Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Quick Evidence Proving Jesus is Muhammad’s God and Lord Pt. 3

Sam Shamoun

We resume from where we left off.

There is another factor that one must take into consideration when seeking to correctly understand Jesus’ denial of knowing the day or hour as recorded in Mark 13:32. As we saw in the previous part, Mark’s Gospel goes out of its way to ascribe to Jesus the unique characteristics and functions of God.

For instance, Jesus has the ability to know the thoughts of the hearts of men and also possesses the power to forgive sins:    

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And IMMEDIATELY when Jesus perceived IN HIS SPIRIT that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And IMMEDIATELY he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” Mark 2:5-12

According to the Hebrew Scriptures, these are traits which belong to Yahweh alone:

“then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)” 1 Kings 8:39

“shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.” Psalm 44:21

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;” Psalm 103:2-4 – cf. Isaiah 43:25; Daniel 9:9; Micah 7:18-19

This explains why the scribes accused Jesus of blasphemy since they knew from the Scriptures that Christ was claiming to be able to do what God alone is capable of doing:

“While Jesus’ authority is not associated with the content of this teaching, it is clearly linked to his forgiveness of sins (2.10). To explain the significance of Jesus’ act of forgiveness (2.5), Mark provides an insight into the thoughts of the scribes that were present. They were ‘questioning in their hearts, “Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone!”’ (2.6b-7). They consider Jesus’ words to be blasphemous because he is encroaching upon the uniqueness of God.12 According to the Old Testament and Jewish tradition, only God could forgive sins (Exod. 34.7, 9; Num. 14.20; 30.5; 1 Kgs. 8.30; Ps. 103.3; Isa. 55.7; Jer. 31.34; Mic. 7.18). In the Greek text, the words of the scribes (‘but God alone’; Gr.: ei me heis ho theos) are an allusion to the Shema, the Jewish creed: ‘The Lord is our God, the Lord alone’ (Deut. 6.4).13 Mark thus shows that Jesus takes the role of God.” (Grindheim, Christology in the Synoptic Gospels, p. 45; bold empasis ours)

13. See also Marcus, Mark 1-8, 222. Many scholars refer to one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Prayer of Nabonidus (4Q242), for an example of a Jewish text that shows that a human being could forgive sins. This scroll is fragmentary, and its interpretation is very uncertain. It is possible that it refers to an exorcist that forgave the sins of Nabonidus, but the differences between this text and Mk 2.1-12 are considerable. The surviving text of the Prayer of Nabonidus focuses exclusively on the healing of Nabonidus, not on his forgiveness. The word “sin” therefore functions as a synonym for “sickness” (by metonymy). Whereas “forgiveness” is simply another word for “healing” in the Prayer of Nabonidus, Mk. 2.1-12 makes a decisive distinction between these two acts. See further Grindheim, God’s Equal, 71-3. (Ibid., p. 77)

Even the Quran agrees that knowing hearts and forgiving sins are divine functions:

“Say, ‘Whether you hide what is in your chest, or whether you reveal it, Allah knows it. And he knows what is in the heavens and what is on the earth. And Allah has might over all things.’” S. 3:29

“He knows what is in the heavens and the earth, and he knows what you are hiding and what you are showing. And Allah knows what is in the chest.” S. 64:4

“And those who, when they commit an indecency or do an injustice to themselves, remember Allah. So they ask forgiveness for their sins. And who will forgive the sins except Allah? And they do not persist in what they have done, and they do know. The reward of those is forgiveness from their lord and gardens, below them the rivers flow; they abide in it forever, and blessed is the wage of the workers.” S. 3:135-136

“Say, ‘O my servants who are extravagant against themselves, do not despair from the mercy of Allah. Surely Allah forgives all sins. Surely he is the forgiving, the merciful.’” S. 39:53

Thus, in order for Jesus to be able to do what only God can do, and to know what only God knows, he must be God in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

This isn’t the only time where Mark alludes to Jesus’ omniscience, as well as to his omnipresence and omnipotence:

“And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: the woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.” Mark 7:24-30

“Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?” Mark 8:14-21

“And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” Mark 9:33-35

“And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.” Mark 11:1-7

“And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all… And they all forsook him, and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire… And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: and when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilæan, and thy speech agreeth thereto. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.” Mark 14:26-31, 50-54, 66-72

In the above examples Jesus is depicted as not only being perfectly aware of what people were saying or thinking within themselves, but also knowing what was going to take place beforehand as in the examples of the colt and Peter denying his Lord three times. Christ even had(has) the ability to control situations and individuals in far off places, such as we saw in the case with the demon possessed girl whose evil spirit was cast out by Jesus without having to physically be present at the location to do so!

With the foregoing in perspective, could Mark have made it any clearer that Jesus is God Incarnate who possesses all of God’s essential incommunicable attributes such as omniscience? So why then does Jesus deny having the knowledge of the day or hour?

The answer is found in the fact that Jesus is not just God, but God Incarnate, meaning he is God who also became a true flesh and blood human being. And as a human being, Christ grew and changed over time much like all humans do. Therefore, Christ did not know all things in relation to his human mind, but only knew the information or knowledge that the Father wanted the Son to recall in his waking human consciousness.

What this essentially means is that this isn’t an either/or scenario, i.e., Jesus either knows all things or he doesn’t. Rather, it is a both/and situation, e.g., Jesus knows all things in respect to his Deity and yet in relation to his human mind and consciousness he did not know or access all the knowledge and information that he intrinsically possessed as God.

Now we gladly and humbly admit that this happens to be one of those mysteries that we as finite creatures will never be able to fully comprehend. Yet it is a mystery which we wholeheartedly accept as a fact revealed to us by God since this is what his inspired Word, the Holy Bible, proclaims concerning the Person and work of Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son and risen Lord of glory.

For a more detailed look at what the Holy Bible says concerning Jesus’ divine omniscience please make sure to read the addendum to this series.

So much for Ally’s objection from Mark 13:32.

All Scriptural quotations taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.