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Christ's Sinlessness, Divinity and Sonship

According to what God has revealed in his Precious Book, we Christians believe that Jesus Christ is infallible since he is not in the genetic line of corrupt human nature, as the inspired books have confirmed. We have in the Qur'an and the Hadith a basis for the inspiration of the Holy Bible.

We also believe Christ to be God and man at the same time in the light of the divine inspiration in the Gospel. As an expression of this truth and by way of illustration we say: The one God appeared in the man Jesus Christ and indwelt him with the fullness of his deity, a limitless indwelling, For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Hebrews 1:1-3). Therefore it is correct to say that Christ is God and man at the same time. For the man is not a God but God is God, and man is man. He is not two gods as the Muslims imagine Christ to be. Christ, by his divine power performed miracles and superhuman acts, unlike the prophets -- for they performed the miracles by the power of God and not by their own strength. As man he ate and drank and slept like any other human. He would at times speak of himself as God and sometimes as man. As we have said, this was only because he was both God and man. Our Muslim brethren and some Christians have had doubts regarding the divinity of Christ, since they have seen many passages in the Book which show him to be man. However, if they review the numerous texts which point to his divinity and do it meticulously and with care, the clouds of doubt which obscure their vision would disappear. Jesus said to him, Yes, it is as you say, Jesus replied. But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven (Matthew 26:64). Jesus said to him, Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? (John 14:9).

Moreover, Christ as man lived for a while on earth, was crucified, died and rose again, but the crucifixion and death fell on his physical nature.

As for Christ's divinity, it is very clear in the Torah and Gospel, from the prophecies, the words of Christ himself and in the teachings of the apostles. Also from the following verse from Sura Al Imran 3:40, Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. If the expositors claim that what is meant by 'Word' is the verb 'be' (kun) or speech in other texts there is no way they can claim this meaning in this instance. The words, a Word from him whose name is Messiah shows that the Word here is a person and not an utterance or command as will be clear upon the slightest reflection. It is almost like saying, A being from him. Notice that the pronoun in the Arabic ismihi (whose name) is masculine referring to kalima (Word) which in Arabic is feminine phonetically but masculine in meaning; otherwise, linguistically it would not be permissible.

Muslim scholars have stated that all God's creatures can be termed God's words since they were created by a word. I would say that this is false, for otherwise one can call a cause effect, and a book a pen because the pen is the means or the tool which wrote the book but not the book itself. If God created Isa, the Christ, by a word of command (kun, in Arabic) as they allege, he could not be called (kalima) word, because he is not the word but the effect of the word (the command). If I write a book with my mind, that book is not called a mind (or my mind) but the object of the mind. Otherwise, truth will be mixed with error, and essentials will be confused with accidentals.

What is clear from other verses is that Christ is the Spirit of God. You know that whatever is of God is God. Therefore the Word of God is God eternal, and Spirit of God is God, eternal, everlasting. This exactly corresponds with what we have at the beginning of John's Gospel:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it (John 1:1-5).

As to Christ being the Son of God, that is possible and not an infidelity. The Hadith, speaking on God's behalf says, The poor are my family. This is not impossible, as shown in the saying in Sura al-Zumar 39:6, Had God desired to take to Him a son, He would have chosen whatever He willed of that He has created. No wonder then that the Book has announced that Christ is the Son of God, not by way of reproduction as some Muslims think because 'Son' is an expression not exclusive to the male child by procreation but is also used figuratively, as in, sons of the word, or son of the sea, or son of the desert and so on. We also use the expression so and so is the son (or child) of so and so by way of adoption, metaphorically or analogically. God has called the believers his children. However he declared that Christ is his only begotten Son. In other words the latter is a different sonship from the former.

We do not comprehend this sonship fully because it is beyond human comprehension. And as Christ was called Son of God so as to elevate him above men for his deity, he was called 'Son of Man' to indicate his humanity. This is what is intended in Daniel's prophecy chapter 7:13,14, which points to Christ being God and man in one.

Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-- this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. (1 John 1:1)

The sins of the prophets are mentioned in the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospel one by one (and the Qur'an supports their evidence). The corruption of the whole human race is also mentioned as you have seen. However, none of these books mentions any sin of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, they all testify to his holiness and purity beyond any other human, and his infallibility with respect to sin. He stands out unique among men in this regard, as you will see from the coming discussion of the excellence of Christ.

No prophet or apostle, however great, has dared to claim infallibility for himself, because sinlessness in human creatures is impossible. Only God possesses infallibility and perfection. As to Christ who excelled all others by virtue of his joint divinity and humanity; he had such utter confidence in his perfection and purity that he could boldly ask, Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? (John 8:46). I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in me (John 14:30). Numerous other testimonials in the Book testify to Christ's infallibility. Even his foes could not find any fault in his behaviour.

When the governor Pilate examined the charges of the Jews, he declared that he could not find any fault in Christ which deserved death (John 18:38 and 19:4,6). Pilate's wife also sent a message during the trial advising her husband, Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him (Matthew 27:19). After that Pilate washed his hands. I am innocent of this man's blood, he said. It is your responsibility! (Matthew 27:24).

So the Jews said, Let his blood be on us and on our children! It was then that Christ was delivered to be crucified. Christ's whole life and walk speaks eloquently of his absolute purity, integrity and infallibility, in contrast with the conduct of the rest of humanity, including the prophets and apostles, which are full of faults, inconsistencies, injustice and corruption of heart.

This purity of Christ and his sinlessness were essential so that he would be fit to offer himself an atonement and a pure and unblemished sacrifice for the souls of sinful humanity.

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