Friday, October 16, 2015

How can Jesus be God if He Himself Worshiped God? Pt. 2



By Sam Shamoun

We continue from where we previously left off.

In this particular rebuttal we are going to see how the very writings, which Muslim polemicists cite to disprove Jesus’ divinity on the grounds that he worshiped God, actually depict Christ as an object of religious devotion. In other words, we shall provide evidence from these same inspired documents that Jesus is given the same worship that is given to God the Father.  

The Honor and Worship Jesus Receives in the Gospel of John

Note, for instance, what Christ says about receiving the exact same honor that is given to the Father:

“The Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all men should honor the Son, JUST AS they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:22-23

Pay careful to the fact that Jesus did not say that people are to honor him as a prophet or a messenger, or even as they would their parents. Rather, Christ expressly says that everyone must show him the same honor which they render to the Father. Since we have already seen in John 4:23-24 that one of the ways of honoring the Father is to worship him, this means that everyone is required to also worship the Son. More on this issue shortly.

The second point to notice is Jesus’ claim to being entrusted with all judgment, which means that it is the Son himself who shall determine the eternal destiny of every single individual in order that all may come to acknowledge his divine majesty and dignity. And yet God’s Word is emphatically clear that it is God who comes to judge the nations:

But the Lord remains forever; He has established His throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; He will give judgment to the peoples in uprightness.” Psalm 9:7-8

Say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns! Indeed, the world is established; it shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.’… before the Lord, for He comes, for He comes to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His faithfulness.” Psalm 96:10, 13

Even the Quran acknowledges that judgment is a task that God alone carries out:

Then are they restored unto Allah, their Lord, the Just. Surely His is the judgment. And He is the most swift of reckoners. S. 6:62 Pickthall

That is because, when God was called to alone, you disbelieved; but if others are associated with Him, then you believe. Judgment belongs to God, the All-high, the All-great. S. 40:12 Arberry

As such, this passage raises problems for Muslims since not only does Jesus receive the same honor that God receives, something which Islam expressly forbids, the identification of God as the Father and Christ as the Son also contradicts the Quran, which expressly curses Christians and calls them perverts for believing that Jesus is the Son of God:

And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they! S. 9:30 Pickthall

As such, Muhammad stands condemned as an antichrist for denying the Father and the Son,

Who is a liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? Whoever denies the Father and the Son is the antichrist. No one who denies the Son has the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father.” 1 John 2:22-23

And for slanderously accusing God of being a liar since both he and the Spirit have borne witness that Jesus is God’s Son whom everyone must believe in for eternal life:

This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. It is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth. There are three who testify in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and the three are one. There are three that testify on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are toward the one. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God which He has given concerning His Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has this witness in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he does not believe the testimony that God gave about His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life, and whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:6-13 

Moving ahead, we see Jesus receiving worship in the context of healing a blind man in confirmation of his being the Light of the world and the unique Son of God:

As Jesus passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But it happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. I must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.’ When He had said this, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva. He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means ‘Sent’). So he went away and washed, and returned seeingJesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when He found him, He said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of God? He answered, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen Him, and it is He who speaks with you.’ Then he said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ AND HE WORSHIPPED HIM.” John 9:1-7, 35-38

Interestingly, even the Muslim scripture affirms that Jesus possessed the power to heal the blind:

to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I will create for you out of clay as the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, by the leave of God. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by the leave of God. I will inform you too of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.” S. 3:49 Arberry – cf. Q. 5:110

Elsewhere in John, Christ informs his disciples that they could start praying directly to him in his name after his physical ascent to the Father in heaven:

“‘Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going. ‘Lord,’ Thomas said, ‘we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him AND HAVE SEEN HIM.’ ‘Lord,’ said Philip, ‘show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been among you all this time without your knowing Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on My own. The Father who lives in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves. I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask IN MY NAME, I WILL DO IT so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask ME anything IN MY NAME, I WILL DO IT.” John 14:1-14 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Here Jesus tells his followers that he’ll be the One who will personally answer all their invocations in order to empower them to do greater miracles than he had been doing while he was on earth. This requires the Son to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent since Christ must know who and how many are praying to him, the locations of all those praying to him, what they are praying for, and then be able to grant all of these requests. Christ even goes as far as to identify himself as the Truth and the Life who saves and preserves his followers in order that they might dwell in his presence forever. 

We have therefore seen from John’s Gospel that Christ is said to be an object of prayer and worship in the context of being the Light of the world that has the power to grant both spiritual and physical sight to all who come to him. He is also honored as the Truth and the Life who possesses the necessary omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence required to be able to hear and answer all the prayers that are offered directly to him in his name.

The foregoing will be quite troubling for Muslims since Islamic theology teaches that it is Allah who is the truth and the light of the world that gives life, as well as the one who hears and answers prayers:

He is the Living One. There is no God save Him. So pray unto Him, making religion pure for Him (only). Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!... He it is Who quickeneth and giveth death. When He ordaineth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is. S. 40:65, 68 Pickthall

And:

Al-Haqq: The Truly Real

The Truth, the Real, the Really-existing, He whose existence and divinity are true, the One who creates according to the requirements of wisdom, justice, right, rightness, the Necessarily-existing by His own Essence, He whose existence is undeniable. Every reality exists from His essence and nothing has any intrinsic reality except Him.

Al-Haqq is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

"That is because Allah - He is the Truth, and what you call upon besides Him is falsehood Allah is the All-High, the Most Great." (31:29)

"On that Day Allah will pay them in full what is due to them, and they will know that Allah is the Clear Truth." (24:25)

"That is because Allah is the Real and gives life to the dead and has power over all things and the Hour is coming without any doubt and Allah will raise up all those in the graves."…

Al-Muhyî, Al-Mumît: The One Who Gives Life, The One who Makes Die

The Life-Giver or Quickener who makes something alive, to be a living thing; He quickenes him or endues him with life or revives him. He revives the earth with rain and endues with intelligence. Al-Mumit is the One who causes to die.

Al-Muhyi and Al-Mumit are two of the Ninety-Nine Names.

"How can you reject Allah, when you were dead and then He gave you life, then He will make you die and then give you life again, then you will be returned to Him?" (2:27)  (22:6)…

An-Nûr: The Light

The light, guide, the One who illuminates; the One who is manifest, clear.
An-Nur is one of the Ninety-Nine Names.

"Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The metaphor of His light is that of a niche in which there is a lamp, the lamp inside a glass, the glass like a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, its oil all but giving off light even if no fire touches it. Light upon light." (24:35) (Aisha Bewley, Divine Names)

This conclusively shows that Jesus not only receives the worship due to God according to John’s Gospel, but also that he himself even claimed to be God in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit). This explains why the Lord could be given the worship that only God is to receive from his creation, and further helps us understand why the risen Christ would accept and bless Thomas worshiping him as his Lord God:

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ 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 20:24-29 New International Version (NIV)

No wonder the disbelieving Jews tried to kill the Lord of glory, since they could plainly see that Christ was making himself out to be God and equal to God the Father:

So the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day. Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working still, and I am working.’ So the Jews sought even more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” John 5:16-18

My Father and I are one.’ Again the Jews took up stones to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, ‘We are not stoning You for a good work, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, claim to be God.” John 10:30-33

Their mistake lied in assuming that Jesus was nothing more than a man (much like the Muslims), which is why they erroneously thought he was blaspheming.

We’re not through just yet, since we have more concerning this topic of Jesus being worshiped as God in the next part of our rebuttal.

1 comment:

  1. God bless you for your work to show that Jesus IS Lord

    ReplyDelete