Ch 10: Inside Knowledge
Next morning a maid-servant brought a note from Michael to Isabella which said : Daughter Isabella ! I have to talk to you on something; you should come to me at once leaving all other work. I am waiting for you. Isabella realised that it was in continuation of the previous day’s plan. Informing her mother she left for Michael’s house, where Peter and another well-known monk, highly popular and famous throughout Spain for his ascetic life, were also present. Michael’s daughter Mirano hurriedly dispatched a messenger to call her other friends and very soon all the friends collected there. Michael then addressed Isabella.
Michael: Yesterday, you put off the matter by giving ambiguous answers to our questions. Today I want to talk to you very frankly. Now say, will you answer my questions correctly?
Isabella: In the first place, I am not so able as to respond to your questions and, secondly, there is no such matter as to need interrogation. But you may ask and I will try to answer according to my understanding.
Michael: Have you become a Muslim?
Isabella: I answered this question yesterday and do not want to say anything more.
Michael: Well, now say if you believe in the holy divinity and in Jesus Christ being “God” with his necessary existence.
Isabella: I do believe God as God, not any man as God.
Michael: So it is clear that you do not believe in the divinity of Lord Jesus Christ. Now what is left there in your being a confirmed Muslim?
Isabella: I mean that there is no proof anywhere in the Bible that Jesus was God.
Michael: For God’s sake, do not calumniate the Holy Bible. Have you not read in the Bible that he was the “Son of God”?
Isabella: There have been other “sons” of God also and so they should also be called “God”.
Michael: Never. Except Lord Jesus Christ, no other man was a true “son” of God.
Isabella (holding the Bible in her hand): Well, please explain to me the meaning of this passage : “The Jews again lifted stones to strike Christ who told them: I have shown you many good things from the father; on which of these you are stoning me? The Jews said: We are not stoning you on good acts but on your infidelity that being a man you call yourself God. Christ said: Does not your creed say that you are God ? When it calls those God to whom divine revelations came, then the person whom God sent to the world after glorifying him, how can you say that he talks infidelity. This is why I said that I am son of God.” [ Jonah, chapter 1, verses 31-36,]
Now the question is what previous Apostles have been called God? Christians believe that these predecessors were called God metaphorically and in love. I say the same. Jesus Christ is also called God in the metaphorical sense and in love, and not because he was really God as alleged.
Michael: Accursed girl! you have become very talkative. Having studied from me you venture to ask the meaning of these verses from me as if we are ignorant and you are learned. But just see, each of the previous Prophets could not be God in the real sense, because they were not innocent while our Lord Jesus Christ was sinless and innocent and therefore he was also God.
Isabella: We are not talking of sin or innocence. The question is that Jesus Christ called himself God as other Prophets were called. If Jesus Christ was really God, then we have to admit that every other Prophet was also God. Besides, in these verses Jesus Christ was replying to the accusations of the Jews. If he were really the son of God, he would have accepted the accusations of Jews.
Michael: Oh! How great! you are such a great scholar that you slight us. It is now clear that you have been well grounded. If Jesus Christ was not God but just a man, how could he constitute atonement for our sins. And is any man free from sins?
Isabella: I do not understand how you concoct the rule that no one among men can be innocent, although even in the Bible a man says about Malik Sidq Shalem : “He without father, without mother, without genealogy. Neither is there beginning of his life nor its end. but just as kin to the son of God.” [ Ecclesiaites, chapter 7, verse 3]. Then in the Bible it is written about Zacharias and his wife: “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” [Luke, chapter 1, verse 6.]
So it is clear that Malik Sidq Shalem, Zacharias and his wife were certainly innocent, otherwise the words “just as kin to God” and “blameless” would be meaningless. So innocence of Christ is not unique but he was innocent like other innocent men. As to the case of Atonement this is also not proved from the Bible, for no man can take the load of other man’s sins and least of all taking the load of men’s sins on his head and dying on the cross. In fact, Jesus has declared in the Bible that salvation will be on the basis of acts and not by atonement, as it is written: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; then he shall reward every man according to his works”[Matthew, chapter 16, verse 27.]; “And, behold, one came and said unto him: Good what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life. Christ said:… If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false-witness.” [Ibid., chapter 19. verses 1618. t 2 ]. It is proved from these verses that salvation is by acts alone. Christ did not tell the man that he did not need do anything as he (Christ) would be atonement for him.
Michael: Girl, you seem to have come to teach me. Do you not trust me? I am your teacher. Whatever I say you must believe. By your own wisdom you cannot comprehend the delicate problems of religious law. The question of atonement comes later. First the question of the divinity of Jesus Christ should be settled. See Christ was taken to heaven in life which Muslims also believe. Is it not the proof of his divinity? Jesus Christ exhibited great miracles. He revived the dead, gave sight to the blind. Do not these things prove his divinity? First you must believe or reject divinity of the Lord and then talk of other things.
Isabella: It was you who raised the question of Atonement. So I began to discuss it. If Jesus Christ can be God by being raised to heaven alive, then Eli should also be God as he was also, according to the Bible, raised alive to heaven [Kings, chapter 14, verse 12]. As to the Christ reviving the dead and giving sight to the blind, that also does not prove his divinity as other Prophets had also demonstrated miracles as is clearly mentioned in the Bible. If these miracles can make anyone God, then other Prophets were also God.
Peter: See, how this girl confuses us! O, foolish girl! The miracles shown by other Prophets were not by their own power but by the power of God, while Christ did miracles by his own power, which proves that he was God.
Isabella: In the first place miracles are not proofs about prophethood, to say the least of divinity. That according to the Christian creed it is not necessary that anyone who does miracles is a prophet and when he cannot be even a prophet, how can he be God? Jesus has said: “… I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater work than these shall he do.” [2 Kings, chapter 2, verse 12.]
As to your claim that the miracles of Christ were by his own authority while those of others they were by constraint, this is also wrong for the Bible proves that not only in performing miracles but in everything else Jesus was as powerless as other Prophets. And whenever Jesus performed any miracle he first prayed for the help of God. In his miracle of bread and fish he sought the help of God and at another place he said to the Disciples that taking out of souls depended on prayer. Christ revived a dead by praying to God.[See Matthew, 12 : 16 ; Mark. 9 : 29 ; Jonab, 11 : 41]