This continues our previous series on Mohammed Hijab’s (MH) falsehoods and bad arguments against the Trinity used in his debate earlier this month with David Wood.
6. Augustine re-wrote the Bible?
MH contradicted himself by admitting that “John believed Jesus is divine,” while claiming John 17:3 to be a denial of his divinity, and that “the Father is the only true God.” This was, apparently, a “thoooooorrrrrn in the sidddddddee” [sic] of the early church. So Augustine (d.430AD) had to change the word order of the Scripture to make it appear more trinitarian than it really was. Really?
John 17:3 says:
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
And here is what Augustine wrote in his Homilies on John:
“‘And this,’ He [Jesus] adds, ‘is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.’ The proper order of the words is, ‘That they may know You and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent, as the only true God.’”
Firstly Augustine didn’t change the Scripture, he exegeted it, and his exegesis was correct. This is clear from the context. John 17:1-5
After Jesus said this, he looked towards heaven and prayed:
‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.’
Which human prophet has ‘authority over all people’? Who apart from YHWH grants eternal life? If Jesus was merely a creature, how did he preexist with God in glory before the beginning of the world? The context clearly affirms Jesus’ divinity, in line with the Gospel writer’s firm belief.
See this video from Acts17 Apologetics for a lengthier analysis of MH’s cut-and-paste treatment of John’s Gospel.
7. ‘Jesus doesn’t tell the man in Mark 12:29 “believe in me as co-equal, co-eternal God,” instead he refers him to the shema’
Why would Jesus say “believe in me as co-equal, co-eternal God”? He wasn’t asked “are you God?” Rather he was asked what the greatest commandment was, and his answer was correct. However, as discussed earlier, the shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) doesn’t preclude Jesus’ divinity; secondly, Jesus tells the teacher that he is “not far from the Kingdom of God.”
This is the Kingdom that Jesus claims as his own in the very next chapter of Mark:
“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, and from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mark 13:26 )
The Son of Man has authority over angels? The Son of Man knows who are the elect and who are not? The Son of Man comes in clouds? According to the Qur’an, the only one who comes on the ‘clouds’ is Allah (Sura 2:210).
When Jesus calls himself the “Son of Man” he is referring to himself as the figure in Daniel 7:14:
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,a]coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
The Son of Man is clearly a divine figure. And Jesus alludes directly to these verses at his trial in Mark 14:62:
“Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’
62 ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’
The reaction? “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” (Mark 14:64)
8. “The Trinity is in the Bible now!”
MH brought up Matthew 28:19 not realising that by doing so he scuppered his earlier point about Mark 12:29. Because it begs the question, if Jesus was just a prophet with a unitarian view of God, why didn’t Jesus just command his followers to believe the shema with his last words on earth? Instead Jesus says:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, BAPTISING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This is a very weird thing to say for a unitarian prophet, as well as being highly misleading. And if it’s misleading that calls into question Jesus’ moral character. Either that, or perhaps Jesus was not a prophet of Unitarianism.
9. Why isn’t Luke 9:26 a Trinitarian formula?
Luke 9:26 reads:
“Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Here is Jesus in a group of three! So why don’t Christians worship a Trinity of the Son, the Father and the Holy Angels?
Where does Scriptures say the holy angels are eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and to be worshipped as God? The Bible in fact teaches the opposite. What does the angel say to John in Revelation 19:10 when he tried to worship him:
“…I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.’
Both these points show that MH doesn’t want to seriously engage with the Biblical text.
10. “No-one talked about the Holy Spirit being God in the first 300 years of Christianity……that discussion is completely gone!”
Aside from the fact we get the doctrine of Trinity from Scripture alone, not church tradition, this is a completely false claim. For a detailed analysis, read this article by Sam Shamoun.Here too are some quotes from Vocab Malone’s excellent rebuttal, worth watching in full:
Clement of Rome (AD 96), Letter to the Corinthians:
“The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the LORD Jesus Christ; and Jesus Christ was sent from God…they went forth in complete assurance of the Holy Spirit…do we not have one God ,one Christ and one Holy Spirit poured out upon us?…For as God lives and the Lord Jesus Christ lives and the Holy Spirit..”
Polycarp of Smyrna (150AD)
“I praise you for all things, I bless you, I glorify you along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, your beloved Son with whom to you and the Holy Spirit be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen.”
Justin Martyr (163-167 AD)
“In the Name of God the Father and the Lord of the Universe and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water.”
“….he is one God, from whom these degrees and forms and appearances are understood, under the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
“The Father is God and the Son is God and the Holy Ghost is God and each is God..”
Next up: Elijah, Ruach and more…