Jesus Christ: A Response to Islamic Opposition to His Sonship

Paul Derengowski, ThM

 

 Introduction

A central biblical doctrine which further bolsters Jesus’ divinity is his sonship to God the Father. Yet, despite the fact the Bible repeatedly and explicitly records that Jesus is the “Son of God,” Muslim detractors continue to propagate that Jesus could not be God’s Son, since that would involve God in some kind of immoral or egregious impropriety. It is “hideous,” “blasphemy,” and “slander,” to assert such a thing.

The following article, though, will rebut such notions associated with the Islamic conclusion that God could not have Son, much less be it Jesus. Not only will pertinent biblical references be cited and discussed to demonstrate just what God, Jesus, and the Apostles thought about Jesus’ sonship, post-apostolic testimony from the Early Church Fathers, as well as Christian theologians down through church history will be referenced as well. Throughout referrals will be made to heretical influences upon Islam that brought it to its anti-Christ doctrine.

Definitional Testimony

It is not uncommon to hear or read the following kind of explanation from a Muslim in an effort to try and refute the reality that Jesus is God’s Son:

If a farmer mates a rabbit with a fox, what will the offspring be? There will be none. Rabbits and foxes do not mate. If an angel has sexual intercourse with a human woman, what will the child be? There will be no children. Angels can’t have intercourse with humans. If God chooses a special righteous virgin lady, and they make love, what will their child be? There will be no child. God does not have physical intimacies with women. If you set up impossible situations, you won’t get any results. This is perfectly logical. Only irrational people would claim otherwise. 1

Unfortunately, such reasoning tends to expose not only a misconception of what Christians believe about the Son of God, but a complete misunderstanding of what the Bible means by the expression as well. For when a Christian considers the Bible’s pronouncement that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, he in no way means to say that God copulated with one of His creatures to procreate Jesus. 2  Moreover, the Christian does not believe that God has a wife. What he means is that Jesus shares a unique and intimate relationship with the Father that no one else can. And the reason such a relationship is possible is because of Jesus’ divine nature, or another biblical doctrine that Muslims reject without warrant. “In the New Testament revelation and later in Christian theology,” writes Ladd, “‘Son of God’ came to have a higher significance; Jesus is the Son of God because he is God and partakes of the divine nature.” 3  Jesus is the Son of God, but not in the same sense as human fathers and their sons.

“Son”, though, when applied to Jesus, does not mean someone who is subordinate in authority, essence, or being. 4  When used of Jesus, the Son of God not only denotes his divine nature, but his absolute unity and purpose with the Father. Jesus’ will is the Father’s will (Mt. 26:39), even though they remain distinct persons. Therefore, Son becomes an expression of relationship, while unity of will and purpose become expressions of divine harmony. Again, this type of relationship cannot be expressed between God and his adopted sons (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). It can only be expressed by Jesus, who has the natural capacity to explain, or literally exegete, the Father (Jn. 1:18). Nevertheless, what does God Himself have to say about Jesus’ Sonship?

God’s Testimony

The Servant

Although the New Testament is replete with statements regarding God the Father’s recognition of Jesus as His Son, that recognition actually has its starting place in the Old Testament with Yahweh’s recognition of Jesus as the obedient Servant. Isaiah 42:1 records the following: “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights.” Within the immediate context the Servant is anonymous. In fact, throughout the Book of Isaiah there is an interchange of servant identity between Isaiah (20:3), the nation of Israel 5 , the anonymous servant, 6 and some others. 7  Yet, it is a New Testament reference which quotes Isaiah that establishes the ultimate identity of the servant being none other than Jesus himself.

In Matthew 12:18 the Gospel writer quotes the Isaiah passage, except this time it is in reference to the healing ministry of Jesus. Matthew records Jesus’ warning to the followers to not allow his make his identity known, and then proceeds to inform the reader,

“in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, might be fulfilled saying, 18 ‘Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.”

While some have tried to solidify the identity of Jesus in Isaiah’s prophecy by examining the word-play between the Hebrew and Septuagint, 8 such an effort is tenuous at best. A much more effective case is made, however, by merely accepting what Matthew as recorded, and the application he has made, in reference to what Isaiah predicted and how Matthews later inspired revelation interprets the Old Testament message to mean that the Servant was Jesus.

The Son

As already noted previously, when one turns to the New Testament, one finds repeated statements referring to the Sonship of Jesus coming from God Himself. The first reference is attested by the Synoptic gospels shortly after Jesus’ baptism. Mark tells us, “And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: ‘Thou are My beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased” (Mk. 1:10-11; Mt. 3:16-17; Lk. 3:21-22). Mark would record a similar statement in 9:7, which when combined with the previous discussion about Matthew 12:18 above, makes the context quite clear that it is none other than God the Father who is doing the speaking. Jesus is God’s Son, and God is expressing His utmost confidence and pleasure at the mission that His Son has obediently chosen to undertake, starting with his baptism.

In perhaps one of the most oft-quoted Bible passages by Christians down through the centuries John the beloved speaks of God’s declaration of Jesus’ Sonship found in John 3:16-18.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Of course most Muslims fail to understand the meaning of “only begotten” in this particular context by falsely assuming that it has something to do with sexual intercourse. “Only begotten” (Gr. monogenes), however, merely means “unique” or “one-of-a-kind” when applied to Jesus. According to Fitzmyer, “The expression indicates Jesus’ unique personality, relation to the Father, and mission.” 9  Büschsel observes that,

Because Jesus is the only Son of God, His sending into the world is the supreme proof of God’s love for the world. On the other side, it is only as the only-begotten Son of God that Jesus can mediate life and salvation from perdition. For life is given only in Him, Jn. 5:26. But the fact that He is the only-begotten Son means also that men are obligated to believe in Him, and that they come under judgment, indeed, have done so already, if they withhold faith from Him, 3:18. μονογενής is thus a predicate of majesty. 10

Therefore, Jesus’ begottenness did not entail any kind of immorality or sexual contact between God and a woman. Rather, for Jesus to be begotten simply denotes his unique relationship to God, as a Son, that no one else ever could, ever has, or ever will, and that mainly because his eternal essence was the same as God’s (see above).

When one turns to the rest of the New Testament one witnesses that the Apostle Paul believed that Jesus was the Son of God as part of his preaching (Acts 9:18-20), whereby Jesus “delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:13-14). The author of the Book of Hebrews wrote, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb.1:1-2). The Apostle Peter also believed that Jesus was the Son of God. In his defense he would argue, “For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return of our Lord Jesus Christ; no, we were eyewitnesses of his grandeur. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father, when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory: ‘This is my dear Son, in whom I am delighted'” (2 Pet. 1:16-17). Finally, in a statement of condemnation of all those who would reject Jesus as the Son, John the Beloved wrote again,

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for the witness of God is this, that He has borne witness concerning His Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the witness that God has borne concerning His Son. 11 And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life (1 Jn. 5:9-12).

Was Jesus the Son of God according to the New Testament writers? Unequivocally and without a doubt, yes he was. Add to that statements from John the Baptist (Jn. 1:34), Nathanael (Jn. 1:49), Martha (Jn. 11:27), the angel Gabriel (Lk. 1:32, 35), a Roman centurion and his guards (Mt. 27:54; Mk. 15:39), Satan and his demons (Mt. 4:3; 8:29; Lk. 8:28), and Jesus’ sonship is well testified. To state otherwise is to bury one’s head in the metaphorical sand.

Jesus’ Testimony

Another key area that the Muslim attacks in vain is the testimony of Jesus concerning his identity as the Son of God. To the Muslim Jesus never made such a claim about himself, and in fact could not have. Why? Because to do such would be to divide up God’s nature. 11 But is such reasoning consistent with what Jesus said, and is it really dividing God up into pieces if God is manifest in distinct persons?

Although Jesus preferred to be known as the “Son of Man” more than the “Son of God,” several biblical references either have Jesus claiming to be God’s Son or utterances were made by others who claimed he was, whether hostile or otherwise, and he did not deny it. In back-to-back chapters in John’s Gospel Jesus makes two positive affirmations concerning his sonship: one to a group of hostile Jews; another to a woman named Martha. The Jews, during the Feast of Dedication, attempted to procure a confession from Jesus stemming from their goading: “If You are the Christ, tell us plainly” (Jn. 10:24). Jesus counters their insinuation by asserting that he had already told them, and then did not believe. After extending the dialogue, Jesus asserts his unity with God as the Father as “one,” which enrages the Jews to the point of wanting to execute him on the spot. Jesus then queries them by asking, “do you say of Him, who the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?” (v. 36). Before the Jews could stone him, “He eluded their grasp.”

Shortly afterward it comes to Jesus’ attention that Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, was sick. Martha makes an appeal to Jesus to come to them and heal Lazarus. Jesus waits two days before arriving, and in the meantime Lazarus dies. When he does arrive Martha chastises him by letting him know that if he would have come sooner her brother would not have died. Jesus reassures her, though, that “Your brother will rise again,” to which she thought he was referring to the resurrection. Jesus asked Martha is she believed that he was the resurrection and the life, and she concluded that he was not only both, but that he was “the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world” (Jn. 11:27). Jesus did not deny her testimony, Lazarus was raised alive as proof of just what “Son” means when applied to Jesus.

In another affirmative reply to a Council of Jewish elders intent on finding something with which to prosecute Jesus, they asked him point-blank: “Are you the Son of God, then?” Jesus answered, “Yes, I am” (Lk. 22:70 cf. Mt. 26:63-64). That affirmation brought charges of blasphemy against Jesus, the penalty of which was death. What Jesus was affirming had nothing to do with some kind of admittance to a physical procreation, for the Jews never believed that Yahweh was a physical being capable of such an act. Rather, what Jesus affirmed was that he shared the same essential nature as God the Father, as God himself, and the Jews took offense at such an equation.  It was a charge that the Jews had brought against him previously, but were unsuccessful in having him stoned (Jn. 8:59; 10:39).  Later on at the crucifixion, the same leaders repeat Jesus’ affirmation by mockingly remembering him saying, “I am the Son of God” (Mt. 27:43).  So, did Jesus claim to be the Son of God? Absolutely. Once again, only those obstinately denying or speciously rejecting the biblical testimony would state otherwise.

When one turns to the charge that God is somehow divided simply because Jesus shares in the same nature as God, such as charge is equally baseless. For just because God is manifest in two persons (three if one counts the Holy Spirit) in no way necessitates that God is divided. What it does is demonstrate some of God’s attributes that He could not otherwise demonstrate if He was the God of extreme monotheism. 12 For example, the Bible says that “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8, 16). One would be hard-pressed to believe that God became a God of love only after he created something to love. Not only does such a belief negate God as a perfect being, it would negate His self-sufficiency as well. God would not only become something that He was not prior to creation, His reaction to that creation by loving it would demonstrate His contingency toward it in the respect that He would need His creation in order for the statement “God is love” to be true. In neither instance, though, is God imperfect, nor is He contingent. 13 Therefore, there must have been someone around from eternity past to love, in order for the attribute of love to apply to God in the most meaningful and non-contradictory way. And with the person of Jesus, as God the Son, not only is the argument about dividing God’s nature answered, so is the attribute of God’s love.

The Apostle’s Testimony

The apostle’s were no less adamant over Jesus’ sonship than Jesus himself. Of the apostle’s who wrote books appearing in the New Testament canon, only James and Jude said nothing about the Son of God. But, for what they lacked in specific testimony in other ways. James, the half-brother of Jesus, never mentioned the Jesus was the Son of God, but attributed to him Lordship (James 1:1; 2:1). Jude likewise did not allude to Jesus’ Sonship, but proceeded to call him Lord (Jude 1:4, 17, 21), Master (Jude 1:4), and God (Jude 1:25). Moreover, what James and Jude lacked by way of statements of Jesus as the Son of God, the remaining apostles and the author of Hebrews (perhaps Paul) more than made up.

The Apostle Paul makes 15 referential statements concerning Jesus’ Sonship in his letters to the various churches to whom he wrote. His earliest statement is found at his conversion when shortly after his conversion, and after receiving his sight, he tells those in Damascus, “He is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20). After that he makes five allusions in his epistle to the Romans (1:3-4, 9; 5:10; 8:3, 29); two times he tells the Corinthian believers that Jesus is “the Son of God” (1 Cor. 1:9; 2 Cor. 1:19); three references are made in his letter to the Galatians (1:15-17; 2:20; 4:4); again, twice he mentions God’s “beloved Son” to the Ephesians (1:5-6; 4:13); and once to the Colossians (1:13-14) and the Thessalonians (1:9-10). Paul’s high view of Jesus and his Sonship is perhaps best expressed to the Corinthians when he wrote, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). So, did the apostle Paul believe the God had a Son? Without a doubt.

Earlier we saw how John the Beloved recognized Jesus as the Son of God. In John’s later epistles and the Book of Revelation he continues the trend by asserting Jesus’ Sonship no less than another 11 times. John, though, makes Jesus’ Sonship not only a matter of fellowship, but explicitly states that a person who does not embrace the Son in the same way as one would embrace the Father, then that person cannot embrace either (1 Jn. 2:23). In fact, according to John, to deny the Son is to demonstrate the lying spirit of anti-Christ. But, in an emphatic statement tying together the most important doctrines in Christian belief, John tells us something about Jesus, that if denied, could only leave mankind is hopeless despair. He tells his readers, “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:20).

The writer of the Book of Hebrews references Jesus’ Sonship on six occasions. In Hebrews 1:1-2 Jesus is God’s ultimate revelation of Himself. In Hebrews 1:7-8 Yahweh declares the Son to also be God. In Hebrews 4:14 Jesus is the “great high priest,” who will never give up his office (7:24). In Hebrews 6:4-5 Jesus is the crucified Son of God, who can never be crucified again, if it were to fall into apostasy. 14  In Hebrews 7:3 Jesus is the Melchizedek priest of Genesis 14, without father or mother, without genealogy, and without beginning or end (cf. 7:15-25). Finally, in Hebrews 10:29 Jesus sacrifice as the Son of God is the standard by which one might escape God’s vengeful judgment. Through these six references it is quite clear that the writer to the Hebrews believed that Jesus was the Son of God.

It was already noted earlier that Peter thought that Jesus was God’s Son when 2 Peter 1:16-17 was cited. But in an encounter with the disciples by Jesus, just shortly after Jesus fed 4,000 people and then was badgered by the Pharisees and Sadducees to give them a sign of his identity, Jesus asked them, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” After a couple of responses which identified him with John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the other Old Testament prophets, Peter in his impetuous manner blurted out, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16). Jesus then responds that Peter could not draw such a conclusion without God’s special intervention to reveal such to him. Jesus said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (v. 17). So, not only did the apostle Peter believe Jesus to be the Son of God, but God the Father was the one instrumental in revealing Jesus’ identity to Peter.

One would have to literally delete all of the apostolic letters, and the Book of Hebrews, in order to properly deny that the apostles did not believe that Jesus was God’s Son. That is just how pervasive and explicit the testimony is. Paul, John, Peter, and the writer to the Hebrews (which some claim Paul wrote) all testify in no uncertain terms to Jesus’ Sonship. And as James and Jude, although they don’t mention Jesus as the Son, are quite clear that Jesus was Lord, Master, and God! To the Muslim to claim otherwise is to plead total ignorance of the biblical record.

Early Church Father’s Testimony

The amount of biblical testimony about Jesus’ Sonship is easily surpassed by the statements to the same effect by the Early Church Fathers. For practical purposes only a small sampling of the literally dozens of testimonies will be presented here, once again demonstrating beyond any shadow of a doubt that not only those who walked with Jesus believed he was God’s Son, but those who communed with the apostles shared in the same testimony. Here the name of the Church Father will be given, along with his statement which will speak for itself.

Irenaeus

The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation…. 15

Polycarp

For I trust that ye are well versed in the Sacred Scriptures, and that nothing is hid from you; but to me this privilege is not yet granted. It is declared then in these Scriptures, “Be ye angry, and sin not,” and, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” Happy is he who remembers this, which I believe to be the case with you. But may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Son of God, and our everlasting High Priest, build you up in faith and truth, and in all meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, forbearance, and purity; and may He bestow on you a lot and portion among His saints, and on us with you, and on all that are under heaven, who shall believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in His Father, who “raised Him from the dead. 16

Ignatius

If any one preaches the one God of the law and the prophets, but denies Christ to be the Son of God, he is a liar, even as also in his father the devil, and is a Jew falsely so called, being possessed of mere carnal circumcision. 17

Athenagoras

That we are not atheists, therefore, seeing that we acknowledge one God, uncreated, eternal, invisible, impassible, incomprehensible, illimitable, who is apprehended by the understanding only and the reason, who is encompassed by light, and beauty, and spirit, and power ineffable, by whom the universe has been created through His Logos, and set in order, and is kept in being — I have sufficiently demonstrated. [I say “His Logos”], for we acknowledge also a Son of God. Nor let any one think it ridiculous that God should have a Son. For though the poets, in their fictions, represent the gods as no better than men, our mode of thinking is not the same as theirs, concerning either God the Father or the Son. But the Son of God is the Logos of the Father, in idea and in operation; for after the pattern of Him and by Him were all things made, the Father and the Son being one. And, the Son being in the Father and the Father in the Son, in oneness and power of spirit, the understanding and reason of the Father is the Son of God.[/ref]Ibid., S.v. “Writings of Athenagoras: ‘A Plea for the Christians,'” X.[/ref]

Clement of Alexandria

O the great God! O the perfect child! The Son in the Father, and the Father in the Son. And how shall not the discipline of this child be perfect, which extends to all, leading as a schoolmaster us as children who are His little ones? He has stretched forth to us those hands of His that are conspicuously worthy of trust. To this child additional testimony is borne by John, “the greatest prophet among those born of women:” Behold the Lamb of God!” For since Scripture calls the infant children lambs, it has also called Him — God the Word — who became man for our sakes, and who wished in all points to be made like to us — “the Lamb of God” — Him, namely, that is the Son of God, the child of the Father.[/ref]Ibid., S.v. “Clement of Alexandria: ‘The Instructor,'” V.[/ref]

Tertullian

We have been taught that He proceeds forth from God, and in that procession He is generated; so that He is the Son of God, and is called God from unity of substance with God. For God, too, is a Spirit. Even when the ray is shot from the sun, it is still part of the parent mass; the sun will still be in the ray, because it is a ray of the sun — there is no division of substance, but merely an extension. Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of God, as light of light is kindled. The material matrix remains entire and unimpaired, though you derive from it any number of shoots possessed of its qualities; so, too, that which has come forth out of God is at once God and the Son of God, and the two are one. In this way also, as He is Spirit of Spirit and God of God, He is made a second in manner of existence — in position, not in nature; and He did not withdraw from the original source, but went forth.[/ref]Ibid., S.v. “Tertullian: ‘Part First,'” XXI.[/ref]

As can be seen, those who sat at the feet of the apostles clearly believed that Jesus was the Son of God, with some, such as Ignatius, stating in no uncertain terms that those who rejected Jesus’ Sonship, “…is a liar, even as also in his father the devil.” Therefore, if there were Muslims around during the days of the Church Fathers, and they were to promote the idea that Jesus was just a man, and that it would be impossible for God to have a Son, would have been met with sharp, quick, condemnation. The same attitude should be found in all Christians today who face similar opposition. It should be demonstrated from Scripture and history that Jesus is God’s Son, and those opposing the evidence should be soundly condemned.

CONCLUSION

This paper has set out to establish from both the biblical and historical testimony that Jesus is indeed God’s Son. And after thoroughly looking through the testimony and presenting the evidence, the endeavor has been a success. Jesus is the Son of God according to God’s testimony starting in the Old Testament, according to Jesus’ own testimony about himself, according to the testimony of the apostles, and finally from the Early Church Fathers. Only a fool would contend otherwise, for only a fool would ignore the mountain of testimony supporting the claim.

Islam contentions to the contrary, that Jesus was not God’s Son, are vacuous at best. They completely deny the overwhelming evidence in favor of subjective testimony most likely influenced by one of the many heretical philosophies floating about Saudi Arabia when Muhammad was developing his doctrine. Therefore, to cling to the Muslim aversion to Jesus as God’s Son is itself foolish in light of all the testimony. Moreover, given what Jesus did as the Son of God, which title itself is one of deity, only exacerbates the foolishness of believing that he was a mere man. May God bless those who take all this testimony to heart concerning Jesus’ Sonship. And may God have mercy upon those who reject it.

Notes:

  1. http://www.injil.org/Peace/c23.htm
  2. Some cultic groups, like the Mormons, advocate such a position, but Mormonism is not representative of the Christian religion. “Only Begotten in the flesh, meaning in mortality. This designation of our Lord signifies that he was begotten by Man of Holiness as literally as any mortal father begets a son. The natural processes of procreation were involved; Jesus was begotten by his Father as literally as he was conceived by his mother” Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965), 1:144; Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the New Testament (Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1982), on Infobases Gospel Library CD and “The point is that although Jesus was born after ‘the manner of the flesh,’ the way all babies are born, his father was not a son of Adam, but the Father of Adam, God” Stephen D. Ricks, FARMS Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 6 vols. (Provo: FARMS, 1992), 2:82 on IGLCD are two representative statements involving the belief that Jesus, in Mormonism, was the product of a sexual union between God and a human mother (which was Mary).
  3. George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974), 160.
  4. “As Son he is so great that we can trust in him for eternal life (something that could be said of no created being: John 3:16, 36; 20:31). He is also the one who has all authority from the Father to give life; pronounce eternal judgment, and rule over all (John 3:36; 5:20-22, 25; 10:17; 16:15). As Son he has been sent by the Father, and therefore he existed before he came into the world (John 3:37; 5:23; 10:36). Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 547.
  5. 41:8, 9; 42:18; 43:10; 44:1, 2, 21; 45:4; 48:20; 49:3
  6. 49:5-7; 50:10; 52:13; 53:11
  7. Eliakim (22:20), male slaves (24:2), David (37:35), the Lord’s prophets (44:26)
  8. In some references the Hebrew word ebed is translated into the Greek LXX with the word doulos, and in others pais. There is not enough distinction, however, to make the case that pais could be translated “son” or “child” and then apply it strictly to Jesus, since pais is used of Isaiah (20:3), the males slaves (24:2), and Israel (41:8).
  9. Horst Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), S.v. “mongenēs” by J. A. Fitzmyer.
  10. Gerhard Kittel, trans. by Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1967]), S.v. “μονογενής” by F. Büchsel.
  11. Muslim convert Suzanne Haneef argues after stating that Jesus could not be God’s son: “The answer is very obvious; that he could not and did not do so is clear from the nature of the Message he brought. Can it possibly make the slightest sense that God divides up His unique and indivisible nature between Himself and His son, and that the son commands people to worship him instead of his father?” What Everyone Should Know About Islam and Muslims (United States: Library of Islam, 1996), 200.
  12. Extreme monotheism, or the theological aberration of Islam, Arianism, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is the idea that God exists all by himself as a being. It rejects the eternality and deity of Jesus, thereby making Jesus a created being (a demigod at best), and the Holy Spirit an impersonal “active force,” if the latter is recognized at all.
  13. See the CAPro article entitled “The Self-Existence of God: A Christian–Mormon Comparison,” for a discussion concerning God’s aseity, and how it contrasts with Mormon theology, which is very similar to Islamic theology in this respect.
  14. Some people try to use Hebrews 6:4-6 as a proof-text showing that a person can lose their salvation, but a closer inspection of the passage reveals that salvation is not the subject. The context is about apostasy and the possibility renewing the apostate by crucifying Jesus all over again. It is a conversation that typically only takes place among those who have never matured in the faith (v. 1), for not only is it impossible to repeat Jesus’ crucifixion, it is impossible for one to lose one’s salvation, since salvation is strictly of the Lord and He can swear by none greater than Himself in the promise He makes to those whom He began a good work, and will faithfully complete that work in the day of Jesus Christ (Heb. 7:13 cf. Phil. 1:6; 2 Tim. 1:12).
  15. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, 38 vols. (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2204), S.v. Irenaeus, “Against Heresies,” 1.10.1.
  16. Ibid., S.v. “The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians,” XII.
  17. Ibid., S.v. “Epistle of Ignatius to the Philadelphians,” VI.

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