True Jesus between the Vatican and the Da Vinci Code
Searching for the true identity of Jesus has proven to be both crucial and challenging due to the controversial historical views concerning his life as well as the various authentic biblical books, which have been discovered within the last few decades but which had been intentionally excluded from the canon by the early Catholic Church fathers. Unlike several extreme views on the identity of Jesus, Islam holds the moderate view that Jesus is an honourable human prophet of God.
In the Qur'an, an assertion is made that God meant the creation of Jesus, who was born without a father, to be a miracle similar to the creation of Adam, who was created without a mother or a father, since they both demonstrate God's power, "The similitude of 'Isa [Jesus] before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him "Be": and he was."(Surat al-Imran, 3:59).
"She [Mary] said: "O my Lord! how shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah creates what He wills: when He hath decreed a Plan, He but says to it, `Be', and it is! And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel, "And (appoint him) a Messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): "I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave: and I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe;" (Surat al-Imran, 3:47-49).
Moreover, Muslim scholars explain that the miraculous birth of Jesus had to happen in that fashion to complete the various types of God's creation. First, Adam was created without a male or a female, then Eve was created from a male without a female, then all humanity was created from both a male and a female, leaving out being created from a female without a male to be the last type of creation fulfilled through Jesus.
As for the crucifixion, it is interesting to learn that the Islamic view, which affirms that Jesus only seemed to have been crucified while he was actually kept safe by God, was not an unusual view among many early Christians including, but not limited to, the Gnostics.
In fact, the identity of Jesus as formed through the Roman Catholic Church has been the product of Church councils and decrees over centuries of debate. The Trinity doctrine was formed by the Roman Church in the council of Nicea in 325CE following a strong debate by the Arians, who accepted Jesus as created from a substance similar but not identical to God.
The co-extensiveness and the co-equality of the human and the divine nature of Jesus was formed in the decrees of The Council of Chalcedon in 451CE following a great debate between the Nestorians and the Monophysites. The role of Mary in the conception was debated as early as the sixth century between the bishop of Alexandria, who suggested that she is "Theotokos" (the bearer of God), and the bishop of Constantinople, who suggested that she is "Christotokos" (the bearer of Christ). Even the immaculate conception of Mary herself was debated until the Roman Catholic Church issued a decree in 1854 to state that Mary was immaculately conceived.
While we offer several interesting links to explore the true identity of Jesus, we urge all our readers to rid themselves of all presuppositions and to logically examine these points:
1) How can a loving and just God choose to create us sinful by nature, then blame us for it?
If in our human law, we insist that justice demands that we do not consider someone a criminal simply for having the ability to commit a crime but for actually making the choice of committing it, why cannot we accept that divine justice gave human beings inclinations to good and to evil and that they are only considered sinful when they intentionally choose to do the wrong?
In the Qur’an, God states, “By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right; Truly he succeeds that purifies it, And he fails that corrupts it!”(Surat ash-Shams 91:7-10).
2) If we are sinful and Jesus dies for our sins because God’s justice had to be served, where is God’s justice for Jesus himself? And why can’t an omnipotent God save his beloved Jesus?
In the Qur’an, the omnipotent God was able to save Jesus and still test the others, “Behold! Allah said: "O 'Isa [Jesus]! I will take thee and raise thee to myself and clear thee (of the falsehood) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject Faith, to the Day of Resurrection: then shall ye all return unto Me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.”(Surat Al-Imran, 3:55).
“That they said (in boast), "We killed Al-Masih 'Isa the son of Maryam [Jesus Christ the son of Mary], the Messenger of Allah"; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”(Surat an-Nisa, 4:157-158).
3) How can a just and universal God make Jesus the only way to Him and ignore the millions of good believers, who existed before Jesus or the millions of good people, who existed after Jesus but never knew about him?
In the Qur’an, God makes clear that every person will be individually judged in accordance with the extent of his knowledge and his free will without impossible tasks or unrealistic obligations in matters of belief or actions!, “To every people (was sent) a Messenger: when their Messenger comes (before them), the matter will be judged between them with justice, and they will not be wronged.” (Surat Yunus, 10:47).
Based on this universal Islamic criterion, any person, who believes in God, his prophets and books that he knows of during his lifetime, his angels, and the Judgement, is considered a believer, and this applies from the time of Adam until the end of life on this earth. Thus, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and all the biblical prophets are referred to as "Muslims" in the Qur’an:
"Or do ye say that Ibrahim, Isma'il, Ishaq, Ya'qub, and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know better than Allah? Ah! who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah? But Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!"(Surat al-Baqara 2:140).
"When 'Isa found unbelief on their part he said: "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples: "We are Allah's helpers: we believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims" (Surat al-Imran 3:52).
"And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Ibrahim. It is He [Allah] Who has named you Muslims, both before [before this Qur'an] and in this (Revelation) [in this Qur'an]; that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector, the best to protect and the Best to help!"( Surat al-Hajj 22:78).
4) Is the Christianity we see today the same Christianity that Jesus preached? and what does the Qur'an say about Mary and Jesus in surah 19 (chapter 19), the translation of which can be found on http://www.searchtruth.com/list.php ?