Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The True Shahada: Defended

A Reply to “The True Shahada Indeed” – Part Three

By Anthony Rogers

This is the third installment of my response to an anonymous Muslim’s critique of my article, the True Shahada. Picking up Anonymous’ critique where I left off in part two, the following will show that John 17:3 supports the undiminished deity of Christ contrary to Mr. Anonymous’ self-styled rebuttal and contrary to Islam’s Shahada. Thus it will be demonstrated once again that this passage is of no help to Muslims no matter how anxious they are to establish some kind of revelatory precedent for their religion, one that goes back beyond a mottled version of seventh century paganism, sectarian, apocryphal, and Gnostic “Christianities”, and post-messianic Talmudic Judaism, to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

Fuzzy-Wuzzy Wuz A Muzzy

Before coming to Anonymous’ critique of what I said in favor of the deity of Christ, a couple of issues remain to be dealt with: first, Mr. Anonymous’ fuzzy logic applied to his equally fuzzy idea of the Trinity; and second, his overzealous and entirely bogus claim that I “admitted” that Jesus is not God Almighty.

As for Anonymous fuzzy logic, he didn’t like the illustration I gave for the fallacy committed by Muslims like himself who argue against the deity of Christ from John 17:3, saying that my illustration broke up the original construction.

But quite apart from the illustration that I chose to try and make the point easier to apprehend, it should be transparently obvious to anyone with even a modicum of understanding of logic and of the Trinity that the Muslim argument against Christ’s deity at this point rests on argumentation that is fallacious. The argument goes like this:

The Father is the only true God;
Jesus is not the Father;
Therefore, Jesus is not the only true God.

To infer such a conclusion from the above premises is fallacious because it assumes that Jesus is not one with the Father, which begs the question against the Christian understanding of the Trinity, and flatly contradicts what Jesus said in John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.” In other words, inferring the above conclusion from the stated premises fails to take into account the unique features of Trinitarian ontology or the fact that the Father and the Son are distinct persons but not different gods or beings. In other words, although Jesus is not the person of the Father, they are one in essence, and thus both can be the only true God.

Given a Trinitarian metaphysic the only legitimate way the deity of Christ could be ruled out is if the text said, “The Father alone is the only true God.” It was this that I aimed to bring out with the illustration I chose, where not the word “only” used to modify the predicate term of the major premise, but the word “alone” used to restrict what is predicated to the person of the Father, is what is all important. [In my article I pointed out that some Muslims, for example Shabir Ally, seem to be at least intuitively aware of this, for they inadvertently add the word “alone” when quoting this passage: “Jesus too confirmed that the Father alone is the only true God.” Underline mine. See here.]

As for the second point, Anonymous said:

Roger admitted that Jesus is not God – Almighty:

Next, he wrote that Muslim claim on John 17:3 would have held if the text would have read that only the Father is God. Here are his own confessions: “Things would be different if the text said “only Father is God”, or “the Father alone is the only true God”, but it does not.”

Ironically, Anthony Roger has himself admitted that the only true God is Father (!). To prove it, all I would do is to re – produce for you his own words: ““…. The first claim is immediately undermined by the fact that the one whom Jesus calls “the only true God” is the Father (John 17:1-2)”

What say? Who is the ONLY TRUE GOD?, according to Bible, Muslim exegesis AND Anthony Roger’s own words – The Only True God is Father.

Now, that it has been established that the Only True God is Father and consequently Jesus, peace be upon him, is not God; I need not write a word any more to his childish ‘article’.

Here Mr. Anonymous sets out to show that I admitted that Jesus is not God Almighty, but somewhere along the way he appears to have lost track of his claim – in which case he should try looking in the last place he remembers seeing it – for instead of demonstrating such an admission, i.e. showing that I deny the absolute deity of the Lord Jesus, he quotes me affirming that “The only true God is the Father”. Of course, to be fair, although it still would not qualify as an outright admission, Anonymous does think that by quoting me to the effect that the only true God is the Father he is showing that I acknowledged the very thing that I granted would definitively prove – by way of a logical inference, not by way of admission – that Jesus is not God. However, instead of showing that I said that the only true God is the Father alone, which is the criteria I actually offered, he quotes me saying that the only true God is the Father, something entirely consistent with classical Trinitarian monotheism, i.e. that the only true God is the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God in three persons. It is also entirely consistent with the Johannine corpus, which calls the Father the only true God, as it does here in John 17:3, and the Son the only true God, as it does in 1 John 5:20.

And we know 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, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.1

In fact, I even quoted the above passage at the end of my article though one would not know this from reading Mr. Anonymous’ response, for he completely skirts the passage since it is obviously not helpful to his case.

Interestingly, if I did want to deny the deity of Jesus, the Son of God, then all I would have to do is deny the very thing Mr. Anonymous quotes me affirming, namely, that “the only true God is the Father”; after all, if God is not the Father, then neither can Jesus be the divine Son of the Father. And so, Anonymous has it backwards; affirming the deity of the Father is an implicit affirmation of the deity of Christ, the Son; you simply can’t have a divine Father without a divine Son or a divine Son without a divine Father. To put it in a language that Anonymous should recognize, if I wanted to deny the divinity of the Lord Jesus, then all I would have to do is say that God does not beget and neither is he begotten,2 he is simply an eternally lonely, non-relational, undifferentiated monad, as in Islam, but this I most certainly did not do. Thus, when all is said and done, Mr. Anonymous’ confident boast that he can show that I admitted that Jesus is not God, which he pretentiously said puts an end to all argument, isn’t worth the price of “admission”.

Since I would hate to send Mr. Anonymous away empty handed at this point, even though I personally feel robbed after being promised a show-stopping argument, there is a lovely parting gift that he can take with him. Since Anonymous wanted to find an admission so badly that he imputed something to me that I didn’t say (and that isn’t entailed or inferable from what I said), let him look no further than his own words where he admitted that, according to “Muslim exegesis,” the passage teaches that “The only true God is father”. Now that is an admission. Here is what follows: since the only true God is the Father, and since Muslims anathematize divine paternity in this sense, as Mr. Anonymous also previously admitted, then according to the Bible, Christian exegesis, and Anonymous’ own words, Allah is not the only true God.

The Deity of Christ: Lessons on Context

At this point, after congratulating himself for a well-fought victory, which shows that he has persuaded at least one person with his poor arguments, Anonymous begins to attack the positive evidence which I put forward to show that John 17:3 underscores the deity of Christ. Not surprisingly, he gets off to a bad start (and finishes just as strong), saying: “Nevertheless, let me further clean his misconceptions so that he may be extricated from the mire or “Shirk” – associating god to God – Almighty.” Yet, since I didn’t argue, and since Christians don’t believe, that there is another god in addition to God Almighty, it is a colossal waste of time and a straw man for Mr. Anonymous to attack – or should I say, “clean”? – such a notion. Mr. Anonymous appears to believe that simply asserting that Christians believe Christ to be God means that they are guilty of shirk, i.e. believing in another god in addition to the Father. But this is polytheism, not Trinitarianism. Christians believe that Jesus is one with the Father in His essential nature, not that He is a second god in addition to God Almighty.

Things don’t get any better when Anonymous proceeds from there to try and refute my appeal to 1 John 2:23 and John 5:23, passages I referred to in order to buttress the observation that John 17:3 speaks of the Father and the Son relating to one another in such a way as to belie any claim that Jesus is anything other than divine. Aside from the fact that John 17:3 is speaking of the Father and the Son, a fact that in itself speaks volumes, and which I wrote at some length about already in part two of this rebuttal series, the passage tells us that eternal life is a result of knowing the Father and the Son, indicating that you can’t have one without the other, and that eternal life, a divine gift, flows from both. The two passages just mentioned serve as further confirmation of this understanding, and also show something of the consistency of this idea in the apostolic writings, at least those of the apostle John.

1 John 2:23

In response to the first passage, 1 John 2:23 – “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23) – Anonymous said:

The Refutation: Well, there can be at least two fold refutations. They are as follows:-

A1. Biblical context of 1 John 2:23. Kindly read the verse preceding 1 John 2:23, i.e., verse 22, to know that anybody denying the “Messiah ship” of Jesus, peace be upon him is to be considered as an enemy of Messiah (Christ), peace be upon him, “Who, then is the liar? It is anyone who says that Jesus is not the Messiah. Such a person is the enemy of Christ – he rejects both the Father and Son.”(TEV) Various points needs to be immediately noted here. Firstly, denying Messiah ship of Son is the rejection of Father. Secondly, why is the denial of Messiah ship of Son tantamount to gainsaying Father! Why? It is because it was God’s (Father) eternal plan to crown Jesus, peace be upon him, with the exclusive title of Messiah and to send him in the world. Remember Messiah (Jesus), peace be upon him, was send in this world by Father “… I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent me” (John 5:30, NKJV)(Emphasis Added) And again, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “Now God’s  salvation has come! Now God has shown his power as King! Now his Messiah has shown his authority!” (REVELATION 12:10)(Emphasis Mine) Conclusively denying Jesus, peace be upon him, got to be denial of Father who dispatched Jesus, peace be upon him, on this earth. OR, if this is not the explanation for the combined denial of Father and Son, then, you would have to agree with me that Father was also Messiah!

In saying that this verse is referring in context to anyone who rejects the Messiahship of the Son, Mr. Anonymous missed the point and some rather obvious rejoinders:

First, in the name of following the context Mr. Anonymous fails to follow the flow of thought, for according to John anyone who denies that Jesus is the Messiah is denying the Son, and anyone who denies the Son is denying the Father. It is because a denial that Jesus is the Messiah is a denial of the Son, that a denial that Jesus is the Messiah is tantamount to a denial of the Father. In other words, Sonship is the crucial, all-determinative link between the two. The connection is simple enough:

To deny that Jesus is the Messiah  →  is to deny the Son

To deny the Son  →  is to deny the Father.

Second, as I pointed out before, Mr. Anonymous does not believe in “the Son”; indeed, he rejects such a notion as a blasphemous misconception that needs to be “cleaned”. Accordingly, Mr. Anonymous cannot claim to believe in “the messiahship of the Son”, and, therefore, “is to be considered as an enemy of Messiah (Christ), peace be upon him.”

Third, as I also pointed out before, Mr. Anonymous doesn’t have a clue what the true import of the word “Messiah” is, and so, when he acts as if he affirms “the messiahship of the Son”, his words ring hollow. (Note: the point here is not that Anonymous does not know what the mere word means, i.e. anointed one, but that He doesn’t have any clue what the concept of the Messiah is, or why Jesus is uniquely singled out, even in his own Qur’an, as the Messiah, for his completely detailed Qur’an never tells him.)

When Anonymous goes on to say that a denial of Jesus is a denial of the Father because the Father is the one who appointed and sent Jesus as the Messiah, he blithely overlooks: 1) who it was that the Father appointed; 2) the sense in which He was sent; and 3) the purpose for which He was sent.

1) The fact is, according to the book of First John, it was Jesus, variously designated as “the life”, “the eternal life”, and “the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1-2), as well as “His Son” (1 John 1:3, 7; 3:23; 4:10; 5:9, 10, 11, 20), “His only Son” (1 John 4:9), “the Son” (1 John 1:24; 4:14; 5:12), and “the Son of God” (1 John 2:8; 4:15; 5:5, 10, 12, 13, 20), who was appointed to be the Messiah.

2) Furthermore, the sense in which John speaks of Jesus being “manifested” (1 John 1:2), or “sent” (1 John 4:10, 14), or “appearing” (1 John 2:5, 8), or having “come” (1 John 4:2; 5:20), is from heaven where he existed “with the Father” (1 John 1:2) “from the beginning” (1 John 1:1, 13, 14), which reflects the first several verses of the opening prologue of John’s Gospel (John 1:1-3), and also the divine title – “the Beginning and the End” –  indiscriminately applied by the apostle John to the Father (Revelation 21:6) and the Son (Revelation 22:13) in the book of Revelation.

3) Finally, the reason that Jesus was sent as the Messiah, and the task that He, as the Messiah, was given to perform, was: “To be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14), to be “the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2), “to take away sin” (1 John 3:5), to be “our Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1), “to destroy the Devil’s works” (1 John 3:8), and to give us “eternal life” (1 John 2:25; 5:11-12).

1 John 4:9-10 may be cited as representative of the teaching of 1 John:

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10).

From all of this I think it is painfully obvious that, Mr. Anonymous’ protestations to the contrary, when the apostle John said that to deny Jesus is to deny the Father, it wasn’t because Jesus was just a specially chosen man who would be given such entertaining talents as talking from infancy or making clay birds come to life. It is more than evident that according to John’s first epistle, the reason a denial of Jesus the Messiah is a denial of the Father is because Jesus is the Father’s Son and Word, who was set apart and sent from heaven to be the Messiah, the Savior of the world. In fact, this is precisely what we read in the context of John 17:1-5, which should be cited again so Mr. Anonymous has no excuse for not seeing the connection the next time around. According to John 17:1-5: 1) Jesus is the Son (and God is His Father); 2) Jesus was sent from heaven (where he existed before time); and 3) Jesus was sent to be the Christ (the Son of God come in the flesh to accomplish the work of redemption and give eternal life to God’s people):

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Amusingly, after showing us he didn’t know anything about the immediate or broader context of 1 John 2:23, even though he is the one who brought it up, he continues with the following:

As we have just seen how ignorantly and misconceptually Anthony Roger had tried to conjoin Father and Son using 1 John 2:23 out of context. Similarly, I may ignorantly conjoin Allah and Mohammad, peace be upon him, there by deifying Mohammad, peace be upon him. Let me (mis) use, The Holy Quran 4:80, which states:

“He who obey The Apostle, obeys God” (Emphasis Mine)


“The desert Arabs say, “We believe.” Say, “Ye have no faith; but ye(only) say, ‘We have submitted Out wills to God, For not yet has Faith entered your hearts.’ But if ye obey God and His Apostle…” (The Holy Quran 49:14)(Emphasis Mine)

Now read this, have your ever heard a Muslim using the aforementioned Quranic verses to conjoin Mohammad, peace be upon him, and Allah. Obeying Apostle is obeying Allah not because Apostle is Allah but because the Apostle does nothing but what is commissioned to him by God – Almighty, similarly, rejecting Son is in effect rejecting Father because the Son, also, does not seek his will but the will of his Father who send him. Make sense?

Apart from the wildly false and ill-founded claim that my argument was a-contextual, these remarks point up once again one of the likely reasons why Anonymous didn’t want his co-religionists or the people who visit his “petty blog” (note: his words; not mine)3 to read my article, for I already addressed myself to this very point. After saying that the relationship between the Father and the Son, evidenced by the very metaphors used to speak of their relationship, i.e. “Father” and “Son”, and underscored by the fact that eternal life consists in a saving, intimate knowledge of both, bespeaks the deity of Christ, I said:

This kind of close association between the Father and the Son [where the Father and the Son are not only defined in terms of the other, i.e. “Father” and “Son”, where the two are said to be so inseparable that you can’t have one without the other, and where an intimate knowledge and communion with both is said to be the precondition and essence of eternal life - AR] is tantamount to the sin of shirk in Islamic theology (were it not true), and if it is not, then nothing is.

A number of Muslims seem to recognize this pattern of thought when they refuse to confess the second half of their own creed, i.e., the words pertaining to Muhammad. This was alluded to earlier as one of the perennial disputes between the main body of Muslims and a smaller but growing and vocal group of Muslims known as Submitters who follow the teachings of Rashad Khalifa.3 These Muslims recognize that to associate Muhammad too closely with Allah, as most Muslims seem to do in practice when they repeatedly recite and intensely chant their Shahada, is to run perilously close to making a deity out of Muhammad. They may not call Muhammad God by name, but here the old adage applies: actions speak louder than words. Indeed, outright fetishism for Muhammad is not unknown in the Islamic world and the seeds for it are found right here, not to mention many other places in Islamic teaching.

Furthermore, the very passages Mr. Anonymous cited above, tending as they do in the same direction, also lead to shirk, not only according to Christians and what might be considered an aberrant Muslim group like the Submitters, but according to the logic of orthodox Muslims themselves, for not only does the latter passage use the Arabic word WA, the conjunction of partnership – “Allah AND his Apostle” – but they both elevate Muhammad to a position of absolute authority, a position where absolute submission is due to Muhammad in addition to God, rather than the position of a mere messenger who communicates God’s commands.

Even if the above observation is a hurdle Muslims can leap without any pangs of conscience, something that tells us more about their ability and willingness to rationalize problematic notions than it tells us about the internal coherence of their view of Tawhid, it is not at all something that Christians could find palatable, for our submission is to God only.4

As it appears from the above, the one time in his article where Anonymous admits that he is “misusing” the Qur’an happens to be one of the few times where he actually gets it right. The notion of Muhammad encapsulated in the Shahada where his name is joined to God’s as the ultimate expression of faith, and which comes to fuller expression in the Qur’an and Sunnah where Muslims are required to yield Muhammad absolute submission and are to slavishly imitate his every action or inaction, with certain limited exceptions of course, such as those that belonged to the perks of prophethood, an observation that really only strengthens the point being made, is far less consistent with monotheism than anything any pagan ever dreamed up in his wildest imagination.

John 5:23

In reference to the other passage I provided to draw out the point, John 5:23 – which tells us that all must honor the Son “even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23) – Mr. Anonymous said: “There can again be atleast 2 easy refutation for this gibberish argument…” But if there really are “two easy refutations for this gibberish argument” of mine, then Mr. Anonymous should have provided them, as he said he was going to, for surely the two that follow can’t be what he was speaking of since they do nothing of the sort.

Here is his first response:

A2. ‘G’od was send by God: If read carefully then the author of John 5:23 conceded to end of verse with “…Father who sent Him.” So, Jesus, peace be upon him, was an ambassador, a chosen man. So, by disgracing Jesus – the sent man one would be discrediting the one who has sent Jesus, namely, Father! It does not prove that Father and Son are the same; but it does prove the contrary that Father and Son are not the same.

Here Mr. Anonymous argues that Jesus and the Father are not “the same” because the Father sent Jesus as His ambassador. But unless Anonymous is assuming Modalism here, an anti-Trinitarian view that says the Father and the Son are one and the same person, which of course would make his point irrelevant, then his reasoning is at best ambiguous, for it is possible for God to send any number of different kinds of individuals as His ambassador all the way from someone who is “[no more than] a messenger of God” to someone who is His “Word” and “Son”. The bare fact that someone is sent doesn’t tell us whether he or she is the former, the latter, or something else altogether. Unfortunately for Anonymous, Jesus doesn’t just tell us that He was sent by God, He tells us that He was sent by His Father (John 5:17-18), that He can do whatever His Father does (John 5:19-22), and that all judgment has been given into His hands (5:23ff.), all of which shows the essential unity of the Father and the Son.

It is more than an understatement, then, to say that Jesus is worthy of honor merely because He was sent by God, ignoring as it does that it wasn’t just some guy found in a cave that the Father chose and sent, for no mere creature could claim to be God’s Son by nature; no mere creature could do whatever the Father does; and no mere creature could possibly say that He is worthy of equal honor with the Father. Only someone who is already God’s Son by nature could be given the right to exercise absolute power and authority. (Note: It is because Jesus humbled Himself and submitted to the Father in all things for the sake of our redemption that the right to exercise His divine abilities and prerogatives needed to be conferred upon Him. Jesus did not exercise His divine abilities or prerogatives apart from the Father’s will, see Philippians 2:5ff.)  

It was Christ’s claim to be God’s Son, confirmed by the miracle preceding it (John 5:1-16), and defended in the discourse following it (summarized above), that provoked the Jews to charge Jesus with being guilty, in their estimation, of “blasphemy” and “shirk”, which they sought to “cleanse” Him of.

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. (John 5:17-18)

Explaining this verse, commentator William Hendriksen says:

In addition to his stand with respect to the Sabbath it was his claim of being equal with God that nailed Christ to the cross. When the Jewish authorities heard Jesus call God “my (own) Father,” they did not do what many moderns have done. They did not try to tone down the character of Christ’s sonship. They immediately understood that Jesus claimed for himself deity in the highest possible sense of that term. That claim was either the most wicked blasphemy, to be punished with death; or else, it was the most glorious truth, to be accepted by faith. The very character of the sign which Jesus had just now performed should have caused these religious leaders to adopt the latter alternative. Instead, they chose the former.”5

Indeed, Mr. Anonymous has chosen the former as well, believing neither Christ’s words, nor the signs that He gave in confirmation of them, and in doing so he shows that his position is the same as Christ’s first century enemies, not that of Christ, the apostles, or of Christians today who are also charged with blasphemy for saying that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

This brings us, finally, to Anonymous’ second answer to my “gibberish argument” to see if he has anything better to offer:

B2. In this version of refutation let us read verse 22 along with verse 23: “For the Father judges no one but has committed all judgement to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (JOHN 5:22-23, NKJV) To paraphrase the above 2 verses, it says: God has authorized (does someone “co-equal” needs an authorization!?!) or has commissioned Jesus, peace be upon him, with all judgments so that people may respect him for his lofty judgments – the judgments which he ultimately receives from God – Almighty. THEN, verse 23 comes and states that dishonoring Jesus, peace be upon him, is in turn dishonoring Father; Does this prove to be equal to God? Certainly, not in the remotest sense of it. But it does elicit the impotency of Jesus, peace be upon him, to take divine judgments.

Anonymous’ parenthetical question about whether someone who is co-equal to another needs authorization has been answered above, and so it only remains here to point out that the purpose of the Father in committing all judgment to the Son was not so that people would simply “respect him for his lofty judgments,” and the very fact that Anonymous has to resort to using such weasel words shows that He is not comfortable with the full measure of what the verse is saying. Contrary to Anonymous, Jesus isn’t simply to be honored in the same way or to the same degree as other creatures sent by God are to be honored, or even to a degree that is slightly or even significantly greater than other creatures but which still falls short of the honor that is due to God; instead, Jesus says that He is to be honored “just as” the Father is honored. The honor given to the Father is inestimably greater than simply respect, at least in Christianity; accordingly, the honor due to Jesus is greater than just to respect Him.

The view that Anonymous holds would be slightly more believable if only a certain group of people were required to honor the Son (a limited number of people over whom such judgments held sway), and if only a certain circumscribed right to judge was given to Jesus (one that fell short of the final judgment of God Almighty, where all men will be raised up and when all men throughout history, from Adam to the last person born, will be judged for every thought, word, and deed, a feat that requires nothing short of omniscience). Yet, as it is, the text requires all men to honor the Son, and it says that all judgment has been committed to the Son; and, thus, the right of universal judgment that was given to him was not for the purpose that people would “make no distinction” between Jesus and any or all other persons who are worthy of respect, but so that all men would honor Jesus just as they honor the Father.

All men should honor the Father because He will hold them accountable on the final day; and since the Father doesn’t judge anyone independently of Christ, but has committed all judgment to the Son, the same honor that is due to the Father is to be given to Jesus. Those who refuse to do so do not honor the Father, for the honor that is to be given to both is one and the same, and the reason both are to be honored is one and the same: The Father and the Son are one in power, glory, and judgment.


Several matters pertaining to the deity of Christ and other issues that Anonymous brought up remain to be dealt with (such as the prophethood of Muhammad and apostleship of Paul). If the Lord is willing, I will take them all up and answer them in the fourth and final rebuttal in this series.

For now we have seen that the only way Anonymous can circumvent what is found in my article is by taking refuge in his ignorance of logic, the Christian view of the Trinity, contextual exegesis, and even in an inability to follow out the teachings of his religion to where they consistently lead: the deification of Muhammad.


1 The word translated “This [is]” in some versions is a pronoun that refers to a person and is better translated as “this one”. Furthermore, according to the usual rules of Greek grammar and syntax, the pronoun “this one” refers back to the nearest antecedent, which in this case is Jesus. This understanding is confirmed in the context of the epistle by the fact that “this one” is called “the true God and eternal life,” a title used for Jesus in the opening prologue of the epistle: “…the eternal life that was with the Father.”

2 Of course what the Qur’an repudiates in these words is not what the Bible is actually talking about. In fact, I am not aware of any place in the Qur’an where Christian beliefs about the Trinity or Trinitarian relations in the Godhead are accurately described (see here and here). But since Muslims typically take these verses to rule out the Trinity, their interpretation can be granted at this point for the sake of argument.

On a related note, when the Bible speaks of Jesus as “the only begotten”, it does not mean that He was either created or made, and much less does it mean that He was procreated through a physical union between God and a black-eyed companion; in fact, the actual Greek word underlying the traditional translation of “only begotten” is monogenes, which literally means “unique” or “one of a kind”. This word serves to further confirm that Jesus relates to the Father in a way that no one else does. For more on this, see here.

It should also be mentioned that even when the older derivation was assumed, Christians never took the word in a creative or procreative sense. This is clear from many places, not the least of which is the Nicene Creed, which says: “And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.”

3 This is how Mr. Anonymous (aka: “Question Mark”, as he calls himself) referred to his own blog at this forum.

4 For more on this issue, see the following articles by Sam Shamoun: here and here, as well as Sam’s refutation of Sami Zaatari here and here.

5 William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, Two Volumes in One (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007 [1953]), p. 196.