Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Revisiting The Greatest Commandment According to Jesus Pt. 3

Sam Shamoun

We now arrive at the final part of our discussion.

John’s Gospel and Monotheism

Ally turns his attention to the Gospel of John in order to prove his assertion that Jesus is not God.

He refers to John 17:1 and makes the following remarkable admission:

In ch. 17, v. 1, Jesus lifted his eyes to heaven and prayed, ADDRESSING GOD AS FATHER. (Capital emphasis ours)

He then quotes v. 3 to show that the Father is the only true God.

“And eternal life means knowing you, the only true God, and knowing Jesus Christ, whom you sent” (John 17:3).

The reason why this is remarkable is because Ally seems to have overlooked the fact that, by admitting that Jesus affirmed that the Father is the only true God, he has basically established that Muhammad stands condemned as a false prophet according to the teachings of the historical Jesus!

As we had noted previously, Muhammad lambasted Christians for claiming that Jesus is God’s Son:

And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away! S. 9:30 Shakir

He even went as far as to deny that his god is a father to anyone, especially Jews and Christians:

And [both] the Jews and the Christians say, "We are God's children, and His beloved ones." Say: "Why, then, does He cause you to suffer for your sins? Nay, you are but human beings of His creating. He forgives whom He wills, and He causes to suffer whom He wills: for God's is the dominion over the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and with Him is all journeys' end." S. 5:18 Muhammad Asad – cf. Q. 19:88-95; 21:26

The Jews and Christians would have obviously informed Muhammad that they did not believe that God was their Father in a biological, procreative sense, which would be (and still is) just as blasphemous to them as it was for Muhammad. Rather, they would have clearly told him that they intended this in a purely spiritual and relational sense since God is a spiritual Being who doesn’t have sex with goddesses or women.

This means that Muhammad rejected the idea of God being a Father in a spiritual manner since he erroneously thought that the only way that his god could be considered someone’s father is if he sexually sired him/her:

“the Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could it be that He should have a child without there ever having been a mate for Him – since it is He who has created everything, and He alone knows everything?” S. 6:101 Asad

Yet since Allah doesn’t have sex this means he cannot be anyone’s father.

Now contrast this with how the Lord Jesus prayed in John 17:

“Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify YOUR Son so that THE Son may glorify You, for You gave Him authority OVER ALL FLESH; SO THAT HE MAY GIVE ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL YOU HAVE GIVEN HIM. This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ. I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You BEFORE THE WORLD EXISTED.” John 17:1-5

There are several things to note from Christ’s prayer. First, not only does Jesus refer to God as his/the Father he also claims to have shared the same glory with the Father before the world was even came into being!

However, the OT emphatically affirms that Yahweh does not share his divine glory with anyone:

“I will act for My own sake, indeed, My own, for how can I be defiled? I will not give My glory to another. Listen to Me, Jacob, and Israel, the one called by Me: I am He; I am the first, I am also the last.” Isaiah 48:11-12

Here, Yahweh claims to be “the First and the Last,” a title which points to his uncreated and eternal existence, in the same context of not giving his glory to another.

Interestingly, not only does the Quran agree that the title, “the First and the Last,” is one of the names of God,

He is the First and the Last, and the Outward as well as the Inward: and He has full knowledge of everything. S. 57:3 Asad

Jesus goes so far as to ascribe this very divine title to himself!

“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I WAS DEAD, but look—I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades.’” Revelation 1:17-18 – cf. 2:8; 22:12-13, 16, 20

Second, Christ also says that the Father has granted him, the Son, authority over all flesh so that he might be the One to give eternal life to whomever the Father gives him.

Nor is this the only time where Jesus said this. Elsewhere in John, Jesus makes the claim that he not only gives eternal life but will also be the One who shall resurrect the dead from their graves just by the sound of his sovereign voice!

“And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to anyone He wants to… I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. And He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear HIS [Son’s] voice and come out—those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of judgment.” John 5:21, 25-29

“‘I am the bread of life,’ Jesus told them. ‘No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe. Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me BUT SHOULD RAISE THEM UP ON THE LAST DAY. For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, AND I WILL RAISE HIM UP ON THE LAST DAY.’ Therefore the Jews started complaining about Him because He said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can He now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’” John 6:35-42

Third, Jesus even claimed to be one in essence with the Father:

“‘My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and The Father, We are one (ego kai pater hen esmen).’ Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him. Jesus replied, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?’ We aren’t stoning You for a good work,” the Jews answered, ‘but for blasphemy, because You—being a man—make Yourself God.’” John 10:27-33

Christ plainly asserts to be one with the Father in granting eternal life and preserving his sheep from ever perishing. These divine functions presuppose that the Son, just like the Father, is omnipotent and omnipresent.

Therefore, since the Father is the only true God, and since Jesus is essentially one with him, this means that Jesus is also the only true God.

Thus, Ally again cites biblical passages which conflict with his theology as a Muslim!

What makes this even more ironic is that Ally claims that Jesus’ true followers will follow Christ in affirming that the Father alone is the only true God!

Some say that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. But Jesus said that THE FATHER alone is the only true God. True followers of Jesus will follow him in this too. (Emphasis ours)

A couple of responses to Ally’s blunder. First, Jesus did not say that the Father ALONE is the only true God; that is simply Ally’s deliberate twisting of the passage in order to make it agree with his Islamic presuppositions.

Second, if Christians were to follow Christ in this regard then they would be forced to reject Muhammad as an imposter and a false prophet, since he denied that God is the Father and that Jesus is his beloved Son. According to John, this makes Ally’s prophet an antichrist:

“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23

Who is our Savior according to Jesus?

Ally continues with his scripture twisting, this time citing John 8:31 to establish that believers must continue to keep Christ’s commandments, such as believing in and affirming the Shema. He erroneously concludes from this that we are not to love Jesus just as much as we love God, and that some Christians are guilty of loving Jesus even more than God since they view the latter as vengeful, whereas they look to Jesus as their Savior from God’s wrath. He then alludes to Isaiah 43:11 and 45:21-22 to establish that Yahweh is our only Savior!

This is truly an ironic assertion coming from Ally. He surely must know that according to the very same Gospels, which he has been using to attack the Deity of Christ, the Father sent forth his beloved Son from his very own heavenly presence in order to be the Savior of the world!

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” John 1:29

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.” John 3:16-18

“Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ Therefore, when the Samaritans came to Him, they asked Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of what He said. And they told the woman, ‘We no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.’” John 4:39-42

“If anyone hears My words and doesn’t keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” John 12:47

“And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14

In fact, here is what Jesus also said in John 8, which Ally conveniently omitted:

“As He was saying these things, many believed in Him. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ ‘We are descendants of Abraham,’ they answered Him, ‘and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can You say, “You will become free”?’ Jesus responded, ‘I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free… But now you are trying to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! You’re doing what your father does.’ … Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on My own, but He sent Me… I assure you: If anyone keeps My word, he will never see death—ever!’ Then the Jews said, ‘Now we know You have a demon. Abraham died and so did the prophets. You say, “If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste death—ever!” Are You greater than our father Abraham who died? Even the prophets died. Who do You pretend to be?’ ‘If I glorify Myself,’ Jesus answered, ‘My glory is nothing. My Father—you say about Him, “He is our God”—He is the One who glorifies Me. You’ve never known Him, but I know Him. If I were to say I don’t know Him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. Your father Abraham was overjoyed that he would see My day; he saw it and rejoiced.’ The Jews replied, ‘You aren’t 50 years old yet, and You’ve seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I assure you: Before Abraham came into existence, I AM.’ At that, they picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex.” John 8:30-36, 40, 42, 51-59

Jesus not only emphatically testifies to being the Son whom the Father sent to redeem people from their sins, he also claims to have always existed, even before Abraham came into being!

Could Jesus have made it any clearer that he is the preexistent divine Son and Savior of the world?

John isn’t alone in proclaiming the fact that Jesus is the Savior of all who would turn to him:

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus (Heb. Yeshua – “Yahweh Saves/Is Salvation”), because He will save HIS people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

“In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior has been born, who is Christ the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.’ Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!’” Luke 2:8-14

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people, and we must be saved by it.” Acts 4:12

“God exalted this Man to His right hand as Ruler and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31

“From this man’s [David] descendants, according to the promise, God brought the Savior, Jesus, to Israel.” Acts 13:23

“and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by His blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—the glory and dominion are His forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

“And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed people for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10 – cf. 7:9-17

Hence, Jesus does the very thing which the OT says that Yahweh is capable of doing, namely save his people from their sins:

“Israel, put your hope in the LORD. For there is faithful love with the LORD, and with Him is redemption in abundance. And He will redeem Israel from all its sins.” Psalm 130:7-8

“‘You are My witnesses’—this is the declaration of the LORD—‘and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. No god was formed before Me, and there will be none after Me. I, I am Yahweh, and there is no other Savior but Me… I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more.’” Isaiah 43:10-11, 25

“Speak up and present your case—yes, let them take counsel together. Who predicted this long ago? Who announced it from ancient times? Was it not I, Yahweh? There is no other God but Me, a righteous God and Savior; there is no one except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:21-22

And the only reason why Jesus is able to save his people from their sins is because he is Yahweh God Incarnate (yet not the Father or the Holy Spirit)!

Again, notice how this logically works out:

  1. Yahweh alone is the Savior of the world who is able to deliver his people from their sins.
  2. Jesus is the Savior of the world whom the Father sent to deliver his (the Son’s) people from their sins.
  3. Jesus is, therefore, Yahweh God (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

This explains why the blessed Apostle Paul could even go as far as to refer to Jesus as our great God and Savior!

“while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.” Titus 2:13-14

Paul knew that Jesus must be God in order for him to be able to redeem a people for himself and purify them from their sins.

The foregoing also addresses Ally’s other objection:

If Jesus knew that God is a trinity, why did he not say so? Why did he not say that God is one in three, or three in one? Instead, he declared that God is one — full stop. True imitators of Jesus will imitate him also in this declaration of God’s oneness. They will not add the word three where Jesus never said it.

Contrary to Ally’s assertion, Jesus didn’t stop at the affirmation that God is one, but went on to proclaim that this one God is not a uni-personal Being.

In fact, in light of all the evidence which we have presented from the very same writings which Ally himself quoted, could Christ and his followers have been any clearer that Israel’s one God is not a singular Person, or that the Father isn’t the only divine Person? Isn’t it obvious from the testimony of Christ and his disciples that the Father and the Son (as well as the Holy Spirit), although personally distinct, are essentially one and therefore God?

As such, did Jesus really need to go around using the exact vocabulary that Ally proposes when what he said is more than sufficient to prove that the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is tri-Personal, and that Yahweh exists simultaneously as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?

So much for Ally’s appeal to the Gospels to establish his case that Jesus isn’t God and that Muhammad was a prophet of the one true God.

Both Ally and Williams need to realize that the Holy Bible exposes Islam as a false religion and condemns Muhammad as a false prophet. There is simply no way around this fact.