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Featured Do Baha'i believe Jesus or the Holy Spirit can cure the Leper?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by spirit_of_dawn, Dec 20, 2018.

  1. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Well-Known Member

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    But we know about Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses, in the Bible, they are not perfect. Jesus is put on a different, "sinless" level.

    And what was the "good news"? It wasn't that Jesus is dead and buried and symbolically rose from the dead and symbolically appeared to the disciples. The belief that Christians hold is that Jesus rose from the dead, and yes, ascended to heaven. If that stuff didn't happen, then there would be no Christianity. If it didn't happen, but the disciples thought it happened, and preached that it did happen then what? They were spreading something false and didn't know it? They said they saw him alive and ascend into heaven but were wrong?

    How do you explain it again? Hallucinations? A vision? What ever it was, they were wrong. They said they saw Jesus alive and they didn't. Which makes the NT wrong in reporting that those things really happened. So the followers of Jesus started a vibrant community based on things that didn't really happen. Hmmm? I think that makes those things lies.
     
  2. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Well-Known Member

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    Oh, well that's better. I was wondering about your flight path. Is this still part of your return trip from Haifa?
     
  3. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Well-Known Member

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    When have people not killed each other. They didn't need better, more destructive weapons. But God doesn't trust us with more spiritual power?
     
  4. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, but you know there is still the problem of Jesus bringing a couple of people back to life. And then, he himself coming back to life. The healings and walking on water and rising from the dead don't seem possible, and therefore, makes it difficult for some people to take the Bible seriously. But most of the time, Baha'is seem to be saying that all those things are only symbolic and never happened. But now, it sounds like the healings could have happened, except, the greatest miracle, Jesus rising from the dead. So that's a problem some of us are having. Baha'is seem to be trying to have it both ways.
     
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  5. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    That is the Christian narrative.

    Its hard for Christians to examine their most cherished beliefs objectively.

    The Resurrection narrative has been hugely important, but its had its day.
     
  6. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Just Christians? I think it's hard for some adherents of all faiths to examine their beliefs objectively. That's why I think it's better to focus on action rather than belief.
     
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  7. Niblo

    Niblo Active Member

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    Hi Adrian.

    This is going to take a few posts…..you are warned!

    You ask: ‘Did Jesus heal the blind and cure the leper?

    C.S. Lewis writes: ‘(God’s) Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to Him, but not nonsense. This is no limit to His power. If you choose to say "God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it," you have not succeeded in saying anything about God.

    ‘Meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words "God can."… It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.’ (The Problem of Pain). My emphasis.

    Lewis is saying that Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) cannot do what is logically impossible; and in this he is supported by Aquinas, who writes that the Exalted cannot create a man who is, at the same time, a donkey; for in the statement that a man is a donkey ‘the predicate is altogether incompatible with the subject.’ (cf. Summa Theologica: Part 1; Question 25; Article 3).

    In sūrah Al‘Imran, Yeshua (ʿalayhi as-salām) foretells that he will: ‘Heal the blind and the leper, and bring the dead back to life with Allāh’s permission’ (Verse 49).

    In the Gospels, we read that Yeshua restored life to the daughter of Jairus (Matt 9:18, 23; Mark 5:22, 35; Luke 8:40, 49); the widow's son at Nain (Luke 7:11); and Lazarus (John 11:43).

    I acknowledge that an action may be logically possible, but not practically possible – at least not for a human (and this would, of course include Yeshua, who was entirely human). However, for Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) all (possible) things are achievable. The miracles of Yeshua are logically possible; and so my answer to your question is this: Yes, Yeshua did indeed perform miracles; but only by the power of his Lord.


    You ask: ‘In regards (to) Muhammad what is meant by His splitting of moon in two?

    ‘The Hour draws near; the moon is split. Yet whenever the disbelievers see a sign, they turn away and say, “Same old sorcery!” They reject the truth and follow their own desires.’ (al-Qamar: 1-3).

    Professor M. A. S. Abdel Haleem writes that the splitting of the moon is: ‘One of the signs of the Day of Judgement. The Arabic uses the past tense, as if that Day were already here, to help the reader/listener imagine how it will be. Some traditional commentators hold the view that this describes an actual event at the time of the Prophet, but it clearly refers to the end of the world.’ (‘The Qur'an’).

    Other scholars also agree that these verses refer to the end times (e.g. Al-Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī; Alī ibn Muḥammad al-Māwardī; and Abu’l-Qāsim Maḥmūd ibn ʿUmar al-Zamakhsharī).

    I see no reason to disagree with these people; although I know that others do. That is for them.
     
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  8. Niblo

    Niblo Active Member

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    Hi again!

    You ask: ‘Was (Yeshua) crucified by the Romans as recorded in the Gospels?

    ‘And so for breaking their pledge, for rejecting Allāh’s revelations, for unjustly killing their prophets, for saying: “Our minds are closed” - No! Allāh has sealed them in their disbelief, so they believe only a little - and because they disbelieved and uttered a terrible slander against Mary, and said: “We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allāh.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them; those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition: nay (‘bal’) they certainly did not kill him - Allāh raised him up to Himself. Allāh is almighty and wise.’ (Al-Nisa: 155-158).

    The statement: ‘though it was made to appear like that to them’ is taken by some to mean that another was substituted in Yeshua’s place. As you can see, it is not possible to justify, from this statement, any notion of a substitute. It is just as likely – although I have no way of proving this – that the statement is nothing more than a reference to the belief – widespread by the time these verses were revealed – that the crucifixion of Yeshua did, in fact, take place.

    The Qur’an is denying two claims: a) that Yeshua was crucified; and b) that he was killed.

    The Qur’an uses two different terms when referring to death: ‘mawt’ and ‘tawaffâ’.

    Concerning ‘mawt’:

    A major point of distinction between ‘mawt’ and ‘tawaffâ’ is that only the former is associated with murder or manslaughter (‘qatala’). We see examples of the use of ‘qatala’ (and its derivatives) in the following: ‘And Pharaoh said: “Leave me to kill Moses (aqtulu Musa) - let him call upon his Lord! - for I fear he may cause you to change your religion, or spread disorder in the land.”’ (Ghafi: 26); and again: ‘They were struck with humiliation and wretchedness, and they incurred the wrath of Allāh because they persistently rejected His messages and killed (yaqtuloona) prophets contrary to all that is right. All this was because they disobeyed and were lawbreakers.’ (Al-Baqara: 61); and again: ‘Allāh has certainly heard the words of those who sneer, “So Allāh is poor, while we are rich”. We shall record everything they say – as well as their killing (wa qatlahum) of prophets in defiance of all that is right – and We shall say to them: “Taste the torment of the scorching fire.”’ (Al‘Imran: 181). There are several others verses where derivatives of ‘qatala’ are used when describing the death of prophets.

    With ‘mawt’ comes the natural decomposition of the body; its return to dust. There is no return from ‘mawt’, save on the Day of Resurrection.

    Derivatives of ‘mawt’ and ‘qatala’- used as expressions of normal death when referring to the demise of all other prophets - are not used to describe Yeshua’s departure. The expressions used in his case are derived from ‘tawaffâ’. This appears to make the manner of his leaving somewhat special.

    Concerning ‘tawaffâ’:

    ‘Tawaffâ’ invokes the notion of completion and fulfilment. The Qur’anic image of death through ‘tawaffâ’ is quite different from that of ‘mawt’. For a start, ‘tawaffâ’ is never associated with ‘qatala’; instead, it is juxtaposed with ‘nawm’ (sleep). On two occasions sleep is described as a repeated nightly death (‘tawaffâ bil layl’): ‘It is He who calls your souls back by night, knowing what you have done by day, then raises you up again in the daytime until your fixed term is fulfilled. It is to Him that you will return in the end, and He will tell you what you have done.’ (Al-An‘am: 60); and again: ‘Allāh takes the souls of the dead and the souls of the living while they sleep – He keeps hold of those whose death He has ordained and sends the others back until their appointed time – there truly are signs in this for those who reflect.’ (Al-Zumar: 42).

    In the Qur’an, the term ‘an appointed time’ is used in a general sense for the cycles of the sun and moon: ‘He makes the night merge into the day and the day into the night; He has subjected the sun and the moon - each runs for an appointed term.’ (Fatir: 13); for the waiting period associated with divorce: ‘If you are in doubt, the period of waiting will be three months for those women who have ceased menstruating and for those who have not (yet) menstruated; for the waiting period of those who are pregnant will be until they deliver their burden: ‘Allāh makes things easy for those who are mindful of Him.’ (Al-Talaq: 4); for the time that a widow has to wait before she can remarry: ‘If any of you die and leave widows, the widows should wait for four months and ten nights before remarrying.’ (Al-Baqara: 234); and when contracting the period of a loan: ‘You who believe, when you contract a debt for a stated term, put it down in writing: have a scribe write it down justly between you.’ (Al-Baqara: 282).

    The term is also applied, of course, in a particular sense to one’s predestined period for living.

    It is worth noting that whenever a verse includes a reference to a person’s predestined death the term used is always ‘mawt’. There are no exceptions. This suggests that when we reach our ‘appointed time’ we experience, not ‘tawaffâ’, but ‘mawt’; with (I repeat) no chance of return to life, save at the Day of Resurrection: ‘No soul may die except with Allāh’s permission at a predestined time. If anyone strives for the rewards of this world, We will give him some of them. If anyone strives for the rewards of the Hereafter, We will give him some of them: We will reward the grateful.’ (Al‘Imran: 145).

    There is no notion of physical damage or decomposition in ‘tawaffâ’. Likewise, there is no notion of a ‘non-return’ (as there is in ‘mawt’). It might be better, therefore, to avoid understanding and translating ‘tawaffâ’ as ‘death’; or ‘to die’; or ‘to cause to die’. People return from ‘tawaffâ’ every night of their lives. What makes the last experience of ‘tawaffâ’ non-returnable - as when someone dies in their sleep - lies not in tawaffâ itself, but in its transformation into ‘mawt’.

    What are we to make of the words: ‘Allāh said: “Jesus, I will take you back and raise you up to Me.”’ (Al‘Imran: 55).

    The word ‘take’ translates ‘mutawaffi’. Its root, of course, is w-f-y; the root of ‘tawaffâ’ (and not that of ‘mawt’). This can mean only that Yeshua was not taken in death.

    The word ‘raise’ translates ‘rafa‘a’ (‘to raise’) rather than ‘ba‘atha’, which is used elsewhere to mean ‘to resurrect’ after death.

    Commenting on this, Abu Musa al-Ash'ari writes: ‘There is a consensus among the community of the faithful that the Prophet Jesus (as) was raised alive to the heavens.’ (‘al-Ibana 'an Usul al-Diyana’).

    Hasan Basri Cantay writes: ‘Allah raised and lifted up the Prophet Jesus (as) in both body and soul.’ (‘Tafsir of the Qur'an’)

    Shaykh ibn Taymiyya writes: ‘The verse "He raised him to His Presence" … explains that the Prophet Jesus (as) was raised in both body and soul.’ (‘Majmu' Fatawa’).

    Citing both Al‘Imran 55 and Al-Nisa' 157-158, Zahid al-Kawthari claims that the ascension of Yeshua is beyond doubt: ‘That is because the basic meaning of the word rafa'a in the verses is transportation from below to above. There is no element here that could be used to interpret the verses metaphorically. Therefore, there is no evidence for seeking to produce a meaning in the sense of ascension in honour and station.’ (Nazra 'Abira fi Maza'im; page 93).

    The argument that Yeshua was raised alive – both body and soul – is strengthen by the use of the word ‘bal’ in Al-Nisa 158: ‘nay (‘bal’) they certainly did not kill him’. By way of explanation, Sheikh al-Islam Mustafa Sabri writes:

    ‘If the term ‘bal’, which appears in Surat Al-Nisa' 158 and which I have translated as "on the contrary," comes after a sentence expressing a negativity, then, according to the rules of Arabic linguistics, the sentence following it must mean the exact opposite of the one preceding it. The opposite of death is life. This is a requirement of the rules of linguistics. If we say that "the ascension here is a spiritual one" and "the Prophet Jesus (as) died in the normal sense," then we are violating that rule. In that case, the ascension following the expression "on the contrary" would not represent the opposite to the verbs of "killing" and "crucifying" in the negative sentence preceding it. That is because it may be possible for a person to be killed and for his or her soul to rise to the skies. Otherwise, this term would be meaningless, and there are no meaningless terms in the Qur'an … According to those who support the thesis that the ascension is only one of the soul, the meaning of the verse is this: "They did not kill him and did not crucify him … on the contrary (‘bal’), Allah raised his station." There is no particular oratory here, let alone succinctness … No rational person could take the words "The elevator in my building raises me to the fourth floor every day," to mean that I am only raised to the fourth floor in spirit. Therefore, neither was the Prophet Jesus (as) raised only in spirit. (‘Position of Reason’; page 233).

    Said Ramadan al-Buti interpreted the subject in the same way: ‘The mutual compatibility between the verses’ previous and later sections necessarily reveals a fact. For example, if an Arab says: "I am not hungry; on the contrary, I am lying on my side," this is not a correct sentence. In the same way, there is a discrepancy between the components in the sentence: "Khalid did not die; on the contrary, he is a good man." What would be correct is to say: "Khalid did not die; on the contrary, he is alive." To say: "The chairman was not killed; he is a man with a superior station in Allah's Presence" also leads to a break in meaning in the sentence, for his having a high station in Allah's Sight is no obstacle to his being killed. The term bal expresses a contradiction between the preceding and the following words. In other words, bal cancels out a previous statement. (Islamic Catechism: page 338).

    The conclusion (justified in my view) is that Yeshua (ʿalayhi as-salām) was not crucified, and was not killed, but was removed from this dimension by the action of Allāh (Subḥānahu ūta'āla).

    The Exalted does not explain why He acted in this way. But there is a clue in Deuteronomy 21: 22-23:

    ‘If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and you hang him on a tree, you must not leave the body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury it that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is a curse of God. You must not defile the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.’

    Anyone who is hanged on a tree - either as a form of execution, or after having been executed by some other means - is accursed; and a potential source of defilement for the very land itself. Strong stuff. I opine that Allāh (Subḥānahu ūta'āla) rescued Yeshua in order to save him from such a curse.

    The notion that the Exalted would curse, in any manner at all, any one of His prophets - to say nothing of His elected Messiah - is obscene; and no Muslim worthy of the name would accuse His Lord of behaving in this way.
     
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  9. Niblo

    Niblo Active Member

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    Finally!

    I refer you to Dr. Richard M. Price. He holds two PhDs; one in Systematic Theology and one in New Testament. He was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Montclair, New Jersey; a Professor of Religion at Mount Olive College; Professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies at the Jonnie Coleman Theological Seminary; and Professor of Biblical Criticism for the Centre for Inquiry Institute. I guess that qualifies him for the title ‘biblical scholar’.

    Price believes that the Yeshua of the Bible is an invented figure.

    In Chapter 7 of his book ‘Deconstructing Jesus’ (the chapter is entitled ‘The Cruci-fiction?’) Price writes:

    ‘As Charles H. Talbert has shown, the canonical gospels, even in their present form, would not have been hard for an ancient reader to recognize as official (and fictive) hero biographies compiled by a philosophical movement to glorify their founder.

    ‘It seems to me that Mack, Koester, and Robinson would all shy away from such a conclusion, given the prominence of the Passion story in the canonical gospels. The notion of an atoning death does not seem to fit the picture of the philosophical aretalogy. But it is hardly clear, at least in Mark and Luke, that the idea of an atonement has much to do with it. It may be Helmut Koester's Lutheran background that tempts him to read a theology of the cross into Mark, when only two brief texts could even possibly be read that way (Mark 10:45 and 14:24), and Luke chops even these (compare his versions, Luke 22:27 and 22:18)!

    ‘As Mack notes (in company with John Dominic Crossan and others), the story of Jesus' arrest, humiliation, and crucifixion seems to be derived from a whole different cluster of ideas than that of an atonement theology. Rather, the story is probably intended as a typical story of the wise man who endures all the depredations of the wicked, to whose sin he is a living rebuke. Such a righteous one is always either saved in the nick of time or glorified after death. It is easy to see Jesus' crucifixion account in these terms. And this is the sort of thing we would expect to find in a community like the Q partisans, as Mack understands them. The Q community could easily have produced such a hero biography, such a novelistic aretalogy, issuing in the persecution and deliverance of their hero, the wise man/sophist Jesus, without actually knowing what had happened to the historical Jesus, a question the Q sayings, after all, leave wide open.’

    Price goes on:

    ‘What if an earlier version of the Passion narrative pursued the logic of the tale of the wise sufferer to the letter – and had Jesus survive crucifixion, appearing still alive, not alive again? Even in the canonical gospels there are striking hints of a barely erased precanonical version that must have read precisely this way. Muslim interpreters of the gospels have seen some of these hints (my emphasis), but it is only with the advent of modern narrative criticism that the clues have become visible to any of the rest of us.

    ‘For instance, why does Mark 14:35-36 show Jesus asking his father to allow him to escape death on the cross in Gethsemane? This is an exceedingly odd, even an offensive, thing to write if the goal of this narrative is to have Jesus die after all. But I suspect the writer is planting a seed that will blossom rather differently later in the story. Likewise, for Mark 15:34 to have Jesus repeating Psalm 22, a prayer anticipating final deliverance even at the last moment (Ps. 22:22-24), creates all manner of problems unless this prayer, too, is to be answered by story's end. Did Jesus think his God had forsaken him? No, of course not. As Heb. 5:7 says, his loud cries and tears were heard, his prayer for deliverance from death answered.

    ‘The irony of the bystanders' taunt, "Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe" (Mark 15:32), lies in the fact that this is precisely what is about to happen, though they will not recognize it. And, otherwise, what is the point of the strange detail of Pilate marvelling that Jesus was dead after a mere six hours (Mark 15:44), when it ought to take days for the cross to kill? As Chekov said, if a writer says somebody drove a nail into the wall, he'd better make sure to hang something from it later in the story! And, obviously, the payoff would have been that Jesus had fallen into a coma*, which ironically, providentially, resulted in his being removed from the cross in time for him to survive.’

    * My emphasis. However, I have pointed out that the notion that Yeshua fell into a coma is denied by the Qur’an, which states that he was not crucified at all.

    Price continues:

    ‘And why does Matthew have Joseph of Arimathea bury Jesus in Joseph's own tomb (Matt. 27:57-60)? And why does Matthew add the note that Joseph was rich (27:57)? Why, simply to provide narrative motivation for tomb robbers to come and open the tomb, as in the ancient romances, and find Jesus alive! The fainting of Matthew's guards (27:4) probably reflects the terror of the superstitious tomb robbers, finding a living man but no treasure. And then, in Luke 24:36-43, when Jesus appears to his bereaved disciples who assume he is dead and cannot believe their eyes, what does he say to reassure them? Like Apollonius of Tyana says in a similar scene, after a miraculous escape from the treacherous designs of Domitian, he bids his friends to behold his living physical body, to convince themselves that he has not risen from the realm of the dead, he is no ghost, but rather, as his solid corporeality attests, he is still alive.

    ‘John knew that people understood the story of Jesus' passion, this way, which is why he adds two items unprecedented in any other gospel: the nailing of Jesus to the cross (often people were simply tied to the cross), not narrated but assumed in John 20:25, and the spear-thrust in John 19:34. He protests too much (John 19:35), in the style of the writers of apocrypha (cf. 2 Pet. 1:16-18), that he was there and saw the blood flow. In his version, Jesus shows not his solid hands and feet (as in Luke 24:39), but rather his wounded hands and side (John 20:20). John doesn't want anyone thinking Jesus survived the cross and went to preach among the Greeks (John 7:35).

    ‘But the original tellers of the aretalogical tale had no concern for an atoning death. And Q, remember, does not even say that Jesus died! In the conspicuous absence of any statement that he died, one can well imagine that the Q-sophists or the communities that revered them would make Jesus shrewdly avoid death. Once a belief in the martyr death of Jesus entered the picture from another quarter of the patchwork quilt of Jesus movements, the aretalogy was reedited to make Jesus good and dead.

    ‘The Passion predictions in Mark (8:31; 9:12, 31; 10:33-34) are obviously artificial "prolepses" (flash-forwards)" ruining the narrative tension of the original, pre-Markan version, which craftily dropped hints of what would happen to Jesus and kept the reader guessing. The result, in the gospels as we now read them, is a wooden "plot of predestination," whereby narrative suspense is exorcised and each successive episode is a redundant rehearsal of the one before, as all alike seek to drive home a single monotonous point to the reader viewed as a catechumen. "Did you get it last time? Just in case, here it is again: Jesus died in Jerusalem; everything was leading up to that, nothing else matters much." The so-called Narrative Critics, New Testament scholars like Jack Dean Kingsbury, Werner Kelber, and Mark Allan Powell, for all their self-professed expertise in narratology, fail to perceive that the narrative of the gospels works best only when one uncovers its original, theologically obscured outlines.

    ‘But it is no surprise, because in the hands of these churchmen-scholars, the “literary” study of the gospels has served from the first as a diversionary route of escape from engagement with the troubling questions of genuine historical criticism.’

    As far a Price is concerned the Gospels are works of fiction, ‘…….hero biographies compiled by a philosophical movement to glorify their founder.’ There are, of course, others who claim that Yeshua never existed – or, if he did, had little or nothing to do with New Testament accounts. I suggest you study the works of Thomas Paine; Paul-Louis Couchoud; Richard Carrier; David Fitzgerald; and John W.Loftus for example. You will discover – quite quickly -that one does not have to be a Muslim in order to deny the crucifixion!

    I wish you, and your family, the very best of Christmases.

    Please don’t be in a hurry to reply. I shall be away from my desk from later today, until Friday, in šāʾ Allāh.

    PS: Wales disguised as Ireland - in order to thrash the All Blacks - is logically possible......but........;):glomp:
     
    #129 Niblo, Dec 23, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
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  10. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    @Niblo ,
    Thank you for your responses to my four questions.

    The context of the question is this thread where false claims are made by a Muslim in the OP as to what the Baha’i Faith teaches regarding miracles in the bible. It is claimed the Baha’i approach is contradictory but in reality an Islamic approach has even more contradictions while rejecting both the Gospels and science. Let’s compare the position of Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i Faith in regards the four questions asked.

    1/ The miracles of Jesus in regards healing the leper and the blind.

    Christianity affirms this literally happened as recorded in the Gospels.

    Islam agrees that this is possible through God’s power as does the Baha’i Faith.

    So far, there isn’t any disagreement between the three faiths and agreement with the Gospels.

    2/ Was Jesus crucified?

    Christians and Baha’is accept this happened because it is recorded in the Gospels. Muslims reject Jesus being crucified as it appears to contradict the Quran. An alternative though highly implausible narrative is provided.

    3/ The resurrection of Jesus.

    This is accepted by Christians as it is recorded in the Gospels. Baha’is reject it happened literally as it contradicts science and reason too much even allowing for an Omnipotent God. The ascension through the stratosphere relies on redundant cosmology where heaven exists within outer space. We see the resurrection narrative as allegorical. Muslims don’t believe in it either due to their crucifixion narrative based on the Quran.

    4/ Muhammad splits the moon.

    Christians reject this as they reject Muhammad. Baha’is see it symbolically and Muslims either literally or at end time based on the Quran and scholarly opinion which is divided.

    Each to their own. Miracles are only proofs for those who witness them. Clearly there is a range of interpretations. Muslims are in no position to criticise the Baha’i Faith as our beliefs concerning the Gospels do not contradict the diverse methods Muslims may use to interpret miracles in the Bible or the Quran (Muhammad splitting the moon). Furthermore we have no need to contradict science or the Gospels.

    Hope that makes sense.:)
     
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  11. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Well-Known Member

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    The problem... The Gospels do say that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Baha'is disagree with that because they believe it goes against science, therefore, it could not have literally happened and it must be "allegorical"? Then you are saying that Muslims don't believe in the resurrection either? Because they don't believe he was ever crucified?

    Then, what do Muslims believe happened to Jesus? Did he ascend to heaven without dying? Or, did he eventually die?

    Then the usual problems with the Baha'i interpretation... If Jesus didn't come back to life then neither did the two people allegedly brought back to life. So even if you believe some of healings really did happen, and were not just symbolic, the raising of the dead healings, Baha'is have to make symbolic. So unless Baha'is make them all symbolic, they are picking and choosing some as possible and others as scientifically impossible. So which is it? Lepers healed? Or, healed of "spiritual" leprosy of disbelief?

    The usual problem with the Gospel narrative... Jesus is crucified, which Baha'is believe and Muslims don't. Then the narrative goes straight into the sightings and eventually meetings of the disciples with the risen Jesus. The NT says that guards and a large stone were placed at the tomb so the body wouldn't be stolen. But do Baha'is say that indeed, it was stolen? Later, Jesus says he is flesh and bone and is not a ghost and to touch him and see that he is real. So, if indeed Jesus was dead and the sightings of the risen Jesus never took place or were visions, then why do the gospel writers make it sound as if it really happened?

    That whole narrative has never been adequately by Baha'is. The only thing I've read is Abdul Baha's thing about the disciples started living by the teachings of Jesus and thereby brought "life" into the symbolic "body" of Jesus. But then, why the elaborate story of the disciples seeing and meeting with Jesus? If Jesus was dead and these things never happened, then the easy explanation would be that the writers made it up. But, Baha'is are not saying that. Baha'is say the story is symbolic, and there is a symbolic interpretation. So what is it? Especially, when Jesus meets with Thomas.
     
  12. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg World Citizen
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    I note you keep saying Baha'i make the Interpretation. The key here is it was Baha'u'llah that gave these explanations.

    Is Christ dead, Is Muhammad, the Bab, Baha'u'llah, Buddha, Zoroaster, Moses, Abraham or Krishna dead? I say no. Their lives and their Messages live on in our hearts, whereas those that persecuted and rejected them are lost in time. This is our spiritual connection, it is not flesh to flesh, it is heart to heart, it is what Christ says it is to be born again in the Spirit.

    We live our life connected to that Spirit, reproducing their example and advice in our lives in service to all people.

    Regards Tony
     
  13. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Well-Known Member

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    You've "offered" alternative interpretations. Are all of them from Baha'u'llah? Aren't some from Abdul Baha? Baha'is have given their interpretations of verses in Revelation also. Then, the game some Baha'is play is that Jesus is not dead... he is alive in spirit. Well that's just swell. So then what was the big deal of Jesus rising from the dead, spiritually. Everyone of the manifestations and prophets and everybody else has "risen" spiritually. But, some Baha'is have said that the physical body of Jesus is dead. Is that true?

    Assuming you answer "yes", then what is the "symbolic" interpretation of all the verses that have Jesus meeting with his disciples after the alleged "resurrection"?
     
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  14. Tony Bristow-Stagg

    Tony Bristow-Stagg World Citizen
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    To me Abdul'baha's explanation covers all that and more. It was to me, a very sound explanation.

    The big deal was that Jesus the Christ showed us this world is not the end of our life, if we are born again using the spirit of faith.

    Regards Tony
     
  15. Niblo

    Niblo Active Member

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    Hi Adrian.

    Concerning the alleged crucifixion of Yeshua (ʿalayhi as-salām).

    You write: ‘Christians and Baha’is accept this happened because it is recorded in the Gospels.

    You find the Qur’anic narrative ‘implausible’. That is for you.

    Concerning the alleged resurrection of Yeshua:

    You write: ‘This is accepted by Christians as it is recorded in the Gospels. Baha’is reject it happened literally as it contradicts science and reason too much even allowing for an Omnipotent God.

    Ok. So you accept that Yeshua was crucified, because the Gospels say so; but you reject that he was resurrected, in spite of what the Gospels say! :rolleyes:

    You reject the very notion of a literal, general, resurrection, in spite of the fact that this is a central doctrine of all three Abrahamic Faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam); and is taught (of course) in both Bible and Qur’an.

    The sūrah ‘Al-Waqi‘a’ (‘That Which is Coming’) speaks of the Day of Judgement, when the resurrected will be assembled before their Lord.

    Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) says this:

    ‘It was We who created you: will you not believe? Consider (the semen) you eject – do you create it yourselves or are We the Creator? We ordained death to be among you. Nothing could stop Us if We intended to change you and recreate you in a way unknown to you. You have learned how you were first created: will you not reflect? Consider the seeds you sow in the ground – is it you who make them grow or We? If We wished, We could turn your harvest into chaff and leave you to wail, ‘We are burdened with debt; we are bereft.’ Consider the water you drink – was it was it you who brought it down from the rain-cloud or We? If We wanted, We could make it bitter: will you not be thankful? Consider the fire you kindle - is it you who make the wood for it grow or We? We made it a reminder, and useful to those who kindle it, so (Prophet) glorify the name of your Lord, the Supreme.

    ‘I swear by the positions of the stars - a mighty oath, if you only knew – that this is truly a noble Qur’an, in a protected Record that only the purified can touch, sent down from the Lord of all being. How can you scorn this statement? And how, in return for the livelihood you are given, can you deny it? When the soul of a dying man comes up to his throat while you gaze on – We are nearer to him than you, though you do not see Us – why, if you are not to be judged, do you not restore his soul to him, if what you say is true? If that dying person is one of those who will be brought near to God, he will have rest, ease, and a Garden of Bliss.’ (verses 57-89).

    You write: ‘The ascension through the stratosphere relies on redundant cosmology where heaven exists within outer space.’

    The Qur’an does not specify where exactly Heaven is located. This is part of the ‘al-ghayb’ (that which has been kept hidden). As you know, Qur’anic descriptions of Heaven are very earthy. The place is a garden of physical delights, where family and friends have rather a good time. Perhaps Heaven is, or will be, a planet (a Christian friend of mine suggested this decades ago). This is just a thought. Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) knows best; and I am content to leave the matter to Him.

    It seems to me that when it comes to the Bible and the Qur’an, Baha’is accept what they like, and reject what they please; under the direction of their founder; and the insistence of their masters. To this end, they are content to make Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) a liar; and his Prophets fools.

    If we accept that Allāh (subḥānahu ūta'āla) created all things; and sustains all things; and if we accept that He, rather that Bahá'u'lláh, is ‘Lord of all Worlds’ (sūrah ‘Al-Fatiha’) then we really ought to take Him at His word.

    A very Happy New Year to you and your family.
     
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  16. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for explaining the Islamic interpretation. I can understand why Baha'is don't want it to be literal, because they have to deal with the modern scientific age where things like dead people coming back to life and floating off into the sky won't be believed.

    But then, the Baha'is have to show why the Bible and Quran only appears to be saying the resurrection happened, when, if the Baha'is are correct, it didn't happen. They, of course, say that from the burial of Jesus on, the story is not meant to be taken literal. Why? Because of science they say? Then my question has continued to be that there was no such science 2000 years ago that made it logical and sensible for the people to think it was anything but a literal, physical, bodily resurrection.

    When it comes to healings, Baha'is have both things, that Jesus did heal them... physically. And most Baha'is have said it was a "spiritual" healing. And that the healing of "spiritual" blindness or leprosy is much better than a mere physical healing. But that's not how the story goes. The NT writers could have easily said that Jesus heal their soul and that they should not worry because in the spiritual world they will be whole. Same thing with Lazarus, one Baha'i here on the forum said that it was bringing Lazarus alive spiritually from being spiritually dead. But that's not what the writers say. They go out of their way to make sure everyone knows that Lazarus had died physically.

    But, the bigger question, is Baha'u'llah the return of the Christ Spirit? Was Muhammad? Was every other prophet/founder of all the other religions? Are they all equal and, essentially, one and the same... and all from the One God? Baha'is have so many contradicting beliefs that they have to explain to make all religions one. Do these explanations make sense? If not, then... is he who he says he is?
     
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  17. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    We need to consider what is BOTH written and what we can plausibly accept as being literal.

    Baha'is accept the Gospels as a whole and do not discard a single word. The Muslims OTOH either reject it entirely or take just the parts that agree with the Quran.

    The Romans were known for crucifixion and Jesus died a criminal's death at the Roman's hands. This is clearly recorded in all four gospel accounts and what the apostles believed and it has formed part of the Christian narrative ever since.

    We could take the same approach to the resurrection narrative but it is simply not plausible to consider it literally as the crucifixion. While anything is possible for God the Creator of all, that does not mean we should simply accept everything that is written as being literally true. Muslims used to believe Muhammad literally split the moon but this would not make any sense so many Muslims such as yourself consider it to be part of a narrative in regards judgment day. It is the same for the resurrection narrative that most likely had its origins with the Apostle Paul preaching to the Gentiles. Paul's first epistle to a Church in Corinthians is the earliest New Testament book that mentions the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6-9). Although Paul describes himself as having seen the resurrected Christ, we know that Paul had his conversion experience on the road to Damascus several years after Jesus appeared to His disciples then ascended. The first gospel Mark probably wasn't written any earlier than 66 AD.

    Baha'is don't reject the notion of the resurrection at all as you imply but have a different understanding of it as do the Jews, Christians and Muslims.

    Baha'u'llah has written of the resurrection:

    In every age and century, the purpose of the Prophets of God and their chosen ones hath been no other but to affirm the spiritual significance of the terms “life,” “resurrection,” and “judgment.” … Wert thou to attain to but a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit. For the life of the flesh is common to both men and animals, whereas the life of the spirit is possessed only by the pure in heart who have quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the fruit of certitude. This life knoweth no death, and this existence is crowned by immortality. Even as it hath been said: “He who is a true believer liveth both in this world and in the world to come.” If by “life” be meant this earthly life, it is evident that death must needs overtake it.—Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp. 114, 118, 120–21.

    Bahá'í Reference Library - Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, Pages 220-222

    The Baha'i writings affirm the existence of heaven and hell as states of being in both this world and the world to come.

    Life and Death | What Bahá’ís Believe

    Baha'is don't reject any of the Quran, Gospels or Torah. It is the Muslims, not the Baha'is who believe the Gospels and Torah are corrupted.

    Baha'is believe in Muhammad and all the prophets that have come before Him. We do not believe God's revelation to humanity ceased with Muhammad in the 7th century and Islam like Christianity has strayed too far to be redeemed without the assistance of all God's Messengers.

    Happy New Year to you too my friend and hope it is a good one for you. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. We could debate it further but I'm really happy for us to have our differing beliefs.
     
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  18. Niblo

    Niblo Active Member

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    Hello.

    Here’s part of an article by a Michael Shermer:

    The principle of proportionality demands extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims. Of the approximately 100 billion people who have lived before us, all have died and none have returned, so the claim that one (or more) of them rose from the dead is about as extraordinary as one will ever find. Is the evidence commensurate with the conviction? According to philosopher Larry Shapiro of the University of Wisconsin–Madison in his 2016 book The Miracle Myth (Columbia University Press), “evidence for the resurrection is nowhere near as complete or convincing as the evidence on which historians rely to justify belief in other historical events such as the destruction of Pompeii.” Because miracles are far less probable than ordinary historical occurrences, such as volcanic eruptions, “the evidence necessary to justify beliefs about them must be many times better than that which would justify our beliefs in run-of-the-mill historical events. But it isn't.” (‘Scientific American - April 1, 2017).

    Neither Shapiro nor Shermer deny the possibility of physical resurrection. They deny only the current (Gospel) evidence. What they need – what science needs – are bodies rising from the ground; events they can witness and evaluate. That seems fair enough.

    For the believer – and Bhai’s claim to be believers – the word of God, as revealed to His prophets, ought to be enough. This doesn’t satisfy the demands of science, of course, but so what? I prefer to place my trust (however ridiculous this might appear to others) in my Lord – and to act according to my conscience. This is all He asks of me.

    You ask: ‘But, the bigger question, is Baha'u'llah the return of the Christ Spirit? Was Muhammad? Was every other prophet/founder of all the other religions?

    Those who answer 'Yes' to any of these question must provide the evidence. The burden of proof is on them. Wait for the evidence, is my advice!

    All the prophets of God taught the same message. Part of this message in the physical resurrection of the dead (and not just of Yeshua); the Judgement; and the reality of Heaven. Anyone who teaches otherwise cannot be a prophet of God. God has promised physical resurrection; judgement; and Heaven….and He does not break His promises.

    I wish you the very best of New Years, and the continuing love of God.

    In his latest post to me (see above) Adrian writes: ‘Baha'is don't reject any of the Quran, Gospels or Torah. It is the Muslims, not the Baha'is who believe the Gospels and Torah are corrupted.’

    The Qur’an makes it clear that Yeshua a) was not crucified; and b) did not die. Adrian rejects both of these, in favour of the Gospels. This tells me that there is one Baha'i who rejects at least part of the Qur’an!
     
    #138 Niblo, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  19. Niblo

    Niblo Active Member

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    Hello Adrian.

    Concerning the Corruption of the Taurat:

    I accept without question that Allāh (Subḥānahu ūta'āla) has revealed certain Books to certain prophets, and that these include the Book given to Moses; what I will call the ‘Original Taurat’ to distinguish it from the Taurat we have today.

    Here are some quotes taken directly from two Jewish sources. The first is from an article by Emil G Hirsh and Joseph Jacobs found in the Jewish Encyclopaedia:

    ‘Ancient Jewish tradition attributed the authorship of the Pentateuch (with the exception of the last eight verses describing Moses' death) to Moses himself. But the many inconsistencies and seeming contradictions contained in it attracted the attention of the Rabbis, who exercised their ingenuity in reconciling them.’

    ‘Spinoza, in his "Tractatus Theologico-Politicus" (1671, viii., ix.), goes so far as to attribute the composition of the Pentateuch not to Moses, but to Ezra, which view appears to have existed even in the time of the Apocrypha (comp. II Esd. xiv. 21-22). This and other denials of Mosaic authorship led to a new line of defense by Richard Simon, who regarded the Pentateuch as being made up by Moses from earlier documents. This was followed by the hypothesis of Astruc, that the book of Genesis was made up by Moses from two sources, one of which used the word "Elohim" for God, and the other "Yhwh." This method, applied to the other books of the Pentateuch chiefly by De Wette, Ewald, and Hupfeld, led finally to the definitive attribution of the contents of the Pentateuch to five different sources. Allowing, however, for editorial redaction, no less than twenty-eight different sources are distinguished by the latest analysis of Carpenter and Battersby ("The Hexateuch," p. xii., London, 1900).’

    And so we progress, from one source - Allāh (Subḥānahu ūta'āla) - to two……then to five….then to twenty-eight!

    Continuing quote:

    ‘As regards the age of these various sources there is considerable discrepancy of opinion, especially with regard to the Priestly Code and its accompanying narrative. While the older school, represented mainly by Dillmann, who is followed by Renan and Kittel in their histories of Israel, regarded this as the earliest source, to be placed in the ninth century B.C., Kuenen and Wellhausen place it later than any other and connect it with the recovery of the Law by Ezra. Both schools agree in regarding the legal portions of Deuteronomy as identical with the book of the Law discovered by Hilkiah 622 B.C. The differences in the views of the two schools as regards date and provenience are indicated in the table on following page.’

    Do we really need to go on? Okay….…this final quote is taken from Reformed Judaism.org:

    ‘In its broadest sense, Torah is sometimes used to refer to the vast library of Jewish text. More specifically Torah usually refers to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books make up the story of the Jewish people.

    ‘These ancient stories touch upon science, history, philosophy, ritual and ethics. Included are stories of individuals, families, wars, slavery and more. Virtually no subject was taboo for Torah. Running through these stories is the unique lens through which the Jewish people would come to view their world and their God.

    ‘We cannot talk about Torah without saying something about revelation. By revelation, we mean ways in which God is revealed to people. The basic underlying difference between the Orthodox and non-orthodox approaches to Judaism hinges on this very issue. The Orthodox view is that everything in the Torah (both the material in the Five Books of Moses and the ancient rabbis’ interpretations of that material) was revealed directly by God. The non-Orthodox view is that the Torah contains the understanding of many people about God. It evolved over a long period and was written by numerous individuals. Some like to say that these individuals were divinely inspired. Some rabbinic scholars speak in terms of “progressive revelation” (the idea that God is revealed differently in every age); other scholars teach that Torah contains the words of God rather than is the word of God.

    If the Jews cannot agree who wrote the current Taurat, and over what period, who can blame the Muslims for saying that it cannot be the Original; that it cannot be the one referred to in the Qur’an?

    Muslims are not saying that the Taurat of today is wholly corrupt; wrong from front to back; utterly false. What we are saying is that it contains genuine revelations; but that these are hidden in a mass of writings that are entirely man-made.

    ‘Do not kill’; ‘do not steal’; ‘do not bear false witness against others’, and so on. These are genuine revelations; and not to observe them would be a sin. But are we to believe that the Exalted wanted the Caananites exterminated - every man, woman and child; or that stubborn and rebellious children should be stoned to death? Are we to believe that the Exalted could be that vile? Are we to believe that He was so incompetent a Revealer as to include in His Taurat two interwoven accounts of the Flood; two accounts of His covenant with Abraham; two interwoven accounts of Joseph and his brothers; two accounts of the calling of Moses; and many other inconsistencies and anachronisms? They are there…in the Bible; and we can read them for ourselves.

    I repeat: If the Jews cannot agree who wrote the current Taurat, and over what period, who can blame the Muslims for saying that it cannot be the Original; that it cannot be the one referred to in the Qur’an?

    The Gospels:

    The Arabic word ‘ʾInjīl’ is translated ‘Gospel’ by those writing in English. However, in the Qur’an the word is always in the singular, and is never used to describe the four Gospels of the New Testament.

    There is no doubt that the New Testament Gospels were written decades after the lifetime of Yeshua, by anonymous authors who never met him. Therefore, they cannot be the ‘ʾInjīl’ mentioned in the Qur’an. The Exalted says: ‘We sent Yeshua, son of Mary, in their footsteps, to confirm the Torah that had been sent before him: We gave him the Gospel (ʾInjīl) with guidance, light, and confirmation of the Torah already revealed - a guide and lesson for those who take heed of Allāh.’ (Al-Ma’ida: 46).

    It is quite clear from this verse that Yeshua was given the ʾInjīl (Gospel) complete; how else could it have been ‘a guidance, light and confirmation of the Torah’?

    Concerning the Corruption of the ʾInjīl:

    First example:

    The King James Bible (including the American Version); the King James 2000 Bible; the Jubilee Bible 2000; the Douay-Rheims Bible; the Webster’s Bible Translation; and the Young’s Literal Translation contain what is known as the ‘Comma Ioanneum’. This is shown below in capitals:

    ‘For there are three that bear record IN HEAVEN, THE FATHER, THE WORD, AND THE HOLY GHOST: AND THESE THREE ARE ONE. AND THERE ARE THREE THAT BEAR WITNESS IN EARTH, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.’

    Anthony and Richard Hanson write: ‘It (the ‘Comma Ioanneum’) was added by some enterprising person or persons in the ancient Church who felt that the New Testament was sadly deficient in direct witness to the kind of doctrine of the Trinity which he favoured and who determined to remedy that defect . . . It is a waste of time to attempt to read Trinitarian doctrine directly off the pages of the New Testament.’ (‘Reasonable Belief: A Survey of the Christian Faith; page 171).

    The ‘Comma Ioanneum’ is spurious, and yet for centuries the Church insisted it be included in 1 John 5: 7-8; on the grounds that it had become official Church teaching.

    In 1927, the Holy Office (Guardian of Catholic orthodoxy; and once named the ‘Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition’) declared: ‘After careful examination of the whole circumstances that its genuineness could be denied’ (Ludwig Ott: ‘Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma’, page 56).

    This is why one of my Bibles (the Jerusalem Bible - a Catholic version) reads: ‘So there are three witnesses, the Spirit, water and blood; and the three of them coincide.’ Another Catholic version of mine – the Douay-Rheims – does contain the ‘Comma Ioanneum’. So which of these two is the uncorrupted: the former or the latter?

    Second example:

    The story of the woman caught in adultery (found in John 7) has been a source of much controversy for decades. Is it authentic; or is in a later insertion into the text?

    The King James Version (based on the Textus Receptus) includes the ‘pericope adulterae’ as an original part of the Gospel. On the other hand, more modern translations – such and as the ESV, NIV, RV; NRVS; and GNB – include the ‘pericope adulterae’, but bracket it as not original; while others print it in a smaller font (TNIV), or place it at the end of the gospel (REB), all with notes of explanation. This is because the story is not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts.

    It certainly seems as if, somewhere along the way, a scribe added this story into John’s Gospel in a place he thought it would fit well. Most likely, the story had been circulating for a long time – as an oral tradition – and a scribe (or scribes) felt that, since it was already accepted as truth by consensus, it was appropriate to include it in the text of Scripture. The problem is that truth is not determined by consensus (witness the ‘Comma Ioanneum’ debacle).

    The omission of the ‘pericope adulterae’ from the early manuscripts has been explained as an attempt by early church leaders to prevent scandal; to prevent the impression that adultery is acceptable (for Yeshua is said to have forgiven the woman). Concerned for the moral welfare of their flock these leaders are said to have ordered the story’s removal. If this is true, then they tampered with the Gospel!

    The fact remains that the ‘pericope adulterae’ is not supported by early manuscript evidence (and some might say, the best manuscript evidence); there is, therefore, serious doubt as to whether it should be included in the Bible at all.
     
    #139 Niblo, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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  20. Niblo

    Niblo Active Member

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    Third example:

    Mark 16: 9-20: ‘Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.’

    Some manuscripts end the book with 16:8; others include verses 9-20 immediately after verse 8. At least one manuscript inserts additional material after verse 14; some manuscripts include, after verse 8, the following: ‘But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this, Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.’ These manuscripts then continue with verses 9-20.

    Conclusion:

    An acknowledged spurious text – justifying the belief in a Trinitarian deity – and still present in at least six current versions of the Bible; the insertion of the ‘pericope adulterae’; and the changes to Mark.

    Perhaps now you can understand why the Qur'an speaks of a corrupted Bible. It is the Muslims, rather than the Baha'i, who choose to believe their Lord!

    Have a great day, and very best regards.
     
    #140 Niblo, Jan 2, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
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