Strange Attributes of the New Testament “God”
An enquiry into Christian faith beyond mere humanization of God
The Qur’an does testify that the pagans of Mecca used to believe that it was Allah (SWT) who created everything that exists,
If thou ask them, who created them, they will certainly say, Allah:
Yet ironically in the same verse Allah (SWT) imputes them to have gone astray from the truth!
If thou ask them, who created them, they will certainly say, Allah: How then are they deluded away (from the Truth)? (Qur’an 43:87)
The pagans of Mecca even believed that it was Allah (SWT) who governed the universe,
And if indeed thou ask them who it is that sends down rain from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death, they will certainly reply, “Allah!” Say, “Praise be to Allah!” But most of them understand not. (Qur’an 29:63)
Yet noticeably Allah (SWT) disregards them by stating that they “understand not”. In other words, none of their aforementioned beliefs could make them monotheists; they were still condemned as “polytheists”. This was because although it is important that Allah (SWT) is to be accepted as the Creator, Sustainer etc it is, however, not enough!
To become believers of one True God it is important that God’s attributes be not violated, i.e., we should not assign the attributes of God to any of His creatures or vice-versa. This is extremely important to maintain Gods oneness of attributes. However, unfortunately, a lot of communities have stumbled upon this violation of God’s attributes including, sadly, Christianity.
Earlier we have documented how Christianity breached God’s attributes thereby violating monotheism itself. It was with regards to God’s humanization in the form of Jesus (peace be upon him). In this paper we would further continue beyond it.
Christians provide a number of explanations in defense of their incarnation theory. One of the leading amongst them is the Pauline passage that Jesus (peace be upon him) gave up his divine attributes to enter into humanity (c.f. Philippians 2: 6-8). Although humanization of God is open idolatry yet we are not concerned about it in this paper. We want to look beyond it into areas which are far grotesque than mere humanization!
It is interesting to note that John happens to be the only author amongst the gospel writers who has entitled Jesus (peace be upon him) as the “Lamb” (c.f. gospel of John 1: 29, 36); however, this usage of the title is figurative. Jesus (peace be upon him) is symbolized as the sacrificial animal or the “Lamb” to be slaughtered in commemoration of the Passover ritual of the Old Testament.
However, there is one more book in the New Testament attributed to “John” – the book of Revelation – which edifies that the title “Lamb” was not only figuratively used in the New Testament; it has plain literal meanings as well. In his fanciful “visions”, John goes overboard to portray Jesus (peace be upon him) as nothing less than a pagan mythical beast:
“Then I saw a Lamb standing in the centre of the throne, surrounded by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb appeared to have been killed.It had SEVEN HORNS AND SEVEN EYES, which are the seven spirits of God that have been sent throughout the whole earth. The Lamb went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sits on the throne. As he did so, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. They sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to break open its seals. For you were killed, and by your sacrificial death you bought for God people from every tribe, language, nation and race. You have made them a kingdom of priests to serve our God, and they shall rule on earth.” Again I looked, and I heard angels, thousands and millions of them! They stood round the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders, and sang in a loud voice:…The four living creatures answered, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshipped. ” (Revelation 5: 6-14)
Thus, in the book of Revelation, Jesus (peace be upon him) – the assumed “God” – is morphed from a human being to a weird “seven horned, seven eyed” beast. More interestingly, this mythical creature not just stands on the magnificent Throne of God but also receives “worship” by some of the best Christians!
Christians typically understood the verse to signify Christ’s (peace be upon him) perfect power and wisdom – omnipotence and omniscience. It is because horn and eye represent power and knowledge and seven of each adds to it their respective perfections:
Seven horns – As horn is the emblem of power, and seven the number of perfection, the seven horns may denote the all-prevailing and infinite might of Jesus Christ. He can support all his friends; he can destroy all his enemies; and he can save to the uttermost all that come unto God through him.
Seven eyes – To denote his infinite knowledge and wisdom: but as these seven eyes are said to be the seven Spirits of God, they seem to denote rather his providence, in which he often employs the ministry of angels; therefore, these are said to be sent forth into all the earth. See on Rev_1:4 (note). (Revelation 5:6, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible)
Christians might interpret seven horns and seven eyes to represent “God’s” divine power and knowledge; however, to any non-Christian monotheist these can only represent bestial (beast-like) qualities unjustly and blasphemously imputed upon God.
Furthermore, even if it be accepted for the sake of argument that horns and eyes represent some divine attribute, yet a number of other body parts of a “Lamb” cannot possibly represent any “divine” attribute of God!
It is unconceivable in any sensible monotheistic purview that God would transfigure into a mythical “Lamb” and grow horns – in fact seven of them – and seven eyes and stand on the Throne of God with his neck slit and blood oozing out. Given this grotesque portrayal of New Testament “God”, how feasible is it that this was the same “God” which was worshipped by Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others (peace be upon them all)?
New Testament’s portrayal of God as animals has not yet ended. Since the gospels, very famously, has portrayed the third person of the Christian godhead – the Holy Ghost – as a “dove”:
And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (Luke 3:22, King James Version)
On the foregoing, qualified Bible expositor J.P. Lange makes some very intriguing remarks:
In a bodily shape, like a dove.—The mention of the dove by all the four Evangelists, plainly shows, that the descent of the Spirit was usually compared, by the Baptist who saw it, and afterwards by those who related it, to the descent of a dove. It is, however, by no means necessary to infer, from the σωματικὸν εἶδος of Luke, the actualform of a dove. Luke does not say, σωματικῷ εἴδει περιστερᾶς, but ὡς περιστεράν. By supposing a ray of light to have descended from the opened heaven, gently, swiftly, and evenly, like the downward flight of a dove, and to have shone around the head of the praying Saviour for some space of time, we escape MANY DIFFICULTIES, and obtain a representation BEAUTIFUL in itself, and becoming the divine majesty. It is by no means proved, that the dove was, in the days of Jesus, regarded by the Jews as an emblem of the Holy Spirit. The very shy nature of the dove renders it difficult to conceive its descending from heaven, and abiding on a newly baptized person, even in a vision. And if ancient Christian art, exchanging the figure for the fact, constantly introduced a visible dove into every representation of the baptism, it is only probable that this UNAESTHETIC treatment was the result of an EXEGETICAL ERROR. Our view also will satisfactorily explain why Justin Martyr (Dial. cum Tryph. c. 88), as well as the Gospel of the Hebrews (Epiphanius, Hœres. xxx. 13), mentions a vivid ray of light as suddenly surrounding the banks of Jordan. By a very natural symbolism, light was regarded by the Jews as an emblem of the Divinity; and we can see no reason why the descent of a ray of light should not also have been compared to the descent of a dove. (Luke 3:22, Lange Commentary by J. P. Lange)
Notice that commentator Lange is not willing to admit, unlike other Bible commentators like Robertson (c.f. Robertson’s Word Picture) [1.], that the “divine God” took the form of a “dove”. For Lange, it is not “necessary” that whatever descended had “the actual form of a dove”! In fact Lange provides his reasons why “dove” should not represent Holy Spirit. For this reason he is even willing to deem traditional and historical church practice as an “exegetical error”. And we must understand Lange’s tacit uneasiness to accept the more obvious meaning of the statements!
In fact, it is for obvious idolatrous issues that Lange is more willing to accept “descent of ray of light” in place of a “dove”! Lange has very expressly indicated that he has no problems in accepting the descent of a “ray of light” (not a “dove”) upon Jesus (peace be upon him) since “light was regarded by the Jews as an emblem of the Divinity”; unlike this, “It is by no means proved, that the dove was, in the days of Jesus, regarded by the Jews as an emblem of the Holy Spirit.” And therefore, rather than accepting the obvious imports of Luke’s statement which is corroborated by all other gospels (c.f. Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, John 1:32), Lange chooses to go by the views of mere church father Justin Martyr and a book – Gospel of Hebrews – which he himself rejects as apocryphal! [This creates another problem that the traditional Christian understand of Holy Ghost’s transformation into a dove is not supported by one of the earliest “apostolic” father!]
Lange rather candidly admits why he chose Justin Martyr and the Gospel of Hebrews to the views of the “inspired” author(s) Luke. It was because, “By supposing a ray of light to have descended from the opened heaven, gently, swiftly, and evenly, like the downward flight of a dove, and to have shone around the head of the praying Saviour for some space of time, we escape many difficulties, and obtain a representation beautiful in itself, and becoming the divine majesty.”
It must be enquired as to why Lange faced “difficulties” when Holy Ghost – the “God” – was represented as a “dove”? Why this representation of “God” as “dove” was not “beautiful” enough for Lange but an “unaesthetic treatment”? The answer is quite obvious. No claimant of monotheism can easily accept his/her God be represented as a “dove” without finding other “explanations” out of it! And so Lange “explained”, strangely enough, that the descent of the ray of light is represented by the descent of a dove! Lange is very strangely contended enough to relate the hovering of a dove to the straight downward descent of a ray of light; and we must understand this phenomenon!
There can be one more reason why Lange finds it unpalatable to represent Holy Ghost as “dove”. It was traditionally of Satan – the first time ever, even before God – to turn into animals for achieving objectives:
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (Genesis 3:1-4, King James Version)
Just like the Holy Ghost was not initially a “dove” in the same way biblical Satan was not really a “serpent”; it was a “Dragon”. The book of Revelation illustrates us on it:
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (Revelation 20:2)
And subsequently, using animal transformations as apparatus, which is a satanicmodus operandi, could have troubled Lange to impute the same on his “God”!
Allah (SWT) has declared the following warning about the sin of polytheism (Arabic. Shirk – associating partners with God) very precisely in the Qur’an:
Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed. (Qur’an 4:48)
If associating partners with Allah (SWT) is unpardonable sin then how saved are the Christians who ascribe bestial attributes to God. It comes extremely unpleasant and grotesque to accept that the “God” of “monotheists” would stand on the Throne with the appearance of a “Lamb” with seven horns protruding his head and an equal number of eyes, and a bleeding neck for people to prostrate “worship” it! How would a “jealous” God (c.f. Exodus 34:14) react when he comes to know that He was compared to a mere “Lamb”, albeit, seven-horned and seven-eyed and a “dove”!
Yet if Christians are still monotheists by believing in multiple animal-like “Gods” then we would have to justify why pagans are pagans for their belief. A lot of pagan cults have mythical beasts as their gods and this should not, at least, differentiate them from those who call themselves “Christians”!
That is why we adjure our Christian brethren to consider this paper beyond mere apologetics. We request you earnestly to have a talk with yourselves as to how correct is the belief wherein one of the gods of the Trinitarian godhead is said to look like a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes and a bleeding neck and otherone resembles a dove! If you are true to yourself then you would agree that there are gross and colossal issues herein with the Trinitarian brand of “monotheism” and that such a description of God can only come out as figments of mere human imagination with nothing divine “inspiration” behind it. Will it then be not be much safer to follow the following Qur’anic injunctions?
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (Qur’an 112:4)
(He is) the Creator of the heavens and the earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves, and pairs among cattle: by this means does He multiply you: there is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). (Qur’an 42:11)
[1.] In a bodily form (sōmatikōi eidei). Alone in Luke who has also “as a dove” (hōs peristeran) like Matthew and Mark. This probably means that the Baptist saw the vision that looked like a dove. Nothing is gained by denying the fact or possibility of the vision that looked like a dove. God manifests his power as he will. The symbolism of the dove for the Holy Spirit is intelligible. (Luke 3:22, Robertson’s Word Picture)
- All Qur’anic texts taken from Yusuf Ali Translation.
- Unless otherwise mentioned, all biblical texts taken from Good News Edition.
- We apologize if this paper has offended any sincere Christian believer. It was never our intention to hurt any feelings or jeer any belief. We respect your choices. Nevertheless, we quoted passages which are already registered in the Bible and made our arguments on it.