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Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun
Where is Allah Exactly?
The article can be accessed here: (http://..uk/Shamoun/allah_location.htm)
The Quran presents a rather incoherent and contradictory portrait of Allah and his attributes. The Quran, in two places, says that nothing resembles Allah (cf. Surah 42:11; 112:4), and yet scores of passages speak of Allah in highly anthropomorphic terms, i.e. Allah ascends and descends, has eyes, hands, shin etc.
The descriptions of Allah “descending” are purely figurative, the Islamic perspective of God does not limit His attributes. Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") do not believe God descends to earth, only his knowledge descends while He is above the Heavens. God is always above His throne; he exists everywhere by His knowledge.
God does not have hands and eyes in human form. Allah only
has “hands” and “eyes” in the sense of communicating to His prophets, which is
rational. For the humans trying to understand God, He is described as “He” in
the Bible and Quran, yet God is neither male nor female.
The Quran and Hadith never say Allah has “shins”.
These statements have caused many prominent Muslim scholars to disagree on whether Allah does indeed have a face, eyes, hands, and whether he moves from one place to another, even though in a manner unlike anything in creation, or whether these statements should be understood metaphorically. For instance, the Salafi Muslim website, www.Islamqa.com, comments on specific hadiths which say that Allah created Adam in his image (meaning in Allah’s image) and claims that:
He is everywhere by His vision, He is everywhere by His hearing, vision, and knowledge.
Just because God has a face does not make Him comparable. The Bible says God has a face and roars like a lion (Hosea 11:10). Yet there is “none like unto Him” (Isaiah 46:9). According to the Bible, “God spoke to Moses FACE TO FACE” (Exodus. 33:11), how does Shamoun explain that?
(1) God works through humans (Ex. 15:3, Isaiah 42:13). This does not mean God descends to earth!
(2) God helped
(3) God descends to earth by His presence (Deu. 4:39).
(4) God is unique, He does not
move from one place to another.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, "Every
night when it is the last third of the night, our Lord, the
The Holy Prophet said God descends at night to hear the prayers of his servants. Allah does not descend literally, only His presence.
From these ahaadeeth we learn that it is proven that Allaah has an image (soorah in Arabic), in a manner that befits Him, may He be glorified and exalted. His image is one of His attributes which cannot be likened to the attributes of created beings, just as His essence cannot be likened to their essence.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: "The word soorah (image) in this hadeeth is like all the other names and attributes narrated (in the texts) where the words used may also be applied to created beings, in a limited manner. When these words are applied to Allaah, they carry a unique meaning, such as al-‘Aleem (All Knowing), al-Qadeer (All-Powerful), al-Raheem (Most Merciful), al-Samee’ (All Hearing), al-Baseer (All-Seeing), and such as His creating with His hands, rising above the Throne, etc." Naqd al-Ta’sees, 3/396
Everything that exists must inevitably have a form or image. Shaykh al-Islam said: "Just as everything that exists must have attributes that, so too everything that exists by itself must have a form or image. It is impossible for something that exists by itself not to have a form or image."
And he said: "There was no dispute among the salaf of the first three generations that the pronoun in the hadeeth refers to Allaah, and it is narrated through many isnaads from many of the Sahaabah. The contexts of the ahaadeeth all indicate that… but when al-Jahamiyyah became widespread in the third century AH, a group began to say that the pronoun refers to something other than Allaah, and this was transmitted from a group of scholars who are known to have knowledge and to follow the Sunnah in most of their affairs, such as Abu Thawr, Ibn Khuzaymah, Abu’l-Shaykh al-Asfahaani and others. Hence they were denounced by the imams of Islam and other Sunni scholars."
… The Prophet’s words, "Adam was created in
His image" means that Allaah created Adam
in His image, for He HAS A FACE, AN EYE, A HAND, AND A FOOT, and Adam had a
face, an eye, a hand, and a foot… but that does not mean that these things are
exactly the same. There is some similarity, but it is not exactly the same.
Similarly the first group to enter
More importantly, such differences in theology greatly affect how certain passages of the Quran which speak of Allah’s acts and attributes are rendered. Here is a case in point:
Shamoun’s argument backfires
against him. God has eyes and feet in his own form; this does not disqualify
His uniqueness. The Bible portrays God in negative forms; He eats and sleeps
(Ps. 78:65), forgets and regrets (Ps. 13:1); walks and even flies (Ps. 18:10).
Yet there is “none like unto Him” (Al-Quran 112, Isaiah 46:9). This article is a complete waste of our time.
Genesis 1:26 is distorted by Christians to portray God in human form.
That man was made in God's image and after his likeness, two words to express the same thing and making each other the more expressive; image and likeness denote the likest image, the nearest resemblance of any of the visible creatures. Man was not made in the likeness of any creature that went before him, but in the likeness of his Creator. (Matthew Henry, Commentary on Genesis, online Source)
Adam is the image of God by knowing good and evil, so Genesis 1:26 is purely figurative.
The Islamic scholars are deceived by the Christian interpretation to mean God is physically like Adam! The Bible is clear that Adam is not God’s image:
And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." (Genesis 3:22)
The Muslim scholars are probably saying that God resembles Adam in His own form, but does not mean God is exactly like Adam. He was created as flesh and blood, God is spirit and immaterial. In comparison, Adam has a mouth, so God obviously has a mouth to communicate (Deu. 32:1). This is exactly what the Muslim scholars are saying; God resembles Adam in His own form.
The Hebrew word ‘Elohim’ means Gods, a plural of respect. The word “us” and “we” in Arabic are figurative expressions. 
Regarding Genesis 1:26, we recommend the following articles:
Christianity is for white people because the Bible “says” God is white. Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") fall prey to the Christian deception; Adam is not the image of God literally!
Surah al-Baqarah (2:115)
Unto Allah belong the East and the West, and whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah's Countenance (wajhu Allahi)…
To God belong the east and the West: Whithersoever ye turn, there is the presence of God…
And to Allah belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn yourselves or your faces there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne)…
And Allah's is the East and the West, therefore, whither you turn, thither is Allah's purpose; …
To ALLAH belongs the East and the West; so whithersoever you turn, there will be the face of ALLAH …
More accurate than all these Muslim translations of S. 92:20
is the rendering by Arberry: "only seeking the
Face of his Lord the Most High". The Arabic word, wajh,
literally means face and, depending on one’s theology, can either suggest that
Allah actually has a face or that this is to be understood metaphorically as a
reference to Allah’s immaterial and invisible presence. However, even if taken
metaphorically as presence, then it should be translated as
"presence" and not as "purpose" or "pleasure."
The "face" of Allah is clearly a problematic expression for many
It is true that “countenance” and “purpose” are wrong translations. The correct translation is “presence” or “Face”, which are interchangeable. The “presence” of God is the face itself:
And call not, besides Allah, on another god. There is no god but He. Everything (that exists) will perish except His own face. To Him belongs the Command, and to Him will ye (all) be brought back. (Al-Quran 28:88)
Everything shall perish except God! In other words, everything shall perish except God’s presence, or face. Why should God having a face be problematic? God obviously has a face.
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." (Genesis 32:30)
"No, please!" said Jacob. "If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably. (Genesis 33:10)
The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. (Exodus 33:11)
The word “face” should not be metaphorical, because Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") are proud to say that God has a face. The Bible is very clear that God possesses the faculties of vision, hearing, and speech, so obviously God has a face.
Amazingly, the Bible even portrays God having back-parts!
Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen." (Exodus 33:21-23)
The Bible degrades God by saying He will cover Moses with His own hand, the Quran does not speak in this manner. The Holy Quran never depicts God having back-parts.
No one has seen God’s shape:
And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. (John 5:37)
God exists in some shape and form, but doesn’t mean He is physically like humans. God possesses the faculties of hearing, vision, and speech in His own form.
The Islamic description of God is not the same as any other creation since God is not seen by Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") as like any of His creation. “There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, All-Seer.” [al-Shoora 42:11] God is only described by that which God describes Himself and that which the Prophet Muhammad described God by. Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") do not add nor do we subtract from the attributes of God the Almighty. 
The Prophet Muhammad said God is Light:
"O Allah: All the Praises are for You: You are the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth. All the
Praises are for You; You are the Maintainer of the
Heaven and the Earth and whatever is in them. All the Praises are for You; You are the Light of the Heavens and the
Earth. Your Word is the
Truth, and Your Promise is the Truth, and the Meeting with You is the Truth,
The Bible says God dwells in light:
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see. (1Timothy 6:16)
There is nothing wrong with God having a face! Shamoun wants to deceive the readers just because certain Muslim scholars decided not to translate the Arabic word wajh as “face”. The correct translation is “face” or “presence”.
Figurative expressions in the Bibles:
And the LORD was
In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the River —the king of
The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. (Isaiah 42:13).
NOTE: God is called a “man of war” and “mighty man”, yet these titles are applied to humans (Isaiah 3:2).
And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from
According to the Bible, God never changes (Mal 3:6), no one can see Him (Ex. 33:20), the earth is too small (2 Chron. 6:18), He is unique (Isaiah 46:9). All of these passages disprove the Christian conception of God.
The Arm of the Lord
The Bible refers to God by addressing His right arm.
Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old. Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces, who pierced that monster through? (Isaiah 51:9)
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? (Isaiah 53:1)
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. (Isaiah 59:1)
None of these passages are literal. The “arm” signifies His
The Right Hand of God
Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends
of the earth; your right hand
is filled with righteousness. (Psalms 48:10)
After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. (Mark 16:19)
So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God's hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him. (Ecclesiastes 9:1)
The expression “right arm” signifies the power of God.
The Feet of God
Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy
Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came
from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came
down; dark clouds were under his feet. He
mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. (2 Samuels
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet. (Nahum 1:3)
Are these figurative expressions? The Bible has corrupted the pure image of God! Yet the Quran never depicts God in human form.
On the Day when their tongues, their hands, and their feet will bear witness against them as to their actions. (Al-Quran 24:24)
That Day shall We set a seal on their mouths. But their hands will speak to us, and their feet bear witness, to all that they did. (Al-Quran 36:65)
And the Unbelievers will say: "Our Lord! Show us those, among Jinns and men, who misled us: We shall crush them beneath our feet, so that they become the vilest (before all)." (Al-Quran 41:29)
(For) the sinners will be known by their marks: and they will be seized by their forelocks and their feet. (Al-Quran 55:41)
There is not a single passage in the Quran that applies feet to God!
The "location" of Allah is another problematic issue and provides examples of differences between translations:
Surah al-Mulk (67:16)
Have ye taken security from Him Who is IN the heaven …
Do ye feel secure that He Who is IN heaven …
Do you feel secure that He, Who is OVER the heaven (Allah), …
Are you secure of THOSE IN the heaven …
Do you feel secure that He who is IN heaven …
The above translations are merely a choice of words, it doesn’t matter where God dwells. None of these passages are relevant, God exists all around us. We don’t need an English translation to distort the Arabic text.
The Bible and Quran agree that God is everywhere:
Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God IN heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:39)
It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. (Al-Quran 50:16)
Regarding the words “in” and “above”, the correct translation is Yusuf Ali that God resides in Heaven, but He also exists above Heaven. God is omnipresent by His wisdom and power, knowledge and love. There is no escaping God’s grasp; there is no escaping His vision.
We can apply Shamoun’s argument to his own Bible.
When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God IN heaven above and on the earth below. (Joshua 2:11)
Be exalted, O God, ABOVE the heavens, and let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalms 108:5)
It doesn’t matter whether God resides in Heaven or above. The Prophet Muhammad said the believers will see God, which is the greatest reward!
In Jannah, the believers will be able to see Allah for the first time, where they will be able to take the blessing of seeing Allah. There are over 40 different names of Jannah that each describe a different level of Jannah. 
The Quran and Bible are very specific that God is unseen.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:12)
O ye who believe! Allah doth but make a trial of you in a little matter of game well within reach of your hands and your lances, that He may test who feareth him unseen: any who transgress thereafter, will have a grievous penalty. (Al-Quran 5:94)
In conclusion, God is above the Heavens and below, He is everywhere:
Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God IN heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:39)
Three of these five versions translate these verses in line with what the Arabic literally says, i.e. that Allah is in heaven, whereas Shakir’s version implies that the texts are actually speaking about all those who reside in heaven (presumably the angels). The Hilali and Khan duo, since they are Salafi Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") and therefore of those who believe that Allah actually has a form, clearly had a problem with Allah being IN heaven since their theology demands that he is literally OVER or ABOVE it. As the Salafi scholars at www.Islamqa.com write:
One of the things concerning which there is no
doubt is that the Throne is above the seventh heaven; indeed it is the highest
of all created things… It is affirmed by all the Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") that Paradise is above
the seventh heaven, so if the Throne is above
We have already dealt with Shamoun’s deception. There are seven Heavens, and God is present in ALL seven Heavens by His power and wisdom. There is no escaping God’s presence.
Allah. There is no god but He,-the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). (Al-Quran 2:225)
The Quran is clear that God’s throne is above the Heavens. In contrast, the Bible says God’s throne is located in Heaven:
The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. (Psalms 103:19)
We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; (Hebrews 8:1)
Regardless of whether God resides in Heaven or above, God is everywhere by His knowledge.
The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.
The LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:39)
This should explain everything! And it doesn’t matter what
the Salafi Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") believe, if they say that Allah exists above Heaven, they
are directed by the Quran (2:225).
There is actually support for this view from the so-called sound hadiths:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Whoever believes in Allah and His Apostle, offer prayer perfectly and fasts the month of Ramadan, will rightfully be granted Paradise by Allah, no matter whether he fights in Allah's Cause or remains in the land where he is born." The people said, "O Allah's Apostle! Shall we acquaint the people with the is good news?" He said, "
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Whoever believes in Allah and His Apostle offers prayers perfectly and fasts (the month of) Ramadan then it is incumbent upon Allah to admit him into
The Holy Prophet speaks the truth.
Even the Bible agrees that God is above
Thus saith the LORD, The heaven
is my throne, and the earth
is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and
where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)
But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: (Matthew 5:34)
The Bible and Quran agree with each other, God exists above Heaven, but He
is present everywhere.
And here is what renowned Sunni commentator Ibn Kathir wrote regarding Surah 36:38:
There are two views over the meaning of the phrase ...
<on its fixed course for a term (appointed).> (The first view) is that it refers to its fixed course of location, which is beneath the Throne, BEYOND the earth in that direction. Wherever it goes, it is beneath the Throne, it and all of creation, because the Throne is the ROOF of creation and it is not a sphere as many astronomers claim. Rather it is A DOME SUPPORTED BY LEGS OR PILLARS, CARRIED BY THE ANGELS, and it is ABOVE the universe, ABOVE the heads of people. When the sun is at its zenith at noon, it is in its closest position to the Throne, and when it runs in its fourth orbit at the opposite point to its zenith, at midnight, it is in its furthest position from the Throne. At that point it prostrates and asks permission to rise, as mentioned in the Hadiths.
The infidel Shamoun has a problem with angels carrying the throne. Yet, Jesus himself needs to be carried by angels:
"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' " (Matthew 4:6)
But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. (John 12:32-33)
Jesus does not have the power to raise himself to Heaven.
Regarding the above Hadith, the angels are the servants of God, they carry out His commands.
Muhammad (blessings of Allah and peace be upon
him) has informed us that these imperceptible spiritual beings, whom people
believe to be deities of gods or God’s children, are really His angels. They have no share in God’s divinity; they cannot deviate from His commands even
by the slightest fraction of an inch. God employs them to administer His
Kingdom, and they carry out His orders exactly and accurately. They have no
authority to do anything of their own accord; they cannot present to God any
scheme conceived by themselves, they are not even authorised
to intercede with God for any man. (Abdul Ala Mawdudi,
Towards Understanding Islam, p. 73)
(The second view) is that this refers to when the sun's appointed time comes to an end, which will be on the Day of Resurrection, when its fixed course will be abolished, it will come to a halt and it will be rolled up. This world will come to an end, and that will be the end of its appointed time. This is the fixed course of its time ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir Abridged, Volume 8 Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 51 to the end of Surat Ad-Dukhan, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; September 2000, first edition], pp. 196-197; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Apart from the fact that this understanding presupposes a flat earth, the reader should be able to see the dilemma that these narrations pose for Salafi theology… how can Allah be IN heaven when certain narrations clearly say he is ABOVE it? Thus, is it any wonder that Hilali-Khan would manipulate the translation of the Arabic texts of the Quran in order to make it agree with their theology?
The commentary of Ibn Kathri
is not divine.
The Bible presents a flat earth  . Yet the Holy Quran presents a round earth  . Once again, the Bible and Quran say that God exists “in” Heaven and above it.
Not all Muslims (Isaiah 56:5: Muslim is the future believers' name. Sons and daughters titles will be "no more") take Surah 67:16-17 in such a literalistic manner. The late Muhammad Asad presents the other position when he says in reference to Surah 67:16 that:
15 This expression is, of course, purely metaphorical since God is limitless in space as well as in time. Its use here is apparently meant to stress the unfathomable quality of His existence and power, which penetrates, and reveals itself in, every aspect of His cosmic creativeness, symbolized in the term "heaven". (Source)
This is exactly what I’ve been arguing, God exists above the Heavens (Quran 2:225), and spiritually dwells on earth (Deu. 4:39). The above commentary is genuine and acceptable.
Whatever the case may be, however one decides to understand these Quranic statements, one fact stands out clearly: The theology of the Muslim translator will have a direct bearing on how the Arabic text of the Quran will be translated in a target language. In some cases the theology of the translators causes them to even distort what the actual Arabic Quran says.
While the English Bible is sacred to Christians, the Holy Quran is the Word of God in Arabic alone. There exists only ONE Quran but multiple Bible versions. The NIV (1973) and KJV (1611) are based on different text-types. The Bibles contradict each other because they follow different readings 1. The Holy Quran is preserved and fully intact, the English translators may vary, but doesn’t mean the Arabic text changes. The English translations of the Quran are a choice of words. Yet, there are so many versions of the Bible!
Furthermore, the scholar John Mill collected over 30,000 variant readings in the Gospel of Luke.
monumental work came under fire from the controversial writer, Dr. Daniel Whitby, Rector of St. Edmund's,
There are conflicting canons of the Bible; the Protestant Bible is rejected
by the Catholics and vice versa. The New Testament is divided into four
text-types, and this explains the contradictions. [*] [*] [*] [*]
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)
These words are softened in other Bible versions:
"Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters--yes, even one's own self!-can't be my disciple. (The Message, Luke 14:26)
"If you want to be my follower you must love me more than your own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, more than your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. (New Living Translation, Luke 14:26)
EXAMPLE # 2
Paul degraded Jesus in the following verses:
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of
Christ and go on to maturity, not
laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God
(Hebrews 6:1, English Standard Version)
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God (Hebrews 6:1, New King James Version)
Paul said that Christ was not perfect, his teachings should be discarded, because according to Paul, they are like ‘filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6) and we must excel towards “perfection and maturity”. The deceptive editors changed the English translation of Paul’s damaging words. This outrageous statement has been softened in many other versions of the Bibles:
So let us stop going over the basics of Christianity again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don't need to start all over again with the importance of turning away from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. (Hebrews 5:7. New Living Translation)
According to the Jesus Seminar, the Logia (words) of Jesus have been altered:
"Hard sayings are frequently softened in the process of transmission to adapt them to the conditions of daily living...Variations in difficult saying often betray the struggle of the early Christian community to interpret or adapt sayings to its own situations... Matthew's version of the aphorism "The last will be first and the first last"(Matt 20:16) is softened in Mark 10:31 to "MANY of the first will be last, and of the last MANY will be first"." (The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the AUTHENTIC Words of Jesus, p. 295)
There is naturally much more manuscript variation in the gospel sayings than in the narrative sections, since it was the sayings that were repeatedly reinterpreted. Such variants are to be expected in any text which existed only as different manuscripts for many hundreds of years before it could be printed in the form of thousands of identical copies; for every single manuscript is the artifact of an individual scribe, who could introduce errors or what he—or his patron or his particular religious community—took for improvements. (G.A. Wells, The Jesus Myth, p. 4)
The New American Bible tells us in its introduction, under the heading How to Read Your Bibles:
“It is difficult to know whether the words or sayings attributed to Jesus are written exactly as he spoke them. (St. Joseph Medium Size Edition, p.23)
Questions for Shamoun:
(1) Can you tell us why the editors changed the Bible?
“The number of deliberate alterations made in the interests of doctrine is difficult to assess.” [Bruce M. Metzger's "The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration", 1964]
"Many thousands of the variants which are
found in the MSS of the NT were put there deliberately. They
are not merely the result of error or of careless handling of the text. Many
were created for theological or dogmatic reasons (even though they may not
affect the substance of Christian dogma). It is because the books of the NT are
religious books, sacred books, canonical books, that
they were changed to conform to what the copyist believed to be the true
reading. [George Arthur Buttrick (Ed.), The Interpreter's Dictionary Of The Bible, Volume 4, 1962
(1996 Print), Abingdon Press,
It is well known that the primitive Christian Gospel was initially transmitted by word of mouth and that this oral tradition resulted in variant reporting of word and deed. It is equally true that when the Christian record was later committed to writing it continued to be the subject of verbal variation, involuntary and intentional, at the hands of scribes and editors (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, p. 633)
Some of the events in the early mission of Jesus] were not strictly true but were added to the story of Jesus by the early Christians to express their faith in him as a Messiah." [London Daily Mail, page 12, 15/July/1984]
(2) Why did the Bible editors soften Luke 14:26 if they were not offended? Why did they soften Hebrews 6:1?
"Hard sayings are frequently softened in the process of transmission to adapt them to the conditions of daily living (The Five Gospels, p. 295)
“The Bible can be changed at any time by the Christian leaders. For example, in the early days, it was altered by copyists and today there is a revised version.” (A.D. Ajijola, The Myth of the Cross)
(3) Why did the early Christians fail to preserve the sayings of Jesus? The Church leader Tertullian testifies about the Gospel being corrupted:
(4) Do you know Jesus was misunderstood by his own disciples? (Matthew 15:17, 16:9, 11, Luke 18:34, John 12:16)
Jesus deliberately spoke in a manner no one could understand:
"Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. (John 16:25)
We challenge infidel Shamoun to answer these questions!
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