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Thomas is misunderstood  in verse John 20:28:

From Sheikh Ahmed Deedat's work; may Allah Almighty always be pleased with him:

It is often claimed that since Thomas referred to Jesus as "My God, my Lord (John 20:28)," that Jesus was God. An ignorance of the context of the verse and of Christian doctrine prompts this claim.  The context of the verse talks about an unbelieving Thomas being surprised when Jesus offers him evidence.
The exclamation, "My God," on his part was just astonishment. We use such exclamations everyday while talking to people. This doesn't mean that the person we are talking to is God. For example, I see John cutting his wrist with a Rambo knife. I say: "My God, John what are you doing?" Do I mean that John is God? Of course not. Similar is the use of the expression by Thomas. If you go into Jewish or Muslim societies even today, you'll hear people exclaim "My God, my Lord," at every situation which surprises them or causes them anguish or is astonishing.  In the verse above Thomas says: "My God, my Lord." He was not claiming that Jesus was his (1) God and (2) Lord. If he did then the church and the disciples should have stamped him as a heretic right there and then.  Because claiming that Jesus is Lord and God is a violation of Christian doctrine, which asserts that there is One God, the Father and One Lord, Jesus. Jesus can't be God and Lord.  "...yet for us there is but one God, the Father...and one Lord, Jesus Christ ...(I Corinthians 8:6)".  Believing the above (i.e Jesus is Lord and God) would leave a person with unorthodox doctrine branded by the church as Sabellianism, Patripassianism, Monarchianism.


Further from Muslim-SA: John 20:28

"Then saith he (Jesus) to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God."

Once again, when I was first quoted this verse, I immediately thought that I had at long last found my elusive goal. Finally, I had found a verse that explicitly claims that Jesus "is" God. However, it was not long after that, upon further research into Christian theological literature, I once again would come to find that the true meaning of this verse was quite different than what a casual glance might have me believe.

This verse is at best an example of an "implicit" affirmation of a "Duality." This is because this verse appears to imply that Thomas thought that Jesus was God Almighty. The words are those of Thomas and not Jesus. However, there are a number of problems with interpreting this verse to mean that Jesus is God.

Firstly, the phrase "Thomas answered" is somewhat misleading since nowhere before this verses was Thomas asked a question. Thomas' words could more appropriately be referred to as an "outburst" or an "exclamation." This is indeed why most translations of the Bible (excluding the King James Version) follow this exclamation with an "exclamation mark" as follows: "And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God !"

Christian scholars such as Theodore of Mopsuestia (c.350-428), the Bishop of Mopsuestia, interpreted this verse to not be directed at Jesus but at God "the Father." Thus, it is similar in meaning to our modern exclamations of surprise "My God!" or "My Lord!." In other words, this was an outburst designed to display surprise and disbelief rather than an affirmation that Jesus was in fact God "the Father."

Secondly, the word translated in this verse as "God" is indeed the Greek "Ho theos" (The God), and not "theos" (divine). However, when studying the history of this verse in the ancient Biblical manuscripts from which our modern Bibles have been compiled we find an interesting fact, specifically, that the ancient Biblical manuscripts themselves are not in agreement as to the correct form of this word. For example, the codex Bezae (or codex D) is a fifth century manuscript containing Greek and Latin texts of the Gospels and Acts, which was discovered in the 16th century by Theodore Beza in a monastery in Lyon. The predecessor of the codex Bezae and other church manuscripts do not contain the article "Ho" ("THE") in their text (The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, Bart D. Ehrman, p. 266). What this means is that this verse in it's original form, if it is to be understood to be addressing Jesus (pbuh) himself, only addresses him as "divine" and not as the "Almighty God." Thus, it is similar in meaning to the meaning conveyed when prophet Moses is described as being a "god" in Exodus 7:1 (or when all Jews are described as being "gods" in Psalms 82:6, or when the devil is described as god in 2 Corinthians 4:4), effectively reducing the exclamation of Thomas, if it were indeed directed to Jesus, to "My lord the divine!," or "my divine lord!"

For a Muslim the matter is simple. The Qur'an very explicitly states that Jesus was not forsaken by God to the Jews to be crucified, rather "it was made to appear so to them." So the claim that Jesus came to Thomas and asked him to witness the imprint of the nail in his hand and the spear in his side is, for a Muslim, clear evidence that this whole episode was a fabrication and later insertion. However, since a Muslim's claim in this regard would not be regarded as authoritative unbiased proof in this matter, therefore, it is necessary to use a little logic to arrive at the truth.

Since we now have on our hands a dispute between the ancient Biblical manuscripts themselves as to what Thomas actually said, therefore, let me pose this very simple request. Please get out a pencil and a piece of paper, stop reading this book for the moment, and in your own words, please write down in about twenty words, very concisely but as directly as possible, what is the foremost obvious conclusion you are able to draw from Thomas' outburst. Study your words carefully and write them down as if your very life and the salvation of thousands of generations depend on what you are about to say. Make it clear and to the point. Have you finished?. Okay, let us continue.

Let us now compare what you have just written with what the actual author of this Gospel had written when faced with the same requirements I have just presented you with. If we were to continue reading from this same Gospel of John, we will find that immediately following this discourse between Jesus and Thomas depicted by the author of "John," the same author of "John" goes on to write:

"And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

John 20:30-31

If the author of John had recognized Thomas' words to be a testimony that "Jesus is God" and if the author interpreted Jesus' silence to be his approval of this claimed testimony, then John would have written "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Almighty God" and not "that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ..." (For an explanation of the terms "son of God" and "Christ" please read sections, and which are coming up soon).

To make this matter clearer let us first remember that Christian scholars tell us that the disciples did not fully comprehend who Jesus "was" until after the resurrection. They admit that the Trinity was not "fully" incorporated into Christianity until three hundred years after the departure of Jesus (see rest of chapter one). However, they then point to this verse in order to exhibit to us how in the end the "true" nature of Jesus was made clear to the apostles. Now, we need to ask, what is the single most important piece of information we have just learned from Thomas' outburst? What is the single most glaring, obvious, and outstanding, piece of information we have learned from this statement? Any random missionary would tell us that it is the fact that "Jesus is God!" In other words, the disciples have just spent many years with Jesus learning from him, following him, obeying him, and preaching his message. Suddenly he is allegedly taken away, crucified, buried, and then he is resurrected. Now Thomas sees him and according to the testimony of "John," he realizes that Jesus is "God the Father" who has come down to earth to walk among us. So what would we logically expect to be the foremost topic of most urgent and critical concern in the eyes of the author of "John"? Obviously, it should be the instillation within us of the "fact" that "Jesus is the 'incarnation' of God Almighty!" Does this not stand to reason? Why then does the author now casually disregard such an earth shattering observation and choose to simply return to describing Jesus with the benign terms of "son of God" and "Messiah/Christ"(see sections, and Did the author of this book not make the connection which we have just made? Did the author of "John" have less understanding of what he was writing than us? Think about it.

Furthermore, some Christian scholars believe that the whole episode of "doubting Thomas" is a later "insertion." "The Five Gospels" mark this passage as being a complete fabrication and not the word of Jesus (pbuh).

There are a number of other verses which could be brought up in this comparison, however, the ones just quoted are the strongest and most often quoted verses. A number of other verses that are brought up in such discussions shall be dealt with in chapter 1.2.3 since they are more directly applicable to the concept of the divinity of Jesus or the claim that he is the physical/begotten son of God than they are to the discussion of the Trinity.

Last modified: Sun Nov 17 01:58:07 EST 1996






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