Question:

I'm 21 years old. I'm from Northern Iraq which is the Kurdish people region. I've been in the United States for 17 years now. My family was sponsored by a church here in America. I love it here. I have gone back to visit twice and I liked it there, but I'm too Americanized and couldn't keep up with my own culture. I do happen to keep up with my religion.

I like to ask you one question. I'm a very open minded person. I have respect for everyone no matter what religion, color, sex, gender, race, and culture they are. My question is why do Christians consider Jesus a son of God? When in reality he is the messenger of God. I have not read the Qu'ran but a lot of friends I know and cousins of mine have and they've told me a lot of the book. Our messenger is Prophet Mohammad. We consider him only a messenger and not a son of God. We worship only God but believe in Mohammad as the messenger. It just confuses me that a lot of Christians give credit to Jesus more than God. I hope I haven't insulted you. I didn't mean to. I just hope you understand what I'm trying to say. The Muslims believe in Jesus as well. We have everyone in the Qu'ran listed from Abraham to Jesus to Ari to Noah. If you really look at it Noah's Ark was built in Northern Iraq where the first civilization began. Mentioning of the two rivers are in your holy book as well as ours. What two rivers are next to each other with one flowing south while the other north? The Tigris and the Euphrates.

I believe our holy book's aren't different from each other. The only difference we have with our religion is the fact that your messenger is Jesus and ours is Mohammad. To add to that my God is your God and your God is my God. We're both monotheistic. Just because we call God Allah doesn't mean we believe in another God. It's the same God but the only difference is the name.

I think I've written a lot. I hope I haven't upset you nor insult your religion because that's far from what I was intended for.


Answer:

You have asked very good questions and I am not insulted by them at all. Christians are told, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear: having a good conscience; that, while you are spoken against as evildoers, they may be disappointed who curse your good manner of life in Christ" (I Peter 3:15-16). I rejoice that you are willing to learn a bit about other religions. More people argue over things they don't know than over the things they have learned.

I should explain that I am coming to your question from a viewpoint that is different from your own. I have read and study the Bible extensively, so I am familiar with its contents. I have read English translations of the Qu'ran as well; though I would not consider myself an expert on its teachings, I do have a fair idea of what it says.

As a Christian I believe from the evidence I have seen that the Bible is inspired by God. By that, I mean that God wrote the book through selected men, giving them the very words with which to write. God also supplied evidence in the form of miracles to prove that those writing are from God. "How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation--which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard; God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, by various works of power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will?" (Hebrews 2:3-4). I also believe that God is active in preserving His teachings. There have been times when the writings were lost, yet they found it again (II Chronicles 34:14). There were times people tried to destroy it, yet it continues to exist in the world.

Mohammad was familiar with the Bible. He lived about 500 years after the New Testament was completed. He taught his followers to be respectful of Jews and Christians, whom he called "people of the Book" (the Book is the Bible which means "book" in Greek). "Do not argue with the people of the book unless in a fair way, apart from those who act wrongly, and say to them: 'We believe what has been sent down to us, and we believe what has been sent down to you. Our God, and your God is one, and to Him we submit." (Surah 29:46). But Muhammad thought that the people of the book would recognize him as a prophet as well. "That is how We have revealed this Book to you; and those to whom We have sent down the Book will believe in it. Only those who are infidels will deny it" (Surah 29:47).

What was overlooked is that Christians (and the Israelites of the past) were given specific rules for identifying who was a prophet of God. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). The tests come in various forms. For example, if a man is a prophet of God, then when he mentions something that will happen in the future, then it must come true. "And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' - when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:21-22). The most important test is consistency in the prophet's teachings with the teachings already recognized to be from God. "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods' -which you have not known-'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him" (Deuteronomy 13:1-4). The same is also stated in the New Testament. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:6-9).

While I understand that you believe and follow Mohammad as a prophet of God because of your upbringing, I hope you will understand that I don't. Mohammad's teachings are different from those in the Bible and often his statements about history contradict what the Bible states. If both books are from God, there ought to be perfect harmony between the books, just as there is harmony between the 66 books which make up the Bible, even though they were written over a 1,500 year period by about 40 different writers. But they do not match. The answer given by Muslims is that the Bible was altered. But there is no proof of such alterations. In fact, we have documents of parts of the Bible that go back to 800 years before Muhammad, showing that the text is consistent.

Worse, I wonder if some Muslims realize that a claim that the Bible was altered also impacts their own religion. If God wasn't able to preserve His writings before, then why should anyone accept that God is now able to preserve Mohammad's writings? Charges like these are often two-edged swords. That is why Mohammad said this as well. "There is no changing the words of God," (Surah 10:64).

It was a long introduction, but I needed you to understand where I am coming from so that my answer is clearer to you. The Bible lists numerous prophets of God, but none are called the Son of God (not "a son of God," but "the Son of God"). All prophets are considered to be messengers, but the Bible speaks of Jesus in different terms.

"For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain" (II Peter 1:16-18).

Peter is referring back to an incident recorded in the Gospels.

"Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!"" (Matthew 17:1-5).

This is not the only time the Father made this statement.

"When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"" (Matthew 3:16-17).

John also spoke of what he heard later.

"And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God"" (John 1:32-34).

The reason Christians call Jesus the Son of God is because we believe the Bible is from God and that it records the fact that God, the Father, called Jesus His Son. That testimony was witnessed and attested to by Peter, James, John the apostle, and John the Baptist.

I appreciate your response to my questions. Everyone believes in something. I'm not really religious, but I do follow my own religion. I pray five times a day. I believe that if you fear God and believe in his power that should be all that matters. I understand the prophets but Mohammad, Jesus, etc. have no influence on me. I believe in God and God only.

It is a pleasure to talk with you. You're welcome to write at any time. Some thing to consider: Who defines religion and acceptable worship? Is it man or God? Does God accept whatever man decides to offer Him or must man conform to what God demands of him? In other words, who is in charge of your religion? You or God?

"For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).