Surah 5:72-73 Some people may think I’m splitting hairs. However, I’ve actually documented this in some of my articles and I have another article under way, Lord willing, where I’m going to actually provide more quotations from Christians before, during and after the time of Muhammad who are going to say the following: that it is improper to say that God is Jesus because it’s more proper to say that Jesus is God. Someone say I just said a mouthful and it seems like I’m splitting hairs. Actually I’m not. Because when Christians say Jesus is God, they mean that he’s fully God in essence. But he’s not the only person of the Godhead nor does he exhaust the Godhead. However, to say that God is Jesus would imply that he is the only person in the Godhead and that he does exhaust the Godhead. This is not an argument that I just come up with; this is an argument that Christians have been making even before the time of Muhammad. For example, Neal Anderson was a convert to Islam. In his book, he quotes a historian Creed which says Jesus is God but God is not Jesus. Christ is God but God is not Christ. This was stated right around the time of Muhammad’s birth and people after the time of Muhammad, in their debates against Muslims, would actually point this out. When your Quran makes this assertion, it’s wrong because that’s not what we say.
Let’s look at Surah 5:72 “They are unbelievers who say Allah is the Messiah, the son of Mary.” We have writings from Muslim polemicists trying to respond to the Christians who say “that’s a mistake” and this will come out, Lord willing, it is forthcoming in one of my articles where I quote the Muslim saying “the Christians are saying the Quran is wrong in saying this” but then he goes about to try to prove “even though you may not say it in those exact words, you still imply it nonetheless”. So this is not a modern Christian criticism of the Quran; you can find arguments raised by Christians historically during the medieval period against the formulation of the Quran in describing what we believe concerning the deity of Christ.
The problem with this statement is obvious if you just continue reading the passage Surah 5:72. Because in the Quran to say that Allah is the Christ basically means that we Christians believe that Jesus is identical with the God who sent him. Let’s continue reading the passage. It says: for the Messiah said “Children of Israel, serve Allah my Lord and your Lord.” Allah is identified as the one that Jesus calls his Lord, which in Christian theology would be God the Father. So in the Quran, Christians are being accused of believing that Jesus is identical with the God who sent him. Do you believe that? No, in Christian theology, the God who sent Jesus is the Father and trinitarianism affirms that Jesus is not the Father. Here the Quran itself shows that this formulation is mistaken because that’s not what we say. Surah 5:73 again misrepresents not just the deity of Christ but what we believe as Trinitarians. By the way, I have to warn our audience, especially the non-muslims reading Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translation. Abdullah Yusuf Ali butchers the Arabic. In his translation, it reads pretty much “They are blasphemers who say Allah is one of three in a Trinity.” That’s his translation – “Allah is one of three in the Trinity.” If that’s what the Quran said, that it would be accurate in that Allah here again would be equated with the God that sent Jesus and would be the Father. And we do believe that God the Father is one of three in a Trinity. But that’s not what the Arabic Quran says. The literal translation is: They’re unbelievers who say Allah is the “third of three”. Let me quickly break down why this is a problematic assertion.
Number one. If by Allah, you mean the God who sent Jesus (in Christian theology that’s the Father), in Christian theology, the Father is not the third of three; he’s the first of three. If, however, by Allah you mean the Godhead, the Godhead is the Trinity and no Trinitarian says the Trinity is the third of three. Either way, this is a mistaken formulation. Interestingly, the very same context and the same very same chapter tells us what “third of three” means. You don’t need to guess. Muhammad or the authors of the Quran mistakenly assumed that we believe that Allah, Mary and Jesus are three gods. So when it says that Allah is the third of three, in the context of the Sura itself, that means the third of three gods consisting of Allah, Mary and Jesus. The proof is Surah 5:75 and Surah 5:116 When Allah said “Oh Jesus son of Mary, did you say unto men ‘take me and my mother as two gods besides Allah?’”. Now it makes sense why early in the chapter Christians are accused of saying Allah is the third of three because later on we’re told that Christians supposedly believed Allah, Mary and Jesus are three gods.
Historically, throughout the centuries, can we find any statement from any Christian theologian or any Creed that says that the Trinity is three gods consisting of God, Mary and their offspring Jesus? I can’t even think of anyone who makes that claim. It’s so bad Muslims because actually have to say there was this hypothetical group that Muhammad was responding to that we have no record of. Their existence was wiped out and we don’t even know that they existed. The reason this is so silly is, if this is the Quran, the book that’s gonna be read throughout the world, obviously he’s gonna respond to the main doctrine, he’s gonna refute Christians like us. Let’s assume for argument’s sake they’re correct. These statements are just to heterodox groups. Why doesn’t the Quran ever address, define accurately, condemn what orthodox Christians believe? The Quran is so concerned with the doctrine of the Trinity as something contrary to God. Then why don’t we find any single verse of the Quran accurately defining what the Trinity is and saying it’s false? Why is Allah so busy dealing with an insignificant group that’s out there in the margins but never addresses what the majority of Christians believe at that time and even before Muhammad.