Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
A Few Notes and Corrections on Last Night's Debate
09/18/2012 - James WhiteA few corrections and notes on last night's debate. First, having quoted John 1:1 in Greek a few thousand times in my life, I think I ended up trying out for a spot on the TBN team at one point last night, but without an interpreter. My apologies. Secondly, I am really slowing down in my old age. OK, maybe it has nothing to do with age. But I like using my LiveScribe pen to take notes and to record the debate (in fact, the audio we just posted came from my pen, so you will hear me writing during Zakir's presentation). Anyway, debates are about the only time I write anymore. I could probably type a lot faster, and may need to do that in the future, not sure. We will see. Anyway, Zakir was talking at the speed of sound in the rebuttal period (as my notes show) and it was next to impossible to keep up with the references as they flew by. At one point he raised the issue of the Matthean reference to the prophecy (2:23) about the Nazarene. I did a quick search on my computer looking for the right reference and...got the wrong one in my haste. Oh, I got "branch" alright, but I wrote down the reference below what I wanted in the search list, Isaiah 14:19. My apologies. I didn't have time to read but a single line, saw "rejected branch," and scribbled it down. I was looking for Isaiah 11:1, a fact that can be verified easily by reference to my sermon on the Messiah in Isaiah 7 through 12 from last year's Psalm 119 Conference in, as I recall, Ohio, where I followed the references to the Messiah through that vital portion of Scripture. The term נֵ֖צֶר appears in both texts. Here is a screen shot of the search list. I will set up a donation fund for some prescription mid-range reading glasses:
Ironically, Zakir then, in the next section, read what seemed, in passing anyway, to be a decent note from, if I recall correctly, the NRSV Study Bible, or something like that (Oxford, possibly?), that laid out the exact verbal parallel I was attempting to reference when I got the wrong text. So, please make note of that correction.
Finally, I did not get into the issue of the wavy hair and light skin because, as anyone can see, that kind of description could have been applied to any number of the Muslims attending the debate that night, and even some of the Christians. Even this source admits the physical description could be of any Semitic man, and that the only real issue is whether the term machamad is actually the name of Muhammad. I obviously argue that such a connection is absurd. Utilizing verbal roots in this fashion can be used to prove anything, as I have noted already by finding both Shabir Ally and Zakir Hussain in the Old Testament using the same methodology. But I did want to note two things for the sake of accuracy once again. First, at least two people have mentioned to me that I was in error on an ABN show regarding the root H M D in either Arabic or Hebrew, and I may have been, I haven't taken the time to go back and try to find the comments. I do recall doing a program on a particular video on YouTube (well, we quoted material from it anyway) and if I recall correctly it was making the claim that the Hebrew read ה specifically, which it does not. Given two different people (one was not Muslim) thought I was saying the the roots varied by a letter, I must have given that impression. I thought I was trying to dispute the assertion of the video, but if I made an error or was unclear, again, I apologize. Discussing which Arabic letters can map to multiple Hebrew letters phonetically while reviewing a YouTube video live can present some challenges.
But another item I had wanted to point out, but did not have time, was the poetry of this text, something Zakir did not touch upon. Look at the text in Hebrew:
It is hard to explain this without vocalizing the Hebrew, but the two terms are clearly being used for their sound value, that is, their rhyme. mamthakkim is the parallel to machamad'dim. Both are abstract nouns functioning as descriptive adjectives used by a woman of her love. The idea that these poetic terms are to be applied to an Arabic prophet---one who showed not the slightest knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures themselves---over a thousand years later, all based upon the similarity of tri-literal roots, truly shows how desperate the Muslim position is. Ironically, Zakir then said, at one point, it wasn't about the roots! But if it isn't, then that means the מ preformative indicating an abstract noun form is somehow what "makes the difference." But that מ is actually a grammatical formation letter, not a part of the root! It is added to come up with "a desirable thing." No matter which way you turn, the Muslim position is untenable on any fair grounds. Of course, all of that would have been pretty hard to get across in a high speed rebuttal period anyway, and I am glad I actually chose to emphasize elements of the gospel instead! But for the sake of the record, I wanted to note these items.