7 TOUGH QUESTIONS FROM UNBELIEVERSI have been explaining Christianity and the Bible to a muslim for quite some time now, and you know, it's so sad that someone so knowledgeable about the Bible should yet be so willing not to accept it. I have to tell you, though, he asked me a lot of questions that will make a Christian dig deep into their Bible and their kowledge of it to give him answers! I have listed here some of his questions, and what answers there are to his questions.
1. "How is Jesus begotten of the Father? Your Bible says "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." (John 1:18)" When you look up the denotation of the word "begotten", you will find it says "to cause to exist, to procreate", which would mean that Christ had a beginning, which Christians never profess. "Only begotten Son", of course, is also in John 3:16, 18, and 1 John 4:9. It is not by the denotation in the dictionary, it is by spiritual connotation. You see, the dictionary uses man's thinking, not God's. It means Jesus is the only Son of God who is equal to the Father. You see, I am a son of God by my faith in Jesus, but I am not equal to God, nor am I on His level. I'm just a human. But Jesus is the only one on God the Father's level, so in this spiritual sense, Jesus is Fathered by God the Father. He picked a difficult Christian concept to explain, but that's okay! Tough questions elicit deeper knowledge about our Bible and our faith! Another facet of this concept is that Jesus is the only Savior begotten into the flesh of mankind who is 100% man and 100% God to remit all our sins by nailing them to the cross in the human body. No other person in all creation was sent in this manner for this purpose. This is why Christians, Jew or Gentile, identify Christ Jesus as the Son of God and their Savior, too!
2. "How is God the Father of Jesus when the Holy Spirit came over Mary? Your Bible says, "Then said Mary unto the angel, 'How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?' And the angel answered and said unto her, 'The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.'" (Luke 1:34 - 35)" The Father's will is in all creation. This is how it was from the very beginning. God speaks, and it is created. for example, "And God said, 'Let there be light': and there was light." (Gen. 1:3) Jesus said, "I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." (John 5:43) "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44) As we see it, does not God know His own, and His own comings and goings? If Jesus acknowledges the Father as His Father, His omniscience reigns as sufficient answer. And look at what the verse says; "...the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee..." The highest is the father, isn't it? Interpretation is important!
3. "Why doesn't the Holy Spirit know when is Jesus' second coming? Your Bible says, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only." (Matt. 24:36)" The will of the Father reigns supreme in the triune Godhead. Jesus gave us proof of it when He said, "And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, 'O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.'" (Matt. 26:39) So when Jesus said it is reserved to be known only of the Father, then His will is that it be like this on this particular issue.
4. "Is Jesus God because He forgave sins? Your Bible says, "And when He saw their faith, He said unto him, 'Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.' And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, 'Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?'" (Luke 5:20 - 21) We need to reword the question's answer, and say, because Jesus is God, He is able to forgive sins. This brings out more intriguing theology, because Jesus is also quoted in the Gospel saying, "Jesus answered them, 'Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?'" (John 10:34) Christians who are representative of God, by Jesus' words here, are able to forgive one another. Are we not ambassadors of Christ? And when Jesus taught us how to pray, did He not say we should ask the Father to forgive us, as we forgive our debtors? "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." (Matt. 6:12) And did not Jesus tell Peter to forgive our family in Christ, as we want to be forgiven by the Father? "Then came Peter to him, and said, 'Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?' Jesus saith unto him, 'I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.'" (Matt. 18:21 - 22) So because of all this, I would say Jesus has said we can forgive each other sins against us, but to forgive unto salvation, that is reserved to God. Jesus is God for every Christian by this reason: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than Light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the Light, neither cometh to the Light, lest his deeds should be reproved." (John 3:16 - 20) Not believing that Jesus is the Son of God gets one condemned, and the place of condemnation is hell and the lake of fire. Whoever does not pick up their cross and follow Christ is not Christian, and demonstrates they do not believe on Jesus, and so, one can choose to become eternal charcoal, or eternally alive with Christ. For Christians, it's a no-brainer. For stiffnecked unbelievers, their density knows no bounds.
5. "How is there a Father, Son, and Holy Ghost all in one God?" There is one place that I always go to like a heat-seeking missile when the question is asked about the Trinity, because it is the only place in the entire bible where their separate entity is clearly defined; "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.'" (Matt. 3:16 - 17) In this passage of the book of Matthew, the Father is heard, and separate of Him being heard, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are seen separate of each other. Now to qualify them as one, let us go to Genesis: "And God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.'" (Gen. 1:26) "And God..." is quantified in the singular, is it not? But just a little further in the same sentence, it is written: "...let us make man in our image..." Well, what have we here? Within the same sentence, God has quantified from a singular noun to a plural pronoun! One God has become "us" and "our"! And so we have created the understanding of a triune Godhead from our holy Bible, three entities that are God, and unbelievers are confounded by this!
6. "How can God be cursed, as is written in your Bible's Gal. 3:13?" The concept of being cursed for hanging on a tree goes back into the Old Testament; "His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance." (Deut. 21:23) Hanging was a sequel to death, and this was viewed as exposure of the corpse to ultimate disgrace. This should strike awe in the Christian who understands this concept, because we now understand the views of the people of the time concerning death by crucifixion. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Gal. 3:13 - 14) When we put this together, the Christian understands that while the law brings a curse, we who believe are relieved of the curse by Christ becoming a curse for us. You see, by His death on the cross, Christ took on the curse of the law, and being the Son of God, He took on the guilt of all our sins under the law, and nailed them to the cross all in that human flesh that He took on during His life on earth. This is why believing in Him, and that He came in the flesh, and that He died with the sins of the world accursed upon His human frame, and that on the third day He arose again, believing in this Jesus, is how one gets salvation and adopted into the family of God! Sadly, this is the most important thing unbelievers can't wrap their head around, that they might receive salvation!
7. "Prove Jesus is God from the Old Testament; His name is not anywhere in the Old Testament." That's true, Jesus is never named in the Old Testament. He is given other names in the Old Testament, and there are references to Him there, but He is never given the name specifically in it. The only ironclad reference that could only be Jesus in the Old Testament is found in the book of Daniel. "Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, 'Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?' They answered and said unto the king, 'True, O king.' He answered and said, 'Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.'" (Dan. 3:24 - 25) I find this a fascinating passage, because the heathen king actually says "Son of God", which in the singular, is a reference only to Jesus, because in the New Testament He is called "the only Son of God". If He is the "only Son of God", then I would doubt the stance that the fourth figure in the fiery furnace was just an angel. His existence is referred to by Job as "my Redeemer" (Job 19:25), He is thought to have been one of the three men who met Abraham on the plains of Mamre (Gen. 18:2), and the angel of God in the cloud and pillar of fire (Exod. 13:21, 14:19), although theophanies are usually considered up for debate as to which person of God is being represented. While I consider personally that Nebuchadnezzar's statement is the most convincing of Jesus' cameo appearance in the Old Testament, John 1:1 - 14 is the most specific about Jesus existing before the Old Testament began, but the unbeliever asked to prove Him from the Old Testament, and for that I can only offer all the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament and the "us" and "our" of the beginning of Genesis. After that, it's all a matter of faith, which believers have, and unbelievers do not!