Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Did Jesus Claim to be God?

A Dawagandist Indirectly and Tacitly Answers Yes! Pt. 4a

Sam Shamoun

We arrive at the first part of our final section.

Not surprisingly Ally appeals to John 17:3 to show that John supposedly didn’t believe that Christ is God in the flesh, in order to provide further evidence that Jesus wasn’t claiming to be Yahweh in the flesh in John 8:58:

Another point worth paying attention to is this: the writer of the fourth gospel never believed Jesus to be God. This proves that Jesus never said he is God. Otherwise, how could it be possible that the author of the fourth gospel never knew it? He believed that the Father is the only true God, and that Jesus is the Christ and messenger of God (see John 17:3). (Ibid., p. 59)

Let us see what happens when we read Jesus’ words in the immediate and overall contexts of John’s Gospel:

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed. He said, ‘Father, the time has come. Bring glory to your Son. Then your Son will bring glory to you. You gave him authority over all people. He gives eternal life to all those you have given him. And what is eternal life? It is knowing you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth. I have finished the work you gave me to do. So now, Father, give glory to me in heaven where your throne is. Give me the glory I had with you before the world beganAll I have is yours, and all you have is mine. Glory has come to me because of my disciples. I will not remain in the world any longer. But they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them safe by the power of your name. It is the name you gave me. Keep them safe so they can be one, just as you and I are one. While I was with them, I guarded them. I kept them safe through the name you gave me. None of them has been lost, except the one who was sentenced to be destroyed. It happened so that Scripture would come true… Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am. I want them to see my glory, the glory you have given me. You gave it to me because you loved me before the world was created.’” John 17:1-5, 10-12, 24 NIRV

In this particular citation, Jesus identifies the Father as the only true God and himself as the Father’s Son, who has been given all authority over all mankind since everything belongs to him,

Everything that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Holy Spirit will receive something from me and show it to you.” John 16:15 NIRV – cf. 3:35; 13:3

Christ even asserts that the Father glorifies him in the same way that he glorifies him!

This in itself raises serious problems for Ally since the Quran denies that Muhammad’s deity is a father to anyone, let alone to Jesus Christ:

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! S. 9:30 Shakir

And they say: The Beneficent God has taken (to Himself) a son. Certainly you have made an abominable assertion The heavens may almost be rent thereat, and the earth cleave asunder, and the mountains fall down in pieces, That they ascribe a son to the Beneficent God. And it is not worthy of the Beneficent God that He should take (to Himself) a son. There is no one in the heavens and the earth but will come to the Beneficent God as a servant. S. 19:88-93 Shakir – cf. Q. 2:116-117; 5:18; 6:101; 21:26; 39:4; 72:3

It further objects to Allah having a son whom he allows to share in his sovereignty and dominion:

And say: (All) praise is due to Allah, Who has not taken a son and Who has not a partner in the kingdom, and Who has not a helper to save Him from disgrace; and proclaim His greatness magnifying (Him). S. 17:111 Shakir

He, Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, and Who did not take to Himself a son, and Who has no associate in the kingdom, and Who created everything, then ordained for it a measure. S. 25:2 Shakir

Thus, the very text that Ally appealed to ends up proving that Muhammad was a false prophet, which makes the Quran a book of misguidance, since Muhammad contradicted the message of the historical Jesus who is the Christ revealed in the inspired pages of the New Testament. Ally must also accept the fact that Jesus’ words in John 17 establish that both Muhammad and the 1.6 billion Muslims belong to the risen Lord since all things have been handed over to him!

Christ further claims to have been loved by the Father and to have personally existed alongside him in the same divine glory even before the creation of the world. And, as the NIRV correctly brings out, Jesus’ statement that he and the Father existed in the same glory implies that he was seated there alongside the Father on the same heavenly throne.

This explains why Jesus ascended into heaven to sit enthroned at the Father’s right hand after his physical, bodily resurrection,

“Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not part of this world. If it were, those who serve me would fight. They would try to keep the Jews from arresting me. My kingdom is from another place.’ ‘So you are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right to say I am a king. In fact, that’s the reason I was born. I came into the world to give witness to the truth. Everyone who is on the side of truth listens to me.’” John 18:36-37

“Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the author of faith. He also makes it perfect. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 – cf. 8:1; 10:12-13; Matthew 25:31-46; Mark 12:35-37; 16:19; Acts 2:33-36; 7:55-56; 10:36; 17:7; Ephesians 1:20-23; 2:6; 5:5; Colossians 1:13; 2:9-10; 3:1; 1 Peter 3:21-22; Revelation 1:5; 12:1-2, 5, 10; 22:1-3

Since he was simply returning to the very same place that he came from:

“What if you see the Son of Man go up to where he was before?” John 6:62 NIRV

“Jesus knew that the Father had put everything under his power. He also knew he had come from God and was returning to God.” John 13:3 NIRV

“‘I have not been speaking to you plainly. But a time is coming when I will speak clearly. Then I will tell you plainly about my Father. When that day comes, you will ask for things in my name. I am not saying I will ask the Father instead of you asking him. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me. He also loves you because you have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.’  Then Jesus’ disciples said, ‘Now you are speaking plainly. You are using examples that are clear. Now we can see that you know everything. You don’t even need anyone to ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.’ ‘At last you believe!’ Jesus said.’” John 16:25-31 NIRV

To say that Christ’s words are remarkable, in fact astonishing, would truly be a wild understatement, especially when we take into consideration what the OT says about Yahweh’s glory and honor:

“I am the Lord. That is my name! I will not let any other god share my glory. I will not let statues of gods share my praise.” Isaiah 42:8 NIRV

“I tried to purify you for my own honor. I did it for the honor of my name. How can I let myself be dishonored? I will not give up my glory to any other god.” Isaiah 48:11

Since Yahweh will not share his divine glory and praise with any other so-called god, the only way that Christ could share in and possess the exact same glory that his Father possesses from before creation itself is if he is himself God in essence.

This brings us to our next point, which we will pick up in the next section of our response.