Debate on the topic, "Is Jesus God?" between Saaib Ahmed and Melanie Zens.

Format: 


1. Opening statement by P1. (1500 Words)
2. Opening statement and rebuttal by P2. (2500 Words)
3. Counter rebuttal by P1. (2000 Words)
4. Response by P2. (3000 Words)
5. Response by P1. (2000 Words)
6. Conclusions published same date. (1500 words).


Introducing Melanie Zens: Melanie Zens is a non-denominational Christian. She has been a Christian for more than a decade now and for the same time she has been studying religion also. She is researching Quran also and the best part of it is that she is learning Arabic to comprehend and memorise Quran properly. She is also learning Greek which she requires for NT studies. She is not a staunch critique of Islam or its prophet. She takes a moderate approach between two extremes. She believes that Jesus came to earth in a human body, his human body was killed, and Jesus himself as a spirit went to sheol. He then rose back into his body and sent his disciples out to preach the Gospel to the whole world and then he ascended into heaven. She believes God created people for the purpose of serving, worshiping, and personally coming to know him.

Melanie Zens' Opening Statement.

Today I will attempt to show from scripture that Jesus is in fact part of the 1 true and eternal God of the universe. I will first briefly address the question of why Jesus never said the words, “I am God”, and then leave any further objections to Jesus' divinity to be presented by my opponent.

First let me say that stating “Jesus never said 'I am God'” doesn't immediately end the debate. In stating this, a person is setting the criterion for how God must present himself to mankind. This makes it so that if Jesus communicates very clearly in another way that he is God (and he does) you can say, “but he didn't say the way I want, so I don't have to take into account any of the other stuff he said about his divinity.” It puts the person in denial of Jesus' divinity in a very convenient position.

But I still haven't explained why Jesus didn't say those 3 words. Why not just be exceedingly clear and say it like that? Well, I hope to show that Jesus is exceedingly clear about his divinity, even without saying the 3 “magic words”. Secondly, the reason Jesus may not have said it like this is because this is not the way Jesus appears to communicate. You can search through the Gospels, and you will notice that Jesus also never says, “I am the Messiah” even when directly asked this question by the Jews! When asked by a formerly blind man whom he had healed, who the Messiah was, Jesus didn't answer, “I am the Messiah”, he answered, “You have seen him, in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” When told by the Jews that if he is the Messiah he should tell them plainly, Jesus does not answer, “Yes, I am the Messiah.” He answers, “I did tell you, but you did not listen.” Jesus does not communicate in a direct way that some people prefer. Does this mean that Jesus is not clear in his speech? Not at all. Jesus is very clear in communicating that he is the Messiah, and that he is God. But he doesn't do it in an, “I am this, I am that” way. And that is why people cannot set the criteria for how Jesus must reveal himself, but they must look at all of the evidence and decide for themselves if what was said by Jesus shows that he is God.

That stated, I will now present the verses which show that Jesus is God:

Matthew 28:18 - “Then Jesus came to them and said: 'All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me.'”

This verse has extraordinary implications. A point which I think most Muslims will be able to agree on is that only God can be in charge of everything. It seems only conceivable that God and God alone can have all authority on heaven and on earth. He possesses all knowledge and all power of both of these natural and supernatural realms. Who else could handle this authority of God's?

John 5:22-23 - “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.”

There are actually 2 things to point out in this verse. First, the Father has entrusted all judgment to the Son, judging being another thing only God can rightly do as he is sinless and omniscient. A sinful person cannot exact judgment on another sinful person as this is the guilty punishing the guilty, and all have sinned and come short of God's glory. Omniscience is also key, as only an omniscient being can truly understand each person's situation and rightly judge. And yet judgment is handed over to Jesus, necessitating that Jesus is himself sinless.
The second thing that should be pointed out, is that Jesus is saying the Son shall be honored just as the Father is honored. A prophet, a creation of God, is to be honored as God is honored?

John 10:30 - “I and the Father are one.”

This is the obvious verse to quote, I believe most have come across it from time to time. The doctrine of the Trinity is that God is 3 in 1, like a family of 3 members would be still considered 1 family. And I believe this doctrine is based off of this verse (and verses like it) in which Jesus states that he is 1 with God.

Luke 4:8 - “Jesus answered, “It is written: 'Worship the Lord and serve him only.'”

Most would quote this verse as evidence against Jesus being God, but I quote it to show to a greater extant the significance of these verses:

Matthew 28:9 - “Suddenly, Jesus appeared to them and said, 'Greetings!' They came to him, clasped his feet, and worshiped him.”
John 9:35-39 - “Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him he said, 'Do you believe in the Son of man?'
'Who is he sir?' the man asked, 'Tell me so that I may believe in him.'
Jesus said, 'You have seen him, in fact, he is the one speaking with you.'
'Lord, I believe' the man said. And he worshiped him.”

So back in Luke 4:8 Jesus said God alone is to be worshiped. And here he allows himself to be worshiped. Muslims will point out that Jesus never says “worship me”. That's true, and if he did he may be regarded as someone only doing miracles so that he may be worshiped. Had he requested that people worship him it probably would have seriously detracted from his ministry. However we see here clearly, that although Jesus directly states only God should be worshiped, he allows himself to be worshiped. It is abundantly clear from the gospels then, that Jesus truly believes he is God.

John 10:34 – “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, 'I have said you are “gods”'? If he called them 'gods,' to whom the word of god came – and the scripture cannot be set aside – what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'”?”

This is another one that is often cited as evidence against Jesus being God, because Jesus says that others have been called “gods”. Here though, what Jesus is saying is that, if God can say Moses has been made a god to Pharaoh, how much more ought he be called God? Jesus is thus saying he is far more entitled to be called God than Moses. Had these words come from the mouth of any person but God himself, we would regard them as a terrible and arrogant prophet.

Matthew 23:34 - “Therefore, I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify, other you will flog in your synagogues and pursue them from town to town.”

Here, Jesus says that HE sends prophets. I believe every Muslim will agree that only God sends prophets, no one else.

Matthew 28:19 - “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

Here is another verse from which the doctrine of the Trinity is derived. Why would one be baptized in the name of a prophet as well as God? Since one needs baptism in order to enter heaven (Mark 16:16) then one needs Jesus in order to enter heaven. Muslims agree that people needed Jesus, in their time, as one would need any prophet, but this verse would mean that one always needs Jesus in order to enter heaven, regardless of the time period they live in.
Another interesting fact about this verse is that, although 3 names are given, the verse says one must be baptized in the "name" of God, not "names", meaning that these 3 belong under 1 name, the name of God.

This will conclude my opening statement. We have seen clearly that Jesus claims to have authority and positions that only God can have. We have seen he taught only God ought to be worshiped, and yet he allows worship. He is necessary for salvation. He claims to be one with the Father. And he claims he has more right to the title of God than does Moses. Just as Jesus was very clear in communicating that he was the Messiah without saying any special phrase, so is he clear in communicating his divinity.

Thank you for reading, God bless.

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