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Is Jesus the son of God?

One of the important issues concerning the Christian belief in Jesus (Peace be upon him) is the belief that he is the only begotten son of God before all ages, which we as Muslims don’t accept.

What does the word “Son of God” mean?

First of all, the word “son of God” in itself is not a proof of that this sonship is literal, as it was used extensively in both the Old and New Testaments in a figurative meaning, i.e. that this sonship means adoption as can be seen here:

Exo 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah, Israel is my son, my first-born:

Psa 82:6 I said, Ye are gods, And all of you sons of the Most High.

2Sa 7:14 I(God) will be his father, and he(Solomon) shall be my son (I put the words in paranthesis)

Luk 3:38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.

Mat 5:16 Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

So as we see here, this expression is used for different people , and doesn’t mean real sonship but adoptive sonship as we all agree, now Christians will say that this is not the case of Jesus as he is the son of God by begetting not by adoption:

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Actually according to the Bible, if we say that the word beget means literal sonship, this will mean that others are begotten God’s sons:

1Jo 3:9 Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God.

1Jo 5:18 We know that whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not; but he that was begotten of God keepeth himself, and the evil one toucheth him not.

Also there are other Bible verses proving that sonship of Jesus is not literal:

Joh 8:38 I speak the things which I have seen with my Father: and ye also do the things which ye heard from your father.
As we see here, he compares his sonship to the father to the sonship of the Jews in which he said in verse 44 that there father is the Satan, which is a metaphorical father, so if he really meant a real sonship, he wouldn’t have compared his sonship to God to their sonship to the Satan.
Jesus is not the son of God

How did Jesus understand the meaning of the word “Son of God”?

Also another situation when he said to the Jews:”I and the Father are one”, and the Jews accused him of blasphemy, as I said before when discussing if Jesus said that he is God, the script he quoted here tells that he didn’t mean a literal divinity or literal sonship, but inferior one, look again at what he said:
Joh 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, ye are gods? Joh 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came (and the scripture cannot be broken), Joh 10:36 say ye of him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
So he tells again that as the judges meant in Psalms 82:6 are called gods figuratively, why do you consider me blaspheming if I said that I am the son of God? This clearly means that this sonship of God goes with the same logic of the judges being gods, so Jesus used Psalm 82:6 to justify calling him as son of God and to prove to the Jews that he is not blaspheming, which clearly means that this sonship is not literal.

How did Christians understand the meaning of the word “Son of God”?

Next, if we really considered that he was really the literally begotten son of God, what does this word mean? Christians will say it is not a real sonship, but they may say that “begotten” means “come from”, if this was the case, what is the difference between begetting the Son and proceeding of the Holy Spirit? Another interpretation is made by Theophilus of Antioch, where he says:

“Not as the poets and writers of myths talk of the sons of gods begotten from intercourse [with women], but as truth expounds, the Word, that always exists, residing within the heart of God. For before anything came into being He had Him as a counsellor, being His own mind and thought. But when God wished to make all that He determined on, He begot this Word, uttered,61 the first-born of all creation, not Himself being emptied of the Word [Reason], but having begotten Reason, and always conversing with His Reason. And hence the holy writings teach us, and all the spirit-bearing [inspired] men, one of whom, John, says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,” (Joh_1:1) showing that at first God was alone, and the Word in Him. Then he says, “The Word was God; all things came into existence through Him; and apart from Him not one thing came into existence.” The Word, then, being God, and being naturally 62 produced from God, whenever the Father of the universe wills, He sends Him to any place; and He, coming, is both heard and seen, being sent by Him, and is found in a place.”

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf02.iv.ii.ii.xxii.html

We as Muslims don’t agree with that meaning, as if God needs to beget another person to be an attribute of Him so as to create, or that when he wills something, God doesn’t need when he wants to create something to beget a word from his heart, to be a new person whom he takes as a chancellor, or that He needs to beget the word so as to send it anywhere He wants, when God wills, He only says “be”, it becomes as God wills, but we actually look to this as a blasphemy against God. And if God wasn’t emptied from reason or word when he begat it, what is the need for begetting the word to be His Son who will be God’s chancellor? Does God really need a chancellor? This is really weird.

Not only that, but in another position, Theophilus said that the word was in God’s bowels:

“God made all things out of nothing; for nothing was coeval with God: but He being His own place, and wanting nothing, and existing before the ages, willed to make man by whom He might be known; for him, therefore, He prepared the world. For he that is created is also needy; but he that is uncreated stands in need of nothing. God, then, having His own Word internal within His own bowels, begat Him, emitting Him along with His own wisdom before all things”

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/theophilus-book2.html

We also don’t accept what Tertullian says:

” Chap. XIX. – Christ, as to His Divine Nature, as the Word of God, Became Flesh, Not by Carnal Conception, nor by the Will of the Flesh and of Man, but by the Will of God. Christ’s Divine Nature, of Its Own Accord, Descended into the Virgin’s Womb.”

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf03.v.vii.xix.html

We actually see this as a blasphemy, how can God descend into a woman’s womb? So the embryo will be God, and then the baby is God, who cries, suckles,….etc. How can these acts come from God Almighty? Look also here Tertullian is talking about the divine nature, which means that all this was by the divine nature, and no comment.

1Ki 8:27 But will God in very deed dwell on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded!

88. And they say, `The Gracious God has taken unto Himself a son.’ 89. Assuredly, you have indeed uttered a most hideous thing. 90. The heavens might well-nigh burst thereat, and the earth cleave asunder, and the mountains fall down in pieces. 91. Because they ascribe a son to the Gracious God. 92. It becomes not the Gracious God that HE should take unto Himself a son. 93. There is none in the heavens and the earth but he shall come to the Gracious God as a bondman. (Holy Quran 19)

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