We come to the conclusion of our rebuttal.
Muslims don’t fair any better at this point since, not only do these NT texts ascribe to Jesus the very same status and worship which belong to Jehovah God alone, the Islamic scripture itself agrees with God’s Word, the Holy Bible, that Christ has been granted the very status of God Almighty himself!
For instance, the Quran states that Allah or God lifted Jesus up to himself, and therefore dwells in the same exact place that God does:
God said: ‘Jesus, I am about to claim you back AND LIFT YOU UP TO ME. I shall take you away from the unbelievers and exalt your followers above them till the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me you shall all return and I shall judge your disputes. S. 3:55 N. J. Dawood
God lifted him up to Him; God is mighty and wise. S. 4:158 Dawood
According to both the Quran and Islamic tradition, God is said to be above/upon the throne, which is supposed to be over the seven heavens, and therefore high above any created thing:
Your Lord is God, who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then ascended the throne. He throws the veil of night over the day. Swiftly they follow one another. And the sun and the moon and the stars — all subservient to His will. His is the creation, His the command. Blessed be God, Lord of the Worlds! S. 7:54 Dawood
It was God who in six days created the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them, and then ascended the throne. You have no guardian or intercessor besides Him. Will you not take heed? He governs all, from heaven to earth. And all will ascend to Him in a single day, a day whose space is a thousand years by your reckoning. S. 32:4-5 Dawood
While Allah’s Prophet and his companions were sitting clouds came over them and Allah’s Prophet asked, “Do you know what these are?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger knew best, he said, “These are the clouds (anan), these are the water-carriers of the Earth, which Allah drives to people who do not thank Him or call upon him.” He then asked, “Do you know what is above you?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger knew best, he said, “It is the firmament, a ceiling which is guarded and waves which are kept back.” He then asked, “Do you know what is between you and it?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger knew best, he said, “Between you and it are five hundred years.” He then asked, “Do you knew what is above that?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger best he said, “Two heavens with a distance of five hundred years between them.” He went on speaking like that till he counted seven heavens, the distance between each pair being like between Heaven and Earth. He then asked, “Do you know what is above that?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger knew best, he said, “Above that is the Throne, and the distance between it and the (seventh) heaven is the same as that between each pair of heavens.” He then asked, “Do you know what is below you?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger knew best, he said, “It is the earth.” He then asked, “Do you know what is under that?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger knew best, he said, “Under it there is another Earth with a journey of five hundred years between them,” and so on till he had counted seven earths with a journey of five hundred years between each pair. He then said, “By Him in Whose hand Muhammad’s soul is, if you were to drop a rope to the lowest earth it would not pass out of Allah’s knowledge.” He then recited, “He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward, and He is omniscient.” (Tirmidhi commented that Allah’s Messenger’s recitation of the verse indicates that it would go down within Allah’s knowledge, power and authority, for Allah’s knowledge, power and authority are everywhere, while He is on the Throne, as He described Himself in His Book.)
Ahmad and Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Al-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 1513 – ALIM Online Version: http://www.alim.org/library/hadith/TIR/1513; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Now pay attention to what noted Muslim scholar and Quran commentator Ibn Kathir wrote concerning Q. 36:38, which speaks of the sun traveling on its course:
<on its fixed course for a term (appointed).> (The first view) is that it refers to its fixed course of location, which is beneath the Throne, beyond the earth in that direction. Wherever it goes, it is beneath the Throne, it AND ALL OF CREATION, because the Throne is the ROOF of creation and it is not a sphere as many astronomers claim. Rather it is a dome supported by legs or pillars, carried by the angels, and it is ABOVE the universe, ABOVE the heads of people. When the sun is at its zenith at noon, it is in its closest position to the Throne, and when it runs in its fourth orbit at the opposite point to its zenith, at midnight, it is in its furthest position from the Throne. At that point it prostrates and asks permission to rise, as mentioned in the Hadiths.
Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Dharr… said, “I was with the Prophet in the Masjid at sunset, and he said…
((O Abu Dharr! Do you know where the sun sets?)) I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said…
((It goes and prostrates itself beneath the Throne, and that is what Allah says: <And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.>))
It was also reported that Abu Dharr… said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah about the Ayah…
<And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term.>
((Its fixed course is beneath the Throne.))“… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir Abridged, Volume 8 Surat Al-Ahzab, Verse 51 to the end of Surat Ad-Dukhan, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; September 2000, first edition], pp. 196-197: http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1487; bold and capital emphasis ours)
What this means is that Jesus is now ruling alongside Allah/God from the throne, which therefore places him higher than every created being, including Muhammad!
Here is a helpful breakdown of these points so that the readers can see this for themselves.
Allah is seated/ascended above/upon his throne.
Allah’s throne is located above the seven heavens and seven earths, and is therefore above the entire creation.
It is from the throne that Allah rules over creation.
Allah lifted up Jesus to himself, to be with him where he is.
Since Allah is upon/above the throne, this means that Jesus is also upon/above the throne.
And since the throne represents Allah’s dominion over his creatures, Jesus is therefore ruling over all creation together with Allah.
It is completely understandable why Muhammad would have Jesus ascending to God himself seeing how he believed that this is where Christ originally proceeded from, just as the following text makes plain:
People of the Book, do not transgress the bounds of your religion. Speak nothing but the truth about God. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was no more than God’s apostle and His Word which He CAST to Mary: a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Apostles and do not say: ‘Three.’ Forbear, and it shall be better for you. God is but one God. God forbid that He should have a son! His is all that the heavens and the earth contain. God is the all-sufficient protector. S. 4:171 Dawood
Muhammad describes Jesus as the very Word of God and a Spirit which came forth from him who was then cast down to Mary, a rather clear affirmation of Christ’s divine prehuman existence.
Hence, it shouldn’t come as a total surprise that Muhammad would have Jesus ascending to the One that he initially descended from, i.e., since Christ came down from God it only makes sense that he would return back to him. After all, Jesus is not from the dust of the earth like all men are,
“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:17-19
“Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.” Psalm 104:29
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7
Which explains why he did not return to the ground.
Rather, he returned back to the origin of his eternal prehuman existence, namely, the infinite and uncreated Being of God Almighty himself.
At this point, Muhammad was doing nothing more than repeating what God’s true Word, the Holy Bible, had already stated concerning this matter:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men… That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not… And the Word was made 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.” John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14
“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” John 3:13
“He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.” John 3:31
“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me… What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” John 6:38, 62
“And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world… Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” John 8:23, 56-59
“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
“These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. ” John 16:25-32
“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was… For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me… 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 17:5, 8, 24
“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… And Thomas answered and said UNTO HIM, My Lord and my God. 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 20:17, 28-29
Yet herein lies the problem for the Muslims. The Islamic sources emphatically deny that God has a son or a partner in his dominion since he alone rules as the sovereign Lord of creation:
Say: ‘Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom; who needs none to defend Him from humiliation.’ Proclaim His greatness. S. 17:111
Some say they stayed in the cave three hundred years and nine. Say: ‘None but God knows how long they stayed in it. His are the secrets of the heavens and the earth. His are the secrets of the heavens and the earth. Clear is His sight, and keen His hearing. Man has no other guardian besides Him. He allows none to share His sovereignty.’ S. 18:26 – cf. Q. 25:2
This means that Muhammad not only went against what the Holy Bible teaches regarding Christ, he also contradicted himself. Muhammad didn’t realize that some of the things that he adopted from the Holy Bible concerning Jesus would end up refuting his attempt to undermine the Deity of Christ. Muhammad unknowingly embraced specific biblical titles, functions and characteristics of Jesus, that actually point to his being God Almighty in the flesh.
Now that we have turned the JW and Muslim objection against them, we can explain why it is that Jesus was given the name and status which places him high above the entire creation.
The God-breathed Scriptures testify that Jesus had assumed the position of a slave when he came to the earth and became a man:
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” Matthew 12:17-21
“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 – cf. Matthew 20:28
“For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” Luke 22:27 – cf. John 13:3-17
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” Romans 15:8
As such, Christ had voluntarily set aside the status and authority he possessed as God in order to fulfill the task of dying on the cross for the redemption of mankind. As the blessed Apostle Paul explains:
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” Romans 8:3
“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 4:3-7
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8
At this point, Christ was perfectly putting into practice his own teaching:
“But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12
And in the words of the blessed Apostle Peter:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
Therefore, in response to Christ voluntarily humbling himself to become a slave, the Father exalted him to the position that was always intrinsically his by divine right.
This should sufficiently put to rest this oft-repeated objection against the essential Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
All quranic verses taken from the English version of N. J. Dawood.
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptural citations taken from the Authorized King James Version (AV) of the Holy Bible.
How Can Jesus Be Made Lord and Christ if he is God? (http://answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/rebuttals/williams/acts2_36.html)
What does it mean that Jesus was made Lord? (http://answeringislam.net/Shamoun/q_jesus_made_lord.htm)
How can Jesus be God if he is given the name Lord only at his exaltation? (http://answeringislam.net/Shamoun/q_given_name_lord.htm)
Sam Shamoun preempts a possible Islamic misinterpretation of Acts 2 v 36 (https://badmanna.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/sam-shamoun-preempts-a-possible-islamic-mis-interpretation-of-acts-2-v-36/)
Christ as the Risen and Exalted Adoni Addendum A: Was Jesus Lord and Christ Before His Ascension? (https://badmanna.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/christ-as-the-risen-and-exalted-adoni-addendum-a-was-jesus-lord-and-christ-before-his-ascension-a-post-by-sam-shamoun/)
Does Acts 2 v 22 prove that Jesus is just a man and not God in the flesh? (https://badmanna.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/does-acts-2-v-22-prove-that-jesus-is-just-a-man-a-post-by-sam-shamoun/)