A major point of contention between Muslims and Christians is the Orthodox Christian position on the Deity of Jesus Christ. Historic Christian teaching affirms that God became man in the Person of Jesus Christ; perfect Divinity united with perfect humanity, two natures working in perfect unity in the one Person of Jesus of Nazareth.
To the Muslim this belief is totally unacceptable and unthinkable, since Islam denies any possibility of God becoming Incarnate, that God would become man, particularly for the sole purpose of dying for lost sinners. This leaves Muslims in a paradox since Islam believes in Jesus as one of God's mightiest agents and Prophets, proclaiming the same message of the religion perfected in Muhammad, al-Islam. However, when a Muslim reads the Holy Bible, he finds that Jesus' message is anything but Islam.
Since the testimony of the New Testament writers is that Jesus is the Word of God (who is God) become flesh, Muslims have asserted that the message of Christ has been corrupted. Hence, what we have in the New Testament documents are words attributed to Jesus, but never uttered by him.
Yet, owing to the fact that nearly 25,000 manuscripts of the Bible, thousands of archaeological findings, as well as extra-biblical documents have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the Bible provides accurate, eyewitness accounts on Jesus' deeds and life, Muslims have tried to find another way to discredit Christ's Divinity.
This second alternative presumes that there are no conclusive statements of Jesus that would indicate that Christ believed he was indeed God Incarnate.
Muslim apologists, such as South Africa's Ahmad Deedat, are quick to point out that Jesus is never reported to have said, "I am God," or "Worship me." Hence, it is presumed that since Christ never stated this, Christians are wrong in worshiping Jesus as God.
This line of reasoning is seriously flawed, since this argument can be turned around and used against Muslims. For instance, Christ never states that he is not God and that we should not worship him. In other words, nowhere in the Bible will we find Christ saying "I am not God, do not worship me." In fact, there isnt a single reference in the entire Quran where Jesus allegedly says he is not God, or the Son of God. Shall we therefore conclude from this that the Quran teaches that Jesus is God? Obviously, very few people would find this line of argumentation particularly convincing since it is essentially an argument from silence. Arguments from silence prove very little or nothing.
In spite of this, Deedat and others are quick to pick out biblical references that they feel present a strong case against the notion of Jesus' Divinity. Yet, these same people do not allow Christians to use passages that strongly suggest that Jesus did affirm that he is divine, without needing to directly say, "I am God."
This being the case, we will approach the subject of Jesus' Divinity from a different perspective. We will quote both the Quran and the Old Testament in order to highlight certain titles and attributes of God and compare them to statements made by Christ.
This will be done in order to demonstrate to these Muslim apologists that the titles used by Jesus are titles that belong to God alone, indicating that Christ did indeed claim to be God Almighty in human form.
Before continuing, we would like to make it very clear that we do not believe the Quran is the word of God. Our utilization of it is to show Muslims, who do believe in it, that the NT application of divine titles and attributes to the Lord Jesus proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Jesus claimed Divinity, or that the NT writers truly believed that Christ was Incarnate Deity.
We would also like to state that our use of the Quran does not mean that we believe that the god presented in the Quran is the same as the true God of the Holy Bible, Yahweh Elohim. They are not the same God. Our use of the Quran is intended to show that even the author of the Quran was aware that certain titles and attributes belong to God alone, and for persons other than God to apply to themselves these titles and attributes would be blasphemy; unless, of course, that person was in fact God!
Let us therefore proceed to the evidence.
The First and the Last/The Beginning and the End
"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god." Isaiah 44:6
"Hearken to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am He, I am the first, and I am the last." Isaiah 48:12
"And he said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son." Revelation 21:6-7
But to Allah belongs the Last and the First. S. 53:25
He is the First and the Last, the Evident and Immanent; and He has full knowledge of all things. S. 57:3
and to Us belong the Last and the First. S. 92:13
"When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades." Revelation 1:17-18
"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life." Revelation 2:8
"Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end ... He who testifies to these things says, Surely I am coming soon. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" Revelation 22:12-13, 20
The titles, "First and Last" and "the Beginning and the End, refer to God's sovereignty as the only Lord and God, that everything begins and ends with God since he alone sustains and controls all creation and events. No mere creature could utter such words, and yet the Lord Jesus does.
Sovereignty and Inheritor
"Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all." 1 Chronicles 29:11
"The earth is the LORD's and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein; for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers." Psalm 24:1-2
"The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine; the world and all that is in it, thou hast founded them." Psalm 89:11
To God belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth; And God hath power over all things. S. 3:189
And verily, it is We Who give life, and Who give death: it is We Who remain inheritors (after all else passes away). S. 15:23
It is We Who will inherit the earth, and all beings thereon: to Us will they all be returned. S. 19:40
To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth: It is He who gives life and death; and He has power over all things. S. 57:2
"And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." Matthew 28:18
"He had still one other, a beloved son; finally he sent him to them, saying, They will respect my son. But those tenants said to one another, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours." Mark 12:6-7
"When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him." John 17:1-2
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17
"but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power ..." Hebrews 1:2-3a
Both the Lord Jesus and the NT writers emphatically state that Christ sovereignly rules creation.
At this point, a Muslim might interject that Christ is said to be given this authority, indicating that there is One greater than he who gave it to him. Muslims are obviously not taking into consideration the implications of these statements, otherwise they would not make such assertions.
First, how can a mere mortal exercise power over all creation and possibly give eternal life to all flesh? Second, the passages do not state that Christ was given the power to rule creation or to grant life, but was given the authority or right to do so. In other words, God is permitting Christ to rule and to give salvation to all, and yet in order for God to give Jesus this authority, Christ must be able to have the ability to carry out these tasks of maintaining and saving all creation. The Apostle Paul brings out this point quite beautifully:
"But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself." Philippians 3:20-21
These passages therefore show that Christ has the intrinsic ability to rule creation and grant eternal life, which implies that he must have the same nature as God. If he did not have the very nature of God, then Christ could not possibly be able to exercise power over the universe and be its sustainer.
Third, God does not give his glory to a mere creature. This means that, despite the Muslim line of logic, the fact that God granted Christ the right to share in the divine authority basically means that Jesus is no mere mortal. (Cf. Isaiah 42:8, 48:11)
The Resurrection and the Life
"See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand." Deuteronomy 32:39
"The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up." 1 Samuel 2:6
"At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnez'zar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives for ever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;" Daniel 4:34
This is so, because God is the Reality: it is He Who gives life to the dead, and it is He Who has power over all things And verily the Hour will come: there can be no doubt about it, or about (the fact) that God will raise up all who are in the graves. S. 22:6-7
He is the Living (One): There is no god but He: Call upon Him, giving Him sincere devotion. Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds! ... It is He Who gives Life and Death; and when He decides upon an affair, He says to it, "Be", and it is. S. 40:65, 68
"Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear HIS VOICE and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment." John 5:25-29
"Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to him, Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world." John 11:25-27
"and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades." Revelation 1:18
"In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land... Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD! Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side." Joel 3:1-2, 11-12
"Our Lord! Thou art He that will gather mankind Together against a day about which there is no doubt; for God never fails in His promise." S. 3:9
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by MY FATHER; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’" Matthew 25:31-34
"Am I a God at hand, says the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD." Jeremiah 23:23-24
To God belong the East and the West: Withersoever Ye turn, there is the Presence of God. For God is All-Pervading, All-Knowing. S. 2:115
"... And He is with you wheresoever ye may be ..." S. 57:4
Seest thou not that God doth know (all) that is in the heavens and on earth? There is not a secret consultation between three, but He makes the fourth among them, - Nor between five but He makes the sixth, - nor between fewer nor more, but He is in their midst, wheresoever they be: In the end will He tell them the truth of their conduct, on the Day of Judgment. For God has full knowledge of all things. S. 58:7
And from the Hadith literature:
Hadith Qudsi 18:
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: Allah (mighty and sublime be He) will say on the Day of Resurrection:
O son of Adam, I fell ill and you visited Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so had fallen ill and you visited him not? Did you not know that had you visited him you would have found Me with him? O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not. He will say: O Lord, and how should I feed You when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: Did you not know that My servant So-and-so asked you for food and you fed him not? Did you notknow that had you fed him you would surely have found that (the reward for doing so) with Me? O son of Adam, I asked you to give Me to drink and you gave Me not to drink. He will say: O Lord, how should I give You to drink when You are the Lord of the worlds? He will say: My servant So-and-so asked you to give him to drink and you gave him not to drink. Had you given him to drink you would have surely found that with Me.
It was related by Muslim. (Source)
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by MY FATHER; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46
"and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." Mt. 28:20b
"then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and render to each whose heart thou knowest, according to all his ways (for thou, thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men);" 1 Kings 8:39
"O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me! Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar. Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it." Psalm 139:1-6
"He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names. Great is our LORD, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure." Psalm 147:4-5
"... For God knoweth well the secrets of your hearts." S. 3:154
"And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, Why do you question thus in your hearts?" Mark 2:8
"And to the angel of the church in Thyati'ra write: The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze... And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve." Revelation 2:18, 23b
The Object of Prayers
"I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called upon God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock." Job 12:4
When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way. S. 2:186
"Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it." John 14:13-14
Light of the World
"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1
"The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended." Isaiah 60:19-20
"God is the Light of the heavens and the earth..." S. 24:35
"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
"We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." John 9:4-5
Forgiver of Sins
"But Joshua said to the people, You cannot serve the LORD; for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins." Joshua 24:19
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases," Psalm 103:2-3
And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring God to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins, - and who can forgive sins except God? - and are never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done. S. 3:135
"And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, My son, your sins are forgiven. Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone? ... But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins ..." Mark 2:5-7,10a
"Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little. And he said to her, Your sins are forgiven. Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, Who is this, who even forgives sins?" Luke 7:47-49
"Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth." Psalm 31:5 NASB
"High above all is God, The King, The Truth ..." S. 20:114
"Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." John 14:6
"You did not so learn Christ! -- assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus." Ephesians 4:20-21
Day of Judgement
"For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehosh'aphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations, and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have given a boy for a harlot, and have sold a girl for wine, and have drunk it... Let the nations bestir themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehosh'aphat; for there I will sit to judge all the nations round about. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. And the LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who dwell in Zion, my holy mountain. And Jerusalem shall be holy and strangers shall never again pass through it." Joel 3:1-3, 12-17
Nay! When the earth is pounded by power, and thy Lord cometh, and His angels, rank upon rank, and Hell, that Day, is brought face to face - On that Day will man remember, but how will that remembrance profit him? S. 89:21-23
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out HIS angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather HIS elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Matthew 24:29-31
"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ... Then he will say to those at his left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;" Matthew 25:31-34, 41
"Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat upon the cloud, Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe. So he who sat upon the cloud swung his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped." Revelation 14:14-16
King of kings and Lord of lords
"O give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures for ever;" Psalm 136:3
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The vilest name in Allah's sight is Malik al-Amlak (King of Kings). The narration transmitted on the authority of Shaiba (contains these words): There is no king but Allah, the Exalted and Glorious. Sufyan said: Similarly, the word Shahinshah (is also the vilest appellation). Ahmad b. Hanbal said: I asked Abu 'Amr about the meaning of Akhna. He said: The vilest. (Sahih Muslim, Book 025, Number 5338, see also Number 5339)
"and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood." Revelation 1:5
"they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful." Revelation 17:14
"Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords." Revelation 19:11-16
Christ's extensive usage of divine titles and prerogatives that are found in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Quran affirms that Jesus' self-description is consistent with one claiming to be God Almighty. The Lord Jesus use of divine titles that belong exclusively to God shows that Jesus is God, or at least establishes the fact that Jesus claimed to be God. No true prophet of God would make such divine claims, unless of course the claims were actually true. And in the case of Christ, these divine claims are true since he is God in the flesh.
Hence, a Muslim must come to the conclusion that the recorded words of Christ in the holy Scriptures leave no doubt that Jesus claimed to be God. There is simply no way around it.
For a more thorough examination in regards to Jesus' Deity we recommend our following studies:
All Biblical quotations taken from the Revised Standard Version (RSV)
All Quranic quotations taken from A. Yusuf Ali
Articles by Sam Shamoun
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