Jesus the God-Man

Many Muslims attack Biblical Christology by outright misrepresentation and ignorance. The most conspicuous is their confusion about Christ’s Incarnation. The word “Incarnation” means “in flesh” and denotes the act whereby the eternal Word and Son of God became an actual flesh and blood as a human being (albeit a sinless one) at a specific moment in time, when He willingly condescended to be born from a young virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit:

“The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will over shadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Lk. 1:32)

“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.” (Jn. 1:1, 14)

“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,” (Rom. 8:3)

Christ was born of a woman. He was no phantom; He had his humanity from His earthly mother and was also a physical descendant of David (Gal. 4:4; Rom. 1:3). The Bible says He “knew no sin” which means knowledge of sin gained by experience. He didn’t experience sin in His life because He had no sin nature (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ came in the “likeness of sinful flesh” – He came as a man but without the sinful nature. He did not come in the mere likeness of flesh – then He would not have been truly human; He did not come in the likeness of sin – then He would have had indwelling sin. God’s grace came through the last Adam to redeem what the first Adam lost (Rom. 5:15; 8:3: 1 Cor. 15:21, 47).

Yet in order for Him to be truly human, Jesus had to experience real human limitations. He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. ” (Luke 2:52) “He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” (Heb. 5:8), “He was hungry,” (Matt. 4:2), He slept (Mk 4:36), felt weary and thirsty (Jn. 4:5-8). By becoming human, Jesus became a part of creation, thus the Father became his God from that moment onwards. This is why He addressed Him as “My God and your God” (Jn. 20:17).

The Bible also reveals His Deity. Christ is “from heaven” which suggests His preexistence and eternality and in Him “all the fulness of deity dwells” (1Cor. 15:47; Col. 2:9). The Greek word for deity here is theotes and it “emphasizes divine nature or essence…He was and is absolute and perfect God.” (Fritz Rienecker, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, 1982, 573). The declaration that the deity was in “bodily form” also suggests the full humanity of Jesus and thus affirms Him as the God-man.

Jesus is “in the form of God.” (Phil. 2:6) The Greek word morphe for form here suggests the inherent character or essential substance of the person. Christ in His essential nature exists as deity. “Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever.” (Rom. 9:5). Titus 2:13 also addresses Him as “our great God and Saviour Christ Jesus.” Greek grammar demands that two nouns, God and Saviour, refer to the same person – Jesus Christ. His designation as the Lord is very important as Charles Ryrie pointed out that the “title Lord occurs at least 144 times plus 95 more times in connection with the proper name Jesus Christ (Biblical Theology of the New Testament, 1959, 176).

1. Lord designates His deity (1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2;9). The name Lord is a direct translation of the Hebrew name Adonai in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT), therefore, the divine character of God also applies to Jesus through the title Lord. The name of God Himself is applied to Jesus.

2. Lord designates power (Phil. 2:9). The Lordship bestowed on Christ “who is now equal with God, manifests itself especially in the fact that also all the invisible powers of creation are subjected to him.” (Oscar Cullmann, The Christology of the New Testament, 1963, 217).

3. Lord denotes divine sovereignty. To preach Jesus as Lord is to proclaim His sovereignty (2 Cor. 4:5); to bow before Jesus is to worship Him and thereby acknowledge Him as sovereign God. Christ’s sovereignty over all Christians is especially emphasized in Romans 14:5-9 and in titles like “Our Lord Jesus Christ,” “Our Lord Jesus,” and “Jesus Christ our Lord.” Lord denotes Jesus’ kingship and rule. Lord should be understood as a variant of “king”; the two titles are actually interchangeable. In this sense, Jesus’ kingship over Israel and the church as well as His lordship over the whole world is emphasized. (cf. 1 Tim. 6:15; 1 Cor. 15:25) (Paul Enns The Moody Handbook of Theology, 108-109).

The Biblical, historic Christian position is that Jesus is the God-Man. Muslims should humbly learn what we believe rather than blindly forcing their false Quranic “Isa” into the pages of the Bible.

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