God in Jesus in the Gospel of John

I’m on holiday in Yorkshire, so I haven’t posted for the last couple of days. I’m not supposed to be thinking about work, but my mind keeps going back to the great discussion I mentioned in the comments in my last post. In the book, Life Conquers Death, John Arnold mentions surmises that because the authorities knew Jesus meant it when he said he is God that’s why they killed him (this is in keeping with his argument that Jesus died because the people killed him out of their righteous indignation at a God who would make a world in which they could sin).

Leaving alone that last part for a while, I’m still thinking about whether or not people knew that Jesus was God (not that he was claiming to be God, but that they knew he is God). I didn’t understand where Arnold gets that. I admit that I do not know the Gospel of John. If it isn’t blasphemous to say, John is my least favourite Gospel. I told my Disciple class that John always seemed to be a little too ‘new age-y’ for me, especially compared to the synoptic gospels (Luke has become my favourite). Anyway, with this in mind I have always taken the view that Jesus was killed as a political threat to Caesar (and derivatively, the authorities of the Jewish leaders). I had assumed that’s the case in John, too. But at the discussion Sunday night, when I brought up my doubts about Arnold’s exegesis, someone said, ‘Well, they couldn’t find anything wrong in him – that’s how they would have known.’ It hit me, that makes sense. It makes sense that whoever wrote the Gospel of John may very well have meant to convey that those who killed Jesus knew he was God. Someone else in the discussion group went on to say that is why the people saw the light, but they loved darkness more. Why would they be trying to hide from the light if they didn’t believe it was the light, so to speak? For John’s gospel, this definately makes sence (though wouldn’t fit at all for, say, Mark’s gospel in which Jesus is trying to carry on in the mode of secrecy).

These thoughts are a little disjointed, but then again I’m on holiday. I will be thinking about this more, especially as I would like to study John more.

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One thought on “God in Jesus in the Gospel of John

  1. Who is Allaah?

    by Abu Iman Robert Squires

    Some of the biggest misconceptions that many have about Islam have to
    do with the word “Allah”. Somehow, many people have come to believe
    that Muslims worship a different God than Christians and Jews. This is
    totally false, since “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “God” – and
    there is only One God. Let there be no doubt – Muslims worship the God
    of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus – peace be upon them all.
    However, it is certainly true that Jews, Christians and Muslims all
    have different concepts of Almighty God. For example, Muslims – like
    Jews – reject the Christian beliefs of the Trinity and the Divine
    Incarnation. This, however, doesn’t mean that each of these three
    religions worships a different God – because, as we have already said,
    there is only One True God. Islam teaches, however, that other
    religions have, in one way or another, distorted and nullified a pure
    and proper belief in Almighty God by neglecting His true teachings and
    mixing them with man-made ideas.

    It is important to note that “Allah” is the same word that
    Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an
    Arabic Bible, you will see the word “Allah” being used where “God” is
    used in English. “Allah” is the only word in the Arabic language
    equivalent to the English word “God” with a capital “G”. It should be
    noted, however, that in Arabic, “Allah” is a somewhat unique word
    grammatically, since it cannot be made plural or given gender (i.e.
    masculine or feminine), which goes hand-in-hand with the Islamic
    concept of God. The root word “god” in English, for instance, can be
    used in similiar forms, such as “gods”, “God” or “goddess”, all with
    different connotations and meanings. Because of this, and also because
    the Qur’an, which is the holy scripture of Muslims, was revealed in
    the Arabic language, some Muslims use the word “Allah” for “God”, even
    when they are speaking other languages. In English, the only
    difference between “god”, meaning a false god, and “God”, meaning the
    One True God, is the capital “G”. In Arabic alphabet, since it does
    not have capital letters, the word for God (i.e. Allah) is formed by
    adding the equivalent to the English word “the” (Al-) to the Arabic
    word for “god/God” (ilah). So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it
    means “The God” – the “Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same
    function as the capital “G” in English. Due to the above mentioned
    facts, a more accurate translation of the word “Allah” into English
    might be “The One -and-Only God” or “The One True God”.

    This brings us to a more important point: It should be clearly
    understood that what Islam is primarily concerned with is correcting
    mankind’s concept of Almighty God. What we are ultimately going to be
    held accountable at the end of our life is not whether we prefer the
    word “Allah” over the word “God”, but what our concept of God is.
    Language is only a side issue. A person can have an incorrect concept
    of God while using the word “Allah”, and likewise a person can have a
    correct concept of God while using the word “God”. This is because
    both of these words are equally capable of being misused and being
    improperly defined. As we’ve already mentioned, using the word “Allah”
    no more insinuates belief in the Unity of God than the use of the word
    “God” insinuates belief in the Trinity – or any other theological
    opinion. Naturally, when God sends a revelation to mankind through a
    prophet, He is going to send it in a language that the people who
    receive it can understand and relate to.

    Almighty God makes this clear in the Qur’an, when He states:

    “Never did We send a Messenger except (to teach) in the language of
    his (own) people in order to make (things) clear to them”. –

    From the Holy Qur’an, Chapter 14 – “Abraham”, Verse 4

    As Muslims, we think that it is unfortunate that we have to go into
    details on such seemingly minor issues, but so many falsehoods have
    been heaped upon our religion, that we feel that it is our duty to try
    to break down the barriers of falsehood. This isn’t always easy, since
    there is a lot of anti-Islamic literature in existence which tries to
    make Islam look like something strange and foreign to Westerners.
    There are some people out there, who are obviously not on the side of
    truth, that want to get people to believe that “Allah” is just some
    Arabian “god”, and that Islam is completely “other” – meaning that it
    has no common roots with the other Abrahamic religions (i.e.
    Christianity and Judaism). To say that Muslims worship a different
    “God” because they say “Allah” is just as illogical as saying that
    French people worship another God because they use the word “Dieu”,
    that Spanish-speaking people worship a different God because they say
    “Dios” or that the Hebrews worshipped a different God because they
    sometimes call Him “Yahweh”. Certainly, reasoning like this is quite
    ridiculous! It should also be mentioned, that claiming that any one
    language uses the only the correct word for God is tantamount to
    denying the universality of God’s message to mankind, which was to all
    nations, tribes and people through various prophets who spoke
    different languages.

    It is interesting to note that the Aramaic word “El”, which is the
    word for God in the language that Jesus spoke, is certainly more
    similar in sound to the word “Allah” than the English word “God”!
    Also, the various Hebrew words for God are “El” and “Elah”, and its
    plural form is “Elohim”. It should also be noted that in translating
    the Bible into English, the Hebrew word “El” is translated variously
    as “God”, “god” and “angel”! This imprecise language allows different
    translators, based on their preconceived notions, to translate the
    word to fit their own views.

    Even more interesting is the fact that some Christian missionary
    organisations print English literature intended to teach Christians
    about Islam in which say such things as: “Allah is the god of the
    Muslims” and that “Muhammad came to get people to believe in the god
    Allah” – implying that “Allah” is some sort of false “god”. However,
    in their literature that they make in Arabic, hoping to lead Arabic
    speaking people “to Christ”, they use the word “Allah” for God. It
    seems that if they were on the side of truth, they would not have to
    resort to such inconsistencies.

    There are also missionary organisations that exceed this in ignorance
    by writing pamphlets that call on Muslims to give up their belief in
    “Allah”, and instead worship the “Lord” Jesus, “the Son of God”.
    Besides making it abundantly clear that they are outside the community
    of Pure Monotheism, the people who write such material don’t even
    realise that if they wrote such a pamphlet in Arabic, it would be
    self-contradictory. This is because in an Arabic Bible Jesus is the
    “Son of Allah”! If an Arabic-speaking person gave up the worship of
    “Allah”, they would have no God to worship, since “Allah” is simply
    the Arabic word for God!

    Before we conclude, however, we would like to ask our readers to ask
    themselves what they think the reasons are behind all of these lies?
    If Islam was just some false religion that didn’t make any sense,
    would so many people, from Western scholars to Christian missionaries,
    have to tell so many lies about it? The reason is that the Ultimate
    Truth of Islam stands on solid ground and its unshakeable belief in
    the Unity of God is above reproach. Due to this, Christians can’t
    criticise its doctrines directly, but instead make up things about
    Islam that aren’t true so that people lose the desire to learn more.
    If Muslims were able to present Islam in the proper way to people in
    the West, it surely might make many people reconsider and re-evaluate
    their own beliefs. It is quite likely that Christians, when they find
    out that there is a universal religion in the world that teaches
    people to worship and love God, while also practising Pure Monotheism,
    would at least feel that they should re-examine the basis for their
    own beliefs and doctrines.

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