Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus Christ – Our Gloriously Divine Mediator Pt. 1

Sam Shamoun

In a debate with a Christian minister named Dr. Steve Latham, Muslim taqiyyist Paul Bilal Williams claimed that Islam, unlike Christianity, has no mediator since Muslims can approach God directly. Latham responded by stating that in Christianity there is no human intermediary that stands between God and us. Williams responded by quoting from one of Paul’s inspired epistles to prove otherwise:

“Steve says there is no mediator between God and man in Christianity, and I respect that he may believe that about his own understanding of Christianity. But according to the New Testament there most certainly is a mediator. It says in 1 Timothy, which is a letter by Paul apparently, ‘There is one God, there is also one mediator between God and mankind, Jesus the man, the man Jesus.’ So clearly there is a mediator according to the New Testament.” (Salvation in Islam and ChristianityPart 2)

Williams’ “reply” grossly distorts not only Latham’s point, but also what the Apostle Paul taught concerning the Person of the Lord Jesus. Here is what Latham actually said:

“And so Paul made the point that there should be no HUMAN intermediary between us and God. Within the tradition that I'm in as a Baptist pastor there is no intermediary between us and God.”

It is obvious from the context that Latham wasn’t claiming that there is no mediator in Christianity. Latham was stating that there is no HUMAN intermediary, since according to the teachings of the Holy Bible Jesus isn’t a mere human being. Rather, the consistent testimony of the inspired Scriptures is that Jesus Christ is God who became man.  

So Latham is correct. Christians do not have a finite, limited, fallible human being as their mediator with God. That is what Muslims have in Muhammad. Rather, the Christians have God as their intermediary, specifically the eternal Word and beloved Son of God who became flesh for our redemption. They also have God the Holy Spirit interceding for them:

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:26-39

This brings me to William’s misuse of 1 Timothy 2:5. It is true that this passage does affirm that Jesus Christ is a man, which is why he can represent mankind to the Father. However, the same inspired writing also shows that Christ is much more than that.

This can be seen from the immediate context of the passage itself:

“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6

Paul states that Jesus Christ gave himself as a ransom for all in order to save sinners, a point he explicitly makes in the following citation:

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” 1 Timothy 1:15

This alone proves that Jesus Christ is more than a man since the Hebrew Bible emphatically testifies that no mere human being can offer a ransom to God to save someone from dying so that s/he continues to live forever:

Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit… Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death shall be their shepherd, and the upright shall rule over them in the morning. Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell. But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive meSelah.” Psalm 49:7-9, 14-15

Yet Paul says that Christ didn’t simply redeem a single life by his death, but actually saved a whole number of individuals! In saying this, Paul is in perfect agreement with what the Lord Jesus himself taught concerning the efficacy of his substitutionary death: 

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 – cf. Matthew 20:28

“And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’” Mark 14:22-24 – cf. Matthew 26:26-28

The book of Revelation goes so far as to proclaim that Christ’s death redeems a multitude so vast that no creature can even number them!

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude THAT NO ONE COULD NUMBER, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, AND TO THE LAMB!’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.’ Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.’” Revelation 7:9-14

Hence, the only way for Jesus to be able to ransom so many individuals by his vicarious sacrifice is if he is God in the flesh! 

But that’s not all Paul wrote concerning Christ. The Apostle goes so far as to say that Christ abolished death and ushered in immortality for all those would believe in him:

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do.” 2 Timothy 1:8-12 

This shows that Christ is no mere creature since God alone is capable of destroying death and granting immortality since he alone is immortal:

“To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17 

In fact, Paul even refers to Jesus as being the only one possessing immortality!

“I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which HE will display at the proper time—HE who is the blessed and ONLY Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who ALONE has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, WHOM no one has ever seen or can see. To HIM be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:13-16 

The nearest antecedent of the pronouns is the Lord Jesus, and therefore suggests that the Apostle is actually speaking of Christ. The book of Revelation further corroborates that Paul has Christ in view here since the Apocalypse explicitly calls Jesus the King of kings and Lord of lords!

“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” Revelation 17:14

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:11-16 – cf. 1:5-6

Amazingly, both the Hebrew Bible and the ahadith recognize that these are titles belonging to God alone:

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.” Deuteronomy 10:17

“Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; Psalm 136:3


Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger as saying: The vilest name in Allah's sight is Malik al-Amlak (King of Kings). The narration transmitted on the authority of Shaiba (contains these words): There is no king but Allah, the Exalted and Glorious. Sufyan said: Similarly, the word Shahinshah (is also the vilest appellation). Ahmad b. Hanbal said: I asked Abu 'Amr about the meaning of Akhna. He said: The vilest. (Sahih Muslim, Book 025, Number 5338*)

Abu Huraira reported from Allah's Messengerso many ahadith and one of them was this that Allah's Messenger said: The most wretched person in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection and the worst person and target of His wrath would of the person who is called Malik al-Amlak (the King of Kings) for there is no king but Allah. (Sahih Muslim, Book 025, Number 5339)

For the Apostles to therefore identify Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords they must have believed that Jesus is God (yet not the Father or the Holy Spirit)!

Logically, there is simply no way around this for Williams (that is, if he is to remain honest and consistent):  

A. Yahweh is the Lord of lords, and therefore King of kings, which means that there is no one who is higher or greater than him.

B. Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of kings.

C. Jesus is therefore Yahweh God (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

And since Islam itself denies that God would allow anyone to share in his status as Lord of lords or King of kings, thereby taking a partner in his sovereignty, this means that the only way for Jesus' followers to call him Lord of lords and King of kings if he they truly believed that he is God as well!

Another manner in which we see Paul affirming his belief in the Deity of Christ is by the way he begins his epistles. Paul starts off his letters with an invocation to both God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace FROM God the Father AND Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:1-2


“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace FROM God the Father AND Christ Jesus our Lord.” 2 Timothy 1:1-2

Evangelical scholar Murray J. Harris explains how such prayers establish that the Apostles like Paul viewed Christ as God and believed that he is co-equal with the Father in essence: 

“At the beginning of each of Paul's letters is a salutation that ends with a standardized formula: ‘Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 1:3 and elsewhere). The apostle is not saying that there are two distinct sources of grace and peace, one divine and one human; significantly the preposition from (in Greek) is not repeated before ‘the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Rather, Father and Son jointly form a single source of divine grace and peaceOf no mere human being could it be said that, together with God, he was a font of spiritual blessingOnly if Paul had regarded Jesus as fully divine could he have spoken this way.” (Harris, Three Crucial Questions About Jesus [Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI 1994], p. 77; bold emphasis ours)

Dr. Robert A. Morey agrees:

“… Grammatically, the authors are looking equally to the Father and the Son for grace, mercy, and peace. They could do this only if they assumed that the Father and Son were equal in nature

“It is now recognized that since these ‘salutations’ can appear later on in an epistle (Eph. 6:23) as well as at the beginning (Eph. 1:2), they are indications of what the author is praying for and to Whom he addresses those prayers.

“The apostles prayed to the Father and to the Son that They might grant the saints grace, mercy, and peace. The apostles looked up to heaven to both of them equally. The ontological relationship between the Father and the Son is clearly the assumption which underlies their prayers to them. The deity of the Son is seen from the fact that He has to be omniscient to hear their prayers and eternal, omnipresent, and omnipotent to answer them.

“The objection that the Father and the Son are only functioning as equals in all these passages misses the point. They can function as equals only because they are equalThe apostles assumed that the Father and the Son were ontologically one nature and equality. Thus, they could function as one.” (Morey, The Trinity, Part IV: The New Testament Evidence, Chap. 19. The Trinity in the New Testament, p. 444; bold emphasis ours)

In order to help Williams see this point for himself, we would like him to offer the following prayer on his site for all to read:

“Grace and peace from Allah and Muhammad to all the Muslims.”


“May the peace and blessings of Allah and Muhammad be upon all the Muslims.”

Williams knows he cannot offer such an invocation since this would commit the sin of shirk in ibaadah, e.g. ascribing a partner to Allah in his worship, which is an unpardonable transgression:

Lo! Allah forgiveth not that a partner should be ascribed unto Him. He forgiveth (all) save that to whom He will. Whoso ascribeth partners to Allah, he hath indeed invented a tremendous sin. S. 4:48 – Q. 4:116; 2:22

This should help him see that the only way the Apostles such as Paul could invoke the Father and the Son together is if they were convinced that Jesus is God incarnate.

Paul goes on to ascribe specific functions and characteristics to Christ which go beyond anything that a monotheistic Jew would ever dare say about another Jew. The blessed Apostle even offers up a doxology to Jesus, which again is something that no true monotheist would ever do for a creature, no matter how exalted:

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by HIS appearing and HIS kingdom… Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord (ho kyrios)the righteous judge (ho dikaios krites), will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved HIS appearing… Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord (ho kyrios) stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord (ho kyrios) will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into HIS heavenly kingdom. To HIM be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:1, 8, 14-18

According to Paul, Jesus Christ is the Lord and righteous Judge who is coming to repay everyone for what they have earned.  

Paul also says in this passage that Jesus is the Lord who not only strengthened him to proclaim the Gospel, but also delivered him from all his trials. The only way that the risen Lord could grant Paul such protection no matter where he went is if Christ is omnipresent and omnipotent, which are qualities which belong only to God.

Even Islamic theology agrees that “the Lord” and “the Judge” are some of the very names and characteristics which belong only to God:

Ar-Rabb: The Lord 

Lord: master, owner; chief; the Cherisher, the one who takes care of a thing. Ar-Rabb is the one who puts right, manages, compels and guards. He is the One worshipped. Some scholars say that the name is the greatest name of Allah because of the great number of those who make supplication using it. It reflects the true relationship of a person with his Lord, containing both mastery and kindness, concern, and nurture. 

"Lord of the heavens and the earth and everything between them. Lord of the Easts." (37:5) 

"Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. This is a straight path." (3:50)… 

Al-Hakam: The Judge

The Arbiter, Allah judges and there is no reversing His judgement.

Al-Hakam is one of the Ninety-Nine Names. (Aisha Bewley, The Divine Names)

These names are drawn from the Quran’s assertion that all judgment and sovereignty belong only to Allah, and that he alone will judge all mankind: 

Say: "Behold, I take my stand on a clear evidence from my Sustainer - and [so] it is to Him that you are giving the lie! Not in my power is that which [in your ignorance] you so hastily demand: judgment rests with none but God. He shall declare the truth, since it is He who is the best judge between truth and falsehood." S. 6.57 Muhammad Asad

Then they are restored to God their Protector, the True (al-haqqi). Surely His is the judgment; He is the swiftest of reckoners. S. 6:62 Arberry – Q. 12:40, 67; 27:78; 28:88

(Sidenote: It is interesting to find here the name “the True,” since this happens to be another divine title ascribed to Christ! [cf. John 14:6])

The Quran also says that on the Day of Judgment it is Allah who will come to determine the eternal fate of every individual and repay everyone for what they earned:

Say: Our Lord will bring us all together, then He will judge between us with truth. He is the All-knowing Judge. S. 34:26 Pickthall

Nay! But worship Allah (Alone and none else), and be among the grateful. They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. Glorified is He, and High is He above all that they associate as partners with Him! And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom Allah will. Then it will blown a second time and behold, they will be standing, looking on (waiting). And the earth will shine with the light of its Lord (Allah, when He will come to judge among men) and the Book will be placed (open) and the Prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward, and it will be judged between them with truth, and they will not be wronged. And each person will be paid in full of what he did; and He is Best Aware of what they do… And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne (of Allah) from all round, glorifying the praises of their Lord (Allah). And they (all the creatures) will be judged with truth, and it will be said: All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). S. 39:66-70, 75 Hilali-Khan

It shall be proclaimed to the unbelievers, 'Surely God's hatred is greater than your hatred one of another, when you were called unto belief, and disbelieved.' They shall say, 'Our Lord, Thou hast caused us to die two deaths and Thou hast given us twice to live; now we confess our sins. Is there any way to go forth?' That is because, when God was called to alone, you disbelieved; but if others are associated with Him, then you believe. Judgment belongs to God, the All-high, the All-great. It is He who shows you His signs and sends down to you out of heaven provision; yet none remembers but he who repents. So call unto God, making your religion His sincerely, though the unbelievers be averse. Exalter of ranks is He, Possessor of the Throne, casting the Spirit of His bidding upon whomever He will of His servants, that he may warn them of the Day of Encounter, the day they sally forth, and naught of theirs is hidden from God. 'Whose is the Kingdom today?' 'God's, the One, the Omnipotent. Today each soul shall be recompensed for that it has earned; no wrong today. Surely God is swift at the reckoning.' And warn them against the Day of the Imminent when, choking with anguish, the hearts are in the throats and the evildoers have not one loyal friend, no intercessor to be heeded. He knows the treachery of the eyes and what the breasts conceal. God shall decide justly, and those they call on, apart from Him, shall not decide by any means. surely God is the All-hearing, the All-seeing. S. 40:10-20 Arberry

And what will make you know what the Day of Recompense is? Again, what will make you know what the Day of Recompense is? (It will be) the Day when no person shall have power (to do) anything for another, and the Decision, that Day, will be (wholly) with Allah. S. 82:17-19 Hilali-Khan

As a result of this, he alone is to be praised both now and forever:

And your Lord knows what their breasts conceal and what they manifest.  And He is Allah, there is no god but He! All praise is due to Him in this (life) and the hereafter, and His is the judgment, and to Him you shall be brought back. S. 28:69-70 Shakir 

Yet Paul attributes all of this to the risen Lord Jesus! Can there be any clearer evidence that this blessed Apostle didn’t think for a moment that Jesus was nothing more than a mere human mediator? 

With that said, it is time now to move on to our final section.