Rebuttal to Samuel Green's Article "HOW CAN ONE MAN PAY FOR THE SINS OF ANOTHER?"


Bassam Zawadi

This article is in response to 

Sameul Green attempted to show how it is logical for one person to die for the sins of the other. In fact, he has done nothing of the sort. 

Samuel Green said:

How can one man pay for the sins of another? This is a common question that Muslims ask Christians. Muslims ask this because Christians teach that Jesus died for our sins and through him is the only way to eternal forgiveness and life. It is a fair question for a Muslim to ask because both the Bible and Qur'an agree that each person is responsible for their own sins.

Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin. (Bible, Deuteronomy 24:16, NIV)

Every soul earns only to its own account; no soul laden bears the load of another. (Qur'an, 6:164, Arberry)

Therefore, how could someone pay for another person's sin?

The answer to this question is simple. Not all men are the same. God has willed that certain men perform a unique role in his relationship with humanity. The first man with a unique role was Adam.

The Unique Role of Adam

Adam is unique in the following ways:

Firstly, Adam was the first man and father of us all. He was the start of the human race.

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth. (Bible, Acts 17:26, NIV)

Mankind, fear your Lord, who created you of a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them scattered abroad many men and women. (Qur'an, 4:1, Arberry)

Secondly, Adam began his life in the garden of Eden and this is very different to where we begin our lives.

Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. ... The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Bible, Genesis, 2:8-17, NIV)

And We said: O Adam! Dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden, and eat ye freely (of the fruits) thereof where ye will; but come not nigh this tree lest ye become wrong-doers. (Qur'an, 2:35, Pickthall)

It (the garden) is surely given to thee neither to hunger therein, nor to go naked, neither to thirst therein, nor to suffer the sun. (Qur'an, 20:118-119, Arberry)

Both the Bible and Qur'an describe the garden as a place of perfect life. God provided richly for Adam with fruit trees, rivers, peace and life. The garden was not a place of death but of eternal life and this life was available to Adam.

Thirdly, Adam is unique because he committed the first sin of humanity and was the first man to receive punishment from God:

So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Bible, Genesis 3:23-24, NIV)

(F)or dust you are and to dust you will return. (Bible, Genesis, 3:19, NIV)

We said: Fall down, one of you a foe unto the other! There shall be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a time. (Qur'an, 2:36, Pickthall)

He said: Go down (from hence), one of you a foe unto the other. There will be for you on earth a habitation and provision for a while. He said: There shall ye live, and there shall ye die, and thence shall ye be brought forth. (Qur'an, 7:24-25, Pickthall)

These verses from the Bible and Qur'an agree and show how God punished Adam. In summary they say:

  1. God expelled Adam from the garden and all its benefits.
  2. Adam no longer had eternal life in paradise but would now die outside of the garden.

This brings us to the final way in which Adam was unique. Adam is unique because we all have a unique relationship to him that we don't have to any other person. Because of his unique position, his sin and God's punishment upon it comes to us all.

This brings us to the final way in which Adam was unique. Adam is unique because we all have a unique relationship to him that we don't have to any other person. Because of his unique position, his sin and God's punishment upon it comes to us all.

Why are you outside of paradise and in a world of suffering and pain? Because of Adam's sin. Why do you die? Because of Adam's sin and God's punishment upon it. If Adam had not sinned we would be in the garden and have eternal life, but the punishment that God gave to Adam comes to you. We are intrinsically united to Adam; what he did he did for us and this is how God now treats us. This is the history of the human race as recorded in the Bible and Qur'an, and it all has to do with the actions of one man.

Conclusion: The account of Adam demonstrates another aspect of how God relates to humanity. Not only does God deal with us individually but also corporately in Adam. To say that each person bears their own sin is only half the truth.

My Response:

Why on earth would God punish us for the sins of our forefathers? Samuel Green fails to show this. Adam is unique because he is the first man created, began life differently than us, and committed the first sin. How on earth does this justify God's blaming us for his mistake? Just because Adam was the first sinner, why would that necessarily imply that we automatically become sinners?

It's like me saying this... 

John Doe is a rapist. Therefore, his children when born are automatically considered rapists because they come from the offspring of John Doe. 

The concept of original sin is illogical and unjust. 

Unlike in Islam, where we believe that God creates us pure and it is us who corrupt ourselves by committing sins. We bring condemnation unto ourselves, and it is not God that makes us condemned without us doing anything wrong in the first place. That is unjust.

Samuel Green said:

The Uniqueness of Jesus

If we now return to our original question, "How can one man pay for the sins of another?" I hope the answer is becoming clearer. A person could do this if this person was like Adam and what they did was for those united to them. Jesus is like Adam.

Adam, ... was a pattern of the one to come (Jesus). (Bible, Romans 5:14, NIV)

So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam (Jesus), a life-giving spirit. (Bible, 1 Corinthians 15:45, NIV)

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. (Bible, Roman 6:5, NIV)

To some degree the Qur'an also says that Jesus was inque like Adam.

Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is. (Qur'an 3:59, Pickthall)

This is how Jesus can pay for the sins of others. We can be united to Jesus, as we are united to Adam, so that his death is our death and his life our life.

He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Bible, Isaiah 53:5-6, NIV)

(T)he result of one trespass (of Adam) was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Bible, Roman 5:18-19, NIV)

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (Bible, 1 Peter 3:18, NIV)

My Response:

Surah 3:59 shows that Jesus is unique like Adam because they were created without fathers. How on earth does this justify or show that Jesus should or could die for our sins? Samuel fails to address the very verse that he quotes at the beginning of his paper from his very own Bible:

Deuteronomy 24:16.

Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.

Secondly, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus was not willing to go through the process of 'dying for our sins' assuming Jesus even intended that:

Matthew 26:39

39. Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Thirdly, how on earth did Jesus get sacrificed for our sins? What does it mean when we say someone sacrificed something? It basically means that someone gave up something of value. Now, if I were to give someone 5 dollars and then take it back after 3 days this is not a sacrifice. For I took back what I gave up. To have sacrificed 5 dollars, I would have to give it up for good.

Now, the Bible states that Jesus allegedly restored life to himself after he was crucified. But how could Jesus have sacrificed his life for the people if he had taken it back? This is not a sacrifice. A sacrifice would have been Jesus giving up his life for good. Not temporarily giving it up and then taking it back.

Not only is the whole concept unjust, but Jesus' alleged crucifixion is not even a proper and correct way of sacrifice!

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