Muslims typically challenge Christians to produce verses from the Holy Bible where Jesus is reported to have said the words "I am God" or "Worship me." The assumption is that if Jesus didnt say these exact words then he never claimed to be Divine. The Muslims insist that Jesus had to affirm his Deity by saying it in the manner they propose, otherwise he must have not believed or taught that he was God in essence.
Moreover, when Christians cite the plain words of the inspired NT writers that do affirm the full Deity of Christ, most of whom were eyewitnesses to Jesus, the Muslims reject these claims on the ground that these are not the words of Christ himself. They are merely the personal views of the authors.
In order to show why these typical Muslim arguments hold no merit and do absolutely nothing to undermine the plain teaching of the New Testament that Jesus is in fact the Divine Son of God, we issue some challenges of our own.
1. Produce statements from the Quran where Jesus allegedly says the following:
Quoting verses where the author of the Quran denies that Jesus is God, Gods Son etc., will not satisfy our challenge since these arent the words of Jesus but the personal opinion of the writer of the Quran.
If the Muslims fail to meet these challenges then this proves that the Quran does not deny the Deity of Christ since it never once quotes him as ever expressly saying that he is not God, the Son of God etc.
2. Make sure to produce these statements in Jesus original Aramaic tongue, in the language that he spoke while on earth. We will not accept any statements supposedly made by Jesus in Arabic since he never spoke Arabic, especially the Quraishi dialect of Arabic which the Quran is supposed to have been written in:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur'an, so he said to Uthman, "O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) as Jews and the Christians did before." So 'Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, "Send us the manuscripts of the Qur'an so that we may compile the Qur'anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you." Hafsa sent it to Uthman. Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, Abdullah bin AzZubair, Said bin Al-As and AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, "In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur'an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur'an was revealed in their tongue." They did so, and when they had written many copies, Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur'anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. Said bin Thabit added, "A Verse from Surat Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Qur'an and I used to hear Allah's Apostle reciting it. So we searched for it and found it with Khuzaima bin Thabit Al-Ansari. (That Verse was): Among the Believers are men who have been true in their covenant with Allah." (33.23) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 510)
Besides exposing the inconsistency in Muslim polemics, the foregoing helps to demonstrate the following point: Just as the Quran can deny Jesus being God without needing to put words in his mouth to do so, in a similar manner the NT writers could (and actually do) affirm the Deity of Christ without having to quote Jesus as saying the words, "I am God" or "Worship me".
Recently, a writer of Bismika Alllahuma named Pro-Pas produced a paper (*) seeking to address my challenges. What makes this response interesting is that he chose to rechallenge me as a way of demonstrating why the arguments I presented are invalid.
The readers can see the irony here since the very purpose of my challenges was to show WHY the Muslim challenges to the Christians regarding the Deity of Christ are simply dishonest and fail to prove or disprove anything! The author has basically ignored all of this, which is a tacit admission on his part that these challenges could never be met, and so decided to post some challenges of his own in order to do some damage control! Yet in so doing he ends up indirectly admitting and agreeing with me that Muslims are dishonest for using arguments and methods which can be used more forcefully against the Quran and Islam.
Moreover, I found it interesting that Pro-Pas quotes Sura 5:116-117 where Jesus is quoted as supposedly saying:
And behold! Allah will say "O Jesus the son of Mary! didst thou say unto men ‘worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?" He will say: "Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart though I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden. Never said I to them aught except what Thou didst command me to say to wit ‘Worship Allah my Lord and your Lord’; and I was a witness over them whilst I dwelt amongst them; when Thou didst take me up thou wast the Watcher over them and Thou art a Witness to all things."
So basically the missionary has no case since we have here the statement of Jesus (P) who denies being God!
Several responses are necessary in order to show why this doesn't answer any of my challenges. In the first place, I didn't challenge a Muslim to show me where Jesus denied being ANOTHER god besides God, which is what the above references claim. Note again what Allah will supposedly ask Jesus:
And when Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for TWO GODS BESIDE Allah (ilahayni min dooni Allahi)? ... S. 5:116 Pickthall
Since neither the New Testament nor historic Christianity has ever taught that Jesus and his mother are two other gods besides Allah, this citation not only fails to answer my challenges but it shows how the Quran distorts historic Christian teaching. Christians are just as much against the teaching that Christ is another god besides Allah as are the Muslims.
Second, this verse is not recording something Jesus taught on earth. It is a fictitious dialogue that will allegedly take place in the future, at the last judgment. It is not a direct report of what Jesus taught while on earth, although claims about his earlier teachings are being put into his mouth.
Third, if Jesus' future statements in heaven count then certainly his words in the book of Revelation count, not only what is written in the Gospels in regard to his life on earth. And those words in Revelation were directly revealed to John in Greek, not in Aramaic.
Pro-Pas also says something interesting:
... The Qur'an certainly quotes or paraphrases Jesus as saying that he is not God and the Qur'an denies that he is a Son of God, but in Arabic. This is because the Qur'an has affirmed itself to be revealed in Arabic text, sent down to an Arab prophet, lest its audience uses the excuse that they will not be able to understand the Qur'an if were brought down in a foreign tongue.
Thus, it is okay for the Quran to paraphrase the words of Jesus in Arabic and this is sufficient to prove that Jesus denied being God. However, when the New Testament quotes Jesus' words in Koine Greek to show that he did claim to be God's unique and Divine Son, and therefore identified himself as God, the Muslims object that these words are not in Jesus' mother tongue and therefore do not count!
To conclude we want to repeat a specific portion of his statements since they basically echo our very own view of things:
It is obvious, however, that his demands are as preposterous as it is stupid.
We fully agree... the Muslim challenges are quite preposterous and stupid. We couldnt have said it any better. How ironic that this Muslim ends up proving my point by highlighting the very purpose why I issued these challenges in the first place, i.e demonstating how utterly foolish and dishonest these Muslim arguments truly are.
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page