Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Trinity in the Holy Bible Pt. 3b

Addressing Some Objections to the Deity of Christ

Sam Shamoun

[Part 1 , Part 2, 2b, Part 3, 3b, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6]

We continue from where we left off.

Jesus As God In Luke-Acts

The fourth, line of evidence which proves that the disciples worshiping Jesus as God has to do with Christ’s promise that he will send to them the Holy Spirit from the Father, a promise which Luke says was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost:

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. And they were amazed and wondered, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Par′thians and Medes and E′lamites and residents of Mesopota′mia, Judea and Cappado′cia, Pontus and Asia, Phryg′ia and Pamphyl′ia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyre′ne, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.’ And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others mocking said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’… Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, HE HAS POURED OUT this which you see and hear.” Acts 2:1-13, 29-33 RSV

What makes this event interesting–in fact shocking–is that Peter spoke to the Jews who were witnessing this miracle and told them that what they were hearing and seeing was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Joel 2:28-32 where God said that a day would come when he himself–not someone else–would pour out his Spirit upon all his servants:

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, ‘Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, THAT I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT; and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”’” Acts 2:14-21 RSV

And yet according to both Jesus and the blessed Apostle, it was actually Christ who sent forth and poured out the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ followers!

This again demonstrates that Jesus is Yahweh Incarnate since he performs the very functions which the Hebrew Bible ascribes to Yahweh alone, namely, pouring out or sending forth God’s Spirit to indwell and empower the people of God to love and obey the Lord:

“But now listen, O Jacob, My servant, And Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen. ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring And My blessing on your descendants;” Isaiah 44:1-3 – cf. 32:14-15; Ezekiel 36:25-27; 37:12-14; 39:29

Even the Quran acknowledges that it is God or Allah who sends forth the Spirit to strengthen his followers:

And verily We gave unto Moses the Scripture and We caused a train of messengers to follow after him, and We gave unto Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah's sovereignty), and We supported him with the Holy spirit. Is it ever so, that, when there cometh unto you a messenger (from Allah) with that which ye yourselves desire not, ye grow arrogant, and some ye disbelieve and some ye slay? S. 2:87 Pickthall – cf. 2:253

When Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour unto thee and unto thy mother; how I strengthened thee with the holy Spirit, so that thou spakest unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught thee the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how thou didst shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and didst blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and thou didst heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission; and how thou didst raise the dead by My permission; and how I restrained the Children of Israel from (harming) thee when thou camest unto them with clear proofs, and those of them who disbelieved exclaimed: This is naught else than mere magic; S. 5:110 Pickthall

He sends down the angels with the Spirit at His bidding upon whom He will of His servants (to say), 'Give warning that there is no god but Me; Me therefore do ye fear.' S. 16:2 Palmer

Thou shalt not find any people who believe in God and the Last Day who are loving to anyone who opposes. God and His Messenger, not though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their clan. Those -- He has written faith upon their hearts, and He has confirmed them with a Spirit from Himself; and He shall admit them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, therein to dwell forever, God being well-pleased with them, and they well-pleased with Him. Those are God's party; why, surely God's party -- they are the prosperers. S. 58:22 Arberry

Fifth, Jesus informed his followers that the prophets themselves testified that forgiveness of sins shall be proclaimed in Jesus’ name to all the nations, meaning that salvation comes from Christ, by his authority, to all who believe in him. This explains why all throughout Luke-Acts we find Jesus’ followers performing miracles in the name of Christ, and declaring that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus’ name:

“And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.” Luke 9:1-2

“John answered and said, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons IN YOUR NAME; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.’ But Jesus said to him, "Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.’” Luke 9:49-50

“The seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us IN YOUR NAME.’ And He said to them, ‘I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.’” Luke 10:17-20

“Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.’ Immediately he got up. And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.” Acts 9:33-35

“On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, ‘By what power, or in what name, have you done this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead –by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.’" Acts 4:5-12

However, the OT teaches that Yahweh grants salvation and forgiveness of sins for the sake of his own name: 

For Your name’s sake, O Lord, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.” Psalm 25:11

Save me, O God, by Your name, And vindicate me by Your power.” Psalm 54:1

“Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; And deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name’s sake.” Psalm 79:9

This again affirms that Jesus’ followers viewed him in the same way that the OT saints viewed Yahweh, which explains why they invoked his name or authority in the same way that the OT believers invoked the name of Yahweh God!

In light of the foregoing, it is abundantly clear that according to Luke 24:52 the disciples were worshiping Jesus as God Incarnate. Contrary to the assertion of Islam, they were not simply honoring him as a man whom God had exalted.

With that said it is time for us to proceed to the fourth part of our rebuttal.