I am going to be responding to Muhammadan polemicist Paul Williams’ post where he quotes John 17:3,
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
And then says:
As the verse makes clear, Jesus and God are two different and separate beings: one is Almighty God and the other is Jesus the Messiah whom God has sent. This is the teaching of Islam too. This correct understanding is key to eternal life. To deny it is to be in danger of hell fire. (https://bloggingtheology.net/2017/03/11/31428/)
I am going to show Williams’ claim that the teaching of Islam agrees with Jesus’ words in this inspired text is a boldfaced lie, and will be seen as such by anyone who has eyes to see and ears to hear.
We will now quote the immediate context of John 17:3 in order to properly understand the meaning of the Lord’s blessed words:
“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; GLORIFY thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power OVER ALL FLESH, that HE SHOULD GIVE ETERNAL LIFE to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory WHICH I HAD WITH THEE BEFORE THE WORLD WAS… And all mine are thine, and thine ARE MINE; and I am glorified in them… Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.” John 17:1-5, 10, 24
We now proceed to break this down so as to help the readers see how the Lord Jesus’ statements not only affirm that he is God in the flesh since he is one with the Father, but also serve to expose Muhammad as a false prophet and antichrist.
1. Jesus is the Son whom the Father glorifies in the same manner that the Son glorifies him, having personally existed alongside the Father in the same divine glory and being the very object of the Father’s love from before the creation of the world.
Since God doesn’t share his glory with anyone,
“For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.” Isaiah 48:11
And since he is the One whom all the angels are commanded to glorify,
“Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” Psalm 29:1-2 New International Version (NIV)
This means that the only way for Jesus to possess the same divine glory that belongs to the Father from even before the creation of the world is if he is also God in essence.
This is brought out by what our Lord taught elsewhere where he plainly states that God commands everyone to grant the Son the same honor that they render to the Father:
“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, EVEN AS they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” John 5:22-23
The fact that God commands everyone to grant the Son the same honor that they render to the Father further confirms that Jesus is God in the flesh, and coequal to the Father in essence, glory, majesty and honor. After all, God will never tolerate that a creature be given the very honor that he himself receives from his creation.
Moreover, since Muhammad denied that his god is the Father of Jesus,
The Jews say, ‘Ezra is the Son of God’; the Christians say, ‘The Messiah is the Son of God.’ That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted! S. 9:30 Arberry
And also denied that he is a father to the Jews and Christians,
(Both) the Jews and the Christians say: “We are sons of God, and his beloved.” Say: “Why then doth He punish you for your sins? Nay, ye are but men, – of the men he hath created: He forgiveth whom He pleaseth, and He punisheth whom He pleaseth: and to God belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between: and unto Him is the final goal (of all)” S. 5:18 Yusuf Ali – cf. Q. 6:101; 19:88-93; 21:26; 39:4; 72:3
Thereby rejecting the spiritual fatherhood of God (after all, the Jews and Christians with whom Muhammad engaged did not think for a moment that God was their Father in a biological, procreative sense), Muhammad therefore stands condemned by Christ’s own words as a false prophet and antichrist:
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” 1 John 2:22-23
2. Jesus has power over all flesh and owns everything that belongs to the Father.
This is something that is stated more than once in John’s Gospel,
“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given ALL THINGS into his hand.” John 3:35
“Jesus knowing that the Father had given ALL THINGS into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;” John 13:3
“ALL THINGS that the Father hath ARE MINE: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:15
And is confirmed by the other Gospel writers:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ALL power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18
“Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.” Mark 12:6-8 – cf. Matthew 21:37-39; Luke 20:13-15
“In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of MY Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” Luke 10:21-22 – cf. Matthew 11:25-27
Since Muhammad was flesh who belonged to God, this means that Muhammad is under the glorious feet of the Lord Jesus since Christ owns him. And since all the Muslim nations belong to the Father, this too means that Jesus owns all Muslims everywhere since they were made for his glory and are his everlasting possession.
3. Jesus gives everlasting life to all believers.
Jesus not only possessed the divine ability to grant his followers morally incorruptible and physically indestructible lives, he even claimed to be the One who would resurrect the dead from their graves at the last hour by the power of his sovereign and majestic voice:
“For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will… Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD: and they that hear shall live… Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear HIS [the Son’s] VOICE, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:21, 25, 28-29
“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day… Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:39-44, 54
To show just how remarkable these statements are, note what the Quran says regarding this issue of giving life and raising the dead at the last hour:
That is because Allah, He is the Truth and because He quickeneth the dead, and because He is Able to do all things; And because the Hour will come, there is no doubt thereof; and because Allah will raise those who are in the graves. S. 22:6-7
It is Allah, i.e. the one God, who shall give life and resurrect people from their graves at that last day and he is also the Truth, which is a name that Christ ascribes to his own person:
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Thus Jesus claims to do what even the Quran says only the true God can and shall do at the last day!
It gets a lot worse for Williams and his fellow Muhammadans since Jesus again emphasizes his ability to preserve all true believers forever in a passage where he claims to be one with the Father:
“MY sheep hear MY VOICE, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” John 10:27-33
The context makes it crystal clear that Jesus is making himself one with the Father in respect to essence and power since, like the Father, no one is able to pluck any of the sheep out of his hand, which presupposes that Christ is Almighty, all-knowing and omnipresent.
This is brought out more clearly from the fact that the Lord ascribed to himself the very language which the OT writers attributed to Yahweh God Almighty. I.e., believers are the sheep of Yahweh’s hand and it is his voice they are supposed to hear,
“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:” Psalm 95:6-8
And it is Yahweh who gives life, and is able to prevent anyone from delivering out of his sovereign hand:
“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.” Deuteronomy 32:39 – 1 Samuel 2:2, 6; Isaiah 43:10-13
No wonder the Jews correctly concluded that Jesus was making himself out to be God even though he was a man!
4. Jesus is a necessary object of faith and knowledge for salvation.
Jesus clearly states in 17:3 that eternal life is dependent on knowing him, not just the Father. In other words, a believer’s salvation is derived from knowing, loving, trusting and believing in both the Father and Son equally, a point that the Lord makes elsewhere:
“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” John 14:1-4
This in itself presupposes the essential unity of the Father and the Son since the Holy Bible condemns trusting and depending on mere flesh and blood human beings for one’s salvation and provisions:
“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:5-9
5. Jesus is the Lord God of all true believers.
“Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said UNTO HIM, My Lord and my God (HO Kyrios mou kai HO Theos mou – “THE Lord of me and THE God of me”). Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:27-29
Here Thomas worships the risen Christ as his very Lord and God!
Thomas’ worship of the Lord Jesus is virtually identical to the way that David addressed Yahweh in the Psalms:
“Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord (elohay wadonay – Gr. HO Theos mou kai HO Kyrios mou).” Psalm 35:23
Astoundingly, the Hebrew Bible makes it emphatically clear that a God-fearing Jew cannot believe in or worship any other God besides Yahweh:
“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:1-3
“for thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:” Exodus 34:14
Therefore, the only way for Jesus to permit Thomas to worship him as his very own Lord and God is if he is Yahweh in the flesh.
What makes this interesting is that earlier in the same chapter, Jesus refers to the Father as being both the God of Christ and of his disciples:
“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God (kai Theon mou kai Theon hymon).” John 20:17(1)
Now note the implication of all this:
- The Father is the God of Christ and of the disciples.
- Jesus is the God of the disciples.
- The disciples are to trust in and worship only one God, namely, Yahweh.
- Therefore, both the Father and the Son must be Yahweh God.
- And yet the Father and the Son are not the same Person.
- Therefore, the one true God Yahweh is a multi-Personal Being since he exists as at least two distinct, divine Persons, namely the Father and the Son.
So much for Williams’ claim that Islam teaches the same truth that is found in John 17:3.
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural citations taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.
(1) It is rather interesting that, whereas John employs the articular Theos (God with the definite article, i.e. THE God) when quoting Thomas, he omits it in the case of Jesus referring to the Father as his God and the God of the disciples. Now if God without the article means something less than true Deity then this means Jesus is more divine than the Father!
Another intriguing aspect of John 20:17 is that Jesus didn’t simply tell Mary Magdelene to inform his brothers that he was ascending to “our Father and our God,” which would have been much simpler and easier to say. Rather Christ deliberately speaks of returning to his Father and God, and to the disciples’ Father and God, in order to highlight the qualitative difference between his relationship to God from that of the disciples. As John’s Gospel emphatically affirms, Jesus is God’s Son in a unique and eternal sense, whereas the disciples are God’s children by grace through faith in Christ (cf. 1:12-13). Moreover, the Father is the disciples’ God by virtue of their being his creatures, which he brought into being by means of his Son (cf. 1:3-4, 10). However, the Father is the Son’s God due to the Incarnation, e.g. the Father is the God of Jesus by virtue of the latter becoming a flesh and blood human being at a specific moment in time, not because he is a creature by nature.