Challenge Response: Jesus Can't Be God

Here's my response to this week's challenge:

 

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Objections posed by a Muslim about Jesus being God:

1. Christians say Jesus is God, but how can He be God if He worshiped God? 

2. God is eternal. You claim that Jesus died, but God can’t die.

3. Jesus was human and had human features. We all know that God is different from humans in every way.

4. Jesus said to several tribes to worship God alone, and He never once said that He was God. 

This argument is premised on the fact that Muslims deny the Trinity. They believe the Qur’an argues that the Trinity is false. If they’re right, then all the points this Muslim makes are true. Is the Trinity an accurate description of God? If it is, then all the challenges that are raised disappear. 

I want to offer you an overview of the approach that I would take in order to respond to such a challenge. There are three steps in this particular approach. First, I would show the Muslim that their own authority, the Qur’an, teaches that the Gospel of Jesus is a divine revelation on par with the Qur’an. Notice a couple of passages in the Qur’an that teach this:

Chapter 2:136 tells Muslims to believe in the revelation that was given to Mohammed and also to believe in the revelations that were given to Moses (Torah) and to Jesus (Gospel). It says “we make no difference between one and another of them.” In other words, they don’t make any difference between the Qur’an, the Torah, and the Gospel. They believe that they are the same.

Chapter 29:46 tells Muslims not to argue with Jews and Christians but tells them to say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which has come down to you.”  They’re supposed to believe in the Qur’an and the Gospel. There are a dozen other passages that all teach this idea that the Qur’an affirms that the Gospel is a true revelation from Allah. 

The second step is to point Muslims to what the Gospel says about the identity of Jesus and the nature of God. The Gospel of Jesus affirms and teaches the doctrine of the Trinity. For example, in John 10:30, Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.” This is consistent with the idea that Jesus and the Father are the same divine nature. 

John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The Gospel identifies the Word as being God. We know who the Word is because John’s Gospel identifies Him a few sentences later. “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory. The glory of the one and only Son who came from the Father full of grace and truth.” 

Jesus is identified as the Son of the Father. He is the Word, and it says that the Word was God. It clearly identifies Jesus as God. 

John 5:18 says, “For this reason, they (the Pharisees) tried all the more to kill him. Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but even calling God his own father, making himself equal with God.” The point is that we’re not just fabricating this argument out of thin air. We have a reasoned position, which comes from biblical data. If you want to be faithful to the text, you have to take into account the biblical data regarding your view of who God is.

You may be thinking this doesn’t make sense. Yes, we know the Qur’an affirms parts of the Bible, namely that the Torah and the Gospel are true revelations of Allah, but Muslims don’t believe that those parts of the scripture are legitimate. They’ll say the Bible is corrupted, and as a result, those parts are also corrupted. 

Although Muslims claim the Bible is corrupted, the Qur’an teaches the opposite. First, the Qur’an teaches that no one can change the words of God. Second, the Qur’an teaches that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is an example of the Word of God. Therefore, the Gospel of Jesus is the unchanged Word of God. 

Chapter 6:34, 6:115, 10:64 in the Qur’an all teach that no one can change the words of God. In regards to the claim that the Gospel is an example of the Word of God, refer to Chapter 2: 136, 29:46, and 4:136. The Qur’an teaches that the Gospel is the unchanged Word of God. Since nothing has changed in the Bible since the Qur’an was written and affirmed the reliability and trustworthiness of the Gospel in the 7th century, Muslims can trust that the Bible today is the unchanged Word of God. 

If you’re interested in getting more information about this particular tactic of showing the trustworthiness of the Gospel, or in general about parts of the Bible from the Qur’an, I encourage you to check out my book, The Ambassador’s Guide to Islam.

Once you’ve shown that the Qur’an affirms the Gospel as a legitimate and trustworthy revelation from Allah, then you can go to the Gospel to find out what it says about the nature of Jesus and about the nature of God. If the Gospel shows that the Trinity is true, and it turns out that the Trinity is an accurate description of who God is, then all the points of the challenge disappear. 

Alan Shlemon

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