Search This Blog

Answers for a Muslim concerning Christ

I received the following comment on my You Tube video titled: "Two Versions Of Islam: What about Hadith?

Since you used the Bible as a source I hope you won't mind if I also use the Bible as a source. I applaud you for reading and trying to work through these Bible verses and I encourage you to continue studying. Islam teaches a form of monotheism that makes God out to be a strict singularity, this is an understanding of the divine that I held once but now reject for a number of reasons. I left Islam and embraced what the Bible teaches concerning the nature of God, which I like to refer to as trinitarian monotheism. After 20 years of studying the word of God I have come to see that trinitarianism is the best way to understand the nature of God. The primary reason I am a trinitarian is because of proper interpretation, after letting go of my preconceived notions the truth began to pop out of the pages of the Bible. A faithful Bible interpreter focuses on trying to discern what the author intended by their words, and on how the original audience would have understood their words, and on reading the text in its context. Proof-texting isolates certain words from their context which leads to interpreting the text in opposition to its original intent. With that out the way let's get to my answer's.

 1.) Pointing out that Jesus was called the prophet of God doesn't disprove his deity.

Both Christians and Muslims believe God is one compete being who has many characteristics/attributes, for example, the 99 names of Allah are not 99 gods but descriptions of God's characteristics. The Bible teaches that the one God is multi-personal, which means God is one compete being with the characteristic of also being three divine persons. The Bible refers to these three persons as the Father, Son, and Spirit, all co-equal in nature, all divine and all sharing divine attributes (1 Cor 8:6, 2 Cor 3:17, John 1:1-14, Matt 28:19, Matt 3:16-17). This teaching seems complicated to many and that is because the nature of God is inherently a complicated subject.

Let's look at one of the verses I gave as examples 1 Corinthians 8:6 in a broader context:

   “Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:4–6, ESV)

Verse 4 addresses idols having "... no real existence" and declares "there is no God but one" and "for us there is one God", these are all things we both agree on. Next, the author tells us who this "one God" is which is "the Father" and "Jesus Christ". Notice the text asigns the attribute of creation to both "the Father" and to "Jesus Christ" and goes an extra step by giving Jesus the title "Lord" which contrasts him against the false idols called lords by idolators(v5).

Now, let us look at a second passage 2 Corinthians 3:17, which says:

   “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17, ESV)

The "Lord" is the Spirit, the author said in 1 Corinthians 8 that there is one Lord and attributed that title to "Jesus Christ" whom the author said was the "one God" along with the "the father". Notice the text also calls the Spirit the "Spirit of the Lord", so the Lord is the Spirit and the Spirit is of the Lord. The only way to reconcile this text is to submit to the fact that God is one being and three divine persons - Father Son and Spirit. Whatever direction you choose to go one thing is for certain the Bible which you used as a proof doesn't teach God is a singularity.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the one true God along with the Father and the Spirit. Christ left heaven to incarnate and live a human life and then suffer as a ransom for sinners. Jesus being fully God took on a second additional nature - a human nature(Col 2:9). As an incarnate man, Jesus Christ fulfilled all the prophecies concerning the Messiah, one of those being that Messiah would be a prophet like Moses(Deut 18:15-19). The incarnation of one of the persons of the multi-personal God is made perfectly clear in John 1-14, a book which you quoted in your post:

   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1–14, ESV)

2.) Jesus praying doesn't disprove the deity of Jesus(Matt 26:39).

We have already established using clear text and reasonable interpretation that the Biblical God is one being who is multi-personal(Father, Son, Spirit). The Bible teaches that the Son took on human nature and entered the world(John 1). As a human being the Son lived a perfectly righteous life, part of being a perfectly righteous human being is being worshipful and Christ demonstrated this for our sake. Christ didn't pray to another god besides himself he prayed to his Father the first person of the trinity, this was communication within the trinity. Christ was no less deity than his Father and this is seen in his demand that he be honored the same as his Father: 

   “that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” (John 5:23, ESV)

To add to this proof let's quote the actual text you cited:

   “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”” (Matthew 26:39, ESV)

Christ is addressing the Father, the same Father who is named along with Jesus as being the "one God"(1 Cor 8:4-6). This is the same Matthew that says that the Father spoke and affirmed that Jesus was his Son(Matt 3:17), the same Matthew that says "the name" which is a Jewish title for Yahweh consists of the Father, Son, and Spirit(Matt 28:19).

Jesus encourages his disciples to pray to him and assures them he will hear and answer them:

   “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13–14, ESV)

The book of Acts records that Stephen(Acts 6:8) while being stoned for his faith prayed to Christ:

   “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”” (Acts 7:59, ESV)

Lastly, the Bible records that it was the practice of all the first-century churches to pray to Christ:

   “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:” (1 Corinthians 1:2, ESV)

3.) Jesus quoting the shema doesn't mean Jesus is not God(Mark 12:29).

See the arguments from the last two points, they are relevant to this subject. Jesus doesn't offer a denial of his deity in the text he simply answers the scribes question. The only way you can see a denial of the deity of Christ in this passage is if you read it into the text, but our objective is to extract the correct meaning out of the text. 

You can't ignore the wider context of the chapter, immediately after this narration the book of Matthew narrates Jesus quoting Ps 110:1 while teaching about his nature and identity:

   “And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.” ’ David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.” (Mark 12:35–37, ESV)

Let us now look at the passage Christ is quoting from David:

   “The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”” (Psalm 110:1, ESV)

This passage says one person with the attribute of Lordship is speaking to another person who has the same attribute - there is only one Lord but David recognizes two persons as being his Lord.

4.) You quote Matthew 15:24 as teaching that the Messiah was only sent to Israel. I counter that by pointing out the Bible teaches The Messiah was first sent to the Jews, but his divine mission was never intended to be limited to the Jews only. Jesus is God incarnate, God is not the God of Israel only but of the whole world. God had a special relationship with Israel but God's ultimate plan was to use Israel to teach the world the truth(Micah 4:2, Is 42:1, Rev 22:2).

The Jewish leadership acting as Israel's representatives rejected their Messiah(Mark 9:12) and turned him over to Rome to be crucified. Yet, after the Messiah(Anointed one) was cut down(Dan 9:26, Is 53:8) he resurrected from the grave and ordered his disciples to teach and baptize all the nations(Matt 28:19). The book of Acts chronicles Christ's disciples preaching the gospel to the nations with the power of God working through them. Even the Quran has to admit that the disciples of Christ were made superior until the day of judgment(Surah 3:55). Lastly, the will of God from before creation was for the Son go into the world to pay the price for the sins of the world and that whosoever believed in him would receive eternal life(John 3:16-21).

5.) The Comforter is the Holy Spirit, not a human prophet.

This has been refuted countless times by countless people. I refer you an article written by Sam Shamoun titled "Is Muhammad predicted in the Gospel of John?"

I hope this reply clears up your misunderstandings.

God Bless

Brother C.L