Concept of God in Christianity

by Dr. Zakir Naik

I) Position of Jesus (pbuh) in Islam:

(i) Islam is the only non-Christian faith, which makes it an article of faith to believe in Jesus (pbuh). No Muslim is a Muslim if he does not believe in Jesus (pbuh).

(ii) We believe that he was one of the mightiest Messengers of Allah (swt).

(iii) We believe that he was born miraculously, without any male intervention, which many modern day Christians do not believe.

(iv) We believe he was the Messiah translated Christ (pbuh).

(v) We believe that he gave life to the dead with God’s permission.

(iv) We believe that he healed those born blind, and the lepers with God’s permission.

II)Concept of God in Christianity

1. Jesus Christ (pbuh) never claimed Divinity

One may ask, if both Muslims and Christians love and respect Jesus (pbuh), where exactly is the parting of ways? The major difference between Islam and Christianity is the Christians’ insistence on the supposed divinity of Christ (pbuh). A study of the Christian scriptures reveals that Jesus (pbuh) never claimed divinity. In fact there is not a single unequivocal statement in the entire Bible where Jesus (pbuh) himself says, “I am God” or where he says, “worship me”. In fact the Bible contains statements attributed to Jesus (pbuh) in which he preached quite the contrary. The following statements in the Bible are attributed to Jesus Christ (pbuh):

(i) “My Father is greater than I.”

[The Bible, John 14:28]

(ii) “My Father is greater than all.”

[The Bible, John 10:29]

(iii) “…I cast out devils by the Spirit of God….”

[The Bible, Mathew 12:28]

(iv) “…I with the finger of God cast out devils….”

[The Bible, Luke 11:20]

(v) “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”

[The Bible, John 5:30]

2. The Mission of Jesus Christ (pbuh) – to Fulfill the Law

Jesus (pbuh) never claimed divinity for himself. He clearly announced the nature of his mission. Jesus (pbuh) was sent by God to confirm the previous Judaic law. This is clearly evident in the following statements attributed to Jesus (pbuh) in the Gospel of Mathew:

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

“For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

[The Bible, Mathew 5:17-20]

3. God Sent Jesus’ (pbuh)

The Bible mentions the prophetic nature of Jesus (pbuh) mission in the following verses:

(i)”… and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”

[The Bible, John 14:24]

(ii)”And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.”

[The Bible, John 17:3]

4. Jesus Refuted even the Remotest Suggestion of his Divinity

Consider the following incident mentioned in the Bible:

“And behold, one came and said unto him, ‘Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’

And he said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ ”

[The Bible, Mathew 19:16-17]

Jesus (pbuh) did not say that to have the eternal life of paradise, man should believe in him as Almighty God or worship him as God, or believe that Jesus (pbuh) would die for his sins. On the contrary he said that the path to salvation was through keeping the commandments. It is indeed striking to note the difference between the words of Jesus Christ (pbuh) and the Christian dogma of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus (pbuh).

5. Jesus (pbuh) of Nazareth – a Man Approved of God

The following statement from the Bible supports the Islamic belief that Jesus (pbuh) was a prophet of God.

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”

[The Bible, Acts 2:22]

6. The First Commandment is that God is One

The Bible does not support the Christian belief in trinity at all. One of the scribes once asked Jesus (pbuh) as to which was the first commandment of all, to which Jesus (pbuh) merely repeated what Moses (pbuh) had said earlier:

“Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adonai Ikhad.”

This is a Hebrew quotation, which means:

“Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.”

[The Bible, Mark 12:29]

It is striking that the basic teachings of the Church such as Trinity and vicarious atonement find no mention in the Bible. In fact, various verses of the Bible point to Jesus’ (pbuh) actual mission, which was to fulfill the law revealed to Prophet Moses (pbuh). Indeed Jesus (pbuh) rejected any suggestions that attributed divinity to him, and explained his miracles as the power of the One True God.

Jesus (pbuh) thus reiterated the message of monotheism that was given by all earlier prophets of Almighty God.

NOTE: All quotations of the Bible are taken from the King James Version.

III) Concept Of God in Old Testament:

1. God is One

The following verse from the book of Deuteronomy contains an exhortation from Moses (pbuh):

“Shama Israelu Adonai Ila Hayno Adna Ikhad”.

It is a Hebrew quotation which means:

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord”

[The Bible, Deuteronomy 6:4]

2. Unity of God in the Book of Isaiah

The following verses are from the Book of Isaiah:

(i) “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour.”

[The Bible, Isaiah 43:11]

(ii) “I am Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me.”

[The Bible, Isaiah 45:5]

(iii) “I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.”

[The Bible, Isaiah 46:9]

3. Old Testament condemns idol worship

(i) Old Testament condemns idol worship in the following verses:

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:”

“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”

[The Bible, Exodus 20:3-5]

(ii) A similar message is repeated in the book of Deuteronomy:

“Thou shalt have none other gods before me.”

“Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that in the earth beneath, or that is in the water beneath the earth.”

“Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.”

[The Bible, Deuteronomy 5:7-9]

Source:http://irf.net/Christianity.html

13 Comments

  1. Kabeer Sani says:

    Rabi. Zidni ilman wal hikma I'm learning from u sheiq I wish I'm your student.

  2. Dan Clark says:

    Historically speaking (read non-Biblical examples), the Roman Historian Josephus (not a Christian, worked for Caesar) validated that Jesus was crucified.

  3. Dan Clark says:

    Jesus’ words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” When first encountered, this might not seem to be a claim to be God. However, when we look at the Jews’ reaction to His statement, “For a good work we stone thee not; replied the Jews, but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:33). Now we see an actual claim. The Jews understood Jesus’ statement to be a claim to be God. In the following verses, Jesus never corrects the Jews by saying, “I did not claim to be God.” That indicates Jesus was truly saying He was God by declaring, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

  4. Dan Clark says:

    John 1:1 says that “the Word was God.” John 1:14 says that “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” This clearly indicates that Jesus is God in the flesh. Acts 20:28 tells us, "…Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood." Who bought the church with His own blood? Jesus Christ. Acts 20:28 declares that God purchased the church with His own blood. Therefore, Jesus is God!

  5. Dan Clark says:

    For unto us a Child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder: and his name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (written: 712 BC (Before Christ)

  6. Dan Clark says:

    The Jews answered him [Jesus], saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. John 10:33

  7. Dan Clark says:

    "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works." ( John 14:10)

  8. Dan Clark says:

    And Thomas answered and said unto him [Jesus], My Lord and my God. John 20:28

  9. Dan Clark says:

    Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. John 8:58

  10. Dan Clark says:

    17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

    “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

  11. Dan Clark says:

    Worship means “reverence paid to a divine being.” If Jesus was offered and accepted worship, then by doing so He was confirming His divinity. This is important because there are those who deny the deity of Christ, relegating Him instead to a lesser position than God. Yes, Jesus accepted worship. As the second Person of the Trinity, He was and still is worshiped.

    From the beginning of Jesus’ life, we see examples of Him being worshiped. As soon as the Magi laid eyes on the infant Christ, “they bowed down and worshiped Him” (Matthew 2:11). The Bible records the initial response Jesus received when He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem: “So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!’” (Matthew 21:9; John 12:13) The word hosanna ascribes all praise, honor, glory, and blessing to the one being lauded. This word used by the crowd is definitely a form of worship.

    Just after Jesus amazed the disciples by walking on water, “those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:33). Two more memorable examples of Jesus accepting worship occurred just after His resurrection. Some of the women (Matthew 18:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10) were on their way to tell the disciples of the resurrection when Jesus met them on their way. When they realized it was He, they “came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him” (Matthew 28:9).

    Then there is the case of Thomas, who didn't believe Jesus had risen from the dead despite the other disciples’ testifying to that fact. It had been about a week since the resurrection, and Thomas still doubted it. Jesus, knowing Thomas doubted appeared to him and showed him the nail marks and the wound on His side. How did Thomas respond? “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:28). In none of these instances do we see Jesus telling those worshiping Him to stop, as did mere men, and even angels, who were being worshiped wrongly by others (Acts 10:25–26; Revelation 19:9–10).

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-worshipped.html#ixzz34p4iHvot

  12. The question of the divinity of Jesus is a much debated subject. The scriptures quoted, if they uphold this story, were still written 50 or more years after the event. That gives plenty of room for falsity to come in. Concepts like Trinity, second person of, and so on were created to somehow define a concept no one understands. Who says Jesus is the second person of the Trinity? He never said that, and neither did any of his immediate followers. Jesus, like it or not, worshiped the same God his forefathers worshiped. When teaching his disciples how to pray Jesus told them to pray to the Father, not to himself, whom many believe was God. The term, nor the idea, of a god/man never appears in the Bible. Jesus was a man who claimed a special connection with God. That is all we really know, and that is what Christians and Muslims can agree on. If Jesus had claimed to be God, the Jews would have stoned him long before Calvary. If hanging on a cross/tree brought the condemnation of God, then Jesus hanging on a cross would have meant God himself was cursed. I don't really think that is possible. Jesus ministry was only to the Jews, not the Gentiles. Acts and Galatians seem to contradict each other as to how and when Gentiles were allowed into the church. But Jesus never mentioned it. He said the Kingdom would be taken from the Jewish nation and given to another 'nation.' A nation is a nation, just like a kingdom is a kingdom. What nation was this Kingdom given too? A spiritual nation is an idea unheard of back in the days of Christ. If Arabia became that nation, and Mohammad became the final Prophet, that is something to at least consider. They are in fact worshiping the same God Jesus taught his followers to worship. I do believe that Jesus was the son of God, but so is everyone who believes in the true God. That is what Paul taught anyway.

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