Islam, Redemption, and the Deity of Christ
If only there were someone to arbitrate
to lay his hand upon us both,
Job 9:33 (NIV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God. ...
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came
from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In the Old Testament Job's heart pleaded for someone to stand
between Allah and himself. He felt a longing for someone
who could feel his despair and hopelessness and who could also
appear before Allah and intercede for him. When he looked
around, he saw no one who was completely sinless and qualified
to mediate between himself and Allah, who is the Holy and
Righteous One. The answer to Job's dilemma did not appear in
human history until the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the vital link between Allah and the
sinner, because His deity reaches Allah and His humanity reaches
the human race. The Deity of Christ bridges the gap between
guilty sinners and God's infinite justice and uncompromising
holiness. Without the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, there can
be no possibility of redemption or salvation for you or me.
All human beings have sinned. And, those who have committed
sins must be judged and punished according to the infinite
justice of the Holy and All-Mighty One. The fact that human
beings are sinners is affirmed repeatedly in the Bible and the
Qur'an. Both the Jewish Old Testament and the Christian New
Testament present the fact that all have sinned.
King Dawud (David) wrote that "all have turned aside."
He applied this statement to himself as well as everyone else.
In fact, we read that King David committed the evil act of
adultery. Even for such an important personage as King David,
Allah is faithful to the truth, and He does not hide the truth
or compromise His holiness for anyone.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if
there are any who understand, any who seek God.
All have turned aside, they have together become
corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Psalms
The Prophet Isaiah wrote that "we all, like sheep,
have gone astray," and there is no exception to the little
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us
has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the
iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6 (NIV)
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and
all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel
up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah
Although many other scriptures could be referenced, we will
quote a final one from the New Testament that supports the Old
Testament's view of the sinfulness of mankind. It says,
For all have sinned and fall short of the
glory of God, Romans 3:23 (NIV)
The Greek word for sin (hamartia,
αμαρτια) means to miss the target. Now it is acknowledged
that some miss the target more than others, so all humans are
not sinners to the same degree as others. However, they all miss
the mark of the glory of Allah. As the Lord Jesus Christ said,
the standard of perfection is the very perfection of Allah
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48 (NIV)
Prophets were sinners
The Bible gives us a faithful account of the sins of the Old
and New Testament prophets. As much as we find it distasteful,
Allah is the True One, so He presents a true record of their
deeds, both the good and the evil. Allah cannot lie (Hebrews
6:18). Thus, Allah cannot present a fanciful account of the
lives of the prophets. So, when we read Holy Scripture, we see
they were sinners who needed Allah's grace, mercy, and
Most modern Muslims are kafirs when it comes to the testimony
of the Qur'an regarding the sins of the prophets. They attempt
to soften the force of the Qur'an and to pass off the sins of
the prophets as instances of forgetfulness, unwitting mistakes,
simple ignorance, or examples of pious humility.
However, the Qur'an notes that Adam and Eve disobeyed the
clear command of Allah who told them not to eat the fruit of the
tree nor to heed Satan. They knowingly disobeyed both of Allah's
commands; and, if Allah had not forgiven them, they knew they
would have been lost and eternally doomed. When they said, "We
have wronged ourselves," they were not innocent nor were they
speaking with feigned humility nor was it a plea of ignorance.
They knew without a doubt they had offended and disobeyed two
direct commands of Allah, the All-Mighty.
... And their Lord called them, saying: Did I not forbid
you from that tree and tell you: Lo! Satan is an open enemy to
you? They said: Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If thou
forgive us not and have not mercy on us, surely we are of the
lost". Sura al-Araf 7:22-23. (Pickthal's translation)
The Qur'an states that the Prophet Ibraham hoped that his sin
would be forgiven on the Day of Judgment.
"And Who, I ardently hope, will forgive me my sin on the
Day of Judgment". Sura Ash-Shu'ara 26:82
The Prophet Musa (Moses) needed forgiveness. And the Prophet
Yunus (Jonah) was "blameworthy" for his rebellious deeds.
He said: My Lord! Lo! I have wronged my soul, so forgive
me. Sura Al-Qasas 28:16
And the fish swallowed him while he was blameworthy. Sura
So, the Qur'an contradicts the Muslim's idea that the
prophets were sinless.
Muhammad was a sinner
Although many modern Muslims claim that Muhammad was sinless,
the Qur'an and the ancient hadith collections present a more
realistic picture. The ancient Islamic sources prove that
Muhammad was a sinner, and that he was instructed to ask for the
forgiveness of his sins past and future. The Arabic word for sin
is a word that is used to describe the evil deeds of wicked
people in the Qur'an. So, it is more than a word meaning
to make a mistake, as many Muslims claim when they seek to
escape the force of these verses in the Qur'an. The term
'offence' (ذنب ) is used in the
Qur'an for very serious deeds of wickedness, some of which are
among 'heinous' or 'mortal' (كبائر)
Then have patience (O Muhammad). Lo! the promise of Allah is
true. And ask forgiveness of thy sin, and hymn the praise
of thy Lord at fall of night and in the early hours. Sura
That Allah may forgive thee of thy sin that which is past
and that which is to come, and may perfect His favour unto
thee, and may guide thee on a right path, Sura al-Fath 48:2
So know (O Muhammad) that there is no Allah save Allah, and
ask forgiveness for thy sin and for believing men and
believing women. Allah knoweth (both) your place of turmoil and
your place of rest. Sura Muhammad 47:19
In addition to the Qur'an, the sahih hadiths affirm that
Muhammad was a sinner. The most respected hadiths, Sahih
al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, state that Muhammad beseeched Allah
for the forgiveness of his sins in the past as well as those
that he would commit in the future. He even mentioned his
sins that he did in secret too.
Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The Prophet used to invoke Allah at night,
saying, "O Allah: All the Praises are for You: You are the Lord
of the Heavens and the Earth. All the Praises are for You; You
are the Maintainer of the Heaven and the Earth and whatever is
in them. All the Praises are for You; You are the Light of the
Heavens and the Earth. Your Word is the Truth, and Your Promise
is the Truth, and the Meeting with You is the Truth, and
Paradise is the Truth, and the (Hell) Fire is the Truth, and the
Hour is the Truth. O Allah! I surrender myself to You, and I
believe in You and I depend upon You, and I repent to You and
with You (Your evidences) I stand against my opponents, and to
you I leave the judgment (for those who refuse my message). O
Allah! Forgive me my sins that I did in the past or will do in
the future, and also the sins I did in secret or in public.
You are my only God (Whom I worship) and there is no other God
for me (i.e. I worship none but You)."
Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 9, Book 93, Number 482
Narrated Shaddad bin 'Aus: The Prophet said, "The most superior
way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is: 'Allahumma anta
Rabbi la ilaha illa anta. Khalaqtani wa ana 'abduka, wa ana 'ala
'ahdika wa Wa'dika mastata'tu abu'u Laka bi ni 'matika wa abu'u
Laka bidhanbi; faghfirli fa'innahu la yaghfiru-dh-dhunuba ill a
ant a. A'uidhu bika min sharri ma sana'tu.'2
If somebody recites this invocation during the night, and if he
should die then, he will go to Paradise (or he will be from the
people of Paradise). And if he recites it in the morning, and if
he should die on the same day, he will have the same fate."
Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 8, Book 75, Number 335
'A'isha reported: The Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him)
entered my house when a Jewess was with me and she was saying:
Do you know that you would be put to trial in the grave? The
Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) trembled (on hearing
this) and said: It is the Jews only who would-be put to trial.
'A'isha said: We passed some nights and then the Messenger of
Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Do you know that it has been
revealed to me:" You would be put to trial in the grave"?
'A'isha said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon
him) seeking refuge from the torment of the grave after this.
Sahih Muslim Book 004, Number 1212
Examples of the blameworthy sins of Muhammad's banditry,
murder, and sexual misconduct could be presented from the
Sirat Rasul Allah by Ibn Ishaq.5
So, it is no wonder that Muhammad was afflicted with a guilty
conscience. However, rather than providing additional proof that
human beings are sinners and that Muhammad was a sinner too, we
proceed with our topic at hand.
The Lord Jesus Christ was sinless
The Apostles Peter, John and Paul affirmed that the Savior
was sinless, each in their own particular way. The Apostle Peter
is better known for his actions, so he wrote that the
Lord Jesus Christ did no sin. By contrast,
the Apostle John was the most contemplative and appreciative
of the inner meditative life, so he wrote that Christ
had no sin within Him. Finally, the Apostle Paul
was educated and the most intellectual of the
Apostles. He said that the Lord Jesus Christ
knew no sin.
Peter - He committed no sin, and no deceit was found
in his mouth. 1 Peter 2:22 (NIV)
John - But you know that he appeared so that he might take away
our sins. And in him is no sin. 1 John 3:5 (NIV)
Paul - For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2
According to the Qur'an, the Jesus was sinless too. Yusuf
Ali's translation of Sura Maryam 19:19 is rendered "holy son"
for Jesus, while others translate the Arabic text as "faultless
son" (Pickthal), "pure son" (Shakir), "righteous son" (al-Hilali
& Khan), "good son" (Ahmed Ali), "holy son" (Sale), "pure boy"
(Palmer), "holy son" (Rodwell), and "a boy most pure" (Arberry).
He said: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to
announce) to thee the gift of a holy son. Maryam 19:19 (Yusuf
In contrast to Muhammad, the Qur'an states that the Lord
Jesus Christ was pure, holy, good, and righteous. It never
indicates that He was instructed to ask for the forgiveness of
His own sins.
God's Holiness & Justice
Just as the Holy Scriptures teach us that human
beings are sinners, it also teaches us that Allah is the
perfection of Holiness and Justice. In other words, Allah never
compromises His justice to show mercy. The person who sins must
die and face the awful judgment of Allah at the Last Day.
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that
to face judgment, Hebrews 9:27 (NIV)
Because each one of us is a sinner, we must eventually die
and face the judgment of Allah for our sins. Are you ready to
give an account of your sins before the All-Knowing One?
Do you entertain the false idea that Allah will excuse your sins
because you did some good deeds during your life? This is
a foolish, sinful, and a pagan thought! To see how wrong idea
this is, let's suppose a person works hard and is good to his
children. Of course, these are good and praiseworthy deeds in
themselves. They are deeds that Allah has commanded and that He
expects us to do.
"Does he thank that servant because he did the things that
were commanded him? I think not.
"So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you
are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done
what was our duty to do.'" Luke 17:9-10 (NKJ)
However, let's suppose this very person robs a bank. Do you
think that a human judge will forgive him because he is a hard
worker and is a good parent too? Of course, not! A
faithful and true judge must judge the evil of the bank
robbery. His good deeds do not justify his evil deeds! An honest
and true judge must condemn and punish his evil deeds.
Likewise, Allah's justice and holiness requires that all the
sins of a sinner must be punished, and the wages of sin is
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NIV)
We read in the Holy Scriptures that Allah's wrath will punish
all the ungodliness and wickedness of sinners.
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all
the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by
their wickedness, Romans 1:18 (NIV)
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for
fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of
ungodly men. 2 Peter 3:7 (NIV)
In conclusion, we are all like wicked servants who have
sinned against our master. Holy Scripture states that all those
who have sinned must face the awful judgment of the infinite
Justice and eternal Wrath of Allah.
The Message of all the true Prophets of Allah
All the true prophets of Allah believed in value of
substitutionary sacrifice. The first book of the Jewish Taurat
shows that the punishment for sin is death. In Genesis, we see
Adam and Eve willfully and knowingly sinning against an explicit
command of Allah. Their sinful act of rebellion brought death
upon the entire human race. There was no way that Allah could
maintain His own Justice and still bless them unless their sins
were forgiven. It was then that Allah covered them with the skin
of an animal whose life had to be taken to provide them a
covering (Genesis 3:21). Allah also promised there would appear
in human history a person who would be the seed of a woman (a
virgin-born child) who would bruise the head of the serpent,
Satan (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14).
Next, we read that Abel offered a ceremonially clean animal
whose life was taken in sacrifice (Genesis 4:4). No doubt,
Abel had heard his parents tell him how they had sinned and how
Allah had covered them with the skin of a sacrificial animal. He
knew he was a sinner too and that the penalty of sin was death.
So, he felt the need to sacrifice the firstborn of his flock to
Allah. The LORD looked with favor upon Abel's substitutionary
sacrifice. Abel knew the penalty for sin was death and that he
could not trust his own good deeds. He recognized that he
deserved death, so he sacrificed his lamb in faith as a
testimony to Allah that he was a sinner who deserved to die.
By contrast, Cain offered the good fruit of his own deeds
that did not require the shedding of blood to atone for his
sins. He was like the Hindus who offer flowers and plants to
their deities. Throughout world history there have been these
two classes of religions: Those who trust their good deeds
(Muslims and Hindus) and those who know their sinfulness and
recognize their need of a substitutionary sacrifice for sin (the
People of the Book).
But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of
his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,
Genesis 4:4 (NIV)
The Prophet Ibraham built various altars to offer sacrifices
to Allah in the Holy Land of promise.
- Shechem (Genesis 12:6-7)
- East of Bethel (Genesis 12:8)
- Hebron (Genesis 13:18)
- Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:9)
The Prophet Musa was given very detailed and extensive
revelations from Allah about various sacrifices and offerings
that had to be observed by the people of Israel.
- Burnt Offering (Leviticus 1)
- Meal Offering (Leviticus 2)
- Peace Offering (Leviticus 3)
- Sin Offering (Leviticus 4)
- Trespass Offering (Leviticus 5)
- Day of Atonement Offerings (Leviticus 16 and 23:27-32)
- The daily evening and morning sacrifices (Exodus 29:38-42)
Sacrificial animals had to be ceremonially clean animals,
such as a sheep, goat, or cow. It could not be an unclean
animal like a pig or camel. Allah's sacrifice must be
ceremonially pure to be a substitutionary sacrifice for sin.
Even though the Prophet Ibraham had camels (Genesis 24:64), he
would never have sacrificed such an unclean animal to Allah.
There is no sacred difference between pigs and camels,
because they are both unclean animals that cannot be used for
However, of those that chew the cud or that have a split hoof
completely divided you may not eat the camel, the rabbit
or the coney. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a
split hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you.
The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it
does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch
their carcasses. Deuteronomy 14:7-8 (NIV)
We could discuss the many holy sacrifices that were offered
to Allah by Job, Noah, Jacob, Gideon, Samuel, King David, King
Solomon, etc. But, we leave this endeavor for another time. We
only wish to show that the divine Prophets of Holy Scripture
believed in the merit of substitutionary sacrifice.
Tragically, Muhammad and those who follow his teachings reject
the most important message of all the Holy Prophets of Allah.
As a side note, it was no wonder that the Jews of Arabia
rejected Muhammad and his claim to be a prophet when they saw
him sacrifice unclean camels to Allah.
"'Or if a person touches anything ceremonially unclean—
whether the carcasses of unclean wild animals or of unclean
livestock or of unclean creatures that move along the ground—
even though he is unaware of it, he has become unclean and is
guilty. Leviticus 5:2 (NIV)
We must not close this discussion of the true Message of the
prophets of Allah without mentioning the prophet Isaiah. In his
divinely inspired writings, he described the coming of the
Messiah into this world in the following words.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the
government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of
Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
And, more importantly, he foretold that this Messiah would
die sacrificially, like a lamb, while bearing the sins and
iniquity of us all. Our hearts bow in thankful adoration and
holy wonder as we contemplate the humiliation, suffering, and
death of the blest and divine Lamb of Allah who died
sacrificially for sinful humanity.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed
for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was
upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to
his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before
her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can
speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of
the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in
his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in
10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to
suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he
will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the
LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of
life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant
will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he
will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out
his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the
transgressors. Isaiah 53:5-12 (NIV)
Thus, the Old Testament scriptures anticipated the coming of
the Lord Jesus Christ into the world. These ancient scriptures
present an elaborate system of animal sacrifices that showed the
seriousness of sin and the necessity of substitutionary
sacrifice. They showed there was a coming Savior would be
divine, virgin-born, and sinless. They foretold that this Savior
would be the Lamb of Allah who would die sacrificially for
sinners and be the true reality that would give meaning and
significance to the sacrifices of Abel, Abraham, and Moses and
all the rest of the prophets of Holy Scripture.
Now the primary purpose of the divine Son coming into human
history was to provide the means whereby salvation may be
offered to sinners. This does not mean there were not other wide
and glorious purposes too. But, the primary purpose was the
redemption of sinners. All the writers of the New Testament link
salvation with the blessed person of the Messiah.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the
name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
Matthew 1:21 (NIV)
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:45
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
Luke 19:10 (NIV)
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the
world, but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not
believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in
the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:16-18 (NIV)
... I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave
himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners— of whom I
am the worst. 1 Tim 1:15 (NIV)
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom
he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the
The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact
representation of his being, sustaining all things by his
powerful word. After he
had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the
right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Hebrew 1:2-3 (NIV)
Because Islam rejects the vital doctrine of the deity of
Christ, it must reject the Christ's substitutionary death upon
Calvary's cross too. Like Cain, they are left with the
sacrifices of their own good works. Their rejection conflicts
with the most important message of all the ancient Holy
Prophets, namely, that death was the penalty for sin and that a
substitutionary sacrifice was necessary to atone for one's sins.
On the one side is Allah who never compromises His infinite
Justice and Holiness, and on the other side are sinners who have
done wickedly and deserve the wrath of Allah. These is no human
being who is sinless and who can step forward and be a mediator
between Allah and the sinners of the world. The prophets cannot
mediate and remove the evil deeds of sinners, because they are
sinners too. The prophets need to have their sins removed as
much as anyone else. If this were the end of the matter, the
situation for sinners would be utterly hopeless, and they would
face the eternal wrath of All-Mighty Allah because of their own
sins and transgressions.
Image & Likeness of God
In contrast to the brute animals, Holy Scripture
states that human beings were created in the image
(tselem בצלמנו) and
likeness (demuwth כדמותנו)
of Allah. This is an important point to observe because these
uniquely human feature make it possible for the Second Person of
the Trinity to take a truly human nature.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our
likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the
birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and
over all the creatures that move along the ground."
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God
he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed;
for in the image of God has God made man. Genesis 9:6
and to put on the new self, created to be like God in
true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24 (NIV)
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in
knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:10
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we
curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. James
None of the other animals, that Allah spoke into being, were
created in the image and likeness of Allah. Of
course, animals have hearts, teeth, skin, eyes, ears, etc., so
the image and likeness of Allah does not consist in these
physical properties. The distinctive feature of human beings is
that they possess an immaterial rational mind or intellect. It
is this feature that bears the image of the All-Mighty. Allah is
a spiritual being who is infinite in knowledge and wisdom. Human
beings are creatures who possess finitely knowledge and wisdom.
St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) wrote in his work entitled, De
Genesi ad Litteram, the following.
The pre-eminence of man consists in this, that God made him
to His own image by giving him an intellect by which he
surpasses the beasts....
... what is the basis of man's greater dignity except that he
was created in the image of God? This was not, however, in his
body but in his intellect, ...6
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274 A.D.) affirms the teaching of
St. Augustine in that he agreed that the image of God in man
signifies the fact that human beings are intellectual creatures.
I answer that, Since man is said to be the image of
God by reason of his intellectual nature, he is the most
perfectly like God according to that in which he can best
imitate God in his intellectual nature.7
The famous Jewish philosopher, Moses Maimonides (1135-1204
A.D.), in his book, The Guide For the Perplexed (original
in Arabic, Dalalat alHa'irin; translated into Hebrew,
Moreh Nebuchim), discussed the meaning and significance of
the Hebrew words, tselem and demuwth. In this
philosophic work, Maimonides stated that the image and likeness
of God relate to the fact that human beings have a finite
intellectual mind, while the Almighty has an infinite
intellectual mind. The finite and infinite cannot be
identical in truth, yet, the spiritual and intellectual nature
of the human mind bears a correspondence to the spiritual and
intellectual nature of the divine mind. Also, Maimonides
explicitly stated the expressions, the image (tselem) and
likeness (demuwth) of God, only refer to intellectual nature
of the divine and human mind. They don't imply that the Supreme
Being possesses a material body like human beings.
As man's distinction consists in a
property which no other creature on earth possesses, viz,
intellectual perception, in the exercise of which he does not
employ his senses, nor move his hand or his foot, this
perception has been compared—though only apparently, not in
truth—to the Divine perception, which requires no corporeal
organ. On this account, i.e., on the account of the Divine
intellect with which man has been endowed, he is said to have
been made in the form and likeness of the Almighty, but far from
it be the notion that the Supreme Being is corporeal, having a
material form. 8
Thus, human beings are endowed by Allah with a spiritual and
intellectual mind that no other bodily creature possesses.
Furthermore, Allah is a being who is spiritual and intellectual
too. Because the divine mind and the human mind are both
intellectual, spiritual, and non-material, Holy Scripture states
humans were created in the image and likeness of Allah. Their
difference is the difference between the infinite and the
finite. Yet, their minds belong to the same immaterial order of
existence, and they both possess an intellectual and spiritual
The concept that humans are superior to the brute animals is
affirmed in the Qur'an too. It states that Allah breathed into
Adam of His Spirit. Yusuf Ali's note (No. 1968) to Sura
Al Hijr 15:29 states that Allah breathed into Adam His Spirit
and that this imparted to him a faculty with God-like
knowledge and will. Since Muhammad's creation story was
gleaned from the Genesis accounts narrated by the many Jews who
inhabited the Arabian Peninsula, we should not be surprised to
read an affirmation of humankind's spiritual and intellectual
faculty in the Qur'an.
So, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My
Spirit, do ye fall down, prostrating yourselves unto him."
Sura Al Hijr 15:29 (Pickthal's translation)
And when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My
spirit, bow before him in homage. Sura Al Hijr 15:29 (Ahmed
"When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed
into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him."
Sura Sad 38:72 (Yusuf Ali's translation)
When I have shaped him, and breathed My Spirit in him,
fall you down, bowing before him!' Sura Sad 38:72 (Arthur
1968. Among other passages where the creation of Adam
is referred to cf. the following: 2:30-39; 7:11-25. Note
that here the emphasis is on three points: (1) the breathing of
Allah's Spirit in man, i.e., the faculty of God-like
knowledge and will, which, if rightly used, would give man
superiority over other creatures; ..." (Yusuf Ali's commentary
note) [emphasis added]
So, clearly the Qur'an recognizes the spiritual nature of the
human beings who are superior to animals, because they possess
an intellectual and spiritual soul.
While it appears that Muslims should accept the fact that
human beings were created in the image and likeness of Allah, a
cautionary note should be mentioned here. This is because the
Qur'an also claims there is nothing like unto Allah.
There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One
that hears and sees (all things). (ash-Shura 42:11)
And there is none like unto Him. al-Ikhlas 112:4
Invent not similitudes for Allah: for Allah knoweth, and ye know
not. an-Nahl 16:74 (Yusuf Ali's translation)
Consequently, some Muslims—not all Muslims—state that our human
ideas about Allah bear no correspondence to Allah's reality
because He is so infinitely transcendent beyond our finite human
Of course, their position is logically incoherent, because these
Muslims claim that the Qur'an presents true knowledge of Allah.
But, if human language were incapable of expressing true
knowledge of Allah, then neither can the Qur'an express true
knowledge about Allah, because it must use human language to
make its truth claims. For example, the Qur'an describes the
justice of Allah, but the human word for justice must correspond
to the meaning of justice as it is found in the Qur'an to be
meaningful to us. And, if it does not, then the term, justice,
in the Qur'an is merely an interesting sound, because its
meaning would bears no relationship to our human meaning of
justice. As a result, we only know that Allah's justice is not
justice as we understand it, such as, equity, fairness,
righteousness, and getting one's due. Consequently, if these
human terms of justice, righteousness, all-mighty, creator,
infinite, etc, have no likeness to Allah, then Allah is very
much like the Unknown God of the Greek pagans.
For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of
worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN
UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am
going to proclaim to you. Acts 17:23 (NIV)
By contrast, since Allah is the Creator of the human ear and
mouth, can He not communicate true knowledge concerning Himself?
The prophet Musa was rebuked with these words.
The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him
deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not
I, the LORD?
Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."
Exodus 4:11-12 (NIV)
Since human nature does possess the image and likeness of the
Divine, it is logically possible for the Word to take upon
Himself human nature (John 1:1,14). The person of the Lord Jesus
Christ is from above, divine, infinite, and immaterial, while
His material body and human nature were from the Virgin Mary and
finite. St. Cyril distinguished between 1) the divine person of the Son
who is eternal and did not have his beginning with the virgin
and 2) the human body and rational soul whose temporal origin
was from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.
This expression, however, 'the Word was made flesh' [John 1:14],
can mean nothing else but that he partook of flesh and blood
like to us; he made our body his own, and came forth man from a
woman, not casting off his existence as God, or his generation
of God the Father, but even in taking to himself flesh remaining
what he was. This the declaration of the correct faith proclaims
everywhere. This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers;
therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin, the Mother of
God, not as if the nature of the Word or his divinity had its
beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that
holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word, being
personally united, is said to be born according to the flesh"
Cyril of Alexandria, First Letter to Nestorius, A.D. 430.
Often, Muslims object and claim, "It is impossible for a finite
body to be indwelt by an infinite Being." The term 'finite
body' refers to spatial dimensions. So, for the Muslim's
objection to stand, the term, 'infinite Being,' would
have to refer to spatial dimensions too. If Allah were a Being
who is extended infinitely in all directions, then all the
universe would be Allah. In this case, the Muslim himself, as
well as every other being in the universe, would be Allah. The
Muslim's line of argumentation is the same rationale that
believers in pantheism and New Age philosophy use to argue that
everything and everyone is Allah. It's surprising when we hear
Muslims use pantheistic arguments against the possibility of
divine incarnation. On the other hand, when a Christian states
that Allah is infinite, he is referring to a non-dimensional
infinite, such as, mind, truth, love, goodness, justice, mercy,
etc. In this case, there is no logical inconsistency to claim
that a non-dimensional infinite can be present with a finite
Because human nature was created in the image and likeness of
Allah and because it has an spiritual and immaterial substance,
it is assessable and convenient for the divine Word to assume
human form. This divine condescension provided the means for the
Word to display the infinite love of Allah in human experience
and to become the substitutionary sacrifice for sinners.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have
seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the
Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NIV)
Since humankind are the ones who have sinned, it must be
someone who possess a human nature who pays the penalty for sin.
But, a mere human being—even if sinless—cannot pay the infinite
price that Allah's infinite justice requires. In fact, even if a
person were sinless, it would only mean that he would not have
to die himself. But, if a person sinned, he would have to die
for his own sins. In Holy scripture the Mosaic Law states that
"each is to die for his own sins" (2 Chronicles 25:4).
Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor
children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for
his own sin. Deuteronomy 24:16 (NIV)
Perhaps, one might imagine that a sinless person
could then bear the judgment and penalty for another person's
sin, even then it would not be sufficient for anyone else's
sins. Consequently, even a sinless human being cannot satisfy
Allah's infinite standard of justice for the human race.
So, if redemption were to be available to every human being,
there seems to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome. First,
a person with a human nature must accomplish the means of
salvation. But, every human being has proved to be a sinner and
not capable of redeeming himself, let alone anyone else.
Furthermore, even if a sinless human being were found who was
willing to be substitutionary sacrifice, his finite
self-sacrifice could not atone for more than one other person.
Thus, it seems that human beings are necessarily condemned,
lost, and doomed to hell.
Perhaps, some might argue there were other beings, such as
angels, who could suffer the penalty for the sins of human
beings. Such a solution would satisfy the need to punish sin,
but it would not be a transaction between the offender and the
offended. It is human nature that has fallen and that
needs to be elevated again to have fellowship with the divine.
Hence, ultimately it needs to be person who possesses a human
nature as well as a person who satisfies the infinite demands of
Allah's righteousness by being divine Himself.
Mediator's dual role
The Mediator must present the invisible Allah to us in a finite
manner as well as represent us before Him in an infinite manner.
There needs to be a perfectly sinless human being whose death
would have the ability to atone for the sins of many while satisfying
Allah's infinite justice.
- Since Allah is infinite and invisible and we are finite
creatures, Allah must communicate with the human race in a
finite manner. The incarnation of the Son perfectly fulfills
this requirement, because the infinite Word assumed the finite
conditions of human existence. By taking human nature, the
Word came into the world and was the perfect display of
Allah's love and mercy in terms that finite human beings can
understand and appreciate.
- Allah's justice is infinite, so the payment for sin must
have infinite value. Because the Lord Jesus Christ is the
divine Son who possesses a human nature, he could be a human
sacrifice for sins with infinite and divine value.
Hence, we see that the Incarnation of the Word in human flesh
bridges the gulf between the transcendence of Allah and the
finiteness of sinful humanity. We see the full expression of the
love of Allah in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His
substitutionary death has sufficient value to satisfy the
infinite requirements of Allah's justice.
Since Islam rejects the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, it
must reject Allah's gift of love to the world, His beloved
Son—the Lord Jesus Christ—who was sent to be the Savior of the
world. Islam has no divine plan of atonement or redemption for
Our heart's desire is that you will not reject the blest Lamb
of Allah who came into this world to be your Savior. He
suffered, bled, and die for you, so you can be redeemed from
your sins and be with Him in paradise.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)
Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow.
Thou are the everlasting Word,
The Father's only Son;
God manifest, God seen and heard,
The heaven's beloved One;
In Thee most perfectly expressed,
The Father's self doth shine;
Fulness of Godhead too: the Blest,
Image of the Infinite Unseen,
Whose being none can know;
Brightness of light no eye hath seen,
God's love revealed below,
The higher mysteries of Thy fame
The creature's grasp transcend;
The Father only Thy blest name
Of Son can comprehend.
Yet loving Thee, on whom His love
Ineffable doth rest,
The worshippers, O Lord, above,
As one with Thee, are blest:
Of the vast universe of bliss,
The centre Thou and Sun;
The eternal theme of praise is this,
To heaven's beloved One:
Last edited 09-28-2002
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