Today we are continuing with the series on defending our faith. Islam makes outrageous claims about or faith and our Bible. Islam teaches that Jesus is not God, that He was just a man, and that Christianity has made a God out of Him. The Islamic scholars have learned that, unlike in Muslim countries, in the West you can’t just make claims, you must support your arguments with facts. As a result, they are taking Scripture out of context, twisting it, and trying to deceive Christians to believe that the Bible teaches something other that what it really teaches.
Today we are going to look at another of their arguments. They are able to fool many Christians because they don’t really know their Bible, and don’t have an answer.
Jesus is Created – God is Uncreated.
Muslims say that Jesus is a created being, and therefore cannot be God.
It is true that God doesn’t have a beginning or an end, He is eternal. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. God cannot be placed within the boundaries of time or space. It is difficult for us to understand something or someone who has no beginning or ending. Time started in Genesis 1:1 where it says, “In the beginning.” Those who believe in creation believe that this was about 7,000 years ago. Those who don’t believe in creation believe that the world is billions of years old. When God created the world, He created it with age. When He created Adam and Eve, He didn’t create them as infants, He created them fully grown. When God created trees, He made them full grown.
Muslims quote the following:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (Colossians 1:15)
They ask who this is talking about, and of course it is talking about Jesus.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)
Again, this is talking about Jesus. So, they say, Jesus had a birth, can claim that He had a beginning, and is created.
These passages are true, but we, as Christians, see firstborn differently than the Muslims. To the Muslim, it means Jesus had a beginning.
It should be obvious to all that Jesus is not the first born in time because many, including His mother, were born before He was. The term ‘firstborn’ means ‘one with preeminence,’ it does not mean that He was the first one born. We see this in Psalms 89:
Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. (Psalms 89:27)
His being the firstborn has nothing to do with His beginning, it is about His position among those who are born. He is the preeminent, or most important, one who was ever born.
When the Muslims want to use the Bible to prove their points it opens the door for us to get them into the Bible. We must inform them that one of the basic rules of understanding the Bible is to let the Bible interpret itself. This allows us to take them to other passages and show them what the Bible really says.
When we want to show that Jesus Christ is eternal, we start in John Chapter -.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
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 1:14)
John 1:1 teaches that Jesus is equal to God the Father. John 1:14 teaches that He became flesh and dwelt among us.
When a Muslim tries to show that the Bible teaches Jesus had a beginning, take him here and ask, him who is the Word? John 1:1 makes it clear that the Word is God. The we take them to verse 14 and show them that the Word, who is God, became flesh. We also learn that the Word was already their in the beginning, so the Word is not part of creation.
These two verses, and their context, teach that Jesus is God. In the beginning, the Word was already with God, and this Word was God, and the Word was became flesh.
We can also take them to Philippians Chapter 2:
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. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
In this passage we learn that Jesus didn’t think it was robbery to be equal with God. He was made in the likeness of men, and as such, he humbled himself and was obedient unto death on the cross. Because of this submission and obedience He was given a name which was above every name (preeminent). This is what firstborn is talking about. At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, every tongue will will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
The term “firstborn” has nothing to do with time, that Jesus was created first, but with preeminence. If Jesus, the Word made flesh, is God, and the Bible clearly teaches that He is, then He is uncreated. He has no beginning and no ending, He IS forever.
Tomorrow we will deal with another question Muslims ask, How is it that God can die? I don’t think that this is a question that Muslims throw at us to trip us up. I believe that it is a question they can’t understand. I believe that an understanding of the Trinity is necessary for the understanding of this issue.