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Bible Correspondence Course

14. The Son of God

Some misunderstand the Christian belief of the Fatherhood of God and the Son-ship of Sayyidna Isa al-Masih (his peace be upon us) to rest on the belief that God has a wife. The question is put in this way: "How can God have a Son when He has no wife?"

1) The Father & the Son

The Bible does not claim at all the literal son-ship of Sayyidna Isa, in the sense that God had a wife. In the Bible, God the Father and Jesus the Son are to be understood in a spiritual sense. To say that God had a Son like humans do is a gross heresy in Christian belief.

Followers of Sayyidna Isa did not invent these titles. It was Sayyidna Isa Himself who introduced God to us as our heavenly Father. As He taught His disciples to pray:

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen" (Matthew 6:9-13).

God's name "Heavenly Father" identifies His relationship with His creatures. This is one of the most beautiful names given to Him. In the same manner God calls Sayyidna Isa "His Son". "This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased."[1] Thus the Injil states that Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam is the Son of God (see Lesson 13).

2) Objections

Some may say the terms 'Son of God' and 'Father' give one the idea of a physical relationship, and so should not be used. For those who follow Sayyidna Isa, it would not be wise to abandon such terms since they have His full approval.

We all know that 'fatherhood' and 'son-ship' are used in various ways. For example, Muhammad Ali Jinnah is called the father of the Pakistani nation (Baba -e- Mellat), and Mahatma Gandhi is called the father of the Indian nation. Moreover, in the Qur'an a wayfarer is called, "Ibnu'sabil" - son of the road.[2] This does not mean that the road has a wife, or Jinnah and Gandhi were the physical fathers of their nations.

Even today it is quite common for elderly men and women to call any young person "daughter" or "son", even though they are not their real fathers and mothers. Therefore, just as it is not necessary to force an offensive interpretation on the above examples, we should not force an offensive interpretation on the Biblical statements about Sayyidna Isa being the Son of God.

3) Sayyidna Isa al-Masih as the Son of God

When the Angel gave the glad tidings to Maryam, he said, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”[3] The Bible does not say that Sayyidna Isa was called the Son of God just because He was born of Mary. Nor does it attempt to make a mere man into God or create a god beside the one true God.

4) The First & the Last – Isa Kalimatu'llah

The Bible states that Sayyidna Isa is God's Word. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning."[4] This passage tells us that Sayyidna Isa Kalimatu'llah is the eternal Word of God. As God is eternal, so also is His Son eternal. No one else has been called the Word of God other than Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam.

It was this eternal Word of God which two thousand years ago came from heaven into this world. He became man by a miracle of being born of a virgin. Muslim friends do accept that God's eternal Word became a book. Why should it not be possible then, to accept that God's Word became a man, Isa Kalimatu'llah? Even the Qur'an, 600 years later, acknowledged that Sayyidna Isa is the Word of God.[5]

5) Further Objections Raised

It is said that the expression "son of God" is found in the Bible in the general context of humans being called children of God and, therefore, when Sayyidna Isa al-Masih claimed to be the Son of God He was merely speaking in a metaphorical sense. However, it is impossible to draw this conclusion from Sayyidna Isa’s statements about Himself. He was not using this title in the same way as others who are called "sons of God".

"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No-one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no-one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him."[6] No other prophet, no other apostle used such language to identify himself.

6) He Who Has Seen Me

Sayyidna Isa bin Maryam claimed that He had come from heaven to earth and that He had always existed. He said, "Before Abraham was born, I am!"[7] We may wonder what Sayyidna meant, but the people around Him understood. Some of them picked up stones to stone Him to death for blasphemy. These Jewish listeners knew that Sayyidna claimed to have been alive before Abraham was born and that He was using the personal name of Yahweh, revealed to Musa (Moses), the name being; 'I am' (see Exodus 7:14), thus identifying Himself with God.

Sayyidna Isa al-Masih prayed to God, "Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."[8] He also told others, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”[9]

Are these claims the same as saying that God has a partner? What did Sayyidna Isa al-Masih mean? The answer is that Sayyidna was claiming to be of the same essence as God. For, He is the visual and physical revelation of God. Sayyidna Isa Ruh-u'llah also said,"... the Father judges no-one, but has entrusted all judgement to the Son, that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father, ... who sent Him."[10]

7) Eye-Witnesses of His Majesty

We read in the Injil of the transfiguration, when the voice of God was heard saying, "This (Jesus) is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!"[11] Referring to this event, one of the apostles said, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of His majesty. ...We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with Him on the sacred mountain" (2 Peter 1:16-18).

8) The Crucial Question

Why did God send His eternal Word, Sayyidna Isa Kalimatu'llah, to earth? The answer is because God loves His creation and wants to have a relationship with His people. As we have seen through these lessons, Sayyidna Isa Shafi'u'llah is the only way to reach the presence of God. That is why Sayyidna Isa said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no-one comes to the Father except through me."[12]

References:

  1. [1] Matthew 3:17
  2. [2] Qur’an 2:177, 4:171
  3. [3] Luke 1:30-37
  4. [4] John 1:1-2
  5. [5] Qur’an 3:45
  6. [6] Luke 10:22
  7. [7] John 8:58-59
  8. [8] John 17:5,24
  9. [9] John 14:9-10
  10. [10] John 5:22-23
  11. [11] Matthew 17:5
  12. [12] John 14:6

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