Short Answer: The Christians claim that Jesus was/is God incarnate – that he was the Son of God or God Himself born as His own Son. If this were true, Jesus would be a god beside God Almighty (or Yahweh or God the Father). But this belief contradicts the First Commandment of God given in the Bible: See the Book of Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 4:
[Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.]
Salam (Peace) James,
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Now let us come to the part of your question where you ask about the “divine” qualities of Jesus (PBUH). The Christians claim that Jesus was/is God incarnate – that he was the Son of God or God Himself born as His own Son. If this were true, Jesus would be a god beside God Almighty (or Yahweh or God the Father). But this belief contradicts the First Commandment of God given in the Bible: See the Book of Deuteronomy chapter 6, verse 4:
[Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.]
The same First Commandment is endorsed by Jesus (PBUH) too in the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament:
[And one of the scribes came, and asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.] (Mark 12: 28-29)
And we do not find Jesus (PBUH) making any amendment to the First Commandment to suggest that he is God Himself, or God incarnate! He says in John:
[For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.] (John 12:49)
Indeed the above verse (John 12:49) underscores the fact that Jesus is the Messenger — one who is sent — of God. So, whatever Jesus (PBUH) taught was revealed to him by God. This also very clearly shows that Jesus was not God.
Note that he does not say that he spoke for himself as God. Where does the verse say that Jesus (PBUH) ‘is the Son before creation’, as is claimed by the followers of Paul? The whole Pauline theology about God becoming flesh is completely alien to Jesus’ teachings. The following verse exemplifies this:
[As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”. “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. ”No one is good—except God alone] (Mark 10: 17,18)
Here, Jesus (PBUH) emphatically corrects any notion that he was God; he does not like to be called even good, as genuine goodness is a quality of God alone. If Jesus were God, his words do not make sense; because, it does not befit God to humble Himself before His creation.
The Biblical expression, ‘Son of God’ does not actually suggest that Jesus (PBUH) was God; because that phrase is used in a metaphorical sense throughout the Bible:
[The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.] (Genesis 6:2)
In this verse all men were called “the sons of God”.
[Adam, who was the son of God.] (Luke 3:38)
Here Adam, the first man, is called the son of God.
[Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.] (Matthew 5:9)
In the above verse, it is Jesus (PBUH) who says that all the peacemakers will be called the “sons of God”.
Do Christians argue that Jesus was God’s son in a literal sense, as Abel was Adam’s son or Jacob was Isaac’s son?
Indeed Jesus was a practicing Jew, and the very idea of God taking a human form is antithetical to the Torah or the Law of Moses.
The following quote proves that Jesus was a devout and learned Jew, a rabbi:
[Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and his reputation spread throughout the region. He was teaching in their synagogues, and all were loud in his praise. He came to Nazareth where he had been reared, and entering the synagogue on the sabbath as he was in the habit of doing, he stood up to do the reading.] (Luke 4:14-16)
Note that Jesus taught us to pray to the Father, our Creator and not to himself. In fact, he did not mention himself in any way, nor did he indicate that we should pray in his name. His instructions were very specific; we are to pray to God alone.
[One day he was praying in a certain place. When he had finished, one of his disciples asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us the wrong we have done as we forgive those who wrong us. Subject us not to the trial but deliver us from the evil one.'”] (Luke 11:1-4, Matthew 6:9-13)
There were times when Jesus felt the need to pray with special urgency. Luke reports that, on one occasion, Jesus prayed very hard:
[In his anguish, Jesus prayed with all the greater intensity, and his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.] (Luke 22:44)
This would not be the case if Jesus himself were God.
And God knows best. I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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