|أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn|
مؤسس ومدير المنتدى
عدد المساهمات : 42998
العمر : 71
|موضوع: Chapter 4: The Divinity of Jesus الإثنين 21 أغسطس 2017, 8:52 pm|| |
Chapter 4: The Divinity of Jesus
From the start, I was pretty sure that everyone would agree that the major point of doctrinal conflict between Christianity and Islam was over whether Jesus was God. It was here that I resolved to make my first attack on the religion of Islam. I felt that a direct approach would show confidence and improve my credibility. I had absolutely no doubt that Jesus was God and I was certain that this belief was fully supported by scripture. The Bible was full of verses calling Jesus the “Son of God”, and I had always concluded that this meant that he must be divine.
The phrase “Son of God” occurred thirty-eight times in the New Testament of my computerized New American Standard Revised Version of the Bible. In seven of these occurrences, however, it was uttered by either Satan or other “unclean spirits”, none of whom would be likely to convince a Muslim! One of the first “clean” verses that I went to in my Bible came with a bit of a surprise.
According to the footnotes in my New International Version (NIV) Bible, Mark 1:1 in the earliest manuscripts did not refer to Jesus as the Son of God. This had been apparently added to the Gospel later. I decided that I couldn’t in good conscience use Mark 1:1. Although it was tempting to just gloss over this “minor” point, I knew that many of my Muslims friends knew a surprising amount about the Bible and that my credibility would suffer if they caught me in even the least appearance of a lie.
I was a little surprised to find that Gabriel, in Luke 1:35, had only said that Jesus would be “called the Son of God” and that he would be “given the Throne of David” (Luke 1:32) to “rule the House of Jacob forever” (Luke 1:33). This declaration was somehow less emphatic and universal than I had remembered. Interestingly, I discovered that Luke 3:38 actually said that Adam was the “Son of God”! I wasn’t sure what to make of this, but since it obviously didn’t strengthen my argument I ignored it, left it for future personal consideration, and looked further. Later in that book, the priests questioned Jesus, saying, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of God?” and Jesus replied, “You say that I am.” (Luke 22:70). This response again lacked the conviction I needed and seemed inadequate to prove my point to someone who didn't already agree with me.
I found that the Gospel of John contained a greater number of references to Jesus as the “Son of God” than any of the other gospels. Jesus, speaking in the third person, talked about the “Son of God” in John 3:17, and in John 5:25 and 11:4. Martha, one of Jesus’ followers, called him “the Messiah, the Son of God” in John 11:27 and he was called “the Messiah, the Son of God” again in John 20:31 by the author. Unfortunately, and to my frustration, I couldn't find an unequivocal verse that said that Jesus as the Son of God was divine in any of the Gospels.
I was trying to refute the Holy Quran, which said in Surah 4:171: “O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not ‘Trinity’: desist: It will be better for you: For Allah is One God: Glory be to Him: (Far exalted is He) above having a son.
To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs.” It was impossible for me to think of a way that this quote could be a more emphatic denunciation of the belief that Jesus was God. I knew that I had to find an equally strong and emphatic confirmation of Jesus’ divinity in the Bible before I could have any hope whatsoever of convincing Muslims that this was even what the Bible said, let alone that it was correct.
I had been struck by two different thoughts in my reflections on all of the references to Jesus as the Son of God. The first was the frequent linkage of his declared son-ship to his role as the Messiah. The second was the realization that if the term “Son of God” itself necessarily implied divinity, then Christianity would have to acknowledge many other "sons" as Gods as well.
Adam was called “Son of God” in the book of Luke during the recitation of Jesus’ genealogy, and Psalm 82:6 referred to the entire house of Israel as being “Gods and the Sons of God”. Paul himself said in Romans 8:14: “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.” By now, having reread every Gospel verse that contained “Son of God”, I realized that they would not be enough to establish his divinity to Muslims. I decided that I would have to learn more about the word "Messiah" in order to better explain the meaning of the phrase.
When I began this next phase of my Bible search, I was still what I considered to be a Christian. I was attending church regularly and participating in a weekly Bible study. I had found no reason to question my doctrine, and therefore my Faith was unchanged. Although I was a little frustrated and confused by my lack of progress so far, I was undaunted in my search for Biblical support for my Christian beliefs and convinced that my failure to find sufficiently convincing evidence for Jesus’ divinity in the title “Son of God” was my own fault, and likely due to trying to go too far in one step.
I decided that it would be much easier to find the verses that showed that Jesus was "The Messiah" and then find the ones that proved that "The Messiah" was God. Instead of using solely the Gospels, this meant that I would have to expand my study to encompass some of the Old Testament. When I thought about it, this seemed to be the correct thing to do.
I knew that I would benefit from a more complete reading of the Bible, and I felt quite certain that my arguments would have much more weight with Muslims, coming as they would from the combined teachings of Judaism and Christianity. I still had complete certainty that I already knew what I was going to find. I had never considered the possibility of anything less than success. I knew that, having asked God, I would be provided with everything that I needed.