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Islam and the Deity of Christ

The Koran denies the doctrine of the Trinity, and therefore it denies the deity of Christ.

Sura 5:74 They have certainly disbelieved who say, “Allah is the third of three.” And there is no god except one God. And if they do not desist from what they are saying, there will surely afflict the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.

Sura 5:75 The Messiah, son of Mary, was not but a messenger; [other] messengers have passed on before him. And his mother was a supporter of truth. They both used to eat food. Look how we make clear to them the signs; then look how they are deluded.

Sura 5:76 Say, “Do you worship besides Allah that which holds for you no [power of] harm or benefit while it is Allah who is the Hearing, the Knowing?”

Sura 5:77 Say, “O People of the Scripture, do not exceed limits in your religion beyond the truth and do not follow the inclinations of a people who had gone astray before and misled many and have strayed from the soundness of the way.”

Sura 5:78 Cursed were those who disbelieved among the Children of Israel by the tongue of David and of Jesus, the son of Mary. That was because they disobeyed and [habitually] transgressed.

Christianity teaches that believing in Jesus as the Son of God is the key to eternal life. Islam teaches that to believe in Jesus as the Son of God is to be placed under the curse of Allah. It is the unpardonable sin. According to the Koran, Allah will forgive any sin except the sin of attributing a partner to Allah. Muslims are offended that Christians have exalted a human prophet to the same level as God. During His ministry, the Jews were just as offended at Jesus. “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:33)

Modern Muslims find an ally with the Jews against the divinity of Christ, and they have found an ally with Liberal Bible scholars who also deny the deity of Christ.

Another argument Muslims use to disprove the deity of Christ, is to appeal to the statements of Jesus, in which He confessed His limitations.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matt. 24:36)

“And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mark 10:18)

The Muslim charges the Christian with elevating Jesus to being God, which is a sin to be repented of.

In response, it must be noted, that while many people contend that both Islam and Christianity are equal, nothing is further from the truth. It is illogical to think that both are true, when they are diametrically opposed to each on the matter of sin, salvation, the atonement, the death of Christ, His resurrection, and His divinity. There are radical differences between Islam and Christianity.

Of course, if both religions were false, then it could be said they were equal. However, it is impossible for Christianity, the greatest moral religion in the world, to be built upon a lie. If Christ is not risen from the dead, then Christianity is a lie. However, Christ is risen from the dead, which is a well attested historical events. In fact, Christianity is the only religion that invites its followers to base its faith, not only on the words of its founders, but upon a verifiable historical event. The Buddhist says, “Believe what Buddha taught.” The Muslim say, “Believe what Mohammad proclaimed.” Christianity says, “Look at the empty tomb and believe that Christ is who He claimed to be, the Son of the Living God..”

In response to the Muslim uniting with Liberal scholars, who attack the divinity of Christ, it should be noted that those who profess to be Christian, but deny the divinity of Christ are imposters. They are not Christians. They have no right to the title. They are not the sheep of the Lord’s flock. Liberal theologians who deny the death burial and resurrection of Jesus are nothing more than unbelievers. Because they are heretical in their belief, they study and operate outside the kingdom of God.

In the 4th century, when the deity of Christ was disputed, the controversy ended at the Council of Nicea in AD 325. In the 5th century, when the deity of Christ was disputed, the controversy ended at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. In the 19th and 20th century, when the deity of Christ was disputed, the controversy was challenged by the rise of Fundamentalism, which found roots in the Niagara Bible Conferences held between 1878 and 1897.

In response to the Muslims uniting with Jewish culture, to attack the divinity of Jesus, that is not a surprise. The Jews in the days of Jesus, rejected Him as their Messiah, and crucified Him in ignorance.

“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:17)

It should also be noted, that not all Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah, and as very God of very God. There are hundreds upon thousands of converted Jews. Many are called Messianic Jews because they believe in Jesus, and have been baptized into His name.

In response to the claim that Jesus never claimed to be God, and that the Bible teaches He was not God, the answer is this. Read the whole counsel of God. Read the entire Bible, and a different conclusion will be drawn.

If there is one truth the New Testament contends for,it is the divinity of Jesus. The confession of the early church, as found in Scripture, is that Jesus Christ was God, “manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Tim. 3:16)

When Jesus asked the rich young ruler why he called Him good, Jesus was not saying the young man should not call Him God, or good. He was just asking if the young man knew what He was saying. The young man had a superficial understanding of what it meant to be good. He had a Muslim understanding of goodness. So Jesus gave the young man a test, which he failed. The Lord proved the man did not begin to understand what true goodness was, or what the commandments of God entailed.

If Jesus was not claiming to be God, He was also claiming not to be good, and if that were true He disqualified Himself from being the Pascal Lamb which had to be without blemish. All of that is reading too much into the answer of Jesus.

A possible inference is not a necessary inference. The whole of the New Testament declares that Jesus is God manifested in the flesh. Jesus is good in His humanity. Jesus is the perfect Paschal Lamb able to take away the sin of the world. Jesus identified Himself with sinlessness, not sinfulness.

Muslims find it difficult, if not impossible, to believe that the Infinite God could become finite. A conservative Christian would, in fact agree, that it is impossible for the Infinite to become Finite. What is not impossible to believe, is that, in the Person of Jesus Christ, God could become incarnate, so that in Jesus, there is One person with two natures. The human nature of Jesus was not divine, nor was the divine nature of Jesus human.

What the church maintains, is that Jesus had both a human nature, so that He was true humanity, with all of the limitations that a human has, but He was also divine, with all the attributes ascribed to God the Father. This union of the human and the divine nature, is called the hypostatic union. The human nature of Jesus was not omniscient, but His divine nature was. So, Jesus could say that He did not know when a certain event would occur. But, then, Jesus could say, from His divine nature what would happen 40 years from AD 30. His prophetic Words are recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. While it is a great mystery, it is not illogical to believe. Jesus did claim to be deity, and the Jews of His day understood what He was saying.

Jesus claimed to be Lord of the Sabbath. He claimed the right to forgive sins.

“Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.” (Luke 5:23)

Jesus claimed to be deity when He took for Him the divine phrase “ego eimi”, I AM. Jesus consciously used the language reserved for God in the Old Testament.

“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 11:25)

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. “ (John 15:1)

Jesus claimed to be deity when He referred to Himself as the Son of Man about eighty times. This was a term ascribed to a heavenly being in the book of Daniel. “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.” (Dan. 7:13)

The New Testament is filled with references to Jesus Christ as deity.

What Muslims must come to understand, is that a distinction can be made between the human nature of Jesus, and His divine nature. The two natures can be distinguished, but they cannot be separated from the person of Christ. Muslims mock, and ask, “Why did God pray to God?” “Why did God cry out to God?” The Christian does not mock, but recognizes that Jesus was truly human, and so He prayed, and was thirsty, and cried. Jesus was deity, and so had power to heal, forgive sins, and exercise His sovereignty over nature. Christians affirm the humanity of Jesus, and we affirm the deity of Christ. He is the most unique person in the universe.

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