Question: "Is Jesus God's Son? How could Allah, being one, have a son?"
Answer: Muslims ask, “How could Allah, being one, have a Son?” Misunderstanding the Trinity, they sometimes charge Christians with worshiping three gods. However, Christians believe that only one true God exists.
Jesus Himself upheld monotheism. When asked for the greatest command, Jesus responded, “. . . The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:29-30).
Jesus taught that God is one, and Jesus taught that He was one with God (John 10:30). In response, the Jews picked up stones to stone Jesus because they thought He was guilty of blasphemy. Similarly, Muslims would say a man claiming to be God would be guilty of “shirk.” However, Jesus is not a mere man claiming to be God. He is the Son of God in human flesh (John 10:36-38).
The title “Son of God” does not mean Jesus was literally born from God. The Bible does not teach a physical relationship between God and Mary, as Muslims sometimes charge. At the birth of Jesus, the angel told the virgin Mary:
“. . . ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. . . . of his kingdom there will be no end.’ And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God’” (Luke 1:30-35).
Pastor John MacArthur explains these verses: “Since a son bears his father’s qualities, calling a person someone else’s ‘son’ was a way of signifying equality. Here the angel was telling Mary that her Son would be equal to the Most High God” (The MacArthur Study Bible).
Man’s testimony that Jesus is God’s Son
When people witnessed Jesus’ miracles, teaching, death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, many believed Jesus is the Son of God.
• Followers of Jesus testified after He calmed a storm: “And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’” (Matthew 14:32-33).
• Peter testified: “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven’” (Matthew 16:13-17).
• A woman, whose brother Jesus raised to life, testified: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world’” (John 11:25-27).
• Even the demons know Jesus is the Son of God: “Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God’” (Mark 3:11).
• A military officer and soldiers who were guarding Jesus at His death on the cross testified: “When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” (Matthew 27:54).
• Thomas testified after Jesus rose from the dead: “Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’ Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:24-31).
Jesus’ own testimony that He is God’s Son
• “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill [Jesus], because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life’” (John 5:18-24).
• At Jesus’ trial, He testified: “. . . Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven’" (Mark 14:61-62).
• “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20).
God’s testimony that Jesus is His Son
• God spoke at Jesus’ baptism: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).
• “While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him’” (Luke 9:34-35).
• “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:9-13).
• Previously, God had spoken to man through His prophets, but then He sent His own Son: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers by the prophets at many times and in various ways. But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son whom He has 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).
Jesus is the “exact representation” of God. Although one with His Father in essence, Jesus is also distinct in Person as God’s Son. God has revealed Himself as one God manifest in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Even before the world began, Jesus was always with God and was God (John 1:1-2; 17:5). God created all things in the universe through Jesus (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-20).
Although eternally one with God, Jesus came to earth in the form of man (Philippians 2:5-11). Born to the virgin Mary, Jesus is fully God and fully man at the same time (the incarnation: Matthew 1:22-23; John 1:14; Romans 1:3-4; Colossians 2:9; 1 John 4:1-3; 5:20).
Believe in the Son of God
We must believe God’s Word that Jesus is God’s Son, even though it’s hard to understand. We will die with many hard questions unanswered. But we dare not die without responding to God's promise of judgment and salvation through His Son (John 3:35-36; 5:25-29; Acts 10:38-43; 17:30-31; 1 John 4:14-15).
As the perfect Son of God, Jesus didn’t deserve the punishment for sin, death (Romans 6:23). But by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, Jesus paid the penalty of sin and broke the power of sin for those who would be in Him (Romans 8:1-3).
God is calling sinners to turn from their own way to follow the living Lord Jesus in repentance and faith (Luke 24:46-47). We cannot save ourselves. Only those who turn from sin and trust in the Son of God are saved from sin and eternal death.
“God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18).