Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Islam Agrees – Jesus Has No Beginning!

How Muslim reasoning leads to belief in the uncreatedness of Christ

Sam Shamoun

This article will be quite short. According to orthodox Sunni beliefs, the Quran is the speech or word of Allah and is therefore uncreated. Muslim scholars have reasoned that Allah’s speech cannot be created since it comes or originates directly from him, and nothing created comes from him. As one Muslim puts it:

Ahl al-Sunna agree one and all that the Qur'an is the pre-existent, pre-eternal, uncreated Speech of Allah Most High on the evidence of the Qur'an, the Sunna, and faith-guided reason.

In a rare instance of classic kalâm reasoning, Imam Malik gave the most succinct[sic] statement of this doctrine: "The Qur'an is the Speech of Allah, the Speech of Allah comes from Him, and nothing created comes from Allah Most High." Narrated by al-Dhahabi in Siyar A`lam al-Nubala' (Dar al-Fikr ed. 7:416). (G.F. Haddad, The Uncreatedness of the Divine Speech: The Glorious Qur'an)

It is amazing that these Muslims could not see how the same reasoning which led them to conclude that the Quran is not created can be used more forcefully to prove that Christ himself must also be uncreated.

After all, the Quran itself testifies that Jesus is Allah’s Speech/Word and Spirit which came directly from Allah:

O ye who have received the scriptures, exceed not the just bounds in your religion, neither say of God [any other] than the truth. Verily Christ Jesus the son of Mary [is] the apostle of God, and his word (wa-kalimatuhu), which he conveyed into Mary, and a spirit [proceeding] FROM him (wa-roohun minhu). Believe therefore in God, and his apostles, and say not, [there are] three [Gods]; forbear [this]; it will be better for you. God is but one God. Far be it from him that he should have a son. Q. 4:171 Sale

The angels said, ‘Mary, God gives you news of a Word FROM Him (bi-kalimatin minhu), whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, who will be held in honour in this world and the next, who will be one of those brought near to God. S. 3:45 Sale – cf. Q. 3:39

Here is how another English version translates this verse:

“Behold,” the angels told Mary, “God has given you the glad news of the coming birth of a son whom He calls His Word, whose name will be Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, who will be a man of honor in this life and the life to come, and who will be one of the ones nearest to God.” Muhammad Sarwar

The Muslim scripture further claims that Jesus is a Mercy from Allah for mankind:

And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East, And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man. She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God-fearing. He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us (wa-rahmatan minna), and it is a thing ordained. S. 19:16-21 Pickthall

If the Muslims were to consistently apply their logic at this point then this is the conclusion which they would come to concerning the Person of Christ:

  1. Jesus is the Speech/Word, Spirit, and Mercy of/from Allah.
  2. Allah’s Speech/Word, Spirit and Mercy come directly from Allah.
  3. Nothing created comes from Allah.
  4. Therefore, Jesus must have always existed!

What makes this even more amazing is that the Quran is nowhere explicitly called Allah’s word.  In fact, a Muslim will not be able find within their respective scripture a verse which says that the Quran is the word of Allah in those exact words. This is an inference drawn from a few texts, such as the following:

And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not. S. 9:6 Pickthall

And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord: none can change His Words, and none wilt thou find as a refuge other than Him. S. 18:27 Y. Ali

However, these texts are not as clear as the passages in the Quran where Jesus is unambiguously identified as “a Word from Allah” or “His [Allah’s] Word”.

In light of this, how much more would the reasoning employed by Muslims to establish that the Quran is uncreated apply to Christ when he is explicitly said to be the very Word of Allah and a Spirit and Mercy which directly came from him!

It is evident why Muslims are hesitant to use this logic to conclude that Jesus’ personal existence also has no beginning like the Quran. The Islamic scripture claims that Christ is nothing more than a servant:

Jesus is no more than a servant whom we favoured, and proposed as an instance of divine power to the children of Israel. S. 43:59 Rodwell

Yet, in saying this, the Quran is merely contradicting itself since it clearly testifies that Jesus is much more than a mere slave. He is also the Messiah, the Word of Allah and His Mercy and Spirit which was sent to Mary, as well as a mighty miracle working Apostle who could give life to inanimate objects by simply breathing into them, such as birds which he would cause to come alive after creating them from clay.

As it stands, the Quran clearly bears witness to the uncreated essence and the eternal prehuman existence of Christ since it identifies him as the Speech/Word of Allah, as well as a Spirit and Mercy which comes directly from him. According to Muslims, Allah’s Speech/Word is uncreated since it comes from him, and anything which comes from him cannot be created. Hence, since Jesus is Allah’s Word, as well as a Spirit and Mercy from Allah, he must be uncreated as well.

Hence, if Muslims are going to apply their logic consistently then there’s simply no way for them to get around this argument.  

Now that’s the real question, whether Muslims will be consistent or not. If they do then they will have no choice but to embrace Jesus Christ as their very Lord God and Savior.

Our prayer is that God’s sovereign Spirit will enable them to be consistent in their reasoning so as to come to the point where they confess that Jesus Christ is Yahweh to the glory of God the Father.

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Jesus as the Mercy of Allah: More Quranic Evidence for the Divinity of Christ
Jesus – The Preexistent, Divine Word and Spirit from God