learned from you, David; I find those phrases really weird coming from Christian Monotheists.

But aside from that, Origen's insights that you quote above are pretty good, except "participation" should be seen as "eternally generated" or "outshining from the Father from all eternity past"

"He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," Hebrews 1:3, ESV

Also, Jesus is called

ὁ κύριός μου καὶ ὁ θεός μου

The Lord of mine and the God of mine

in John 20:28

So, it depends on context how the nuance of the article is to be treated.

Ken said...

Good question, Turretinfan !

I hope Paul will come back and answer that; and why he throws that charge out when he runs out of arguments and reasons and logic.

His charge is also weird, because he is English / British (White/Caucasian) as my ancestors are Scottish and English mostly.

Ken said...

Paul,
You should also know that part of the motivation for my calling as a minister/missionary to Muslims for me as a Christian from the west, to reach out in true Christian love and understand Muslims and share the gospel with them, back in 1982, as I was studying and meditating on the Scriptures and praying over a period of months and several years actually (1981-1983) -

part of that motivation was when I saw how the western "Christian" world in history had:

1. Neglected to reach out to the Arabs and other Muslims in history. Not much evangelism or outreach; no translation of the Bible into Arabic until the 900s AD. It was too late then.

2. The history of the Crusades and Colonialism that made relations worse for centuries.
I saw the Crusades as mostly an evil and negative thing; although now I understand it better and more balanced as also including a kind of "just war" / self -defense motivation; unfortunately it was carried out wrong, lots of evil slaughter against the Jews and Eastern Orthodox also; and it was motivated by the evil and false doctrines of the Roman Catholic indulgences and promises of forgiveness and getting out of purgatory if they went and fought against the Muslims.

I believe God calls and speaks by His Spirit through His written word, the Scripture.

I also saw very few people, even Christians even willing to reach out to Muslims at all, because of fear.

Again, which I mentioned before, I have probably met and spend time with more Muslims in their own cultures, homes, languages, eating their food and having them in my home, and learning their history and poetry and pains than you have. I love the Islamic architecture, which I told you; and Muslim hospitality is the best in the world, especially Iranians.

I wanted to sincerely be a part of changing that wrong of the fear of the west of Muslims, the damage of relations of the past with Crusades and Colonialism; and the church "leaving its first love" (Revelation 2:4-5) and not obeying the great commandment (Matthew 22:38-40 - love God and love your neighbor as yourself) nor the great commission (matthew 28:18-20) in reaching out in evangelism with Muslims.

So, your comment has a particular extra insult to me.

David Waltz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Waltz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Waltz said...

Hello again Ken,

You asked:

==Origen was from Alexandria also, as was Clement of Alexandria. Were they Coptic/Egyptian? or mostly Greek ?==

Me: Clement was born in Greece (probably Athens) and moved to Alexandria to study at the Catechetical School under Pantaenus (most scholars believe he was a native of Sicily).

Origen was born in Egypt (probably Alexandria), but certainly knew the Greek language (thoroughly) from a very early age, having studied under the famous Middle Platonist Ammonius Saccus and Clement of Alexandria. At the age of 17 (the year his father was martyred), he began teaching Greek to support himself. When Clement was forced to flee Alexandria for his life, Origen was appointed the temporary head of the Catechetical School by Demetrius, at the tender age of 18.

Now, with that said, we know that Origen was born to, and raised by educated Christian parents, which suggests that he probably was bi-lingual at a very early age.

Hope I have been of some assistance...


Grace and peace,

David

Paul said...

Ken

I think you are hyper-ventilating a bit about my question concerning racism. I have never accused you of being a racist. Your attitude towards Muslims and Islam is so extreme at times and, yes, fundamentalist, that it was natural that I should at lest enquire if racism lurked somewhere in your hostility, as it manifestly does with many other white people in the UK and USA. You have categorically rejected this and I accept your word.

I do not, however, in any way apologise for using the word 'fundamentalist' in respect of your views. I use the word in its precise academic meaning as discussed in the definitive work on the subject by Oxford professor of the Bible, James Barr. Like a reformed alcoholic or ex-smoker I am an ex-Christian fundamentalist and I too used to defend positions quite similar to your own Ken. So I am very keen for people to be free of this narrow and occasionally bigoted ideology.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fundamentalism-James-Barr/dp/0334005035/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327430552&sr=8-1

Turretinfan said...

"I have never accused you of being a racist."

I haven't (in so many words) accused Paul of wasting our time, either.

-TurretinFan

Sam said...

This is for Paul Williams, and I do hope he manages to find the time to answer.

Since you mention James Barr and highly praise his book, "Beyond Fundamentlism," going so far as to recommend that people read it, I want to ask you whether you agree with what he says in his book about Jesus holding to erroneous views. He claims that the historical Jesus mistakenly believed that the story of Jonah and the great sea animal was an actual event even though Barr claims it never happened.

Therefore, since Muhammad himself thought that this event actually took place are you willing to openly admit that you agree Barr is right and that both Jesus and Muhammad didn't know what they were talking about? If not, why don't you and why do you expect people to blindly believe everything that these liberal critical scholars say about the Bible but reject their arguments when they are applied to the Quran?

I am planning to write article about this very issue of you recommending scholars whose views end up destroying faith in Islam since their claims prove that the Quran is mistaken and Muhammad didn't know what he was talking about since he considered stories like Jonah and the the great fish to be historical even though the very scholars which you recommend say they are either myths or parables. These scholars obviously know more than your own prophet did about such matters.

So any response you give here will help me in knowing what to put in my response to your recommendation of a scholar whose views prove Islam is pretty much a joke and a farce.

Paul said...

Sam, the book I recommended was Barr’s ‘Fundamentalism’ (not his shorter pastoral work). I mentioned the longer book as it is a serous academic work. As to Barr’s alleged view that Jesus held wrong views - you will need cite an actual quote as I do not recall him saying any such thing.

Sam, you have evaded the intellectual challenge of Barr’s book: a truly devastating demolition of the fundamentalist theology you espouse. So instead of interrogating me (something of a blood sport for you I see - do yo not have anything better to do?) you really need to listen to what your own Christian scholars are telling you. Its time to wake up and face the truth about the Bible Sam. Attacking Muslims is no substitute for facing your own demons...

You say: “why do you expect people to blindly believe everything that these liberal critical scholars say about the Bible”

I said no such thing Sam. It is a characteristically fundamentalist mindset to believe everything scholars say blindly - I left such an idea behind when I made my exodus from fundamentalist Christianity. But Barr presents a penetrating academic challenge to the fundamentalism you yourself follow Sam - but I fear your mind is too closed for any intellectual light to enter in. It will take a miracle of God’s grace - and I pray to the God of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all) for your intellectual and spiritual renewal Sam.

Of course, if it comes to a choice between an inspired prophet and Barr’s view then that former is always to be preferred. But do not forget Sam (as your own Christian scholars tell us), that the gospels as they stand today, are a mixture of fact, legend and pious fiction. Happily for you and me the Quran is pure revelation from God whose role it is to sort out truth from error in the Bible. The Quran claims this role for itself.

Sam said...

This is to Williams. I am rather disappointed that you don't know where to find Barr's statements concerning Jesus and Jonah when you are the one who recommended this book. Lord willing, I will get you the page numbers shortly since I don't have it in front of me right now. I will also be quoting him in full in my reply to you.

In the meantime, let me address some of your statements. In the first place, Barr's book is such a "devastating demolition of fundamentalist theology" that it ends up completely demolishing the credibility of Muhammad and his Quran!

This is where your glaring inconsistency comes shining through since the same arguments which Barr uses to "level" the Christian faith (at least in your mind) also demolish your faith as a Muslim. But instead of doing the honest and consistent thing by abandoning Islam you choose, instead, to ignore such criticisms and think that by ignoring them they will simply go away. Sadly for you, it doesn't work like that since what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

So Williams, you need to start practicing what you preach and start facing YOUR OWN DEMONS, the ones you try to shove down our throat, and accept the fact that the same critical scholarship which you swear by proves that Muhammad is a fraud and that the Quran is a pack of lies.

You then claim that you will choose the statements of a prophet over against Barr, which actually begs the question since this presupposes that you know for a fact that Muhammad is a prophet and that the Quran is a revelation from God. However, according to your own scholars, one of whom claimed to be a devout Muslim whose translation you swear by (hint- Muhammad Asad), the Quran contains fables and myths.

In fact, according to Barr, Jesus (not the Gospel writers who put words in Jesus' mouth as you like to argue) mistakenly believed that the story of Jonah was history. Therefore, if Barr is right (and you are the one who is trying to shove him and his book down our throats) then this means that the historical Jesus and your prophet Muhammad who also believed this story to be historical were in error.

So sadly for you (but not for me) your Quran turns out to be a fraud and "pious" fiction according to the same criteria employed by the very scholars you swear by.

Time to do the honest thing and abandon Islam. However, if you continue believing this lie then this will simply prove that you are not an honest seeker of truth. Your only interest is to discredit Christianity by inconsistently appealing yo scholarhship which can be used more forcefully to demolish your beliefs as a Muslim.

Ken said...

Sam,
Excellent point about Barr - if he dismissed Jonah and the big fish or whale as historical and a miracle; and the Qur'an and Hadith affirm it; then it defeats the Qur'an also.

Amazing that Paul can think the Qur'an is inspired by God when it denies clear history - the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth under Pontius Pilate and the Jewish leaders and when Tiberias was Caesar - even Bart Ehrman and John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg believe in that historical fact.

Paul - you have your own version of "Islamic Fundamentalism" - you believe in all the Fundamental (Basic, orthodox) doctrines and practices of Islam as a religion and guidance for mankind.

You just replaced once version of a religion - belief in inerrancy (Evangelical Christianity) for another version of Inerrancy (Dictation of words of Allah through Gabriel angel to Muhammad, 600 years later in Arabic); yet you were never born again spiritually, although you probably think you were at the time; and you were never a true Christian, according to the Bible - Hebrews 3:12-14; 6:4-9; 10:26ff; I John 2:19; Matthew 7:22 -
unless you repent before you die, Jesus will say to you, "depart from Me, you who practice wickedness, I NEVER KNEW you."

Sam said...

Ken, you hit the nail on the head and I couldn't have said it any better. Paul is nothing more than an Islamic fundamentalist who doesn't even apply the criteria and arguments of his own scholars to his fundamentalist beliefs and assumptions. For instance, I quoted extensively from Muhammad Asad, the scholar whose translation Williams praises and recommends, to show that this scholar unashamedly acknowledged that the Quran contains fables and myths: http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/williams/quran_fables.html

Now will this deter Williams from his radical fundamentalist Islamic beliefs? Of course not, since he knows what his colleagues will say and do to him if he dares come out and admit that many of the Quran's stories are purely mythical.

Ken said...

Paul Bilal Williams wrote:

You have categorically rejected this and I accept your word.

I sincerely thank you for that.

Ken said...

Matthew 7:23

Jesus said . . .

"I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness"

not 7:22

And those are the words of Jesus, that Muslims so often demand.

Ken said...

Sam,
wow, I just now quickly looked over your article on Asad and myths and legends in the Qur'an. Wow; I didn't realize he was such a liberal Muslim!

Excellent work - I have this Qur'an so I will be looking at all your points again more slowly.

Definitely the legend of the Seven Sleepers is obviously a myth/legend that Muhammad added into the Qur'an.

What does Asad say about the obvious Qur'anic leaning on the Gnostic Arabic Infancy Gospels and Arabic Gospel of Thomas for the story of Jesus speaking from the cradle and making a clay bird and breathing into it and it flying away?

Gnostic to the core . . .

Sam said...

Brother Ken, if you read Asad's notes carefully he denies that Jesus did any miracles and even denies his virginal conception (albeit implicitly). Just read what he says about Jesus in surahs 3, 5 and 19 and you will see this for yourself.

Ken said...

Brother Sam,
Ok, I will be reading them carefully. Thanks again for all your work !

Sam said...

This is to Williams. i can see how well you do in making sure that insults do not get posted on your blogs. I am tempted to save all the insults which allowed to be posted by your ikhwaan in order to again document to others just how inconsistent and dishonest the team of MDI truly are. You complained when I chewed out Kunde and Zawadi, even going so far as refusing to post one of my replies, due to alleged insults on my part. And yet you allow the filthy venom of Muslims like Free Lover, Rambo John and Nazam to be displayed without so much as a rebuke or warning. Keep u the great work of exposing your true colors.

Sam said...

Brother Ken, if you are interested I can send you those quotes from James Barr which you can then turn into a blog post for all to see what one of the scholars which Williams swears by says about Jesus and how this ends up destroying his fundamentalist Islamic beliefs. In that way, folks won't have to wait for weeks for me to publish this as an article. Let me know if you are interested.

JohnOneOne said...

Regarding Jehovah's Witnesses' "New World Translation" Bible and its rendering of John 1:1, it may interest you and your readers to know that, in support and explanation of their wording of this verse (especially within the third clause with "a god"), there is soon to be published a 20+ year study (as of 1/2012), a thoroughly researched reference work - an historical analysis & exhaustive annotated bibliography - it will be entitled, "What About John 1:1?"

To learn more of its design and expected release date, you are invited to visit:

http://www.goodcompanionbooks.com

When finally published, apart from discussing many of the other topics and scriptures often related to the man-made Trinity doctrine, you will also discover that we have collected information on about 430+ scholarly reference works (mostly Trinitarian) which, throughout the centuries, had opted to say something other than, "and the Word was God," and that, included among them are over 120 which had chosen to use "a god" within the third clause of their renderings.

As you might expect, we are very excited at the opportunity to share our findings with others.

Agape, JohnOneOne.

Ken said...

Thanks Sam.

Sure, send me the information.
Your content is always good; though I confess I have not had time to read it all; you have a big page full of lots of articles at www.answering-islam.org - and I appreciate all the work you do.

Greetings to Jochen Katz - I knew him before he started the site, as he was in a missions class I helped teach and he came to our Iranian bible study for a while and then decided to start the web-site. I praise God for all the information and apologetic resources that you guys and others have put together there; and networking with many other ministries and missionaries and scholars also.

Ken said...

JohnOneOne:
Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

I am sure David Waltz will love your massive book and web-site.



You wrote:
When finally published, apart from discussing many of the other topics and scriptures often related to the man-made Trinity doctrine, . . .

The Trinity is not a man-made doctrine. This article addresses that issue:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2011/08/man-made-religion-tries-to-make-god.html

Also, Dr. James White's book, The Forgotten Trinity, fully refutes the charge that it is "man made". see at the store at www.aomin.org

It is the anti-Trinitarians who try to make God more simple and understandable, and in their own image in their minds.

"Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; His greatness is unsearchable." Psalm 145:3

in other words,

The nature / essence/ substance of God is unsearchable/ inexhaustible and past finding out; unless the Spirit illumines the mind and changes the heart - we receive the truth of the Trinity, based on Scripture, by faith, and we can apprehend the doctrine by faith, through the power of God to enlighten our minds; but can never fully exhaust or completely comprehend God; or force God to be something that He is not - controllable and reasonable to the rebellious heart and mind - the unregenerate.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16
Romans 8:7
Romans 11:33-36
Isaiah chapter 40
Job 11:7
Job chapters 38-42

Thanseef Gafoor said...

Where is the proof? a video or something?
even if its a muslim can u prove he is a scholar of greek.. proof that muslim is perfect?
Its not about a person saying so and so whether it be a muslim hindu or christian... give proofs

Ken said...

Dear Mr. Gafoor,
Thanks for stopping by and offering a comment.

I sincerely wish you the peace of Isa Al Masih - Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:27; Romans 5:1

Al Masih said:
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." John 14:27

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest . . . " (Matthew 11:28-30)

Did you read carefully the entire entry?

I guess you mean proof that the traditional understanding of John 1:1 is the right one. After I show that Paul Williams agreed with the traditional understanding - he agrees that the author of John intended that meaning; he (PW) does not agree with it that it is truth, but he agrees that the Greek gives that meaning, of "the Word was God (by nature)" and eternal.

If you read the rest of the article carefully, you can see the argumentation and evidence from a top Greek scholar (Dan Wallace) that it means that the Word of God (Kalimat'allah = کلمه الله ) existed from all eternity both with God and that the Word was God by nature/substance/essence.

Could God ever be without His own mind or word or expression and communication?

John 1:1-5 and 1:14-18 clearly demonstrates that the Word was eternal, God, creator of all things, life, light, and became flesh and dwelt among us.

Hope you will read it all and think about it and pray for God's guidance with an open heart.

Blogging Theology said...

Ken,

in light of further study I now think I was wrong about the translation of the third clause of John 1:1, which can in fact be plausibly translated “the word was a god“.

The JW translation may well be right after all!

See here:

https://bloggingtheology.net/2016/11/25/25513/amp/

Ken said...


"Blogging Theology" (Paul Bilal Williams), a British convert to Islam and former Evangelical (so he claims, but honestly, it seems he was never truly born again, given the radical dislike (even hatred) he has for the doctrines such as the Deity of Christ, the Atonement (he called that morally grotesque - so he has hatred for the most precious Christian truth), the doctrine of the Trinity, calls the apostle Paul a false apostle, does not believe the gospel of John is historical, etc.; even denies that Mark 10:45 is Jesus' teaching on the atonement, etc.)

anyway, Paul Williams is refering to recent study of this book by Adela Yarbro Collins and John J. Collins, two scholars at Harvard.
You can search inside the book to see what they say about John 1:1. There is a lot that Paul Williams did not say about what they wrote.

They say that the third clause of John 1:1 can be translated either "the Word was God" or "the word was a god"; but they base that almost totally their understanding of some things that Justin Martyr wrote.
Overall, it seems like a very weak case for that, and they don't spend much time on that issue.

But they actually write that the belief in the Deity of Christ comes out of the Jewish background and understand and not from Greek paganism (see review below at second link), as what many, including Muslims accuse the NT as being an aberration out from Judaism into Greek paganism - (saying that the apostle Paul and the author of John's Gospel hijacked Jewish monotheism and Torah observation, etc.)

When I have time; I hope to purchase this book and write a more fuller reply.

https://books.google.com/books?id=3hRQFzbHroMC&q=logos+John+1%3A1#v=snippet&q=logos%20John%201%3A1&f=false

Here is a review of the book that I found helpful as introductory to get a feel for the book as a whole.

http://www.dts.edu/reviews/adela-yarbro-collins-king-and-messiah-as-son-of-god

Ken said...

https://bloggingtheology.net/2016/11/25/25513/#comment-32902

One of my early responses to Paul Bilal Williams blog post on the third clause of John 1:1

It does not seem like the scholars at Yale (sorry, I wrote Harvard by mistake above) were fair to Justin Martyr.

Ken Temple
November 27, 2016 • 2:39 am
“And that Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been demonstrated fully by what has been said.”

Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 128

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.iv.cxxviii.html

Ken said...

“This work by Collins and Collins focuses on the thesis that the Jews regarded the king of Israel as divine and that by extension the Messiah was viewed in the same way. Thus when Jesus’ followers acknowledged Him as the Messiah, the key theological element for regarding Him as divine would have already been in place. Thus the concept of Jesus’ deity was not a Gentile, Hellenistic development. Instead it arose naturally and appropriately out of a Jewish milieu through the relationship of the Messiah to Israel’s kingship.”

. . .

“The following four chapters address the biblical data. Authored by Adela Yarbro Collins, they address in turn the Messiah and Son of God concepts first in Paul and the Synoptic Gospels, and then in the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation. Similar in tone to the first half of the book, these chapters argue that the New Testament authors readily understood Jesus’ life and ministry in terms of Jewish divine kingship.”

“Surprisingly the authors suggest that John 1:1c “may be translated either ‘the word was God’ or ‘the word was a god.’ ” Current scholarship is decidedly on the side of the traditional translation, giving little or no credence to the translation “the word was a god.” ”

From an academic review of the book, by Michael H. Burer

http://www.dts.edu/reviews/adela-yarbro-collins-king-and-messiah-as-son-of-god

I would also add that Collins and Collins do not seem to go into any grammatical justification for their saying that John 1:1 may be translated the way Jehovah’s Witnesses translate it. (the word was a god)

They only make a passing comment on John 1:1, and refer to Justin Martyr, but they were not balanced in their treatment of Justin, leaving a lot of other things Justin wrote. (as I demonstrated above)

I just ordered the book and look forward to studying it more and writing more on this, because there are some great positive things in this book that show the Deity of Christ is based on Jewish understanding of the Tanakh. (it was NOT a Gentile, Hellenistic, pagan concept)

Ken said...

leaving OUT a lot of other things Justin wrote. (as I demonstrated above)