Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Doctrine - Muhammad on Jesus - Son of Mary (part 1)

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. You can also find the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
Muhammad is very consistent in the appellations he applies to Jesus. Most often he simply refers to Him as "Jesus, Son of Mary" as opposed to "Jesus, Son of God." This idea, of God having a Son, is one of the key contentions between Muslims and Christians. Muhammad saw it as part of his calling by God to warn Christians not to believe that Jesus was the Son of God but rather to receive Him as he himself did, as just a prophet and a messenger of God.
"Praise belongs to God who has sent down upon His servant the Book… to warn those who say, 'God has taken to Himself [begotten] a son'; they have no knowledge of it, they nor their fathers; a monstrous word [grievous saying] it is, issuing out of their mouths; they say nothing but a lie." (Koran 18:1,3-4)
To say that neither they nor their fathers had any knowledge of this is either disingenuous, in that Muhammad knew the truth, or it demonstrates Muhammad's lack of knowledge surrounding the history of Jesus. Certainly the Jews understood exactly who Jesus was claiming to be and, because of it, on many accounts, they sought to kill Him. "For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God." (John 5:18) Also, the four main Gospels were present with Muhammad in which each writer declared and professed Jesus as the Son of God. Beyond that, there were numerous writers since the apostles who also wrote in support of Jesus being the Son of God. For Muhammad to say that they, nor their fathers, had no knowledge of a Son of God is complacently wrong. However, despite this knowledge, Muhammad repeatedly says that it is a monstrous, slanderous, and blasphemous thing to say that God has a son.
"And they say, 'The All-merciful has taken unto Himself a son [gotten offspring].' You have indeed advanced something hideous [a monstrous thing]!" (Koran 19:91)
"Is it not of their own calumny [a falsehood of their own devising] that they say, 'God has begotten?'" (Koran 37:151-152)
Muhammad presents many justifications for his believe that God does not, and never had, a son. His first proof is that Jesus Himself denied that He was the Son of God or that God would take a son.
"They are unbelievers [infidels] who say, 'God is the Messiah, Mary's son.' For the Messiah said, 'Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Verily whoso associates with God anything, God shall prohibit him entrance to Paradise, and his refuge shall be the Fire; and wrongdoers shall have no helpers.'" (Koran 5:76)
To make Jesus the Son of God would be to associate others with God, which Muhammad consistently and vehemently denied. However, we have no record that Jesus ever spoke these words. In fact, He often spoke of God as His Father. Consider just these three passages from the Gospel of Mathew. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter." (Matthew 7:21) "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32) "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." (Matthew 11:27) Either Muhammad was ignorant of the teachings of Jesus or he willingly twisted them for his own ends, either way, he was wrong in what he wrote.

Muhammad also wrote that Christians had no reason to believe that Jesus was actually God's son.
"They say, 'God has taken [begotten] to Him a son [children]. Glory be to Him! He is All-sufficient; to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth; you have no authority [warranty] for this [assertion]. What, do you say concerning God that you know not?" (Koran 10:69)
How could anyone warranty such a claim as being the Son of God? Fortunately, God did just that when He raised Jesus from the Dead. "Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead." (Romans 1:3-4) The resurrection of Jesus gives us ample reason to believe and confess that Jesus is, in fact, the Son of God. No one previous or since has been raised from the dead, never to die again. No one else has ever ascended into heaven as his disciples watched and as He returned to His Father in heaven. "And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11) There is ample reason to believe and warranty the truth that Jesus is the Son of God.

Muhammad also says that it is not godly or godlike, nor is it fitting of God, for Him to take a son.
"that they have attributed [ascribed] to the All-merciful a son; and it behoves [beseemeth] not the All-merciful to take [beget] a son." (Koran 19:93)
But why not? Who are we to say what is and what is not befitting to God? Just because we cannot conceive of something pertaining to God does not mean that it is not so! Was it not God who said, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9) Who can fully know God and who can fully and accurately declare Him to us? No matter what we think of God, He is higher still. Why should not God take a son if, in His infinite wisdom He should decide to? Are we to be His teacher and judge to decide what is fitting to Him and what is not? I think not.

More to come...
David Robison

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