Some Muslim apologists will ready admit some of the information from the last post (found here). Biblical writers, extrabiblical writers, and the testimony of the Church are right to say someone was crucified around A.D. 30 or 33. Maybe all of the disciples and other writers were right to say someone was crucified that looked like Jesus. But, they claim it only appeared to be Jesus. The Gospel of Barnabus, an apocryphal gospel written by Muslim sources in the 16th century, actually says Jesus was not crucified but ascended to heaven. It was actually Jesus’ traitor who was crucified in his place (here). The spurious work says:
The soldiers took Judas and bound him, not without derision. For he truthfully denied that he was Jesus; and the soldiers, mocking him, said: ‘Sir, fear not, for we are come to make you king of Israel, and we have bound you because we know that you do refuse the kingdom.’ Judas answered: ‘Now have you lost your senses! You are come to take Jesus of Nazareth;, with arms and lanterns as [against] a robber; and you have bound me that have guided you, to make me king!’ Then the soldiers lost their patience, and with blows and kicks they began to flout Judas, and they led him with fury into Jerusalem. John ;and Peter ;followed the soldiers afar off; and they affirmed to him who writes that they saw all the examination that was made of Judas by the high priest, and by the council of the Pharisees, who were assembled to put Jesus to death. Whereupon Judas spoke many words of madness, insomuch that everyone was filled with laughter, believing that he was really Jesus, and that for fear of death he was feigning madness. Whereupon the scribes bound his eyes with a bandage, and mocking him said: ‘Jesus, prophet of the Nazarenes ;(for so they called them who believed in Jesus), ‘tell us, who was it that smote you?’ And they buffeted him and spat in his face.
It seems that Muslim apologists only accept such a far-fetched theory built upon pseudo-history for one reason- they presuppose the truth of the Quran’s account over the massive weight of evidence for the crucifixion. But, this creates an ethical dilemma for Muslims. There is no other way to say it other than, if this claim is true (Allah made it appear to be Jesus when it in fact wasn’t), Allah is the most evil being in all of existence. He is a great deceiver and knows no good. He willingly and maliciously deceived the disciples, extra-biblical writers, and the hundreds or thousands of church fathers, monks, and scribes not to mention the BILLIONS of Christians up until now that Jesus Christ was crucified by the Romans in Palestine in the first century. Can one really support such a theory and still affirm the goodness of Allah? The disciples (his closest friends for three years), Jesus’ very own mother (John 19:26-27), many other disciples including women (John 19:25; Luke 23:27-31;50, Mark 15:21; Matt. 27:32; 56;61), the Roman soldiers, and the Jewish leadership knew exactly who was being crucified- it was Jesus of Nazareth. Apparently Muslims are fine with Allah deceiving Jesus Christ himself for he made plain to his followers that he was going to be crucified (Matthew 17:22-23 says “And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.’ And they were deeply grieved.” See also Mark 9:31; Luke 9:22; John 12:32-33). If Allah actually made it to appear that Jesus was crucified when in fact he was not, I can truly agree with the Quran in Surah 3:54 when it says “Allah is the best of schemers.” He is a deceptive being. If he is a deceptive being, he is not to be worshipped as the highest, moral being in the entire universe. He is not worthy of it! This is a radical difference between Islam and Christianity then: Christianity teaches that God is wholly good and can do no evil (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18). Scripture, from cover to cover, teaches the goodness of God.
Some Muslims at this point will deny the goodness of Allah. Allah is just; not good. His ways are best and he does what is just. Again, this creates a problem. Can God be anything less than good? My response to the idea that Allah is neither good nor bad is as follows: the attributes of God are a unity (Point 1), goodness is a great-making quality and to lack it would mean God isn’t God (Point 2), Scripture calls God good hundreds of time (Point 3), God’s goodness is necessary because moral accountability (Point 4), and God’s goodness is necessary for trust and devotion (Point 5).
Point 1-Allah cannot be described as neither bad nor good but just because those attributes are necessarily linked! The definition of justice (or righteous for that matter) means that God always acts in accordance with what is right and is himself the final standard of what is right. God’s goodness means that he is the final standard of good, and that all that God is and does is worthy of praise. There is no possible way for God to be a standard for what is right without also being the standard for what is good. It is his essential nature to be both. God’s attributes are not a collection of attributes added together or additions to his real being. An attribute of God is a simple way of describing an aspect of God’s total character. To say that God is not good is to divide his essential character into parts which is impossible.
Point 2-If God is not good, he lacks a necessary great-making quality (every quality that makes one worthy of worship or a quality that makes one more worthy above all else). God is the greatest conceivable being who has all of the great-making qualities. Lacking the attribute of goodness means he lacks one of the great-making qualities. Therefore, if God is not good, he lacks something meaning he is not God.
Point 3-Scripture calls God good hundreds of times. Both Judaism and Christianity affirm the goodness of God. Surely Islam should and wants to follow this testimony.
Point 4– God’s goodness is necessary for moral accountability. Scripture is an out flowing of the will and attributes of God. He gives commands because they are good. His moral commandments are good because they’re based upon his very goodness. They are in our best interests. To say that he is not good is to say that his commandments are not good. If his commandments are not based in his nature, they are arbitrary and not objectively grounded in anything. If commandments are not objectively grounded within anything, I’m not morally accountable to obey them.
Point 5– If God is not good, we have no reason to trust him. We trust those who are good. We do not trust those who are evil or bad. If God is not good, he is not trustworthy. How can he ever be trusted not to do evil? I could potentially think of a situation where evil could be just and if a situation exists, there is nothing within the character of God to stop him from doing mass evil. A.W. Tozer was right when he said in his book The Knowledge of the Holy that:
That God is good is taught or implied on every page of the Bible and must be received as an article of faith as impregnable as the throne of God. It is a foundation stone for all sound thought about God and is necessary to moral sanity. To allow that God could be other than good is to deny the validity of all thought and end ill the negation of every moral judgment. If God is not good, then there can be no distinction between kindness and cruelty, and heaven can be hell and hell, heaven.
To deny the goodness of God is poison to any faith.
So, we are left with two options: 1) the biblical, extrabiblical, and testimony of the Church are correct regarding the crucifixion of Jesus and the Quran is wrong or 2) Muhammad writing 600 years after the fact is right and it only appeared to be Jesus. Occam’s razor (a logical principle that says the simplest explanation will be the most plausible until evidence is presented to prove it false) pretty much guarantees the first option. It would be in the best interests of every reasonable, clear-thinking individual to accept option number one. The burden of proof is on Muslims to present and defend option two in the face of insurmountable evidence.