James Dunn: Jesus said, “I am not God.”

“Why do you call me good?” : Jesus claimed he was not God

Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCoLLT

According to the eminent scholar on the historical Jesus Dr. James Dunn who is Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity in the Department of Theology at the University of Durham, the reply that Jesus gave to the rich man in Mark 10 was a clear denial on Jesus’ part that he was in any way God. He makes this most important point in ‘The Evidence for Jesus.’

“In this case it would appear that it was the opening exchange between the man and Jesus which caused the problems. The man addresses Jesus as ‘Good Teacher’. And Jesus replies with a mild rebuke: ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone’ (Mark 10:17-18). Luke sees no difficulty with these words and reproduces them more or less exactly . Not so with Matthew-as we see in the synopsis. The difficulty for Matthew presumably lay in the fact that Jesus was being shown by Mark to disdain any right to the description ‘good.’ And by his own logic, Jesus was thereby disclaiming any right to be regarded as divine. If only God is ‘good’, and Jesus rebukes the address ‘Good Teacher,’ the most obvious corollary is that Jesus is not God.” (Dunn, J. D. [1985]. The Evidence for Jesus. Louiseville, Kenticky: The Westminster Press. P. 20)

In a nutshell, despite the juggling act of missionaries to avoid the plain meaning that the text conveys, when Jesus said,”No one is good except God alone” he really essentially said, “I am not God.”

For a more in depth look on this topic, proceed to Jesus Refused to be Called Good

The Silence of the Sheep

2000 years of constant Christian rebellion against Jesus

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons). MCollT

 

Jesus: Do not tell anyone!

Christian: Nope. I am going to tell everyone and anyone!

The above is precisely the phenomenon that we witness with regards to the many, many instances of the so called Messianic Secret as recounted for the whole world to see, despite Jesus’ direct reticence to public and open exposure of certain things he did or said, in the gospels and it is a particularly prominent feature of the Gospel According to Mark, which is the first of the four gospels to be anonymously written.

Every time you read Jesus specifically instructing someone or a group of people to keep what they had witnessed a secret and to tell no one, you are actually witnessing those people’s disobedience to Jesus’ instruction, for if they had obeyed Jesus, then you would not have been privy to what Jesus intended to be private 2000 years ago. By extension, Christians today, including each and every Bible translator and publisher is a rebel against the wishes of their alleged master Jesus as they happily and unthinkingly partake in revealing what Jesus instructed to be kept hidden.

Vicarious atonement is not divinely sanctioned

The concept of vicarious atonement in western Christian theology: A Human Invention

By Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

In religious lectures, dialogues and debates with interlocutors like Dr. William Lane Craig and James White, a specific image of the cross is presented and the manner by which they present their case impresses the impression that all Christians agree on it. The view that they extol is the view that Saint Anselm of Canterbury, being the earliest theologian to delineate the concept, details in his ‘Cur Deus Homo’ or ‘Why God Became Man.’ The dogma is one that is punitive in nature where it is argued that there is an unbridgeable chasm between God’s two attributes: Justice and Mercy. The idea is that, in order for God to maintain those two divine attributes, He has to placate or satiate the wrath (His own wrath) that is due towards sinful act and the sinful doer by some kind of punitive measure. That punitive or juridical measure is what bridges God’s attributes of Justice and Mercy. Simply forgiving for the sake of forgiveness, in the mind of Anslem and emulated by Craig, White and those that follow therein, is unjust because payment (or a pound of flesh) must be paid so that justice be met. Therefore, the vicarious atonement is seen as the only possible way to ameliorate the perceived tension between God’s Justice and Mercy where punishment for sin, i.e., the pound of flesh, is provided in Jesus’ sacrifice.

Promoting and arguing vehemently for that doctrine, Christian apologists, in exchanges with Muslims, typically begin by accusing Islam of having a soteriology (salvific theology) that is insufficient as it inadequately makes sense of those two attributes that God must have simultaneously. They contend that by simply forgiving God fails to meet justice or by simply punishing God fails to show mercy. Without going into the inadequacies of said dogma, which we have done in a previous article entitled ‘The Christian Cross: The Most Celebrated and Recognised Symbol of Child Abuse’ and ‘Dr. William Lane Craig: The biblical concept of god is morally deficient,’ we will simply point out a historical fact that will prove an insurmountable obstacle to the dogma in question. According to an eminent Orthodox theologian Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, as he echoes the unified scholarly consensus amongst Eastern Orthodox priests and theologians, the western concept of atonement as briefly adumbrated above has little to no basis prior to Anslem in the 11th century of the European Dark Ages. In fact, Archbishop Lazar, exhibiting the agreed upon belief in the Eastern Christian tradition, impresses the point that such a view of God’s attributes is simply wrong and unjustified. In an interview on a Greek Orthodox network, Archbishop Lazar says:

The Cross: The Symbol of Abuse

The Christian Cross: The Most Celebrated and Recognised Symbol of Child Abuse

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

One of the most adhesive theological conundrums that Christian soteriology constantly faces today is the idea that the Father’s action in giving up His son Jesus to His enemies to be flogged, stripped and nailed naked on the cross to finally die a most shameful death as the only possible way to grant everlasting bliss to the vilest offenders imaginable, conditioned upon the creature’s acceptance of that ghastly atoning sacrifice, is child abuse of the highest order of a magnitude that would shame even the the most nefarious of abusers, for the ridicule and the torture and the eventual demise that the Son, i.e., Jesus, had to endure on that ignominious cross was THE divine plan that was eternally hatched since before time existed (Revelation 13:8). The technical term for this salvific theory and its accompanying theological difficulty adumberated above is penal substitution, which is perhaps no more beautifully, yet disturbingly, depicted than in Domenico Beccafumi’s painting attached above– a lifelike illustration of our point from almost 500 years ago.

The philosophical problem that comes prepacked with the penal substitution theory has latched itself onto the Christian cross and remains stubbornly in place as Christian theologians continue to this very moment to piece together reconiliatory excuses but failing rather miserably to come up with a substantive and definitive formula that all Christians could rationally concur with and cling to. No excuse, as a matter of fact, can possibly ameliorate the difficulty in imputing God as the exemplar father figure for all time with the ultimate responsibility of planning and executing the abuse, torture and death of His son, since before He even created time, so that the least of sinners to the greatest of sinners could all be forgiven, saved and bestowed unimaginable everlasting pleasure by simply believing in that divine child abuse. And in Catholicism, it has taken the image of the crucifix and made into the official stamp of the religion.

The concept of God in Christianity is deficient

Dr. William Lane Craig: The biblical concept of god is morally deficient

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

In the Craig’s List (William Lane Craig) of absurdities, one that really stands out is his argument against the Islamic concept of God. He argues that “Islam has a morally deficient concept of God” [1] because whereas the Bible portrays God as absolutely all-Loving, the Qur’an depicts Him as One that shows partial love, i.e., He only loves the good and hates the sinner. To Craig, this is an unacceptable concept of God and such a god cannot possibly exist.

A common argument that Christian evangelists put forward is that God does not hate the sinner but the sin to which Dr. Shabir Ally retorts, “But God throws the sinner into hell and not just the sin.” If He only hates the sin and not the sinner, then why would He put the sinner in hell for all of eternity and not just the sin? In this simple rhetorical question, one sees that true deficiency lies within the Christian concept of deity and not with the Islamic. The biblical and Christian God is not impartial in His love for His creation. His love is very much conditional. In layman’s terms, God does not love the sinful person insofar that he languishes and continues in his sins. For that very reason, John 3:16 shows us that God’s love is conditional upon “believing” in His son that He has sent. One of the verses that Craig uses in his article to show that God is truly all loving is 1 John 4:8-10:

God is love, . . . In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His son to be the sacrifice for our sins (I John 4.8, 10).

Jesus refused to be called ‘good’

“Why do you call me good?”

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Jesus is recorded to have denied the epithet ‘good’ that is attributed to him by an unknown person in Mark 10:17-18 (which is retained by Luke in Luke 18:18-19):

“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (ESV)

Instead of accepting the title ‘good teacher’, Jesus corrects the person by relegating the modifier ‘good’ to God. He affirms that “no one is good except God alone.” Commenting on this, the Jewish theologian Dr. Joseph Klausner writes:

“That Jesus never regarded himself as God is most obvious from his reply when hailed as ‘Good master’: ‘Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, God.’… Nor did he regard himself as Son of God in the later Trinitarian sense.” [1]

Evidence persuades us that the cross did not kill Jesus

Did Jesus really die on the cross?: A revisitation

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Christian missionaries confidently declare to Muslims that Jesus, according to them, as a fact of history, was crucified and died on the cross at the behest of Pontius Pilate. They cite scholars such as Marcus Borg, Bart Ehrman and Gerd Ludemann who, in their quoted writings, appear so certain about Jesus’ termination on the cross. But is the death of Jesus on the stipes and patibulum truly a certain historical incident? If it was, it would have been rather foolish of the BBC to produce a documentary, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds, featuring such eminent theologians as John Dominic Crossan and N. T. Wright with the following eye-opening narration:

“But a man nailed to a cross does not die from his wounds. He dies surprisingly from suffocation. Hanging by your arms the chest is compressed. It’s hard to breathe without supporting your weight with your legs. Overtime, the strain and the pain make that impossible and you’re unable to breathe. In the Philippines, the volunteers are brought down from their crosses within an hour. Death from crucifixion takes much longer; often, several days. The only way to hasten death on the cross was to break the legs, making it immediately impossible to support your weight, and therefore, to breathe. But the gospels are all agreed that Jesus died after only three to six hours. The crucifixion began at the third hour (Mark 15:25). Some claim that the Gospel of Luke has the shortest crucifixion (Luke 23:44-46). Matthew and Mark have Jesus surviving a little longer. The disciples wanted to take Jesus’ body down from the cross immediately, but the Roman governor Pontius Pilate wasn’t convinced that he was dead (Mark 15:44). Pilate was reassured by the Centurion, but this was the same Centurion who had earlier said, “Truly this man was the son of God.” (Mark 15:39). Jesus’ body was then laid in a tomb donated by a rich man Joseph of Arimathea. This Joseph and a man named Nicodemus came to minister to the body. “(They)…came to Jesus by night and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes about an hundred pounds weight.” (John 19:39). These accounts when viewed as an historical rather than sacred record may raise some questions: Why did Jesus die so quickly? Why did Joseph and Nicodemus take so many herbs into the tomb? So it’s perhaps not surprising that some people have even dared to ask whether Pilate was right to have his doubts– whether Jesus did die on the cross.” [1]