Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Before Adam Was, Jesus Is! Pt. 1

Sam Shamoun

In this article I am going to address a typical Muslim ruse which Islamic dawagandists often raise to undermine and refute Jesus’ explicit claim to eternal preexistence in John 8:58:

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

Here the Lord explains that he has been in existence even before Abraham was born, thereby contrasting the creatureliness of the patriarch with his own uncreated, timeless Being. Jesus’ words, therefore, echo what God told Moses from the burning bush when the latter asked for his name:

“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM (ehyeh asher ehyeh): and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM (ehyeh) hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD (YHWH) God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” Exodus 3:13-15



Here is how Muslim apologist Yusuf Estes responded to an unnamed Christian who cited John 8:58 to prove the Deity of Christ:

Christian - Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!"

Adam (Peace be upon him), was also before Abraham; so was Enoch, Seth; Cain, Abel and even Eve and many other men and women. So, are they all gods? Children of gods?

Why didn't he say, "Before ADAM was born, I am?" or "Before anyone was born, I am" or why not just say, "I am" and let it go? This is obviously another attempt of a translator trying to justify other claims popular at the time of the translation. (Jesus: Slave of God?)

Muslim dawagandist and taqiyyist Osama Abdallah states something similar:

Another Christophobic taqiyyist writes:

Why Not Adam, Heaven and Earth?

Why would Jesus compare himself to Abraham, instead of Adam? He should said, “Before Adam, heavens and earth, I was (I AM).” Why the vagueness?

The statement, ‘I AM,’ only declares to the Children of Israel that Jesus is their prophet. He is letting them know that, even though they invoked the name of Abraham but not his character or piety as Jesus often said to them, he is their particular prophet, not Abraham. If this statement really came from Jesus, then it would mean, “I am your Prophet, not Abraham.” Or, Jesus meant to only say, “Before Abraham was I born, I was a prophet,” meaning, Allah designated Jesus as a prophet in His eternal knowledge, before Abraham was born, as is the case with all the prophets.

What agrees to this meaning are the words he said two verses before, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” The meaning mentioned here is also supported by this translation for, ego eimi: “Before Abraham was born I was already what I am” (The Twentieth Century New Testament, Fleming H. Revell). (Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Islamic Monotheism vs. Trinity, by Jalal Abualrub, edited by Alaa Mencke [Madinah Publishers & Distributors, First edition 2012], pp. 26-27)

These Muslims are essentially arguing that if Jesus really meant that he was God or eternal in nature then he could have stated this point more clearly and forcefully by claiming to have been in existence even before Adam was created. It is this assertion that we are going to respond to here.



To begin with, Yusuf Estes’ formulation is quite a blunder since the Quran, in agreement with the Holy Bible, affirms that Adam was not born, but created (as an adult). So, to demand that Jesus should have said “Before Adam was born…,” is to contradict an essential teaching about the creation of man. This exemplifies just how stupid Muslim arguments get when they try to attack the Holy Bible by all means and without really thinking what they are doing.

With that in mind, the Lord Jesus did claim to have existed before Adam was created:

“And now, O Father, glorify thou me WITH THINE OWN SELF with the glory which I had with thee BEFORE THE WORLD WAS For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me… Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me BEFORE the foundation of the world.” John 17:5, 8, 24

Here is how another English version renders v. 5:

“And now, Father, glorify me AT YOUR SIDE with the glory I had with you before the world was created.” New English Translation (NET)

And here, also, are the notes provided by the above translation to this verse:

12 tn Or “in your presence”; Grk “with yourself.” The use of παρά (para) twice in this verse looks back to the assertion in John 1:1 that the Word (the Λόγος [Logos], who became Jesus of Nazareth in 1:14) was with God (πρὸς τὸν θεόν, pro" ton qeon). Whatever else may be said, the statement in 17:5 strongly asserts the preexistence of Jesus Christ.

13 tn Grk “before the world was.” The word “created” is not in the Greek text but is implied.

sn It is important to note that although Jesus prayed for a return to the glory he had at the Father’s side before the world was created, he was not praying for a “de-incarnation.” His humanity which he took on at the incarnation (John 1:14) remains, though now glorified. (Bold emphasis ours)

As the verses and the textual notes make abundantly clear, this is an example of an explicit assertion from the Lord Jesus himself where he plainly testifies to his glorious prehuman existence not just before Adam came into being, but even before the world itself was created!

The Lord Jesus emphatically affirms that he existed at the Father’s side before the creation of the world, and therefore before Adam had been created, and was (and continues to be) the object of the Father’s perfect, infinite love even before the world was brought into being.

Christ doesn’t stop there since he not only goes on to say that he came forth from the Father’s presence to enter the world, he further claims to have existed in the same divine glory with the Father even before the creation of the world!

Now let us see what the inspired Scriptures teach concerning Yahweh sharing his glory with any other heavenly being:

“For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.” Isaiah 48:11

Yahweh makes sure to let his people know that he shall never give his own glory to someone else.

In fact, the angelic hosts proclaim and praise Yahweh for his glory, they do not share in it:

“Praise the Lord, you mighty angels (bene Elim – “sons of God”). Praise the Lord for his glory and strength. Praise the Lord for the glory that belongs to him. Worship the Lord because of his beauty and holiness.” Psalm 29:1-2 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

And yet Jesus can say that he and the Father existed alongside each other in the very same glory before the world had been brought into existence!

Christ even goes as far as to say that God glorifies him in the same way that the Son glorifies God!

“Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.” John 13:31-32

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power OVER ALL FLESH, that HE SHOULD GIVE ETERNAL LIFE to as many as thou hast given him.” John 17:1-2

Suffice it to say, no mere mortal could ever utter these words since God is not in the business of glorifying any of his creatures in union with himself, since this would result in that creature being worshiped and glorified with/as God. And yet Jesus can demand to receive such glorification from the Father obviously because he is no mere creature, but rather God in the flesh.

This is brought out by Jesus’ claim that the Father has granted him authority over all mankind so that he can then grant eternal life to all those whom the Father gives him to save. Now Christ could only do this if he were/is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent since he must have the ability to know and eternally preserve every single person that the Father has appointed to eternal life.   

This is further highlighted by Jesus speaking of himself as the Son of man who is glorified, which is a clear allusion to the following vision of Daniel:

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, AND GLORY, and a kingdom, that ALL people, nations, and languages, should serve (yip’lachun) him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14 – cf. Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:32-33; 24:27; Ephesians 1:19-23; Philippians 2:9-11; 2 Peter 1:11; Revelation 5:8-14; 11:15

This particular Son of man that the prophet saw is no creature since he receives the very glory which properly belongs to God!

For instance, this figure rides the clouds like God does,

“The burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.” Isaiah 19:1 – cf. Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19-20, 24-26; 33:7-11; 40:34-38; Numbers 10:34; 12:4-10; Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalm 68:4, 33-34; 104:3; Nahum 1:3

Rules forever over an indestructible kingdom just as God does, and even receives the same worship that God receives!

“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall SERVE (yip’lachun) and obey him.” Daniel 7:27

“I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.” Daniel 6:26 – cf. 6:16, 20; 3:12, 14, 17-18, 28; Psalm 22:27-30; 86:9-10; 145:13; Isaiah 66:23; Zechariah 14:9, 16-17

We, thus, have an explicit Old Testament witness to the Deity and eternal majesty of the Messiah!

There is more to the picture, as we shall see in the next part of our reply.