Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Did Jesus Claim to be God?

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

Sam Shamoun

We proceed from where we previously left off.

John begins and ends his Gospel,

“In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. And with this Word, God created all things. Nothing was made without the Word. Everything that was created received its life from him, and his life gave light to everyone. The light keeps shining in the darkness and darkness has never put it out. God sent a man named John, who came to tell about the light and to lead all people to have faith. John wasn’t that light. He came only to tell about the light. The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word. He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him… The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us… No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.’” John 1:1-11, 14, 18 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

“Thomas, the one called Didymus, one of the Twelve, wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, ‘We’ve seen the Lord!’ But he replied, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe.’ After eight days his disciples were again in a house and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!’ Thomas responded to Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God (apekrithe Thomas kai eipen auto)!’ Jesus replied, ‘Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.’ Then Jesus did many other miraculous signs in his disciples’ presence, signs that aren’t recorded in this scroll. But these things are written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, and that believing, you will have life in his name.” John 20:24—31 CEB

By emphasizing the same point, namely, that Jesus Christ is the eternal Word and unique Son of God, who himself is fully God in essence, that became flesh. John even identifies Christ as the divine Agent whom the Father used to bring the entire creation into existence from nothing, and who gives light and illumination to all mankind.

This explains why Thomas worshiped the risen Christ as his Lord and his God, just as the Greek words eipen auto (“said to him”) make clear. And instead of rebuking Thomas, Christ actually accepts and blesses this confession of faith, even though to do so meant that he was accepting worship as Yahweh God Incarnate.

After all, the Hebrew Bible is quite clear that the only Lord and God whom an Israelite can ever confess and worship is Yahweh Almighty. Note, for instance, the way the Holy Spirit inspired David to address and worship Yahweh:

“Awake, O Lord, and attend to my judgment, [even] to my cause, my God and my Lord (ho Theos mou kai ho Kyrios mou). Judge me, O Lord, according to your righteousness, O Lord my God (Kyrie ho Theos mou); and let them not rejoice against me.” Psalm 34[Heb. 35]:23-24 LXX

Finally, Jesus plainly says that eternal life depends just as much on knowing him as it does on knowing the Father, since he is the One appointed to give everlasting life to everyone that the Father gives him.

This wasn’t the only time that Jesus made such a stunning assertion: 

“And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to anyone He wants to… I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself… Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His [the Son’s] voice and come out—those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of judgment.” John 5:21, 25-26, 28-29 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

“This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day… No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day… Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, because My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink.” John 6:39-40, 44, 54-55

Jesus claims to be able to do what the Quran itself says is a work which only God or Allah carries out, namely, resurrect the dead from their graves!

This is because Allah is the Truth and because He gives life to the dead and because He has power over all things. And because the hour is coming, there is no doubt about it; and because Allah shall raise up those who are in the graves. S. 22:6-7 Shakir

Jesus even refers to himself as the Truth and the Life in the same way that Allah supposedly does:

“‘Don’t be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. My Father’s house has room to spare. If that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too. You know the way to the place I’m going.’ Thomas asked, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you have really known me, you will also know the Father. From now on you know him and have seen him.’ Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father; that will be enough for us.’ Jesus replied, ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been with you all this time? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father”?’” John 14:1-9

It is therefore clear that the last thing Jesus intended to convey by his words in John 17:3 is a denial of his Deity. Rather, Christ was merely affirming the Deity of the Father without denying the fact that he himself is also God in essence. In fact, as we saw from the immediate context, Jesus actually said things which only someone who is truly God in nature could ever dare say. Thus, St. Augustine was right in his exposition of John 17:3:

3. And this, He adds, is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. The proper order of the words is, That they may know You and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent, as the only true God. Consequently, therefore, the Holy Spirit is also understood, because He is the Spirit of the Father and Son, as the substantial and consubstantial love of both. For the Father and Son are not two Gods, nor are the Father and Son and Holy Spirit three Gods; but the Trinity itself is the one only true God. And yet the Father is not the same as the Son, nor the Son the same as the Father, nor the Holy Spirit the same as the Father and the Son; for the Father and Son and Holy Spirit are three [persons], yet the Trinity itself is one God… (Tractates on the Gospel of John, Tractate 105 (John 17:1-5); bold and underline emphasis ours)

Now had Jesus stated that ONLY the Father or the Father ALONE is the only true God then Ally would perhaps have a point. Yet as it stands, Christ’s words do nothing to support Ally’s desperate polemics that the blessed Apostle John did not believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. 

So much for Ally’s objection.

Further Reading

Did Jesus ever claim to be God? 

John 8:58, "Before Abraham came into existence, I have been."

John 8:58 and 10:30-33, "I am." 

Jesus as the Great I AM 

What John Really Says : Evidence from the Fourth Gospel

Rebuttals to Shabir Ally’s Polemics: 1; 2

Unveiling the Identity of the Only True God [Part 1] 

The Use of Exclusive Language and the Deity of Christ [Part 1]