The big question for any Christian after discussing this vital issue of salvation is what is going to happen after death? Where one will go after death, heaven or hell?
In the history of the church which goes back about two thousand years, much has been said about the doctrine of salvation. Christians agree that salvation is centered in one way or another on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Theory of Atonement
Christians believe that Jesus is both truly God and truly human being. Atonement was a ransom paid to Satan by God in order to free humanity and bring them back to the right relationship with God. Satan, the evil one, had control over the souls of all people their fallen to sin; in order for them to be freed form Satan’s control a price had to be paid. Therefore, God offered his only begotten son Jesus for payment of this ransom and Satan accepts it. But God tricked Satan because Satan did not know when he accepted Jesus Christ as payment that Jesus cannot be controlled by death as Jesus was sinless and son in the end. God raised Jesus from the dead and by doing this, by taking back to this ransom; Satan’s control over humanity and creation was ended and salvation was achieved.
Another theory of Atonement is called, “the penal substitution theory”. This theory says that all of humanity deserve punishment, but Jesus Christ (God in Jesus Christ) choose to be punished himself in place of humanity. So there is a justice that had to be met and there was only person who could do that and that was God himself. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of humanity and consequently they were able to have access to salvation as the penalty for sin has been paid by God. Humanity and all of creation can be reconciled to God. In John, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.” (John 12:27)
Another Theory on Atonement which has been widely accepted by the Christians that is “Satisfaction Theory of Atonement”. It teaches that Christ suffered as a substitute on behalf of humanity, through the sinful of humanity though rather than pain a price for the justice of God (pain penalty). Adam and Eve rebelled against God and dishonored Him, so Jesus Christ though infinite merit of his sinless life and death satisfied the demands of God’s honor when he was crucified and so God’s honor was restored. Jesus’ death on the cross was the ultimate act of obedience to the will of God, but this act by Jesus Christ was more than required by God. Therefore, there was a surplus of merit that could be applied to all humanity. Christ’s surplus covers the humanity’s deficit. It is clear that Jesus Christ is not punished in this theory, but he suffered for us and restores God’s honor and humanity is saved. In 2 Corinthians, “God made him who had no sin to be sin [a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
But the question then arises, how could I obtain salvation that Jesus Christ has made possible for his followers?
Once again, there are several possibilities: first, the work of Jesus Christ has universal effect because of what God has done in Jesus Christ so all of humanity has been saved. It is a fact that salvation has been achieved and brought for all humanity by Jesus Christ.
In short, a Christian must has faith in Jesus Christ as a lord and savior. In the New Testament, book of Acts, a man asked the apostles, “What must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31)
Second: faith is not something that I do of my will, but a gift from God. God is gracious and merciful, so He gives us the gift of faith as well as the gift of salvation. In Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
The big question for any Christian after discussing this vital issue of salvation is what is going to happen after death? Where one will go after death, heaven or hell?
Interestingly, the bible does not give a definite answer to this question. Heaven and hell are mentioned but not in any comprehensive way. The kingdom of heaven has been mentioned numerous times. In Gospel of Mathew who is most exclusively talks about the Kingdom of Heaven, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Mathew 3:2)
Concerning the Kingdom of God we read in the Gospel of Luke, “’Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:21)
In the book of Romans, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
The biblical accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus contain numerous contradictions
The following is a detailed discussion of sample contradictions contained in the biblical accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus:
Who Carried Jesus’ Cross?
In the Passion narratives, did Jesus carry his own cross or not?
Mark 15:21, Matthew 27:32, Luke 23:26 – Jesus got help from Simon of Cyrene
John 19:17 – Jesus carried his own cross the whole way
Did Jesus Drink Wine or Vinegar?
Jesus was given something to drink while he was on the cross, but what?
Mark 15:23- Jesus was given wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not drink
Matthew 27:48, Luke 23:36 – Jesus was given vinegar, but he did not drink
John 19:29-30 – Jesus was given vinegar and he drank
Jesus and the Centurion:
Romans supposedly witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion, but what did they think?
Mark 15:39 – A centurion is cited as saying: “Truly this man was the son of God!”
Matthew 27:54 – A centurion is cited as saying: “Truly this was the son of God.”
Luke 23:47 – A centurion is cited as saying: “Truly this man was innocent.”
John – No centurions say anything
Women Watched the Crucifixion:
The gospels describe several women as having followed Jesus around, but what did they do when Jesus was crucified?
Mark 15:40, Matthew 27:55, Luke 23:49 – Several women watched Jesus from afar
John 19:25-26 – Several women were close enough that Jesus could talk to his mother, contrary to Roman practices
The Day Jesus Crucified
What is the exact day Jesus was crucified?
Mark 14:12, Matthew 26:17, and Luke 22:7 – Jesus offered the Lord’s Supper “on the first day of unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb”. That would mean Jesus said the first Mass on Thursday, the fourteenth of Nisan. This was “the day of preparation” for the Passover when the lambs were slain and the meal prepared to be eaten in the evening according to Ex. 12:6.
John 19:31 – John tells us that Jesus was crucified on the “day of preparation”. That would seem to make Friday, the fourteenth of Nisan, the day of preparation. Saturday would then have been both the Sabbath and the Passover.
Computer software programs – Jesus was presumably crucified and entombed on a Wednesday afternoon, not on Friday. For more information, click on the following link: http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/jesus-wasnt-crucified-friday-or-resurrected-sunday/
The Hour Jesus Crucified
The crucifixion of Jesus is the central event of the Passion narrative, but the narratives don’t agree on when the crucifixion occurred.
Mark 15:25 – Jesus was crucified on the “third hour.”
John 19:14-15 – Jesus was crucified on the “sixth hour.”
Matthew, Luke – It’s not stated when the crucifixion started, but the “sixth hour” occurred during the crucifixion
Jesus’ Last Words:
Jesus’ last words before dying are important, but no one seems to have written them down.
Mark 15:34-37, Matthew 27:46-50 – Jesus says: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (but they use different Greek words for “God” — Matthew uses “Eli” and Mark uses “Eloi”)
Luke 23:46 – Jesus says: “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
John 19:30 – Jesus says: “It is finished.”
Earthquake after the Resurrection:
Was there an earthquake when Jesus died?
Matthew 27:51-53 – At the moment Jesus died, a massive earth quake struck and opened tombs where dead people rose again
Mark, Luke, John – No earthquake is mentioned. No earthquake and no massive influx of formerly dead people were mentioned in any historical records, which is strange given how monumental such an event would be.
Was Jesus Crucified on a Tree or Cross?
Some gospels narrate that Jesus was crucified on a cross. Others relate that he was crucified on a tree. Which gospel should we believe?
Acts 5, Acts 10, and Acts 13 – Jesus was hanged on and taken down from a tree.
Matthew 27, Mark 15 – the chief priests, along with the scribes and elders, mocked Jesus and wondered if he could come down from the cross.
John 19 – Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross.
Was Jesus Seen Alive after Crucifixion?
Who saw Jesus after crucifixion?
Luke 24:1 – the women came to the tomb with medicine and found Jesus gone.
John 20:15 – Mary Magdalene thought Jesus was a gardener, after he healed and rose back up.
John 20:17 – Jesus was still in pain, he told Mary Magdalene “touch me not!”
John 20:19-29 – Jesus showed his original body to the disciples, and they checked it.
1- The Holy Bible (Visit biblegateway.com)
The Muslim belief against Jesus’ crucifixion is supported by those recently discovered gospels
As a matter of fact, the Muslim belief against Jesus’ crucifixion is supported by those recently discovered gospels which, according to Muslims, were kept safe from distortion, like the Gospel of Judas, which states that Jesus told Judas: “You will exceed all of them, for you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.” This gospel confirms the Muslim belief that Jesus was not crucified and it is Judas, who might have been the one who betrayed him, and who was crucified instead. According to Muslims, “clothes me” means “bears my resemblance” (that is to say, to be crucified instead of me). Another clearer position reads: “You will exceed them all, for you will sacrifice the man who bears me (i.e. my resemblance).”
Another gospel relating the story of crucifixion in detail is the Gospel of Barnabas. It supports the above Muslim belief by confirming that it is Judas rather than Jesus who was crucified. We read the following verses in the Gospel of Barnabas:
Whereupon they condemned two robbers with him to the death of the cross.
So they led him to Mount Calvary, where they used to hang malefactors, and there they crucified him naked, for the greater ignominy.
Judas truly did nothing else but cry out: ‘God, why hast thou forsaken me, seeing the malefactor hath escaped and I die unjustly?’
Verily I say that the voice, the face, and the person of Judas were so like to Jesus, that his disciples and believers entirely believed that he was Jesus; wherefore some departed from the doctrine of Jesus, believing that Jesus had been a false prophet, and that by art magic he had done the miracles which he did: for Jesus had said that he should not die till near the end of the world; for that at that time he should be taken away from the world. (Chapter 217)
Though many Christian priests challenge the authenticity of the Gospel of Barnabas, the above verses contain the evidence of their authenticity. In Matthew and Mark, we find out that Jesus allegedly said: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” A similar statement is quoted in the Gospel of Barnabas but purportedly made by Judas.
Though the gospels of Matthew and Mark are deemed more authentic than that of Barnabas by most Christian priests, the Gospel of Barnabas is seen as more credible when it comes to crucifixion for the above statement is unlikely to be made by a prophet who is even thought to be the Son of God. It can be made only by a malefactor. In such a situation, a true prophet who is even believed in as the Son of God cannot be so susceptible like that. He is rather expected to have so trust in Allah that nothing can ruffle his composure.
The gospels of Judas and Barnabas are corroborated by Apocalypse of Peter where we read the following narration about the alleged crucifixion:
“Come, therefore, let us go on with the completion of the will of the incorruptible Father. For behold, those who will bring them judgment are coming, and they will be put to shame. But me they cannot touch. And you, O Peter, shall stand in their midst. Do not be afraid because of your cowardice. Their minds shall be closed, for the invisible one has opposed them.”
When he said those things, I saw him seemingly being seized by them. And I said “What do I see, O Lord, that it is you yourself whom they take, and that you are grasping me? Or who is this one, glad and laughing on the tree? And is it another one whose feet and hands they are striking?”
The Savior said to me, “He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me.”
But I, when I had looked, said “Lord, no one is looking at you. Let us flee this place.” But he said to me, “I have told you, “Leave the blind alone!” And you, see how they do not know what they are saying. For the son of their glory instead of my servant, they have put to shame.”
And I saw someone about to approach us resembling him, even him who was laughing on the tree. And he was filled with a Holy Spirit, and he is the Savior. And there was a great, ineffable light around them, and the multitude of ineffable and invisible angels blessing them. And when I looked at him, the one who gives praise was revealed. And he said to me, “Be strong, for you are the one to whom these mysteries have been given, to know them through revelation, that he whom they crucified is the first-born, and the home of demons, and the stony vessel, in which they dwell, of Elohim, of the cross, which is under the Law. But he who stands near him is the living Savior, the first in him, whom they seized and released, who stands joyfully looking those who did him violence, while they are divided among themselves. Therefore he laughs at their lack of perception, knowing that they are born blind. So then the one susceptible to suffering shall come, since the body is the substitute. But what they released was my incorporeal body. But I am the intellectual Spirit filled with radiant light. He whom you saw coming to me is our intellectual Pleroma, which unites the perfect light with my Holy Spirit.”
The authenticity of the Apocalypse of Peter is also corroborated by the following verse in the New Testament: “You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.” (Psalm 91:8)
1- The Holy Bible (Visit biblegateway.com)
The Bible itself involves verses that confirm the fact that Jesus could not have been crucified
After all, the Bible itself involves verses that confirm the fact that Jesus could not have been crucified. For example, Psalm 91 implicitly indicates that Jesus could not be crucified. According to one interpretation of Psalm 91, God says that He would save Jesus as follows:
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91 3-16)
Supposing that, according to another interpretation, Jesus is not meant by those verses and it is believers in general who are intended, it sounds quite reasonable that the protection God would provide to one of His dearest prophets and messengers, who is even presumably His Son, should have been much more considerable than that provided to the ordinary believers. Accordingly, it is impossible that God takes such great care of average believers but delivers His presumable Son to death.
However, the dialogue between the Devil and Jesus cited in Luke 4 proves that it is Jesus who is intended by the above verses. In Luke 4, the Devil is quoted as citing what is written in Psalm 91:11-12 to tempt Jesus, who, in confirmation of the ascription of those verses to him, told the Devil that he would not have been able to tempt him despite quoting those verses. In Luke 4, we read the following verses:
For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Luke 4:10-12)
Moreover, in Psalm 116, we notice that Jesus is quoted as giving thanks to Allah for delivering him from death. How come Christians believe in Psalm 116 as a part of the Bible though it explicitly quotes Jesus as thanking God for saving him from death? Jesus may thank God only if He saved him from crucifixion. If he was really killed and crucified, for which thing did he give thanks to God? Is there rescue after killing and death?
In Psalm 116, we read the following verses:
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”; in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.” What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains. I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord—in your midst, Jerusalem. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 116 1-19)
Even though some commentators on the Bible think that Jesus is not originally meant by the above verses, they themselves do not rule out that they are also applicable to Jesus. The same argument applies to Psalm 118, which quotes Jesus as saying:
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let Israel say: “His love endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say: “His love endures forever.” Let those who fear the Lord say: “His love endures forever.” When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the Lord I cut them down. They swarmed around me like bees, but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them down. I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. (Psalm 118 1-29)
Despite all pieces of evidence offered above confirming that Jesus was neither killed nor crucified, we notice that many Christian priests still argue that Jesus was crucified and claim that all evidence offered above abounds in contradictions and errors. However, it is the Bible which is deemed to involve many contradictions and errors according to many Christians in the first place.
1- The Holy Bible (Visit biblegateway.com)
Since the cross is the symbol of Christianity, we decided to have dialogue with it and ask it some questions which confused us and to which we have not got an answer from Christians. Maybe, we will get the satisfactory answer which we have not got from Christians.
The questions asked revolve around the original sin and the cross’s illogical role in forgiving it within the framework of Jesus’ crucifixion incident on which salvation is based in Christianity.
We wondered: how can the son of God be killed on something created by God, the cross, and at the hands of the creatures of God, namely Romans and Jews? How can God allow this to be done to His own son? How can weakness coexist with power within the son of God? Will the murder of the son of God put an end to sin on earth? How can God be unjust towards His son but just towards us?
We also asked the cross about its status in Christianity and we were amazed at honoring it as we find it irrational and illogical to honor it for it marked the alleged death of the son of God who had awful death on it. Where can sacrifice, ransom and salvation come from? Can forgiveness of people originate from wronging others?
Unfortunately, we did not get an answer to our questions from the cross as we did not from Christians? Whom else can we ask so that we will get a satisfactory answer?
Watch this video to listen to the dialogue which we had with the cross and try to find us convincing answers to our questions!
By Editorial Staff
There are pieces of evidence and indications in the Bible which impel us to disbelieve in the alleged crucifixion
Needless to say, the contemporary Christian belief system is based on belief in the crucifixion of Jesus and the consequent belief in salvation. However, the incidents and statements cited in the Bible with respect to such crucifixion go against reason and logic. There are such pieces of evidence and indications in the Bible which are enough to impel us to disbelieve in the alleged crucifixion and the consequent salvation. The following are some of those proofs and indications:
My soul is very sorrowful!
The New Testament states that Jesus Christ got sorrowful and troubled, prayed to God and asked Him to save him from killing. We read:
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”…Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Matthew 26:36-42)
We may ask: Why should Jesus Christ get sorrowful and troubled and ask God to save him from killing? Did he not know that this was the only solution to the dilemma of the original sin? Did he not know that there was not any scenario out of this original sin other than his bloodshed?
Why have you forsaken me?
The New Testament tells us that Jesus feared death, sought the help of God and sought refuge in Him from death while on the cross. We read:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
We may ask: Did Jesus not know that he was going to be crucified in order to redeem humanity? Had he not already accepted that according to the Bible itself? If the crucified person was Jesus, do those words sound logical?
Three Days & Three Nights
The Bible quotes some of the scribes and Pharisees as saying to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:38-40)
We may ask: Did Jesus really remain three days and three nights in the heart of the earth after his alleged crucifixion?
The answer is: No! The New Testament, particularly the very Gospel of Matthew from which we quoted the above verses, states that Jesus was buried Friday night (Matthew 27:60) and rose before dawn on Sunday (Matthew 28:1) i.e. Saturday night, that is to say he remained in his alleged grave two nights and one day only.
We may ask: Was the sign of Jesus not fulfilled according to the Bible? Or may the foregoing not be ascribed to Jesus at all, given the fact that this could not be fulfilled? It is only the following verses of the Qur’an which do sound logical and reasonable:
And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of God.” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. Rather, God raised him to Himself. And ever is God Exalted in Might and Wise. (An-Nisaa’ 4:157-158)
1- The Glorious Qur’an (Sahih International Translation)
2- The Holy Bible (Visit biblegateway.com)
3- Sheikh Ahmad Deedat’s debate, click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PqpxZLn-ws
4- Dr. Zakir Naik’s Debate, click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlokK9YoptE