For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life - John 3:16 (1611 A.D. Old King James version)
One objection I’ve heard from Muslims about the Christian doctrine that Jesus Christ is God’s only son is that “Allah is separate from this sinful world and could never do something so worldly and degrading as have sexual intercourse with Mary”.
Their understanding of the subject is often, however, limited to the parroting of a popular (but shallow and flawed) argument:
“John 3:16 says ‘begotten’, which means involving sexual intercourse, therefore Christianity believes that God has sex with Mary – which is totally disgusting and unacceptable!”
Well, I have news for you: Christians completely agree on the sickness of that idea.
What Christians actually believe is that Jesus is God’s son in the relationship sense: Jesus is obedient and submits to God the Father’s will, and the Father bestows all His kingdom and authority unto Jesus.
- In the Bible, “son” is a term expressing an intimate relationship with someone or something; basically, it indicates origin, but it is also used to express close association or identification with persons or things. - AnsweringIslam.org
(And no, liberal readers, intimate does NOT always have to refer to sex. But I wouldn’t expect you to understand the concept of a deep, intimate, emotional relationship that doesn’t involve and focus on sex.)
This is cleared up by the New International Version (NIV) Bible translation which puts precedence on the meaning of the original Greek rather than the literal translation:
- 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 (modern day New International Version)
This makes clear the actual meaning of the term ‘only begotten’ as ‘special, unique, privileged’ – not ‘sexually conceived’. So I do not want to hear any more trolling about that fallacious argument, hear?
And do you know what? The above correct Christian doctrine on Jesus’ sonship is not at all opposed by the Qur’an!
From Free Republic:
The Qur’an teaches that Jesus did not have a biological father, being conceived in Mary’s womb by the will of God. Yet, in a mental disconnect, Muslims say Jesus was not the son of God. This belief is considered blasphemy and punishable by death.
Confusion may be due to the two different Arabic words for son:
- “walad”- son from a sexual union; and
- “ibn” – son in the widest sense of the word, similar to the Hebrew word “ben” – builder of the family name.
In verses which say Allah did not have a son, the Arabic word used for “son” is “walad” – son of a sexual union, not “ibn” – son in the widest sense:
- Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him (far exalted is He) above having a son (walad) (Sura 4:17)
- It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son (walad). Glory be to Him when He determines a matter, He only says to it ‘Be,’ and it is. (Sura 19:35)
In this sense, Muslims and Christians are in agreement, that God did not have sex with Mary.
And compare these Suras, also from that site:
- “Behold” the angels said: “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ (Messiah) Jesus, the Son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company) of those nearest Allah. He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity and he shall be (of the company) of the righteous.” She said “O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?” He said: “Even so: Allah createth what He willeth; when He hath decreed a plan He but saith it to it ‘Be’ and it is!” (Sura 3:45-51)
- He said “Mary, I am only a messenger from the Lord to announce to thee the gift of a HOLY SON.” She said “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” He said “So it will be: thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for me. And we wish to appoint Him as a sign unto men and a Mercy from us. It is a matter so decreed.’” So she conceived him, and retired with him to a remote place. (Sura 19:16-22)
…with the Gospel narrative:
- But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
- “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
- “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. – Luke 1:30-38
Again, the Qur’an has no disagreement with Christian Canon there, on the fact that Mary was a virgin and no actual sexual intercourse took place.
From this, one may conclude that the Qur’an clearly precludes Allah having a son from a physical, sexual union (walad)… But it does not preclude Allah having a non-biological, relationship-wise son (ibn).
Which is exactly what Canonical Christianity has always said.
PS. The Free Republic article also describes how most of the knowledge about Christianity came from heretical, non-Canonical sources, which explains so much about the misconceptions about Christianity that are carried over even to modern times.
- Encyclopedia Britannica (15:648): The gospel was known to him chiefly through apocryphal and heretical sources.
PPS. Speaking of heresy… The religious group which actually does likely believe in literal God-Mary sex are the Latter Day Saints.
- “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s…” (D&C 130:22).
- God had sexual relations with Mary to make the body of Jesus, (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, p. 218, 1857; vol. 8, p. 115.) - CARM.org: What does Mormonism teach?
END CREDITS: This post is inspired by a tip from wits0.
Tags: Allah did not have a son, Bible and Quran, Christianity and Islam, God did not have a son, ibn, Islam and Christianity, Jesus in Islam, Jesus not Son of God, Jesus Son of God, Nabi Isa, Only begotten son, walad