God, Man or Both – Who Is Jesus?
Just who is Jesus, what is his nature? God, man or both? While Christianity and Islam share much in common with regards to Jesus, they provide very different answers to these questions.
The Doctrine of the Trinity
Most churches teach that God is one Being who exists eternally as three distinct persons — the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Put simply, “one God in three persons.”
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself whether this doctrine is Biblical? This may sound like a strange question, as many assume that everything they have been taught in church is based on the Bible. You may be surprised to know that the term ‘Trinity’ is not found anywhere in the Bible.
The Oxford Companion to the Bible, which has entries from over 260 Bible scholars and academics from leading biblical institutes and universities in America and Europe, states: “Because the Trinity is such an important part of later Christian doctrine, it is striking that the term does not appear in the New Testament…” 1 Its absence from the Bible is striking when one considers that this is the core doctrine of Christianity.
Neither do we find any explicit mention God existing as three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Oxford Companion to the Bible states: “… the developed concept of three co-equal partners in the Godhead found in later creedal formulations cannot be clearly detected within the confines of the canon [books of the Bible].” 2
However, there are explicit statements by Jesus in the Bible which go against the Trinity. For example, Jesus taught that he did not know the hour, meaning the time of the Day of Judgement, but only the Father: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” [Mark 13:32] How then can Jesus be said to be fully God, when he lacks essential attributes of God such as possessing All Knowledge? We can see that the New Testament paints a picture of God and Jesus that are at odds with Trinitarian theology.
From these simple examples, we can see that a belief in the Trinity is at odds with what the Bible teaches.
Jesus in Islam:
Man, Messenger and Messiah
God, out of His mercy for mankind, resolved all of the confusion surrounding not only His nature but also that of Jesus in the 7th century by revealing the Qur’an. Muslims believe that the Qur’an is God’s final revelation that was sent down to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him via the angel Gabriel.
The Qur’an not only affirms the original revelation given to Jesus but also corrects Christians, respectfully referred to as “People of the Book,” in the places where they have strayed from the original message sent by God.
At the heart of the Qur’an is a very simple but profound message: there is nothing worthy of worship except Almighty God, and that Muhammad peace be upon him, is His Messenger, as are Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Although these individuals represent the best of mankind, they do not share in God’s Lordship, divinity or attributes.
The world around us, our very existence, everything, we owe it all to our Creator. Our love, obedience and reverence are His rights upon us. This is why it’s so important that we worship God properly. Is it possible to have a meaningful relationship with a stranger? Would anyone want a relationship with the wrong concept of God? As you can see, in order for our worship to be effective, we need to know who God is. This is why the question of who Jesus is, what is his true nature, is so important.
Just how did Jesus evolve from human messenger to God incarnate? What are the links between the doctrine of the Trinity and the paganism of Greek and Roman mythology? These are just some of the important questions that are answered in our upcoming book, “Jesus: Man, Messenger, Messiah”.