Turning the Tables Pt. 1a
We begin a new series of posts where we take the most oft-repeated biblical verses used by Muslims and other non-Christian groups to undermine key essential Christian doctrines and turn them around against them. Our aim is to show how the very texts that these individuals cite actually end up backfiring against them by disproving what they themselves believe. In the case of Muslims, we will demonstrate that the very passages Muslim polemicists use to refute Biblical Christianity actually prove that Muhammad was a false prophet and that the Quran is nothing more than a book of misguidance.
At the end of each article we will link to specific posts and/or rebuttals which thoroughly explain the meaning of these passages that Muslims have wrenched out of their immediate and overall contexts.
Our first objection is taken from noted Muslim apologist Dr. Jamal Badawi in his debate with Dr. William Lane Craig titled, The Concept of God in Islam and Christianity, that took place in 1997, and which can be viewed online: 1; 2.
In that particular debate, Badawi argued that Jesus couldn’t be God, and/or coequal to the Father, since the NT describes him as praying to God. Here is what he stated concerning the issue of Jesus praying:
“But what we find that he himself worshiped God, he fell on his face and prayed to God; and prayer is petition from the infinite… from the finite to the infinite.”
And this is what Badawi stated in one of his radio sessions where he sought to establish that even the Holy Bible itself denies the divinity of the Lord Jesus:
Host: Is there corroborating evidence from the Bible?
Jamal Badawi: The evidence is overwhelming; let us begin with some basic points of agreement between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is my understanding that these three community (sic), there are divine attributes which are indisputable:
1. The divinity of the creator is always with him
2. It cannot be tested, he tests. The divine should know the unseen.
3. The divine is not like the creatures, no change.
4. We pray to a power greater than us, one who prays cannot be divine.
Jesus indicated clearly in the Bible that he was a man and not divine. (Badawi, Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200, “Jesus: Beloved Messenger of Allah”, K16. Did Jesus Claim Divinity VI: Jesus Denies Godhood)
“In more than one occasion, we are told that Jesus prayed. In Mark 14:32, in verse 35 it said that he fell on the ground and prayed. To whom was Jesus praying? God does not pray to God. In verse 36, Jesus prayed to God that if he wished that God remove the cup, so that shows that even he did not know what was happening in spite of the claim that he foretold his death elsewhere, but here he did not know.” (Ibid.)
Suffice it to say, Badawi’s assertions raise a host of problems for his Islamic beliefs.
To begin with, Jesus’ prayer life exposes Muhammad as a false prophet since in his prayers he addressed God as his own Father:
“They came to a place which was named Gethsemane. And He said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took Peter and James and John with Him and began to be greatly distressed and very troubled. And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply sorrowful unto death. Remain here and keep watch.’ He went a little farther and fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. He said, ‘ABBA, FATHER, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.’” Mark 14:32-36
In fact, Jesus not only prayed in this manner he also taught his followers to pray to God as their Father:
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:9-15
Muhammad, however, denied that Jesus is God’s Son,
And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they! S. 9:30
And further denied that his god is a father to anyone,
The Jews and Christians say: We are sons of Allah and His loved ones. Say: Why then doth He chastise you for your sins? Nay, ye are but mortals of His creating. He forgiveth whom He will, and chastiseth whom He will. Allah's is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and unto Him is the journeying. S. 5:18
Since he believed the highest relationship one could have with his deity is that of a slave to a master:
And they say: The Beneficent hath taken unto Himself a son. Assuredly ye utter a disastrous thing Whereby almost the heavens are torn, and the earth is split asunder and the mountains fall in ruins, That ye ascribe unto the Beneficent a son, When it is not meet for (the Majesty of) the Beneficent that He should choose a son. There is none in the heavens and the earth but cometh unto the Beneficent as a slave. S. 19:88-93; – cf. Q. 5:18; 6:101; 21:26; 39:4; 72:3
Jesus further told his disciples that as soon as he returns to the Father in heaven they could then start praying to him as well, and that he would personally answer all their invocations:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask IN MY NAME, THAT WILL I DO, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing IN MY NAME, I WILL DO IT.” John 14:12-14
Now the only way that Christ could be able to know and answer every prayer directed towards him in his name is if he were(still is!) omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent.
In the next part of our rebuttal we shall take a look at examples where the disciples of the risen Lord started addressing him in their individual and corporate prayers, in obvious obedience to his own instructions concerning this matter.