New Testament Anachronism Part 3

The Anachronistic Tale of Mark 2:26, Part 3

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

The following is a continuation of the addendum in the previous post, New Testament Anachronism Part 2


This addendum seeks to reinforce the previous two articles, New Testament Anachronism and New Testament Anachronism Part 2 by furnishing additional notes and references on the anachronistic and erroneous nature of Mark 2:26. In the previous two articles  we have seen that numerous scholars from both liberal and conservative camps concede that Mark 2:26 is problematic, in error and irreconcilable. We have gone through all the major solutions proposed by Christian apologists in their feeble attempts to defend the doctrine of inerrancy and have seen how even the most conservative experts dismiss them as unsatisfactory and unreliable.

Bas van Iersel who was Ordinary Professor of New Testament and Rector Magnificus of the Catholic University, Nijmegen in his footnote to his comments on Mark 2:26 writes:

“Four things do not agree with 1 Sam. 21. Nob had a sanctuary but not a temple, so that term ‘house of God’ is less appropriate (for the contrast between tent and house see 2 Sam. 7. 1-13); no high priest was attached to that sanctuary; the officiating priest was not Abiathar but his father Ahimelech…” [67] (emphasis added)

Thus Iersel agrees that Mark misidentifies the individual who presented the showbread to David. Joseph Cook who is a Christian author does not see that Mark 2:26 poses any significant threat to the Christian faith, but he nevertheless recognises that the text as it stands is erroneous:

“There does appear to be an error made; probably by a copyist when translating the scriptures from Aramaic, to ancient Hebrew to Greek to English and maybe somewhere in between.” [68]

There is no evidence that a copyist made an error in Mark 2:26 in identifying Abiathar and not Ahimelech as the acting high priest at the time. In the absence of any substantial proof we are left with the only probable option that it was in fact the original author’s error and this is the widely accepted position as we have seen and will continue to see.

Did God die on the cross?

Unravelling the Trinitarian confusion on the death or survival of “God” on the cross

by Ibn Anwar BHSc (Hons), MCollT

          Standard Trinitarian theology teaches that in the incarnation of Jesus he existed in two natures—divine and human. These two natures are inseparable in the incarnation in the Son of God who is the second person of the Triune Godhead. Thus Jesus was the Son of God with two natures simultaneously, that is, human and divine. Almost all Christians of every denomination today believe that Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. The question that has remained controversial and without a clear definite answer regarding Jesus’ alleged crucifixion amongst Christians is the nature of Jesus’ death on the cross i.e. did he die only in his human nature or both natures together? Did God actually die on the cross? Logically, the answer should be yes (credit is due to Dr. Shabir Ally for the following formula):

A. Jesus is God

B. Jesus died

C. Therefore, God died.

Most Christians however, will be horrified at such a conclusion, frown upon it and will normally counter that God did not actually die. That which died on the cross was really just the flesh. The problem with this apologetic position is that it separates the two natures of Jesus as taught in traditional Trinitarianism. Theologians have described this excuse as Nestorian in kind which was declared a heresy by the Catholic church centuries ago. Saint Cyril in his twelve anathemas against Nestorius as proposed and accepted at the Council of Ephesus stated:

“If anyone does not confess that the Word of God suffered in the flesh and was crucified in the flesh and tasted death in the flesh and became the first born of the dead, although as God he is life and life-giving, let him be anathema.” [1]

The twelfth anathema (denunciation) describes God as experiencing and tasting death. Thus the Council of Ephesus would not have entertained the idea that the suffering underwent by Jesus on the cross was exclusively experienced by the human nature/flesh and the divine untouched. The celebrated Archbishop Fulton Sheen who was a notable Catholic theologian and voice in America said in a meeting in Dublin, Ireland:

“You ask, for instance, “Did God die on the Cross?” The answer, happily, is Yes — as I have said the first answer is usually right. But if you go on and ask “What happened to the universe while God was dead?” nearly all abandon the great truth to which they have just assented, and explain that it was not God who died on the Cross but the human nature God the Son had assumed: which roughly is the Nestorian heresy, condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431, one year before St. Patrick landed for the conversion of your ancestors and mine. The true answer, you may say, sounds not so very different from the heresy: need we bother the young with technical distinctions of this sort? But upon this distinction our redemption depends and the young are quite capable of seeing the distinction, and of rejoicing in it.” [2] (bold emphasis added)

Violent demonstrations as a response to slander against the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.?

Are Muslims permitted to partake in violent actions and demonstrations as a response to insults thrown at the religion or at the image of the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)

         First and foremost it should be made clear that we are completely one hundred percent against the vile attempts of some quarters to disparage the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. We are in concert with those who strongly oppose the exploitation of the so called “freedom of expression” article to ridicule and throw unruly and surly remarks against the religious figures of any faith. There is in fact no such thing as absolute freedom of speech or expression even in many European countries. If one were to publicly argue that the holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany is a myth one might end up getting incarcerated in many European countries including Austria, Belgium, France etc. In America incitement to commit crime and defamation are illegal and possible legal action may be taken against perpetrators who incite crime or defame. Therefore the notion that there is such a thing as complete freedom of expression or speech is a myth. There are limits that should be placed on speech and expression. If a form of speech is designed solely to hurt and infringe upon the emotional well-being of a community of people then it ought to be deemed reprehensible and unlawful. How does one determine whether a form of speech or expression is indeed solely designed to hurt and cause injury to the feelings of others rather than as a fair treatment or analysis of a subject matter? We believe that any sensible person can determine whether a piece of writing for example is designed specifically to arouse hate from misinformation as opposed to one that seeks to examine an issue which may or may not as a result cause hurt to some people’s feelings. It is clear that the recent ‘Innocence of Muslims’ low-budget film is nothing but the product of a hateful mind with the purposeful intention of hurting the Muslims and causing strife in an already strife-driven and unstable global situation. The movie is an excellent example of religious bigotry whose purpose is to instill hate in people who are unfamiliar with Islam and spew misinformation on a global religion whose adherents number more than 1.5 billion. If one is truly grounded in correct Islamic knowledge then one would easily conclude that the content of the film is one hundred percent defamation. The position of Islam on religious defamation or perpetuating material that is specifically designed to make a mockery of a particular religious figure(e.g. Prophets) or deity is very clear and that it is a resounding prohibition:

وَلاَ تَسُبُّواْ ٱلَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ فَيَسُبُّواْ ٱللَّهَ عَدْواً بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ كَذَلِكَ زَيَّنَّا لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ عَمَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ مَّرْجِعُهُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ

“But do not revile those [beings] whom they invoke instead of God, lest they revile God out of spite, and in ignorance: for goodly indeed have We made their own doings appear unto every community. In time, [however,] unto their Sustainer they must return: and then He will make them [truly] understand all that they were doing.”

Does Allah repent?

Allah repents? Really?

By Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

Muslim apologists would sometimes use the argument that the Biblical depiction of God is often anthropomorphic and unbefitting of His Majesty. Therefore the Bible is wrong and theologically inappropriate. One such instance occurs in Genesis 6:6 which reads, “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Any thinking person reading the verse would pause and wonder, “How exactly does God repent? Is repentance not exclusively excercised by the creation rather than the Creator?” The Muslim apologist will argue that Genesis 6:6 makes God out to be a weak and human like caricature with human like nature who committed a mistake and then had to repent for it which is obviously not the Almighty God that any of us would believe in. He would further add that the verse suggests that there is a higher being than God to receive His repentance or that God repents to Himself which paints a rather unpalatably strange picture (perhaps likened to a schizophrenic who speaks to himself).  In retaliation to this line of argumentation from the Muslim side, the Christians committing non sequitur and red herring fallacies turn to the Qur’an and point out places that in their view depict Allah as repenting as well. In this article we shall carefully analyse the Christian proposition and determine once and for all if there is any merit to it.

Undoubtedly one of the most notorious Christian apologists in the eyes of Muslims who are familiar with the field of Christian-Muslim apologetics is none other than Sam Shamoun, the ring leader of Answering Islam. Unveiling Christianity does not make it a habit to produce direct rebuttals to responses produced by the Answering Islam team against articles published here for the simple reason that it is a complete and total waste of time to directly address their authors and the shoddy “research” that they bring forth. Giving them undue attention will only do disservice to one’s limited time and energy. Thus the purpose of Unveiling Christianity is not to get entangled in a ping-pong match of going back and forth with the likes of Shamoun who has never learned his lessons for the past ten years or so. Rather, it is to clarify specific issues bolstered by academically sound research for the benefit of the aspirant Muslim propagator or one who simply requires some scholarly information that are lacking in many other Islamic websites.

Shamoun in his article entitled ‘Allah repenting and Changing His Mind’ quotes some five verses(of which only two will be reproduced here which are sufficient for our discussion as the verb forms and nouns are either similar or identical in all five verses) that he thinks prove that Allah in the Qur’an repents like the Biblical God:

Then Adam received commandments from his Lord, and his Lord repented (fataba) towards him; for He is Oft-Repenting (huwa al-tawwabu), Most Merciful. S. 2:37

Our Lord! And make us submissive unto you and of our seed a nation submissive unto you, and show us our ways of worship, and repent (watub) toward us. Lo! You are the Repenting (anta al-tawwabu), the merciful. S. 2:128

After citing all five verses he concludes that, “The above references clearly present Allah as a deity who turns towards his creatures by repenting or changing his mind or the course of action he intended to take against them.”

Any person who is familiar with translations of the Qur’an will be quick to notice that the translations given by Shamoun are virtually non-existent in the corpus of Qur’anic translations available. Where exactly did he conjure up those verses from? Evidently they were conjured up out of thin air. It should be noted that Shamoun has had no training in the Arabic language in his entire life. This shows that the given translations are the result of a presumptuously dastardly mind that is willing to do anything to score a cheap point. Any person with a scintilla of academic erudition would not dream of presumptuously translating the sacred book of another without some academic backing or resource. There is simply not a single translation of the Qur’an on the face of the earth which understands the verse as Shamoun would have his audience understand. Let us refer to some of the major translations of the Qur’an and compare them to the deceptive Shamounian translation:

Islamic conquests and the Jizya

Were Muslim conquests meant to forcefully convert people to Islam?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)

This has to be the most typical, worn-out contentions put forward against Islam by its detractors (most often by Christian evangelists): that Islam spread across the world through the sword. This pedestrian notion contends that Muslim conquests assaulted innocent neighbouring countries and forced their denizens to accept Islam, pay a tax poll or die. Often the tax poll would not even be mentioned in the argument. They would have their audience believe Muslim military expeditions were sweeping through the world, sword in hand and giving the ultimatum, Islam or death. Nothing could be further than the truth. Even if one were to accept the basic assumption that there were military operations under the supervision of Muslim generals that had its victims compelled into Islam or die upon refusal that cannot in any way be used as an indictment against Islam for the simple fact that excercising compulsion on people to enter into Islam is antithesis to its very roots. The Qur’an clearly sets forth the criterion unambiguously that is to be observed by its adherents:

لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي ٱلدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ ٱلرُّشْدُ مِنَ ٱلْغَيِّ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِٱلطَّاغُوتِ وَيْؤْمِن بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدِ ٱسْتَمْسَكَ بِٱلْعُرْوَةِ ٱلْوُثْقَىٰ لاَ ٱنفِصَامَ لَهَا وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

“Let there be no compulsion in religion for truth stands out clear from error. Whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has taken hold of the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks and Allah hears and knows all things.” (Surah al-Baqarah, chapter 2, verse 256)

The above verse was revealed in Medinah regarding the Ansar who were trying to force their children to accept Islam which means that the disbelievers were free to accept Islam or deny it even when the Muslims were in control of the state.

Will the 500 please stand up?

Did 500 people really see Jesus’ alleged resurrected body?

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons)

“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17) The whole of the Christian faith according to Paul hinges on this doctrine, the belief that Jesus after having been brutally executed was raised alive or resurrected from the dead. The aforementioned verse is a challenge made against those who may have doubts concerning Jesus’ resurrection. The challenge is confidently  given after some “proofs” are presented in previous verses. Among them is the remarkable claim that exactly 500 people many of whom were still alive(according to the testimony) when Paul wrote about it simultaneously witnessed the resurrection. Did 500 people indeed witness Jesus in his resurrected form?

“Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:6)

There is no ambiguity in the language above. The claim is that 500 people did indeed see Jesus after his alleged execution together at one time. Ron Rhodes like so many others who believe in the testimony supplied by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 writes:

“As noted above, Paul said the resurrected Christ appeared to more than 500 people at a single time, “most of whom are still alive” (1 Corinthians 15:6). If Paul had misrepresented the facts wouldn’t one of these 500 have come forward to dispute his claims? But no one came forward to dispute anything because the Resurrection really occurred.” [1]

New Testament Anachronism Part 2

The Anachronistic Tale of Mark 2:26, Part 2

by Ibn Anwar, BHsc (Hons), MCollT

The following is a continuation of the Addendum section in the article New Testament Anachronism.


There are some additional points that were left out in the discussion above. To add further clarity to our case we will go through the primary solutions offered by exegetes in more detail. These solutions are obviously invented so that they may retain the belief that neither Jesus(of the NT) nor Mark committed any errors. We will prove that the most notable of conciliatory attempts is founded upon an egregious variant that is untenable.

The very reverend Harvey Goodwin who was Dean of Ely writes in his commentary regarding the verse:

“There is a difficulty in the words, the days of Abiathar the High Priest. In I. Sam. xxi. From which this account is taken, Ahimelech, is the high priest. There is however considerable confusions in the names about this part of the history : Ahimelech himself is called Abiah, I. Sam xiv. 3; and whereas (I. Sam. xxii. 20) Ahimelech has a son Abiathar, in II. Sam. viii. 17 Ahimelech is the son of Abiathar, and in I. Chron. Xviii. 16, Ahimelech. Amidst this variation we can hardly undertake to explain the difficulty in the text.” –ALFORD. Lightfoot has this note : “It is well enough known what is here said in defence of the purity of the text: namely, that Ahimelech the father was called Abiathar, and Abiathar the son was called also Ahimelech. But I suppose that something more was propounded by our Saviour in these words. For it was common to the Jews, under Abiathar, to understand the Urim and Thummim. Nor without good reason, when it appears, that under the father and the son, both of the name, the mention of inquiring by Urim and Thummim  is more frequent than it is ever anywhere else ; and after Abiathar the son there is scarcely mention of it at all. Christ therefore very properly adds, in the days of Abiathar the High Priest, therein speaking according to a very received opinion in the nation : as though He had said, David eat the shew-bread given him by the High Priest, who had the oracle by Urim and Thummim present with him, and who acted by divine direction.”