Ch 11: Test of Faith
Continuing her talk Isabella said: Christ has no power to perform miracles as it has been proved from the Bible. Now I say that Jesus Christ was as powerless in everything as any other man. If he were God he could not have been so helpless and he would have been free to do anything like the Almighty God and could not have felt the need of seeking the help of others. (Opening the Bible) Jesus Christ says: “Foras the Father has life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to exercise judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”[ John, 5 : 26-27.] That is even the life of Jesus Christ was not his own but given by God and it was He Who gave him authority to do justice. Without God’s grace he could not do even justice and the argument given was that Jesus was human and a human being could not do anything without the help of God. Christ also says: “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear I judge and my judgment is just.” [Ibid., 5:30] Further he said: “I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me.”[Ibid. 6:38] Thus it is proved that Christ was quite powerless like other men, and who is dependent on others cannot be God, and so Jesus also was not God.
Peter (to Michael): Do you see how unbending is this girl ? Muslims have taught her well to become so talkative. Now, can you believe that she will come to the right path? I think it is useless to have any further talk with her as she has lost faith and has become very disobedient.
Michael: I am also convinced that she is wholly under the control of Satan. (To Isabella 🙂 All the arguments produced by you have obvious replies and you have also read them in the lessons on theology. There are also other replies which you cannot understand at all. Now, instead of replying to you, I should like to hear your ideas so that we can come to the decision easily about you. You have clearly stated your views about the Divinity of Christ and Atonement. Now what have you to say further?
Isabella: I have neither denied the Bible nor Jesus Christ. But what I say is that, according to the teaching of the Bible, neither Christ is proved to be God, nor any basis of atonement. All this is the invention of Christians.
Michael: It means that all Christians are liars and all Christians have united against the Holy Bible. Accursed and hellish girl, if you cannot understand anything, just accept the judgment of your elders. Does your father, who is the head priest and has full authority to pardon sins, also consider these things wrong 7 Are all his popes, monks, Christian divines and savants of Christianity on the wrong path?
Isabella: Just as the Bible does not prove the Divinity of Christ and Atonement, in the same wav the Christianity of the so-called Christians of today is not established according to the Bible and so their opinions cannot be my guide.
Michael: Wonderful! That we are unreal and false Christians, and you are a real and true Christian. Unlucky girl, what has become of your senses? You have discarded even your elders. After all what is your proof that we are not true Christians?
Isabella: There is no reason for losing temper. The matter is quite obvious. If you could prove from the Bible that modern Christians are true Christians, then I will wholeheartedly accept their decision and will not press any argument against them from the Bible. So, you just prove from the Bible that Christians of today are true Christians.
Michael: There are Christians all over the world, and you say that they are not Christians according to the Bible. What is its proof? Is it not proof enough that we believe in the Bible, in the Divinity of Jesus and his crucifixion?
Isabella: Do not Muslims believe in the Bible? Can you call them Christians? As to believe in the Divinity of Christ and Atonement, it is not any argument for Christianity. On the other hand, it proves that such persons are not at all Christians as there is no trace of such beliefs in the Bible.
Peter : O worthless girl, why are you doubting our Christianity? If we are not Christians, then it is for you to give proof of true Christians. Just say where in the world do real and true Christians live.
Isabella : You may be as much angry as you like, but the truth cannot be concealed. If you want the proof from me, then I declare candidly that Christians of today are not at all followers of Christ, and who can be a true Christian I am prepared to prove from the Bible itself.
Michael: O accursed girl, why talk and talk? Why not come out with your proof?
Isabella : Well, then, listen. The signs of the true Christians are mentioned in the Bible as follows: “And these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” [Mark, 16 : 17-18.] At another place the sign of the believing Christian is stated as follows: “Then came the disciples to Jesus and said, Why could we not cast him [evil spirit] out ? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief, for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say upon this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place ; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” [Matthew. 17 : 19-20.]
Now, from these two passages of the Bible, the following six signs of Christians have been established:
(1) driving out evil spirits
(2) speaking new languages without learning them
(3)lifting up poisonous snakes
(4) taking the cup of poison without injury
(5) curing the sick by the touch of their hand and
(6) moving away mountains.
So, anyone who claims to be a Christian must first prove these six signs in him. You are also a Christian. Leave aside all the six signs and cure a sick man with your touch; mountain, of course, you cannot move. Here is just a stone; move it away only ten or twenty yards, so that your Christianity is proved by the Bible.
Michael: True, it is all in the Bible, but where is it written that anyone who is unable to do such miracles is not a Christian? Besides, all these signs are peculiar to Disciples and not to Christians in general
Isabella : Both these statements are wrong. The Bible clearly says that any Christian who has an atom of faith in him will move away the mountain by his bidding. It follows that anyone who has not even an atom of faith in him will not be able to move the mountain. Then it is also wrong to say that these signs are for the Disciples only as it is clearly said in the Bible that these miracles will be among the believers. If these signs are intended for the Disciples only, then belief is also for the Disciples only which means that no true Christian was born after the Disciples.
Peter: Unlucky girl, that is why I say that you cannot understand the mysteries and inner meanings of the Bible. Foolish girl, these miracles relate to spiritual matters, that is, by Illness is meant spiritual illness, poison means disbelief which means that Christians, even if they are attacked by unbelievers, will not degrade from faith and so on.
Isabella: Just think before you reply. You call me foolish; the cap may fit on you. Look, Jesus Christ says: “He that believeth on me the works that I do shall he do also.”[ John, 14 : 12.] If by miracles Is meant spiritual matters, then it will follow that Christ neither revived a dead, nor did he give sight to the blind, nor cured a sick, but he just cured spiritually dead, exorcised the evil spirits, and created in them the light of faith. But you people will never admit this interpretation about Christ. Then why do you concoct this new rule for others ? Christ said: “the works that I do,” so whatever he did and in whatever manner, believers should also do and in the same manner, otherwise they will not be believers.
Peter: It is difficult to make this unbelieving girl understand. Her remedy is not exhortation but the same punishment which the Inquisition decides (after whose decision the guilty is tied to the stock). (To Michael.) You turn her out of the house and tell holy father (the head priest) that she is past remedy and some other device must be adopted.
Michael and Peter then rose and went to another room and consulted among themselves. Michael’s daughter Mirano told Isabella to leave at once otherwise there might be trouble for her there. But it was agreed that Isabella and her friends must assemble at the famous garden of Cordova in the evening and think about the future. Isabella went out of Michael’s house and took the way to her home. But although she was going to her house her steps faltered and she pondered as to what was she going to meet at her home.
Anyhow she reached her home and, on the insistence of her mother, also ate something, but in the worried state of her mind she could not decide about her future and, waiting for the evening, she retired to her room. She looked at her library and other things and cast gloomy eyes at every corner of the house fearing that she might have to leave it. Who will use her things and read her books, she thought. So thinking she abruptly alerted and said: Let anyone live in this house and use my things and read my books. I was in search of truth, which I have got. My Allah has guided me. Thousands of thanks to Him Who has granted me the wealth of truth and nothing could be greater than it. Thousands of such houses may be sacrificed for the boon of Islam. So saying she fell down to prostrate and thank the Almighty Allah.