What did Jesus really say?

by Misha'al Abdullah Al-Kadhi

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5.1 A Biblical picture of God

A Muslim believes that God is unlike anything we can imagine. No one can look at him and live. He never tires. He is All-Knowing, All-Seeing, All-Powerful, Perfect. All he needs do is decree a matter and it will be. Yet the language of the current Bible never fails to picture even God himself in undignified terms:

God goes for a stroll:

Genesis 3:8 "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden."

God can not find Adam (not all-knowing):

Genesis 3:9-10 "And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where are you? And he said, I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."(from God?)

God does not know if Adam ate from the tree or not (not all-knowing):

Genesis 3:11 "And he (God) said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?"

Before looking for hidden meanings for the above verses, we should consider the following:

1) Read section 2.3.

2) If you were to give your child total, unconstrained freedom to do whatever he wants in your house, you only ask him "don't play with my stereo." If he then goes ahead anyway and proceeds to dismantle it into fifty different pieces. If you know for a fact that he did it and you know exactly where he has hidden himself (maybe you had a hidden camera somewhere), would you walk all over the house calling out "Where are you my son?," "come out, come out wherever you are"?, or would you storm up to the place where he was hiding, pull him out by his ears, and punish him severely?

3) If you did not know where he was hiding, but knew what he had done without a doubt, would you, once you had found him, ask him: "why are you hiding? Did you break my stereo?" It is important to first attempt to think logically before looking for abstract meanings.

Note: For the Islamic version of this incident please read chapter 15.

God becomes tired and needs to be refreshed:

Exodus 31:17 "It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."

Notice that the verse does not claim that God Almighty "abstained from work," but rather that He "rested." This implies that it is possible for God Almighty to experience fatigue and that He is not All-Mighty and All-Powerful since He sometimes needs to be "refreshed."

God is not cognizant and/or is not eternally aware (not all knowing, all seeing, attentive and aware):

Psalms 44:23 "Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever."

When God finally becomes cognizant attentive and aware, He acts like a drunkard:

Psalms 78:65 "Then the LORD awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine."

The above verses are responded to by the Almighty in the noble Qur'an as follows:

"And verily We (God) did create the heavens and the earth in six days and no fatigue touched Us."

The noble Qur'an, Qaf(50):38

"Allah! there is no god but He, the Living, the Sustainer and Protector. Neither slumber nor sleep overtake Him. His are all things in the heavens and the earth. Who can intercede in His presence except as He permits? He knows what is before and behind them. Nor do they encompass aught of His knowledge except as He wills. His throne does extend over the heavens and the earth and He feels no fatigue in preserving them. For He is the Most High, the Supreme."

The noble Qur'an, Al-Baqarah(2):255

Jacob wrestles with God. God can not win against Jacob. Jacob sees God face to face:

"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."

Genesis 32:24-30

Many people claim the Jacob wrestled with an angel. Does this sound like he wrestled with an angel? Did Jacob (pbuh) say "I have seen the angel of God"? Did he say "I have seen the light of God" or some other statement that might have had an abstract meaning? No! He said "I have seen God" and just so that there would be no doubt in anyone's mind he added the words "face to face." If Jacob (pbuh) had wrestled with an angel, then why would he need to say "my life is preserved"? Do people who see angels die? (Numbers 22:31, 2 Samuel 24:17, 1 Chronicles 21:16, ...etc.). If Jacob had seen the face of an angel then why would he name the place "the face of God"(peni-el), and not "the face of the angel"(peni-malak)? Indeed, this is how the great St. Augustine and many others understood this verse. This brings up another question. How do we reconcile this with point 25 in the table of section 2.2 (regarding seeing God)?

We are beaten over the head four times with the fact that a human (Jacob, peace be upon him) managed to out-wrestle God Almighty, but the translators realizing the fallacy of this concoction continually try to reinterpret this verse and make excuses for it. Notice how we are beaten over the head not once, but four times with the fact that this was GOD who was beaten by Jacob:

  1. "I have seen GOD."
  2. "FACE to FACE."
  3. "And my life is preserved."
  4. They called the place "Peniel" ("FACE OF GOD").

Are we now to believe that God wrestled with Jacob all night, He resorted to hitting Jacob (pbuh) below the belt, and in the end was still bested by Jacob ("I will not let thee go, except thou bless me")? When someone has you in a headlock and tells you: "do as I tell you," is he victorious or not?

God forbid! High exalted is He! Illustrious! Mighty! Magnificent! All-Powerful! Neither Moses nor Jacob would ever make such a claim. Nor would the other prophets of God. The great and noble prophets would never dare to claim that God had been reduced to a punching bag to further their own egos. Notice how we are encouraged to believe that it is not sufficient to humbly prostrate oneself before God, bowing down and beseeching Him for His favors in earnest prayer and in all submission. Rather it is necessary to slap Him silly and beat Him into the ground then force Him to bless the victor. Is this not preposterous? Does this not reek of tampering fingers? May God Almighty forgive me for even repeating these words.

God regrets his actions, God can not see the future, God can not change the past:

Genesis 6:6 "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart."

It is not possible to regret doing something unless the result of this action was something bad that had not been foreseen and can not be changed. In Webster's New Dictionary (1990), the word "repent" is defined as follows: to regret, sorrow for, to wish to have been otherwise what one has done or left undone.

Thus, God is claimed to be:

1) Unable to see the future: If I know for a certainty that performing "action" will result in "result," then when "result" comes about I will not regret it unless I was forced in the first place to perform "action." There is a difference between "disliking" something and "regretting" something.

2) Unable to change the past if he wanted to: As per the above Webster's definition, to repent is to "wish to have been otherwise what one has done or left undone." But if God is capable of doing all things, as a Muslim believes, then he does not need to "wish." He simply decrees it and it is.

Also notice that God is not merely claimed to have regretted this action, but to have "grieved at His heart." Webster's defines grief as: Deep sorrow caused by loss, distress. So according to this passage, God felt the deepest sorrow from the bottom of his heart. If one of us felt this kind of torment and was given the means to change matters, would we hesitate? God is not this helpless!

For the Islamic perspective on God Almighty, read the following:

God Almighty: Al-Ikhlas(112):1-4, Kaaf(50):38, Al-Aaraf(7):143, Al-Shurah(24):11-12, Al-Anaam(6):3, Saba(34):27, Al-Zumar(39):1-7, Al-Hashir(59):21-24, Al-Hadeed(57):1-6

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