by Edip Yuksel

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Can A "Human God" Be A Product of Translation Errors?
"It is a miracle that the King  James' translators were able
to  produce  such  a  remarkable  translation  from  sources
available in this dark  period  of  European  history.  Even
fifty  years ago, the knowledge of Western scholars relative
to the Eastern  Scriptures  in  Aramaic  and  the  Christian
Church in the East was conjectural. Moreover, these scholars
knew very little of the Eastern customs and manners in which
the  Biblical literature was nurtured." (The Holy Bible From
Ancient Eastern Manuscripts, George Lamsa, A.J.  Holman  Co,
Philadelphia, 1957, Introduction).
Anyone who is familiar with translation knows that sometimes
the exact meaning of the text cannot be  reflected,  because
every  language  has unique terms, idioms and combination of
meanings ascribed to words. Sometimes  a  translation  of  a
multiple  meaning  word  obligates  the  translators to make
personal comments. Sometimes an  original  word  having  one
obvious  meaning  can  be translated with a multiple meaning
word. There are numerous cases which make every  translation
always  subject to revisions and disputes. So, a translation
without a loss is impossible. Translations  of  translations
are  less reliable, which is the case for the King James. If
we  add  the  problems  related  to  the  loss  of  original
manuscripts,   scribal   errors   such   as  homoioteleuton,
transposition of letters and bias of  the  translators,  the
credibility  of translations dramatically goes down. A wrong
translation in key words may change the main theme of a book
to the opposite.
Lisa  Spray,  in  her  thought-provoking  study,  holds  the
translators responsible for important distortions:
"A scholarly review of  the  various  biblical  translations
unveils   an  extremely  interesting  phenomenon;  one  that
contributed to the exaltation of  Jesus  to  the  status  of
"God."   As  pointed  out  in  the  previous  chapter,  such
exaltation contradicts the very message of  Jesus  and  runs
totally  contrary  to  the  Jewish  religious  tradition  he
strongly upheld and preached" (Jesus: Myth &  Message,  Lisa
Spray, Universal Unity, Fremont, CA, 1992, p. 17).
                                      Worship or pay homage?
One  important  example  of  translational distortion in the
King James version is the crucial word  "worship."  Here  is
the King James version of Matthew 2:2 and 2:8.
"...  Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have
seen his star in the east, and are  come  to  worship  him."
(Matthew 2:2).
"... and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I
may come and worship him also." (Matthew 2:8).
But the New American Bible, which is  "translated  from  the
original  languages  with  critical  use  of all the ancient
sources by members of the Catholic Biblical  Association  of
America" has translated it differently:
"...  Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We observed his
star at its rising and have come to pay him homage  (Matthew
2:2).   Then   he  sent  them  to  Bethlehem,  after  having
instructed them: 'Go and get detailed information about  the
child.  When  you have found him, report your findings to me
so that I may go and offer him homage." (Mat 2:8).
                                 Creating  a male Jewish god
Who do we worship? The Bible's answer to  this  question  is
God  alone  (Exodus  34:14;  Deuteronomy 8:19) To whom do we
give homage? To anyone we acknowledge loyalty.
It is obvious that somebody is trying to create a Jewish god
besides  our  Creator,  by  imposing  his  own  faith on the
The same distortion can be found in John 9:38:
And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
However, this verse is not only a distorted translation,  it
is  entirely  a fabrication as it is acknowledged by the New
American Bible in the  footnote:  "This  verse,  omitted  in
important MSS, may be an addition from a baptismal liturgy."
There  is more. Just three verses earlier (John 9:35), Jesus
is described as "Son of Man." Jesus is "Son of Man"  in  the
New  American  Bible,  in The New International Bible and in
the footnote of  The  Living  Bible,  Paraphrased,  etc  ...
Ironically,  the  King James version has altered this phrase
to the "Son of God", to justify the distortion  in  the  key
word "worship".
New American:
35  When Jesus heard of his expulsion, he sought him out and
asked him, "Do you believe in the SON OF MAN?"
New International:
35 Jesus Heard that they had thrown him  out,  and  when  he
found him, he said, "Do you believe in the SON OF MAN?"
Living Bible:
35  When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and
said, "Do you believe in the Messiah?" (c)
(c) Literally, "the SON OF MAN."
King James:
35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when  he  had
found him, he said unto him. Dost thou believe on the SON OF
                         Jesus was not the only "son of God"
The idiomatic expression "Son of God", or "children of  God"
is  frequently  used  in  both the Old Testament and the New
Testament. According to Hebrew language, "children  of  God"
are those who follow God's law and are blessed by God.
"The  sons  of  God  saw  that  the  daughters  of  men were
beautiful, ... (Genesis 6:2). So you shall say  to  Pharaoh:
Thus says  the Lord: Israel is my son, my first-born (Exodus
4:22). I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: The Lord said
to  me,  'You  are  my  son;  this  day I have begotten you'
(Psalms 2:7). Blessed too the  peacemakers;  they  shall  be
called  sons  of God (Matthew 5:9). This will prove that you
are sons of your heavenly Father ... (Matthew  5:45)...  the
son  of  Adam,  which  was  the son of God (Luke 3:38). They
become like angels and are no longer liable to  death.  Sons
of the resurrection, they are sons of God." (Luke 20:36).
You  can  find  even  more  "sons  of  God" in Job 1:6; 2:1;
38:4-7, Hosea 1:10; Psalms 89:7, Jeremiah 31:9;  John  1:12,
Romans 8:14-21
Additionally,   Matthew   5:48;   6:1-16;  7:11  23:9,  Luke
12:29-32, also show that the word "Father" does not have the
meaning  that  the  doctrine  of  Trinity  ascribes  to  it.
According to the Bible, God is the Father of every righteous
believer.  Matthew  23:9 is interesting: "Do not call anyone
on earth your father. Only one is your father,  the  One  in
heaven."  In fact, Jesus never called himself the "only" son
of God. On the contrary, he almost invariably calls  himself
"Son  of  Man."  Further,  he  calls God "my father and your
"... I go back up to him who is my Father and  your  Father,
my God and your God." (John 20:17).
                              The Gospel of John: A mishmash
John,  by  adding  one  or  two  words, creates chaos in the
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,  that
whoever  believes  in  him  may not die but may have eternal
life." (King James version, John 3:16).
The original King James version had one more word to make it
very  special,  that  is  "his only begotten Son". Yet, this
crucial word "begotten" was removed by  the  Bible  Revisers
furtively. Ahmed Deedat, a Muhammadan scholar, condemns this
action furiously:
"They are as silent as church-mice and would  not  draw  the
reader's   attention   to   their   furtive  excision.  This
blasphemous word "begotten" was another  of  the  many  such
interpolations  in  the  'Holy Bible.' " (Is the Bible God's
Word?, Ahmed Deedat, I.P.C.I., Durban, 1986, p. 15)
Despite numerous verses --some of which are  quoted  above--
calling  all  righteous  people "sons of God" and messengers
"God's first-born sons", now we encounter John  3:16,  which
claims  just  the opposite. Which one shall we believe? Even
John  himself  informed  us  that  all  the  believers   are
"children  of  God"  (John  1:12)  and  they  all  should be
"begotten from above" (3:1-7). In other words, according  to
him,  he was himself a "begotten son of God," as well as his
hero Paul.
It is significant that John is the only  Gospel  that  calls
Jesus  the  "only"  son  of  God!  Matthew,  Mark, and Luke,
altogether have omitted or forgotten this very crucial  word
that  made  John  3:16  the  most popular verse in Paulinist
                                    The attraction of "only"
"Only" is a single word; it is short too. So,  literally  it
is  not significant. However, it can change the meaning of a
text entirely. By omitting or adding  this  word  the  whole
theology  and  practice  of  a  religion can be changed. For
instance, according to the Quran, it is the "only" source of
religion  (17:46),  However,  those who idolize Muhammad and
follow  volumes  of  fabrications  (Hadith  and  Sunna)  are
disturbed  by  this  fact.  So,  they  omit or displace that
crucial word in their translations. Thus, they distorted the
original religion preached by Muhammad, beyond recognition.
The  same  is true with addition. The difference between the
following statements is plain: "I am a believer"  or  "I  am
the  only believer"; "This is a reason" or "This is the only
reason." Let us see an example of an inserted "only,"  as  a
result of bias:
According to the Old Testament Hagar bore Ishmael to Abraham
when he was eighty-six years  old  (Genesis  16:15-16),  and
fourteen  years  later when Abraham was a hundred years old,
Sara bore Isaac to him (Genesis 21:2-5). The  Old  Testament
mentions   Isaac  and  Ishmael  as  Abrahams  sons  (Genesis
25:7-9). It is obvious from these verses that when Isaac was
born  he  was not Abraham's "only" son; Abraham, then, had a
fourteen year-old son, that is, Ishmael. However, the author
of  Genesis,  because of racial bias, inserts the magic word
"only" into the verse:
"Then God said, 'Take your son Isaac, your  only  son,  whom
you love, ..." (Genesis 22:2).
If we remember that Ishmael is the ancestor of the Arabs and
the  author  of  Genesis  is  a  Jew,  then  we  can  easily
understand  the  motivation  behind  this  inserted  "only."
Obviously, the author of that  particular  verse  wanted  to
bestow  honor  upon  Isaac  by  disconnecting  Ishmael  from
So, our John does the same. He inserts "only" for  Jesus  to
exclude  other  "sons  of  God."  He  wants  to  make him an
incarnated God. However, this "only" does not work. Not only
does  it  exclude other "sons of God;" it totally denies and
dismisses them.
                         Four kinds of translational errors:
We see four main sources of error in existing scripture:
I.  Translation errors resulting from lack of understanding
    of linguistic rules such as grammar and idioms.
II. Errors resulting from the translator's own bias in favor
    of their personal convictions, i.e., human bias.
III.Innovations and additions to the scripture for
    prejudicial of political reasons.
IV. Errors resulting from lack of original written
    manuscripts, since oral narrations are highly subject
    to distortion, delitions, addition, and human
Thus, we cannot rely on the Bible verbatim. The Bible should
be  studied  in  a  critical  way. We know that they are the
translations of translations bearing deficiencies  mentioned
1.  How can we totally trust the translations which distort
    the most important words, the central concepts in the
    doctrine of any religion?
2.  Which translation of Matthew 2:2,8 is correct: the one
    with "worship" or the one with "pay homage"? Why?
3.  Is there any difference between "Son of Man" and
    "Son of God"? If there is, why does the King James
    version change "Son of Man" in John 9:35
    to "Son of God"?
4.  What is your evidence that John 9:38 is not an addition,
    as claimed by some Christian scholars?
5.  Was Jesus the "only" son of God? What about other
    "sons of God" or "begotten" sons of God?
    Were they adopted?

Moslem Questions on Christianity Edip Yuksel P.O. Box 43476, Tucson, AZ 85733-3476 U.S.A. Tel/Fax: (520) 323-7636

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