Witnessing to Muslims: Answering “the Son of God” terminology

Here is an article I wrote a few years ago at another blog site, on how to answer Muslims when they bring up the issue of “Why do you call Jesus the Son of God?”  and “God cannot have a son, because He cannot have a wife!!”

Witnessing to Muslims:  Answering Muslims when they bring up the question of “Why Do you call Jesus the Son of God?”


About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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17 Responses to Witnessing to Muslims: Answering “the Son of God” terminology

  1. Sam Shamoun says:

    I just left this on William’s latest blog post concerning justification:

    Ken, better question is has Williams actually read the book of Deuteronomy? Obviously not since he didn’t bother reading the very next chapter, 31:14-29, where Moses went to say that Israel WILL NOT obey God and will bring God’s wrath upon them. Joshua made the same point in Joshua 24:19-28. Sure sounds like [the apostle] Paul to me!

    And here is my article responding to Williams’ blatant distortion of Acts 16:30-31 and Jesus’ teachings: http://answering-islam.org/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/williams/obtain_salvation.html

  2. Ken Temple says:

    Thanks Sam.
    Did you see the other discussions we have had under:
    The Things Jesus Never Said
    Jesus the man slayer
    The Christology of the Qur’an

    for some reason the word press is not letting me put the urls up. Weird, since this is my blog.

  3. Ken Temple says:

    And Paul Williams “Second book” ?

  4. Ken Temple says:

    “Things Jesus Never Said” – Paul Williams cannot deal with Mark 10:23-27

    When I have time, I am going to write a blog article on that issue.

  5. Ken Temple says:

    Paul and other Muslims cannot deal with the issues I raise in the comboxes here either:


  6. Sam Shamoun says:

    BTW, Williams just reposted this here: http://bloggingtheology.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/279/

    He cites Eaton and Asad to explain that the stories of the Quran serve the purpose of illustrating moral and spiritual truths, irrespective of whether these stories or mythical and legendary. So he basically has two Muslim scholars conceding the fact that the Quran does contain the myths and the fables which were in circulation at Muhammad’s time. Yet, the first commenter quotes Bilal Philips denying this assertion and even criticizing Muhammad Asad for explaining away the miracles and stories of the Quran due to his reliance on adopting a rationalistic approach to the Quran! Sure sounds a lot like you and me when we are constantly rebuking Williams that the Biblical scholars he cites are rationalists who pretty much deny the supernatural and/or the inspiration of the Holy Bible.

    What makes this rather amazing is that in his response to the commenter Williams admits that Asad is too rationalistic but then gives away the reason why he prefers to adopt Eaton’s approach to the myths and fables found in the Quran:

    “But Gai Eatons position has the theoretical advantage OF BEING INVULNERABLE TO ORIENTALIST ATTACK. God uses the culturally available stories and narratives familiar to people to make the more important call to spiritual reformation. But I’m not a scholar! THOUGH THIS WILL NOT ENDEAR ITSELF TO MUSLIM, the Protestant Reformer John Calvin used similar arguments to defend the anthropomorphic passages in the Bible (see his Institutes of Christian Religion). Calvin thought that God condescends to reveal His will in language we can understand.”

    He then quotes his “friend,” which I suspect is Timothy Winters who says the following:

    ‘I don’t think there are scholars these days who argue for direct literary relationship between the Quran and any apocryphal Christian text, not even the Bible. The modern position is more about “indirect contacts” – it is presumed that Muhammed (P) must have heard the various stories in the Bible and non-canonical sources orally, not directly from these written texts, and that he then freely adapted them to suit his own needs. THIS IS A PERFECTLY REASONABLE HYPOTHESIS IF WE DENY THE POSSIBILITY OF DIVINE REVELATION. So if we deny that Muhammed (P) could have received revelation from God, then we have no choice but to suppose that he must have acquired some details/stories which were floating around orally among the Jews and Christians in the region.’

    So it is perfectly reasonable to assume that Muhammad adopted the stories which he heard into his book of fables and lies if divine revelation doesn’t exist. This sure sounds like what a “fundamentalist” Christian would say against the charge that the Bible is a jalopy of the ancient tales which were in circulation during the time the Holy Bible was being revealed and written down. However, even this statement is in error since one can still affirm that Muhammad simply rehashed the fables of his day without denying the possibility of divine revelation. All that is needed is to deny that Muhammad was receiving divine revelation, not that divine revelation doesn’t exist or takes place at all.

    The rest of the quote is a classic case of begging the question, i.e. the Quranic version of previous stories is the correct one, whereas the older versions are mistaken and contain errors which the Quran came to prune! Talk about circular reasoning! Lord willing, when I have time I will explain why this is an absurd position to take since it ends up backfiring against Muhammad and his so-called revelations.

    For now, I leave you with this quote from the Quran:

    Moreover, those who are bent on denying the truth are wont to say, “This (Qur’an] is nothing but a lie which he (himself) has devised with the help of other people: who thereupon have perverted the truth and brought a falsehood into being.” And they say, “Fables of ancient times which he has caused to be written down,7 so that they might be read out to him at morn and evening!” (25:6) Say [O Muhammad]: “He who knows all the mysteries of the heavens and the earth has bestowed from on high this (Qur’an upon me)! Verily, He is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!” S. 25:4-6 Muhammad Asad

    Now Williams has a choice. He can side with the disbelievers (which he and his authorities seem to have already done), and admit that the Quran is a book of fables, a collection of the tales of the ancients which Muhammad caused to be written. If so then he is no longer a Muslim, but has placed himself outside of the fold of Islam. Or he can agree with Muhammad that these are revelations which were sent down to him. If so then he must disagree with the disbelievers and deny the Quran’s stories are nothing other than the myths and fables of the ancients. Let us see what he will have to say in response to this.

    • Sam Shamoun says:

      BTW Ken, since Williams won’t be publishing these comments of mine I thought you would like to know of the response to a link provided by Williams which is Islamic Awareness’s desperate and pathetic attempt of denying the obvious: http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Saifullah/borrow.htm

      What makes this rather funny is that Williams at first cites Eaton who basically admits that there are preexisting myths and fables in the Quran. And now he links to the Islamic Awareness site to DISPROVE that Muhammad incorporated the myths and fables of his contemporaries! You see how this guy basically self-destructs in his attempt to defend his false religion and attack the Holy Bible with inconsistent arguments which can (and are) be(ing) used against him to prove that his own faith doesn’t stand up to the same scrutiny?

  7. Ken Temple says:

    Thanks for more information. You have done lots of study and are always ready. Good job.

    One of the good trends I have noticed is that he (Paul B. Williams) has been allowing more comments through.

  8. Ken Temple says:

    It seemed like he was letting a lot of your comments through also; though I can’t tell cause I can’t see when he rejects them.

  9. θ says:

    Unfortunately for Trinitarians, neither Jesus nor Paul nor other writers of the New Testament ever make any definition of “Begotten Son of God”. They don’t require later Christians to hold a voting to define that word. They don’t condemn people who don’t believe in a later definition voted by the Trinitarian councils.

    Throughout Gospels, Jesus doesn’t make any definition of Son of God. Rather, he promised his kingdom to one malefactor who just confirmed guiltless of a “man” Jesus (Luke 23:41), nothing more or less.

    As History shows, long time before a theologian Arius of Alexandria was born, there is a forgotten practical group of Christian Jews (Ebionites) who don’t believe in divinity of Jesus.

    Trinitarians needed to hold a voting after 300 years after the time Jesus and Ebionites to define the controversial indecisive term Begotten Son of God. It is later time voting of the Nicene Decree that tells – according to their man-made precept – three denials (three Taqiyyas) of “it is not what it is”:
    1. The word “Son” means “not son” biologically.
    In the definition of Trinitarians it refers to one-third of identical triplet.
    In the definition of Christian Ebionites and Arians, the figurative Son means having either one angelic nature or archangel.

    2. The word “Begotten” means “not begotten” physically.
    In the definition of Trinitarians it is rather getting conjoined inseparably in three distinct persons.
    In the definition of Christian Ebionites and Arians, the Begotten means being exalted in rank.

    3. The word “God” in the term “Son of God” means “not God”.
    In the definition of Trinitarians “of God” means of one-third of God, that is of the Father.
    In the definition of Christian Ebionites and Arians, “of God” means of one true God.

    According to Trinitarian imagination, the Son of God” means one-third of another one-third in conjoined triplet. In a nutshell, the word “Son” is not what the son is.
    As consequence, they just don’t know the fate or the status of salvation of all earlier Christians such as Ebionites and Arians who didn’t get the content of Trinitarian’s 4th century council.

    Some scholars argue that the Ebionites survived much longer and identify them with a sect encountered by the historian Abd al-Jabbar ibn Ahmad around the year 1000.[32]
    There is another possible reference to Ebionite communities, existing some time around the 11th century, in northwestern Arabia, in Sefer Ha’masaot, the “Book of the Travels” of Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, a rabbi from Spain. These communities were located in two cities: Tayma and “Tilmas”,[33] possibly Sa`dah in Yemen.
    The 12th-century Muslim historian Muhammad al-Shahrastani mentions Jews living in nearby Medina and Hejaz who accepted Jesus as a prophetic figure and followed traditional Judaism, rejecting mainstream Christian views.[34] Some scholars argue that they contributed to the development of the Islamic view of Jesus due to exchanges of Ebionite remnants with the first Muslims.[13][35]
    Ebionites engaged in excessive ritual bathing,[36] possessed an angelology which claimed that the Christ is a great archangel who was incarnated in Jesus and adopted as the son of God,[37][38] opposed animal sacrifice,[38] denying parts or most of the Law,[39] and practiced Jewish vegetarianism,[40] and celebrated a commemorative meal annually,[41] on or around Passover, with unleavened bread and water only, in contrast to the daily Christian Eucharist.[24][42][43]
    Ebionites rejected many of the precepts central to Nicene orthodoxy, such as his pre-existence, divinity, virgin birth, atoning death, and physical resurrection.[6]
    Origen (Contra Celsum 5.61)[56] and Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica 3.27.3) recognize some variation in the Christology of Ebionite groups; for example that while all Ebionites denied Christ’s pre-existence there was a sub-group which did not deny the virgin birth.[57]

  10. Ken Temple says:

    This earlier article refutes your idea of the Ebionites as being some kind of a “proto-Islamic” group.

  11. θ says:

    “Ken Temple says:This earlier article refutes your idea of the Ebionites as being some kind of a “proto-Islamic” group.”
    “Article says” It is inconsistent for Muslims to use the Ebionites, as most of them did deny the virgin birth of Christ, yet Islam affirms the virgin birth of Christ. (Surah 3:45-48; 19:19-21)”

    Not * all * Ebionites deny the virgin birth of Christ.
    Just like Islam (Q.3, v.45-48; Q.19, v.19-21) there is a subgroup of Ebionites that affirms the virgin birth of Christ as Origen (Contra Celsum 5.61) and Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica 3.27.3) recognise a variation in the Christology of a sub-group of Ebionites which did not deny the virgin birth.

    Origen: Contra Celsum – Book 5
    Chapter LXI.
    Let it be admitted, moreover, that there are some who accept Jesus, and who boast on that account of being Christians, and yet would regulate their lives, like the Jewish multitude, in accordance with the Jewish law,–and these are the twofold sect of Ebionites, who either acknowledge with us that Jesus was born of a virgin, or deny this, and maintain that He was begotten like other human beings,–what does that avail by way of charge against such as belong to the Church, and whom Celsus has styled “those of the multitude?” He adds, also, that certain of the Christians are believers in the Sibyl, having probably misunderstood some who blamed such as believed in the existence of a prophetic Sibyl, and termed those who held this belief Sibyllists.

    Historia Ecclesiastica – Book 3
    Chapter XXVII.
    3. There were others, however, besides them, that were of the same name, but avoided the strange and absurd beliefs of the former, and did not deny that the Lord was born of a virgin and of the Holy Spirit. But nevertheless, inasmuch as they also refused to acknowledge that he pre-existed, being God, Word, and Wisdom, they turned aside into the impiety of the former, especially when they, like them, endeavored to observe strictly the bodily worship of the law.

    Other sources.
    Some Ebionites, however, accepted the doctrine of the supernatural birth of Jesus, and worked out a Christology of their own (Origen, l.c. v. 61).
    Origen (l.c. ii. 1), while not clear as to the precise meaning of the term “Ebionim,” gives the more important testimony that all Judæo-Christians were called “Ebionites.” The Christians that fled to the trans-Jordanic land (Eusebius, “Hist. Eccl.” iii. 5, 3), remaining true to their Judean traditions, were afterward regarded as a heretic sect of the Ebionites, and hence rose the legend of Ebion. To them belonged Symmachus, the Bible translator (ib. vi. 17).

    Origen (Contra Celsum 5.61)[56] and Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica 3.27.3) recognize some variation in the Christology of Ebionite groups; for example that while all Ebionites denied Christ’s pre-existence there was a sub-group which did not deny the virgin birth.[57]
    56. Schaff A select library of Nicene and post-Nicene fathers of the Christian church 1904 footnote 828 “That there were two different views among the Ebionites as to the birth of Christ is stated frequently by Origen (cf. e.g. Contra Celsum V. 61), but there was unanimity in the denial of his pre-existence and essential divinity, and this constituted the essence of the heresy in the eyes of the Fathers from Irenæus on.”
    57. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: E-J p9 Geoffrey W. Bromiley – 1982 article “Ebionites” citing E.H.3.27.3 “There were others, however, besides them, that were of the same name, that avoided the strange and absurd beliefs of the former, and did not deny that the Lord was born of a virgin and of the Holy Spirit. But nevertheless, inasmuch as they also refused to acknowledge that he pre-existed, being God, Word, and Wisdom, they turned aside into the impiety of the former, especially when they, like them, endeavored to observe strictly the bodily worship of the law.” also source text online at CCEL.org

  12. θ says:

    Islam doesn’t see any importance of “incarnation”, avatarism is not really a begotten sonship.

    Concerning Trinitarian half-hearted devotion of Mary’s Theotokos, if the passage “nothing is impossible for God” were absolute, why is utterly impossible for the Father to have Mary or any female consort to sexually beget a son?

    In the standard of Ephesian council, the word “Christian” is a heresy of Nestorianism. The word Christian makes such a Nestorian impression that Jesus is just a Christ bodily, but does not have a divine person.

    Even, today’s Protestants could be deemed as the heretics of Neo-Nestorians who refuse to worship Mary as Theotokos “Mother of God,” but choose instead the word “Christotokos.”

    After two councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, the Trinitarians should have preferred the term Theoian (or Huiosian) than Christian, as they preferred the term Theotokos than Christotokos. As usual, it is mystery that randomly decides entire doctrines in the Trinity.

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