The similitude of Jesus Before Allah is as that of Adam: He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”: And he was. The truth (comes) From thy Lord alone: So be not of those who doubt. Holy Quran; Surah 03; Verses 59-60
- Jesus: COMMON LINK between Muslims and Christians (Love and Respect)
- Jesus’ nature: main area of DIFFERENCE.
- Approaches to COMPARATIVE Christology:
- Examination of Authority and Authenticity of respective holy books.
- Examination of HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENTS of dogmas.
- Examination of both holy books AS THEY ARE.
- Focus on the approach. Two main Questions:
- What does the QURAN say about him?
- What does the BIBLE say about him?
JESUS IN THE QURAN
- PRAISE FOR MARY (3:36-37,42 and 5:78). Called sister of Aaron (19:28). In the Qur’an “sister of or brother of” means the descendant of or clan of. Aaron, Moses’ brother, was the first in line of Israelite Priesthood. Luke 1:5 calls Elizabeth, John’s mother, as a daughter of Aaron. She was a relative (cousin) of Mary (Luke 1:36). For other passages in the Qur’an where “brother of” is used in non-literal meaning see (7:65,73,85; 11:50,61,84; 27:45; 29:36).
- VIRGIN BIRTH (3:45-47) Compared with Adam (3:59), John the Baptist (19:1-9).
- A WORD FROM ALLAH (3:39,45; 4:170). Word is not the “Logos” or the second person in Godhead. It is the creative command of Allah “KON” or “be” ( 2:117, 3:47,59, 6:73, 16:40, 19:35, 36:82, 40:68). “Words” of Allah is used in (18:109, 8:7, 31:27) and others.
- A SPIRIT FROM ALLAH (4:171) : same applies to other humans (15:29, 32:9, 38:72).
- HONORED in this life and in the hereafter and among those nearest to Allah (3:45) : used also for others (33:69, 56:11, 83:21,28).
- A PURE CHILD (19:19) : similarly used for John the Baptist (19:13). According to Islam, all children are born Pure.
- STRENGTHENED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT (2:87,253, 5:113) : Holy Spirit means Gabriel the Angel of Revelation (16:102).
- PERFORMED MIRACLES by the permission of Allah (3:49, 5:113,115-118).
- TAUGHT what all prophets taught ; worship of Allah alone (2:135-136, 5:119-120, 43:63-64).
- MISSION specifically TO THE ISRAELITES (3:49, 5:75, 61:6).
- REJECTION of all forms of deification of Jesus, including worship of Mary (5:119-120) , claiming that Jesus is God (5:75) and Trinity (5:76, 4:171).
- REJECTED BY THE ISRAELITES (5:81,113, 3:52).
- Conspiracy to CRUCIFY him FAILED and Allah raised him up (4:157).
- it was made to “appear to them” as such.
- No relevance to “respect for prophets” ,other Prophets were killed (2:61, 3:21,112, 5:73).
- “Mutawaffika” in (3:55) and “Tawaffaytani” in (5:120) refer to “completing” your term or mission on earth. “Tawaffi” is used also in the Qur’an for other than death (6:60, 39:42).
- Reference to the “death” and “resurrection” of Jesus (19:33) must be understood in the light of (4:157). It refers to death after the second coming and resurrection on the Day of Judgment. Similar terms used to refer to John the Baptist (19:15) . Many Ahadith confirm that.
- PROPHESIED the advent of the last Prophet Muhammad (61:6, 7:157).
JESUS IN THE BIBLE
No basis in the Old Testament for Trinity or “God-incarnate”.
No conclusive uncontradicted statement by Jesus in the New Testament claiming to be God.
5 major grounds for claimed divinity :
I. WHAT WAS SAID ABOUT HIM
Many were deified without claim on their part. Insufficient ground for such a serious matter. Other early witnesses did not share the notion of deification. Many statements are allegorical.
II. HE CLAIMED DIVINITY
FIRST RESPONSE: spiritual , language and Allegory. Examples:
- THE WAY , THE TRUTH (John 14:6): applies to every prophet in his time.
- I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE (John 10:30): oneness in purpose , not in essence (John 17:11, 20-23).
- SEEING HIM IS LIKE SEEING THE FATHER (Jn 14:9): seeing means knowing , as God can not be seen (Exod. 33:20, Jn. 1:18, 5:37, 14:7).
- BEFORE ABRAHAM I AM (John 8:58): All existed in the foreknowledge of Allah.
- ACCEPTED WORSHIP (Matt. 14:33): worship means also intense love ( worship of money,…….). Jesus himself did worship God (Luke 5:16).
- WAS CALLED SON OF GOD: so was Adam (Luke 3:38), E’phraim (Jer. 31:9), Jacob (Exod. 4:22), David (II Sam. 7:14), Solomon (I Chron. 22:10). More than one prophet was called “ first born “ ( eg. Abraham, Jacob, David ). See for Example Ps. 2:7. “ Only Son “ is not used literally in the Bible (Gen. 22:2). “Sons of God “ was also used (Gen. 6:2, Deut. 14:1, Hos. 1:10).
- CALLED GOD “FATHER” AND “ABBA”: Said also my father and your father (John 20:17). Others may call God “ABBA” (Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6).
- CALLED MESSIAH: Means anointed. So was David (Ps. 2:2), Cyrus (Isa. 45:1).
- CALLED SAVIOR: So was Jeho’ahaz (II Kings 13:5). Used in plural (Obad. Verse 21 and Nehem. 9:27).
- 10. WAS CALLED LORD: Term does not mean necessarily God. Used in the N.T. to mean “teacher” or “master”.
- WAS FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: So was John the Baptist (Lk. 1:15), also Barnabbas (Acts 11:24).
- SAID THAT HIS WORDS WILL NOT PASS AWAY: He also said that whatever he said was not his, but the father’s (Jn. 14:24).
- SAID THAT ALL AUTHORITY WAS GIVEN TO HIM: He who gave authority is Greater ( ie. His God ).
- WAS CALLED “MY LORD AND MY GOD” (Jn. 20:28): Could have been an expression of excitement or “ you are God – like “ Distinction between “ Lord “ and “ God “ is made in Icor. 8:6.
- JEWS TRIED TO STONE HIM FOR BLASPHEMY (Jn. 10:29-33): Jews were to indict him “ by hook or by crook “, regardless of what he said. They may have considered him a false “ Messiah “. Jesus’ answer was revealing (Jn. 10:34). In Ps. 82:6, humans are called gods, allegorically, Moses was sent as “ God “ to the Pharaoh (Exod. 7:1).
Jesus always expressed his subordination to his God and Creator.
- DID NOTHING ON HIS OWN AUTHORITY (Jn. 5:30, 14:31, Matt. 20:23).
- SPOKE NOT ON HIS OWN AUTHORITY (Jn. 14:10, 8:28-29).
- SAID THAT THE FATHER IS GREATER THAN HIM (Jn. 14:28).
- WAS TEMPTED (Matt. 4:1-11):But God can not be tempted (James 1:13).
- HE DENIED KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNSEEN (Mk. 13:32, Matt. 24:36).
- WAS SUBJECT TO CHANGE (Lk. 2:21, 52): But God is Immutable.
- DID NOT ACCEPT TO BE CALLED GOOD AND DEFERRED TO GOD (Mk. 10:18).
- PRAYED TO GOD (Mk. 14:32, Lk. 5:16).
- REFERRED TO HIMSELF AS A PROPHET (Lk. 13:33-34). Others also called him a prophet. (Lk. 7:16, 24:19, Jn. 6:14, Heb. 3:1). Referred to as a servant of God (Acts 3:13, 4:27, 30, Matt. 12:18).
- MADE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN HIMSELF AND THE FATHER (Matt. 23:8-10).
- Referred to himself frequently as SON OF MAN (eg. Matt. 8:20). In the book of Acts (2:22), he is described as “a man approved of God”. While he is called Son of God nearly 68 times, not once was he called GOD THE SON. The difference between the Two expressions is like the difference between the Prophet Jesus of history and the CHRIST created in the image of the Church.
III. HIS MIRACLES PROVIDED DIVINITY
FIRST RESPONSE: He admitted that they were not by his own power (Jn. 5:30, 14:31).
SECOND RESPONSE: All had parallels in the O.T. For example:
- BORN WITHOUT A FATHER (Heb. 7:3).
- FED THE MULTITUDES (II Kings 4:42-44).
- WALKED ON WATER: Similar to Moses (Exod. 14:22).
- HEALED THE LEPERS AND BLIND: So did others (II Kings 5:14, 6:17, 20, Acts 3:7, 5:15-16).
- BROUGHT THE DEAD TO LIFE: So did others (I Kings 17:22, II Kings 4:34, 13:21, Ezek. 37:1-14).
- CAST THE DEVILS: Said others can too (Matt. 7:22, 12:27, Lk. 11:19).
- ROSE FROM THE DEAD: So did others (eg. Ezek. 37:1-14).
- ASCENDED TO HEAVENS: So did other prophets (Gen. 5:24, Heb. 11:5, II Kings 2:11-12). This seems to be inconsistent with Jn. 3:13.
IV. MESSAGE OF SALVATION
- ASSUMES INITIAL PERFECTION OF ADAM AND INHERITANCE OF SIN, which is inconsistent with Deut. 24:16, Ezek. 18:20 and Matt. 7:2.
- ASSUMES NECESSITY OF BLOODSHED FOR FORGIVENESS. This is inconsistent with Hos. 6:6, Ps. 30:5, 51:15-23, Matt. 9:13.
- SACRIFICES BY ISRAELITES OR BY ABRAHAM are irrelevant to the concept of the “Crucified God”.
- WHO DIED ON THE CROSS? God never dies and the death of one man can not atone for all mankind.
- God’s mercy and justice can be reconciled without bloodshed. He is Most Merciful and Forgiving.
V. MYSTERY AND EXPERIENCE
- HOW DIFFERENT from other religions or even cults? Experience alone is not an indicator of ultimate truth.
- Difference between plausible but not fully understood religious truth (eg. eternity of God) and man made, self contradictory and untenable dogmas in the of mystery. The infinite and finite can’t be one and the same.
- WHY ACCEPT MEN’S INTERPRETATIONS if evidence is overwhelming that Jesus was a great yet finite human? Why change the RELIGION OF JESUS into a RELIGION ABOUT JESUS?
- Old Testament Warns against associating others with God in his divine attributes.
- Jesus confirmed the same and called the “Father” “MY GOD” (Jn. 20:17).
- Only through the last divine revelation (the Qur’an) can confusion be removed and pure monotheism be restored