A response to 5.16

Does God need a 'blood atonement'?

Introductory remark

Muslims often ask: "Why can't God forgive sin without sacrifice?"

This is the wrong question! There is nothing God can't do. To suggest that God is not omnipotent is blasphemy.

The question should be: "Why won't God forgive sin without sacrifice?"

We will try to give a good answer to this good question.

In his chapter on Blood Atonement, Mr. Al-Kadhi makes a few statements that warrant further investigation before we get to the main point:

We will then take a look at what the Bible teaches about the Sin Offering, and the Justness and Holiness of God, in order to clarify the need for the sin offering.

Paul invented the doctrine of original sin, as foundation for the doctrine of atonement.

To introduce the subject of original sin, I urge serious readers to read the following article: It was harvested from an Islamic web page and comments were added to explain the Christian viewpoint.

Quotations from the book are in green.

Let us consider these statements individually: Paul NEVER claimed that God created man inherently sinful, in fact, he stressed the fact that sin came into this world because of Adam's sin in paradise:

Romans 5:12

1 Corinthians 15: It is ironic that Mr. Al-Kadhi charges Paul with something Christians have always said was wrong in Islam:
We all know from daily experience that a person cannot live without sinning even if he chooses to be sinless. We are morally weak, and even though we strive to be sinless we cannot attain it. I have yet to meet the Muslim who denies this.

The Bible teaches that God created Mankind (Adam and Eve) in His own moral Image (Genesis 1:26   And God said, Let us make man in our image...). Adam and Eve were totally pure and holy. But because of their sin, they were cast from Paradise and thus separated from God. We, their offspring were born, not in Paradise (the Presence of God), but separated from Him. Through Adam mankind has become separated from God, and we lost our ability to be sinless.

Islam agrees that we are morally weak and prone to sin, even if we so choose, but since Islam denies the doctrine of original sin, we must conclude that we are this way because God created us this way. Islam claims by implication that God created us weak! Since "Inherently sinful" in my book equals "unable to remain sinless by nature" I must conclude that Islam teaches that God created us inherently sinful. So why does he blame Paul for teaching this??

One comment: We are Not "inheritors of "the sin of Adam""  Adam's sin was his alone, but we do live with the consequences of his sin, just like a baby born with Aids lives with the consequences of her parents' sin.

Paul never said that anything was beyond God's capability: I have the capability of killing my neighbor's cat. I won't do it, because it is wrong. That does not make me incapable, but moral. There is a big difference! More about this later!

So where does the doctrine of Original sin come from? It was written down in the Taurat centuries before Paul was even  born:
Genesis 3:

Because of his sin, the whole human race was doomed to death: The reason: Separation from the Source of life, God: To allege that Paul inserted this chapter into the Taurat is really too much...

Did Jesus teach that we are inherently sinful?
Luke 5:

If we were not sinners, there would be no need for him to come here at all!

The Christology of Al-Kadhi

Please note: Jesus did not forgive this man of something he did against Jesus as a person, but his sins, in general, in fact every transgression of God's law that this man has ever committed. "...your sins...".

Wow! Mr. Al-Kadhi believes Jesus is just a normal man like you and me, and for this normal mortal man it is easy, in fact "trivial" to forgive sin! Mr. Al-Kadhi, since you believe the forgiveness of sin is trivial and easy for a human, why don't you start forgiving other peoples sin? Or you could start with yourself. at least you will have certainty about your salvation then!

I don't mean to offend with this bit of sarcasm! I just want to point out the obvious: To concede that Jesus has the power to forgive sin is to concede to his Deity. Only God can forgive us our sins!

Not even Mohammed could forgive sin. In fact, he had to ask forgiveness for his own sin:
Sura 47:19

The reason why Mr. Al-Kadhi gets into this trouble is because he quotes scripture that does not fit his opinion out of context to make it fit..
Example: Now let us read this verse in it's context:
John 5: The Bible clearly states that Jesus made himself equal with God. Whatever Jesus sees the Father do, he does as well. Jesus claimed to have existed before the creation of the world (John 17:5   And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.) Therefore he saw God creating. Whatever he sees God doing, he does likewise. That makes him the creator... God has made Jesus the judge of the whole human race... Men should honour the Son EVEN AS THEY HONOUR THE FATHER! The same honour due to God is due to Jesus!
Shirk!!?? Jesus claims here to be uncreated, like the Father. The verse quoted by Mr. Al-Kadhi, in context. Mr. Al-Kadhi, if you really believe that Jesus has the power to forgive sin, as you say you do, then you should also believe the other claims he makes. And the invitation he gives to you personally, Misha'al.... Come to me, that you may have life....

What the Bible teaches about the sin offering.

The doctrine of Blood Atonement was fully developed in the Taurat centuries before the birth of Paul.

Leviticus 17:

This verse is identical in the Jewish scriptures as well, and there is no way Paul or anybody else could insert it in the Taurat in order to develop a new doctrine!

The practical way in wich Blood Atonement was done was through the Sin Offering:
Leviticus 5:

The sin offering was one of the main pillars of the deen of all the prophets after Moses. It was the most important cultic ritual of their religion, in exactly the same way as the Hajj, prayer,  fasting and alms giving are important in Islam. To give you an idea of how important it is in the Bible, and in the culture of all the prophets after Moses, I have made the following comparison with the most important cultic rituals of Islam:

The words "sin offering" appear one hundred and seven times in the Taurat, Zabur and Prophetic writings. The words "tresspass offering" appear thirty three times. That gives a total of one hundred and forty times! (King James translation).

In the Jusuf Ali translation of the Qur'an, "pilgrimage" appears 7 times, "alms" appears 3 times, "fast" or "fasting" appears 21 times, and "prayer" appears 85 times.

Yet nobody can dispute the importance of say, the Hajj, in the religion of Islam. In the same way it would be dishonest to dispute the importance of the sin offering in the religion of the Old Testament.

Here is an example of how the sin offering was practised in the day to day life of the believers of Old Testament times:

2 Chronicles 29


The meaning of the sin offering.

Leviticus 5:

1) God says that there is no escape from the guilt of sin: We will say more later on why this is so. For the moment you may just accept it for arguments sake.

2) Because God loves us, He provided a way for the guilt to be removed.
Please take note: The way He provides, according to this verse, is not that the sinner should do good works or prove himself in any way worthy of forgiveness, but to bring a sacrifice.
This implies something very important: Good deeds, or even good intentions cannot remove the guilt of sin, because then the sin offering would have been totally unnecessary!
The reason for this is simple: The law of God demands complete obedience to the law. Even though it is in theory possible to go to heaven becaused you have never sinned, the harsh reality is that since Adam was cast from paradise, no human being has ever been without sin. (Except one...) There can be no salvation through keeping the law simply because no one can keep the law!

3) The process of atonement through sin offering is initiated by God. It is an act of God. In this sense, there is absolutely no cost involved for the sinner.
The only prerequisites for forgiveness of sin by sin offering are:

4)The symbolism of the sacrifice is important, and the following verse gives an important clue:
Leviticus 16: The ritual of the scapegoat is very similar in function to that of the sin offering, here it is stated explicitly that the sin of the people is transferred to the goat: The people become blameless and the goat becomes the sinner.

It is very clear that the sacrificial animal bears the punishment of the sinner's sin in his place. The life of the sinner is substituted for that of the sacrificial animal!

It is extremely important to realize that it is not the ritual that saves the sinner, (we do not believe in magic) but that  it is God who forgives the sinner freely, out of loving grace, based on the symbolism of the ritual. Since the life of an animal can never pay for the life of a human being, the ritual is a symbol of something else: If you read Isaiah 53, you will see that the Messiah would be the Perfect Sin Offering.
5) The outcome of this meeting between sinner and God is allways absolutely certain:

This is the word of God, it cannot be otherwise! The redeemed sinner has complete certainty of salvation! This is in stark contrast to Islam according to which one can never know.

6) The result of this free forgiveness is always the conversion of the sinner. Being confronted with his own sin, and then with the unimagineable love and mercy of God will bring the redeemed to enter into a relationship of love with his Redeemer. The seperation between man and God that happened when Adam sinned in Paradise is removed. Turning to God to accept His forgiveness always means turning away from sin!  Living in the grace of the Blood Atonement, man becomes what God had always intended Him to be: Holy.

If the life of the person does not reflect this new relationship with God it is safe to say that his faith was not real: The sacrifice was not brought because he wanted to be cleansed of his sin, but for some selfish reason. In the same manner one cannot bring the sacrifice and try to earn your salvation by being "good". This would nullify the whole point of the sacrifice!

Mr. Al-Kadhi's quotations from the old Testament to "prove" that blood atonement is not needed for the forgiving of sin.

I have to stress the point, that the sin offering had the same prominence in the cultic life of Israel that the Shahada, Saum, Salaat, Zakaat, and Hajj has in Islam today. I will not adress every one of the quotations, and the following one I will use to illustrate my point further. The verse in green is the one quoted.

Isaiah 43:

In verse 21 God says that He created Israel, and the reason why He did it: "...they shall shew forth my praise." But Israel was in a state of rebellion, they  ignored God. God reproaches them because after they sinned, they did not bring the sin offering so that they could be forgiven. It is ironic that Mr. Al-Kadhi should use this verse to prove his point, while in reality it proves exactly the opposite: In verse 25 God gives the reason why He forgives sins. Not because of good works, good intentions, or anything done by the sinner, but for His own sake!!!

Misha'al, this is what God tells you in this verse: I forgive you your sin not because of who you are, but because of who I am. Because I love you more than you can ever imagine. And even though you can never deserve My Love or forgiveness, I offer it to you freely "...for mine own sake..."!

So come and accept it, so that you may be justified. (Verse 26)

This verse is an open invitation to Israel of the Old Testament, and everybody who reads it today to accept to unconditional love and forgiveness that God offers on the basis of the sin offering!

 Jeremiah 36:3

Isaiah 55:7
  Psalm 32:5  Returning to God and confessing your sin is all that is needed to receive the forgiveness! Turn from your evil way, turn to God. Please note: in every case forgiveness is guaranteed! The reason why it is guaranteed is because it is not based on the good works of the sinner, but as you saw in the scripture above, on the caracter of God. To say that the blood atonement does not play a roll  just because it is not mentioned in these specific verses is ridiculous: The whole religious cult revolved around the blood atonement!

In the following verses it may seem as if God does not want the sacrifice. If you read carefully, you will see that He did not want the sacrifices because they were brought for the wrong reasons! There was no acknowledgement of sin, no repentance and no real plea for forgiveness. The acts were hipocritical: they were empty ritual!

Isaiah 1:11-18

 And yet the invitation remains: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool"

Has Islam ever taught that one can be that certain of forgiveness of sin?

The above quotation is from the prophet Isaiah, so let us have a quick look ar what this same prophet taught about the sin offering, or blood atonement:

Isaiah 53:

Did Jesus teach the doctrine of Blood Atonement?

The night before his crucifixion, Jesus celebrated the passover with his disciples. This is what he told them:

Matthew 26:

The next day Jesus was crucified, died, was buried and rose from death on the third day.

So, why won't God forgive sin without sacrifice?

The answer consists of two parts:
The Holiness of God
God is holy.
The word means  to be totally, utterly pure.
Psalm 99:5
Psalm 14:17
Since God is Holy, he will not accept anything in his presence wich will defile His holiness. We are told to be holy (totally pure, and without sin), because God is holy.
Leviticus 11:
Leviticus 19:2
Leviticus 20:7
Leviticus 20:26
Deuteronomy 23:14
In the old Testament, the whole of the ritual law was about purification. No one could enter into the Holiest of Holies (the innermost part of the temple that symbolized the presence of God) without first undergoing ritual purification. If anybody came there in a ritually impure state, he died. People died after accidentally touching the arc of the covenant.
God commanded in the old Testament that people should be ritually purified with blood: Leviticus 17:11   "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."
Some of this is still present in Islamic ritual today: One must do a ritual wash before entering a Mosque to pray, one is not allowed to eat ritually unclean food.
If we cannot take any unclean food into our body, or do something that would make us ritually unpure, how can God, who is the Holiest of all, take anything that is unpure in his presence?
Is hell so much a punishment as just the logical end of our unholiness? Hell is, after all, nothing other than total seperation from God. Our sin seperates us from God.
See how the great prophet of God, Isaiah, experienced the Holiness of God:
Isaiah 6:
This is the reaction of every sinner who comes face to face with the Holiness of God.
If you read the next verse, you will see that Isaiah could not make himself holy, God did it for him.
The first book of the Bible is about how mankind became unholy, and got seperated from God. The rest of the Bible is about how God made us holy again, so that we may enter into His presence again.
Jesus told the following story:
Luke 18:
The publican saw the Holiness of God, and knew his own unholiness. The pharisee thought that he had made himself holy by keeping rituals;  he was rather proud of himself!
The publican knew he was ill, and accepted God's cure, the Pharisee didn't even know he was ill.
The Justness of God
 I think the holiness is more important, since (on a philosophical level anyway) being just is a consequence of being holy, and not the other way around.
God is portrayed right through the history as the supreme Law Giver. Right after he created mankind he gave them the first law:

 Genesis 2:
The whole Bible bears witness to to justness of God:
Deuteronomy 32:
Part of God's law states what the penalty for breaking the law is:
Romans 6:23
"Death" here means spiritual death, complete seperation from God, Hell. The reason why this must be so, is as we have seen before, God's holiness.
What would you think of a government that breaks its own law? Or a policeman that does not honour the law he is supposed to enforce?
God's law states that the punishment for breaking the law is hell. If God would not enforce this, he would break his own law!
We would not condone a secular governement that breaks it's own law!
Job 4:17
The idea of God breaking his own law is not tolerated at all in the Bible, and any thinking person should reject any such idea as blasphemy.
Couldn't He just look the other way...
Since He is almighty, He could. But since He is Holy and Just, He won't.
The law of God demands justice: If you break the law, the prescribed penalty is death.
The love of God provides the sacrifice to pay the penalty you can not pay, for you:
Collossians 2:
God nailed the letter of indictment against us to the cross of Jesus Christ!

Romans 8:1

Romans 5:10

May you too know the peace of being reconciled to God...

The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
Answering Islam Home Page