Did Jesusas Confirm or Deny Divinity?
Farhan Iqbal, Missionary Canada
Any researcher who wants to know the truth about the claims of Jesusas would naturally ask the question: Did Jesusas himself make that claim? When it comes to the divinity of Jesusas, the answer is not only that Jesusas never made the claim in explicit terms, he even denied it when confronted over this question.
Throughout the gospels, there is not a single instance where Jesusas plainly said: Ego eimi ho theos (I am God).
The fact is that a claim to Divinity is a very serious claim. If it was the eternal will of God to come to earth as a man and die for the sins of mankind, the least that one must expect is for Him to declare it openly, not just through indications and vague remarks open to a wide range of interpretations. If that is not the case, He would have to be deemed a deceptive god (God forbid) for He chooses not to express His will and His intention to His people in a clear manner.
In fact, it would not even be enough as a claim because there have been many false claimants to deity in the past. What is needed is for that claim to be substantiated by evidence that the claimant possesses God’s powers and attributes.
In the case of Jesusas, we find neither. He never claims to be God, nor does he demonstrate the power of God.
I am not suggesting that people should put their expectations on God and oblige God to state things in a certain way. God is the Master of the universe. He can choose to do things however He wishes, through His infinite wisdom. However, if the eternal salvation of a person depends on their acceptance of Jesusas as God and his atonement for the sins of mankind then the very least the weak humans can expect is for God to declare this truth in a most crisp, unadulterated manner. Otherwise it would be against the justice and mercy of God to hold His people accountable for something that is very vague and ambiguous.
Comparatively, when the Holy Quran states fundamental truths about the nature of God, it does so in the following manner:
بِسْمِ اللہِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ قُلْ هُوَ اللہُ أَحَدٌ اللہُ الصَّمَدُ
لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَّهٗ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ
In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. Say, “He is Allah, the One; Allah, the Independent and Besought of all. He begets not, nor is He begotten; and there is none like unto Him.” (Ch.115: V.1-5)
Here, we can notice the clarity with which each statement is made, leaving no room for any doubt. After reading the above, the reader is clear on one point: God is One.
However, when it comes to the Gospels, there is evidence that Jesusas denied being God. On the other hand, those references that are provided as “proof” for the divinity of Jesusas are vague, at best.
The Promised Messiahas illustrates this when he says, “The Messiah never claimed to be God. When the Jews were about to stone him at his alleged blasphemy, he saved himself by presenting the idiom of their spoken and written word. He did not present any evidence for his divinity.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, p. 135-136)
This can be seen in its context in John 10:30-39, when the Jews asked him to tell them plainly if he was the Messiah:
[Jesusas said:] “…The Father and I are one.” The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.”
This is a crucial point in the ministry of Jesusas when he is confronted and accused of claiming to be God. The Promised Messiahas notes that any intelligent person can think and conclude that when Jesusas was put on the spot and accused of blasphemy, he should have responded in one of two ways:
1. If he was truly the son of God, he should have said: “My claim is true. I am indeed the son of God and I have two proofs in support of my claim. One is that in your books it is written that the Messiah is the son of God, rather he is God Himself, and he is All-Powerful, knows the unseen and does whatever he wishes. If you doubt this, bring your books, and I will show you the proof of my Godhead from these books. You charge me with blasphemy because of your misunderstanding and lack of knowledge of the Scripture. Your books proclaim me God and All-Powerful, then why do you say that I blaspheme? You should instead worship me because I am God.” (Jang-e-Muqaddas, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 6, pp. 133-134)
His second proof should have been, “Come and behold the signs of Godhead in me. As God Almighty has created the sun and the moon and the planets and the earth, I too have created a portion of the earth or a planet or some other part of the universe. I can even now create something of that kind and demonstrate my Godhead. I have more power and strength than is manifested in the miracles of the Prophets.” (Jang-e-Muqaddas, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 6, p. 134)
However, Jesusas took neither of the options above and chose to quote the scripture instead.
Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ – and the scripture cannot be annulled – can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands. (John 10:34-39)
Here was a chance for Jesusas to clearly state who he was, but instead of explicitly making a claim to be God, he quotes from the scripture where others before him have also been called “gods” because they were the recipients of revelation. This is found in Psalm 82, “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere men”.
By referring to the scripture, Jesusas essentially says that there is nothing objectionable about his claim as others have also been called “gods” in the metaphorical sense because they were “sons of the Most High” and were “mere men”.
It becomes clear then that Jesusas denies any claim to divinity for himself when he is confronted, as recorded in John 10.