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Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Assalamualikum the basic theme of the whole series is that the idea of god incarnate can neither be explained with any intelligible terms nor are they supported by the text of the bible Old or New Testament assuming that we are taking the bible as it is. In the previous program we began to even examine as to whether the entire Bible from A to Z each and every word indeed is the word of God or not. In the previous program we indicated that there are several passages in the Bible both Old and New Testament which indicates that it is not really the word of God and that it contains ideas and opinions of human beings who at times negated that they received any command from God in what they say. Like for example Chapter 7 Verse 25. So we concluded from that that the internal evidence does not seem to indicate a consistent continuous claim of being from divine origin. We did not however touch on the external evidence relating to the authority of the Bible such as the freedom from actual errors and the freedom from any inconsistency or contradiction or any prophecy that was proven to be incorrect.

Host: First let’s look at the external evidence. What did you mean when you were talking about the freedom of factual errors?

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Or errors in factual methods to be more accurate. Well this has been discussed in previous series on the Quran the Ultimate Miracle and I will use this as a quick reference for this particular program. According to the book of Genesis for example it tells us that the creation of day and night and the creation of vegetation took place before the creation of firmaments such as the sun as we all know scientifically this is an impossibility. Following the chronology of the Bible also seems to indicate the first homosapien the first human being to live on earth Adam lived on earth less than fifty- eight hundred years ago and we know again from the standpoint of scientific and archaeological evidence that this is an impossibility. These examples and many others were discussed and reference was made to very interesting volume written by Dr.Maurice Bucaille The Bible The Quran and Science in which the same criteria was applied to the Quran also only to discover that there is no similar passage in the entire Quran that is at odds with any established I am not talking about theories but established scientific facts. There are also some problems which perhaps may be termed as logical impossibilities. For example, if one refers to the description of the Temple of Solomon as is described in the first book of Kings in Chapter 6 Verse 23 you will find that the measurement is approximately three thousand square feet. However the number of people that are working in that Temple elsewhere in the first chronicle Chapter 23 Verse 4 is a total of Thirty-eight thousand people including Twenty-four thousand servants, officers, worshippers, and so on. Well to divide Three thousand square feet by Thirty-eight thousand people that would leave each person with one tenth of a square foot which is a clear impossibility. This seems to indicate that this kind of description could not be the product of divine revelation or guidance of the Holy Spirit but rather the understanding and perhaps even the exaggeration of the particular authors who wrote those descriptions.

Host: How about the question of inconsistency is there any evidence for this?

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

This is a subject that has been dealt with in great detail not even by Non-Christian ethics but by many Biblical scholars themselves. In fact in September of 1957 a Christian publication called Awake came with the headline in bold letters 50,000 Errors in the Bible. Actually in that they were referring to shortened summaries of many Biblical scholars of high refute indicating that there are numerous errors and problems of inconsistencies in the Bible both in the Old and New Testament. Let me just give a few examples because they say some of them have been reconciled and I have no dispute with that they can be possibly something that may appear different but it might be the description of the same event from two different angles but not with any errors. But there is no claim that has been made or is being made that all of them are reconcilable. For example, who provoked David to make a census or number for the children of Israel? Will in one answer it is said in the Bible for one version it said it was Satan and the other says it was God. This can be compared by looking into the first chronicle Chapter 21 and compare it to second Samuel Chapter 24 about the periods or duration of famine with David and there are two answers again just different places. One version is that it was three years and the other seven years. We can do that by comparing first chronicle Chapter 21 and second Samuel Chapter 24. The number of Syrians that were killed by David in one version it said that he killed seven hundred carriers and forty thousand horsemen. In the second version it says it was seven thousand carriers and forty thousand footmen. So you have difficulty here in terms of the numbers and difficulty with mixing horsemen and footmen. That again can be seen by comparing the second book of Samuel Chapter 10 and the first chronicle Chapter 19. A fourth example: how old was the ruler of Jerusalem? In one version it says that he was eight years old when he began to reign in Jerusalem and he ruled for three months and ten days. In another place in the Bible describing the same person it says that his age when he began to reign was eighteen not eight and that he reigned for three months. Again the comparison between the second book of chronicles Chapter 56 versus the second book of Kings in Chapter 24. A fifth example: the number of stalls of horses that David had. In one place it says that it was forty thousand and another place says it was four thousand. That is a margin of one thousand percent and both cannot be correct and at the same time this can be found by comparing the first Kings Chapter 4 with the second chronicle Chapter 9. As I indicated earlier the examples are numerous and the Biblical scholars themselves fix about problems by the thousands and the main conclusion one can come with really is that it is untenable that the entire Bible may be the word of God but to say that everything mentioned is a variety of authors who wrote in different times and places throughout history were all inspired by God or the Holy Spirit is simply untenable according to the Biblical scholars themselves.

Host: So far Dr.Jamal you have given examples from the Old Testament. Do you have any examples possibly from the New Testament?

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

The classic example in the New Testament that many Biblical scholars have paid attention to is the lineage of Jesus Peace be Upon Him. Before I get into that it is interesting that two gospel writers that are Matthew and Luke have gone out of their way to try and show the human lineage through Jesus even though they believe him to be the son of God. But leaving that philosophical or theological problem aside which was raised by Michael Goldberg which he does in another program, if you just look at the information given compare Matthew Chapter 1 with Luke Chapter 3 we find that there are three basic problems. One, according to Matthew, Jesus Peace be Upon Him is said to be the descendant of David through Solomon: one of the sons of David. According to Luke, Jesus is a descendant of David through the other son Nathan. Again both cannot be correct at the same time. A second problem is that according to Matthew there are twenty-six generations between David and Jesus. According to Luke the number is given as forty-one generations. Well this is a big diversion. Thirdly, by comparing the means of the ancestors or the supposed ancestors of Jesus you find that no two names on the both lists, be it twenty-six or forty-one, are identical. Except for the last name of Joseph who was supposed to be the legal father of Jesus Peace be Upon Him. We have indicated in addition to this in the previous program or more than one program perhaps that by analyzing one segment of what the gospel speaks about the life of Jesus Peace be Upon Him that even in the area of crucifixion and the events immediately before and immediately after we have pointed out twenty-seven inconsistencies. So the problem actually as many Biblical scholars are aware of applies to the Old and New Testament. They take a separate position by saying the Bible contains the word of God but there are very few who can say with reasonable evidence from A to Z that it actually is.

Host: Now how about the question of prophecies? Do you have any specifics or examples of this?

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Well for example the three synoptic gospels Mark, Matthew, and Luke attribute to Jesus that he said he is going to come back again to rule and reign in the lifetime of his contemporaries and that is found in Matthew Chapters 10, 16, and 24. In the gospel according to Mark Chapter 13, and in Luke Chapter 21 and all of which seem to indicate that this coming is imminent in the lifetime of his contemporaries. We all know that this never happened. Secondly, according to Matthew again Chapter 19 Verses 27 through 29 it is attributed to Jesus that he prophesized that each of the twelve disciples will be sitting to rule over one of the twelve tribes of Israel. We know that not only did this not happen but we also know that one of the twelve disciples is Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus and is a traitor and cannot be expected at any point of time to be a ruler, but above all it never happened. That is why a Muslim who has a great deal of respect of Jesus as a truthful messenger of God never believed that Jesus said that and actually conclude like many Biblical scholars that this could have possibly been words that were put in the mouth of Jesus but he never really prophesized that for a prophet’s prophecies have to be fulfilled. These examples I believe are more than enough to show that the theory of the Bible being written all by the guidance of the Holy Spirit and that it is all the word of God does not seem to be a tenable position at all and in order to sift through the Bible and discern the word of God with the words of other human beings there was a necessity to have a new revelation which the Muslims believe is the Quran that removed all of the confusion and put things back into their truthful original revealed form.

Host: Dr.Jamal now let’s turn to the other aspect of the topic about the authenticity. Now what does this mean and how does it apply to the Bible?

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Well when we speak about authenticity we speak about the extent that a given document or information or revelation has been preserved over time aside from the question of authority whether it is the word of God or not. I should note here that a document or information could possibly be authentic but not authoritative. In other words, it could be authentic in the sense that it has been preserved over time but it does not mean that it is necessarily the word of God. We can produce the preserved writings of Shakespeare but that does not mean it is the word of God. On the other hand, something could have been originally authoritative, the word of God, but over time it was not possible to preserve it in its purity separate from commentaries and ideas of other human beings. In that sense it could be originally authoritative but the way it exists and this given point in time it is not authentic it has not been preserved. Just to clarify that in the series that we had on the Quran we had given detailed evidence that the Quran is authoritative both internal and external evidence that it could not have been the words of Prophet Muhammad or any other human being and the examples were quite plentiful. In the second half of the series we examined the issue of authenticity of the Quran and how it was transmitted to us and how it was written down and memorized simultaneously by large number of peoples during the lifetime of the Prophet under his supervision and in the original language that the Prophet spoke and it has come to us and transmitted generation after generation through both means writing and memorization without the slightest change. It is true as we indicated in some of those programs that there might have been styles of recitation that the Prophet allowed for some tribes with the same words and meanings at least. It is true that there have been some unofficial collections that some of the companions like Ali, Ubayy, and Ibn Masood might have had. Yet we still are talking about the same Quran. Today we have translations of the Quran but that is different from versions. You can have Qira’at, connections, and translations but these are not really versions or different Qurans containing different things. In the situation of the Bible things are quite different, we are not talking about translations we are talking about versions.

Host: What do you see as the main differences between the Bible and the Quran?

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

I think perhaps it centers around that version versus translation. Of course when we talk about the Bible or the Quran or any scripture it is possible to have different kind of translations for that matter even in the same language using the same original manuscripts. When you really speak about translations you really speak about as one scholar once put it, the difference between spelling it color or colour but that in the case of the Bible really is really far from just talking about translations. There are really versions for example; we all know that the Catholic Bible is different from the Protestant Bible. The Catholic Bible contains seventy-three books total both Old and New Testament. The Protestant Bible is composed of sixty-six books and each side believes that the Bible A to Z or at least some groups believe that it is the word of God. Which one for there is a difference of seven books. In addition to this there are substantial differences between for example the King James version-and that is why it is called a “version” they admit- and the revised standard version of the Bible. First of all as indicated in a previous program in John 3:16 there is a crucial difference for in one case it says forgot the only begotten son and the other just says begotten which has a very important theological implication. The first apostle of John in Chapter 5 Verse 7 which speaks about the three that bear witness in heaven which is the closest thing describing the trinity and was proven to be unauthentic and did not exist in the most authentic and ancient manuscripts. So here one Bible contains it and the other one does not. The Gospel according to Mark we find again Verses 9 through 20 is there in the King James version in the revised standard version it is not in the text it is put in the footnotes with the observation that some misauthentic or other copies include those endings. We really don’t have any copy at all of the New Testament in the language that Jesus spoke. For example, the Quran is still available until today in the Arabic language in which Prophet Muhammad Peace be Upon Him spoke. There is no parallel to that at all by having let’s say teachings of Jesus in Aramaic. Even if such manuscripts had existed at any point in time it was the sole and only source of other New Testament literature that was written in different languages afterwards. We all know that historically there have been dozens of Gospels not only before and it is not really clear and many scholars are not really clear of how these particular four were chosen as the canonical gospels and the rest were dismissed. For example, in the encyclopedia Americana in Volume 3 of the 59th editions pages 651 through 653 we find there is a clear indication of the difficulty of discerning how the gospels came to be chosen and I quote, “We have no certain knowledge as to how or where the four Gospel canons came to be formed.” Similar statements are made in encyclopedia Britannica the 1960 edition in the second volume page 514, but even if we take these four as you say canonical Gospels many of the Biblical scholars are not even sure whether these were the exclusive works of their respective authors alone. In fact, some of the scholars like reverend Jerome O’Connor who is a professor of the New Testament in Biblique in Jerusalem which by the way is a Roman Catholic school that was established some times back for Biblical studies. According to reverend O’Connor he says that if you examine some of those texts there is lack of what you call literal unity. So by analyzing the Gospel it doesn’t seem to indicate that it was written just by one man. So it seems that there was joint authorship. In addition to this we find that in fact most of the New Testament literature has been written by people who were not eye witnesses of the life and mission of Prophet Jesus Peace be Upon Him.

Host: Now you said most of these writers were not eyewitnesses how would you explain that?

Dr.Jamal Badawi:

Alright, it is known that the New Testament contains twenty seven books which includes the four Gospels. Now approximately one half of the New Testament was written by a non-eyewitness which was done by Paul who was never a disciple of Jesus during his mission. Fifteen books, and there is also another book by a man or called the book of Jude and that name never appears in the name of the disciples or anywhere in the synoptic Gospels. Then there is the book of Act written by Luke and we’ll state again that Luke was not really an eyewitness of Jesus. In the New Testament you find also that there are three apostles accredited to John so is the book of Revelation and again there is a big dispute to whether this is the same John who is the author of the fourth Gospel and whether he had anything to do with John son of Zebedee who was a disciple of Jesus and this highly doubtful and most scholars believe that it was not really John from the disciples of Jesus or an eyewitness. Then if we look at the whole Gospels themselves, take for example the oldest according to most scholars Mark and the Gospel according to Mark. Now according to a well-known Biblical scholar by the name of Dennis Nineham in his book called Saint Mark he says that this Mark is quite different from the John Mark that was mentioned in the Act or other places and letters in the New Testament. He says that as a scholar there is no person who was as close to Jesus or famous in the early church that was known by the name of Mark. Secondly, many of the scholars indicate or believe that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were based on Mark and who again is highly unlikely to be an eyewitness of Jesus, plus some additional material of course. Take Matthew for example, some Biblical scholars like John Fenton say that Matthew is not really as some people believe the same person as Levi. That is not the same as some people claim. It is interesting to notice here that in the older Gospel of Mark in Chapter 2 Verse 14 it describes an incident when Jesus Peace be Upon Him was passing by and the he saw a man by the name of Levi who was a tax collector and he asked him to follow him and he did follow him. Then the Gospel according to Matthew Chapter 9 Verse 9 it describes the identical story but instead of calling him Levi it calls him Matthew. That is why John Fenton says this is not really the same person and apparently the writer of the Gospel according to Matthew changed the names but this was not the name of the same person just changed the name somehow to deal authority to the Gospel because it relates to someone who used to be a disciple of Jesus. According to the Gospel of Luke as indicated before suffice to look into the introduction in which he says again clearly that he is basing his writing not off of eyewitness but what he has been told by others. Coming now to the non-synoptic Gospel of John many scholars believe it is not John the son of Zebedee as some people believe. In fact in John 19:55 he speaks and says he who saw it bear witness he knows that he tells the truth. Who is he? Apparently to say the Gospel according to my given impression that it was based on what was believed to be the teaching of John we do not even know if John was the disciple or not. That means that actually that the two letters one to Peter and one to James were both disciples if these were truth then they are nine pages out of 242 pages out of the New Testament which is less than four percent of the New Testament Literature. The problem is not just the authorship but even the manuscripts of the same gospel accredited to the same author we have some difficulties also.

Host: Can you now explain the last point of the manuscripts under the same author of not being consistent?

Dr.Jamal Bawadi:

Well many of the scholars say that even though we have many great manuscripts for example many of them have variant forms and that some of those variants were written as two or three centuries later. We indicated for example previous indications from Biblical scholars that selection arrangement and preservation of materials were based on the faith of the writers more than anything else. That interpretative material was placed upon the lips of Prophet Jesus Peace be Upon Him

Host: Actually I thought we would be able to conclude this but it looks like we might have to carry over partially into our next program and we will see how it goes. Thank you Dr.Jamal Badawi

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