How Jesus became a god. Two Yale professors describe the historical process

Earlier I posted about an academic work I am reading by two of America’s leading biblical scholars entitled: King and Messiah as Son of God, Divine, Human, and Angelic Messianic Figures in Biblical and Related Literature by Adela Yarbro Collins and John J. Collins – both professors of biblical criticism and interpretation at Yale University.

I thought readers might like to peruse another extract. The professors describe the historical process whereby Jesus was initially understood to be an agent of God, then after the ascension of Jesus leading to further speculation about his pre-existent status. But a crucial factor appears to be the influence of pagan cults where men who were once human beings were honoured and worshiped as gods. The authors highlight the practices of the Imperial cults as a crucial element in the proclamation of Jesus as God. Here is a snapshot taken on my humble iPhone of page 174 (see note 105 too).


Categories: God, Jesus, New Testament scholarship

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82 replies

  1. Adela Yarbro Collins also argues that the earliest Christians worshiped Jesus as divine. See this excerpt from her ‘The worship of Jesus and the Imperial Cult’ (1999)

    “The worship of the Roman emperor was especially prominent in the cultural situation of the earliest followers of Jesus, even in Palestine. It is credible that the followers of Jesus were moved to worship him in part at least because they were familiar with the worship of the emperor.”

    Would this not contradict the Islamic view that Jesus’ earliest followers were devout Muslims?

    “The understanding that emerged after his resurrection involves his kingship over Israel and over the entire world”

    Do you agree that Jesus’ earliest followers regarded him as the king of the entire world?

    • ‘divine’ in what sense? Not in the sense that Jesus was viewed as Yahweh surely.

      • No. Collins seems to think that the Jesus’ earliest followers, shortly after experiencing visions of his ascension, worshiped him as a secondary deity, second only to Yahweh. Like Roman emperors after they died.

      • part of the problem is that we do not have any first hand primary historical evidence of what the disciples of Jesus believed. Do you know of any?

      • Thomas said to Him: “My Lord (kurios = Yahweh) and My God”
        John 20:28

        “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1

        Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proved He was God in the flesh. (the incarnation – John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8)

    • //argues that the earliest Christians worshiped Jesus as divine//
      On which basis does he say that? I’d love to read his argument about this very point. I remember that dr Ally expressed his willingness to debate dr Ehrman about this subject.

      • The paper I quoted is from a collection of articles entitled ‘The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism: Papers from the St. Andrews Conference on the Historical Origins of the Worship of Jesus’

        To make a long story short, scholars like Ehrman and Collins argue that the worship of Jesus goes back to the earliest Christians, because the earliest Christian documents (which were written while many of the disciples were still alive) all speak of Jesus as an appropriate object of worship, and there is no evidence of any disagreement about this within the Church. The best explanation is that the disciples must have taught this themselves.

      • Thank you!
        To be honest, I don’t think that is a good argument. And to link the christian literature with the disciples without a cautious and critical look is really not an argument. I remember Ehrman said that the disciples’ thought of Jesus as a divine being(whatever that can mean) came after the belief that Jesus got ascended to heaven.
        Muslims now believe that Jesus got ascended to heaven, yet we don’t think he’s a divine being.

        I think according to Ehrman’s view, any exaltation= divinization! However, jews already had had the same belief of ascension about Elijah.

      • Chris

        you claim:

        ‘scholars like Ehrman and Collins argue that the worship of Jesus goes back to the earliest Christians, because the earliest Christian documents (which were written while many of the disciples were still alive) all speak of Jesus as an appropriate object of worship, and there is no evidence of any disagreement about this within the Church. The best explanation is that the disciples must have taught this themselves.’

        This is factually incorrect. Ehrman is clear in many places that the disciples of Jesus did NOT regard him as God. He is also very clear that Jesus did NOT think of himself as God – see his How Jesus Became God, chapter 3.

      • Paul:

        “This is factually incorrect. Ehrman is clear in many places that the disciples of Jesus did NOT regard him as God. He is also very clear that Jesus did NOT think of himself as God – see his How Jesus Became God, chapter 3.”

        If you read my quote, all I said is that for Ehrman, Jesus was considered an object of worship by the earliest Christians.

        See some quotes from his talk, ‘How Jesus became God’ (link provided below)

        36:45 “The first Christians thought that the man Jesus was made a divine being. He was made a divine being because God had adopted him. God adopted him to be his Son.”

        40:25 “The earliest Christians thought that when Jesus got raised from the dead, he was taken up to heaven and was made into a divine being, who was worthy of worship. So the early Christians worshiped him as the Son of God who had been exalted to Heaven”

      • But Bart is NOT saying that Jesus was God. And what do you mean by worship, a very elastic term that could easily apply to humans too. ?

      • Paul,

        “But Bart is NOT saying that Jesus was God. And what do you mean by worship, a very elastic term that could easily apply to humans too.”

        I never said that he did. What he does say is that the earliest Christians worshiped Jesus as a second deity alongside God, just like the Romans worshiped Julius Caesar, building temples to him and praying for his blessings.

        Adela Yarbro Collins has a similar view.

      • you mean these christians deified a man whom they knew was not the Most High God, but a man who had been given divine titles like Caesar. Fair enough. But this is very far from believing in a Trinity., and in fact points to the mythological origins of the Christian concept of God.

  2. As far as I’m aware, the jury is still out on that one.

    But even if not, how does it follow that we cannot know what the disciples believed? Even highly sceptical scholars like Ehrman and Collins feel that they can infer what they believed based on the contents of the NT, much of which was written while they were still alive. Not an exact science, but such is history. The demand for primary evidence, in my view, is ,,,well, too demanding 😉

    • So you agree that we have no writings from the disciples of Jesus at all. Inferences about their alleged beliefs are largely conjecture.

      • The whole NT – all 27 books of the NT is the primary evidence of what they believed. All of the content and doctrines and teachings goes back to the disciples / apostles and Jesus Himself. It is all one unified message. Matthew, John, Peter were eyewitnesses. Paul was an apostle who was specially called by the risen Christ and eyewitness of His resurrection. (Acts chapters 9, 22, 26; I Corinthians chapter 15; Galatians chapters 1-2) Mark & Silas wrote for Peter. Luke investigated and interviewed Mary and the other disciples. Luke traveled with the apostle Paul. Silas wrote 1 Peter for Peter. (1 Peter 5:12-13) James and Jude were half-brothers of Jesus – born after Jesus. Jude probably wrote 2 Peter for Peter as he dictated it from prison. Barnabas, Silas, or Luke wrote Hebrews. Barnabas is called an apostle in Acts 14:4 and 14:14.

    • History relies on primary evidence. Otherwise, there can never be any certainty. You’re taking a huge leap of faith in worshipping a man based on scanty evidence at best. It would be better if you just worship God and not His creation.

      • Paul: didn’t say that. I said that the jury is ‘still out’: scholars disagree on the authorship of James, Jude, 1 Peter etc.

        If you think that inferences about the disciples’ beliefs are mere ‘conjecture’, why do you keep quoting scholars who argue that the disciples or Jesus believed X, Y or Z?

        QB: no, historians don’t necessarily rely on ‘primary evidence’ — it’s a rare luxury, to be honest. Socrates wrote nothing, but historians obviously don’t conclude from this that we can know nothing at all about what Socrates said or did. And there are many, many other examples.

        “Otherwise, there can never be any certainty”. There can never be any absolute certainty in history. It’s an inherently probabilistic discipline. Even with primary evidence, it is always possible that the text was altered.

      • So you really can’t prove anything then. Historians should be out of a job!

  3. @ Chris

    Uhhh…when God and the Hereafter are the topics you BETTER be ABSOLUTELY certain. This isn’t about something like when a battle that took place we’re talking about God here. Primary evidence is the ONLY thing that matter on THIS topic.

    • 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

      1 John 5:13-15

      “in order that you may know . . . ”

      we believers in Christ, know for certain we have eternal life –

      Romans chapter 8 – “nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus”

      read the whole NT, not just verses here and there out of context from Islamic websites.

      • @ Ken

        While irrelevant to the discussion, (as it appeared Chris was suggesting educated guesses are when it comes to religion) I have read the Hebrew Bible from “Genesis” to “2 Chronicles” and the entire “gospels according to…” from the NT and never without both Jewish and Christian commentaries so while I am by no means a scholar I can say for certain I’ve read more than the average “born again Christian”. The books are by no means cohesive and you’re definitely certain stuff is missing when reading.

        But anyway, let’s do the million dollar question, who wrote 1 John and how did it reach you over 2,000 years later? (Especially seeing that the area was almost entirely illiterate)

        Also bonus round:

        A. What were the criteria for determining what is canonical and not?
        B. Why can’t any of your churches agree on a canon especially if it is divinely guided and the book is “inspired? (Whatever that means)
        C. For what reason should I worship a human as opposed to God, does this not violate “thou shalt have no other god before Me”?
        D. If God wanted to destroy Jesus(as) could he stop God?
        E. How could Jesus(as) die if he is God?

      • the letter of 1 John is testified very early as Scripture in Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp, the Muratorian canon, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and many others, etc.

        All historical Christian groups agree that 1 John is inspired, written by the apostle John, and therefore, because it is inspired, it is canonical. That some called John, the presbyter (per the letters of 2nd John and 3rd John), does not preclude him also being the disciple of Jesus, eyewitness, one of the 12 in the gospels, and an apostle.

        All groups agree on the NT canon. (Protestants, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox)

        That the Ethiopian Orthodox church (Miaphysite / monophysite) has added some to the NT is not a very convincing argument to cause doubt as to what the NT was in the early centuries.

        The difference in the OT canon was debated for centuries. Athanasius, Origen, Jerome, and all who knew Hebrew and knew the Jewish understanding of the OT canon agreed, even Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome in 590-604 AD and Cardinal Cajetan, in the 1500s, who interviewed Luther in 1518 and tried to force him to recant, agreed with Jerome and the Protestant position. “All opinions on those books written after Chronicles / Malachi (Apocrypha or “deutero-canonicals) are to the reduced to the judgment of Jerome.”

        All the major groups – Protestants, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, agree with the doctrines of the Incarnation, eternality of the Son / Word; and the Trinity.

        Since there is only one God and the doctrine of the Trinity does not violate that – it does not violate monotheism, since the doctrine itself is “One God in substance / essence / nature in three persons” Unitas Trinitas and Trinitas Unitas = One in three and Three in One, then your questions are answered and your assumptions are refuted.

        If you want to study the issue of the canon and the criteria, I suggest Dr. White’s book, “Scripture Alone” and Dr. Michael Kruger’s four books, Canon Revisited, the Question of Canon, and The Heresy of Orthodoxy, & Christianity at the Crossroads (second century Christianity).

      • “the letter of 1 John is testified very early as Scripture in Ignatius of Antioch”

        Evidence please Ken

      • Ignatius to the Ephesians chapter 14 gives a quote from 1 John 3:7
        the phrase after that also comes from 1 John (also look in the Index at the ccel website, (and my hard paper book of Ignatius also has these – others from Polycarp, Irenaeus and Tertullian.

      • but he does not say it is scripture as you wrongly claim.

      • Indexes of the Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus:

      • no use to me. I need the quotes

      • A. through D – answered above. D – God the Father and God the Son are in perfect unity on their purpose and their nature, so that hypothetical question is moot. Their desires are alway holy and good and God cannot be destroyed, by definition.
        E. How could Jesus die if he is God?
        Dr. White answered this in the debate with Abdullah Kunde.

  4. QB: “So you really can’t prove anything then. Historians should be out of a job!”

    Historians don’t really deal in ‘proof’ but in evidence and probabilities. That doesn’t mean that historians can’t know anything, but that they accept that there will always be a possibility that they are wrong.

    Stew: “Uhhh…when God and the Hereafter are the topics you BETTER be ABSOLUTELY certain.”

    I am personally convinced of what I believe, but I recognize that I might be wrong.

    Are you absolutely certain of the truth of Islam, in the way that you are certain that 2+2 = 4 and that bachelors are unmarried?

    • “Historians don’t really deal in ‘proof’ but in evidence and probabilities. That doesn’t mean that historians can’t know anything, but that they accept that there will always be a possibility that they are wrong.”

      You must be joking. Are you saying that we can’t know for sure that Abraham Lincoln didn’t give the Gettysburg Address? Or that he issue the Emancipation Proclamation?

      Clearly, primary sources can and have been found and used by historians. So why is it that Christianity seems to be curiously short on primary sources? We have primary sources from the time for the Roman empire, so why not for Christianity?

      • You’ve misread me. I never said that historians don’t use primary sources. I only claimed that when they lack a primary source on what X said or did, they don’t conclude that we can’t know anything at all about what X said or did. cf. my Socrates example. So, even if none of the NT was written by the disciples, it simply would not follow that we can know nothing at all of what the disciples taught.

        Nor am I saying that there are no primary sources concerning what the disciples taught. Once again (third time now), I only said that the jury was still out on this issue. Several scholars argue that some NT works were authored by the disciples, cf. Bauckham on John, J. A. T. Robinson on Jude.

    • @ Chris
      Yea pretty much.

      • So where is that wall Alexander the Great built to hold back Gog and Magog? Definite location please.

  5. @ Agnosic

    I can’t understand you when I was an agnostic I dang sure wasn’t wasting my life away with corny comments on blogs. The Qur’an says nothing about Alexander the Great building a wall. Read next time so that you don’t look foolish discussing things.

    • Surah 18:94-98 seems to say that, if “Dha-ul Qarnayn” ( ذا القرنین ) is Alexander the Great.

      They said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, indeed Gog and Magog are [great] corrupters in the land. So may we assign for you an expenditure that you might make between us and them a barrier?”

      He said, “That in which my Lord has established me is better [than what you offer], but assist me with strength; I will make between you and them a dam.

      Bring me sheets of iron” – until, when he had leveled [them] between the two mountain walls, he said, “Blow [with bellows],” until when he had made it [like] fire, he said, “Bring me, that I may pour over it molten copper.”

      So Gog and Magog were unable to pass over it, nor were they able [to effect] in it any penetration.

      [Dhul-Qarnayn] said, “This is a mercy from my Lord; but when the promise of my Lord comes, He will make it level, and ever is the promise of my Lord true.”

      • @ Ken

        “Seems” is your personal opinion as you can see the text doesn’t. Playing this game the Bible “seems” to say a lot of stuff. Please show me the words “Alexander the Great” in the text. You all made a claim where is your proof from the Qur’an or Sunnah? (See how easy it is to have a methodology?)

      • So, Dhu’al Qarnayn is not “Alexander the Great”?
        Yusuf Ali, in his English translation of the Qur’an and in the footnotes, gives Alexander the Great as one of the popular Islamic interpretations of who that person is.

      • Well he was mistaken

      • Sigh, you see, this is why no one takes the undecided voter and Ken the broken record seriously.

        On Dhul Qarnayn:

        The title means “The Two-Horned One”, which some Muslims believed applied to Alexander the Great because he often wore a helmet with two horns (this was one of many explanations for the title). While it is true that many classical Muslim scholars identified Dhul Qarnayn as Alexander the Great, it is also true that many did not. Moreover, the Quran never identifies who Dhul Qarnayn was anyway, so attempts to identify him are bound to be speculative. Indeed, many classical scholars distanced themselves from the opinion that Alexander was Dhul Qarnayn. These scholars included Al-Sharastani (d. 1153), Al-Razi (d. 1209), Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328), and Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 1350).[4]

        It is actually more likely that Dhul Qarnayn was an Arab king. The scholar al-Tabbakh (d. 1951) noted that the prefix “Dhu” was used by the Arabs to refer to Arab kings (for example, Dhu Nuwas). In fact, there is a hadith related by al-Maghribi (d. 1286) which stated that Dhul Qarnayn was from Himyar (Yemen).[5] But regardless of the true identity of Dhul Qarnayn, the bottom-line is that there is no evidence that he was directly associated with Alexander the Great in the Quran. The only associations made were by external sources.

    • If you want to stay ignorant it’s your business. But please stop going round telling people like me they deserve hell just because they refuse to follow your blind fundamentalist version of faith.

      • @ Agnotic

        It’s not ignorance to refute a lie. The text does not state your claim and this has been debunked years ago. I can’t say if you will go to Hell or not because idk how your life will end nor am I the judge on the matter in the Next. I can say however you are arrogant and make erroneous claims. You then feed on these to justify your disbelief.

      • @Stewjo

        Princeton University and classical Islamic scholars refute you. I’m sorry you insist on ignorance.

      • Says the guy who has no actual response and is just piggy-backing on the opinions of others! LOL!!

      • @QB

        When you finished laughing I would be interested what you have to say Dr. Michael Barry. My guess statements of blind faith and ad hominems.

      • So you’re still piggy-backing on the opinions of others? I’m still waiting for you to show how much of an expert you are, seeing as how you pretend to know the facts? And now, back to the laughing…LOL!!

  6. @ Ken

    I didn’t ask if the letter was early attested I asked how did it reach you, living 2,000 years later? For example, God told Jesus to tell blank to write it in response to blank. Then blank copied it for blank. It was then mandated by God to put in the Scripture. Do you see the problem, Ken? Besides an unknown author, a letter is not a revelation from God. Did this person know what they were writing would be considered Scripture in the future? (Probably not) This is literally the definition of writing something with your hands and claiming it’s from God.

    Next, it doesn’t matter if a few of your churches agree it is not a consensus EVEN NOW LET ALONE IN THE BEGINNING. Also, I don’t want to accuse you of racism regarding the Ethiopian Church but I’ll be honest I’m kinda thinking it…

    Anyways if you speak to Coptics or Ethiopians (like I have) they believe much differently then your Roman Church. Your similarities truly are just “on paper” oh and btw they think you all are disbelievers.

    Also on what grounds did you have to make the judgment:

    “All opinions on those books written after Chronicles / Malachi (Apocrypha or “deutero-canonicals) are to the reduced to the judgment of Jerome.”

    Jerome isn’t receiving divine revelation. What were the criteria used to determine if something is or is not canon in the first place?

    Next, the questions were not “refuted”. You pray to a being that prayed to another being and no amount of word gymnastics will change that. The Trinity is an easily refutable doctrine from your own books if you used an actual methodology for interpretation other than a preconceived idea from pagan Greek philosophy and the “Holy Spirit is guiding me”.

    Furthermore, you’ve actually contradicted your answers:
    “God cannot be destroyed, by definition.” (Nice try btw to avoid the word)

    You then try to answer how He died (i.e was destroyed). So simple question did this created being that you’ve made a partner alongside God die on the cross? Just need a simple, yes or no. Ken.

    • I also have Coptic / Egyptian friends – they said they were deceived by the Islamic takeovers. (Omar and Khalid – unjust attacks)
      It is too late to complain, and complaining gets people into trouble – persecution, etc.

      I mean no racial animus towards the Ethiopians – why do you make the judgment of racism?

      It has nothing to do with that.

      It just seems odd that there is agreement in history of the NT with Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Protestants – in history over the NT text.

      • Wrong. Some Orthodox churches have a different NT.

      • I wrote Eastern Orthodoxy agrees with Protestants and RCs on the NT canon.
        That means the Greek Orthodox and Russian and other eastern Orthodox churches.

        But you probably mean the Assyrian church of the east; and the Mar Thoma churches in India.

        I admit I don’t enough of the details of the issues of their NT canon, but it seems that they got disconnected from the consensus of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Centuries. They only did not include 2 Peter, 2-3 John, Revelation (maybe 1 or 2 others ?) (seemed to have gone by Eusebius’ summary of that there were some books that some doubted about or did not know about) for a while, but from the little I have read, they all agreed with that later. (I am pretty sure that they have the same NT as the rest of Christendom today.)

      • @ Ken

        Yusuf Ali is NOT a scholar idk why non-Muslims keep making him out to be. He was simply the first Muslim to translate the Qur’an into English (previous only non-Muslims or deviants did so). His commentary is FULL of issues and he made several mistakes in his translation. While historical for what it did it is not anything from a scholarship perspective, quite frankly. This “Alexander the Great” theory was born from some Middle Age commentaries saying: “Mmmm…maybe?” And then Orientalist running with it.

        Next, tell your friends they are either ignorant of history or liars and they hated Roman rule (which is why we were able to keep the area) and that Khalid(ra) didn’t even open Egypt he was dismissed before then. His last major engagement was Yarmouk. Amr bin Al-As(ra) is who opened Egypt. They were not “deceived” by any means after the Romans were defeated in Yarmouk we pretty much walked in with no real resistance. Umar (ra) also did not oppress them and their taxes were quite low until the Ummayyads (who were terrible all around). Umar(ra) actually had a Coptic beat the son of Amr(ra) because he attempted to oppress them. They have actually helped Muslims against other Christians sects like in the Crusades for instance. The only reason they say what they say now is because of injustices they suffer underneath Sisi and Mubarak.

        Moving on, well I find it odd that European Protestants who are newcomers in Christian sects are okay but the only black church is the one preaching falsehood according to you. Again, maybe I was too quick to call racism but from conversations with 2 of Sam’s other followers from Australia, they were racist toward Aborigines and black people and I was starting to get the same impression. But if you say it’s not I’ll take you at your word, so please forgive me for accusing of something you didn’t do.

        Finally, with that out of the way:
        1. Still no agreement on the canon. (And Paul just said apparently still further disagreement on the NT)
        2. No criteria for what is canon or the proof for deciding it.
        3. No answer on whether Jesus(as) died on the cross and if he is God how so.

        @ Paul

        Awwww…man thank you I didn’t know that. Today’s an off day for me.

      • Ken gets nuked again.

    • Jesus has two natures, God/ divine nature and a human nature. Death cannot touch the divine nature.

      He raised Himself up from the dead.

      John 10:18

      John 2:19-22

      Death means the separation of the spirit / soul from the body.

      Even dead humans do not cease to exist. Their souls are either in heaven or hell and continue in consciousness.

      • @ Ken

        Using that reasoning you and I are immortal and death is an illusion as no one dies. But I’ll run with this:

        1. Where does Jesus(as) in your books say he has two natures? Please quote a direct reference from him.

        2. Then the whole inheriting death because of Adam’ssin blah blah blah is meaningless as no one dies.

        3. So did God die according to Christianity? I’m a simple man who doesn’t understand pagan Greek philosophy I just need a yes or no answer, please.

        Moving on you said:

        “It was passed down.”

        Cool to whom? What were they’re qualifications? How do we know they weren’t heretics? How do we know they weren’t liars? These were all big problems for the Early Church. What are the criteria they used to verify these books and regard them as Scripture? Finally, a disciple’s letter is not God’s revelation period point blank. You want to compare a letter, to say the Torah whom God authored? Really?


      • Death is the separation of the spirit/soul from the body – there are two realities after that:
        1. Eternal life in heaven with God for those who have become believers through faith in Christ and all that He is in the NT, etc.
        2. Eternal ongoing torture in hell for all others.

        Immortal – yes, in a sense – see above. consciousness continues, but immortality in this body and this life on earth ceases.

        But true believers in Christ get a resurrection – glorified body at the second coming of Christ and judgment day.
        John 5:28-29
        1 Corinthians 15
        Philippians 3:19-21
        1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
        Revelation chapters 20, 21, 22

      • If you had a grasp of church history and the canon, and the theology behind the canon, you may begin to understand. The early church fathers and writers give us all the evidence for the canon – Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Cyprian, Athanasius, Augustine, Jerome (Jerome’s view of Apocrypha over Augustine’s view), etc.

      • How do we know they weren’t heretics? How do we know they weren’t liars?

        Because of the apostolic content and qualities or being “God-breathed” / inspired. 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 3:16; John 14:26; John 16:12-13; Jude 3; Hebrews 1:1-3; Galatians 1:6-9

        That was all established centuries before the false prophet of Mohammad and false religion of Islam started.

      • Pathetic! Circular arguments are all Ken can give to excuse his pagan religion and it’s lying “church father’s”.

      • How is it “circular” ? We have the more ancient history and confirmation of it; and the fact that the Qur’an affirms the previous Scriptures ignorantly, without knowing the details / doctrines, proves that Allah (The God) did not inspire Mohammad. Boom!

        Eventually all theological arguments get back to a basic presupposition about the true God and the true Scriptures.

        “No one has seen God at any time; the only generated God (John 1:1-5, 14; John 17:5 = eternal Word, eternal Son); who is in the bosom/ chest / side/ nature/heart of the Father, He (Christ, the Son, the Word کلمه الله) has explained Him.” John 1:18

        Jesus the Messiah of the NT is the explanation and perfect revealed manifestation of God Almighty.

        All the content of the NT eventually leads back to the Trinity – Trinitas Unitas and Unitas Trinitas – One God by essence in three persons.

      • Yeah I got that. So… you said all that to say you believe God died then? (Audhubillah)

        God is “Al Hayy Al Qayyum” (The EVER Living and caretaker of existence) God simply CANNOT die period point blank. It is not an attribute of His. This is why God makes this clear when He says:

        God, there is no god but He, The Ever Living source of Life. The Caretaker of existence. Neither tireness nor sleep overcomes Him. Whatever and whoever is in the heavens and earth belongs to Him. So who is this that can mediate with Him except by His allowance? He knows what lies before them and what will be after them. While they can’t encompass a thing of His knowledge except for what He wishes to reveal. His pedestal extends over and encompass the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and looking after them. He alone is the Most High and Strong. (2:255)

        As an add on according to Abdullah 1234’s reference this appears to be the case even among the Jews:

        LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die…(Habakkuk 1:12)

        Now that is going to be interesting with what word gymnastics and philosophy you are about to use to get around this clear statement to defend this doctrine.

        “Church Fathers give us all the evidence for the canon”.
        What!? Based on what? They can’t just declare what is or is not a revelation from God. They have to give evidence for why. This is what God talks about when He says that the Christians and Jew take their Monks and Rabbis as lords.

        Finally, the Trinity is not supported in the NT. Pagan Greeks inserted their disbelief into Jesus’s religion. Christians then had philosophical discussions of their idolatry and then tried to use ambiguous text to support it. Hence why you have no proof of this “divine/human nature” crap. I mean honestly this just ridiculous and an insult to God.

        (As a note I haven’t insulted your religion or prominent people but if you want to go this route let me know.)

    • Do you see the problem, Ken? Besides an unknown author, a letter is not a revelation from God.

      No. I don’t see any problem.
      There is no problem. Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all the truth in John 14:26 and 16:12-13 and then they eventually wrote down everything necessary for us, resulting in the 27 books of the NT.

  7. I didn’t ask if the letter was early attested I asked how did it reach you, living 2,000 years later?

    It was passed down. Textual apparatus in Greek NT’s show us the details.

    The Bible was eventually translated into all sorts of languages. The English versions that are the best are relying on the best and oldest Greek manuscripts for the NT and the best for the OT.

    Eventually into English – Wycliff, Tyndale

    Geneva Bible
    King James

    older manuscripts were found:

    New American Standard version, ESV, NIV, etc. – electic versions that include the older Greek manuscripts found later.

    The translators and texual apparatus also compare to other ancient translations – Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Georgian, Armenian, etc.

    James White has an excellent book on that:

    The King James Only Controversy


    an older work:

    The History of the English Bible
    edited by D. A. Carson

  8. Yeah, undecided voters are usually a bunch of ignoramuses.

    • Who is Dhul Qarnain then if it is not Alexander the Great? And where is that wall anyway?

      • Lol, it doesn’t matter to us. We’ll find out when the time comes for Gog and Magog to burst forth in the end times. Maybe they have already been released and are just biding their time. As for who Dhul Qarnayn was, it also doesn’t matter. What matters is the moral lesson from his story.

      • No it does matter as it is depicted as historical fact in the Quran. I agree it has to be interpreted allegorically, as all the non-historical tales and legends in the Quran.

      • Um, so what? We don’t have to know the identity of every single historical figure that has ever existed. Most likely, Dhul Qarnayn was an Arab king. We’ll leave it at that. What is more important is the moral lesson. Besides, there is lots more in the Quran that has been historically verified. For example, the city of Iram is mentioned in one verse and it did exist.

        And when I said Gog and Magog might already have been released, it means that the wall obviously would no longer exist. Or maybe it still does and we just don’t know where. We’ll find out when the time comes for them to be released upon the world. Given the fact that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made many prophecies that have already come true, I am willing to take it on faith that the Gog and Magog prophecy will also come true.

    • There is clear historic evidence Dhul Qarnain in the Quran is modelled after antique Alexander tales of the time. But that doesnt matter to you, I see. Historical evidence only counts in favor of Islam, never against.

      • There is clear evidence that you don’t know what you are talking about. So what else is new? Give us the “clear evidence” yourself, why don’t ya? Instead of giving links to videos? Come now, undecided voter. Let’s see how much of an expert you are…

      • Just watch the video and learn. For a change.

      • The undecided voter speaks…and all we get is more hot air.

        Again, why don’t you just show us the evidence? Are you lazy like other undecided voters? This is a discussion forum. Any moron can give a link and say “here, watch this and learn”. But if you are really confident in your expertise, then surely you can discuss the so-called “clear evidence”?

      • What are you afraid of? Refute Dr. Barry, he sure debunks your maybe-we-see-at-the-end-times apologetics.

      • What are you afraid of? Just list the “clear evidence” here.

        You see, unlike you, I don’t go around Googling and watching YouTube videos. I do real research. So, if you really are an expert, then go ahead and tell us what “evidence” there is. The longer you stall, the more embarrassing it will become for you.

        I just want to see if you can put your money where your mouth is, or if you are just full of hot air.

      • @ Agnostic

        Here goes that arrogance.:

        1. It’s not “classical Islamic scholars” they were SOME Middle Age scholars (who are considered closer to contemporary). Again you want to debate things and you don’t even know sources.

        2. The “Princeton professor” is just regurgitating WIlliam Muir’s argument that has already been refuted just because the info is new you doesn’t mean it is for everybody else. Sum up whatever argument you think is so “clear” and it will get smashed (also I REALLY pray you are not using Jacob of Edessa lol) Also please end of part 1.

  9. By the way, Ibn Kathir & Ibn Hajar already refuted the idea that Dhul Qarnayn is Alexander the Great. Allah knows who Dhul Qarnayn was. The point is Alexander is not Dhul Qarnayn.

    • @ Abdullah

      But…but..but… Abdullah 1234 according to Agnostic, “Classical Islamic scholars” refute what we’re saying and were just in “ignorance and a blind fundamentalist version of faith”. Forgetting the fact that there are no versions of Islam, how can Ibn Kathir(rh) and Ibn Hajr al Asqalani(rh) refute those scholars who held the opinion if they all believed that huh? According to Agnostic, you’re not making a whole lot of sense right now Mr.Muslim.

    • Come on guys. Surely you don’t think that you know more than the undecided voter, who has spent all those 10 minutes researching this topic?

    • The best explanation based on historical evidence: The Dhul Qarnain myth in Quran is based on Alexander the Great legends circulating well known in the ancient world for a long time before the Islamic “revelation”.

      The best explanations offered by Muslim apologists on this blog:

      “Lol, it doesn’t matter to us.”

      “We’ll find out when the time comes for Gog and Magog to burst forth in the end times. Maybe …”

      “As for who Dhul Qarnayn was, it also doesn’t matter.”

      “The point is Alexander is not Dhul Qarnayn.”

      Wow. Impressive results of real research. Apart from the usual insults and abuse.

      • @ Agnostic

        Still no answer huh? Nobody has said any of the above lol, you made a claim and when asked to present your evidence you made another claim that we all laughed at.


      • “you mean these christians deified a man whom they knew was not the Most High God, but a man who had been given divine titles like Caesar. Fair enough. But this is very far from believing in a Trinity., and in fact points to the mythological origins of the Christian concept of God.”

        This is Ehrman, not me!

        I only mentioned his view to argue that, if scholars like Ehrman and Collins are right about early Christology, the earliest Christians held views that are profoundly un-Islamic, being guilty of blatant ‘shirk’.

        I agree with you that these views would have damning consequences for Christianity. But my point is that they would also undermine Islam, which teaches that the earliest Christians were devout Muslims.

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