A response to

John 1:1 (the Word was God)

Part I

Sam Shamoun

The following post is a critical examination of some of al-Kadhi"s assertions in relation to John 1:1

John 1:1 (the was God)

Another verse quoted in defense of the "Trinity" is the verse of John 1:1 : "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

After quoting the verse, al-Kadhi makes the following claims:

When I first learned of this verse it appeared to me that I had finally found my elusive goal. However, after substantial research into Christian theological literature, I would later come to learn that this verse too can not be interpreted to justify a "triune" God. My own experience has shown that this verse is the one most popularly quoted by most Christians in defense of the Trinity. For this reason I shall spend a little more time in its analysis than in the analysis of the other verses.

First of all, it is quite obvious from simply reading the above verse that even in the very best case, this verse speaks only of a "Duality" not a "Trinity." Even the most resolute conservative Christian will never claim to find in this verse any mention whatsoever of a "merging" of a Holy Ghost with God and "the Word." So even if we were to accept this verse at face value and just have faith, even then, we find ourselves commanded to believe in a "Duality" and not a "Trinity." But let us see if this verse does in fact even command us to believe in a "Duality." To do this we need to notice the following points:

Al-Kadhi's misinformation starts early, since no Trinitarian uses this verse to prove the Trinity, but rather to prove the eternal pre-existence of Jesus Christ as God. The Trinity doctrine is derived from other passges since the teaching of the Bible as a whole affirms the triunity of God.

1) Mistranslation of the text:

In the "original" Greek manuscripts (Did the disciple John speak Greek?), "The Word" is only described as being "ton theos"(divine/a god) and not as being "ho theos" (The Divine/The God). A more faithful and correct translation of this verse would thus read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was divine" (If you read the New World Translation of the Bible you will find exactly this wording).

In fact, if one does read the New World Translation one will never find the wording given by al-Kadhi. Instead one will find the following translation:

"In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god."

Hence, al-Kadhi's ability to cite sources accurately is suspect from the very beginning (cf. this page). Furthermore, al-Kadhi is wrong when he says that the Word is called "ton theos" since the proper Greek construct is "ton theon" and this is used of the Father, not the Son:

En arche en ho Logos:

In the beginning was the Word

kai ho Logos en pros ton theon:

and the Word was with/towards the God

kai Theos en ho Logos:

and God was the Word.

Using al-Kadhi's logic, we are now forced to conclude that the Father with whom the Word was is "a god" or "a divine being", but not the true God since he is called ton theon.

Finally, not only did John speak Greek but Jesus did as well, otherwise Christ would not have been able to communicate to the Roman officials.

Al-Kadhi proceeds:

Similarly, in "The New Testament, An American Translation" this verse is honestly presented as "In the beginning the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was divine." The New Testament, An American Translation, Edgar Goodspeed and J. M. Powis Smith, The University of Chicago Press, p. 173

And again in the dictionary of the Bible, under the heading of "God" we read:

"Jn 1:1 should rigorously be translated 'the word was with the God [=the Father], and the word was a divine being.'" The Dictionary of the Bible by John McKenzie, Collier Books, p. 317

In yet another Bible we read:

"The Logos (word) existed in the very beginning, and the Logos was with God, the Logos was divine" The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, by Dr. James Moffatt

Please also see "The Authentic New Testament" by Hugh J. Schonfield and many others.

Al-Kadhi grossly misrepresents the above statements from at least some of these scholars, since they were not denying that the Word was divine in the same sense as the Father. Al-Kadhi quotes them in support of his claim that John 1:1 does not proclaim the Word as being God, but only divine in some "lesser sense". Examine, for example, these statements by McKenzie and Moffatt to recognize how al-Kadhi tries to imposes on their translations a meaning that is in sharp contradiction to the meaning intended by these scholars. Such abuse of sources is intellectually dishonest. We will present further authoritative scholarly views on John 1:1 in more detail in the second part of this response. Here we would like to exegete the text of John 1:1 in order to discover what John actually intended to convey to his readers about the nature of the Word. Was he trying to teach that the Word was only somewhat divine, or was he actually affirming that the Word was the eternal God who became flesh for our salvation?

The first clue to John's meaning comes from the Greek word used, en. This is the imperfect tense form of the Greek verb, eimi. The word en implies continous existence or action in the past. Just how continuous depends on the context itself.

In the case of John 1:1, en is used to denote the Word's continous past existence before the very beginning of creation. For the Word to precede the beginning of all things, including time, implies that the Word is timeless, having no beginning or end. This makes the Word eternal which implies that the Word eternally existed with the Father. This also implies that the Word eternally existed as God, or existed in the nature of God from eternity. At no point in time did the Word not exist in the nature of God.

This is precisely what Trinitarians believe, that the eternal Word of God existed alongside the Father, being distinct from him but equal to him in nature.

Further evidence for the absolute deity of the Word comes from John 1:3-4,10:

"Through him (the Word) all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men... He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him."

According to John, the Word was not a creature but the Eternal Creator. For John to affirm that the Word was the Creator of all things implies that the Word is Yahweh, since the Old Testament teaches that it was Yahweh alone who created all things:

"I am the LORD, who has made all things, who ALONE stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by MYSELF." Isaiah 44:24

For Yahweh to be the sole Creator, and for the Word to have created all things, must mean that the Word is Yahweh God. Add to this fact that from eternity the Word existed alongside another Person called God, and yet the Bible clearly teaches that there is only one God, implies that this one God is a multi-personal being.

Al-Kadhi makes the following assertion:

If we look at a different verse, 2 Corinthians 4:4, we find the exact same word (ho theos) that was used in John 1:1 to describe God Almighty is now used to describe the devil, however, now the system of translation has been changed:

"the god of this world (the Devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not."

According to the system of the previous verse and the English language, the translation of the description of the Devil should also have been written as "The God" with a capital "G." If Paul was inspired to use the exact same words to describe the Devil, then why should we change it? Why is "The God" translated as simply "the god" when referring to the devil, while "divine" is translated as the almighty "God" when referring to "The Word"? Are we now starting to get a glimpse of how the "translation" of the Bible took place?

Al-Kadhi is seemingly unaware or does not care to inform his readers that the reason why most translations choose to insert a lower case "g" for Satan, or anyone else for that matter, in contrast to the capital "G" used for Christ is that this is something implied in Scripture itself. The scriptures clearly teach that there is only one true God and that this true God exists as three Persons. All other gods are either false or representatives of the true God. Yet, none of them are God by nature.

In order to make this distinction clear, God appears with a capital "G" when referring to the true God; and with a small "g" when used of others. The reason why God appears with a capital "G" as opposed to lower case when referring to Jesus is that the Bible clearly teaches that Christ is neither a false god nor one who only represents God to man. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is fully God in nature.

Satan is not God, but "the god of this age", which implies that he is the ruler of this current age since all are under his bondage and need to be set free by the power of Jesus Christ. (cf. Luke 4:6; John 8:34-36, 12:31, 14:30; Ephesians 2:2; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8)

Furthermore, al-Kadhi is wrong for assuming that just because the same word for God, "ho theos", appears in 2 Corinthians 4:4 that it must therefore carry the same meaning or that it is used in the same sense. The term ho theos in 2 Corinthians 4:4 is not used in an unqualified sense, i.e. Satan is not called "the god," but rather "the god of this age." He is not the God of all, but god in a qualified sense.

Finally, the word ho theos does not appear in John 1:1 but rather the word ton theon is what we find, so al-Kadhi's whole argument crumbles.

(Note- It should be stated that this phenomenon of using capitals or lower cases is only true with our English translations since this linguistic feature does not exist in biblical Hebrew or Greek. In order to convey to the english reader what type of God the writer has in view, either the true God Yahweh or others, translators will often insert a capital or lower case "G".)

Al-Kadhi then asks:

Well, what is the difference between saying "the word was God," and between saying "the word was a god (divine)"? Are they not the same? Far from it! Let us read the bible:

"I have said, Ye (the Jews) are gods; and all of you are children of the most High" Psalms 82:6:

"And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh" Exodus 7:1

"the god of this world (the Devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not." 2 Corinthians 4:4

What does all of this mean? Let me explain.

No need for al-Kadhi to explain since Christians are capable of explaining what the Bible means. First, in regard to Exodus 7:1 and Psalm 82:6 both Moses and the Israelite Judges are called "gods" since they are God's spokespersons, speaking on his behalf. Hence, they act in the place of God, especially in regard to judicial matters which result in the death and execution of individuals who violate God's law. But they are not God by nature. This is clear from the verse which immdeiately follows Psalm 82:6:

"But you will die like mere men; you will fall like evry other ruler." Psalm 82:7

Unlike the true God, these gods are simply mortals who shall die. But Jesus is a different kind of God, since he is able to do what these gods could never do; namely resurrect the dead and grant eternal life to whomever he chooses. These are things that only the true God can do:

"For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all jugement to the Son that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him." John 5:21-23

"Jesus answered her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, although he were dead, yet will he live; and he who believes in me and lives will never die. Do you believe this?'" John 11:25-26

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me.'" John 14:6

In light of the above passages, Jesus is not one who simply represented God to man, which he certainly did. Jesus is also God who became flesh in order to meet man on his level. Therefore, what Moses and the Israelite judges were in a figurative sense, Jesus is in actuality since he is what they never could be; namely incarnate Deity.

After going into some irrelevant issues al-Kadhi continues to say:

Further, it is necessary when translating a verse to also take into account the meaning as understood by the people of that age who spoke that language. One of the biggest problems with the Bible as it stands today is that it forces us to look at ancient Hebrew and Aramaic scriptures through Greek and Latin glasses as seen by people who are neither Jews, Greeks, nor Romans. All of the so called "original" manuscripts of the NT available today are written in Greek or Latin. The Jews had no trouble reading such verses as Psalms 82:6, and Exodus 7:1, while still affirming that there is only one God in existence and vehemently denying the divinity of all but God Almighty. It is the continuous filtration of these manuscripts through different languages and cultures as well as the Roman Catholic church's extensive efforts to completely destroy all of the original Hebrew Gospels (see last quarter of this chapter) which has led to this misunderstanding of the verses.

Al-Kadhi presupposes that all the original N.T. documents, or specifically the Gospels, were written in Hebrew as opposed to Greek. The problem with this view is that not one single shred of manuscript evidence so far discovered supports the view that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew. In fact, the evidence proves that the entire Bible, with the possible exception of Matthew, was written in Greek.

Secondly, Greek became such a predominate language that the Jews were forced to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek nearly three centuries prior to the birth of Christ since they feared that the Jews who had been scattered throughout would be unable to read the scriptures in Hebrew.

Furthermore, al-Kadhi's assertion that the Roman Catholic Church tried to supress all the Hebrew originals is fallacious since we have manuscript copies of the Holy Bible which predate the birth of the Roman Church. None of these manuscripts support al-Kadhi's view that the original documents were written in Hebrew. This would also mean, if al-Kadhi's thinking is correct, that these manuscripts remain uncorrupt since corruption did not take place until the rise of the Roman Catholic Church. If this is true, that means that the Bible is not corrupt since we have copies predating the time when the manuscripts allegedly were corrupted serving to discredit al-Kadhi's line of reasoning.

Finally, al-Kadhi believes that God can and does reveal himself through prophets and books. Therefore, al-Kadhi should not find it hard to believe that God is able to retain the meaning of Jesus' words in a language other than that spoken by Christ. He must believe this, since this is precisely what we find in the Quran.

According to Muslims, the Quran is written in the Quraish dialect of Arabic. What we find in the Quran is Abraham, Moses, Isaac, Jacob, John the Baptist, Mary, Jesus and others all speaking in seventh century Quraish Arabic when in fact none of them ever spoke Arabic! Therefore, Muslims do not have the orignal words of the prophets in their original tongue but an interpretation of those words into a language which they neither knew nor spoke.

Al-Kadhi proceeds to make the following allegation:

Such "translation" methods as we have just seen, sadly, are indiscriminantly employed at the translator's leasure throughout the Bible based only upon the doctrine he wishes the reader to adopt. For example, in the King James Version of Psalm 8:4-5 all humans are described as follows:

"What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast madehim a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor." Psalms 8:4-5

Which is not very noteworthy until we go back to the original Hebrew text and discover the the translators have chosen to "translate" for us the Hebrew word "elohiym" (God) into English as "angels." In the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible the same verse is more honestly translated as follows:

"What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor." Psalms 8:4-5

Notice how they manage to manipulate the word "God" as they wish when it suits them, however, when their techniques are exposed then, suddenly, those who oppose their "translation" techniques are "warping the meanings of the verses" and attempting to pervert "clear" claims of divinity for Jesus?

Al-Kadhi fails to tell his readers why Psalm 8:4-5 was translated as angels in the King James Version as opposed to "God." The reason is simple, the Jewish scribes who translated Psalm 8:4-5 into Greek some three centuries before Christ understood the passage to be referring to angels as "gods" in a figurative sense, and therefore translated it as angels. This usage is found in Hebrews 2:7-8:

"But there is a place where someone has testified: 'What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet'."

Hence, there was no conspiracy involved in translating the text as angels as opposed to God since this what the Jewish scribes did before the birth of Christ.

Al-Kadhi asks:

Can we find any more similar examples of this "translation" technique in the Bible? Sadly, yes. For example:

"Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post;and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever." Exodus 21:6

Which is more correctly translated in the New Revised Standard Version as:

"Then his master shall bring him before God; he shall be brought to the door or the doorpost; and his master shall pierce his ear with with an awl; and he shall serve him for life." Exodus 21:6

Actually, for those who insist on telling us that God is a trinity since He is refered to in the plural sence in the Bible (see section and chapter 14), for these peope, we say you need to then be consistant and "translate" Exodus 21:6 as:

"Then his master shall bring him before gods"

You can see yet another similar example in Exodus 22:8-9.

When reading all of this we begin to see how the word "god" was sometimes applied in the Bible to humans in order to convey to mankind that these humans were calling to the path of God or implementing the words of God on earth. Thus, for example, in Exodus 21:6 mankind was commanded to bring others "before God." An impossible task. However, what the verse meant was that they are to bring these people before those who carried out the law of God on earth, specifically, the judges. In this manner, bringing these men in front of the judges is the same as bringing them in front of God. This is why we also read in the Bible for example that the house of David is God:

"In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David [shall be] as God, as the angel of the LORD before them." Zechariah 12:8

This was a common theme in the Bible whereby on many occations God would send a representative to mankind in order to speak in His name and present His command to them. "Behold," declared God to Moses, "I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way ... beware of him, and obey his voice ... for My Name is in him" (Exod. 23:20). The angel was God's messenger, but not God Himself.

Unfortunately, al-Kadhi does not do justice to the overall biblical witness to the angel of Yahweh. Evidence shows that this angel, although distinct from Yahweh who sent him, is also fully God and is actually the pre-incarnate Christ. This subject needs to be addressed at another time since it is too long to cover here. Suffice it to say, the angel of Yahweh clearly proves that the Old Testament does in fact teach that the one God is actually multi-personal, in fact tri-personal, agreeing with the New Testament witness to the triune nature of God.

After his examination of the preceding biblical references, al-Kadhi asserts:

What we see from all of this is that Jesus (pbuh) was by no stretch of the imagination the only person in the Bible ever to be referred to in such a fashion. However, with everyone BUT Jesus the Church is adamant that the verses "obviously" should not be taken literally. The same is true when prophets or "peacemakers" etc. are called "sons of God" in the Bible. In this case, once again, the Church reassures us that the term must not be taken "literally." However, whenever these exact same terms are applied to Jesus (pbuh), now we are told that it is equally "obvious" that Jesus is the one exception to this rule and that "son of God" etc. must be taken literally in this case.

Al-Kadhi is correct in one thing, the term elohim is used to refer to the true God as well as angels, idols and men. There is really nothing unique in the title, but it is the way that it is used which helps us understand who is being addressed in a specific passage. It is not true however that Jesus was God in the sense that these others were. He is God in the same exact sense that the Father is God

For instance, we already examined John's prologue to see that Jesus is the eternal God and the Creator of all things. Furthermore, whereas the term elohim is used of others besides the true God, Jesus is given certain names and titles in the Old Testament that are exclusively used for the true God alone:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasing Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Compare this passage with what Isaiah says elsewhere:

"A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God." Isaiah 10:21

"'The days are coming, declares the LORD, 'when I will raise up to David a Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (YAHWEH TSEIDKENYU).'" Jeremiah 23:5-6

Biblical prophecies call Jesus Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Yahweh our righteousness; names used only of the true God. This implies that Jesus is the true God, being fully divine in nature.

2) Basic message of John:

Now that we have seen the correct translation of the verse of John 1:1, let us go a little further in our study of the intended meaning of this verse. This verse was taken from the "Gospel of John." The very best person to ask to explain what is meant by a given statement is the author of that statement himself. So let us ask "John" what is his mental picture of God and Jesus (pbuh) which he wishes to convey to us:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him." John 13:16.

So the author of John tells us that God is greater than Jesus. If the author of this Gospel did indeed wish us to understand that Jesus and God are "one and the same," then can someone be greater than himself? Similarly,

"Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come [again] unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I." John 14:28.

Can someone "go" to himself? Can someone be "greater" than himself?

"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:" John 17:1.

If John meant to tell us that "Jesus and God are one and the same" then shall we understand from this verse that God is saying to Himself "Self, glorify me so that I may glorify myself"? Does this sound like this is the message of John?

"While I (Jesus) was with them in the world, I kept them in thy (God's) name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled." John 17:12.

If the author of John wanted us to believe that Jesus and God are one person then are we to understand from this verse that God is saying to Himself "Self, while I was in the world I kept them in your name, self. Those who I gave to myself I have kept ..."? Is this what the author intended us to understand from his writings?

"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." John 17:24.

Similarly, did the author intend us to interpret this as "Self, I will that they also whom I have given myself be with me where I am; that they my behold my glory which I have given myself, for I loved myself before the foundation of the world"?

So, we begin to see that in order to understand the writings of a given author, it is necessary to not take a single quotation from him in a vacuum and then interpret his whole message based upon that one sentence (and a badly mistranslated version of that sentence at that).

Actually what al-Kadhi has done is to refute Monarchianism or Sabellianism, otherwise known as modalism. This belief teaches that there are not three Persons who exist as the one God, but rather one Person who plays three different roles at different times. This is not Trinitarianism since Trinitarians do not believe that the Father and the Son are the same Person, as al-Kadhi erroneoulsy assumes. Rather, the Father and Son are distinct Persons who communicate with each other as the one true God. They are one in essence, not one in Person. So al-Kadhi has proceeded to knock down another strawman, and has failed to deal with the real issues.

3) Who wrote the "Gospel of John"?:

The "Gospel of John" is popularly believed by the majority of regular church-goers to be the work of the apostle John the son of Zebedee. However, when consulting Christianity's more learned scholars of Church history, we find that this is far from the case. These scholars draw our attention to the fact that internal evidence provides serious doubt as to whether the apostle John the son of Zebedee wrote this Gospel himself. In the dictionary of the Bible by John Mckenzie we read :

"A. Feuillet notes that authorship here may be taken loosely."

Regarding for example the claimed speaches of Jesus (pbuh) in this Gospel, the author of the most authoritative and well-reasoned book "The Life of Jesus Critically Examined" says:

"Modern criticism views these discourses [found in the Gospel of John] with suspicion, partly on the account of their internal conjecture, which is at variance with certain generally received rules of historical probability, and partly on the account of their external relation to other discourses and narratives." The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, David Strauss, p. 381

Such claims are based on such verses as 21:24:

"This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true."?

Did the apostle John write this about himself? Also see 21:20, 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, and 21:20-23. The "disciple who Jesus loved" according to the Church is John himself, but the author of this gospel speaks of him as a different person.

The usage of the third person no more implies that John is not the author than Allah speaking in the third person implies that Allah is not the author of the Quran. (cf. 3:55, 5:110, 116) Jesus also spoke of himself as the Son of man in the third person! (cf. Mark 14:62) Third person usage was a common linguistic feature.

Finally, what modern scholars today have to say about the origins of the fourth gospel is irrelevant when we compare the statements of the earliest eyewitnesses and contemporaries of the Apostles who unanimously held to Johannine authorship.

Al-Kadhi makes the following claim:

Further, The Gospel of John was written at or near Ephesus between the years 110 and 115 (some say 95-100) of the Christian era by this, or these, unknown author(s). According to R. H. Charles, Alfred Loisy, Robert Eisler, and other scholars of Christian history, John of Zebedee was beheaded by Agrippa I in the year 44 CE, long before the fourth Gospel was written. Did the Holy Ghost "inspire" the apostle John's ghost to write this gospel sixty years after he was killed? . In other words, what we have here is a gospel which is popularly believed to have been written by the apostle John, but which in fact was not written by him. In fact no one really knows for certain who wrote this gospel.

Unfortunatly for al-Kadhi, the dating of 110-115 is no longer feasible since the discovery of the Gospel of John in Egypt dating between 117-125 A.D. affirms that it is a first century document. In fact, the liberal theologian John Robinson in his book, Redating the New Testament, argues that the entire New Testament was completed before A.D. 70.

Furthermore, the claim that "Christian scholars" deny Johannine authorship based on the fact that the apostle John was killed in 44 CE is hard to believe since al-Kadhi provides no reference for this claim, but simply asserts it. In fact, early Church writings affirm just the opposite. In the 1952 Harpur Study Bible's Revised Edition"s introduction to the fourth Gospel we are told:

"Unlike the other Gospels, the Fourth Gospel refers to its author, naming him as `the disciple whom Jesus loved... who has written these things" (21.20, 24). This disciple, referred to in 13.23, 19.26, 20.2, and 21.7, 20, is not identified by name. In every instance, except at the cross in 19.26, he is with Simon Peter, and he may be `the other disciple" who was with Peter when they went into the high priest"s house at the trial of Jesus (18.15, 16). The early writers who spoke of the authorship of this Gospel identify `the beloved disciple" with the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee."

Apparently, what al-Kadhi seems to have done is confuse John with his brother James, since it was James who was killed at the hands of King Herod Agrippa I:

"About that time Herod the king laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword." Acts 12:1-2

This indicates that either al-Kadhi does not read his sources carefully or deliberately misrepresents the information in order to support his views.

"Since the beginning of the period of modern critical study, however, there has been much controversy about [the Gospel of John's] authorship, place of origin, theological affiliations and background, and historical value" The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 2, Abingdon Press, p. 932

Even at that, it is recognized that the "Gospel of John" has undergone extensive editing in multiple stages and was most likely not the work of one author, but many:

"We have already noted that John's gospel is a literary unit, which may be analyzed in terms of dramatic structure. But, despite the unity of the gospel was we now have it, there are some features that suggest it was composed in edited stages. For example there are differences in style and language in various parts of the gospel, especially chaps. 1 and 21 ... Thus the first two signs performed by Jesus are numbered 'first' and 'second' (2.11; 4.54), yet in 2.23 we hear of other signs that he did, and the sequence is thus unaccountably interrupted. The geographical locations, also, do not appear to be constantly exact. So in 3.22 we read that Jesus went into Judea, whereas according to 2.23 he was already there; and in 6.1 it is implied that Jesus is in Galilee, although in the end of chap. 5 he is in Jerusalem....It is possible to account for some but not all of these variations, repetitions and breaks in continuity...." etc. The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Bruce Matzger and Michael Coogan, p. 374

4) Who "inspired" the author of this gospel to write this verse?:

The words of John 1:1 are acknowledged by most reputable Christian scholar of the Bible as the words of another Jew, Philo of Alexandria (20BC-50AD), who claimed no divine inspiration for them and who wrote them decades Before the "gospel of John" was ever conceived. Groliers encyclopedia has the following to say under the heading "Logos"("the word"):

Actually this is the opinion of anti-supernaturalists who do not hold to the view of God either performing miracles or inspiring men to write revelation. It is not the opinion of most reputable scholars. These same kind of scholars are now turning their attention to the Quran and debunking its credibility. One such example is the article which appeared in Atlanta Monthly questioning the traditional Islamic view of the Quran. Furthermore, add to this list Shiite Muslims who believe that the Quran was corrupted at the hands of Uthman ibn Affan and you are left with Muslims having to deal with the same type of arguments and criticisms from within their own circle; individuals who claim to be Muslims but question the integrity of the Islamic text.

"Heraclitus was the earliest Greek thinker to make logos a central concept ......In the New Testament, theGospel According to Saint John gives a central place to logos; the biblical author describes the Logos as God, the Creative Word, who took on flesh in the man Jesus Christ. Many have traced John's conception to Greek origins--perhaps through the intermediacy of eclectic texts like the writings of Philo of Alexandria."

T. W. Doane says:

"The works of Plato were extensively studied by the Church Fathers, one of whom joyfully recognizes in the great teacher, the schoolmaster who, in the fullness of time, was destined to educate the heathen for Christ, as Moses did the Jews. The celebrated passage : "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word Was God" is a fragment of some Pagan treatise on the Platonic philosophy, evidently written by Irenaeus. It is quoted by Amelius, a Pagan philosopher as strictly applicable to the Logos, or Mercury, the Word, apparently as an honorable testimony borne to the Pagan deity by a barbarian........We see then that the title "Word" or "Logos," being applied to Jesus, is another piece of Pagan amalgamation with Christianity. It did not receive its authorized Christian form until the middle of the second century after Christ. The ancient pagan Romans worshipped a Trinity. An oracle is said to have declared that there was 'First God, then the Word, and with them the Spirit'. Here we see the distinctly enumerated, God, the Logos, and the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, in ancient Rome, where the most celebrated temple of this capital - that of Jupiter Capitolinus - was dedicated to three deities, which three deities were honored with joint worship." From Bible Myths and their parallels in other religions, pp. 375-376.

If similarities with paganism presumes pagan origins of the Gospels, then Islam is nothing more than paganinsm repackaged since most of its practices are derived from Arab paganism. Furthermore, studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Talmud have affirmed the thorough Jewishness of the fourth Gospel. For instance, the Logos concept is something very Jewish in thought since in the Aramaic Targums we find the Word (Memra) of God appearing in the place of God. Language used in the fourth Gospel such as "sons of Light" finds precedence in the Dead Sea Scrolls as seen in the scrolls' contrast between "the sons of Light" with the "sons of darkness."

Finally, al-Kadhi failed to include the evidence which supports both the early dating of John as well as Johannine authorship. The N.I.V. Study Bible's introductory notes state:

"The author is the apostle John., 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20, 24). He was prominent in the early church but is not mentioned by name in this Gospel- which would be natural if he wrote it, but hard to explain otherwise. The author knew Jewish life well, as seen from references to popular Messianic speculations (e.g., 1:20-21; 7:40-42), to the hostility between Jews and Samaritans (4:9), and to Jewish customs, such as the duty of circumcision on the eigth day taking precedence over the prohibition of working on the Sabbath... He knew the geography of Palestine, locating Bethany about 15 stadia (about two miles) from Jerusalem (11:18) and Cana, a village not referred to in any earlier writing known to us (2:1; 21:2). The gospel of John has many touches that were obviously based on the recollections of an eyewitness- such as the house at Bethany being filled with the fragrance of the broken perfume jar (12:3). Early writers such as Irenaeus and Tertullian say that John wrote this Gospel, and all the evidence agrees..."

Hence, the evidence of manuscript discoveries, archeological findings, early church fathers, and the internal witness support first century composition and Johannine authorship. Had it been from a later period and written by someone else, John's Gospel would not contain the accurate understanding of Jewish customs and Palestinian geography since some of the information would not have been known in the second century, especially amongst Greeks ignorant of Jewish pecularities and customs.

Continue with Part 2

The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
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