Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Jesus as others saw Him

Examining the views of Jesus’ contemporaries according to John’s Gospel Pt. 1

Sam Shamoun

Sami Zaatari recently produced an article (*) where he seeks to prove from the Gospel of John that Jesus’ contemporaries did not believe that Christ is God. He argues that the believers such as the Baptist never say that Jesus is God, but either call him a prophet or the Son of God, neither of which proves that Christ is God.

The use of the term God in reference to Jesus

Zaatari erroneously assumes that the only way that the Lord Jesus and his contemporaries could ever identify Christ as God is by using this exact phrase, e.g. Jesus must say that "I am God" or his contemporaries must call him God. The reason that this is simply erroneous is because the Deity of Christ is not based on him having to say, "I am God." Christ’s Divinity is based on the explicit Biblical witness that Jesus possesses all the essential qualities and characteristics of God, as well as the NT teaching that Christ carries out specific functions which only God can perform, i.e. Christ is the Agent of creation and redemption, the Sustainer of the universe, happens to be eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent etc.

The second problem with Zaatari’s fallacious reasoning is that Jesus was speaking to a specific community and had to communicate his Deity in a manner which would be appropriate to his target audience in order prevent any misunderstanding from taking place. As one apologist puts it:

"It is true that in Scripture we never see Jesus say the words, ‘I am God.’ But this does not mean that Jesus did not claim to be God. In the first century, much like today, to say ‘I am God’ would be almost meaningless. Even Roman Emperors were ascribed deity or claimed deity for themselves. What Jesus did do was claim to be a very specific God to a specific people in a very specific way. And the way in which He made His claims was unambiguous and unmistakable to those people.

"In making this claim, Jesus spoke idiomatically, meaning He spoke in a way that was peculiar to His audience, first-century Jews… With this in mind we see that Jesus claimed to be the God of the ancient Hebrews as described in the Old Testament. He made this claim explicitly in ways that would have rightly been considered blasphemous if He were, in fact, not God. He also made this claim in more implicit ways by exercising prerogatives that belong solely to God himself, such as forgiving sins and accepting worship…" (Doug Powell, Holman Quick Source Guide to Christian Apologetics [Holman Reference, Nashville, TN 2006], pp. 310-311; underline emphasis ours)

In fact, for Jesus or any of his contemporaries to simply come out and say that he is God, in those exact words, would have caused confusion since to first-century monotheistic Jews the term "God" meant the Father who was in heaven. Thus, both Jesus and those who bore witness to him such as the Baptist had to speak in a manner that would not convey this wrong notion that Jesus is the same Person as the Father, since he was not, while at the same time making sure to communicate the point that Christ is in fact fully God in nature. And it is only when Jesus and the witnesses made it clear that they weren’t claiming that he is the Father, and that the word "God" could also be used for someone other than the Father, that they could come right out and say that Christ is God.

For more on this issue please read this article.

Finally, and more importantly, Zaatari is inconsistent since there are several NT passages where Jesus is explicitly called God:

"Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with his own blood." Acts 20:28

"They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen." Romans 9:4-5

"awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds." Titus 2:13-14

"But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.’" Hebrews 1:8

"Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ… so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:1, 11

Yet instead of accepting these verses as clear testimony to the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, Zaatari tries to explain them away (quite unsuccessful we might add). This shows that Zaatari is not interested in truly understanding what God’s inspired written Word has to say concerning the Person of the Lord Jesus. He has an agenda to disprove the explicit witness to the Deity of Christ and will do anything to make sure he accomplishes his agenda, even if this means that he has to distort the Holy Bible and come up with weak and desperate explanations.

Revisiting the meaning of ‘S/son of God’

Zaatari also repeats the same erroneous assertion that the phrase "S/son of God" within the Jewish context meant "a man of God, a true believer, a prophet, a messenger, and the Messiah." Zaatari’s point is to prove that Christians are wrong for assuming that Jesus is God simply because he is said to be the Son of God since there are others who are also called sons of God and yet are nothing more than human beings.

There are several problems with this assertion as well, the first being that terms must be defined by the context in which they are used, and one cannot simply assume beforehand the meaning that s/he prefers. In fact, by telling us that the term is used for a true believer or God’s prophets Zaatari isn’t really saying much since he still has to explain what does the phrase mean when used in reference to human beings and why is it even being used for them at all.(1)

And just because human beings are called sons of God this doesn’t mean that Jesus is nothing more than a man, or that he is God’s Son in the same sense that the others are. More on this shortly.

The second problem he faces is that there are places where the expression sons of God refers to supra-human beings, to heavenly creatures such as the angels:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. Job 1:6; cf. 2:1

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements -- surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Job 38:4-7

"For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the sons of God resembles/is like the LORD, a God feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible above all that are round about him? O LORD God of hosts,
who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness round about you?" Psalm 89:6-8; cf. 29:1

Clearly, in these particular contexts the phrase cannot be referring to "a man of God, a true believer, a prophet, a messenger, and the Messiah."

Furthermore, one specific passage employs the term Son in reference to a Divine Being who is coequal with God:

"Nor have I learned wisdom, Yet the knowledge of Holy Ones (qadoshim) I know. Who went up to heaven, and cometh down? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound waters in a garment? Who established all ends of the earth? What [is] His name? and what His SON'S name? Surely thou knowest!" Proverbs 30:3-4 Young’s Literal Translation

Here the inspired author uses the plural qadoshim, "Holy Ones," as opposed to the singular qadosh, "Holy One." It is apparent that within the context the plural for "Holy One" is not being used as a plural of amplitude or of fullness, denoting that God is holy in the absolute and fullest sense, which he certainly is. Rather, the plural is used because the inspired writer has two distinct entities in view, namely God and his Son, both of whom he considers to be absolutely holy. Moreover, by asking who has control over the physical realm and what are the specific names of God and his Son the author clearly believed in the incomprehensibility and essential equality of both of them.

This is brought out by the fact that in the Hebrew Bible a name signifies the essence, nature, characteristics and/or authority of a person, thereby indicating that the writer knew that no person is capable of fully understanding the ways and the nature of these two Holy Ones. This, then, presupposes an essential equality between God and his Son, since not only is the Son capable of doing the very works which define and distinguish God from his creation, he also has a name or essence that is unfathomable.

To put it simply, the author was aware that God has a Son who is equal to him and whose essence is incomprehensible much like God’s.

And according to the inspired New Testament writings Jesus is that incomprehensible Son of God who is completely holy like his Father and capable of doing everything that God does:

"In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’ … And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.’" Mark 1:9-11, 23-24

"On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great storm of wind arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care if we perish?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?’ And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?’" Mark 4:35-41

"Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Beth-sa'ida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, I AM; have no fear.’ And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened." Mark 6:45-52

"All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Matthew 11:27

"No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:13-16

"Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.’" John 5:19-23

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one… do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, `I am the Son of God’?" John 10:27-30, 36

To read more concerning the interpretation and application of Proverbs 30:3-4 we recommend this article.

To summarize what we have so far discussed, we have seen that it is not always the case that S/son of God refers to a human servant or prophet since there are places where this expression is used to denote heavenly beings. In one particular passage it refers to a specific Divine Person who is coequal with God in nature, with the NT identifying this particular Divine Son as the Lord Jesus Christ, which leads us to the third problem with Zaatari’s statements.

Jesus Christ – God the Son

Zaatari is constantly overlooking the fact that the NT uses the term Son of God in reference to Jesus to communicate the point that Christ is absolute Deity, that he is God’s unique and eternal Son. The inspired Christian Greek Scriptures emphatically and unambiguously teach that Jesus is the only Son of God of his kind since he is the only One who is fully God in nature and therefore coequal with the Father in essence.

For example, the very same Gospel that Zaatari appeals to begins by proclaiming that Christ is God and the unique Son of God, being the very One whom the Father used to bring all creation into existence:

"In the beginning was the one who is called the Word. The Word was with God and was truly God (kai theos een ho logos). 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 Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son (monogenous) 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 (monogenes theos) and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like." John 1:1-4, 14, 18 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

In this particular translation the words monogenes theos are rendered as "the only Son, who is God." According to noted Evangelical NT scholar Murray J. Harris this is most likely what John intended to communicate to his readers concerning Christ, e.g. Jesus is the only Son of his kind who also happens to be fully God in essence. After listing several possible ways of translating these words Harris advances the following points to support why he believes that "the only Son, who is God," is the best translation:

"All of the above translations are possible renderings of the Greek. How then is one to decide between so many proposals? Several guidelines will help to restrict the choice.

  1. As seen above … monogenes here bears its primary sense of ‘only’ (with respect to filial status), not meaning ‘unique’ or its later sense of ‘only-begotten’ (where that means not simply ‘sole-born’ or ‘the only child in a family’ but ‘uniquely generated’ or ‘eternally begotten’).
  2. There is no reason to suppose that monogenes theos is equivalent to ho monos theos (John 5:44, 17:3; cf. Rom. 16:27; 1 Tim. 1:17; Jude 25), especially since in John 17:3 ‘Iesous Christos is distinguished from ho monos alethinos theos. By using this phrase the evangelist is not merely reaffirming Jewish monotheism in the context of his Logos theology.
  3. John did not write theos monogenes, which makes it doubtful that the popular translation ‘God the only Son’ is the most accurate. Nor did he write ho monogenes theos which renders difficult (although not, of course, impossible) the translation ‘the only begotten God’ or ‘the unique God,’ for elsewhere in the Johannine corpus when monogenes is an attributive adjective (viz., John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9) the noun it qualifies is articular.
  4. Monogenes should be treated as equivalent to (ho) monogenes huios, since (a) in four of the other eight uses of monogenes in the NT (viz., Luke 7:12; John 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9), it functions as an attributive adjective before huios. On three further occasions monogenes stands alone but in each case the context makes it clear that it means ‘only son’ (John 1:14; Heb. 11:17 RSV) or ‘only child’ (Luke 9:38 RSV, doubtless to distinguish monogenes moi from the preceding ho huios mou). The only occasion monogenes is not used of an ‘only son’ is Luke 8:42, where it qualifies thugater. (b) The phrase that qualifies monogenes or (monogenes theos), viz, ho on eis ton kolpon tou patros, indicates that monogenes denotes not simply ‘the only one’ but ‘an/the only Son.’ (c) In its primary sense monogenes designates familial relation (‘sole-born, without siblings’) whether or not huios or thugater is expressed…
  5. If monogenes is equivalent to (ho) monogenes huios in John 1:18, the corollary is that theos stands in epexegetic apposition to monogenes: ‘The only Son, who is theos.’
  6. The anarthrous theos is not indefinite. Since ekeinos in John 1:18 is specific, its antecedent monogenes, further defined as theos ho on ktl., must be definite. The absence of the article before monogenes and before theos is not without significance, for it draws attention (in the case of monogenes) to the uniqueness of the familial status of Jesus Christ as the one and only Son of God and (in the case of theos) to his possession of the attributes of Deity, all that makes God God (as in John 1:1c). In any case it is John’s custom to reserve ho theos for the Father.

These considerations point to the aptness of translating monogenes theos as ‘the only Son, who is God’ (cf. NAB2, M. J. Lagrange, and D. A. Fenema…)." (Harris, Jesus as God – The New Testament Use of Theos in Reference to Jesus [Baker Books], Chapter III – The Only Son, Who Is God (John 1:18), C. Translation of monogenes theos, pp. 91-92)

For more on the translation of John 1:18 please consult this article.

The Evangelist then concludes his inspired Book by making the same proclamation:

"Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn't with the others when Jesus appeared to them. So they told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But Thomas said, ‘First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won't believe unless I do this!’ A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples and said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!’ Thomas replied, ‘You are my Lord and my God!’ Jesus said, ‘Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!’ Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life." John 20:24-31 CEV

The first thing to note here is that Christ’s response indicates that Thomas’ acclamation was not wrong, since he is indeed the disciples’ Lord and God.

In order to better appreciate and understand the full import of this proclamation it should be mentioned that the Lord Jesus, in the same chapter, addresses the Father as his God:

"Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’" John 20:17

The words "my God" as spoken by Thomas later in the same chapter must obviously mean no less than what it means in verse 17 where Jesus identifies the Father as his own God.(2) Hence, what the Father is to Jesus in his humanity, Jesus is to Thomas and to us as well, namely, the Lord our God.(3)

The second point to notice is that the Evangelist immediately follows up Thomas’ confession by mentioning the reason why he wrote his Gospel, namely, to invite his readers to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in order that they might obtain eternal life.

The above references highlight the fact that, as far as the inspired Apostle was concerned, to confess that Jesus is God’s Son is to affirm that he is fully God in essence, since the expression Son of God is being used by the Evangelist to denote that Jesus has the very nature of God.

This is similar to Jesus’ usage of the title "Son of Man," one that he used more often than any other title or name. In Biblical understanding, to call someone a son of man meant that the individual in question had the very nature of man, that s/he was a human being. Hence, calling Jesus the Son of Man meant that had the very nature of man, being fully human to the core (with the exception of sin).(4)

In a similar manner, to confess that Jesus is the Son of God is to believe and affirm that Christ has the very nature of God in all its fulness.

We will have a whole lot more to say concerning John’s use of Son of God to express the absolute Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ in the second part of our rebuttal.


A Muslim apologist who shows greater understanding than his own prophet!

The fourth problem facing Zaatari is that his proposed explanation of what it means to be the S/son of God goes against his prophet’s own understanding. Muhammad understood the phrase in a purely biological manner, erroneously assuming that the term S/son of God meant that God had carnal relations with a woman in order to have a child:

Yet they ascribe to God, as associates, the jinn, though He created them; and they impute to Him sons and daughters without any knowledge. Glory be to Him! High be He exalted above what they describe! The Creator of the heavens and the earth -- how should He have a son, seeing that He has no consort, and He created all things, and He has knowledge of everything? S. 6:100-101

Muhammad never thought for a minute that the expression denoted a righteous servant or prophet who was close to God.

Muhammad further believed that if God did have a S/son then he would have to be worshiped:

Say: "If (God) Most Gracious had a son, I would be the first to worship." S. 43:81 Hilali-Khan

Thus, as far as Muhammad was concerned, S/son of God referred to someone who was more than a man, to a divine being who is coequal with God, which explains why Muhammad said he would worship him if such a S/son existed.

Interestingly, this is precisely what Jesus’ true followers did in response to Christ’s mastery over the natural elements:

"Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; I AM. Do not be afraid.’ And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’" Matthew 14:22-33

To read a fuller explanation of Jesus’ mastery over nature itself and how this points to his Deity we recommend this discussion.

Muhammad also couldn’t fathom how Jews and Christians could be God’s children when God often punished them for their sins:

Say the Jews and Christians, 'We are the sons of God, and His beloved ones.' Say: 'Why then does He chastise you for your sins? No; you are mortals, of His creating; He forgives whom He will, and He chastises whom He will.' For to God belongs the kingdom of the heavens and of the earth, and all that is between them; to Him is the homecoming. S. 5:18

What makes Muhammad’s comments rather amusing is that the Holy Bible, God’s true Word, already provided an answer to his dilemma. It is precisely because true believers are God’s spiritual children that their heavenly Father therefore chastens them when they sin and rebel:

"Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you." Deuteronomy 8:1-5

"And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.’ Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:5-11; cf. Proverbs 3:11-12

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent." Revelation 3:19

Zaatari, however, denies that the term S/on of God refers to a divine being worthy of worship and basically disagrees with Muhammad that the only way God can have a child is through sexual union with a woman.(5) Thus, Zaatari shows that he has greater understanding and insight than his own prophet since Muhammad didn’t realize that the phrase S/son of God could simply mean "a man of God, a true believer, a prophet, a messenger, and the Messiah." This then raises the question of why is Zaatari still a Muslim when he is considerably more knowledgeable than Muhammad himself?

We now come to the conclusion of the first part of our rebuttal. Lord Jesus willing, we will resume our discussion in the second part.



(1) It should be stated at this point that, according to the Holy Bible, to be a son or child of God basically means that a person shares the nature or characteristics of God (albeit to a very limited extent). For instance, Jesus calls peacemakers children of God:

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9

Since God is the God of peace,

"For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil; then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." Romans 16:19-20 – 15:33

"Finally, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you." 2 Corinthians 13:11

"May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Those who are called to be his children must also have this characteristic. Moreover, since God is love, pure, righteous and holy, his spiritual children must also have all of these very same qualities:

"See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Every one who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. He who commits sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God commits sin; for God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother." 1 John 3:1-10

"Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:7-16

This is also the meaning of being made in God’s image:

"Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness. You did not so learn Christ! -- assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus. Put off your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another." Ephesians 4:17-25

"May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature." 2 Peter 1:2-4

Thus, a child of God is one who is called to reflect and partake of God’s nature to the extent that it is possible for a finite creature to do so, whether angels or humans.

The difference with Jesus and the rest of God’s children is that he is the only Son who is uncreated and who completely shares the very nature of God in all its absolute fulness:

"See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him all fulness of Deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fulness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority." Colossians 2:8-10

(2) Jesus’ statement in John 20:17 that God is both his Father and the Father of his followers contradicts the Quran which goes out of its way to deny that Allah is a father or has children:

And they say, 'The All-merciful has taken unto Himself a son. You have indeed advanced something hideous! The heavens are wellnigh rent of it and the earth split asunder, and the mountains wellnigh fall down crashing for that they have attributed to the All-merciful a son; and it behoves not the All-merciful to take a son. None is there in the heavens and earth but he comes to the All-merciful as a servant; S. 19:88-93

They say: 'The All-merciful has taken to Him a son.' Glory be to Him! Nay, but they are honoured servants. S. 21:26

This simply provides further substantiation that the God whom Jesus came to reveal is not the same god preached and worshiped by Muhammad. Muhammad’s deity is a false god according to the testimony of the Lord Jesus as recorded within the inspired pages of the New Testament.

(3) The reason why Jesus’ Father is also his God is because Christ became a human being at his virginal conception from Mary. From that very moment on the Father began relating to his beloved Son as his God, just as the holy and inspired prophetic Scriptures clearly attest:

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? … Upon you was I cast from my birth, and SINCE my mother bore me you have been my God." Psalm 22:1, 10

Jesus quotes the opening words of this Psalm, thereby indicating that it is a Messianic prophecy:

"And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘E'lo-i, E'lo-i, la'ma sabach-tha'ni?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’" Mark 15:34

This indicates that the Father only became Jesus’ God when the latter became flesh at the Incarnation, and therefore means that he wasn’t always Jesus’ God since the latter didn’t always exist as a man. Moreover, since Jesus will always remain a glorified, human being by virtue of his physical, bodily resurrection on the third day, the Father will continue to be his God forever.

(4) Even though the title Son of Man conveys the point that Christ is fully human in nature, Jesus used it in such a way as to demonstrate that he is a fully Divine Being who was appearing as a man. Christ often referred to himself as the Son of Man who rides the clouds, a direct allusion to what the prophet Daniel saw centuries earlier:

"And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven." Mark 13:26-27

"But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’" Mark 14:61-62

Now compare this with what the prophet Daniel wrote:

"I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve/worship him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." Daniel 7:13-14

Here we see Daniel’s Son of Man being worshiped by all creation as he rules over all the nations forever. It is obvious from this that this Son of Man wasn’t merely a human being, but God who was appearing as a man. Thus, by identifying himself as that very same Son of Man of Daniel Jesus was once again claiming to be God in human form, a form which he acquired by virtue of becoming a man through his virginal conception and birth from his blessed mother Mary.

(5) The Quran contradicts itself regarding the possibility of Allah having a son. In Q. 6:101 it emphatically states that the Islamic deity cannot have an offspring since he has no wife or sexual partner:

Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no consort, and He (Himself) created everything, and He is the Knower of all things. Shakir

The rhetorical device used here by the author(s) rejects two things from ever possibly taking place. First, Allah cannot have or take a son without having a wife. Second, it is impossible for Allah to have a consort, which therefore means that he can never have a son.

The problem with this formulation is that the Quran elsewhere says that Allah can take to himself a son if he so wishes:

Had God wished to take to Himself a son, He could have chosen whom He pleased out of those whom He doth create: but Glory be to Him! (He is above such things.) He is God, the One, the Irresistible. S. 39:4 Y. Ali

This means that Allah can also take a wife, since Q. 6:101 says this is the only way the Muslim god could ever acquire an offspring, and therefore Q. 6:101 is simply wrong in its formulation.

But there is a further problem with the formulation of Q. 6:101 since the same Quran shows that it is possible for Allah to have a son without taking a wife:

(Remember) when the angels said: "O Mary! Verily, Allah gives you the glad tidings of a Word from Him, his name will be the Messiah Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and in the Hereafter, and will be one of those who are near to Allah. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in manhood, and he will be one of the righteous." She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me." He said: "So (it will be) for Allah creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: ‘Be!’ and it is." S. 3:45-47

And mention in the Book Mary when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit that presented himself to her a man without fault. She said, 'I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If thou fearest Allah … He said, 'I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give thee a boy most pure. She said, 'How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?' He said, 'Even so thy Lord has said: "Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed."' S. 19:16-21

Here, Mary basically employs the very logic of Q. 6:101 and yet, instead of agreeing with her, Allah responds by saying that it is easy for him to give her a son without her having a husband to impregnate her. All he needs to do is simply say, "Be," and Mary will have an offspring.

The question that Muslims such as Zaatari need to answer is if Mary can have a child without having a husband why can’t the all-powerful creator and sustainer of the universe have a son without having a consort? If Allah is able to cause a virgin maiden to conceive a child without needing a man to get her pregnant then why is Allah incapable of acquiring a son without having sex with a spouse? And yet if Zaatari agrees that Allah can have a son without needing a wife then he will pretty much be admitting that the formulation of Q. 6:101 is simply wrong.

We will let Zaatari figure out how to reconcile these gross, irreconcilable contradictions which are found in a book claiming to be free from all discrepancies and mistakes (cf. Q. 4:82)!

For more on this issue of Allah having a son and for further documentation demonstrating that the reasoning of the Quran is logically fallacious we suggest reading the following articles and rebuttals: