Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

How Good Logic Leads to Good Theology

And to a Rejection of Islam Pt. 3

Sam Shamoun

We have now come to the final part of our rebuttal.

The Glorious Light of Christ

Paul further knew that the risen Lord himself dwells in unapproachable light since he saw and experienced its effects first hand:

“Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I AM JESUS whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.’ The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus… So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ AND IMMEDIATELY THERE FELL FROM HIS EYES SOMETHING LIKE SCALES, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’” Acts 9:1-8, 17 -20


“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon A GREAT LIGHT from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I AM JESUS OF NAZARETH, whom you are persecuting.’ Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ And since I COULD NOT SEE BECAUSE OF THE BRIGHTNESS OF THAT LIGHT, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus. A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’” Acts 22:6-16

Christ’s glorious light is so bright and majestic that it blinded the blessed Apostle who then needed his sight to be miraculously restored!

Elsewhere, Paul testifies that the light which emanates from the risen Lord is much brighter than the sun itself!

“In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way A LIGHT from heaven, BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness TO LIGHT and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith IN ME.’” Acts 26:12-18

Nor was this the only time in which Christ manifested his divine glory since he had done so before his resurrection in the presence of some of his disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration:

“Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!’ And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.” Luke 9:28-36 – cf. Matthew 17:1-5; Mark 9:2-7; 2 Peter 1:16-18

Just in case Williams complains about our appeal to Luke-Acts to prove that the blessed Apostle was well aware that the risen Lord dwells in unapproachable light, all we need to do is to show him that Paul himself quotes Luke’s Gospel in 1 Timothy:

“For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages (axios ho ergates tou misthou autou).’” 1 Timothy 5:18

The second citation is a verbatim quotation of Luke 10:7:

“And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages (axios gar ho ergates tou misthou autou). Do not go from house to house.”

Paul even mentions Luke being with him in his second epistle to Timothy:

Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11

It is therefore not surprising that he would quote from this particular Gospel seeing that the author who composed it under inspiration from the Holy Spirit was present with him!

In light of this, we are thoroughly justified in citing Luke-Acts to establish the fact that Paul experienced firsthand the radiant and majestic light of the risen Lord Jesus which gloriously shines forth from his eternal Person.

And in case he also decides to throw out the canard that Paul’s conversion story in Acts contains contradictory details here is an article which harmonizes the various accountings of Paul’s encounter with the risen Lord Jesus: The Hall of Shame

Concluding Remarks

Our examination of Paul’s writings demonstrated that the last thing this blessed Apostle had in mind, or wanted to do, was to undermine or call into question the fact that Jesus Christ is God and man at the same time. The evidence which we gathered from his inspired epistles conclusively proves that Paul believed that Jesus Christ is Yahweh incarnate (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit), and testified to all whom he came in contact with that salvation comes only by confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord in the sense of being Yahweh:

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Romans 10:9-13 – cf. Joel 2:32; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5

Paul also proclaimed that this is a confession which everyone will eventually and inevitably have to make (cf. Philippians 2:9-11).

Our hope and prayer is that all those who read these rebuttals will make this confession now, since it will be too late when they die or when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead:

This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.” 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10