By Keith Thompson
Is Jesus God? This is one of the main questions that have divided Christians and Muslims for hundreds of years. To the student who studies the Bible honestly there should be no question that Jesus Christ is presented as God in many Biblical passages. However, many Muslim apologists and liberal critics have attempted to take this notion to task. In this article I will build a Biblical case for the Deity of Christ and address the major Muslim objections to the Biblical data.
Before we examine the Biblical proof texts for the Deity of Christ it is important to note that many Muslim apologists have already conceded that there are passages in the Bible that teach not only the Deity of Christ, but the Trinity as well. These admissions serve to show the utter inconsistency of Muslim apologists when it comes to Christian theology. Some will claim the Bible does not teach that Jesus is God anywhere and others will say that there are places that do teach it.
Muslim apologist Yahya Hayder Seymour not only conceded on radio that there are places in the Bible that teach Jesus is God, but he also concedes that the Gospel of John is a Trinitarian Gospel:
"I would say definitely the Gospel of John is a Trinitarian Gospel." (1)
This is a contrast to what other Muslim apologists have said. For example Shabir Ally, a noted Muslim apologist, has remarked:
"… both the Bible and the Qur’an teach that Jesus is not God." (2)
In an earlier article (3) I showed how Muslim apologist Sami Zaatari falsely assumed that the words in John 1:14 that were parenthesized in some English translations, were not originally in the Greek Biblical texts. The words which he said were added in later by English translators are these:
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth" (John 1:14, ASV).
In that article I demonstrated that those words, though parenthesized in some English translations, existed in the Greek texts and the early Church Fathers quoted them. Thus when Zaatari further states the following, he implicitly admits that the Bible teaches the Trinity:
"As you can see, without the false biased brainwashing brackets the verse has no implications of any Trinity!"
So in the realm of Muslim apologetics there is no consensus on this issue of what the Bible teaches about Jesus. Moreover, Muslim apologist Bassam Zawadi contradicts the other Muslim position which asserts that nowhere does the Bible teach that Jesus is God. Zawadi states:
"I do not take the position that the entire New Testament (especially the writings of Paul) does not teach the Trinity. I only take the position that Jesus himself did not teach this doctrine in any of the four gospels." (4)
So it appears that although many Muslims are bold enough to claim that nowhere in the entire Bible is the Deity of Christ or the Trinity presented, other Muslim defenders take the more realistic yet flawed approach which says that Jesus didn’t teach the Trinity but some parts of the Bible do teach this.
In this article we will look at Biblical passages from every New Testament book which teach that Jesus is God or have Jesus presenting himself as God. We will go through the three synoptic Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke – as well as the Gospel of John. Then we will look at Acts, Paul’s writings, James, First and Second Peter, First and Second John, Jude, and Revelation. I will systematically demonstrate that every New Testament book, with the exception of 3 John, teaches the Deity of Christ in one way or another. Then we will address the common Muslim objections to these verses. Although it can be shown relatively easily that Jesus is God in the Old Testament Hebrew scriptures, this article will focus solely on the New Testament data.
For proof that Jesus is God according to the Old Testament see the following papers:
(Though many of the narratives are often paralleled in the four Gospels, the point I am trying to make is that every single New Testament book affirms Christ’s Deity.)
Muslim apologists have attempted to address the majority of the passages I am about to present. However, they have not addressed a small number of them so the few that they have not yet attempted to address will be unchallenged in this article.
Gospel of Matthew
"I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" (Matthew 12:6-8).
Here Jesus demonstrates his Deity by affirming that he is distinct from all creation and greater than the temple of God - the place that housed the glory of God. No creature can claim to be greater than God’s abode. He also states that he is Lord of the Sabbath, a glorious divine title which is very similar to how Yahweh is described in the Old Testament. Only God deserves these titles and this appears to be one of the reasons why the Jews wanted to kill him in Matthew 12:14.
Typically Muslims will raise five objections to these passages. 1. They will say that in Matthew 12 Jesus allowed the disciples to pick some heads of grain and eat on the Sabbath when they were hungry and therefore since they violated the Sabbath along with Jesus in a sense this is nothing special. 2. They will say in Matthew 12 Jesus talks about David and his companions entering the temple on the Sabbath in the Old Testament where they consecrated bread which was not lawful for them to do. From that they will conclude that Jesus’ statements are nothing special. 3. They will cite John 7:23 where circumcision was practiced on the Sabbath – thus, it is not so uncommon and does not prove Jesus is God. 4. They will claim that when Mark 2:27-28 says the following; it means that everyone is Lord of the Sabbath: “Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.’” 5. They will say that the titles “Lord of the Sabbath” and “Greater than the temple” are just titles and honours that were given to him by God in John 13:3, therefore they do not imply that Jesus is God.
On point 1 and 2, Christ, being God and heir of all creation (Hebrews 1:2), had the power and authority to explain the Sabbath, redefine it, and to allow his disciples to do what they did, thus proving a very important point about who Jesus is and what unique authority he has. The Sabbath was created by God for man so he can rest. It is supposed to help man but if man is hungry on the Sabbath and has to work for his food then he should be able to do so. This is what is indicated here. This is why Christ referenced the OT story of David and his companions eating consecrated bread on the Sabbath. It is because the Sabbath is meant to help man, and since food helps to sustain man, there is no point in going hungry on the Sabbath. If Sabbath rest benefits the people with the rest it provides, going hungry defeats the purpose. Yes, breaking the Sabbath was punishable by death but there were some cases where it was allowed and was not considered breaking the Sabbath at all. Other people like David “breaking the Sabbath” before Christ doesn’t take anything away from Christ being called “greater than the temple” or “Lord of the Sabbath.” The titles bestowed upon him are not simply due to these Matthew 12 teachings and actions regarding the Sabbath. The titles belong to him because of his nature. The context answers point 1 and 2 and the Muslim argumentation is shown to be problematic and irrelevant.
With respect to point 3, Church Father Augustine provides the commentary: “Because circumcision refers to a particular sign of salvation, and people should not give themselves a rest from salvation on the Sabbath. ‘So then, do not be angry with me, because I have saved the whole man on the Sabbath. (John 7:23).’”(5) This is what Christ was communicating to his Jewish audience. This takes nothing away from the glorious titles of Jesus either.
Regarding point 4, the Muslims read too much into Mark 2 when they conclude that this means all men are Lord of the Sabbath. Mark 2:27-28 states:
"Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.’"
This verse declares that the Son of Man is Lord even over the Sabbath – not all men or mankind. This would be offensive to God, as God is the true creator and Lord of the Sabbath. Just because there were exceptions to the rule that were not really considered as breaking Sabbath, that does not mean that man is Lord of the Sabbath either; he was still strictly subject to it. The Sabbath day is the Lord’s Day. Only God is truly sovereign or Lord over the Sabbath with the power to overrule it completely – as Jesus did by becoming our Sabbath rest.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28.
"There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his (Hebrews 4:9-10)"
We are no longer bound to works of the law. We are set free and as such Jesus Christ is indeed Lord of the Sabbath. It is in him where we have rest. He becomes our Sabbath and thus the title ‘Lord of the Sabbath’ is very appropriate because it not only shows his divine authority and deity but it also shows how he is now our rest in place of the Sabbath day.
The scholar and former president of Columbia International University, J. Robertson McQuilkin explains why Mark 2:27-28 has it so that Jesus alone is Lord of the Sabbath as opposed to all mankind:
“Some interpret this to mean that all sons of men (mankind) are lord of the Sabbath and can do as they please on this day. But it is impossible to interpret the passage this way because “Son of Man” is a technical term that Christ uses in referring to himself as the Messiah. In the parallel passage in Matthew 12, immediately before he says “the Son of man is lord of the Sabbath,” he identifies the Son of Man as “greater than the temple,” a clear reference to himself. Christ is speaking of himself as being lord of the Sabbath.” (6)
Moreover, just a few verses before this statement, Jesus declared that “the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Mark 2:10). There cannot be any doubt that “the Son of Man” in this context does not refer to “man” in general.
Now, with respect to point five which is that according to John 13:3 Jesus was given the titles “greater than the temple” and “Lord of the Sabbath” by the Father (7), Muslims seem to think that because the Father gave Jesus those titles of honour and glory that therefore Jesus isn’t God. The whole crux of the argument is that according to Old Testament passages such as Leviticus 23:3, God is the Lord of the Sabbath because it is His. He created it and it therefore belongs to Him.
"… It is the LORD's Sabbath day…" (Leviticus 23:3)
"… For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" (Matthew 12:8).
Secondly, only God Almighty is greater than the temple because it belongs to him and it is where God’s glory is contained.
"…Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in the LORD's temple" (1 Kings 7:48.
"I tell you that one greater than the temple is here" (Matthew 12:6).
Since Jesus is Lord, we are told in Malachi 3:1 that Yahweh’s temple is “his temple”:
"Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts."
The reason why the Father gave the Son these glorious titles and honours is because they rightly belong to the Son and they demonstrate who he really is - God. He is the incarnate Son of God – the second person of the tri-personal God-head. Isaiah 42:8 tells us that God’s glory belongs to no one but him. It states:
"I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols."
The reason the Father could give Jesus this glory in the form of titles – the same Glory he says only belongs to him, is because Jesus is also fully God so there is no contradiction – he is giving the glory to himself in a sense. The Father, Son and Spirit are one being and three persons. Jesus was not simply given these titles because he is an exalted prophet. This would go against the Father’s previous exhortation in Isaiah 42:8. It would go against the clear Old Testament teachings that have God as Lord of the Sabbath and temple. Thus it is quite clear that after one assesses both the Muslim and the Christian point of view on Matthew 12:6-8, Jesus declares himself God by identifying himself as greater than the temple and Lord of the Sabbath.
As Dr. Frederick Dale Bruner remarks:
"…For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’ Therefore what Jesus, the Son of Man, says about Sabbath observance is decisive. According to the law of God (Exod 20:10; Lev 23:3, Deut 5:14), the Sabbath day is “for” and “to” Yahweh; he is Lord of the Sabbath. Hence Jesus is making a second indirect reference, after his “a greater than the temple is here,” to what the later church rightly called Jesus’ deity."(8)
Gospel of Mark
"But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One? "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him" (Mark 14: 61-65).
Here Jesus not only claims to be the unique Son of the blessed God, but he also claims that he will be seated at the right hand of the Father – co-occupying God’s throne. He claims to be the prophesied Son of Man from the Old Testament book of Daniel who happens to be God and is said to come on the clouds of Heaven.
"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13-14)
In verse 14 where it says all peoples, nations, and men of every language worshiped him, the transliterated word for worship there is ‘pĕlach’ (Aramaic); which derives from the Hebrew root word ‘Peal’ פָּלַח. When the word appears in the Old Testament it is either used in reference to the special worship of God Almighty, or the special worship of false gods by people of other beliefs. This is divine worship yet this Son of Man, Jesus Christ, receives this worship indicating that he is God.
The statements of Jesus in Mark 14:61-65 that show he is the Son of Man referenced in Daniel 7 were considered so blasphemous that the high priest tore his clothes. They knew he was claiming Deity here. If the Daniel 7 Son of Man is a person who is able to approach the Ancient of days, receive authority, glory, power, worship from all people, and everlasting dominion then that person is above all humanity sharing the attributes and glory of God. This Son of Man would have to be God and the high priest understood this. Those at the trial likewise understood this to be a blasphemous statement of uniqueness and Deity and thus they spit on him, beat him, and demanded he be put to death.
Commenting on this argument for Christ’s Deity popular Muslim apologist Shabir Ally states:
"This is reported variously in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In Matthew and Luke’s versions we have it that Jesus did not actually affirm the title, he said you are the ones claiming that I am in essence. And to say that Jesus comes on the clouds of heaven proves that he is God himself - that would be to say that God could not do this for one of his creatures." (9)
Both of Ally’s criticisms here are invalid. Historians and scholars recognize that Jesus was not merely saying “you are the ones claiming that I am the Son,” to these Jews, so as to deny that he is the Son. Jesus was in fact affirming that he is the Son in all three accounts – Matthew, Mark and Luke; two of which simply contain Jewish idiom’s to get the message across.
As Dr. Darrell L. Bock explains:
"Though there is variation and difference in detail, the gist of the replies is the same. Whether Jesus said “I am” or used the idiom “You are right in saying I am” – an ancient expression that means, “It is as you say but not with the sense you mean” – he affirmed his identification as Messiah, Son of God." (10)
Remember, when dealing with minor variations or inconsistencies we do not throw out the sources, we use the historical method to determine what the original statement probably was. In this case all three accounts have it so that Jesus is affirming that he is indeed the Son after being asked. The only difference is that the affirmative answer is given in two different ways – one in Matthew and Luke with a clever idiom and the other in Mark with a straightforward “I am.” The principle is there in all three narratives. Mark is the earliest so many would say his account is probably correct. However if the accounts in Matthew and Luke are correct and based on a tradition or source that pre-dates Mark then that is okay too. They all get the same message across. Moreover, in all three accounts Jesus goes on to say that he is the Son of Man seated at the right hand of God which is the main point of the passage in that it is an appeal to Daniel 7. By identifying himself as the Son of Man found in Daniel 7 he is identifying himself as God.
It becomes evident that one is justified in using these Biblical passages as evidence for Christ’s Deity, despite having examined the Muslim objection.
Ally’s second argument is that God can do this for one of his creatures. This assertion is not only blasphemous according to the Bible but it is also blasphemous according to Islamic teachings regarding monotheism. ‘Tawheed’ is an Islamic principle that means ‘Islamic monotheism’ and is often divided into three categories. John Eberly explains:
Tawheed: (or Tawhid, etc.) Is of three kinds:
- Tawheed al-Rububiya: Unity of Lordship.
- Tawheed al-Uloohiya: Unity of Worship.
- Tawheed al-Asma was-Sifat: Unity of the Names and qualities of God. (11)
Sam Shamoun brought this excellent type of argumentation to my attention. Ally is violating Islamic monotheism when he asserts that it is okay for God to give a creature the attributes and privileges found in Daniel 7 and Mark 14. God giving this type of glory and honour to anyone but himself would result in a violation of these three classifications of Tawheed. For example Jesus receives sovereign power and Lordship over all peoples. This violates Tawheed al-Rububiya. Jesus receives worship from every nation. This violates Tawheed al-Uloohiya. Jesus is identified as the Son of the Most High. This would seem to violate Tawheed al-Asma was-Sifat in that when Jesus is called Son of the Most High it denotes his unique relationship to the Father as well as the fact that he bears the nature of God. And since the nature of God is a quality of God this violates Tawheed al-Asma - the names and qualities of God.
It is equally as blasphemous Biblically for a mere creature to receive this kind of honour and glory. We read in Isaiah 44:6-8, Jeremiah 10:10, and Joel 3:12 that God alone is the eternal King and eternal ruler, yet Jesus receives authority over every person and nation. Jesus has an everlasting kingdom and serves as the ruler.
Ally’s second response to Daniel 7 and Mark 14 is therefore incorrect. If Jesus isn’t God and yet receives this honour and glory it not only violates Islamic Tawheed but it also violates Biblical instruction.
The scholars Robert M. Bowman and J. Ed Komoszewski, point out that:
"Thus, when Jesus answers affirmatively that he is the Son of God and then immediately adds statements claiming to sit on God’s throne at his right hand, exercising divine power in heaven, his response confirms that he is, indeed, claiming to be on the same level as God." (12)
Gospel of Luke
In the Old Testament book of Isaiah it was prophesied that God himself would appear to his people after a voice crying in the wilderness prepares his way:
"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." … Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, "Behold your God!" Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young" (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11, ESV).
This was fulfilled in the New Testament when John the Baptist, the voice crying in the wilderness, prepared the way for God Almighty.
John the Baptist, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, is making the way for Yahweh so that Yahweh God could appear to his people as the scriptures prophesied. John the Baptist declares that he is making the way for Jesus Christ:"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'" (Luke 3:1-6, ESV)
"John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Luke 3:16, ESV)
"He [John the Baptist] said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,' as the prophet Isaiah said" (John 1:23, ESV).
"The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel." And John bore witness: "I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God" (John 1:29-34, ESV).
This means that when Jesus appears it is Yahweh appearing because Jesus is Yahweh.
To summarize: These verses affirm (1) that John the Baptist is the voice of one crying in the wilderness who makes the way for Yahweh God prophesied in the Old Testament book of Isaiah. However, (2) John the Baptist made the way for Jesus Christ! Therefore, (3) Jesus Christ is Yahweh God who was predicted to come to his people!
Osama Abdullah takes issue with the Isaiah 40 prophecy itself when in verse 5 it says, “and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Osama responds:
“All flesh shall see it? I haven’t seen it yet.”(13)
Although it’s quite clear that Isaiah says a voice in the wilderness will herald Yahweh’s coming and that this was fulfilled by John the Baptist introducing Christ, Osama is confused about “all flesh” seeing the salvation of God. Even though Yahweh God himself was seen, as promised in Isaiah, when Christ (Yahweh) was introduced by the Baptist and then appeared to his people, the salvation itself that this appearance entails would not be seen by all flesh until the Gospel message is spread all over the world. Knowing this, Christ gave these commands:
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14, ESV).
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19, ESV).
Therefore, Yahweh God himself was seen in the first-century when Christ appeared, and the salvation of this appearing is seen all over the world in the form of the Gospel message contained in the Bible and in preaching. Therefore, Jesus is Yahweh who appeared to his people and his salvation is being seen now by all flesh.
Gospel of John
There are many places in the Gospel of John that we can look to for proofs that Jesus is God. My favourite example in John is Thomas’s confession of faith to Jesus after he had risen from the dead and appeared bodily to him.
"Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:28-29)
Notice that Thomas calls Jesus his Lord and his God. Instead of rebuking Thomas Jesus blesses his confession of faith showing that Jesus was not opposed to being identified as Lord God, but he welcomed it because he is the divine Son – the second person of the Trinity.
Muslim apologists like Zawadi and Zaatari have provided a few objections to these passages. They will say that Thomas was only referring to Jesus as Lord and that he was referring to the Father as God right after. Or they will assert that when Thomas says “my Lord and my God” it was because he was surprised and joyful similar to someone saying “Oh my God!” Zaatari states:
"Another very easy interpretation is that when Thomas said My Lord and My God, he was not actually referring to Jesus … I am saying that Thomas was joyful, happy, and he was PRAISING GOD." (14)
They will say that even if Jesus was the one identified as Lord and God the words kyrios and theos are not simply limited to God but other people were identified with them. They will also quote the 19th century Trinitarian J.D. Michaelis asserting that this verse doesn’t affirm the Deity of Christ:
“My Lord! and my God!” I do not understand this as an address to Jesus; but thus, "Yes: he it is indeed! He, my Lord, and my God!" Yet, in giving this interpretation, I do not affirm that Thomas passed all at once from the extreme of doubt to the highest degree of faith, and acknowledged Christ to be the true God. This appears to me too much for the then existing knowledge of the disciples; and we have no intimation, that they recognised the divine nature of Christ, before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I am therefore inclined to understand this expression, which broke out from Thomas in the height of his astonishment, in a figurative sense, denoting only, "Whom I shall ever reverence in the highest degree." If he only recollected what he had heard from the mouth of Jesus ten days before (chap. xiv. 9, 10), that recollection might have given occasion to an expression which probably Thomas himself could not have perfectly explained; as is often the case with such words as escape us when we are under the most overpowering surprise. But yet the expression might be equivalent to saying, "He! my Lord! with whom God is most intimately united, and is in him! - In whom I behold God, as it were, present before me!" Or a person raised from the dead might be regarded as a divinity; for the word God is not always used in the strict doctrinal sense." (15)
In light of recent scholarship and the facts concerning the Greek language I am wondering how one might assume that Thomas was not addressing Jesus as God but instead identifying the Father as God. As the authors of ‘Putting Jesus in His Place: A Case for the Deity of Christ’ state:
"There is essentially no controversy among biblical scholars that in John 20:28 Thomas is referring to and addressing Jesus when he says, “My Lord and my God.” As Harris says in is lengthy study on Jesus as God in the New Testament, “This view prevails among grammarians, lexicographers, commentators and English versions.” Indeed, it is difficult to find any contemporary exegetical commentary or academic study that argues that Thomas’s words in John 20:28 apply in context to the Father rather than to Jesus. The reason is simple: John prefaces what Thomas said with the words, “Thomas answered and said to Him” (v. 28a NASB). This seemingly redundant wording reflects a Hebrew idiomatic way of introducing someone’s response to the previous speaker. John uses it especially frequently, always with the speakers words directed to the person or persons who have just spoken previously in the narrative (John 1:48, 50; 2:18-19; 3:3. 9-10, 27; 4:10, 13, 17; 5-11l 6:26, 29, 43; 7:16, 21, 52; 8:14, 39, 48; 9-11, 20, 30, 34, 36; 12:30; 13:7; 14:23; 18:30; 20:28). It is therefore certain that Thomas was directing his words to Jesus, not to the Father." (16)
Muslims claim that kyrios (Lord) and theos (God) don’t have to mean God Almighty so therefore even if Jesus was identified as such other people were too and thus Jesus isn’t God. The problem with this argument is that it doesn’t address the fact that the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament Hebrew scriptures uses the exact phraseology in reference to Yahweh and that John was most certainly drawing from this phraseology of the Septuagint on purpose to affirm the Deity of Christ. If we compare the Greek from some Old Testament passages in the Septuagint that are addressing and glorifying Yahweh as the Lord and God of men, to the Greek in John 20:28 that addresses Jesus as Lord and God, it becomes quite clear that John was drawing from these Old Testament sayings and applying the same language that belongs to Yahweh to Jesus Christ.
"and the Lord my God (kyrios ho theos mou) shall come, and all the saints with him" (Zechariah 14:5).
"O Lord my God (kyrie ho theos mou), in thee have I trusted: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me… O Lord my God (kyrie ho theos mou), if I have done this; (if there is unrighteousness in my hands;) … Arise, O Lord (kyrie), in thy wrath; be exalted in the utmost boundaries of mine enemies: awake, O Lord my God (kyrie ho theos mou), according to the decree which thou didst command" (Psalm 7:2, 4. 7).
"Awake, O Lord, and attend to my judgment, even to my cause, my God and my Lord (ho theos mou kai ho kyrios mou)" (Psalm 34:23).
Notice the similar Greek phraseology in John 20:28 now:
"And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God (Kyrios mou kai Theos mou)"
This is phraseology that belongs strictly to God in the Old Testament and it was applied to Jesus. We know that the New Testament writers had access to and quoted this Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament on a continual basis. As the eminent scholar Dr. Bruce Metzger states:
"[When]… the New Testament writers quoted from the Old Testament, they almost always used the Septuagint version." (17)
To reiterate the point, whenever the two words kyrios and theos appear together in the same sentence they are never applied to anyone else but God himself. This helps to demonstrate that in John 20:28 Jesus is being identified as God Almighty. John 20:28 serves as the Christological climax at the end of John’s Gospel. Jesus’ true identity is now realized by the Apostle. This is the whole point of the verse.
With respect to the Muslim appeal to the outdated “scholarship” of the 19th century Trinitarian J.D. Michaelis – he doesn’t address the argumentation based on the Greek parallels to the Septuagint or the Greek text in John itself. He was probably not even familiar with the argumentation. He merely gives his liberal subjective opinion based on rhetoric and the assertion that no one affirmed the Deity of Christ prior to the resurrection. Until and unless the issues that I raised are dealt with, the outdated quotation from Michaelis is simply irrelevant. I can quote Christian, Agnostic and liberal scholars who state that John 20:28 affirms the Deity of Christ which makes the Muslim appeal to Michaelis meaningless.
The Christian scholar Dr. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, author of the ‘International Standard Bible Dictionary’ states:
"Jesus’ identification as God incarnate is evident when Thomas greets the risen Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God!’" (18)
The Agnostic scholar Dr. Bart Ehrman states:
"The Gospel of John … goes a long way toward identifying Jesus himself as divine (see e.g., John 8:58; 10:30; 20:28)." (19)
The late Dr. Raymond Brown notes that the extremely skeptical liberal New Testament scholar, the late Dr. Rudolf Bultmann acknowledged that John 20:28 affirms the Deity of Christ. Bultmann notes that in John 20:28 Jesus is, “… undoubtedly designated or, more exactly, addressed as God.” (20)
Merely quoting Michaelis is not going to get Muslim apologists very far in light of admissions like these. Instead of quoting outdated liberals who were unfamiliar with the modern arguments, Muslims ought to deal with what is actually being said about the verses today.
After examining this detailed assessment it therefore follows that John 20:28 is a weighty proof text for affirming the clear cut Deity of Christ.
Acts of the Apostles
In the books of Acts, as well as through out the entire New Testament, the apostles were ordered to, and were themselves baptizing people in the name of Jesus Christ. We see this in Acts 2:38:
"Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
This is often overlooked as some kind of interesting Christian ritual that doesn’t amount to much Christologically. However, recent studies have been conducted that convincingly demonstrate that the Christian baptismal rites or rituals involving the phrase “in the name of” were similar and probably in response to popular cults in whose said ritual the God was the one who they were baptised into or ritualized “in the name of.” As Lars Hartman notes:
"The rites are performed ‘into the name’ of the god, to whose cult the rite belongs or who is otherwise associated with the rite in question. This god is the fundamental referent of the rite; he/she is the one whom the worshipper ‘has in mind’ or ‘with regard to;’ whom the rite is performed and who thus makes it meaningful." (21)
Since Jesus is the one we are baptized in the name of, or into, it therefore follows that in light of these important previous cultural practices – Jesus is the God of the Christians.
After searching for a Muslim objection to this argument I was not even able to find one.
"Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen" (Romans 9:5).
Here Paul identifies Jesus Christ as God over all and forever praised. This is a very clear witness to the Deity of Christ and Muslims have very little to offer in response to this specific verse.
"If Paul did teach that Jesus is God then he is indeed an anti-Christ since Jesus never claimed to be God, nor was it his mission to make people believe in that. Jesus made it clear that he was a prophet, a man sent from God to the children of Israel to bring them back to God. That was his mission; Jesus would rebuke Paul if Paul taught that Jesus is God." (22)
Here Zaatari implicitly admits that the Bible teaches that Jesus is God – debate over. However, with regard to Zaatari’s actual assertion which is in the form of an objection, we have already seen that in previous passages Jesus is identified as God and that Jesus believed he was God. The statements of Jesus that we have covered so far found in Matthew 12:6-8; Mark 14:61-65; and John 20:29 show that Jesus considered himself God and would thus never condemn Paul for teaching Jesus’ Deity. If Jesus would condemn Paul for saying he is God then why didn’t Jesus condemn Thomas for saying that he is God in John 20:28? Jesus blessed Thomas in verse 29 after he said Jesus was God. If anything Jesus would bless Apostle Paul as well.
"So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." (1 Corinthians 8:4-6)
1 Corinthians 8:6 establishes that the Father (who Paul commonly calls God) is distinct from Jesus (who is also called God by Paul in certain places) in personhood. However, Jesus and the Father are of the same being (nature/substance/essence) preexisting together with the Holy Spirit. Paul is communicating that they were both present at the time of creation and it is through Jesus that all things were made. Jesus is co-creator along with the Father. What Paul is indicating is that the Father and Jesus are distinct persons (“person” is who you are), yet of the same being (“being” is what you are). It is obvious that Paul is identifying Jesus as a member of the God-head because Paul was a scholar of the Old Testament and he knew that according to the Hebrew Scriptures God was alone when he created all things:
"He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea" (Job 9:8.
"This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself” (Isaiah 44:24).
"But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including his people, his own special possession. The LORD of Heaven's Armies is his name!" (Jeremiah 51:19)
How could God be alone creating everything if Jesus was there with him and it was through Jesus that all things were made? It is because God is multi-personal and that Jesus is the second member of the God-head, which would allow for God to be alone yet with Christ and the Holy Spirit simultaneously.
Muslim apologist Shadid Lewis states:
"We even see in some of the writings of Paul for example in 1 Corinthians chapter 8 verse 6. “For us there is but one God.” Who is that? The Father, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 8 verse 6." (23)
Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries gives a lengthy discussion on Lewis’s misuse of 1 Corinthians 8:6 (here). What Lewis doesn’t seem to understand is that while Paul is indeed affirming and quoting the Shema’ ("Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one," found in Deuteronomy 6:4), he is also including Jesus in the formula making it mandatory for Christians to honor and view Christ as they honor and view the Father. Lewis didn’t quote the rest of the verse either which inserts Jesus into this new Christianized version of the Shema’ affirming Christ’s co-creatorship as well.
"yet for us there is but one God,
the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live;and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ,
through whom all things came and through whom we live."
Paul is indicating that although monotheism is true, Jesus deserves our unique devotion along with God the Father by first affirming that God the Father is one, creator of all things, and then by saying that the Lord Jesus is one, creator of all things. To illustrate this further I will consult Dr. Richard Bauckham’s exegesis of 1 Corinthians 8:6 found in his work ‘God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament’:
"Paul’s concern in this context is explicitly monotheistic. The issue of eating meat offered to idols and participation in temple banquets is an instance of the highly traditional Jewish monotheistic concern for loyalty to the only true God in a context of pagan polytheistic worship. What Paul does is to maintain this Jewish monotheistic concern in a Christian interpretation for which loyalty to the only true God entails loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ. He takes up from the Corinthians’ letter (at the end of verse 4) the typical Jewish monotheistic formula ‘there is no God except one’ in order to agree with it and to give, in verse 6, his own fuller monotheistic formulation, which contrasts the ‘many gods and many Lords’ of the Corinthians’ pagan environment (verse 5) with the one God and one Lord to whom Christians owe exclusive allegiance. Verse 6 is a carefully formulated statement … It should be quite clear that Paul is including the Lord Jesus Christ in the unique divine identity. He is redefining monotheism as Christological monotheism" (24).
The Muslim objection posed by Shadid Lewis demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 8:6. This passage affirms the Deity of Christ and should be utilized by Christians in dialogues with Muslims once the Christians understand the true significance and meaning of the passage.
"as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus" (2 Corinthians 1:14).
Here Paul speaks of the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a common theme in Paul’s letters. He speaks of the day of the Lord in other passages as well such as 2 Timothy 1:18; Philippians 1:6, 10, 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. The day of the Lord Jesus is in reference to his second appearance, the glorious second coming. However, by using this kind of language about Jesus i.e., “day of the Lord Jesus,” Paul shows that he believes Jesus is Yahweh because according to the Old Testament they were expecting the day of Yahweh and his glorious return!
"Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes" (Joel 1:15).
"Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; it is near … The LORD utters his voice before his army, for his camp is exceedingly great; he who executes his word is powerful. For the day of the LORD is great and very awesome; who can endure it? … The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes" (Joel 2:1, 11, 31).
Therefore, on the day of the Lord Jesus, when he returns, it is actually the day of Yahweh because he is returning. The conclusion is that Jesus is Yahweh.
I was unable to find a response to this particular argument.
According to the Hebrew Scriptures men gained justification by believing in Yahweh. Apostle Paul understood this to be true and thus quoted Genesis 15:6 in his epistle to the Galatians:
"In the same way, "Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith" (Galatians 3:6).
However, in the very same letter Paul makes it clear that it is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that grants eternal justification. Thus, according to Paul, faith in Yahweh and faith in the person of Jesus Christ is the exact same thing.
"know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified" (Galatians 2:16).
Here belief in Christ has the same power as belief in Yahweh with respect to justification of human beings. Just as faith in Yahweh granted justification, so does faith in Christ. Jesus is Yahweh in that it is in him that eternal justification is found.
"Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation" (Psalm 85:7).
"Remember me, O LORD, in Your favour toward Your people; Visit me with Your salvation" (Psalm 106:4).
I was unable to find a Muslim objection to this argument.
"and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, FAR ABOVE ALL RULE AND AUTHORITY AND POWER AND DOMINION, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him WHO FILLS ALL IN ALL" (Ephesians 1:19-23).
In these passages Paul is stating that the Lord Jesus has been exalted to the highest position imaginable, one belonging to God. He further describes Jesus as fully possessing the essential attributes and honor of God such as omnipresence, power, rulership, sovereignty, dominion, and the name or authority that is above all authority and rule. Amazingly, Paul says that the church is the body of Christ and that Christ spiritually fills his entire church with his presence and also filling everything else as well (cf. Ephes. 4:7-10). This is an attribute of Almighty God because only he is everywhere and is able to fill all things.
As Dr. B.W. Johnson puts it:
"The fullness of him. The church is a manifestation of the fullness of Christ, the body filled by his life, who filleth all in all. Filleth all things with his majesty and power. The object of the last four verses is to describe Christ's glories. These are: (1) His resurrection; (2) His Exaltation to God's Right Hand; (3) His Supreme Dominion; (4) His Headship to the Church, his Body, filled with His Fullness. These glories all follow his stooping unto the death of the cross. He abased himself that he might be exalted. See Heb 12:2." (26)
Professor Emeritus of New Testament Exegesis and honorary research professor at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, Dr. I. Howard Marshall notes:
"Now Christ is said to “fill” everything. Similarly, in Ephesians 1:23 Paul states that the church is “the fullness of him who fills everything in every way”. These statements indicate that the divine characteristic of being everywhere present is now shared with Christ. Probably the emphasis is on the fact that Christ is present in this way in the church, but the point of Ephesians 4:10 seems to be rather to emphasize the exaltation and omnipotence of Christ." (27)
I was unable to find a Muslim objection to this specific argument to Christ’s omniscience.
"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:6-11 KJV).
Here Paul explains that Jesus preexisted with the Father with the same nature as God. Jesus then lowered himself being found in appearance as a man. Paul then explains the crucifixion and states that every knee will bow to Christ and every tongue will confess that he is Lord. Aside from the explicit statements about Jesus having the nature of God, preexisting with the Father and then becoming a man, the fact that Paul said every knee will bow to Christ and confess him as Lord proves that Jesus is God Almighty. In the Old Testament Hebrew scriptures we read:
"Declare what is to be, present it — let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Saviour; there is none but me." Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear" (Isaiah 45:21-23).
Notice that the Isaiah prophecy says that one day in the future every knee will bow to Yahweh and every tongue will swear by Yahweh. Well according to Paul in Philippians 2:10-11 this will be fulfilled as soon as every knee bows to Christ and confesses Christ is Lord by their tongue. This is because Paul is teaching that Jesus is Yahweh.
Shabir Ally states:
"Paul’s letter to the Philippians ch. 2, vv. 6-11 is often quoted as proof that Jesus is God. But the very passage shows that Jesus is not God. This passage has to agree with Isaiah 45:22-24 where God (Yahweh) said that every knee should bow to Yahweh, and every tongue should confess that righteousness and strength are in Yahweh alone. Paul was aware of this passage, for he quoted it in Romans 14:11. Knowing this, Paul declared, “I kneel before the Father” (Ephesians 3:14). (28)
Ally’s objection doesn’t address a number of issues relevant to Philippians 2:6-11. He doesn’t address Jesus being in very nature God, Jesus being equal with God, or Jesus leaving his exaltation in heaven and becoming a man. Ally attempts to address the knee bowing and confessing issue. However, his response is full of holes.
First of all, Ally doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that Christ is said to be bowed to by all people and confessed as Lord fulfilling Isaiah 45:21-23. Ally merely says Philippians has to agree with Isaiah about Yahweh alone being bowed to and confessed as Lord. Indeed, Paul does agree because to him Jesus is Yahweh and when Jesus is bowed to, Yahweh is bowed to. This is what Ally can’t see and won’t even acknowledge. Ally notes how Paul said he kneels to the Father in Ephesians 3:14. All that this establishes is that both the Father and the Son are bowed to in different contexts. The Father being bowed to once by Paul and the Son being bowed to by all people fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 45:21-23. Ally doesn’t try to address Philippians 2:6-11 exegetically and thus fails to make a compelling case. Indeed, Paul was aware of Isaiah 45:22-24 and since he believed Jesus is Yahweh he wrote about Isaiah 45:22-24 being fulfilled when Christ is bowed to and confessed as Lord by all people.
Zaatari also takes a shot at debunking Philippians 2:6-11:
"Many Trinitarians use the above verse to claim that Jesus is God because Paul claimed that Jesus existed in the form of God. Yet what the Trinitarian failed to realize is this that this verse greatly refutes them! Notice Jesus is not called God! There is a difference between being called God, and being called to exist in the form of God! Why didn't Paul just simply say Jesus who was God! God is God!" (29)
When Muslims can’t refute a verse properly or address what the verse actually does say, they have to invent their own criteria and then claim the verse doesn’t meet them. Zaatari’s view is that unless Jesus is “called God” here it doesn’t matter what else is said. Jesus “being in very nature God” isn’t enough for Zaatari. Jesus taking on flesh leaving his exalted status behind isn’t enough. You can’t simply invent your own criteria and then claim that because the verse doesn’t meet them in your opinion, that therefore the verse doesn’t teach the Deity of Christ. That is not how to exegete scriptures. We believe Jesus and the Father are distinct in personhood yet both fully God. The Father is often called God and so Jesus is described as God, but not called God, because the title is reserved for the Father in some scriptures which, however, does not undermine our theology at all. The fact is that Jesus is described as having the very nature of God, preexisting in an exalted state with the Father, and then coming down from heaven becoming a man by his own will in perfect accord with the Father.
"Furthermore, why does Paul state that Jesus did not regard equality with God to be something to be grasped, if Jesus is NOT God then such a statement makes sense, since Jesus is not God, he did not regard it as a major thing to be equal with God. An example could be given with a servant who is equal with a king, but does not consider that to be special, that statement only makes sense because he is a servant and not the king himself!
Now off course Jesus was not fully equal to God, as Paul has demonstrated that Jesus is UNDER God, and God gave Jesus authority, and God made Jesus a leader, hence it's not a literal equality. One must understand the theology of Paul and certain Christians on this issue; they believe that Jesus is God's PERFECT representative on earth, and that Jesus fully carries out God's will and orders, for instance Jesus said that he who sees Jesus sees the Father, for these Christians they take that verse and say since Jesus is God's perfect representative, and fully does what God wants, then in that certain sense he is equal to God. It is indeed a very high exaltation of Jesus, but it is in no way meant to say that he is God. As one Christian writes:
So what can we conclude about morphe? The Philippian church consisted of Jews and converted Greeks. From the Septuagint and their other writings, the Jews were familiar with morphe referring to the outward appearance, including the form of men and idols. To the Greeks, it also referred to the outward appearance, including the changing outward appearance of their gods and the form of statues. The only other New Testament use of morphe outside Philippians is in Mark, and there it refers to the outward appearance. Also, the words related to morphe clearly refer to an outward manifestation or appearance. We assert the actual evidence is clear: the word morphe refers to an outward appearance or manifestation. Jesus Christ was in the outward appearance of God, so much so that he said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father." Christ always did the Father's will, and perfectly represented his Father in every way. (http://www.biblicalunitarian.com/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=127)
Now as Muslims we would never use such language or terminology, but that is a different issue, what does matter is that Philippians 2:6 was not meant to call Jesus God, it was terminology being used according to a specific theology and thought. (30)
I have never seen so many errors in one explanation of a passage. Instead of accepting Zaatari’s Unitarian heretical exegesis of the scriptures, let us examine the assessment of Philippians 2:6-11 made by Robert M. Bowman, J. Ed Komoszewski, and Darrell L. Bock because they give a lengthy discussion on the passages. Notice that everything Zaatari just stated and quoted gets utterly refuted in this exegesis.
"One of the most important biblical passages for our understanding of the person of Jesus Christ is Philippians 2:6-11. In these six verses, Paul taught that Christ was a preexistent person who was fully God and yet humbled himself by becoming a human and dying on a cross (vv. 6-8). Then, in Christ’s resurrection, God the Father exalted him in order that he might be honoured by all creation as their divine Lord (vv. 9-11). Although this understanding of the passage has come under criticism, the evidence is decisive that Paul was, indeed, affirming the divine pre-existence of Christ. In verse 6, Paul says that Christ “though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited.” The natural way of understanding this statement – and the way that the vast majority of Christian interpreters historically have understood it – is that Christ existed “in the form of God” in heaven before he became a man. Thus, Paul goes on immediately to say that Christ “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness,” and that he was “found in human form” (v, 7) …
Most of the scholarly debate regarding Philippians 2:6 focus’s on the meaning of the Greek word harpagmos. Since the word occurs only once in the Greek Bible and is rare in extrabiblical literature, scholars have limited lexical data on which to base their understanding of Paul’s intended meaning here. Some understand Paul to be saying that Jesus did not consider it “robbery” to be equal with God” (NKJV, following the KJV); others assert that Jesus did not consider equality with God something “to be grasped” (NASB, NIV, ESV). Still others maintain a more nuanced view, namely, that Jesus did not think of equality with God as “something to be exploited” (NRSV). Although the technical discussions of the meaning of harpagmos can be complex and confusing, this does not mean that we cannot really know what Paul was saying in Philippians 2:6. However harpagmos is translated, Paul is still affirming the divine pre-existence of Christ. The rendering “did not consider it robbery to be equal with God” (NKJV, following the KJV), which has the least support among biblical scholarship today, would mean that Christ was equal with God and did not think that he had taken that status wrongfully. The more common rendering “did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (NASB; cf. NIV, NET, ESV) would mean that the preexistent divine Christ did not try to seize recognition of his rightful status of equality with God, but chose to put the glory of the Father and the salvation of sinners ahead of his own glory. The rendering “did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited” (NRSV), now favoured by many and possibly a majority of commentators, would mean that Christ was equal with God but did not seek to take advantage of the status for his own persona; comfort or gain.
Although these ways of translating harpagmos are very different, the resulting ways of understanding the overarching thrust of the passage are essentially the same. Paul is saying that Christ was divine in his nature or glorious form but did not act in the self-serving manner one might have expected an omnipotent Deity to act, taking whatever he wanted and demanding to be treated as superior. This understanding fits the context well. Paul’s point is that although Christ was in God’s form and was (at least by right) God’s equal, he did not demand his divine rights but humbly took a servants form and became a human being. (31)
Zaatari’s eisegetical mishandling of the scripture has no leg to stand on in light of scholarly research on the subject. Zaatari doesn’t address the argument that Philippians 2:6-11 fulfills Isaiah 45:21-24 either. Zaatari’s Unitarian handling of the Greek word ‘morphē’ (form) is also problematic. They claim that it only means that Jesus was a metaphorical outward appearance of the Father – perfectly representing him when it says “Who, being in the form of God.” This metaphorical representative interpretation doesn’t work. The passage is talking about Jesus being in heaven as the morphē (form) of God and then leaving that position thus becoming the morphē (form) of slave. Paul uses the same Greek word (morphē) in verse 7 describing Jesus becoming human in nature. With this in mind the only conclusion is that, just as Jesus was found in human morphē (lowered slave form), he was originally in the morphē (form of God) while in heaven before the incarnation. This is about Jesus having the glory and nature of God. Since Jesus Christ had the appearance (form) of God it means Jesus had the glory of God because God’s appearance or form is glory and divine exaltation. However, no creature can have the glory of God. Jesus isn’t a creature but instead the divine second person of the Trinity. Therefore Jesus preexisted having the glory of God and then he lowered himself having the nature of man in the first-century. That is what Paul is teaching here and that is why the Weymouth New Testament and the NIV translate this as Jesus being in the very “nature” (morphē) - God.
"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have supremacy" (Colossians 1:16-18)
Here Jesus is described as the creator of all things. Paul notes that Christ holds ALL THINGS together. In order to be able to do this Jesus would need to be all powerful, all knowing and everywhere. Creatorship, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence are attributes of God alone and thus when Paul proclaims that Jesus is the creator who holds ALL THINGS together he is affirming his Deity.
Shabir Ally asserts:
"Paul believed that Jesus was an agent whom God used in creating the cosmos." (32)
If we grant Ally’s interpretation it proves that Jesus is God according to Islam. Firstly, Ally doesn’t address the fact that it says Jesus sustains all things and holds them together. That alone entails Jesus’ Deity. In order for Jesus to hold all things together he would need to know what needs to be held together (all knowing), he would need to have the power to sustain it (all powerful), and he would need to be able to sustain all things at once in all places (everywhere). This means Jesus is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. These are attributes of God alone. But even with that said, in order for Christ to be the agent that the Father used to create the cosmos it would mean that according to Paul Jesus preexisted alone with the Father (and Spirit, Genesis 1:2). And it must mean that His existence and fellowship with the Father and the Spirit is eternal, for it doesn’t simply say He was before all things, as if there could have been a time before creation when the Son was not with the Father and the Holy Spirit; it says “He IS before all things” right now. This demonstrates that it was not the position of early Christians like Paul that Jesus was just a prophet who first saw life at birth. That is not the Jesus of the first-century. The Jesus of the first-century preexisted with the Father in glory, he had a part in creating all things (see also John 1:1-3), and he is now sustaining all creation.
However, according to Islam if this is true then that makes Jesus God. Remember the first classification of Tawheed (Islamic monotheism). Tawheed al-Rububiya: Unity of Lordship. Lest I be accused of re-defining the first classification of Tawheed, I will let Muslim apologists Zawadi and Zaatari define it:
"Allah is one in lordship. Muslims must believe that Allah is the sole lord who is in control of all things. He is the ultimate being who sustains and nourishes all things, and there is no one else who shares that kind of authority alongside with him." (33)
"Tawhid of Lordship, that there is only one God and that he is the creator of all things, in charge and owner of all things, and so on and so on." (34)
Notice that according to these Muslim apologists Tawheed al-Rububiya means that God creates, sustains and controls all things alone. But wait, according to Colossians 1:16-18 Jesus had a part in creating all things. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who sustains and holds all things together! Thus, according to Islam Jesus is God. This should make people wonder why Shabir Ally asserts that the Bible doesn’t teach that Deity of Christ, when, in light of Islamic monotheism, Jesus has the unique attributes and characteristics of God.
1 & 2 Thessalonians
In the books of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians Jesus is said to return to earth with HIS saints/angels displaying great glory and might:
"so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all HIS saints" (1 Thessalonians 3:13).
This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with HIS powerful angels" (2 Thessalonians 1:7).
This very fact is reiterated in the gospel of Matthew and Mark:
"For the Son of Man is to come with HIS angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done" (Matthew 16:27).
"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send HIS angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens" (Mark 13:26-27).
Interestingly we read in the book of Psalms that the angels and saints belong to Yahweh! Yahweh is sovereign over all creation and thus it belongs to him. This shows that Jesus and Yahweh are one and the same since Jesus is said to own the angels and saints.
"Bless Jehovah, ye HIS angels, That are mighty in strength, that fulfil his word, Hearkening unto the voice of his word" (Psalm 103:20.
"Praise ye him, all HIS angels: Praise ye him, all his host" (Psalm 148:2).
I was unable to find a Muslim objection to this argument or these passages.
"This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time" (1 Timothy 2:3-6).
Muslims often use these passages to assert that because it says that there is “one God” and then it later identifies Christ as “the Man Christ Jesus” therefore, according to their understanding, Jesus is distinct from God. Muslim apologist Shadid Lewis states:
"In first Timothy chapter two verse five, “there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” So God is on one side, mankind is on the other; in the middle is the mediator and the mediator is not God. The mediator himself is a man also. So I saw these claims and I said well Islam is speaking the truth then." (35)
However, if Lewis was logically consistent he would have to also argue that Jesus cannot be man either since he is in the middle of BOTH God AND mankind, not just God. Thus, per his reasoning since Jesus is in the middle he must not be human after all!
Moreover, despite the Muslim distortion of this scripture, 1 Timothy 2:3-6 can be used to establish the Deity of Christ if proper exegesis is utilized. Sedevacantist and traditional Catholic apologist Gerry Matatics argues that this verse actually affirms the Deity of Christ:
"Jesus Christ is the only unique mediator between God and man because he is the only one who is both God and man. That is what St. Paul is saying in 1 Timothy 2:4 when he says there is one God and one mediator between God and man the Man Christ Jesus." (36)
To further clarify Mr. Matatics’ position I will say that according to Paul, all mankind is burdened with sin from birth. This doctrine of inherent sin can be found in the following passages:
"What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin" (Romans 3:9).
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
"So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned" (Romans 5:12).
The position of Paul, as well as the other New Testament writers, is that humanity is sinful inherently and in need of a saviour because of the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden. So it is clear that all humans have sinned according to Christian theology. However, these same New Testament authors exclaim that Jesus Christ became fully man, was sinless and the only one qualified to pay for our sin by dying on the cross as the unblemished lamb.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
"He committed no sin, nor was deception found in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:22).
"But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin" (1 John 3:5).
Since all humans have sinned and are unable to sufficiently atone for it themselves, the second person (Jesus) of the tri-personal God-head had to become a sinless man acting as mediator on our behalf. Man is corrupt and unable to save himself from his sinful ways but the God-man Jesus, who is 100% God and 100% man, incarnated himself into the world to redeem humanity. Matatics’ position on these passages is correct and it affirms the Deity of Christ because only God can live without sin, therefore God’s death in the cross has saving value and atonement.
"who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1:9-10).
This scripture indicates Christ’s preexistence with the Father and it implies his incarnation into the world. This is exactly what we would expect to find in Paul’s epistles if he supported the Deity of Christ. In order for Christ to be God he must have preexisted before his human life. New Testament scholar Dr. Gordon Donald Fee illustrates this point in his work ‘Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study’:
"Even though the “impoverishment” motif does not occur in this passage, the emphasis is once more on Christ’s preexistence and the genuineness of his incarnation. Christ’s preexistence is asserted by the clause “God saved us … in keeping with this own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” His incarnation is then expressed as, “but has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus.” Thus, this very Pauline concern finds expression in the corpus yet one more time. Christ preexisted with the Father, and at one point in human history he became incarnate in order to redeem." (37)
I was unable to find a Muslim objection to this passage or argument.
"while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13.
Here we get a powerful statement pertaining to the Deity of Christ addressed to Titus. Christ is identified as “our great God and Savior.” This demonstrates that Paul believed Jesus was God Almighty.
Muslims challenge this interpretation by claiming that this passage is talking about two beings, God and Jesus, and that Jesus is only said to be the glory of the Father. Zaatari quotes a heretical Unitarian interpretation:
"Of course, the glory will come at the appearing, but Scripture says clearly that both the glory of the Son and the glory of the Father will appear (Luke 9:26). God's Word also teaches that when Christ comes, he will come with his Father's glory: "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory" (Matt. 16:27). Keeping in mind that what is revealed in other places in the Bible about a certain event often clarifies what is being portrayed in any given verse, it becomes apparent from other scriptures referring to Christ's coming that the Bible is not trying to portray God and Christ as one God. In this case, the glory of God that we are waiting for is Jesus Christ."
2. It has been stated that the grammar of Titus 2:13 forces the interpretation that Jesus is God because of the Granville Sharp Rule of grammar. That is not the case, however. The Granville Sharp rule has been successfully challenged. The point is that when Scripture refers to "our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ," it can mean two beings? both the "Great God," and the "Savior," Jesus Christ. The highly regarded Trinitarian Henry Alford gives a number of reasons as to why the grammar of the Greek does not force the interpretation of the passage to make Christ God. 
3. The context of the verse helps us to understand its meaning. The verse is talking about saying "no" to ungodliness while we wait for the appearing of Jesus Christ, who is the glory of God. Its purpose is not to expound the doctrine of the Trinity in any way, nor is there any reason to assume that Paul would be making a Trinitarian reference here. It makes perfect sense for Scripture to call Christ "the glory of God" and for the Bible to exhort us to say "no" to ungodliness in light of the coming of the Lord, which will be quickly followed by the Judgment (Matt. 25:31-33; Luke 21:36) … (38)
Zaatari is taking the position that Christ is being called the glory of God and not God himself. There are three main interpretations of this passage among Biblical exegetes. In his work ‘Introduction to the New Testament Christology’ the late Dr. Raymond Brown assessed all three interpretations and then came to a conclusion based on the most logically sound exegetical position. We will examine the two relevant interpretations of the verse – position (b) which has Jesus as the glory of God and not God himself, and position (c) which has Jesus as our great God. We will not look at position (a). Brown comments:
"Titus 2:13: “... the appearance of the glory of (the) great God and Savior of us Jesus Christ.” Three interpretations of the Greek underlying the italicized words are possible:
… (b) “the glory of our great God-and-Savior, which (glory) is Jesus Christ.” This interpretation follows the Greek in keeping together “God and Savior” but applies the compound title to the Father. Jesus Christ (grammatically in apposition to “glory”) is taken to represent the personification of the glory of God the Father. The objection to this interpretation is the same as that encountered under #9 in dealing with interpretation (c) of Col 2:2-3, namely, that we would expect in the Greek an explanatory “which is.” Otherwise, there is no real hindrance to applying the title “Savior” to the Father, for other passages in Titus (1:3; 2:10; 3:4) speak of “God our Savior” (as contrasted with 1:4 and 3:6 that speak of “Jesus Christ our Savior”). Nor can one object to the idea that Jesus is the glory of the Father, for other NT passages (John 1:14; 12:41; 17:24; Heb 1:3) identify Jesus as the bearer of divine glory.
c) “the glory of our great God-and-Savior Jesus Christ.” Here the compound title “God-and-Savior” is given to Jesus Christ. This is the most obvious meaning of the Greek. It implies that the passage is speaking only of one glorious epiphany, namely, of Jesus Christ, in harmony with other references to the epiphany of Jesus Christ in the Pastoral Epistles (1 Tim 6:14-15; II Tim 4:1). The likelihood that “Savior” is applied to Jesus Christ rather than to God the Father is suggested by the next verse in Titus (2:14), which speaks of the redemption wrought by Jesus. Some would rule out this interpretation that gives Jesus the title “God” because elsewhere in the pastorals (1 Tim 2:5; see #4 above) a clear distinction is made between the one God (= the Father) and the man Jesus Christ. However, as we have noted, in the fourth Gospel there are passages that call Jesus God along with passages that distinguish between Jesus and the one true God.
A decision is difficult. Some careful scholars (H. Conzelmann, J. Jeremias, J.N.D. Kelly) reject interpretation (c), while the majority261 (including O. Cullmann, J.D. Quinn, C. Spicq) argue for it, accepting the fact that here Jesus is called God. Personally, I am inclined to recognize interpretation (c) as the probable meaning of the passage." (39)
In footnote 261 Brown notes that the consensus among scholars regarding Titus 2:13 is that Jesus is indeed being referred to as God and thus Zaatari’s interpretation is not only disputed by the Greek itself on many levels, as Brown shows, but Zaatari and the Unitarians are in the minority of thinking with their interpretation. Browns footnote states: “See the listing of scholars in Harris, Jesus 185, who points out that this is the virtually unanimous view of grammarians and lexicographers.”
Moreover, even if we take position (b) as the correct view this would still prove the Deity of Christ since this view says that Jesus is the visible appearance of God himself. In other words, to say that Jesus is the manifestation of the glory of God is to say that God reveals himself as Christ – that Jesus is the visible revelation/appearance/manifestation of God himself. Compare this concept to Ezekiel 1:26-28 and 2:1-10. There you will see that Ezekiel sees a rather glorious human appearance, a figure of a man, which he identifies as the glory of Yahweh. As you continue to read in chapter 2 it turns out that this human appearance which is supposed to be the glory of Yahweh is none other than God himself who appeared to Ezekiel in the form of a man. So to say that Jesus is the glory of God is to say that Jesus is the human appearance of God himself. How, then, can Jesus be anything less than God when he is the visible manifestation of God?
In fact it is ironic that Gordon Donald Fee, whom I mentioned in my discussion on 2 Timothy 1:9-10, holds to position (b) and yet he is a Trinitarian! In his work “Pauline Christology” he makes a defense of position (b). But then read Bowman and Komoszewski’s book “Putting Jesus in his Place” and Dr. Daniel B. Wallace’s masterful defense of the Granville Sharp rule titled “Granville Sharp's Canon and Its Kin: Semantics and Significance” for the refutation to Fee.
"The grace of the Lord (kyrios) Jesus Christ be with your spirit" (Philemon 1:25).
Here Christ is called Lord (Greek ‘kyrios’). Muslims may not think this is significant but it is very significant. The Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament Hebrew scriptures would often translate Hebrew words for God such as יהוה (Yahweh) into the Greek word ‘kyrios’ (κύριος). So kyrios is the divine name of Yahweh in the Greek. This title is then applied to Christ by Paul and the other New Testament writers numerous times. This could very well mean that Paul thought of Jesus as Yahweh and applied the divine name to him. Of course there is no doubt that other people are called kyrios as well but context and exegesis is very important.
Muslims will often say that other people are called Lord (kyrios) in the Bible and we don’t consider them God Almighty. Therefore we shouldn’t consider Jesus God.
In his article ‘Preaching: The Lordship of Jesus Christ,’ Charles T. Carter notes some interesting facts about New Testament usage of the word kyrios:
"The term “lord” occurs over 600 times in the New Testament. It is true that sometimes it is merely a term of address or respect or affection. However, at least 150 of these times it is used of God Himself, and nearly 250 times it is used to describe Jesus." (40)
In light of the fact that the word Lord is used nearly twice as many times for Jesus than it is for God there must be something more significant to this than merely affirming that Jesus is our Master. An examination of some of the references where Jesus is called Lord shows that the NT writers used this to identify Jesus with Yahweh God of the OT, a point which we documented above. Here are a few more examples where Jesus is called Lord in the sense of being Yahweh:
“A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very moment I was able to see him. Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’” (Acts 22:12-16 – cf. 9:14, 21)
“To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:” (1 Corinthians 1:2)
True believers are those who call on the name of the Lord for salvation and in worship. However, the OT says that the faithful are those who call on the name of Yahweh!
“From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD.” Genesis 12:8 – cf. 21:33
“Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy. Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the LORD and he answered them. He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them” (Psalm 99:5-7)
“And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls” (Joel 2:32).
Amazingly, Paul quotes Joel 2:32 in reference to believers confessing that Jesus is Lord in order to be saved!
“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:9-13).
Here, the Lord whom one is supposed to call on for salvation is the same Jesus that a person must confess in order to be saved. Thus, Paul identifies Jesus as the Yahweh spoken of in Joel 2:32!
Moreover, many scholars are now holding to the view that when Jesus was referred to as Lord prior to his resurrection, many times, in this context, they were referring to him as master or teacher. However, after the resurrection they identified him as Lord with a new meaning in mind – namely Christ’s Deity. In his work ‘An Evangelical Christology: Ecumenic and Historic,’ Bernard L. Ramm states:
"In common with other titles there could have been a pre-resurrection meaning of the term and a post-resurrection one. In the pre-resurrection period it would amount to calling Jesus master, teacher, or leader. In the post-resurrection meaning it could be a term on the way to ascribing deity to Christ. It is a title which God gave to Jesus after the resurrection (cf. Acts 2:36, Phil. 2:9-11). It is the name that people confess for salvation (Rom. 10:9-10, 1 Cor, 8:6, 12:3). It is also pre-eminently the name used in Christian worship … Because kyrios is such a common name for God in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) Cullmann (1959, 307) thinks that the confession of Jesus as Lord is an incipient confession of his deity. This contention is re-enforced in Trinitarian statements in which Jesus is identified as Lord (Eph. 4:4-6)." (41)
And finally in Islamic Tawheed, when Jesus is referred to as Lord that is a statement of Deity which violates Tawheed. Tawheed al-Rububiya (Unity of Lordship) has it so that only Allah is Lord, thus when Jesus is being identified as kyrios it proves that he is God according to Islam.
Hebrews 1 describes the Lord Jesus Christ as Yahweh, the creator of all things. Hebrews quotes Psalms 102’s account of God Almighty creating all things and applies it to the Lord Jesus Christ!
Of the Lord Jesus Christ Hebrews 1:10-12 says:
"He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”
Of God Psalm 102:25-27 says:
"Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. "Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed." But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end."
Here Jesus is explicitly identified as Yahweh the creator God. Commenting on this amazing scripture Dr. Richard Bauckham states:
"Psalm 102:25-27 expresses the sovereignty of God over the material universe; he made it and will outlive it. The author of Hebrews applies these verses to Christ, as “Lord.” The application makes the Son directly responsible for the establishment of the earth and the formation of the heavens…" (42)
Muslim apologist Osama Abdullah erroneously asserts that Hebrews 1:10-12 is talking about God the Father and not about Lord Jesus Christ. He states:
"The verses are talking about GOD Almighty's Creation and Him laying down the foundation of the earth, and the throne of Jesus on earth." (43)
Abdullah concludes that because Hebrews 1:9 makes reference to the Father and describes him that therefore verses 10-12 must be speaking of the Father also. However this argument is easily refuted by simply reading from verses 5-12 and noting a consistent pattern:
5For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father"? Or again, "I will be his Father, and he will be my Son"? 6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him." 7In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire." 8But about the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." 10He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. 12You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end." (Hebrews 1:5-12, NIV)
Notice when you read the entire context the focus is what God the Father says about the Son and his uniqueness. The argument of Hebrews is that the Father has never said any of the angels are his sons and that he has become their Father. The Father says let all the angels worship Christ. The Father says the angels are servants. The Father says to the Son, “Your Throne, O God, will last forever.” Since the consistent pattern is the Father saying things about the Son glorifying him, when we get to verse 10 we should understand that when it says “He also says,” and then proceeds to talk about someone creating all things, this means the Father is saying this about the Son.
The Greek word for “He also says” in verse 10 is kai which means (and, also, even, indeed, but) so it is obvious that this is the Father continuing with his words about the Son. The Father is describing the Son as the Lord who created all things and sustains all things. The context of the chapter makes that clear. Yes verse 9 speaks about God the Father anointing the Son but it then goes on to say that the Father “says,” (or also continues/ moreover states) showing a continuation of the Father describing things about the Son. Therefore the Son is described as the creator and sustainer in verses 10-12.
Even the anti-Trinitarian heretical Unitarian website that Zaatari appeals to all of the time concedes that verses 10-12 are about Jesus, refuting Osama’s ignorance. However, they try to say that it is in reference to Jesus creating a new heavens and earth, not the present one. But even with this false heretical interpretation it still violates Islamic Tawheed – in that only Allah is supposed to be creator and sustainer. Their site www.biblicalunitarian.com concedes:
"This verse is quoted from the Old Testament (Ps. 102:25), where it applied to Yahweh, and the author of Hebrews is lifting it from the Psalms and applying it to Jesus Christ." (44)
"My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory." (James 2:1)
Here James the brother of the Lord Jesus, who doubted him at first, identifies Jesus as the “Lord of Glory” or “our glorious Lord Jesus Christ,” as others render it. Most scholars regard the Christology of James as lower than other New Testament writings. This is incorrect and might only appear to be true because James’ letter was not primarily focused on Christological issues but rather church conduct, moral issues, living a pure life, having pure faith, and salvation. James 2:1 refers to Jesus as God based on the Aramaic language that James spoke and the parallel he makes to Old Testament references to Yahweh as the King of glory [cf. Ps. 24:7-10] and the Glory within Jerusalem [cf. Zech. 2:5]. As Benjamin B. Warfield notes:
“James speaks of our Lord by name only twice, and on both occasions he gives Him the full title of reverence: ‘the (our) Lord Jesus Christ’ (1.1, 2.1) – coupling Him in the one case on equal terms with God, and in the other adding further epithets of divine dignity. Elsewhere he speaks of Him simply as ‘the Lord’ (5.7,8,  15) in context which greatly enhance the significance of the term. The pregnant use of ‘the Name,’ absolutely, which we found current among the early Christians as reported in the Acts, recurs here; and James advises in the case of the sick people that they be prayed over, while they are anointed with oil “in the Name” (5.14). The “Name” intended is clearly that of Jesus, which is thus in Christian usage substituted for that of Jehovah. A unique epithet, equally implying the deity of the Lord, is applied to Him in the exhortation, “My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Glory, with respect to persons” (2.1). ‘Glory’ seems to stand here in apposition to the name, “our Lord Jesus Christ,” further defining Him in His majesty. There is here something more than merely association of our Lord with glory, as when we are told that that He had glory with God before the world was (Jno 17.5), and after His humiliation on earth (though even on earth He manifested His glory to seeing eyes, Jno 1.14, 2.11, 17.22) entered again into His glory (Lk 24.26, Jno 17.24, 1 Tim 3.16, Heb 2.9, cf. Mt 19.28, 25.31, Mk 10.37), and is to come again in this glory (Mt 16.27, 24.30, 25.31, Mk 8.38, 13.26, Lk 9.26, 21.27, Titus 2.13, 1 P 4.13). We come nearer to what is implied when we read of Jesus being ‘the Lord of glory’ (1 Cor 2.8), that is He to whom glory belongs as His characterizing quality; or when He is described to us as “the effulgence of the glory of God” (Heb 1.3). The thought of the writer seems to be fixed on those Old Testament passages in which Jehovah is described as “Glory”: e. g., “For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the Glory in the midst of her” (Zech 2.5). In the Lord Jesus Christ, James sees the fulfillment of these promises: He is Jehovah come to be with His people; and, as He has tabernacled among them, they have seen His glory. He is, in a word, the glory of God, the Shekinah: God manifest to men. It is thus that James thought and spoke of his own brother who died a violent and shameful death while still in His first youth! Surely there is a phenomenon here which may well waken inquiry." (45)
"Whether James believes Jesus is God or not, does not matter. Many people believe in pagan idols as being God, does that matter at all? No, it does not matter at all, if James believes Jesus is God, then that is his own mistake, one he has to live with. The fact remains that Satan would in no way tempt Jesus the way he did if Jesus was truly God …"
So the fact James calls Jesus lord of glory doesn’t mean Jesus is God. It could be a title of honor. However so there are many titles in the bible given to others than Jesus, which were to honor, not to imply they were God.
Jerusalem was called "The LORD our Righteousness". "In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness (Yahweh tsidkenû).' (From the NIV Bible, Jeremiah 33:16)"
Ezekiel means "Strong God". It also means "Yahweh is Strong God". Elijah. This name is short for EliJehovah or "Eli Yahweh". Eli means my GOD, and Yahweh is the name and title of GOD Almighty in the Bible. Israel means "Challenge God", "he struggles with God", or "fight with God". It also means "Defeat God". Gabriel also means "Strong God"." (46)
Here Zaatari finds it irrelevant if James the brother of Jesus thought of him as God. However, if it is true that James believed Jesus was God it means that we can add one more independent eyewitness attestation to the historical case for the Deity of Christ. This is important to historians who look for early eyewitness testimony and multiple independent attestations. But it seems that Muslim apologists like Zaatari are not concerned with the historical method.
The second claim is that Satan would never tempt Jesus if he is God. This off topic point is nothing more than a red herring and does not directly address James 2:1 but I will address it anyway. They are basing this argument off of James 1:13 which states:
"When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone"
If you actually examine the narratives where Satan attempts to tempt Jesus we read that Satan fails miserably and Jesus passes the test. In responding to Satan’s promises to him, as well as the trickery, what does Jesus do? Does he sit there and contemplate things, showing that he is actually considering Satan’s offer, or does he reject Satan quickly? In Mark 4:1-11 Jesus rejects Satan’s tricks and promises immediately, which shows that Jesus wasn’t ever considering listening to the devil or accepting his offers. This shows that although Satan tried to tempt Jesus, Jesus was not capable of falling into temptation because of his divine nature. How do we know? It is because Jesus didn’t fall for Satan’s deceptions. Jesus did not fall for temptation because there was no sin in Jesus (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5); Satan had nothing to appeal to that would allow Jesus to actually fall into an effective temptation thereby causing him to stumble. Therefore, we affirm that there is no inconsistency with James 1:13 and Jesus being tempted by Satan because Jesus did not fall into temptation due to his divine nature.
Leaving Zaatari’s first two errors aside, he then asserts that it doesn’t matter if Jesus was identified as “Glorious Lord” or “Lord of Glory” in James 2:1 since other people and other things were given similar titles of honor. Zaatari mentions Ezekiel’s name meaning “strong God,” Elijah meaning “my God,” Israel meaning “fights with God,” and Gabriel meaning “strong God.” However, although Jewish names such as Ezekiel, Elijah and Gabriel represented the God they serve, this is not analogous to James literally identifying Jesus as the “Lord of Glory” or “Glorious Lord” because the name “Jesus” doesn’t mean “Lord of Glory” but rather the title is being applied directly to the person of Jesus Christ by someone else. Titles like these were never actually applied to Ezekiel, Elijah or Gabriel. It is not Jesus’ name which represents the God he serves as is the case with Ezekiel, Elijah and Gabriel; this is a title that is actually describing Christ himself.
Thus Zaatari’s analogies are meaningless and utterly fallacious.
"…It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him" (1 Peter 3:21-22).
Here the Apostle Peter explains that Jesus is at the right hand of God the Father. He also notes how angels, authorities and powers submit to Christ in present reality, i.e. that all creation is currently under Christ’s rule. This is something that no mere creature or prophet can do. According to Islamic scripture all creation is subject to Allah alone in heaven. However, Jesus Christ is sovereign over all creation according to the true inspired Scriptures, e.g. the Holy Bible. This separates the Lord Jesus Christ from all creation making him above all people, Prophets, Angels and powers. Jesus shares power, authority, and glory with the Father. He shares the divine throne of the Father. He shares sovereignty over all creation with the Father.
Moreover, this again violates Islamic Tawheed al-Rububiya – Unity of Lordship in that only Allah is supposed to be sovereign Lord in heaven. This verse also violates Tawheed al-Uloohiya – Unity of Worship since all creation is submissive to him. This proves that Jesus is God according to Islam.
I was unable to find a Muslim objection to this scripture.
"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… (2 Peter 1:1)
Here 2 Peter identifies the Lord Jesus Christ as our God and Savior. This is an explicit reference to the Deity of Christ from another early Christian document.
Muslims will usually say that there is a differentiation between God and Jesus in the next verse – 2 Peter 1:2. Thus they say 1:1 is calling the Father “our God,” and only calling Jesus “our Savior.” Therefore, they say Jesus is not God.
Firstly, if you make the claim that “our God” refers to the Father, and “Savior” refers to the Son in 1:1 then that causes major problems in the Greek. Moreover, other surrounding verses such as 1:11 and 3:18 indicate that Jesus is referred to as both God and Savior because of similar language being applied to Christ. Dr. Ben Witherington III remarks:
"The phrase “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” in 2 Peter 1:1 may be taken to mean that Jesus is both our God and our Savior. In favour of this conclusion is the phrase “our Lord and Savior, Jesus” at 2 Peter 1:11 and 3:18 (cf. 2 Pet 2:20; 3:2). Furthermore, as J.N.D. Kelly points out, if we distinguish two persons here, then the word “our” only refers to God, and we are left with the awkward phrase “Savior Jesus Christ” applied to Jesus. Against this, however, is said to be the immediate context in 2 Peter 1:2, where the phrase “of God and our Lord Jesus” is definitely a reference to two persons, not just one. It is hard to say which view should be adopted; however, the absence of the definite article and the presence of “our” tips the evidence in favour of Jesus being called “God” in 2 Peter 1:1. If so, this text is like John 1:1, 20:28, Romans 9:5, and Hebrews 1:8-9 in calling Jesus “God.” The term soter “Savior,” was used of God the Father in the Old Testament. Here it is applied to Jesus as the one who brings salvation." (47)
After both sides are examined it becomes clear that Jesus Christ is being identified as God in 2 Peter 1:1. The opposing view causes major problems with the Greek and other surrounding passages indicate that Jesus is God and Savior. Moreover, the word Savior is a common title for God in the Old Testament and it is applied to Jesus here. Therefore Dr. Witherington III and a host of other NT scholars rightly conclude that 2 Peter 1:1 affirms the Deity of Christ.
"We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true — even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." (1 John 5:20)
Here the apostle John identifies Jesus Christ as the true God. This is a clear reference to the Deity of Christ and it matches the theology found within his other writings.
Muslims may assert that it is the Father alone who is being identified as the true God and not the Lord Jesus.
We can know that this is referring to the Lord Jesus Christ as the true God for many reasons. First of all, 1 John 5:20 says that the one who is eternal life is the true God. Well in 1 John 1:1-3 we find that the Lord Jesus Christ is the word of life/eternal life!
"1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:1-3)
Notice that Jesus Christ is identified as the eternal life, the same eternal life that 1 John 5:20 says is the true God. This is how we can know that Jesus is being called the true God here. Moreover, who can be eternal life other than the eternal God?
On another note 1 John 1:1-3 and 1 John 5:20 indicate that Jesus is omnipresent in that we can all have fellowship with the Son in real time. In order for all of humanity to be able to have fellowship with Christ right now, Christ would have to be omnipresent or in other words ‘everywhere.’ This is an attribute of God. This is what 1 John 5:20 means when it says, “And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ.” These passages entail Jesus’ omnipresence and thus Deity. This is also indicated in the other writings of John:
"20in that day ye shall know that I [am] in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you 21he who is having my commands, and is keeping them, that one it is who is loving me, and he who is loving me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.'" (John 14:20-21)
"Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)
Commenting on 1 John 5:20 the late Dr. Raymond Brown states:
"In 1 John 5:20 there are two sentences: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding to know the true One [alethinos]; and we are in the true One, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” In the first sentence of this passage it is quite clear obvious that “the true One” is God the Father; indeed, some textual witnesses clarify it by adding “God,” giving a combination that would be translated “the true God” … The first sentence tells us that the Son has come and enabled people to know the Father, and that the Christian abides in the Father and Son. The real problem concerns the opening of the second sentence that I have italicized. To whom does the “this” refer? The most proposed possibilities are that it is a reference to either “Jesus Christ” or to “the True One” (i.e., the Father in the preceding sentence). Grammar favors the nearest antecedent, which here is “Jesus Christ” who thus would be called “true God.” Yet, since God the Father was referred to as “true” twice in the first sentence, one might suspect that “true God” is a reference to Him. Certainly in John 17:3 “the one true God” refers to God the Father and not to Jesus Christ. Can we learn something from the other predicate in this second sentence of 1 John 5:20 i.e., “eternal life”? Twice in the fourth Gospel Jesus speaks of himself as “the life” (11:25; 14:6), while the Father is never so called. Yet John 6:57 speaks of the “living Father” and makes it clear that the Father is the source of the Son’s life. Thus it seems probably that in Johannine terminology either the Father or the Son could be designated as “life,” even as both are designated “light” (1 John 1:5; John 8:12; note that it is the Epistle that calls the Father light while the Gospel calls Jesus light). It may be, however, that the predicate “eternal life” does favour making Jesus Christ the subject of the sentence we are discussing, for only eight verses earlier (5:12) the author of the Epistle stated: “The person who has the Son has life.” Moreover since the first sentence of 1 John 5:20 ends with Christians dwelling in God the Father, tautology is avoided if the second sentence ends by relating Christians to Jesus. When all the factors are added, probability seems to favour the thesis that 1 John 5:20 calls Jesus God – usage not unusual in Johannine literature". (48)
"Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love" (2 John 1:3).
Jesus as the “Fathers Son” or the “Son of God” is often overlooked and misunderstood. This title, however, is in fact an affirmation of the Deity of Christ.
"They [The Jews] believe that the Son of God was not divine. They believe that the Messiah was not divine. So when Jesus says I am the Christ the Son of the living God that doesn’t make him divine. That just proves our stance that the Son of God is a righteous judge and servant and that he is indeed the Messiah who came to save his people…" (49)
It appears that Zaatari thinks that when Jesus is identified as the Son of God it was in the exact same sense as the Old Testament when others were called “sons of God” and that there is nothing unique about this title for Jesus. Zaatari appears to hold the view that the title “Son of God” in the New Testament only means a righteous judge and servant of God and Messiah.
If it is true that the Jews understood Son of God to be a common name for a servant of God who judges things righteously and if this is the position of the New Testament why then in 1 John does the Apostle say that Jesus is the only/sole unique Son of God?
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9)
Son of God in reference to Jesus is unique in that it means that Jesus is the only one who bears the nature of God and has that unique relationship with the Father. Jesus being the Son of God is not biological but it has to do with his high Christology (high view of Jesus pertaining to his Deity). Secondly, if the Jews believed that Son of God was being used as a common phrase that had no implications of Deity then why in John 5:18 did the Jews understand Jesus’ Son of God statements to mean that he was saying he was equal with the Father?
"For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God" (John 5:18).
It is clear that contrary to Zaatari’s assertions, these Jews did not take Jesus’ claims of being God’s Son to simply mean that he was a righteous judge/servant of God or Messiah figure. The texts say that these Jews understood his Son of God statements to mean that he was making himself equal with God and that the Son of God statements were so blasphemous they wanted to kill him for uttering them. This is also evident at the trial of Jesus in Mark 14 where Jesus affirms he is the Son of the blessed God after which the high priest tore his clothes wanting him to be put to death! If this was a common title the Jews would not have reacted as such. The Son of God title with reference to Jesus is not merely denoting servitude to God or righteousness, although Jesus did in fact humble himself; rather, it is a unique title of Deity and Jesus is the unique Son in that sense. Thus 2 John 1:3 is affirming the Deity of Christ. More importantly, Jesus himself denies that the word “Son” has the same meaning as “servant”:
“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’” John 8:34-36
We clearly see here that servants do not have the same status as sons.
Besides, Jesus in the following parable distinguishes his relationship to God as his beloved Son from the prophets who were merely God’s servants:
“He then began to speak to them in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, “They will respect my son.” But the tenants said to one another, “This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.” So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard’” (Mark 12:1-8)
The Owner in the parable is supposed to be God and, according to the OT, the servants whom the Owner sent were God’s prophets:
“From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day” (Jeremiah 7:25)
“Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, ‘Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!’” (Jeremiah 44:4) – cf. 25:4; 26:5; 29:19; 35:15
In light of the foregoing it is apparent that Jesus clearly believed that he was more than a mere servant of God. Christ actually believed that he was the beloved Son of God and the unique Heir who owned everything that God possesses.
It’s interesting to note that Zaatari accepts Jesus as the Son of God when his own Quran forbids him to believe that – even though the Quran doesn’t even understand what Christians mean by Son of God.
"They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Master and Lord." Jude 1:4
Here Jesus is called “our only Master” and “Lord” (Kyrios). This elevates Christ above all creation because YHWH is Master and Lord of all believers. Jesus must be YHWH. This also violates Islamic Tawheed demonstrating that Jesus is above all humanity and is indeed God himself. Tawheed al-Rububiya: Unity of Lordship is violated. Tawheed al-Asma was-Sifat: Unity of the Names and qualities of God is violated. According to Muslims, Allah alone is Master and Lord of all believers. Thus, Jesus is God.
If this is true, then there is a slight problem, because the verse says that Jesus is their ONLY master and Lord, what does that mean? That means there is no other Lord and master, meaning the Father nor Holy spirit are masters or Lords and therefore we should not worship them. (50)
Although Zaatari isn’t addressing the Tawheed issue he does implicitly concede that Jude is teaching that Jesus is Master and Lord, an affirmation of the Deity of Christ. Zaatari then insinuates that Jude is wrong however, by asserting that Jude believed Jesus is the only Master and Lord, to the exclusion of the Father and Spirit. In other words, he is assuming that Jude is teaching that the Father and Spirit aren’t our Master or Lord. But is that what Jude meant?
Jude affirms and presupposes that both the Father and the Son are truly God and expresses this by ascribing different titles of Deity to both, i.e., the Father is called God whereas Jesus is called Lord in the sense of being Yahweh.
Moreover, even though Jude doesn’t say much about the Spirit what he does say is sufficient to establish that he believed in the Spirit’s Deity:
“These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have/devoid of the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” (Jude 1:20-21)
Disbelievers are those who do not have the Spirit, which presupposes that believers do, and true Christians are those who pray in union with and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Now, the only way for all believers to have access to one and the same Spirit no matter where they dwell is if the Holy Spirit is omnipresent. However, in order for the Spirit to be omnipresent he must also be God since God alone is omnipresent (cf. Psalm 139:1-12; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Amos 9:2-4).
Besides, we are told elsewhere in the Holy Bible that the Holy Spirit is eternal,
“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” Hebrews 9:14).
Thus, since the Spirit is eternal this means that he too must be God as well since only God is eternal. The Spirit is also the Lord of the Church since he assigns specific tasks to particular members of the spiritual body of Christ and even determines when and where they will go:
“While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them’” (Acts 10:19-20).
“In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus” (Acts 13:1-).
“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to” (Acts 16:6-7).
It is therefore clear that Jesus is not the only Master and Lord to the exclusion of the Father and the Spirit. Rather, his sovereignty over and ownership of all believers, as well as the entire creation, is shared by both the Father and the Spirit since the NT emphatically affirms the Deity of all three Divine Persons.
Finally, notice that Zaatari doesn’t deny that Jesus is being identified as Lord and Master here. Since that is the main issue the thesis has therefore been established, despite all of the red herrings that Zaatari tried to raise in an attempt to shift attention away from this fact. The fact of the matter is that book of Jude teaches the Deity of Christ by attributing essential divine attributes to Jesus, thereby making him a co-equal Divine Person with the Father and the Spirit. Muslims may not like it and they may bring up side issues but that is irrelevant.
According to John every creature worships Jesus in the same exact way that they worship God:
“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’ Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ‘‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard EVERY CREATURE in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne AND TO THE LAMB be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’ The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped” (Revelation 5:8-14).
There are two points to be gleaned from this.
- Jesus receives the same exact honor that God does which would be sheer idolatry if he were nothing more than a creature, no matter how highly exalted a creature he may be.
- The fact that every single creature in every place is worshiping/shall worship God and the Lamb, i.e. Jesus, provides conclusive and powerful testimony that Christ is not a creature, but is personally distinct from all of creation. As such Jesus is on the Creator side of the Creator/creature divide.
Also notice that in the Apostle John’s book of Revelation 22:6 it is the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets who sent his angel. So it is God Almighty who was the one to send the angel. However in verse 16 of the same chapter it is Jesus who sends the angel!
"The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place" (Revelation 22:6).
"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star" (Revelation 22:16).
This exact argument was raised by Brother Shamoun near the end of his debate with Zaatari on the Deity of Christ. (51) However Zaatari didn’t even attempt to address it. I was unable to locate any Muslim article or audio that even attempts to address this argument.
The New Testament testimony is clear. Every New Testament book (with the exception of 3 John due to small size) teaches the Deity of Christ. This article demonstrates that even though Muslim apologists have taken their best shots at undermining the Biblical witness to the Deity of Christ, every New Testament book (with the exception of one) teaches that Jesus is God. There is not just one passage affirming Christ’s Deity in each book either. I only examined one passage from each book due to space constraints. I could list dozens more. Praise God – Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
(Special thanks to Jochen Katz, Sam Shamoun and Anthony Rogers for their assistance in editing and input).
1. Yahya Hayder Seymour, Premier Christian Radio July 9th 2009, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqxiHLPtFws (time slice) (12:22-12:26)
2. Shabir Ally, None of the Bible's Writers Believed that Jesus is God http://www3.sympatico.ca/shabir.ally/new_page_39.htm
4. Bassam Zawadi, http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/refuting_trinity
5. Saint Augustine, Homilies on the Gospel of John 1-40, Edmund Hill, [New City Press, 2009], p. 499
6. J. Robertson McQuilkin, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics, [Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1995], p. 167
7. (Sam Shamoun vs. Sami Zaatari, Is Jesus God? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CjOuC1pZ0U (time slice) (42:42- 43:05)
8. Frederick Dale Bruner, Matthew a Commentary: The Christbook, Matthew 1-12
Volume 1, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004], p. 550
Volume 1, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004], p. 550
9. Shabir Ally, Faith Under Fire, Who Was Jesus
11. John Eberly, Al-Kimia: The Mystical Islamic Essence of the Sacred Art of Alchemy, [Sophia Perennis, 2005], p. 113
12. Robert M. Bowman, J. Ed Komoszewski, Darrell L. Bock, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ, [Kregel Publications, 2007], p. 249
13. Adeel Khan, Has Jesus been prophesied in the OT?
14. Sami Zaatari, muslim-responses.com/Doubting_Thomas/Doubting_Thomas_
15. J. D. Michaelis : Anmerk. in loc.; apud Dr. J. P. Smith's Script. Test. vol. ii., p. 287. [See another quotation from the same writer (Resurrection of Jesus, p. 272-3), given in "Illust. of Unitarianism," p. 266, No. 5, second edit.] John Wilson, The concessions of Trinitarians: being a selection of extracts from the writings of the most eminent biblical critics and commentators, [James Munroe, 1845], p. 384
16. Robert M. Bowman, J. Ed Komoszewski, Darrell L. Bock, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ, [Kregel Publications, 2007], p. 142
17. Bruce Metzger, The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English Versions, [Baker Academic, 2001], p. 85
18. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: K-P, Volume 3, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1995], p. 797
19. Bart Ehrman, Whose Word Is It? [Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006], p. 161
20. Raymond E. Brown, Introduction to New Testament Christology, [Continuum International Publishing Group, 1994], p. 188, footnote 276
21. Lars Hartman, Into the Name of the Lord Jesus: Baptism in the Early Church, [Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1997], p. 42
23. Shadid Lewis, Islam vs. Christianity: Why We Chose to Leave and Believe? (Shadid's Opening Statement - 1 of 6), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otweEXCbhKI (28:26-28:38)
24. Richard Bauckham, God crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament,
Didsbury lectures, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1999], pp. 37-38
Didsbury lectures, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1999], pp. 37-38
25. Sami Zaatari, http://muslim-responses.com/Jesus_VS_Paul/Jesus_VS_Paul_
25. B.W. Johnson, http://pnt.biblecommenter.com/ephesians/1.htm
27. I. Howard Marshall, New Testament Theology: Many Witnesses, One Gospel, [InterVarsity Press, 2004], p. 394
28. Shabir Ally, http://www3.sympatico.ca/shabir.ally/new_page_43.htm
29. Sami Zaatari, http://muslim-responses.com/Paul_Jesus_/Paul_Jesus_
30. Sami Zaatari, http://muslim-responses.com/Paul_Jesus_/Paul_Jesus_
31. Robert M. Bowman, J. Ed Komoszewski, Darrell L. Bock, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ, [Kregel Publications, 2007], pp. 82-84
32. Shabir Ally, www.islaminfo.com/qa.php
33. Bassam Zawadi, http://muslim-responses.com/Shamoun_and_Tawheed/Shamoun_and_Tawheed_
34. Sami Zaatari, http://muslim-responses.com/Shamoun_and_Tawheed/Shamoun_and_Tawheed_
35. Shadid Lewis, Islam vs. Christianity: Why We Chose to Leave and Believe? (Shadid's Opening Statement - 1 of 6), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otweEXCbhKI (28:38 - 29:00)
36. Gerry Matatics, http://sharpens.blogspot.com/2008/04/gerry-matatics-is-john-ratzinger-true.html (42:56 - 43:09)
37. Gordon Donald Fee, Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study, [Hendrickson Publishers, 2007], p. 508
38. Sami Zaatari, http://muslim-responses.com/Paul_Jesus_2/Paul_Jesus_2_
39. Raymond E. Brown, Introduction to New Testament Christology, [Continuum International Publishing Group, 1994], pp. 181-182
40. Charles T. Carter, Preaching: The Lordship of Jesus Christ
41. Bernard L. Ramm, An Evangelical Christology: Ecumenic and Historic, Regent College Publishing, 1993, p. 112 http://books.google.ca/books?q=+inauthor:%22Bernard+L.+Ramm%22&source=gbs_metadata_r&cad=9
42. Richard Bauckham, The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2009], p. 125
43. Osama Abdullah, http://www.answering-christianity.org/jeremiah23_rebuttal.htm
45. Benjamin B. Warfield, The Lord of Glory: A Classic Defense of the Deity of Jesus Christ, [Solid Ground Christians Books, Birmingham, Alabama: First Printing, November 2003], “The Witness of the Catholic Epistles”, pp. 264-265
47. Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Volume II: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1-2 Peter, Volume 2, [InterVarsity Press, 2008], p. 295
48. Raymond E Brown, Introduction to New Testament Christology, [Continuum International Publishing Group, 1994], p. 184
49. Sami Zaatari, Louis Ruggiero vs. Muslim Sami Zaatari Debate: Does the Bible Teach that Jesus is God? Part 1, www.kingmessiahproject.com/audio/audio.html (56:55 - 57:20)
51. Sami Zaatari vs. Sam Shamoun Debate: Is Jesus God? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CjOuC1pZ0U