Christianity’s Doctrinal Issues in Muhammad’s Time (36)
The Deity of Christ was a big doctrinal issue from the first century and continues as a problem among some Bible-believing religious groups today. Knowledge about this will help us understand why Islam wrestles with the issue of the Deity of Christ because Islam’s belief is “strict monotheism.” Strict monotheism means that the phrase “one God” points to one being or one, single, solitary item. Or one idea, one identity.
Muhammad was born A.D. 570 and he died in A.D. 632. Some believe that he died of poisoning.
Islam accepts the Five Books of Moses as Holy Scriptures given by God. Islam claims that their Allah is the same identity or same being as Yahweh of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. But a more serious meditation on the characteristics of Allah in the Qur’an does not agree with the attributes Christians understand about Yahweh in the Pentateuch. On the surface, the Qur’an also mentions that the Gospel records (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) are inspired scriptures. However, Muslims make a blanket accusation without hard evidence that both bodies of scriptures have been corrupted and therefore not binding to them.
Below, we submit a few issues that record differing ideas about the Deity of Christ in early Christian centuries that affected the views registered in the Qur’an regarding strict monotheism:
1. The Pharisees & Sadducees’ View – Found in John 5:18 & 10:33. They accused Jesus of blasphemy when he made them understand that God is His Father, making himself equal with God.
2. Antichrist – During the later days of Apostle John, some who became members of the church denied that Jesus was really human. This belief made Apostle John strongly react and called them “antichrist” in 2 John 7. This party will be called “docetists” in later years.
3. Ebionism – From the Hebrew word which means “poor.” A great majority of the early converts were poor, so early Christians were called “ebionites” but the term was assigned later to a group of disciples who believed that Jesus was normally born to Joseph and Mary. This group believed that Jesus possessed unusual wisdom and righteousness and upon his baptism became the Messiah when the Holy Spirit descended and dwelt on him with God’s power, but all these left him just before his death.
(NOTE: A second series on this issue on the Deity of Christ will follow. – ET)