Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? (Part 3)
Topic 2: Is Jesus the Son of God?
The first topic we examined dealt with the Gods’ plans and intentions for their followers. We compared and contrasted Allah’s commands for the Muslims to God’s commands to the Christians. That comparison showed two different and distinct divine approaches, two different and distinct divine attitudes, two different and distinct divinely-directed behaviors for believers. Muslims are to oppress non-Muslims, Christians are to love their neighbor and endure oppression. That theme compared these Gods’ wills and intentions and demonstrated they are not the same God.
This second topic compares the Gods’ specific pronouncements concerning Jesus as the Son of God.
Bear in mind that the Gods we are discussing are understood to be Gods who act in power and take action in the lives of men. These Gods are not disinterested in those lives, rather they are actively involved. These Gods are not inert celestial balls of energy, or Zen-Buddhist cosmic soup, having no intentional interface with man. They are not detached, uninvolved, dispassionate Beings, who cannot or will not make it rain. Instead, the Scriptures that tell us that they are One, all-powerful, and eternal, also tell us that they continue to be involved with mankind and can and do make it rain. They work outside the natural and perform supernatural miracles.
These Gods have spoken to their followers and Their words are recorded in the faiths’ Scriptures. The Quran and Bible record Their words specifically on Jesus’ status. Is He, or is He not, the Son of God? (Please note: I am not going to define what is meant by the term, “Son of God” here. For that, please see these articles:
Throughout the New Testament Jesus is identified as the Son of God:
God identifies Jesus as His Son:
… and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Matthew 3:17
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” Matthew 17:5
For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased” 2 Peter 1:17
Jesus identifies Himself as the Son of God:
“But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.” Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.” Luke 22:69-71
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 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.” John 3:16-18
The Apostles and disciples identify Jesus as the Son of God:
At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. Peter in Acts 9:20
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” 2 Corinthians 1:19
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. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:1-3
How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:29
“To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze….” Revelation 2:18
These are a few of the many verses in which Jesus is identified clearly, strongly, and unequivocally, as the Son of God.
The Quran denies Jesus is the Son of God
Verse 9:30 is one of the Quran’s strongest denunciations of Jesus being identified as the Son of God:
And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away! (Shakir).
Muhammad hated that Jesus was called the Son of God! He calls the Christians perverse, invokes a curse upon them, and asks Allah to destroy them.
There are other Quran verses that also decry Jesus being identified as the Son of God. Below is a selection:
Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely, Allah-- He is the Messiah, son of Marium. Say: Who then could control anything as against Allah when He wished to destroy the Messiah son of Marium and his mother and all those on the earth? And Allah's is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what is between them; He creates what He pleases; and Allah has power over all things, 5:17 (Shakir).
Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute. 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. Verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord: Him therefore serve ye: this is a Way that is straight. 19:34-36 (Ali).
Unbelievers are those who say: ‘God is the Messiah, the son of Mary.’ For the Messiah himself said: ‘Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord.’ He that worships other gods besides God, God will deny him Paradise and the Fire shall be his home. None shall help the evil-doers. Unbelievers are those who say, ‘God is one of three.’ There is but one God. If they do not desist from so saying, those of them that disbelieve shall be sternly punished. Will they not turn to God in repentance and seek forgiveness of Him? God is forgiving and merciful. The Messiah, the son of Mary, was no more than an apostle: other apostles passed away before him. His mother was a saintly woman, they both ate earthly food. … 5:72-75 (Dawood).
Even though the Quran is in error about the Trinity, and even though Allah’s words in the Quran do not indicate that Allah understood the analogical term “Son of God” accurately, there exists a comprehensive rejection within the Quran of any partners being associated with Allah.
In Miroslav Volf’s book, “Do We Worship the Same God?” Muslim scholar Reza Shah-Kazemi quotes the Quran, chapter 112:
Say: He, God, is One,
God, the Eternally Sulf-Subsistent;
He begetteth not, nor is He begotten
And there is none like unto Him.
and comments on the verse:
There is evidently a theological impasse here, a fundamental incompatibility between the respective conceptual forms taken by belief in the same God. Even if Christians retort to the above verses by denying any kind of carnal relation in the “sonship” of Jesus, insisting that the sonship in question does not occur in time and space, but is an eternal principle, of which the historical Incarnation is but an expression, it is nonetheless clear that the Qur’an emphatically rejects the idea that “sonship” – whether physical, metaphorical, or metaphysical – should form part of any creedal statement regarding God. In other words, it rejects the validity of ascribing to Jesus the status of “son of God,” and in so doing rejects a belief that constitutes a cardinal tenet of Christian faith.1
Likewise Muslim scholar Vincent Cornell comments in “Do Jews, Christians, & Muslims Worship the Same God?”:
The most important deal breakers between Christianity and Islam are the doctrines of the Trinity and Christology, the doctrine of the identity of Christ as embodied in the Incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God. Belief in the Trinity and Christology constitute the theological essence of what it means to be a Christian. One cannot truly call oneself a Christian without believing some form of these doctrines. Yet the Qur’an denies both of them.2
Later Cornell also references Sura 112 and writes:
Thus, when Qur’an 112 states that God “gives not birth nor is He begotten,” it expresses the same notion of “begotten” or “born” as in the original Greek of the Nicene Creed. Theologically what this means is that in Islam, God should be considered neither Father nor Son.3
Both Muslim scholars addressing the question if Muslims and Christians worship the same God state that Islam completely and utterly rejects, even denounces, acceptance or identification of Jesus as the Son of God. According to Islam, in either a literal or analogical understanding, Allah denies that Jesus is His son.
Jesus the Son of God? The Life or Death Decision.
This theological point, Jesus the Son of God, is an obliterating tenet. Just as harshly as Allah rejects Jesus as the Son of God, God rejects those who deny Jesus is the Son of God.
Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 1 John 2:22-24
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 1 John 4:15
If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 1 John 5:9-12
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24
In Christianity Jesus is the Son of God and belief in Jesus as the Son of God is a mandatory requirement for salvation. God spoke audibly and stated Jesus was His Son, Jesus taught He was the Son of God, and the disciples continued to teach and preach what they heard God and Jesus say: “Jesus is the Son of God.” He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son does not have life. According to Christianity if your faith does not have Jesus as the Son of God you do not have eternal life.
CONCLUSION ON JESUS AS THE SON OF GOD
This discussion need not be prolonged. Allah says Jesus is not His son, God says Jesus is His Son. These two Gods have spoken and contradicted each other. Both cannot be correct, one must be wrong. Both cannot be the same God because they make opposing statements. A cannot be non-A. Jesus the Son of God cannot be Jesus the not-Son of God. Again only one conclusion can be drawn: Christianity’s God is not the same as Islam’s God. They are mutually exclusive. Therefore, they are not the same God.