3. Son of the Most High?

How Can Isa Be the “Son of the Most High”?

Before we explore this topic, we should readily acknowledge that it is extremely controversial, and for many people emotionally upsetting. This subject is best approached after preparatory prayer. Many believe that the Injil just could not be saying what it seems to be saying. And yet, there are no manuscripts of the Injil which could be construed so as to avoid these implications. Those who believe “it must have been changed,” have absolutely no manuscript evidence on which to base their claim. If we value the truth, we need to look at the evidence as it is, not as we wish it to be.

A zealous religious man approached his friend, a follower of Isa al-Masih.

Religious man: “Isa was a great prophet—but only a human being.”

Follower of Isa: “Is Allah all-powerful and is anything possible for him?”

Religious man: “Yes, of course!”

Follower of Isa: “Then couldn't the Most High come to earth in human form?”

However, saying that Allah could come to earth is not the same as saying that he did. Did our Creator, in fact, come to earth in human form? That's the question we will explore below.

First, the expression “son of” does not always refer to the child of a man and a woman. Isa called two of his disciples “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). And he told some self-righteous Hebrews that their father was Iblis (John 8:44). Obviously this is figurative language: Isa didn't mean that thunder or Iblis had slept with women. Likewise, devout Hebrews of Isa's day sometimes called Allah their “Father,” but they never dreamed that this implied Allah had literal offspring. Some languages even today use the expression “son of” to describe a person's character.

What about Isa? Did he claim to be “the Son of God”? Yes. On that Isa was very clear. Note these important verses from the Gospels of John and of Luke.

"So how can you claim that I—the one whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world—that I blaspheme by calling myself ‘the Son of the Most High’? If I don't perform my Father's deeds, then don't believe me. But if I do, even if you don't believe in me, believe in the works themselves. Then you'll know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (John 10:36-38)

Isa continued, “My Father entrusted everything to me. No one knows the Son except the Father, or the Father except the Son—and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Luke 10:22)

In what sense could this mean that Isa is God's “Son”?

1. In a general sense, the Holy Scriptures speak of Allah as the “Father” of all true believers, for he gives us new spiritual life (John 1:12-13). In that sense all true believers are Allah's “children,” adopted into his spiritual family (Galatians 4:4-7). But this does not apply to the One we now call Isa, for he already existed before he came to earth (John 1:1-4, 14; John 8:48-59; Galatians 4:4).

2. In ancient Israel, the king on Dawud's throne was considered Allah's vice-regent on earth and called his son (2 Samuel 7:14). Coronation was described metaphorically as the Most High “begetting” a son, (Zabur/Psalm 2:6-7). Isa is certainly called “Son of the Most High” in this sense, as such he is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, now enthroned at the right hand of the Most High (Luke 1:32-33; John 1:49; Acts 13:32-33; Hebrews 1:3-5).

3. But Isa was special in another way. Aside from the first man, Adam, whom Allah made from earth, Isa is the only human being to not have an earthly father. As described in Luke 1:34-35, his mother conceived as a virgin through a miraculous, non-sexual act of Allah's Holy Spirit. So, in this sense also Isa can be called the “Son of the Most High.” No true follower of Isa believes that God Almighty had relations with Maryam, and clearly the Injil does not teach such a thing. It should never be made a point of debate, and attempts to do so are either foolish or ill-intended.

4. The Jews believed in only one God as strongly as any people ever has. When Isa used Father/Son terminology to express his unique relationship with the Most High, the religious leaders accused him of blasphemy for making himself equal with God (Luke 22:70-71; John 5:17-18; 10:30-33, 36). Neither Isa, who died for this assertion, nor the authors of the Injil, ever denied his equality with God (Luke 22:70; John 10:28-29; 19:7, Romans 9:5; 2 Peter 1:1; Revelation 5:11-14). So, in calling Isa the “Son of the Most High,” the Injil, however shockingly, asserts his deity.

But how can Isa be divine? If that were true, wouldn't it mean there is more than one God? Isn't that shirk and the worst kind of blasphemy?!

Those are excellent questions, and we'll address them in the next section.

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