I tried to understand how the teachings of Jesus (Pbuh) evolved into a
religion, with a name that was neither declared by Jesus, the original
founder, nor mentioned in the Bible. How did the theology of Christianity
evolve? Who started the name "Christianity"? What is the origin of the
Trinity? Jesus never mentioned the Trinity. As I was studying the Christian
history, it became obvious that Christianity evolved in four phases. Each
phase took it further away from Jesus' message. Historians report stories
of the past with a certain package that depends on their intention and the
message that they attempt to emphasize. Sometimes, historical facts are
being "tampered and altered" to convince the people with certain points
of view. Christian history is abundant with such views. Christianity as it
exists today is an altered version of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The Four Phases Theory
The Theory of the Four Phases started right after Jesus and lasted for
about 800 years. Each phase took the religion further away from the
original message of Jesus. This Four Phases Theory can be identified in
chronological order as follows:
1. The first phase: The establishment of Pauline Christianity as a
major drive to attract the Gentiles to the new religion. This was
accomplished by the victory of the liberal Paul, who cancelled the
Mosaic Law, over the conservative original apostles.
2. The second phase: Writing of the Gospels according to Matthew,
Mark, Luke and John and their influence on the pagan converts.
3. The third phase: The fierce theological struggle of the fathers of the
church to accommodate their perceptions of God of the Old and New
Testaments with the Greek culture.
4. The fourth phase: The establishment of the doctrines by the
Ecumenical Councils and the role of the emperors and empresses in
shaping the Christianity.
Because of these four phases, we have a religion that was
compromised to attract more pagan coverts at the expense of the purity
and the holiness of the original message of Jesus.
Due to the crucial importance of the Gospels, this chapter starts by
examining the Gospels. The average Christians believe that all the writers
of the Gospels were contemporaries of Jesus, recording the message of
Jesus with honesty, integrity and virtue. They assume that Matthew wrote
the Gospel according to Matthew and Mark wrote the Gospel according to
Mark, etc. They also believe that the Evangelists wrote the New Testament
by inspiration of God or the Holy Ghost. It can be proven that the Gospels
according to the Evangelists are full of major contradictions, negating the
notion that any of these Gospels was inspired by God or the Holy Ghost.
It is important to note that if there were even a single contradiction in
the Gospels, the idea of divine inspiration would collapse. The Almighty
does not contradict Himself.
For a quick head start, consider the following questions:
♦ Who are the real Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?
♦ What were Jesus' last words on the cross in the Gospels according to
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?
♦ How did Judas die in the Gospels according to Matthew and Acts?
♦ How did the people who arrested Jesus identify him in the Gospels
according to Matthew and John?
To prove that God did not inspire the entire New Testament, let us
apply the same method that was adopted in the previous chapter. The
origin and the contradictions in the New Testament will be exposed. First,
the name "New Testament" should be questioned, because nowhere does
it refer to itself with such name. Christian scholars followed the same
steps of analysis that the critics of the Old Testament had pursued. As
mentioned before, the contradictions in the Old Testament started by
scholars noticing that there are parts in the Books of Moses, that should
have been written after Moses, especially the part that addresses Moses'
death. Then scholars found more and more contradictions. Next, when
contradictions are found in a Holy Book, supposedly inspired totally by
God, then the question of authenticity of the entire book is raised.
As for the New Testament, it appears that the discrepancy of
the genealogy of Jesus according to Matthew and Luke was the first
contradiction that was discovered. This was followed by critical
examination of the entire New Testament to establish the degree of
inconsistency. Apart from the general accounts of Jesus' arrest, trial,
death and resurrection, which are generally similar in all four Gospels,
they differ in important details. Neither Matthew nor John accounts for
Jesus' Ascension. Luke in his Gospel places the Ascension on the day of
the Resurrection and forty days later in the Acts of the Apostles, which
is assumed to be by the same Luke. Mark mentions it, without giving a
date, which suggests that it is not thought to be authentic. The Ascension,
which is a major Christian event, therefore, has no solid scriptural basis.
Commentators nevertheless approach this subject casually.
The first three Gospels are called synoptic Gospels because despite
their differences, they can be viewed together. General comparison of
Matthew, Mark and Luke impresses the reader with such agreements that
they have generated many theories about their relationships. One of the
most widely held scholarly opinion is that Mark was the earliest Gospel
and became a source for Matthew and Luke. Most likely, Matthew and
Luke each had other common sources as well. This assumption is based
upon the source of much shared texts not found in Mark. The interrelation
of the Gospels also has continued to attract much study. In 1863,
Holtzmann (1832-1910), introduced the Two Source Theory, with Q and
Mark being the common sources of Matthew and Luke (Bucaille, 1989. p.
87). Q is short for the German word "Quelle" which means "source." In
1972 the Four Source Theory was introduced, with Q, A, B and C as the
sources of all Gospels. Does this sound familiar to J, E, P and D of the Old
Testament? In a preface the author of Luke 1:1-4 stated that he learned
from some other people that saw those things from the beginning before
writing his Gospel. The fourth Gospel of John stands most noticeably
apart from the synoptic Gospels.
The Gospels translated into Modern English by J. B. Phillips in
London, (1996, p.1), with editors Geoffrey Bles, had the following to say
about the Gospel of Matthew:
"Early tradition ascribed this Gospel to the apostle Matthew, but
scholars nowadays almost all reject this view. The Author, whom
we still can conveniently call Matthew, has plainly drawn on the
mysterious "Q", which may have been a collection of oral tradition.
He has used Mark's Gospel freely, though he has arranged the order
of events and has in several instances used different words for what
is plainly the same story. The style is lucid, calm, and tidy. Matthew
writes with certain judiciousness as though he himself has carefully
digested his material and is convinced not only with its truth but
of the divine pattern that lies behind the historic facts. If Matthew
wrote, as is now generally supposed, somewhere between 85 and 90,
this Gospel's value as a Christian document is enormous. It is, so
to speak, a second-generation view of Jesus Christ the Son of God
and the son of man. It is being written at that distance in time from
the great event where a sober reflection and sturdy conviction can
perhaps give a better balanced portrait of God's unique revelation of
Himself than could be given by those who were so close to the light
that they were partly dazzled by it."
The above quotation stated frankly the facts about "Q" and then
tried to reason as why Christians should still accept second generation
accounts of Jesus: the first generation could not handle both the light of
Jesus and writing of the Gospels!
Many ancient translations of the Bible have received critical attention
and are available in scholarly form. The language in the New Testament
has received much attention not only for theological reasons but also
from students of history of the Greek language. The study of the Aramaic
language, the native language of Jesus and the contemporary Palestinian
Christians, has also advanced. Scholars advocate that the traditions used
by the Gospel writers and the author of Acts existed in Aramaic, perhaps
in manuscripts but certainly in an oral form. It remains a matter of debate
to translate the New Testament from Greek to Aramaic in an attempt to
recreate the original manuscripts or the oral tradition.
Early Christianity, just like Judaism, took the idea of authenticity and
inspiration of the scriptures for granted. No formal doctrine of the divine
inspiration of New Testament was initially proposed. Christians generally
believed, however, that the Bible is the word of God as transmitted by the
Holy Spirit, first through the patriarchs and prophets and then through
the apostles. The writers of the New Testament, in fact, relied upon the
authority of the Hebrew Scriptures to support their claims concerning
To set a New Testament canon beside the Old implied divine
inspiration of the entire Bible. The New Testament writings were
considered as "prophecy" given by the Holy Spirit to the disciples.
However, Paul did not think of his letters to his churches as constituting
inspired revelation to the entire humanity at all time. It was suggested that
the divine inspiration was a case of verbal inspiration that took over the
voice of the prophet. This view implied that the words are divinely given;
so any text can be interpreted in the light of other texts. This theory of verbal
inspiration was considered as acceptable for the first Greek translation
of the Old Testament. Christian scholars Origen and Augustine adhered
firmly to this theory. At times, this took a sophisticated form of explaining
discrepancies between the Biblical texts, such as a divine will to teach
the point of a deeper meaning that lies beyond human comprehension!
During the 19th century, the doctrine of the inspiration of the Bible by the
Holy Spirit was promoted in response to the development of new biblical
criticism. Scholarly studies seemed to challenge the divine origin of the
New Testament. Those who advocate the authenticity of the Bible, word
for word, cannot prove their claim easily.
The subjects of authenticity and history of the early Bible are not
readily available in common Christian bookstores. It appears that the
history of Christianity began in 325 AD, when the council of Nicaea
condemned the theology of Arius and declared that Christ is "one
in essence with the Father". There are no written details of events of
what actually happened after Jesus until the council of Nicaea. Biblical
apologists attributed the lack of information to the oppression that the
Christians faced over three centuries. It is also quite difficult to find
detailed information from Christian scholars. This is because most of
them are writing to average Christians and the information has to be
packaged in an acceptable way that should not cause public confusion.
example, I tried unsuccessfully to find out what happened to the Virgin
Mary after Jesus and what was her role in the early Christian history? To
the Christian, Mary is a model to all believers. To the Muslims she is the
holiest woman ever among all the Jewish, Christian and Muslim women.
When Mary holds such a unique stature, one would be tempted to know
everything available about her role. Jesus was obedient to his parents,
(Luke 2:51). When Jesus began his public ministry, he called his mother
"woman", (John 2:4, 19:26). Sometimes I wonder if this is the same Jesus
that said in Matthew 19:19 "Honor your father and your mother." This
would indicate that Mary's maternal role on his behalf is finished. It is
hard to believe that Jesus called his mother "woman". Is this a permit for
anyone to call his mother woman? Or was this the writing of someone that
did not appreciate the mother of Jesus for one reason or another? Looking
at the Holy Bible, Easy to Read Version, I found that in John 2:4, the word
"woman" is replaced by "Dear woman." This was a little bit of a relief; at
least someone else feels that it is inappropriate to call the holiest woman
ever simply a "woman". A Christian apologist suggested that Jesus called
his mother "woman" in a soft tone! There is no knowledge about "tape
recording" the tone of Jesus! The question still remains. Did Jesus call his
mother woman, dear woman, mother, or dear mother? Did he or did he
not honor his mother? And, what was Mary's role after Jesus?