4- PASSAGES RELATING ALLAH (S.W)’S CHARACTERISTICS TO JESUS (PBUH)
A. Jesus’ Eternity
Christians speak about Jesus (PBUH), the God who existed before creation, and they present their proof in many ways. One of them is to present what comes in the Gospel of John, which the writer attributed to Jesus (PBUH). He said,“Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad." So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." (John 8/56-58)
Christians – wrongly – understand from this, that Jesus (PBUH) existed before Abraham (PBUH), which means – according to them – that he is eternal. They support their proof with what John has said about Jesus (PBUH).“Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, …"I am the Alpha and the Omega." (Rev. 1/7-8) (Means the first and the last)
The beginning of the Gospel according to John indicates an eternal existence for Jesus (PBUH) before the creation of the world. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. (John 1/1-2).
These passages – according to Christians- declare the eternity and immortality of Jesus (PBUH); therefore, it is evidence of his divinity.
Scholars do not agree with Christians’ conclusions. The existence of Jesus before Abraham (PBUT) does not mean the real existence of him, but the existence of Allah’s (S.W) decree and choice of him. That means, that Allah (S.W) had selected him long before He created him, as Paul said, - according to the Monastic Jesuit edition- “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world” (Peter (1) 1/20).
Paul said the same about himself and his followers. “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy” (Eph. 1/4) meaning ‘Allah (S.W) chose us by his decree as he chose Jesus’ (PBUH), and that does not indicate his or their existence at that time.
This old existence of Jesus (PBUH), which is the divine selecting and Allah’s (S.W) love of him, is the glory that Allah (S.W) gave to Jesus, as he said, “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” (John 17/5)
This glory is the same glory that Jesus (PBUH) gave to his disciples when he chose them to be his followers, as Allah (S.W) selected him to deliver the message. “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17/24). Loving a thing does not need its existence, as one can love the nonexistent or the impossible, which never and will not exist.
Abraham’s acquaintance with Jesus (PBUT) before his earthly existence and creation does not mean knowing him personally; for he never saw him. Therefore, his saying, “he saw me and he was delighted”, is a figurative and metaphoric seeing, an acquaintance seeing. Otherwise, Christians have to present evidence, proving that Abraham had seen the Son, who is the second hypostasis in the Trinity, or prove the existence of Jesus’ body in Abraham’s time (PBUT).
Jesus’ (PBUH) saying, “Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8/56-58) does not prove his existence in the beginning or the eternity. What the passage indicates - if we take it as it is- is that Jesus (PBUH) existed since Abraham’s (PBUH) time, but even Abraham’s time does not mean eternity.
In addition, if Jesus was before Abraham (PBUT) and all creatures, prophet Jeremiah shared the same existence with him. Allah (S.W) knew Jeremiah and sanctified him before he was born. He said about himself, “Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1 /4-5), and Sirach said in his wisdom, “who nevertheless was a prophet, sanctified in his mother's womb”(Sirach 49:7)
This divine acquaintance with Jeremiah, without doubt, is older and more honored than Abraham’s acquaintance with Jesus (PBUT), and does not mean his real existence on earth.
Among those who share Jesus’ (PBUH) claimed immortality, is Melchizedek, who was a saint in Abraham’s time (PBUH). Paul claimed that Melchizedek had neither father nor mother, and no beginning or end, which means he is eternal. Paul said,“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, … He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.” (Heb. 7/1-3)
Why Christians do not consider him as God since he and the Son of God are alike in many ways? He is superior to Jesus (PBUH), whom Christians confess that he was crucified, died, had a mother, and even a father, according to Matthew and Luke, whereas Melchizedek was far above all that.
Furthermore, among those who were before Abraham (PBUH) and deserved eternity- if we do not understand the passages clearly- is human wisdom or, the wise Prophet Solomon (PBUH). He said about himself and about the wisdom, which he and many other humans had, “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion… "The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. I was anointed from everlasting, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth.” (Pro. 8/12-25 Modern King James Version). Thus, Solomon (PBUH), or the wisest of humankind – according to the shallow and literal understanding – is Allah’s (S.W) Christ for eternity.
Christians have no evidence for their claim that this passage in Proverbs talks about Jesus (PBUH). Solomon (PBUH) wrote Proverbs, as its introduction says. “The proverbs of Solomon; son of David.” (Pro. 1/1).
Many passages in Proverbs indicate that Solomon (PBUH) continued to speak these passages when he said, “My son, be attentive to my wisdom”(Pro.5/1), and (Proverbs 1/8, 3/1, 3/21, 7/1 and others) the speaker is Solomon (PBUH) and the embodied wisdom in him.
The Holy Bible described Solomon (PBUH) as a wise man, but one may ask which wisdom was it? Was it Allah’s (S.W) wisdom, as those, who were contemporary with him, saw in him? “And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.” (Kings (1) 3/28).
The sentence, “I was anointed from everlasting”(Modern King James Version) does not refer to Jesus (PBUH) the son of Mary (PBUH), as the word ‘Messiah’, which means anointed, was an attribute for many beside Jesus (PBUH), whom Allah (S.W) had blessed, namely the prophets David and Isaiah (PBUT). (See Psalms 45:7, and Isaiah 1/61). There is no reason to distinguish Jesus’ (PBUH) anointment from the anointment of others.
Facing the interdiction that is caused by the above passage in Proverbs, some Christians say, “the speaker in Proverbs is God’s wisdom, which is his personal characteristic that exists in Him from the beginning, and it is not His act which He gave to His prophet Solomon (PBUH). This reasoning is unacceptable, for the passage is talking about a prophet who was anointed with blessing and anointment oil, “I was anointed from everlasting”. Allah’s (S.W) characteristic, which exists in Him, can never be anointed, and why should it be?
In addition, the passage is talking about a created wisdom; even though it was old, as the wisdom said, “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work …Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth.”
The Good News Bible (1978-1997), uses the word “Created”. It says, “The lord created me” instead of (The Lord possessed me).
The Monastic Jesuit Edition uses the same word ‘Created’. “The lord created me first, before his acts”, thus, the wisdom is an old entity, even before the mountains and the hills.
In Sirach wisdom, “Wisdom had been created before all things”(sirach1/4), specifically, “He created me from the beginning before the world, and I shall never fail.” (Sirach 24/9). It is not Allah’s (S.W) eternal wisdom, but the wisdom He gave to the wise men and incarnated in them. The first one of them was the wise Solomon (PBUH), whom “they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him.” (Kings (1) 3/28).
Whoever reads the passage thoughtfully, will find no difficulty in understanding which kind of wisdom it was. It is a valuable wisdom; “for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”(Pro. 8/11) and it is human; “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom.”(Pro. 10/31).
The first rank of this human wisdom is Allah (S.W)-fearing; “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”(Pro. 9/10) and it is Allah’s (S.W) gift to man. “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”(Pro. 2/6).
This wisdom is always attached with understanding, the writer advises, “Say to wisdom, "You are my sister," and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman.”(Pro. 7/4-5)
With this wisdom, kings, the rich and the judges, had authority over others.“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,… I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength. By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly. I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries. "The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work...” (Pro. 8/ 12-22)
Whoever reads this thoughtfully, will – without doubt - determine that this wisdom is not Allah’s (S.W) eternal characteristic, which exists in Him, because there are no jewels or money equal to Allah’s (S.W) wisdom, and it brings no wealth, power or dominion. In addition, Allah’s (S.W) wisdom does not come from any human mouth, and - of course - it does not include “Allah (S.W)-fearing”, because it is His characteristic.
-The reader may becomeconfused with the description of the wisdom in Proverb: “then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.” (8:30-31) which indicates that thewisdom is a creator. In fact, it is an intended fabrication. The same verse in the Monastic Jesuit Edition, is as follows, “then I was by him his nursling, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him, rejoicing in his inhabited world”, it does not talk about the wisdom that creates, but about the child’s wisdom, which begins in childhood and grows as the person grows.