Is Jesus Christ truly the Son of God? Here we will discuss some of the arguments that many muslims use many times and the solutions to them.
It’s been quite a time since I last dissected a text or a video, and commented on every portion of the subject. The last time I did that on a video was on a debate between an internet apologist and a mualaf (an arabic word for a person of another faith to enter current faith, in this case Islam) and you can read it here.
All scriptures are quoted from King James Version unless noted. Greek texts are quoted from Scrivener’s Textus Receptus. Hebrew texts with Niqqud are quoted from Westminster Leningrad Codex obtained from BibleGateway.com. Alquran Text with Tashkil obtained from quran.com, with translation from Yusuf Ali
Yesterday I came across a “recommended video” on YouTube, this video (http://youtu.be/0S_A9ERJWN0) is about a somewhat prideful and overconfident person and was also Christian confronted Zakir Naik when it was said that Jesus is not the Son of God in the Quran.
Zakir Naik, on the other hand, is a public speaker from India on the subjects of Islam and comparisons to other religions, as well as Islam and science. He was trained as a medical doctor and surgeon before he devoted himself to teach about Islam. His passion to dawah and debates was inspired by Ahmad Deedat mainly, albeit different style and approach. India produced some good Muslim apologists, but many of them use the same wrong answers but managed to convince people that they were true. Of course, because their reasoning is based off the Quran, not the Bible.
The question was (0:09): In islam it says, Jesus Christ PBUH is not the Son of God, when we are *can’t understand this part* born of a father and mother, for he is only born of a mother, why is he not the Son of God.
The flaw is in the question itself. Jesus is the begotten Son of God by identity since the beginning, not because He was born of only a mother, a virgin birth. Zakir Naik of course saw this flaw and attacked it, but with good reasoning. If Jesus is God, the Son of God, because he was born of only a mother, wouldn’t Adam then be considered a greater son of God because he had no father no mother?
Zakir Naik (in 0:44) says he has no problem even in Biblical context to say that we are all children of God. He was telling the Jesus’ title as the Son of God is the equal as when the Bible addresses us as ‘children of God’, or ‘sons of God’ (he referred to Romans 8:14-17). But if it’s true, why is that when the Bible addresses Jesus as the Son of God, it’s always in a “unique” way?
During Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, Jesus was asked, “…whether thou be Christ, the Son of God. (Mt 26:63)” Jesus of course answered without lie, for He is God lest He should lie (Numbers 23:19), His true identity, while still referred to Himself as “the Son of Man” instead of “the Son of God”. Right after that the high priest claimed blasphemy and rent his clothes (v. 65).
There’s something about Jesus when He’s referred to as Christ the Son of God (ho Christos ho Huios tou Theou). Zakir Naik repeatedly said each prophet a son of God (1:23). But this is plain wrong. There are nowhere in the Bible that said explicitly to give them a title “son of God”. The word “the Son of God”, is always attributed to Jesus Christ. The key is in the article “the”, this makes “the Son of God” a proper noun. The article “the” makes it unique.
Do an electronic search for “the Son of God”, and the only hit you’ll find outside the New Testament would be only Daniel 3:25:
“He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
This is called Teophany, when God take appearance to humans. Numerous times when the Bible said the Angel of the LORD (Malakh YHVH, look up Genesis 22:15-18) many interpret that this may be teophany of Jehovah rather than a special angel. Again this is interpretation. When the Aram people said “Son of God”, well most likely they saw a person full of glory like a God, but it looked like human they called him “Son of God”. What if the teophany was indeed Jesus, the Son of God? This is not entirely confusing, the identity that Christ the Savior is the Son of God has been from the first book of the Bible, the first fragment being Issac was ready to be sacrificed by Abraham.
Zakir Naik said that the phrase has been misunderstood (1:37). The problem lies within the word “begotten”. Why Islam cannot accept Jesus as the only begotten Son of God because they were taught that “God begets not, nor he is begotten. (Qur’an Sura’ Al-‘Ikhlas (112):3). They are too obsessed that Christians are associating God with an animal act (which Zakir Naik also mentioned (3:32)). But they forgot that Jesus lived among Jews, and when He affirmed that He is the Son of God, they considered it blasphemy. Because they understood that of course that God begets not or he is begotten, but the Son of God, is no other than God Himself.
Jesus’ birth was unique. How do the Muslims understand the phenomenon of virgin birth? Their answer may be simply Sura Maryam (19):35:
مَا كَانَ لِلَّهِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ مِن وَلَدٍ ۖ سُبْحَانَهُ ۚ إِذَا قَضَىٰ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
ma kana lillahi anyattakhitha min waladin subhanahu itha qadaamran fa-innama yaqoolu lahu kun fayakoon
It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, “Be”, and it is.
While Islam depends on “kun fayakun”, “be, and it is”, in itself is a miracle, although may seem to be lesser than Adam. But we Christians believe that Jesus was conceived in Mary’s womb not just by “kun fayakun”, but in Matthew 2:20 we read “…conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” In Luke 1:35 said, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee… therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of the shall be called the Son of God.” Here we see again the title “the Son of God”. Because Jesus was not merely “a Son of God”.
The same thing in the beginning, God did not create human (ha’adam) by just simply say “let there be (yehi יְהִ֣י)” like when He created the universe and its content. But He created human in a special way; He “…formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)” David the psalmist wrote
כִּֽי־אַ֭תָּה קָנִ֣יתָ כִלְיֹתָ֑י תְּ֝סֻכֵּ֗נִי בְּבֶ֣טֶן אִמִּֽי׃
ki attah qanita kilyotay tesukkeni beveten ‘immi.
“For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13, AMP)”
The word knit (tesukkeni) was translated from sakak סכך, which may mean either screen (KJV, cover), or weave. Compare this with the Quran:
Sura Al-Kahf (18):37
قَالَ لَهُ صَاحِبُهُ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ أَكَفَرْتَ بِالَّذِي خَلَقَكَ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ ثُمَّ سَوَّاكَ رَجُلًا
Qala lahu sahibuhu wahuwa yuhawiruhuakafarta billathee khalaqaka min turabinthumma min nutfatin thumma sawwaka rajula
His companion said to him, in the course of the argument with him: “Dost thou deny Him Who created thee out of dust, then out of a sperm-drop, then fashioned thee into a man?
We both agree that babies are “fashioned”, “woven” inside the mother’s womb. But why Jesus was only said in the Quran numerous times, formed only by “kun”, “let there be”? Was ‘Isa Almasih (the word Jesus Christ in Quranic Arabic) lower than human? This is my thinking. Did Allah of Islam just say “let there be” and Mary’s ovum cell was miraculously fertilized? I do not believe so.
Then Zakir Naik claimed that the word “begotten” was an interpolation, alteration, fabrication, concoction (2:40). The claim came from the modern Bible scholars, who said the word “begotten” was an addition and thus should be removed (I won’t talk about “the danger of modern contemporary Bible versions” now, if you want to know more you can read in some sites like chick.com or av1611.org). The word in question was “μονογενής monogenês”, which means only one, unique. the part “only begotten” was because monogenês came from two words, “mono/misthôtos” which means one-and-only and “gênos” which means offspring. This word is in any ancient Greek text available, and although many modern contemporary English Bible translations like ESV, NIV (and actually many still retain “only begotten”), the word “only” is still there, in every English translations I know. This was what Zakir Naik failed to inform. People like Zakir Naik likes to miss something in their informations but make it as complete truth.
And it’s not enough, not just when Jesus was named “the Son of God”, the unique title that none other but Jesus has. In Matthew 4:17, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Has God said something like that to any other person in the Bible? In whom the LORD is well pleased? The fact humans are all sinners, that we are all born broken (Romans 3:10), the LORD won’t be well pleased, if it’s not by the work of the Holy Spirit, by the work of Salvation done by Jesus Christ.
The word “only begotten”, the word “monogenês” was not a fabrication. Does not mean that Jesus is the offspring of God by the seed of God, that would be blasphemy. If Bible do not address Jesus uniquely as the unique the-one-and-only Son of God, we may have to agree that Jesus is the same as Adam, may be lesser, as the verse that Zakir Naik quoted in Sura Ali Imran (3):59:
إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَىٰ عِندَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ ۖ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
Inna mathala ‘isa ‘inda Allahi kamathali adama khalaqahu min turabin thumma qalalahu kun fayakoon
The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be”. And he was.
And I think the problem is why does Muslims do not call their God, ‘Father’, when they say we are all children of God? Are the messengers the only children of God? Zakir Naik told us that in the 99 Names of Allah (asma allah al-husna) the title Ab (Father) was left out because people would start to misunderstand the word “Father” (5:22). Praise be to God that He allowed us to call him Abba, Father (Romans 8:14-17), He that adopted us as His children.
Then Zakir Naik said that muslims follow Jesus’ teaching more than the Christians (6:20). This is a common argument. He stated that Christians aren’t all circumcised, but Muslims are all circumcised, just like Christ (6:36). This itself is a problem, because circumcision as law is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran, but only in some Hadith (accounts of the life of Muhammad SAW). Circumcision is only a religious practice symbolizing inclusion to Islam, in honoring Muhammad that was not born with foreskin (aposthia), and teachings of Shia Muslim teachers that “the earth hates the urine of the uncircumcised”. And because of its absence in the Quran, not all Muslims are circumcised. Many people from Sunni Islam community deem circumcision is, “not obligatory but highly recommended.” A movement called “Quran Alone”, even rejects circumcision, for it is seen as alteration to the perfect creation, that is, human being. This is probably why in minute 6:40 Zakir Naik said “majority” at first then he corrected it to “all”. What a liar.
But that aside, should we be circumcised? Let’s get to the even more absurd argument that Christians should be call Paulians for they follow Paul’s teachings more than Christ’s. Well for starters, Apostle Paul was a really intellectual person, probably the greatest Bible Scholar after Gamaliel in the Jewish world, a Pharisee who knows in and out of Torah (Pentateuch), Nevi’im (books of prophets), and Ketuvim (books of literature), probably he memorized it all as well (now this last one was just from me). The man himself a servant to the Gentiles (1 Cor 9:19-24), who saw the perfect Jew in him, he counted them but dung, trash, for the sake of Christ (Philippians 3:1-14). But the very same Paul that condemns a Jewish Christian missionary to enforce circumcision to Gentiles (Galatians 2:3), he enforced circumcision to Timothy (Acts 16:1-3). Why?
Jesus was the end of the Torah Law, the end of the Old Testament (Luke 16:16, Matthew 11:13), because Jesus is the New Testament (1 Corinthians 11:25). Circumcision is one of 613 Mitzvot, points of Torah Law, as stated in Genesis 17:22. But the Torah Law is specific to the children of Israel (Deut 4:44, 1 Chr 16:40, Neh 8:1, Mal 4:4, Rm 9:4, Hbr 7:11). Timothy was of Jewish descent, although his father was not, but he is an Israeli ius sanguinis. Jesus, Paul, and Timothy are Jews, they ought to be circumcised on the eighth day of their lives. Paul did enforce not to follow Jewish traditions for Gentiles, but he did not apply that condition for other Jewish Christians in dispersion (Acts 21:15-26). Circumcision isn’t Jesus’ teaching, it’s Mozes’ teaching for the children of Israel.
The Zakir Naik from minute 6:50 pointed out scriptures in the Bible (Lev 11:7-8, Deu 40:8, Is 60:2-5) that we should not have pork. Well, we are not bound to do the Mitzvot, but by not eating pork is actually healthier, although it’s very delicious, and no Taenia solium if cooked in the right way. The Torah has purpose of setting rules to a standard, to show their obedience to God, and actually for reasons as well. For instance, in earlier times of the Bible, incest (marrying close relatives) was allowed until then in Leviticus 20:21. Now science know why, because the recessive genetic attributes of their relatives may produce genetic diseases such as albino, cystic fibrosis, and thalassemia, and other physical disorders caused by mutations.
Zakir Naik pointed out that according to Ephesians 5:18 and Proverbs 20:1, we are not allowed to drink alcohol(ic beverages) (7:03). That is clearly not true. There are dozens of accounts in the Bible that wine is drunk in Jewish celebrations (Deut 14:26, John 2), also used in communion, commemorating Passover, old (Exodus of Israel) and new (death and resurrection of Jesus Christ), also in honoring people (Genesis 14:18), as a sign of joy (Psalm 104:15, Proverbs 31:6-7, Ecclesiastes 10:19) and blessings from God (Ecclesiastes 9:5-10, Genesis 27:28), also as drink offering (Num 28:7), and salvation to Gentiles (Psalm 75:8, Isiah 25:6). Wine is also attributed its health purposes (2 Chronicles 11:11, 1 Timothy 5:23, John 10:34). Jesus said he also drank wine (Matthew 11:19, winebibber). And don’t forget, there were so many winepresses in Israel, and Israel was one of the greatest exporters, wouldn’t it be strange that God forbid them to consume wine, and to sell them?
But of course, too much even the good thing may do bad for you. Excess wine and alcoholic beverages consumption will cause in being drunk and disorderly manner as well as unclear mind, trembling body, and, hangover. Bible teaches us to be self-discipline, to be able to control yourself, your belly desires. This includes not eating too much, of course, and not working to much, because even God needs rest. People say why did God rest on the seventh day, the question should be the other way around, if God needs rest, why don’t we?
Zakir Naik said “We love Him, we respect Him (7:23)”. No you don’t. You do not respect the birth of Jesus Christ being conceived from the Holy Spirit, You do not respect that He is the true one-and-only Son of God, and You do not respect the death of Jesus Christ by saying He was not crucified as redemption for the sins of entire mankind.
Then Zakir Naik said another false claim in minute 7:42 saying that the “Spirit of truth”, the parakletos in John 14:16-26 and John 16:7-15, the comforter is supposed to be Muhammad SAW. This is of complete absurdity. Jesus clearly stated that the Parakletos would be a Spirit, and His promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Muhammad SAW has flesh, but Jesus said that it would be a Spirit, and so it cannot be seen (John 14:17, the world seeth him not) Muhammad SAW cannot fill someone as like the Holy Spirit can fill someone, can be in someone to be his or her guide. John 15:26 said the Spirit, the parakletos would be sent by Jesus. Muhammad did not say he was sent by Jesus.
I don’t know how can parakletos can be translated to Muhammad, but they might say that in accordance to the prophecy told by Prophet ‘Isa (Quranic Arabic of Jesus, probably written by Muhammad who misheard the Arabic Jewish pronunciation of Yeshua, in Smith Van Dyck Arabic Bibles Jesus would be translated to Yasu’/Yasua, a transliteration of Yeshua) in Sura Assaf (61):6:
وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّرًا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِي مِن بَعْدِي اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ ۖ فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ قَالُوا هَٰذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ
Wa-ith qala ‘Isa ibnu maryama ya banee isra-eela innee rasoolu Allahi ilaykum musaddiqan lima bayna yadayya mina attawrati wa mubashshiran birasoolin ya/tee min ba’dee ismuhu ahmadu falamma jaahum bilbayyinati qaloohatha sihrun mubeen
And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.” But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, “this is evident sorcery!”
If the muslims can falsely interpret that the Paraclete was Muhammad, I can also say that Ahmad may be not Muhammad. Ahmad itself is the root word for Muhammad, the last prophet of Islam may perceive this verse as a prophecy of himself, but I may argue it is not. Ahmad means “praised, favored”. This maybe similar when Jesus was prophesied to be named Immanuel, which means “God be with us”, but this is not personal name, but a title. Maybe it’s the same thing. The word Ahmad in that verse may be not referring to Muhammad SAW.
Zakir Naik’s response has flaws all over the place, the same arguments as any other muslim apologists I know. I thought he would be different than the likes of the lowly Muslim debaters I’ve encountered. But the man converted to Islam after his confrontation with Zakir Naik, because his foundation was not solid, I can see it through his question to Zakir Naik.
So let us as Christians know what we believe in the Bible, to study what we hold as truth, the foundation, and to be filled with and guided by the Holy Spirit, so we won’t be easily swayed by the ways of the world, intoxicated by false teachings and doctrines, and had our faith shaken. Our faith is in Jesus Christ alone, the Son of God, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, left His divine nature and born as a human being, the Son of man died in our place, while we were sinners. He redeemed us from our sins so we are free from the bondage and slavery of sin, and to call our Lord, Abba Father. He sent His Holy Spirit to fill us, to live inside of us to guide us through His word. The Holy Bible is complete, this number one most popular books ever sold and translated all over the world is God’s Word for our guidance, and our tool to defend us against evil. We cherish, we respect, we can never be grateful enough for Jesus himself, our Lord and Savior, for the great work He has done in our lives.
May this article be a blessing to you all.
Fortis est veritas, vero nihil verius.
Fides quaerrens intellectum, credo ut intellegam.
In Christ’s love,
July 15, 2013
“The Gospel is the main course, apologetics is the seasoning.” – Ravi Zacharias