Counter Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun: Is the Holy Spirit Omniscient? - Part 1.

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Counter Rebuttal to Sam Shamoun

Is the Holy Spirit Omniscient?

Abdullah Smith

[Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV] [Part V]

 

 

Shamoun wrote an article on the Holy Spirit:

http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/q_spirit_omniscient.htm

I responded to his article:

http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/holy_spirit.htm

He responded back:

http://answering-islam.org.uk/Responses/Osama/smith_mixed_bag.htm

 

HE WROTE:

Angels are spirits, therefore a spirit is an angel. Similarly, lions are cats, therefore the pet sleeping on Aunt Sally's porch is a lion, according to the logic of Abdullah Smith. Smith writes complete nonsense, and Osama Abdallah publishes it without even blinking an eye.

Smith has erroneously assumed that ALL spirits are angels, but even here he is aware of just how weak his position is since he mentions the fact that God himself is called Spirit. Yet Smith tries to escape the logical absurdity of his position by saying that even though God is called Spirit it doesn’t mean that he is an angel. But logically Smith has put himself in a predicament since his argument results in the following absurdity:

  1. Angels are spirits.
  2. God is Spirit.
  3. Therefore, God is an angel.

 

RESPONSE:

 

Shamoun has misunderstood the fact that angels are spiritual beings; therefore angels are spirits and vice versa, because they are metaphysical beings made of light, so consistently angels are spirits created by God, they are different from the spirit which God breathes into human beings, it becomes conscience after death and returns to God. The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach, the Arabic is rooh. The Hebrew word for soul is nefesh, and the Arabic is nafs.  Obviously, the “soul” and “spirit” are the same, but angels are not human spirits, they are ones who take our spirits at death, (Angel of Death), they are a different species altogether.

 

My point is the Bible shows that angels are spirits but GOD is the Highest spirit, the creator of the spirits, and we don’t need evidence to substantiate it.

 

There are only two passages in the Bible that identify angels as spirits (Ps. 104:3, Heb. 1:14), now if we apply these verses to the Holy Spirit, there is complete harmony, the Holy Spirit (pneuma) is an angel, he is the chosen leader of the angels to God’s prophets and messengers, yet the Bible says that Cyrus the pagan was inspired, and so was Balaam, by the Spirit, and they were not prophets!

 

Let us quote the verses that speak of angels as spirits:

Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. (Psalms 104:3-5)

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

We find there is no reason not to apply these verses to the Holy Spirit. The Psalm is stating that God “maketh angels as spirits” and Hebrews says that angels “are sent to those who will inherit salvation” which denotes the role of the Holy Spirit.   

 

So the Holy Spirit does not know the day when Christ returns (Matt. 24:36) and is not omniscient.

 

 

HE WROTE:

Since Smith himself realized just how futile this argument is he has helped us to expose why it is simply fallacious due to the fact that not all spirits are angels.

Moreover, the Holy Scriptures teach that not every angel is necessarily a spirit since human beings are also called angels such as the disciples of John the Baptist:

"The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ … When John's angels (angelon ioannou) had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?’" Luke 7:18-19, 24

Thus, we have seen that according to the Bible that there are spirit beings who are not angels, e.g. God (John 4:24) and the Holy Spirit (this will be discussed further in this paper), and there are entities which are called angels but they are not spirits, e.g. the human messengers in Luke 7:24.

 

RESPONSE:

 

Shamoun is very ignorant of the interpretation of this verse; the word “angels” is denoting the Essenes, a secret Jewish sect. The word “angels” is metaphorically used to describe their white garments.  

 

The Church father Hippolytus records the Essenes:

 

And they despise wealth, and do not turn away from sharing their goods with those that are destitute. No one amongst them, however, enjoys a greater amount of riches than another. For a regulation with them is, that an individual coming forward to join the sect must sell his possessions, and present the price of them to the community. And on receiving the money, the head of the order distributes it to all according to their necessities. Thus there is no one among them in distress. And they do not use oil, regarding it as a defilement to be anointed. And there are appointed overseers, who take care of all things that belong to them in common, and they all appear always in white clothing. (2)

 

The website Answers.com  describes the Essenes:

 

Essenes: members of a small Jewish religious order, originating in the 2d cent. B.C. The chief sources of information about the Essenes are Pliny the Elder, Philo's Quod omnius probus liber, Josephus' Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews, and (possibly) the Dead Sea Scrolls. The sect consisted of adult males and celibacy was encouraged. The Essenes lived as a highly organized community that held possessions in common. Ceremonial purity entailed scrupulous cleanliness, the wearing of only white garments, and the most strict observance of the Sabbath. (1)

 

The followers of John were Essenes, and John himself was an Essene!

 

Although from a priestly family, John never served as a priest, nor a scribe, Pharisee or Sadducee. John began a preparatory ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius, AD 26 or 27, there was reason to think it was a Sabbatical year. His name the "Baptist" may be the Greek equivalent of an Essene bather. He may have grown up with the Essenes in the desert after his aged parents, Zacharias and Elisabeth died. (2)

 

The most authentic reading of Luke 7:24 is the KJV, and the word “angels” is absent from the text:

 

And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? (7:24)

 

Most translations of the Bible carry the word “messengers”

 

After John's messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? (New International Version)

 

When the messengers of John had left, He began to speak to the crowds about John, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? (New American Standard Bible)

 

After John's messengers left to make their report, Jesus said more about John to the crowd of people. "What did you expect when you went out to see him in the wild? A weekend camper? (The Message version)

 

And the messengers of John having departed, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: What did you go out into the desert to gaze on? A reed shaken and swayed by the wind? (Amplified Bible)

 

After THEY left, Jesus talked to the crowd about John. "Who is this man in the wilderness that you went out to see? Did you find him weak as a reed, moved by every breath of wind? (New Living Translation)

 

When John's messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? (English Standard version)

 

 

The Greek word used in Luke 7:24 is Aggelos

Strong’s Number: 32

Transliterated Word:

Aggelos 

Phonetic

ang'-el-os 

Definition:  a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God

(online Source)

The disciples of John were simply messengers; they are called “angels” because they dressed in white garments.

How do we know the original reading was Aggelos?

"The original copies of the NT books have, of course, long since disappeared. This fact should not cause surprise. In the first place, they were written on papyrus, a very fragile and perishable material. In the second place, and probably of even more importance, the original copies of the NT books were not looked upon as scripture by those of the early Christian communities." [George Arthur Buttrick (Ed.), The Interpreter's Dictionary Of The Bible, Volume 1, pp. 599 (Under Text NT)]


The Gospels were altered in the year 506 CE

Victor Tununenis, an African bishop of the sixth century, wrote a chronicle ending at the year 566. It records that in the year 506 at Constantinople, by order of Emperor Anastasius, “the holy Gospels were censured and corrected”. One of the Church Fathers, a Bishop Dionysius, complained that even his own writings “had been falsified by apostles of the devil”. No wonder, he added “that the Scriptures too were falsified by such persons”. Even Origen had noted that already the differences between copies of the Gospels in his day were “considerable”, partly because of the carelessness of individual scribes but also partly because of the impious audacity of “those who added or removed what seemed good to them in the work of ‘correction’. (Tom Harper, The Pagan Christ, p. 53)

Possibly, the scribes applied the word Aggelos to the disciples of John, just because John himself was an Essene; his messengers had to be Essenes as well. 

Let us pretend the word “aggelos” does not exist in Luke 7:24, angels are still spirits and spirits are angels.

  1. Angels are spirits
  2. Spirits are angels
  3. The disciples of John are messengers!


Here’s another example of the Essenes appearing as “angels”:

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. (Mark 16:1-5)

 

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? (Luke 24:1-4)

The men described as angels are Essenes; they were followers of Jesus, as there is evidence to prove that Jesus himself was an Essene!

It is likely that Jesus was brought up by the Essene community, and there is a tradition that Barnabas was a student of Gamaliel, the greatest teacher of Orthodox Judaism at that time. And so the meeting of Jesus and Barnabas meant the fusing together of all that was best in the gnostic teaching of the Essens and the orthodox Judaism of the Temple. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam p. 52)

 

HE WROTE:

Thus, we have seen that according to the Bible that there are spirit beings who are not angels, e.g. God (John 4:24) and the Holy Spirit (this will be discussed further in this paper), and there are entities which are called angels but they are not spirits, e.g. the human messengers in Luke 7:24.


 

RESPONSE:

God is the creator of the angels (spirits), the Holy Spirit is also angel because he is spirit (Ps 104:3, Heb. 1:14)

The messengers of John are human spirits (in the flesh) not angels or spirits (non-physical entities)

 

HE WROTE:

If Smith's logic were sound, i.e. all angels are spirits and vice versa, then this means that these human beings did not have corporeality, they did not have actual physical bodies. They simply appeared as if they did.

 

RESPONSE:

We have already refuted Luke 7:24 and proved that it’s referring to the Essenes, a secret Jewish sect. Angels/spirits have non-physical bodies, John’s messengers were not angels, but they were humans made of flesh. Shamoun is taking Luke 7:24 literally, yet the verse is figurative.

Read this Shamoun:

“Figurative language has its rise in the first ages of mankind: the scarcity of words occasioned them to be used for various purposes: and thus figurative terms, which constitute the beauty of language, arose from its poverty; and it is still the same in all uncivilized nations” (Thomas Horne, An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, 1841, p. 353)

The Gospels use figurative expression to identify the Essenes, who are metaphorically angels.

 

HE WROTE:


More importantly, Smith stops at the comparison with angels being spirits whereas the above quoted text of Psalm 104:4 goes on to say that angels are also ministers who are a flaming fire. Now let us see what happens if we were to adapt Smith's logic to human angels, after all if we were to apply Smith's logic consistently then we would need to come to the following conclusion:

  1. Angels are a flaming fire.
  2. There are human angels.
  3. Therefore, these human angels are a flaming fire.

 

RESPONSE:

Human angels do not exist, the messengers of John were Essenes and that is why they are called angels. The verse Psalms 104:4 is figuratively describing the angels as flaming fire; the context is very poetic, angels are “flaming fire” metaphorically, yet Shamoun is taking the verses literally, he cannot possibly be saying that John’s messengers were flaming fire!

Psalms 104:4 identifies angels, not humans, and there’s no mention of “human angels” in the verse.

 

HE WROTE:

Furthermore, angels are called ministers according to Psalm 104:4. Yet the Bible says that the Levitical priests also ministered before the Lord:

"And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:" Hebrews 10:11

Again, if Smith is consistent then he must accept the following conclusion as well:

  1. Ministers are a flame of a fire.
  2. Priests are ministers.
  3. Therefore, priests are a flaming fire.

 

RESPONSE:

The Psalms is not calling angels ministers:

Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

Basically, the angels are distinguished from the ministers. The ministers are a “flaming fire” and angels are just spirits.

Shamoun attempts to harmonize the verses, but priests and ministers are not literally flames of fire, they have obligation to minister, but angels are simply spirits and not ministers.

 

HE WROTE:

Smith cites passages from Numbers to show that the Bible attributes the word pneuma to humans. Smith is mistaken that ruach is the Hebrew translation of pneuma, since the text of Numbers is originally in Hebrew whereas the Septuagint (LXX) is the Greek translation of the Hebrew. Smith would have been more correct to say that Greek pneuma is the equivalent of the Hebrew ruach. Here is what these texts actually say:

"And they fell on their faces, and said, ‘O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be angry with all the congregation?’" Numbers 16:22

"Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation," Numbers 27:16

These texts are not limited to human beings, but also include animals since they too are flesh. After all, the Bible does say that animals have spirits and souls:

"For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath (ruach), and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?" Ecclesiastes 3:19-21

Additionally, human beings are more than just spirits, since they also have physicality which differentiates them from the angels.

More importantly, these verses from Numbers further refute Smith since they provide additional evidence that not every spirit is an angel.

 

RESPONSE:

These verses are referring to the spirit which God breathed into human beings.

When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. (Psalms 104:30)

When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. (Psalms 146:4)

And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

A more authentic rendition is “soul” (Hebrew nefesh), we are not filled with God’s spirit literally, and the verse speaks of how God breathes a soul into every human being. This doesn’t deny the fact that every angel is a spirit and vice versa, but we are made of flesh and spirit.

It is true humans are spirit (and flesh) but angels (spirits) are beings without flesh. Just because we are spirit in the flesh (Num 27:16, 16:22) does not disprove that angels are spirits and vice versa.

The spirits (souls) of human beings are not angels, they are differentiated. Angels (spirits) will not die until the Day of Judgment, but the spirits of human beings will leave the body after death:

When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath (ruach) they die and return to the dust. (Psalms 104:29)

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (ruach) shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastics 12:7)

The Hebrew word ruach means “spirit” or “breath”, so we shall leave the body of flesh and return to God!

The angel Gabriel revealed the Quran to Prophet Muhammad, this angel is called a Spirit, but it’s not a human spirit, it’s an angel spirit.

Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel-for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe,- (Al-Quran 2:97)

They ask thee concerning the Spirit (of inspiration). Say: "The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!)" (Al-Quran 17:85)

The angel Gabriel revealed the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (a human spirit, soul)

 

HE WROTE:

Smith also cited Psalm 104:30 but fails to see how this text refutes his position regarding the Spirit being an angel. Here is what Psalm 104:30 says in context:

"Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. Fromyour lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart. The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers. He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about. The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens. Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creaturs. Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground." Psalm 104:1-30

This particular Psalm emphasizes God’s functions as Creator and Sustainer of all things, and connects the Spirit with these specific Divine tasks! The Psalmist is saying that God uses his Spirit to (re)create and sustain all creation, which shows that the Spirit has all the attributes of God. If the Spirit created all things, and this Psalm says he did, then that means he existed before all creation, implying that the Spirit is eternal. If the Spirit renews and sustains all things then this shows that he is all-powerful and present everywhere, attributes which only God has.

 

RESPONSE:

The Psalms 104:4 describes the creating power of God without any partners, the entire Psalms 104:1-30 never once mentions the Spirit as a helper.

Shamoun has misread the context, the word “he” and “you” is referring to God alone.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, YOU are very great! YOU are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering YOURSELF with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. HE lays the beams of HIS chambers on the waters; HE makes the clouds HIS chariot; HE rides on the wings of the wind; HE makes HIS messengers winds, HIS ministers a flaming fire. HE set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. YOU covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At YOUR rebuke they fled; at the sound of YOUR thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that YOU appointed for them. YOU set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. YOU make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. From YOUR lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of YOUR work. YOU cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that HE may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart. The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers. HE made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. YOU make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about. The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens. Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are YOUR works! In wisdom have YOU made them all; the earth is full of YOUR creatures. Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. There go the ships, and Leviathan, which YOU formed to play in it. These all look to YOU, to give them their food in due season. When YOU give it to them, they gather it up; when YOU open YOUR hand, they are filled with good things. When YOU hide YOUR face, they are dismayed; when YOU take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When YOU send forth YOUR Spirit, they are created, and YOU renew the face of the ground." Psalm 104:1-30

From the passage, we clearly see that “he” and “your” refers to God, and “they” refer to animals, and “their” in verse 30 refer to human beings. Where is the Spirit?

God is the giver (and discharger) of the human spirit

And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastics 12:7)

There is no reference to the Spirit in the verse! God is the one “who gave it” and the one who takes it.

Moving on to Part II.

 

 

 

 

Rebuttals, and exposing the lies of the Answering Islam team section.

Rebuttals to Sam Shamoun's Articles section.

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