Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Bible Is the Word of God Debate - Saaib's first cross-examination answer

There couldn't have been a better question than this one. Before I answer I want make it clear that my answer won't be for a "Reformed Baptist" but for Christians as a whole. The reason:

"...It is difficult to answer, “What is a Reformed Baptist church?”. In the first place, it is difficult to answer because the terms Reformed and  Baptists are often seen to be at odds with one another. Secondly, there exists an ever-widening gulf between churches that call themselves Reformed Baptists...."

Jim Savastio, PastorReformed Baptist Church of Louisville

What parts of the Bible that we have today were revealed by God?

From historical point of view none of its part is from God. As far as Islam is concerned, there are varying opinions. One is that it is a corrupted revealed scripture while the other opinion is that it is not a revealed scripture at all. I personally hold on to the second opinion.

How exactly do I know that this is the case?

What did God reveal?

The names of the four known scriptures are 'the Tawraat', 'the Zabur', 'the Injeel' and 'the Quran'. 'The Torah' was revealed to Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) not that it was written by him. The Zabur was revealed to Prophet David (Peace be upon him), not that it was written by him. 'The Injeel' which Allah revealed to Prophet Jesus (Peace be upon him), not that it was written by him.

What do we have?

We have five books of Moses which are supposed to have been written by Moses. We have the Psalms which are again supposed to have been written by David while parts of it are from other authors. We have the NT which is, in no way, written by Jesus.

The Biblical books and the Islamic position:

The Five Books which are supposed to have been written by (not revealed to) Moses is not the Tawraat (which the Quran talks about) nor were they written by Moses nor were they revealed to Moses.
As for Psalms which are supposed to have been written by (not revealed to) David is not the Zabur (which the Quran talks about) nor were they written by David nor were they revealed to David.
NT according to Christians themselves has no book attributed to Jesus.

The Evidence:

Books of Moses: The script of Pentateuch was lost which was was found by a priest called Hilkiah. This is not to be believed solely on the grounds that it was found by a priest. Apart from this fact, it again disappeared before invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchdbezzar. Some Christians have it that it was rewritten by Ezra (which proves that it is Pentateuch of Ezra, not Moses), this book was burnt along with its copies by Antiochus.
We do not find a single place in the Pentateuch which can indicate that the author of this book is Moses or that it was revealed to him. In fact the thirst person has been used for Moses at every place. Moreover, how could Moses have written his own Obituary.
Dr. Alexander Gides says in his introduction to the New Bible (Quoted in Volume 10 of Penny Encyclopedia, also produced in Khulasa Saiful-Muslimeen):
"....I have come to know three things beyond any doubt.......
1. The present Pentateuch is not the book of Mosses........"
Psalms: We do not find any documentary evidence to show a particular man to be its writer. The period of collection of Psalms is also debated (not known actually). Are the Psalms prophetic? Not known. Infact, ancient Christians themselves believed Psalms to have been a work of many hands (with some exceptions though). Writers like Origen believe that Psalms were written by David. Writers like Hilary, Athnasius, Jerome and Eusebius have refuted this view:

"....undoubtedly the former statement is altogether wrong....."

Psalms have a colorful history. One group has it that more than 30 Pslams are from unknown authors (Hilary, Anthasius). Some say that some of the Pslams are from Moses (Eusebius). Jerome has attributed Psalm 88 to Heman and Psalm 89 to Ethan (and none of them is David). Cornet tells us that not more 45 Pslams can be attributed to David. Horne tells us that Psalms have been written by not less than 11 people. Collins' R.S.V. 1971. Pages 12-17 confirms the above facts in the following words:

"....PSALMS: AUTHOR. Principally David, though there are other writers....."

NT: Nothing needed to be said about the books which NT contains because what we need is the Gospel which Jesus preached not what we have (i.e The Biographical accounts, The Acts of Apostles, Pauline Epistles etc.)

What about the truth in the Bible?

There are many verses in the Bible that can be attributed to God but one think that is to be remembered is that they weren't revealed to the particular author who wrote them. The author just put them in his writings. The Bible is actually a written account of Oral Traditions, some of which were right (and can be attributed to God) and some of which were wrong (which can't be attributed to God).

As for us Muslims, whatever goes against Quran (and the authentic Hadith) is not from God, and whatever is confirmed by it could have been the word of God.

Bible as a Historic Document:

Bible can't even be taken into consideration as a Historical document as to check what the earliest followers of the scripture believed. The reason is the corruption of the scripture. We have only error ridden copies (of the Bible), and the vast majority of these are centuries removed from the originals and different from them, evidently, in thousands of ways. We don't have a possible way of knowing the originals (as a historian, as a theologian Quran can help us).

The problem within Christianity (and Judaism):

What exactly is your scripture. Example: the majority of Psalms frequently different in the Masoretic and Septuagint traditions, or missing in one while present in the other.

(Word Count: 995)
(Link to comment repository post)