While many seem to believe that Islam and Christianity are pretty much the same, there are actually very marked differences that people – especially believers – should understand if they are to make an honest assessment of their beliefs.
Here are several beliefs about Jesus and how they compare and contrast between Christianity and Islam:
Only Begotten Son of God
Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. This is clearly articulated in John 3:16, Matthew 3:17, Mark 5:7 and Romans 1:3-4.
Islam finds the idea of Jesus being the Son of God offensive. This is clearly revealed in the Qur’an:
“O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word…” Surah 4:171
Written a half a millennia after John 3:16, Surah 112:3 rebukes the idea of a begotten Son. Consider the following from the Bible and the Qur’an:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)
Say (O Muhammad ()): “He is Allah, (the) One. “Allah-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks). “He begets not, nor was He begotten; Surah 112:1-3
God in the Flesh (Incarnate)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1,14 (NKJV)
The above scripture along with Romans 8:3, 1 Jn 4:2-3 and others reveals the understanding that God took on flesh in order for man to regain the right of fellowship with God. Since Adam sinned and caused us to be separated from God (because we all came from the seed of a sinner,) we needed a perfect man to make things right. The problem; perfect men were not available. So God, being perfect, did what no man could do and took on flesh to pay the price of redemption and gave us the ultimate choice. We can continue to follow sinful Adam, who’s blood flows through us, or we can choose to accept His great gift and be born again of the perfect man (a.k.a. the last Adam – 1 Corinthians 15:45.)
This brings us back to the Muslim view of Jesus. Since they believe Jesus was “no more than a Messenger of Allah,” (Surah 4:171) then obviously they fully reject the very critical and foundational principle of God Incarnate – or as we sing at Christmas, Emmanuel – “God with us”
In my next blog, we will take a look at Christian and Islamic views of Jesus’ death of the cross, resurrection and ascension.
I greatly hope you find these blogs helpful. Please send me your thoughts and requests for new topics. I always want to scratch the itch.