Alongside our series ‘Why Muhammad is not a prophet’, we thought we’d answer the top ten common Muslim objections to the deity of Christ. This first objection, popularised by Ahmed Deedat, is way the most common and often the first one a Muslim will raise. So here’s a quick rebuttal, which we hope you find helpful.
Objection 1 – Jesus never said ‘I am God, worship me.’
- This is the ‘exact words’ fallacy.
Just because Jesus doesn’t use these exact words doesn’t mean it can’t be true. Just because the Queen is not on record saying exactly “I am a woman and monarch of the United Kingdom” doesn’t mean she isn’t. The Qur’an never says “tawhid [Islamic monotheism] is God’s truth, you must follow tawhid” – does this mean the Qur’an doesn’t teach tawhid? No, the Qur’an does teach tawhid. Besides, who are ordinary Muslims to tell Jesus, who they revere as a prophet, what He should or shouldn’t have said? Why not look at His actual words? This leads us to our next point.
2. Why use an argument from silence instead of going to Scripture?
The Qur’an tells Muslims to believe in that which was sent down to us, Jews and Christians, as well as what was sent to them (Sura 4:136). Allah says he doesn’t make a distinction between the Qur’an and the previous Scriptures (Sura 2:136), that the previous Scriptures are a guidance for mankind (Sura 3:3-4). Why are Muslims preferring the words of human beings like Ahmed Deedat over Allah’s words?
3. Jesus does claim to be God in John 8:58 and Mark 14:62
How does Jesus identify himself in John 8:58? Verses 48-58 give the context.
48 The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”
49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honour my Father and you dishonour me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”
52 At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
54 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS BORN, I AM!” (Greek ‘ego eimi’)59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.”
Who does “ego eimi” (“I am”) refer to in the Old Testament? Isaiah 43:9-13 from the Septuagint (Greek version of OT):
‘All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, ‘It is true. You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord (Greek kyrios, Hebrew YHWH) ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I AM HE (ego eimi). Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no saviour. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘that I am God. Yes, AND FROM ANCIENT DAYS I AM HE. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?’ Isaiah 43:9-13.
“I am” refers to YHWH, the personal name for God as revealed to Moses. YHWH is from ancient days, YHWH is the only Saviour, out of whose hand no-one can deliver. Jesus is from ancient times (John 8:58, Micah 5:2), Jesus is the only Saviour (Luke 2:11), and no one can deliver out of his hand (John 10:27)! Therefore Jesus is YHWH.
What’s more, the Jews understood perfectly what Jesus meant, hence why they tried to stone him for blasphemy. And it would be blasphemy if Jesus were just a prophet, but Jesus’ claim to be God must be true because Jesus was sinless and not a liar – as the Qur’an also affirms.
27 Jesus’ claim to divinity is even more explicit in Mark 14: 61-64, during his trial before the Sanhedrin:
‘Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 “I am,” (ego eimi) said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death.
In Jesus’ answer, note the parallels with the Divine Son of Man in Daniel 7:13 who is worshipped by all nations and peoples as God!
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a]coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language WORSHIPPED him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Why is the ‘son of man’ in Daniel worshipped if He isn’t God Almighty himself? Jesus is claiming to be this very Person! Now turn let’s turn this objection into a question for Muslims:
4. So if Allah tells you to believe in the previous Scriptures (Sura 4:136), and that Jesus was sinless and not a liar (Sura 19:19) why don’t you worship Him when He claims to be God?
Lord Jesus open Muslims’ eyes to see you for the glorious God and Saviour that You are.
For more in-depth analysis, read this article by Sam Shamoun
1 thought on “Objection 1: Jesus never said “I am God, worship me””
I would add: Jesus calls himself the divine Son of God, and demonstrated this by what he did. He never describes himself outside of his relationship to his Father.