Does the belief in Jesus (peace be upon him) as a ‘son of God’ really make sense?
By – Yusuf Estes
What exactly does ‘son of God’ mean?
Can true salvation from God, be the punishment of someone else who is innocent from any of these crimes, to be punished as though he were guilty?
Does God need someone to suffer severe punishment, even though they are trying, day after day.
Did Jesus (peace be upon him) tell the people to take him as a god, or to worship him?
Let us find the answer to these and other important questions about the nature of Jesus of Christianity and Islam.
“Look to the Books”
To begin, let us do a sample comparison of the teachings of the Holy Books of Almighty God.
QURAN OF ISLAM
“Say: Oh my servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins, for he is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
[Noble Quran 39:53]
“If anyone does evil or wrongs his own soul but afterwards seeks Allah’s forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
[Noble Quran 4:110]
“O you people! Adore your Guardian lord, who created you and those who came before you that you may become righteous.”
[Noble Quran 2:21]
“You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written faith in their hearts and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to well therein (forever). Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve Felicity.”
[Noble Quran 58:22]
New Testament of BIBLE
“Why do you call me good? answered Jesus, No-one is good but God alone!”
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but rather to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until Heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of the pen; will by any means disappear from the Law until all things are accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever keeps the commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the Will of the Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on the day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
Some leaders claimed, “This probably refers to the Mormons or somebody else. Don’t worry about it.”
“Gabriel says Jesus will be “called the son of God” and he would be “given the Throne of David” to “rule the House of Jacob forever.””
“Enos was the son of Seth, and Seth was the son of Adam, and Adam was the son of God.”
Note: Adam, not Jesus, is listed in this genealogy of Jesus as the son of God, not Jesus.
Later on, the priests are asking Jesus (peace be upon him) if he claims to be the son of God. He tells them in fact, it is they who are making this claim.
“You say that I am.”
Gospel of John contains the greatest number of references to “son of God”
Jesus, speaking in the third person talked about the “Son of God” in [John 3:17 - John 5:24 - John 11:4 - John 11:27]
Martha, one of the followers, calls Jesus, peace be upon him, “The Messiah, the Son of God”
“The Messiah, the Son of God.”
But no verse makes the exact statement “Jesus is the Son of God and as such he is divine or God.”
“O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah anything but the truth. Christ Jesus, the son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: It will be better for you: For Allah is One God: Glory be to Him: (Far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.”
[Noble Quran 4:171]
Notice in the Bible, the frequent link between the position of Jesus, peace be upon him, as the Messiah and the ‘son-ship.’
The term ‘son of god’ can not, in itself, be considered enough to declare anything unique about Jesus, peace be upon him, as this term is used for many people throughout the Old and the New Testament.
refers to the entire house of Israel as being, ‘Sons of God’.
Paul tells us about those who are led by the spirit:
“because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
The word “Messiah” is one that more particularly seems to represent the station of the person predicted to appear and lead the people to the victory over this world.
Oxford Companion of the Bible states Jews prior to Jesus (peace be upon him) hoped for a prophesied ruler, reigning with everlasting justice, peace and security for the “Sons of Israel.”
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The spirit of the Lord will be on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the fear of the Lord – and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”
“The days are coming, declares the Lord, When I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness. For this is what the Lord says: David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, nor will the priests, who are Levites, ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offering and to present sacrifices.”
“My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. The will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them, it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.”
“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the rules staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.”
“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will conquer, but Israel will grow strong. A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city.”
God Incarnate? NOT HERE
Nathan the prophet (son of Solomon) said:
“The Lord declares to you that the Lord Himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father and he will be my son.”
(New Testament book of Hebrews stops here)
“When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.”
[2 Samuel 7:12-15]
“You are my Son; today I have begotten you.”
Does this support the case the doctrine that Jesus, peace be upon him, is the “begotten Son of God?”
Old Testament BIBLE
David is stating what God has proclaimed regarding David’s relationship to God
“I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: he said to me, you are my Son; this day have I begotten you.”
Note: The New International Version says the verse could be translated either as “become your Father” or as “begotten you” into English or Greek.
New Testament BIBLE
“He will be called the Son of God.”
Note: This does not state he “is” the son, but rather, he will be “called” the son of God.
Or was he the “one anointed to preach Good News to the poor.” prophesied by Isaiah, and the Messiah proclaimed by Gabriel, the followers of Jesus, peace be upon him, Jesus, himself and the remained of the New Testament, he evidently would not be God.
New Testament BIBLE
“I tell you the truth”, Jesus answered, “before Abraham was, I am!”
“I am” is the term used to identify God to Moses, peace be upon him.
New Testament BIBLE
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believed in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
This does not actually define Jesus, peace be upon him, as God, or as the Messiah or as a Prophet.
Note: This verse was actually modified by Jerome in the 4th century.
ARIUS (Early history of the Church) a popular leader from Alexandria, Egypt.
He argued, Jesus (peace be upon him) was created and not ‘begotten.’
He was charged with heresy and his followers were horribly oppressed by the Church.
After the matter was ‘decided’ and ‘confirmed’ by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. and in an effort to consolidate both beliefs, Jerome altered the original version of the Gospel of John 3:16 by changing the word ‘monogenes’ (unique) and substituted the word ‘ingenious’ meaning ‘only begotten.’
What other ‘interpretations’ did the early Church Fathers invent to satisfy their claims of the divinity of Jesus, peace be upon him?
New Testament BIBLE
“But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles that you may learn and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
“Don’t you know that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words that I say to you are not my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me who is doing this work.”
But further reading in the very same chapter:
“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
So how does he live in his disciples and how do they live in him? And if so, are they also, sons of God or Gods?
Another good question.
“But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in Him. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.”
[1st John 2:5-6]
(This is an epistle [letter] written by another ‘John,’ not John the Gospel er nor John the Baptist)
Note: This indicates, living ‘in God’ means, ‘Obeying God’ commandments and following the Way of Jesus, peace be upon him.
Twice in the New Testament, Jesus (peace be upon him) tells his followers how to pray saying, “When you pray, say this…”
And the words are very clear, God’s Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one; I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
The word used throughout chapter 10 and 17, for unity or one was the same, ‘heis’ meaning the number one. There is another word ‘hen’ which means a unity of essence. However, ‘hen’ is nowhere to be found in these chapters.
Note: Conclusion is this is a prayer from Jesus, peace be upon him, to God that all of his followers would have the same relationship that he (Jesus) had.
Understanding the word ‘one’ meanings understanding the way in which it is being used. For example a man and a woman become ‘one’ when they marry; someone might say, ‘One hopes for success’ or ‘We are one in agreement.’
Jesus, peace be upon him, is supposed to have said,
“If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”
In the very part of the Bible we find the verse wherein Jesus (peace be upon him) tells his followers, if they accepted a little child, then they also accepted Jesus, peace be upon him. Naturally, he did not mean the child was God or that he was a child.
Christians are taught early in life, by doing good deeds and service for others, they are in fact allowing others to see Jesus in them.
Why do we hold so tight to doctrines, even after realizing the incorrectness and false teachings?
Yet another good question
The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus, peace be upon him, is a man, born of a woman without any father, strengthened by a Spirit from God (Gabriel), sent by God to teach the Children of Israel the true meaning of belief and proper actions (following the commandments) that God would accept from them and as such, their ‘road to salvation.’
One more time:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God at the beginning.”
Jesus (peace be upon him) was the very “Word of God”.
“O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah anything but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) A Messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not ‘trinity’: desist.”
[Noble Quran 4:171]
It is difficult for us to admit that we have been deceived for so many years by some many people, some of them very near and dear to us. The truth is, ‘Someone has been lying to us’ – on purpose.
It is also difficult to consider the consequences of loosing faith in the doctrine of the Church, out of fear of loosing faith in God altogether.
But there is wonderful hope, Grace, Mercy and Salvation for those who come to the correct belief and obey the commandments.
Wisdom or Word?
Oxford Companion to the Bible
The words “wisdom” and ‘word’ were synonymous (exactly the same words) in Jewish thought at the time of Jesus.
Old Testament BIBLE
“The lord brought me forth at the beginning of his work before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning before the world began. When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was the craftsman at his side.”
“By Wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.”
APOCRYPHA (hidden books of the Bible)
Wisdom I and Wisdom II
Sirach (also called: “Ecclesiasticus”) written by Jesus ben Sira, a devout Jew of Jerusalem, 200 years before Christ.
These texts were a part of the Bible until the time of the Calvinists and the Protestant Reformation (hence the word – protest).
Scrolls found at Wadi Qumran and Masada confirm these were always a part of the ancient version of the Bible, but obviously not something Protestants wanted anything to do with.
“Wisdom praises herself, and tells of her glory in the midst of her people. In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth, and in the presence of his hosts she tells of her glory: ‘I came forth from the mouth of the Most High and covered the earth like a mist. I dwelt in the highest heavens, and my throne was in a pillar of a cloud. Alone I compassed the vault of heaven and traversed the depths of the abyss. Over waves of the sea, over all the earth, and over every people and nation I have held sway. Among all these I sought a resting place; in whose territory should I abide? Then the Creator of all things gave me a command, and my Creator chose the place for my tent. He said, ‘Make your dwelling in Jacob, and in Israel, receive your inheritance.’ Before the ages, in the beginning he created me, and for all the ages I shall not cease to be. In the holy tent I ministered before him, and so I was established in Zion. Thus in the beloved city he gave me a resting place, and in Jerusalem was my domain. I took root in an honored people, in the portion of the Lord his heritage.”
“For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing evil gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of His goodness. Although she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets.”
[Wisdom of Solomon 7:25-27]
Did the beginning of the Gospel of John indicate John believed the Spirit was sent by God to Jesus (peace be upon him) that it was the Spirit of Wisdom, Spirit of Prophecy, sent to all the prophets, with the same commandments and wisdom?
Could the Spirit of Wisdom be with God since creation? Or perhaps the Spirit was the ‘Word of God’ that was uttered or breathed by God in the Beginning and then continued along with God in the rest of Creation?
“For wisdom, the Fashioner of all things, taught me.”
[Wisdom of Solomon 7:22]
Could the Spirit of Wisdom be the Holy Spirit that spoke to Mary about having her baby? And the same Holy Spirit that descending upon him at this baptism?
“Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit’”
All of this confirms without doubt the writers of the Old Testament and the New Testament were definitely on the lookout for a “Messiah” or “chosen leader of the way to salvation in this life and the next life.”
The word in Hebrew for the ‘chosen one’ or ‘anointed one’ or ‘appointed one’ is ‘Messiah.’
The word in Koine Greek for ‘Messiah’ is ‘Christos’ (became ‘Christ’).
The word in Arabic for it is “Massih”
Did Jesus, peace be upon him, ask people to pray to him, or to pray with him, to the God who sent him?
Did Jesus, peace be upon him, claim to be God?
Can the term “son of God” in English really present the meaning intended by the writers of the Bible?
Now let us compare with compassion and wisdom in our hearts. Which of the two concepts make the most sense between Islam and Christianity when it comes to the subject of Jesus, peace be upon him?
Let us compare the two and see what our wisdom and common sense tell us:
According to the teachings of Islam in the Quran and the words of the last prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him, Jesus, the son of Mary, was predicted, he came to earth as a baby with a mother but no father, he did amazing miracles by the permission of Allah, including even bringing a dead man back to life; he did demonstrate for his followers the very best of behavior and obedience to the commandments of God. And according to the Bible he personally prayed and ask God Almighty to save him from the fate of going to the cross.
The Bible indicates Jesus prayers at Gethsemane went unanswered, even though he stayed up through the night crying and asking God, “Let this cup pass from me, even so, Your will be done.”
Yet, according to Quran, Almighty God did answer his prayers. He did not go to the cross, but rather the likeness of him was put on another person who did go to the cross and Almighty God, caused Jesus, peace be upon him, to be saved, protected and he is with God and will return in the Last Days to lead the true believers to victory over the evil ones.
Some have even speculated the one on the cross was the very one (Judas Thomas Iscariot) who sold out Jesus and his followers for thirty pieces of sliver.