Does Karma Really Exist?

Many people around the world believe in the what is known as “Karma”.

The word “karma” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Karman”, which translates to “act”. Per the principles of Indian philosophy, it is said to be defined as the fundamental law of causation through which good or bad actions or their intent determine the future implications of a person’s life. 

Simply put “ karma is when you do good things , good things happen to you. And if you do bad things , bad things will happen to you”. 

This is a very simplistic view of course. 

The idea sounds fair and square, but there are major flaws in it. 

Karma supposes that if your karmic scales are inclined to the bad, you will surely get what you deserve. The problem here lies in that many people who do horrible things in don’t get punished for their actions in this life. 

Take the Soviet Union dictator Stalin for example. He was responsible for murdering millions and the misery of millions of his people, yet he died peacefully and his death was mourned by his country. He seems to have escaped karma. 

Many nazi war criminals also escaped after world war II, and were never caught and died natural deaths without any kind of punishment. 

Same goes for people,  who do good by   selflessly helping their fellow humans, animals and nature. Yet some of those were horribly punished, imprisoned and even tortured and died horrible deaths! 

Where are the karmic scales in all that? What is its use if we doesn’t really work?  

Even we there is no after life , and we are all incarnated again. What is the point then of having bad karma for things you do not even remember? 

Christianity on other hand  gives us a more logical explanation for such events. Although God is just and does punish the wicked and rewards the saints, He does that both in this life and in the afterlife. So we don’t have to wait to see His justice in our lives. But we sometimes do, yet we know for certain that someday there will be justice for all. 

Which means that we should not only do good in our lives and help others to just get “good karma“ in this material life. We do them because this is our purpose and by doing so we become better people and know God better. 

It also means that we should continue to do good despite not getting good things in return, we do it for goodness sake, that is true morality. 

Or as The prophet Habakkuk said: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3: 17,18) 

Why did the early church and our Orthodox church adopt the Septuagint scriptures? And why don’t the Jewish rabbis and the Protestant churches use it?

The Septuagint, abbreviation LXX, is the earliest extant Greek translation of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew. The Septuagint was presumably made for the Jewish community in Egypt when Greek was the common language throughout the region. Analysis of the language has established that the Torah, or Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), was translated near the middle of the 3rd century BCE and that the rest of the Old Testament was translated in the 2nd century BCE before Christ. The Septuagint is the only complete and reliable translation for the Old testament that was in Greek which is the most widely used language by the time of the early church. 

In addition to all the books of the Hebrew canon, the Septuagint includes the deuterocanonical books, which are not included in the Masoretic text adopted by Jews. The Protestant churches use only the Masoretic text as the canonical Old Testament.  

So why did the early church, and currently orthodox churches, use the Septuagint? 

FIrst, our Lord and Savior Jesus Himself used the Septuagint as evidenced in many instances (click here for more details on this topic). For example, He confirmed the book of Maccabees as scripture by celebrating The Hanukkah. According to the gospel of Saint John: “Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.” (John 10:22, NKJV). The story of Hanukkah is preserved in the books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lighting of the menorah. Those books are part of the Septuagint, but not canonized in the Hebrew Masoretic Text. 

In addition, early Christians used the Septuagint out of necessity, since the language of most early Christians was Greek and they could not read Hebrew. Therefore, the Septuagint helped in the spread of Christianity in the early Church.  

The Jews themselves used the Septuagint up to the second century CE. They stopped using the Septuagint altogether only in the second century after Christ, as many early Christians relied on the Septuagint to refer to prophecies that they claimed to have been fulfilled by Christ. The Jews considered this a misuse of Holy Scriptures and adopted the Masoretic text instead. The discoveries of the dead sea scrolls revealed copies of both Hebrew (pre-Masoretic) and Septuagint versions used by the communities of Qumran which assures that both Old Testament versions were used within the Jewish sects and that the Septuagint scriptures was regarded as divine scriptures by Jews. 

The Greek text, not the original Hebrew, was the main basis for the Old Latin, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic, and part of the Arabic translations of the Old Testament and has never ceased to be the standard version of the Old Testament in the Greek church. Indeed, St. Jerome used the Septuagint to begin his translation of the Vulgate Old Testament in 382 CE.  

Finally, the Church’s theology was also explicitly shaped by the Septuagint. For example, St. Matthew’s reference to the prophecy of Jesus’ virgin birth is supported only in the Greek text (whereas the Hebrew has “young woman”). The writings of the Apostolic fathers are similarly saturated with quotations from the Septuagint, and specific Greek readings were used to refute heresies throughout Church history.

The Authenticity of the Deuterocanonical Books 

Numerous Christians have difficulties with the Deuterocanonical Books, being unsure whether these books are part of Scripture or not. The Orthodox and Catholic Churches acknowledge these books, yet the Protestant Churches do not.  

Prior to looking at their authenticity, what are the Deuterocanonical Books and why are these books named as such? The terminology ‘’deuterocanonical’’ was introduced in the 16th century by Pope Sixtus V from the Roman Catholic Church (see http://wiscopts.net/spiritual-library/145). Pope Sixtus V made a distinction between ‘’protocanonical’’ and ‘’deuterocanonical’’ books, where protocanonical books are the books of the first Old Testament canon (hence, proto and canon) and the deuterocanonical books are the books of the second Old Testament canon (hence, deuteron and canon). As Orthodoxy does not make this distinction, and both ‘’groups’’ are seen as protocanonical books, the term deuterocanonical is nevertheless used as this term is widely used in literature. The Deuterocanonical Books are: The Book of Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Baruch, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, 1 and 2 Esdras, the prayer of Manasseh and additions to the Books of Esther and Daniel. These books were removed from the Bible during the Reformation (16th century). The one who removed these books was Martin Luther, who first removed these books to the appendix of the Bible and subsequently removed them from the Bible. He also tried to remove several books from the New Testament, such as: The Epistle to the Hebrews, the Epistle of James and the Revelation of John (see episode 10 of ‘’Introduction to the Bible’’ podcast by ‘’Ancient Faith Ministries’’).  

What are arguments against the authenticity of the Deuterocanonical Books? 

Argument 1: The Deuterocanonical Books are not included in the list of books organized by Ezra the Priest in the library of Nehemiah. As Ezra had collected all books acknowledged as scripture, and he did not include the Deuterocanonical Books, these books are not supposed to be in the Old Testament Canon.  

Refutation: The information about the library of Nehemiah is, interestingly, only mentioned in the deuterocanonical book 2 Maccabees (2 Maccabees 2:13). Therefore, this argument is invalid as one cannot reject the Deuterocanonical Books based on information exclusively found in the Deuterocanonical Books. Another point is that the Israelites were divided back then, consisting of roughly three groups: Israelites in Jerusalem, Israelites in exile and Israelites returning home from exile. Furthermore, not all books were written prior to Ezra, some books, such as Sirach, were written after the time of Ezra and were written in other cities such as Jerusalem. As back then there were no databases, it was practically impossible for Ezra to collect Scripture from over the whole world. This, however, does not mean that Ezra purposely rejected these books, but he simply did not know of their existence or they were not even written.  

Argument 2: The average Bible does not contain the Deuterocanonical Books, therefore they are not important (enough) as they are not included in most Bibles.  

Refutation: That the average Bible does not contain these books does not mean that they are not part of Scripture. For instance, if I would remove books from the Bible and copy my Bible numerous times, would that mean that the books which I removed are not part of scripture? Of course not. More importantly, Orthodox and Catholic Bibles do contain the Deuterocanonical Books. Furthermore, ancient copies of the Old Testament also contain the Deuterocanonical Books, such as the Septuagint (3rd c. BC), the Peshitta (2-4th c. AD) and the Vulgate (4th c. AD). The copy which does not contain the Deuterocanonical Books is the Masoretic Text, which is a Jewish ‘’Bible’’. In addition, Bibles prior to the 16th century all contained the Deuterocanonical Books, as the ‘’controverse’’ started during the Reformation.  

What are arguments in favour of the authenticity of the Deuterocanonical Books? 

Argument 1:  The Biblical Canon has been discussed during several councils, such as: The Council of Laodicea in 363 (NPNF, series 2, Vol. 14, pp. 126-160), the Council of Hippo in 393, the Councils of Carthage in 397 (B. Westcott. General survey of the History of the Canon of the New Testament, pp. 440, 541–42) and 419 (NPNF, series 2, Vol. 14, pp. 438-510). During these councils, the Deuterocanonical Books were mentioned to be 1) part of Scripture and 2) to have the same authenticity as the rest of Scripture. For instance, Canon 59 of the Council of Laodicea mentions: ‘’No psalms composed by private individuals nor any uncanonical books may be read in the church, but only the Canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments’’, and Canon 60 lists the Deuterocanonical Books as part of the Old Testament Canon (NPNF, series 2, Vol. 14, pp. 438-510). As the Deuterocanonical Books were highly used by the Church Fathers, one can come to the conclusion that these were truly a part of Scripture. The Council of Carthage mentioned the Biblical Canon of the Old and New Testament, and this list contained the Deuterocanonical Books. Despite that most acts of this council has been lost, they are cited, however, in the acts of the Council of Hippo. Furthermore, Canon 24 of the 2nd Council of Carthage listed the Deuterocanonical Books as part of the Old Testament Canon.  

Argument 2: Church Fathers listed the Deuterocanonical Books as part of their Biblical Canon. Several Church Fathers explicitly mentioned the Deuterocanonical Books in their Biblical Canons, such as Melito of Sardis (Eusebius of Caesarea. Ecclesiastical History, Book 4.26.12-14), Athanasius of Alexandria (373 AD) (Festal Epistle, 39), Cyril of Jerusalem (386 AD) (Catechetical Lectures, Lecture 4.33-37), Gregorius Nazianzus (390 AD) (Hymns, Hymn 1.1),  Amphilochius of Iconium (403 AD) (see his work ‘’Lambics to Seleucus’’), Epiphanius of Salamis (403 AD) (see his work ‘’On the Weights and Measures, 49’’), Augustine of Hippo (420 AD) (see his work ‘’Retractions, 2.2-3’’) and Innocent I of Rome (417 AD) (see his Epistle to Exsuperius, 7) are some of these Fathers. In addition, Church Fathers often cited Deuterocanonical Books in their works, also they never objected to the authenticity of the Deuterocanonical Books. Significant Church Fathers cited the Deuterocanonical Books in multiple instances, such as Athanasius of Alexandria (373 AD), Basil of Caesarea (379 AD), Gregory Nazianzus (390 AD), John Chrysostom (407 AD) and Cyril of Alexandria (444 AD). Also, the Apostolic Fathers cited the Deuterocanonical Books, such as Clement of Rome (1st c. AD), Polycarp of Smyrna (2nd c. AD) and the Didache (2nd c. AD).  

Noteworthy is that several Church Fathers counted the books of the Old Testament as 22, symbolising the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. This did not mean, however, that these Fathers did not acknowledge all books of the Old Testament, rather they used another counting method. The counting method which they used, grouped the twelve minor prophets as one book and books such as Samuel, Chronicles and Kings were not numbered as 1 and 2. Church Fathers who used this method to count books from the Old Testament were Hilary of Poitiers (367 AD) (see his ‘’Prologue to the Psalms, 15’’), Athanasius of Alexandria (Festal Letters, Letter 39), Gregory Nazianzus (Poems, Book 1, Section 1,12), Origen of Alexandria (254 AD) (Eusebius of Caesarea. Ecclesiastical History, Book 6.25), Jerome of Stridon (420 AD) (see his Letter to Paulinus, 6-8) and Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures, Lecture 4.35).  

Argument 3: The New Testament and Jesus Himself quoted several times from the Deuterocanonical Books. For example,  

  • Jesus quotes Sirach 26:7 when He stated that “you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16,20).  
  • Jesus said: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7) 
  • The Book of Sirach states that: “Do not babble in the assembly of the elders, and do not repeat yourself when you pray.” (Sirach 7:14) 
  • Matthew mentions that the people who were observing the crucifixion said: “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.” (Matthew 27:43) 
  • The Book of Wisdom prophesied that He, referring to Jesus “boasts that God is his father. Let us see if his words are true” (Wisdom 2:15,16) 
  • Jesus said: “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise” (Luke 6:31) 
  • Tobit states that: “Do to no one what you yourself hate” (Tobit 4:15) 
  • Jesus quoted from Tobit 4: “Give alms from your possessions. Do not turn your face away from any of the poor, so that God’s face will not be turned away from you. Give in proportion to what you own. If you have great wealth, give alms out of your abundance; if you have but little, do not be afraid to give alms even of that little. You will be storing up a goodly treasure for yourself against the day of adversity. For almsgiving delivers from death and keeps one from entering into Darkness. Almsgiving is a worthy offering in the sight of the Most High for all who practice it” (Tobit 4:7-11) 
  • Paul’s epistle to the Romans: “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” (Romans 11:34)  
  • Book of Wisdom: “For who can learn the counsel of God? Or who can discern what the Lord wills?” (Wisdom 9:13) 
  • Pauls instructs the believers that “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7) 
  • Sirach 35:11: “With every gift show a cheerful face, and dedicate your tithe with gladness.” (Sirach 35:11) 
  • Paul wrote on Jesus as the Wisdom of God that He “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3)  
  • Solomon wrote on the Wisdom of God that “she is a reflection of eternal lighta spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness” (Wisdom 7:26) 

How Were the Books of the Bible Canonized?

The Criteria of Canonicity is the decisive criteria that was used to decide which books are canonized, i.e. admitted to the Bible, and which are not. The criteria are: 

1. Apostolic Origin, also known as Apostolicity, examines the identity of the author, i.e. does the author have the apostolic authority or not? The apostles were commissioned by the Lord himself to be His spokesmen on this earth during the interval between the ascension of Christ and the completion of the New Testament Scriptures. They were given the gift of the Holy Spirit which would enable them to write inerrant Scripture and teach inerrant doctrine. Therefore, the books of the New Testament were to be related  to one of these authoritative, inspired apostles. 

2. Accreditation of the Apostolic Fathers, for example, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Polycarp, among the Apostolic Fathers. Did the Apostolic Fathers accept those books and quote them as scripture or not? 

3. The Ecclesiastical Acknowledgement: the writings that became canonical were writings that were used in early churches; they were read in public worship and known to be useful for study, doctrine, and edification.  

4. The rule of Orthodox, True Faith:  whether the content of the book is aligned with the Orthodox faith or not. 

Scripture’s Canonization was done in Catholic Councils gathering Bishops from all around the Christian world to affirm the authenticity and divinity of the scripture. The Council of Laodicea, in 363 A.D., stated that only the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament were to be read in the churches. The Council of Hippo, 393 A.D., and the Council of Carthage, 397 A.D., also affirmed the same 27 books as authoritative. There is no doubt Our Early Church Fathers and Apostles were faithful to death to deliver the True faith to all the world. The textual criticism that had included millions of direct and indirect scriptures, the strictness of the biblical canonization process, as well as the faithfulness of the apostles and early fathers, who offered their lives joyfully in martyrdom to Christ to keep the right faith, leave no room for doubting the authenticity of the Scriptures. 

Is Evolution a Theory or a Hypothesis?

Many scientists insist that Evolution is a theory similar to the relativity theory. However, when we consider the criteria for a scientific theory, and how Evolution measures against it, we come to the conclusion that Evolution, in the wider definition of neo-Darwinism that all living creatures came from a common ancestor, is drawing unjustified inference from the observed data.   

The difference between a scientific theory and a hypothesis is that a theory must satisfy six criteria

  • Observability 
  • Experimentation and testing 
  • Ability to explain past events (retrodictions) 
  • Ability to make predictions  
  • Consistency with other scientific theories 
  • Falsifiability and correctability, i.e., there must be possible or theoretical situations in which the theory would be invalid. It should also change in light of new data 

If we compare the Relativity Theory to Evolution along the criteria above, we can assess if Evolution satisfies the conditions of being a scientific theory in the same way that the Relativity Theory does. In this article, we will discuss why Evolution is a hypothesis and not a scientific theory despite what many scientists claim.  

Observability Criterion: Evolution hasn’t been observed 

Evolution has never been observed in action. All observations that the “theory” relies on are either mutations that never led to observable speciation events beyond single cell organisms, or historical phenomena that can also be used to prove Intelligent Design (more elaboration here). However, let’s discuss in detail some of the observations that are used to prove Evolution: 

  1. Comparative anatomy: the study of differences and similarities between living things 
  1. Embryology and development: how creatures develop before being born or hatching from an egg 
  1. Fossil record 
  1. DNA similarities: the molecules that carry the codes that determine the characteristics of living things (e.g. eye color, height, …etc.) 
  1. Vestigial organs 
  1. Mutations: random changes in genes during some transitions such as replication 

The first four categories of observations are not observations of Evolution in action. They are historical information which have been inferred in ways to support Evolution. However, the same observations can support Intelligent Design as well (more elaboration here). Some of the inference from observations is even “bent” to support Evolution, such as the claim that two chromosomes in chimpanzees fused together in humans (read more here

The fifth evidence, from mutations, is observable, but it doesn’t support evolution in the wider sense that all living creatures come from a common ancestor. Mutations are changes in the genetic code of the cells that compose our body. However, it is the accumulation of mutations through a sufficient amount of time – millions of years – that leads to the conclusion that variations in all living creatures come from mutations and are filtered by natural selection. This claim however is an extrapolation and never tested or observed. While mutations do occur, the extrapolations that these mutations accumulated to change a fish to an amphibian or create a new functioning organ within the same species are just merely extrapolations that were never observed in life or in labs.  

Experimentation Criterion: Evolution hasn’t been repeatedly experimented and tested 

The present-day scientific community claims to have proven Evolution through experimentation. However, these experiments fall into one of three categories: selective breeding, lab-controlled experiments of mutations/adaptations, and computer simulations. None of these three categories of experimentation has demonstrated a creation of a new organ or transition from amphibians to reptiles or mammals, etc.  

In lab experiments, only mutations have been observed. These mutations are mostly neutral or harmful. No positive mutations have ever been demonstrated — adaptations to antibiotics or herbicides are equivalent to immunological adaptation to diseases. In the case of bacteria adapting to antibiotics, it’s attributed to bacteria’s ability to exchange genetic material through the sharing of circular DNA called plasmids in a process referred to as “horizontal gene transfer”.  

Retrodiction Criterion: Evolution fails to explain several past events (retrodictions) 

There are several observable phenomena that evolution fails to explain such as: 

  1. How acquired beneficial mutations pass on to the descendants. For a mutation to stay in a population it has to be transferred to the offspring. It is easy in single-celled organisms, but not for higher organisms where germ cells are separated early during embryogenesis and there is no further communication between somatic cells and germ cells during an individual’s life (in higher organisms, we have to talk about individuals rather than populations). The only way this can happen is if the mutation is acquired in a fertilized egg or an early embryo; but in that case how can it be a mutation in response to the external environment? the environment in this case would be the parent organism (temperature of the parent, the nutrients that the parent absorbs from the food it eats, etc). The only answer neo-Darwinists give to that idea is “horizontal gene transfer” which is again clear and documented in single-celled bacteria, but not for higher organisms. 
  1. Fossil record. According to Darwin and later Dawkins, evolution has to be gradual. The core prediction of Darwin’s theory of evolution is gradualism, which means that all the transitional changes in the history of life are not supposed to have happened as sudden big changes, but by a continuous accumulation of small changes over vast periods of time. Therefore, he mentioned not fewer than six times in his magnum opus On the Origin of Species the Latin phrase Natura non facit saltus, which means that nature does not make jumps. This claim is still made by Darwinians today. The most well-known modern popularizer of Darwinism, the infamous atheist Richard Dawkins, wrote in his 2009 bestselling book The Greatest Show on Earth the following remarkable statement: “Evolution not only is a gradual process as a matter of fact; it has to be gradual if it is to do any explanatory work.” This shows that gradualism is not just one optional element of Darwinism, but that it is very much essential for its success as a naturalistic explanation for the complexity and diversity of life. If gradualism is wrong, then Darwinism is refuted.  

However, the fossil record is highly discontinuous and strongly contradicts Darwin’s prediction of gradualism. Darwin was quite aware of this problem for his theory and therefore tried to explain it away as a mere artifact of undersampling a very incomplete fossil record. However, such appeals to the incompleteness of the fossil record are no longer tenable. Intelligent Design theorist and philosopher of science Paul Nelson cogently explained why: Imagine you have a new hobby, beachcombing. Every day you walk along the shore and collect what the tide washes in. In the beginning you are surprised each day by new discoveries — shells of new types of snails and mussels, starfish, sand dollars, driftwood, etc. But after a while you are finding mostly the same stuff over and over again, and you must be lucky to find something new that you have not seen before (like a stranded whale or a message in a bottle). When you have reached this point of mostly repetition, then you know that you have sampled enough to be sure that you have not missed much that is out there to find. 

The same approach is used by paleontologists for a statistical test of the completeness of the fossil record; it is called the collector’s curve. In most groups of fossils, we have reached this point of demonstrable saturation, where we can be pretty confident that the distinct discontinuities that we find are data to be explained and not just sampling artifacts. There is another reason why we know this: If the gaps and discontinuities in the fossil record were just artifacts, they should more and more dissolve with our greatly increasing knowledge of the fossil record. But the opposite is the case. The more we know, the more acute these problems have become. “Darwin’s doubt” did not get smaller over time but bigger, and if he were still alive, he might likely agree that the evidence simply does not add up, since he was much more prudent than many of his modern followers. 

For example, the Cambrian Explosion, which is the unparalleled emergence of organisms between 541 million and approximately 530 million years ago at the beginning of the Cambrian Period, doesn’t support gradual evolution. It is an event that is similar to walking 80 yards of a 100 yard football field with bacteria, and then suddenly finding animals appearing altogether in the 81st yard. The event was characterized by the appearance of many of the major phyla (between 20 and 35) that make up modern animal life. Similarly, other evidence from the fossil record includes “explosions,” “jumps,” and “revolutions” in the history of life that cannot be explained given the assumption of Darwinian gradualism. The most popular fossil animals of all probably [are] dinosaurs. There was a paper a couple of years ago about the origin of dinosaurs in the Triassic. It was published in Nature Communications. Lead author Dr Massimo Bernardi, Curator at MUSE and Research associate at Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, said: “it’s amazing how clear cut the change from ‘no dinosaurs’ to ‘all dinosaurs’ was.” 

Evolution fails to explain many more observations from the fossil record. For more on this, please watch this video and this video by Paleontologist Gunter Bechly. 

  1. Consciousness, morality, arts. Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel has been a vocal critic of evolution in favor of a “Naturalistic Teleological” event. In his book, “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False,” Nagel holds that evolution fails to explain the emergence of morality and consciousness. In fact, much of our modern day civilized morality goes against the morality necessary for survival. Nagel claims that the failure of a materialist reduction of mind to matter has implications for science in general, including natural selection. Since the brain does not adequately explain consciousness, neither can natural selection, even if it adequately explains the brain. The mind-body problem becomes the mind-evolution problem. Nagel supplements his argument from consciousness with two others, to the effect that natural selection is incompatible with the possibility of theoretical knowledge and the objectivity of ethical judgments. But he also more generally entertains the notion that natural selection is too implausible to explain much of anything. Nagel finds it “highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection.” He seems to doubt that there could be enough time in the world or available mutations to produce something as remarkable as a squirrel, much less human beings and consciousness. 
  1. Devolution of many organisms. While neo-darwinism is directionally agnostic by definition, it is mostly used to explain complexity but not necessarily the evolution of simple living things to more complicated ones. However, it has been exhibited that organisms are more likely to evolve into less complicated structures which is also compatible with the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy). For example, race formation (microevolution), which is not a small step in macroevolution because it is a step towards a reduction of genetic information and not towards its increase. In fact, decreasing complexity is common in the record of evolution. For example, the lower jaw in vertebrates shows decreasing complexity, as measured by the numbers of bones, from fish to reptiles to mammals. According to neo-darwinists, Evolution adapted the extra jaw bones into ear bones. Likewise, ancestral horses had several toes on each foot; modern horses have a single toe with a hoof, and four “vestigial” toes. 
  1. Impossibility of explaining the evolution family tree, based on genetics, and the convergence of anatomical structures in distant creatures within the family tree. Such convergence in anatomical structures  actually points to Intelligent Design. For example, a shark and a dolphin are distant from each other in the family tree. One is a fish and the other is a mammal. However, both are morphologically “similar” – both have fins but one is a fish the other is a mammal. Similarly, bats and birds have wings and are able to fly, yet are distant from each other in the evolution family tree. Over the past twenty-eight years, experimental evidence has revealed that family trees based on genetics are divergent. Just as troubling for the idea of macroevolution, family trees based on different molecules yield conflicting and contradictory family trees. As a 2012 paper published in Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society reported, “Incongruence between phylogenies derived from morphological versus molecular analyses, and between trees based on different subsets of molecular sequences has become pervasive as datasets have expanded rapidly in both characters and species” (read more here
  1. Archeological, palaeontological, and historical evidence that dinosaurs coexisted with humans. Most illustrations of dinosaurs are NOT reconstructions from the fossil record, they are based on actual drawings by ancient civilizations of dinosaurs. The Inca’s in Latin America, Cambodian’s in Asia, and Pharaohs in Egypt all drew dinosaurs, and sometimes dinosaurs eating humans or being chased by human hunters. Moreover, there is paleontological evidence supporting the recency of dinosaurs. Historical evidence includes Alexander the Great’s army encountering a dragon, and Marco Polo recording dragon dealings. Flavius Philostratus provided this sober account in the third century A.D.: 

The whole of India is girt with dragons of enormous size; for not only the marshes are full of them, but the mountains as well, and there is not a single ridge without one. Now the marsh kind are sluggish in their habits and are thirty cubits long, and they have no crest standing up on their heads. 

Pliny the Elder also referenced large dragons in India in his Natural History. More recently, historian Bill Cooper described many ancient news accounts of dinosaur encounters from England and Europe, which to this day contain place names that reference the dragons that were once there, like “Knucker’s Hole,” “Dragon-hoard,” and “Wormelow Tump.” 

  1. Mating in Bees. The behavior of worker casts, which are the female siblings of the queen bee, is hardly an example of the idea of the survival of the fittest that the “theory” of evolution rests on. The worker casts do not mate and, therefore, behave against their individual “fitness” for the sake of the species. 

Prediction Criterion: Evolution can’t make deterministic predictions 

In his 1838 Essay on Theology and Natural Selection, Darwin insisted that any good scientific explanation had to be capable of making predictions – which is precisely what led him to reject creationism in the first place. Since the will of God is not subject to any law, it is unpredictable. For this reason, Darwin regarded theological explanations of biological diversity as scientifically useless. What’s more, Darwin believed that any explanation of a phenomenon in terms of physical laws had to be a deterministic explanation: as he put it in his Autobiography, “Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.” (Page 87, Nora Barlow’s 1958 edition. For Darwin, the course of evolution was not only fixed by deterministic laws; it was also predictable, at least in its broad outline. Darwin maintained that over the course of time, evolution tended to produce organisms that were more and more complex, in the degree of specialization of their body parts. In the concluding chapter to The Origin of Species, he argued that the evolution of life, viewed as a whole, was guaranteed by the laws of Nature to progress ever upward, and that the evolution of the “higher animals” was the inevitable outcome of simple biological laws: 

“And as natural selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection. It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.” 

(1st edition, 1859, Chapter XIV, pp. 489-490.) 

One example of the failure of neo-Darwinism to make the correct predictions is in malaria. With its billions of microbes living within billions of hosts, malaria offers abundant opportunities to test neo-Darwinism. The emergence of resistance to a drug that requires one mutation can be expected to occur regularly. Resistance that requires two coordinated mutations takes much longer. Three coordinated mutations, however, are so improbable as to never occur.  

Since chloroquine resistance requires two mutations, it does occur from time to time. Beyond that, a drug will be past the edge of evolution. Like a soldier reaching safety beyond a mine field, a drug requiring three or more coordinated mutations will likely be immune from the emergence of resistance. 

Running the infected cells through a flow cytometer, they could then use single-cell sequencing to look for new mutations. What they found did not fit neo-Darwinian predictions. Ian Cheeseman, co-leader of the study, explains: 

“We would expect these brand-new mutations to be scattered randomly throughout the genome,” Cheeseman says. “Instead, we find they are often targeting a gene family that controls transcription in malaria.” 

But that’s not the only notable thing about the results. What really excites Cheeseman is that when the team compared single cell sequencing data for P. vivax and P. falciparum, the same transcription gene family contained the majority of new mutations for both species. 

Mutations are supposed to be random. They should occur anywhere in the genome. Why are the majority of new mutations appearing in a gene family that controls transcription? Why are they appearing in two species not in contact with each other?  

Astute readers should take note that sounding excited is a coping mechanism for evolutionary biologists when findings don’t match expectations. 

Whatever is going on, it doesn’t look like random variation that Darwin expected to be the feedstock of natural selection. And the mention of plural mutations looks like what is happening is beyond the edge of evolution. If coordinated mutations in one species are improbable, how does it help to posit similar coordinated mutations in two species? 

If indeed the findings point to a non-random process at work, this would indicate foresight, a hallmark of a designing mind. Designing a cell that can recognize and respond to unforeseen threats requires good engineering. Whether malaria was designed to cause harm originally or devolved into what it is now is more a philosophical or theological issue, but findings from design-based research in this situation could help all microbiologists. It could begin to nudge them away from the default appeals to neo-Darwinism and convergence, and start them thinking about how an engineer would design cells for robustness in a dynamic world. 

Consistency Criterion: Evolution is not consistent with other scientific theories 

Among the most vocal critics of evolution are scientists from different fields, specifically mathematics and physics. Some of the theories that evolution is not consistent with are: 

  1. Second law of thermodynamics (increasing entropy). The supposed evolutionary process breaks the most universal and best-proved law of physics, the law of increasing entropy, known as the second law of thermodynamics. It applies not only in physical and chemical systems, but also in biological and geological systems, in fact all systems, without exception. The law stipulates that all systems tend to lose order. They go towards disorganization and loss of complexity. The law of increasing entropy therefore precludes evolution, because all evolutionary systems are expected to increase in order and complexity. Physicists E.H. Lieb and Jacob Yngvason explain: “No exception to the second law of thermodynamics has ever been found, not even a tiny one. Like conservation of energy [the `first law’], the existence of a law so precise and so independent of details of models must have a logical foundation that is independent of the fact that matter is composed of interacting particles” (“A Fresh Look at Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics”, Physics Today, vol 53, April 2000, p32). A neo-Darwinist might object that with the help of external energy, systems can defy entropy. For example, sunlight enables plants to make photosynthesis. While this is true, photosynthesis itself is not proven to be the result of a random mutation. It seems infinitely more likely to be intelligently designed. 
  1. Probability theory. What is the probability of an average-size protein occurring naturally? Walter Bradley, PhD, materials science, and Charles Thaxton, PhD, chemistry, calculated that the probability of amino acids forming into a protein is: 

4.9 x 10-191 

This is way lower than the approximate value of ZERO probability (1×10-50), and a protein is not even close to becoming a complete living cell. Sir Fred Hoyle, PhD, astronomy, and Chandra Wickramasinghe, professor of applied math and astronomy, calculated that the probability of getting a cell by naturalistic processes is: 

1 x 10-40,000 

No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning. . . . There are about two thousand enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 1020×2000 = 2040,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup 

Correctability Criterion: Neo-Darwinism hasn’t been corrected given new evidence against it 

Unfortunately many in the scientific community do not approach evolution in a scientific way. As much as they criticize scientists who support Intelligent Design for doing so out of religious biases, they fail to consider evidence incompatible with evolution to the extent that they have become invincible to scientific thinking itself. Reading through the reviews of one book by Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel, who argued against evolution as an explanation for morality in his book “Mind and Cosmos”, it is astonishing to find the reviewers arguing that (1) even if the origin of life should prove to be a fantastically improbable event that would not be expected to happen even once in the entire history of the cosmos, (2) even if scientists are utterly unable to predict the general course of evolution, (3) even if all attempts to reduce the science of biology to physics and chemistry are doomed to failure, (4) even if it can be shown that we will never be able to explain consciousness in terms of physical processes, and (5) even if neo-Darwinism proves to be incompatible with the existence of objective moral truths, such as “killing people for fun is wrong,” they will still prefer Darwinism to any other account of origins, for to do otherwise is unscientific (please refer to this video for a discussion of whether Intelligent Design can be a valid scientific alternative to evolution). Has evolution become a religion, with the scientific community as its infallible Pope? It is not unknown that many of the intellectually honest scientists who dared to question evolution with scientific evidence have had their academic careers ruined, and their research defunded.  

We keep on searching for natural explanations of everything in nature. If we have no explanations we should say so, and not claim that an unproven hypothesis is a scientific theory. After all, if religion is a culture of faith, science is a culture of doubt. 

Is calling St. Mary ‘the mother of God’ Biblically correct? 

Calling St. Mary “the mother of God” is not only a matter of creed related to St. Mary, but also to our Lord Jesus Christ. 

First, calling the Blessed Virgin Mary “the mother of God” essentially means that the child who is conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, carried in her body and born into this world, is God. Consequently, the title of “mother of God” highlights the pivotal truth of the Orthodox, and Catholic, Church’s Faith which is that God has, in Jesus Christ, manifested in human nature, chosen to be born into this world and lived a real, human life. So, it was through her that Jesus, who is God, was born. It doesn’t mean that she is the creator of God or the world. However, she was full of grace that God chose her to conceive His Son, Jesus Christ, to be born through her.  

Second, in the Old Testament, the prophecy of Isaiah speaks of a virgin mother of Immanuel, a name that means “God is with us”. In Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Later in Isaiah 8:8-9 Immanuel is referred to as the future Savior of his people. Here the prophet foretells an extraordinary future sign: that a virgin, without the cooperation of a man, will give birth to a child whose name means “God is with us.” Also, the prophecy of Micah 5:2-3 foretells the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem from a woman who will “bring forth” the “ruler of Israel” and that she will be this ruler’s mother.  

Third, the New Testament clearly mentions the greeting of Elizabeth to Saint Mary as “mother of my Lord”. In Luke 1:43, when Saint Mary’s relative, Elizabeth, greeted her shortly after she had conceived The Lord, and said “And why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” So, it is stated in the Bible that Saint Mary was called the “mother of the Lord” which has the same meaning of “mother of God” as The Lord Jesus Christ is God.  

So, both the Old Testament and the New Testament reveal to us that Saint Mary is the mother of God through prophecies and direct references.  

Historical Evidence for the Miracle of Moving Al-Mokattam Mountain

The Caliph and The Debate 

During the Fatimid dynasty, there was a caliph, i.e. king, called Al-Mu’iz Li Din-Illah the Fatimid. Al-Mu’iz used to hold literary gatherings and was interested in debates on religion. He used to rally the religious leaders of the Muslims, Christians and Jews and let them debate in his presence, and directed that this should be carried out with neither anger nor contention.  

There was a Jew in the council of Al-Mu’iz who espoused Islam in order to be assigned a minister. This man’s name was Jacob Ibn Killis.  

Ibn Killis hated Christians, especially because he had a Christian rival whoI was dear to the caliph. He feared that the caliph would appoint the Christian as minister instead of him. The Christian man’s name was Quzman Ibn Mina, and had the title “Abul Yumn” (The fortunate one).  

So, Jacob Ibn Killis called to him another Jew named Moses and wanted him to debate with the Patriarch Abram in the court of the caliph Al-Mu’iz.

The caliph sent a message to the Patriarch, saying, “If you want to debate the Jews someday, whether yourself or through one of the bishops you choose, come to my house and join the debate with them in my presence.” 

So Patriarch Abram set a date for the debate, and took along with him Bishop Sawirus Ibn Al-Muqaffaa, the bishop of Ashmunin (in Upper Egypt), who was one of the church scholars in his generation. It was he who wrote “The Biography Of The Patriarchs,” and besides this he was well versed in theology, especially in comparative religion, and authored numerous volumes in this field. Of these books are: “A Book on Monotheism”, and “The Book of the Wondrous Presentation in Answer to the Jews”, among other books. 

When the caliph was seated, together with the Jewish minister Ibn Killis and his friend Moses, he said to the Patriarch, “Speak my reverent Pope, or otherwise grant your companions the permission to talk.” 

So the Patriarch said to Sawirus the bishop of Ashmunin, 

“Speak my son, and the divine wisdom grant you wisdom.” 

Bishop Sawirus addressed Moses and Jacob calmly, 

“What if I furnish the proof for your ignorance, will you not be angry?”

“The caliph interfered out of tolerance, and eloquently, 

“There is no need to be angry in the discussion; freedom is vouchsafed for each of you so that you may express each his own opinion frankly and without embarrassment.”

Bishop Sawirus continued addressing Moses and Jacob confidently,

“Well, it is not I that call you ignorant; it is rather a great prophet of yours, who had a special favor from God, who witnesses against you”

Moses the Jew asked him, 

“And who can this prophet be?”

Bishop Sawirus answered immediately, 

“It is Isaiah the prophet, who said about you, `The ox knows his master, the donkey, his owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.'” (Is 1:3)

The caliph burst out laughing, for he was impressed by Bishop Sawirus’ prudence and skill of speech. Then the caliph asked Moses the Jew,

“Are these really the words of Isaiah?”

Moses said, with pent-up anger, “Yes, sire.”

And Bishop Sawirus continued talking,

“Behold a great prophet of yours has announced that the animals have more understanding than you do.” 

This aggressive start of the debate upset the minister Ibn Killis and his friend Moses so much that they decided to take revenge on Pope Abram and Patriarch Sawirus. He chanced upon the verse that the Lord Jesus had said in Matthew 17:20, which says: “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Moses the Jew and the minister Ibn Killis hastened to the caliph Al-Mu’iz and said to him,

“We have found it written in the book of the Christians that whosoever has faith as small as a mustard seed can move a mountain. So it is our right to demand them to prove that their religion is right by means of this. If they cannot, they should be punished for the invalidity of their religion.”

The caliph kept silent and was mulling over this verse, thinking to himself that if the words of the New Testament were true, then this would be a golden opportunity to remove the mountain that was perched to the east of the new city (Cairo) so that it could stretch further east and would enjoy a terrific site, since the mountain was bordering Birket Elphil before it got removed. But if they proved unable to carry this out, this would be a cogent proof that the religion of the Christians was wrong, and so, should be done away with completely.

The caliph Al-Mu’iz sent for Pope Abram, who came to him and talked with him concerning this verse. He told him that he had to choose between these four alternatives:

1) To fulfill this commandment and move Al-Mokattam mountain

2) To convert to Islam and abandon Christianity on the account that it is invalid

3) To leave Egypt and immigrate to another country

4) To be killed by the sword altogether

The Patriarch kept silent, and was praying in his heart for the Lord to guide him in this ordeal.. Then he asked the caliph to give a three day respite, after which he would give him an answer.

Calling for a fast

When the Pope returned to his seat, he issued a public statement ordering all Christians in Egypt to fast for three days from dawn, till sunset, and to lift up prayers for the safety of the church. What a spiritual insight and heavenly wisdom is that which turns to God in such hard circumstances and distresses! How wonderful is the prayer of the church which it lifts up during the Mass, saying, “For we do not know another but You…Your holy name is the name we utter and our souls are revived by Your Holy Spirit.”

Thereafter, the Pope went to the famous church of Saint Mary in old Cairo, which is known as “The Suspended Church,” and called for the bishops who were present, together with the archdeacons and the monks to tell them what had happened between the caliph and himself. He said to them,

“We are to fast and pray these three days which I have asked of the caliph as respite, so that the Lord may show mercy upon us in His grace, and provide us a way of deliverance.”

All the people responded to the calling of the Pope, and the Coptic Christians fasted throughout the land of Egypt. Masses were held and prayers and supplications for this ordeal through which the church was going.

Pope Abram, together with some bishops, priests, monks and archdeacons confined themselves to the Suspended Church of Saint Mary during those three days.

God Answers

[Text Wrapping Break]On the third day of fasting at dawn, the Pope dozes off for a short while, and saw the blessed Virgin Mary, and heard her say to him,

[Text Wrapping Break]”Fear not, faithful shepherd, for your tears which you have shed in this church, and the fasts and the prayers which you and your people have offered up shall not be forgotten. Now, get out through the iron gate that leads to the market-place and, when you are on your way out, you will find a one-eyed man in front of you carrying a jar of water. Take hold of him; for he is the man by whom the miracle will take place.”

As soon as the Virgin Mary said this, she disappeared from the sight of the Pope, who woke up from his sleep wondering.

Saint Samaan, the messenger of heaven

When the Pope went out to the iron gate that leads to the market-place, and saw outside it the man whom the Virgin Mary had spoken about, he took hold of him, brought him inside the iron gate, and closed it. The Pope told him what had happened between the caliph and himself, and what the Virgin Mary had ordered him to do, mentioning that it was he by whom the miracle would take place.

Saint Samaan said to him,

“Forgive me, my father, for I am but a sinful man.”

The Pope said to him in persistence,

“It is the command of the mother of Light.”

Saint Samaan answered in humility and submission,

“As long as it is the Mother of Light who decided that I should be entrusted with this great task, I, then, place myself at your service.”

The Pope asked him about his name, and why he was there in the market-place at such an early hour in the morning while people were asleep.

Saint Samaan answered, “My name is Samaan the Tanner. I work in tanning animal skins. But I wake up as early as this hour in the morning every day to fill my jar with water and distribute it to the elderly and the sick, who have been hampered from bringing water for themselves by old age or sickness.

When I am finished with this service of mine, I return my water skin to the house and go to my work at the tannery where I work till evening. And at sunset I go out with the rest of the wage workers and eat just a little, so as to keep myself barely alive. Then I turn to prayer…”

Saint Samaan urged the Pope to keep the true state of his affairs hidden as long as he lived on this earth.

The preparations for the miracle

After Saint Samaan had finished this, he said to the Patriarch,

“My honorable father, go up the mountain and take along with you the religious leaders, the deacons, and the archdeacons, and make them carry on high the Bibles, the crosses, and the long candles, these being lit, and the censers full of incense.”

“And ask the king and his retinue to go up with you… So you shall stand on one side of the mountain, while they stand on the side opposite you. As for me, I will stand among the people behind your felicity, so that no one would recognize me.

“Then after administering the holy sacraments, you raise up your voice with all of the people, repeating, “Kyrie Eleison” (have mercy, Lord) four hundred times.

“Then after that keep silent for some moments…. and worship you and the priests, before the Most High.  Repeat this three times, and every time you stand up after worshiping, draw the sign of the cross over the mountain, and you shall see the glory of God.”

The Patriarch lifted up a prayer of thanksgiving to God, who allowed the trial to come, but provided a way out. 

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Co 10:13) 

The miracle  

The Patriarch told the caliph Al-Mu’iz Li Din Illah that he was ready to carry out his request by the grace of God. The caliph went out on the back of his steed, having with him several men of his retinue, his great men of honor, and his soldiers. He met the Patriarch and a great number of bishops, priests, deacons, archdeacons, the common people, and among these was Saint Samaan the Tanner. The two parties stood opposite one another on the mountain as Saint Samaan told them. 

After administering the holy sacraments which the Pope and the bishops lifted up, the people repeated with a broken spirit and a crushed heart the “Kyrie Eleison” (have mercy, Lord) prayer, four hundred times; 100 to the east, another to the west, another to the north, and another to the south.

Then they kept silent for a moment between the hands of the Most High and they started to worship and stand up three times, while the Patriarch drew the sign of the cross. And behold a great earthquake swept over the mountain, and at each worship the mountain was thrust down, and every time they stood up the mountain would rise up and the sun would be seen from under it. And every time it would go back to its place.

When the miracle took place, the caliph Al-Mu’iz panicked and feared, together with all the multitudes that gathered with him; he cried out at the top of his voice,

“God is great; may His name be blessed.”

And he entreated the Pope to stop what he was doing; otherwise the city would be overthrown.

When the things calmed down once more, he said to the Pope,

“You have proven that your faith is the true faith

Results of the miracle 

  1. Peace between the state and the church 
  1. Spiritual renewal of the church 
  1. Three days fasting preceding the Christmas fast 
  1. Saint Samaan and Patriarch Abram icon 
  1. Building a church for Saint Samaan in Mokattam 

Evidences  

Geological evidences  

  1. Fossils of marine animals was discovered in Mokattam which assures that Mokattam was close to the Nile 

Ref. PHILIP D. GINGERICH University of Michigan  

  1. Formation of Al mokattam mountain is of clay and limestone  

Clay like the soil beside river Nile as mentioned in the above study  

  1. Book “The Seismicity of Egypt, Arabia and the Red Sea: A Historical Review” stated that many earthquake’s history in the Fatimid period were now lost in p.7 although it had stated that there were a large earthquake accompanied by violent storm in this period  

https://books.google.com.eg/books?id=fxnnk2inWT0C&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=963+Egypt+earthquake+was+accompanied+by+a+violent+storm&source=bl&ots=GopXJD_0bW&sig=b3LqUFR1PkAYeCOKC1NUK7gkPsc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAWoVChMI2NfXis-8yAIVgUoUCh2MwwXm#v=onepage&q=963%20Egypt%20earthquake%20was%20accompanied%20by%20a%20violent%20storm&f=false

  1. Another book assures marine mammal fossils in Al mokattam Late Eocene Sea Cows (Mammalia, Sirenia) from Wadi Al Hitan in the Fayum Basin 

https://books.google.com.eg/books?id=gzcSuh0LmRIC&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=mokattam+mountain+and+river+nile&source=bl&ots=EPaHKiv32X&sig=kDMgSTvyOaILLAKZyiMNzfqw3hw&hl=ar&sa=X&ved=0CD4Q6AEwBWoVChMIiaC29oPHyAIVAhByCh0Tbwml#v=onepage&q&f=false

Historical evidences  

  1. Marco Polo the famous Italian traveler has stated the miracle in his book “The travels of Marco Polo book 1 chapter 10” 

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_10

  1. Poem from the 7th century for the poet Salah el Safdy has written a poem for the Mokattam mountain http://www.almasalik.com/locationPassage.do?locationId=29854&languageId=ar&passageId=11947 
  1. Al ahram the most popular newspaper testimonial date 9/10/2015 

http://www.ahram.org.eg/NewsQ/442595.aspx 

  1. Manuscripts in saint Antony monastery
Is the story of Jesus just a recycled version of Ancient Myths?

Numerous people claim that the story of Christ is not only a fake story but also a recycled one from many ancient myths. This claim was mostly promoted by Gerald Massey, a self-proclaimed Egyptologist. He claimed that multiple gods share the virgin birth on 25th of December, and that it is not a Christian story. Massey concluded this based on his own translations of ancient texts, however, his translations were found to be inaccurate. His translations and studies have, therefore, been refuted by other Egyptologists. In his book “Did Jesus Exist? The Birth of a Divine Man”, Dr. Bart Ehrman, a New Testament scholar focusing on the history of Christ, refuted several claims of why and how the story of Christ is a recycled story. One of the researchers he refuted was Kersey Graves, who wrote a book named ‘’The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviours’’ in the 19th century. Numerous self-proclaimed scholars blindly followed his work, without looking at his work critically. Graves mentioned 35 people, according to his own research, who had exactly the same story of Christ. Some of these people were Horus, Krishna, Mithras, and Apollonius.

The main claim from Graves is: ‘’It is argued that, as the story of the incarnation of the Christians’ Savior is of more recent date than that of these oriental and ancient religions (as is conceded by Christians themselves), the origin of the former is thus indicated and foreshadowed as being an outgrowth from, if not a plagiarism upon the latter-a borrowed copy, of which the pagan stories furnish the original’’1. Ehrman refuted this saying that there is no claim of a virgin birth of a god in neither any mythology or Eastern religion. Something that did happen is that the birth of several historical figures in itself was seen as a miracle, however, this was not linked to the virginity of the mother. Furthermore, the mothers of these figures had intimate relationships with (demi)gods.  Noteworthy is that Graves lived in a period right after the renaissance (18th century), which is known as a period wherein humanity started rebelling against the Christian faith. 

Let’s take a closer look at the story of Christ and the proposed parallels.  

Horus  

The claim is that Horus was born from a virgin, the god Isis, and that Horus was baptized by a person named ‘’Anup the Baptist’’. Anup was later on beheaded, just as John the Baptist was beheaded. Horus went for a certain time into the desert, where he was tempted by the devil, and he, furthermore, raised a person named Asar from death and that Asar means Lazarus. In addition, Horus is claimed to have had 12 disciples, just like Christ had.  

Horus, actually, was an Egyptian god of the heavens (the sun and the moon) and war. He is depicted as a human with a Falcon head. The real story of Horus goes as follows. Horus’ father, the god Osiris, died in a battle and Isis took his body and raised him from death for a certain time in order to get pregnant from him. Regarding Anup the Baptist, there has not been a person named Anup in Egyptian mythology. Massey just used this name in order to strengthen his case against Christ, and later research showed that he twisted the Egyptian God Anubis into Anup. Horus also did not enter into the desert to be tempted by the devil, actually, in Egyptian mythology Horus was poisoned by another god called Seth (who killed his father), and that the god Thot revived him. Regarding that Horus raised Asar from death; Asar is Greek for Osiris, who was his father. His father was, as previously mentioned, raised by his mother Isis to impregnate her. Horus also did not have 12 disciples, this is an inaccurate reference to his sons, who were not only less than 12 but also demigods.  

Krishna 

The claim is that Krishna was also born from a virgin, named Devaka/Devaki, on 25th of December and that Krishna was crucified for our sins, arose from death and ascended into heaven. In addition, he was crucified between two thieves.  

There are four main sources on the life of Krishna, namely: the Mahabharata (poems written by Krishna), the Harivamsha (seen as a sequel to the Mahabharata and resembles the Books of Chronicles from the Old Testament in its content), the Vishnu Purana (a work mainly concerned with cosmology) and the Bhagavata Purana (a work mainly concerned with worship and philosophy). Devaki was ‘’mentally’’ impregnated by Vasudeva, Krishna’s father, yet she was not a virgin as Krishna was their eighth child. Interestingly, the virgin birth is not mentioned in any work mentioning Krishna (the above mentioned works), and is seen as an addition from the 10th century. Krishna’s birthday is one of the most important Indian holidays, although it is not celebrated on 25th of December but at the end of the summer. Krishna has also not been crucified, he was murdered by a hunter named Jara who shot him in his heel. In ancient India, people were not crucified let alone being crucified between robbers. They dealt differently with robbers, based on their ideology. Also, Krishna did not die for our sins as he was cursed twice. At last, he did not ascend into heaven, as his body was cremated. 

Mithras  

The claim is that Mithras was also born from a virgin on the 25th of December and that several shepherds were present at his birth, and Mithras was a known teacher and the good shepherd for his people whom he served with his 12 disciples. Mithras died and resurrected after three days, and his followers kept celebrating Sunday as their lord’s day.  

Mithras, a god from the old Persian mythology, was actually someone who was worshipped by a subpopulation of the Romans, who practiced mysticism. The followers of Mithras lived side by side with Christians in Rome, in the first four centuries, and called themselves the ‘’followers of the Mysteries of Mithras’’. Later on, he was also worshipped by Zoroastrianism.  Mithras was not born on the 25th of December, and the shepherds who witnessed his birth were only mentioned centuries after the New Testament was written, thus likely copied from the New Testament. Mithras was also not seen as a shepherd, only as a mediator. Not a mediator between god and man, but between the ‘’good’’ and ‘’bad’’ gods known in Zoroastrianism. No Persian nor Roman tradition and/or writing about Mithras mentioned that he was a teacher nor shepherd for his people. Mithras did also not die for our sins, the only related story known about Mithras is a story in which he killed a bull. There is no source mentioning that Mithras had died, let alone been resurrected. Tertullian of Carthage (220 AD) mentioned that the followers of Mithras used to enact an Eastern play. 

Apollonius of Tyana 

Apollonius of Tyana is a man who lived around the same time as Jesus Christ. In his new testament textbook, Dr. Bart Ehrman states that he was also conceived by a virgin, was promised to be divine, and an Angel visited his mother before his birth, born miraculously, gathered many followers, and convinced them that he is divine by performing miracles. His opposition eventually delivered them to the Roman authorities and he was killed. There’s no record of the way he was killed however some historical documents claim that he rose from the dead and appeared to his followers and ascended to heaven where he lived eternally in heaven. The source of information is the book written by Sophist Philostratus. 

Now the similarity here is more obvious and compelling, but not the historical background. Apollonius is thought to have been born in 40 CE so his story comes after the death and  resurrection of Christ. It is therefore impossible for Jesus, or the apostles who documented the life of Jesus, to have copied from the life of Apollonius. The contrary might be true though. 

In addition, the life of Apollonius wasn’t documented by eyewitnesses. The earliest and most complete documentation has been developed by Philostratus around 218-238 AD, more than 120 years after Apollonius died. This biography was written to fulfill a request by Julia Domna, the wife of Septimius Severus and mother of Caracalla. It is therefore not a reliable source and begs the question of: where were Apollonius’s devout followers after knowing that he was raised from death and ascended to heaven? 

Conclusion 

Numerous people start stressing when reading stories that ‘’debunk’’ Christianity, yet if we would examine these stories more in depth we would conclude that the claims made are not historically correct. Several groups try to debunk our faith and the claims we make using false claims, and therefore we should always read about our faith and the authenticity of it.

Is the Christian Faith Founded on the Bible Only?

The Sola Scriptura doctrine means “Scripture alone,” that is relying on the Bible as the only source for the Christian faith. For the early Protestant Reformers, Sola Scriptura led to an implicit divorce from the tradition that was abused by the Roman Catholic Church in some practices and teachings such as the papal infallibility and the selling of indulgences. Sola Scriptura had served the reformers’ goal of attempting to recover the early Church from under the layers of the false Roman Catholic teachings which had accumulated on top of it. The Bible was the only certain, infallible witness to early Christianity that they knew as a kind of tether to the early Apostolic Church as described in the book of Acts. However, while the “traditions of men” established by the Roman Catholic Church are false, most false teachings can be based on the Scriptures as well. The true Christian faith, however, is established by the teachings of the Bible as interpreted and understood by the Apostles and early apostolic fathers. This interpretation has been ingrained in the Church’s liturgical practices as well as documented in the ante Nicene, Nicene, and post Nicene writings of the Church fathers.  

One key historical truth about the early Christian Church in the Book of Acts is that the apostles and early believers practiced the faith without a completely documented New Testament as we have it today. The gospels were written ten to forty years after the resurrection of Jesus, i.e. sometime between 40 and 70 AD. Jesus didn’t hand over His teachings and writings to the Church in written text. He didn’t ask His disciples to take notes of His sermons. However, He promised that “these things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:25,26, NKJV). What Jesus did is basically this: He established a church of followers guided by the Holy Spirit. He gave this Church the authority to judge in matters of faith.  

Jesus Himself gave authority to the Church to resolve conflicts among believers. He taught the disciples that “if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.” (Matthew 18:15-17, NKJV). Jesus didn’t tell his followers to open the New Testament and keep arguing from it to resolve a conflict, simply because it is not practical. Unless a church council, guided by the Holy Spirit, establishes a doctrine, there will never be unity among what Christians believe. Jesus gave this authority to the Church, to always pursue the spirit of unity and maintain authority among believers.  

Early believers followed this teaching of Jesus when they were debating whether Gentile believers must be circumcised or not. The Book of Acts describes the event as follows: “certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.” (Acts 15:1-2, NKJV). It has always been the role of councils from the very early church to determine the orthodox doctrines of the Church, starting with the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. There was no New Testament available to the Church to judge on this matter, but there was the tradition which carried the true doctrine including the word of God which was documented later.  

Reformers challenged the individual infallibility of the Roman Pope as unbiblical. However, the Sola Scriptura doctrine converts every “believer” to a pope when interpreting the Scripture. The reformation definition of the church as just the congregation of believers begs the question: “who are the correct believers?”. For example, can someone who believes in Jesus as Lord, yet believes that He is of lower status than the Father, and that the Father, Son, be considered as a believer? Just resorting to the Bible in resolving this issue has led to many factions at the time of the Arian heresy. At one point in the Church’s history, the majority of Christians followed the Arian heresy. It is not only Arius who was able to mislead many believers. Anyone can use verses from the Bible to establish a false doctrine. However, the Church, established by Jesus and led by the Apostles and their successors, constitute the authority to judge in such matters through church councils. Sola Scriptura has created millions of popes out of one pope. That is why there are thousands of Protestant denominations with varying doctrines and teachings that are straying away further from the true Christian teaching handed over by Christ and the Apostles. 

Sola Scriptura is also introducing what is exactly a contradiction of what the Scriptures mention in regard to the tradition handed over by Jesus and His apostles. In the first epistle to St. Timothy, St. Paul mentioned the Church as the pillar for truth: “but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15, NKJV). St. Paul also taught that the Church must hold to traditions in the second epistle to Thessalonians as he commanded the believers to “stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” (2 Thess. 2:15, NKJV). This verse in particular was changed by the reformers as they introduced a new translation of the New Testament, the New International Version (NIV), that replaces some words to serve their goals. The NIV translates the Greek word paradosis “tradition” as “teaching”. Reformers have thus established a doctrine that suits their own taste, even removing some books from the Old Testament that are called the second Deuterocanonical books, such as Tobit, Judith, and the Wisdom of Solomon. Many verses from these books were quoted by Jesus Himself. We end up with a problem, what good is Sola Scriptura when you can change what constitutes Scripture? 

Did the Old Testament and Judaism allude to a Triune God?

Many claim that the doctrine of the trinity was introduced only in the third century when the ecumenical councils had been held to put a framework for orthodox apostolic faith against the Arian and Nestorian heresies which led to the drafting of the creed of faith. However, when examined closely, the doctrine of the trinity was introduced way before that in the Old Testament.

The name that is used for God in the Old Testament is “אֱלֹהִ֔ים” pronounced “’ĕ·lō·hîm” and is usually referred to in the plural, although a singular verb is used sometimes. For example, the first chapter of Genesis states: “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26) The hebrew translation of “let us make” is “נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה” pronounced “na·‘ă·śeh” which indicates a plural subject. The same phrase was used when God decided to confuse the builders of the tower of Babel: “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:7) the word “נֵֽרְדָ֔ה” pronounced “nê·rə·ḏāh,” means “let Us go down”. It has been also noted in some other books in the Old Testament like the Book of Isaiah, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?”” (Isaiah 6:8) using the word “לָ֑נוּ” pronounced “lā·nū”; which means “Us”. This has been always noted as an indication of the hypostasis of the trinity nature of God that is of one will.

Jewish Rabbis used the “Logos” or the word “Memra” also “Ma’amar” or “Dibbur,” in Hebrew, as well as the Holy Spirit “Ruach Ha Kodesh”, in their interpretations to the Old Testament .  

“Memra” also “Ma’amar” or “Dibbur,” meaning “Logos” 

In the Book of Jubilees 12:22, the word of God is sent through the angel to Abraham. In other cases it becomes more and more a personified agency: “By the word of God exist His works” (Ecclus. [Sirach] 42:15); “The Holy One, blessed be He, created the world by the ‘Ma’amar'” (Mek., Beshallaḥ, 10, with reference to Psalm 33. 6). Quite frequent is the expression that “You who have made the universe with Your word and ordained man through Your wisdom to rule over the creatures made by You” (Wisdom 9:1). The same expression is repeated in the Jewish daily  prayers: “Who by Your words cause the evenings to bring darkness, who opens the gates of the sky by Your wisdom”; . . . “who by His speech created the heavens, and by the breath of His mouth all their hosts”; through whose “words all things were created” (Singer’s “Daily Prayer-Book,” pp. 96, 290, 292). So also in 4 Esdras 6:38: “Lord, You spoke on the first day of Creation: ‘Let there be heaven and earth,’ and Your word has accomplished the work”. “Your word, O Lord, heals all things” (Wisdom 16:12); “Your word preserves them that put their trust in You” (Wisdom 16: 26). Especially strong is the personification of the word in Wisdom 18:15: “Your Almighty Word leaped down from heaven out of Your royal throne as a fierce man of war.”  

The Mishnah, with reference to the ten passages in the first chapter of Genesis beginning with “And God said,” speaks of the ten “ma’amarot” (= “speeches”) by which the world was created (Abot 5:1; comp. Gen. R. 4:2: “The upper heavens are held in suspense by the creative Ma’amar”). Out of every speech [“dibbur”] which emanated from God an angel was created (Ḥag. 14a). “The Word [“dibbur”] called none but Moses” (Lev. R. i. 4, 5). “The Word [“dibbur”] went forth from the right hand of God and made a circuit around the camp of Israel” (Cant. R. i. 13). 

In the Targum: 

In the Targum the “Memra” (i.e. “the Word”) figures constantly as the manifestation of the divine power, or as God’s messenger in place of God Himself, wherever the predicate is not in conformity with the dignity or the spirituality of the Deity. 

Instead of the Scriptural “You have not believed in the Lord,” Targ. Deut. i. 32 has “You have not believed in the word of the Lord”; instead of “I shall require it [vengeance] from him,” Targ. Deut. 18:19 has “My word shall require it.” “The Memra,” instead of “the Lord,” is “the consuming fire” (Targ. Deut. 9:3; comp. Targ. Isa. 30:27). The Memra “plagued the people” (Targ. Yer. to Ex.32:35). “The Memra smote him” (II Sam. 6:7; comp. Targ. I Kings 18:24; Hos. 13:14; et al.). Not “God,” but “the Memra,” is met with in Targ. Ex. 19:17 (Targ. Yer. “the Shekinah”; comp. Targ. Ex. 25:22: “I will order My Memra to be there”). “I will cover thee with My Memra,” instead of “My hand” (Targ. Ex. 33:22). Instead of “My soul,” “My Memra shall reject you” (Targ. Lev. 26:30; comp. Isa. 1:14, 42:1; Jer. 6:8; Ezek. 23:18). “The voice of the Memra,” instead of “God,” is heard (Gen. 3: 8; Deut. 4:33, 36; 5:21; Isa. 6: 8; et al.). Where Moses says, “I stood between the Lord and you” (Deut. 5:5), the Targum has, “between the Memra of the Lord and you”; and the “sign between Me and you” becomes a “sign between My Memra and you” (Ex. 31:13, 17; comp. Lev. 26:46; Gen. 9:12; 17: 2, 7, 10; Ezek. 20:12). Instead of God, the Memra comes to Abimelek (Gen. 20:3), and to Balaam (Num. 23: 4). His Memra aids and accompanies Israel, performing wonders for them (Targ. Num. 23:21; Deut. 1:30, 33:3; Targ. Isa. 63:14; Jer. 31:1; Hos. 9:10 [comp. 11:3, “the messenger-angel”]). The Memra goes before Cyrus (Isa. 45:12). The Lord swears by His Memra (Gen. 21:23, 22:16, 24:3; Ex. 32:13; Num. 14:30; Isa. 45:23; Ezek. 20:5; et al.). It is His Memra that repents (Targ. Gen. 6:6, 8:21; I Sam 15:11, 35). Not His “hand,” but His “Memra has laid the foundation of the earth” (Targ. Isa. 48:13); for His Memra’s or Name’s sake does He act (Isa. 48:11; II Kings 19:34). Through the Memra God turns to His people (Targ. Lev. 26: 9; II Kings 18:23), becomes the shield of Abraham (Gen. 15:1), and is with Moses (Ex. 3:12; 4:12,15) and with Israel (Targ. Yer. to Num. 10:35, 36; Isa. 63:14). It is the Memra, not God Himself, against whom man offends (Ex. 14:8; Num. 14:5; I Kings 8:50; II Kings 19:28; Isa. 1:2,16; 45:3, 20; Hos. 5:7, 6:7; Targ. Yer. to Lev. 5:21, 6:2; Deut. 5:11); through His Memra Israel shall be justified (Targ. Isa. 45:25); with the Memra Israel stands in communion (Targ. Josh. 22:24, 27); in the Memra man puts his trust (Targ. Gen. 15: 6; Targ. Yer. to Ex. 14:31; Jer. 39:18, 49:11). 

Memra also reflected Mediatorship. 

Like the Shekinah (comp. Targ. Num. 23:21), the Memra is accordingly the manifestation of God. “The Memra brings Israel nigh unto God and sits on His throne receiving the prayers of Israel” (Targ. Yer. to Deut. 4:7). It shielded Noah from the flood (Targ. Yer. to Genesis 7:16) and brought about the dispersion of the seventy nations (Genesis 11:8); it is the guardian of Jacob (Gen. 28:20-21, 35:3) and of Israel (Targ. Yer. to Ex. 12:23,29); it works all the wonders in Egypt (Ex. 13:8, 14:25); hardens the heart of Pharaoh (Ex. 18:15); goes before Israel in the wilderness (Targ. Yer. to Ex. 20:1); blesses Israel (Targ. Yer. to Num. 23:8); battles for the people (Targ. Josh. 3:7; 10:14; 23:3). As in ruling over the destiny of man the Memra is the agent of God (Targ. Yer. to Num. 27:16), so also is it in the creation of the earth (Isa. 45:12) and in the execution of justice (Targ. Yer. to Num. 33:4). So, in the future, shall the Memra be the comforter (Targ. Isa. 66:13): “My Shekinah I shall put among you, My Memra shall be unto you for a redeeming deity, and you shall be unto My Name a holy people” (Targ. Yer. to Lev. 22:12). “My Memra shall be unto you like a good plowman who takes off the yoke from the shoulder of the oxen”; “the Memra will roar to gather the exiled” (Targ. Hos. 11:5,10). The Memra is “the witness” (Targ. Yer. 29:23); it will be to Israel like a father (l.c. 31:9) and “will rejoice over them to do them good” (l.c. 32:41). “In the Memra the redemption will be found” (Targ. Zech. 7:5). “The Holy Word” was the subject of the hymns of Job (Test. of Job, 12:3, ed. Kohler). 

Philo of Alexandria was born 20 BC and died 50 AD had even interpreted Memra as the Logos before Saint John used this word in his Gospel “For there are, as it seems, two temples belonging to God; one being this world, in which the high priest is the divine word, his own firstborn son. The other is the rational soul, the priest of which is the real true man, the copy of whom, perceptible to the senses, is he who performs his paternal vows and sacrifices, to whom it is enjoined to put on the aforesaid tunic, the representation of the universal heaven, in order that the world may join with the man in offering sacrifice, and that the man may likewise co-operate with the universe. (1.216)” 

The Holy Spirit “Ruah” רֽוּחַ־

The Holy Spirit is mentioned more than 200 times in the Old Testament. In the book of Judges on Othniel, the son of Kenaz: “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel.” (Judges 3:10) and also on Samson: “And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart ” (Judges 14:6). “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:2). And also in the book of Isaiah “Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field” (Isaiah 32:15). 

The Holy Spirit is mentioned more than 200 times in the Old Testament. In the book of Judges on Othniel, the son of Kenaz: “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel.” (Judges 3:10) and also on Samson: “And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart ” (Judges 14:6). “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:2). And also in the book of Isaiah “Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fruitful field” (Isaiah 32:15). 

The Triune God revelations in the Old Testament  

God has been seen in revelations in the Old testament many times refuting the ideas that reject the capability of God to be seen and revealed. This of course supports the trinity doctrine because one of the hypostasis is the Word that became flesh.  

Revelation to Hagar 

For example, in Genesis 16, “Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are- the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”  Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi;[g] observe, it is between Kadesh and Bered.” (Genesis 16:13-14) the scripture used the word “רָאִ֖יתִי” that means “have I seen”. 

Revelation to Abraham 

Genesis 18 “Then the Lord appeared to him” (Genesis 18:1) using the word “וַיֵּרָ֤א” pronounced “way-yê-rā” means appeared. 

Revelation to Jacob 

Genesis 32 “So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face” (Genesis 32:30) 

Revelation to Manoah and his wife 

In the book of Judges “And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God!”” (Judges 13:22) using the word “רָאִֽינוּ׃” that means we have seen. 

In conclusion, the Word, the Holy Spirit, and the Triune God are all mentioned in the Old Testament and Jewish religious texts foreshadowing what Lord Jesus revealed in the New Testament about the Triune nature of God.