Facts From Fiction

Jesus, the ‘Son of God’ – The Historical Context


Azhar Goraya, Mexico


One of the arguments put forward by Christians in trying to prove the divinity of Jesus is that they claim he was called ‘Son of God’ – a title of divinity. They claim that Jesus (as) was declared the son of God by God Himself (Matthew 3:16), Angels (Luke 1:30-35), his disciples (Matthew 14:32), demons (Matthew 8:29) and Gentiles (Matthew 27:54). He accepted the title for himself, for which he was tried and deemed guilty of blasphemy by the Jews. In their minds, it seems like a clear case of a claim to divinity.

Amongst all the titles attributed to him, ‘Son of God’ is perhaps the dearest to Christians and most used to try and prove his divinity. After all, the ‘Son of God’ must be divine like his father.

There is a lot of theology and history to unpack here.

It is imperative that when trying to find the truth about the nature of Jesus (as), that we first understand the words of Jesus (as) and the context in which those words were said, without the filters that are placed upon them through later interpreters.

A careful study of the Old Testament and the words of Jesus (as), through the guiding light of the Qur’an and basic common-sense monotheism, leads us to conclude that Jesus (as) was not divine. Jesus (as) was a monotheist that never claimed to be God. He interpreted the title ‘son of God’ as being completely metaphorical and in no way used it to promote or validate the idea that he was divine.

Moreover, it was a term that he, in all likelihood, probably only used very sparingly for himself, preferring the terms ‘son of man’, and most likely the term ‘servant of God’. These latter two titles more closely reflected the prophecies about the coming Messiah in the Old Testament and his station as a humble prophet of God, whereas the title ‘son of God’ was a secondary title for the awaited Messiah and Davidic King.

Son of God – Literal or Metaphorical?

Right from the beginning, it is important to realize that even the most conservative Christians do not advocate for a literal interpretation of the term ‘son of God’. A son, literally, refers to the male offspring of an animal. To state that Jesus was literally the ‘son of God’ means that one must take that thought process to its logical conclusion – it would mean that God has a body that is capable of siring children and that he mated with Mary, a product of His own creation, which resulted in the birth of Jesus, a half-man-half-God chimera. The senses reel from even the thought of such blasphemy.

Therefore, both Christians and Muslims do not advocate for a literal interpretation of the term ‘son of God’ for Jesus (as). They both understand the term as being metaphorical. The only question remains, what does the term actually mean?

Muslims propose an interpretation that falls in line with pure monotheism and does not deify Jesus (as), in line with the historical Jewish usage of the phrase ‘son of God’ and the declarations of Jesus (as) himself. Christians generally insist on understanding it in a way that ends with Jesus being divine.

To come to any sort of conclusion, one must first embark on a journey to understand the underlying terminology and the context in which the term ‘son of God’ was used during the time of Jesus (as).

Son of God – Capitalized or Lower-Case?

Christians sometimes capitalize the term ‘son of God’ as ‘Son of God’ when it comes in relation to Jesus. This is a clear bias when the same term is not capitalized for other individuals in the Bible. In such a case, it is done to try and show a difference between the sonship of Jesus and the sonship of others.

Neither the Hebrew of the Old Testament nor the original Greek New Testament manuscripts distinguish between capital and lower-case letters:

At the time when the books of the New Testament were written, Greek writing did not distinguish between capital and small letters. The early biblical manuscripts are written entirely in what by later standards would be called capital letters. The original Greek manuscripts can give us no guidance all bout capitalization. [1]

As such, all capitalization is based on the idiom of the translated language and is subject to the translators understanding of the text. English idiom allows for capitalization for various reasons.

One legitimate case for capitalizing the term ‘son of God’ would be if the translator had in mind that the term was a reference to him being THE awaited Davidic king, who was especially granted the title of ‘son of God’. Or, as a reference to him being THE awaited prophet and messiah of his time.

Unfortunately, and more often than not, the impression that is gotten from such unilateral capitalization is that Jesus was the ‘true’ or ‘divine’ son, whereas others are ‘minor’ sons.

Son of God in the Bible

It would be beneficial to begin the discussion about the term ‘son of God’ from the Old Testament. This is because the term does not originate in the Gospels; rather, its basis is found in the Old Testament. To understand its use for Jesus (as), we must understand how it was used by the Jews in Hebrew and Aramaic.

Jesus (as) and his followers spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, not Greek. This is important, as the language of the oldest New Testament manuscripts are not in Hebrew and Aramaic, but in Greek. Therefore, the Greek terms found in the Gospels are, at best, only translations of the original Hebrew and Aramaic words of Jesus (as) and those around him. Jesus (as) was a Jew, and therefore his religious language would likely closely follow the Hebrew idiom of the Old Testament. After all, he preached to the Jews.

In the New Testament, we find that there are passages that refer to Jesus as the ‘son of God’. Moreover, there are similar constructions of ‘son of x’, referring to various other people in a wide context. To understand what the terms actually mean, we must first understand how the terms ‘son of x’ and ‘son of God’ were used within the Old Testament, and generally amongst the Jews of his time, to get a better understanding as to how Jesus (as) and his contemporaries most likely used it.

Jewish Context of the Title ‘Son’ and ‘Son of x’

The word ‘son’ is used in a wide variety of contexts in the Old Testament. Likewise, the construction ‘son/child of x’ appears in many metaphorical contexts, where the metaphorical ‘son’ would partake of some characteristic or be in some way affiliated with the figurative ‘father’.

The word for ‘son’ is בֵּן (bēn) in Hebrew. Another term is יֶלֶד (yě∙lěḏ), meaning child, and זֶרַע (zera) meaning offspring. All have been used in the sense of ‘sonship’ in the Old Testament, both literally and metaphorically.

It is used:

  • literally to refer to physical descendants. For example, Cain names his biological son Enoch (Genesis 4:17).
  • as a broader term of association. The plural ‘sons’ at times refers to youth or young men (Proverbs 7:7) and children (Genesis 3:16).
  • as a form of intimate address for younger companions, students or listeners to whom the one speaking stands in the relation of a father (Proverbs 2:1).
  • to express that the one speaking regards the one addressed as subordinate (1 Samuel 26:17), or that the speaker is calling himself subordinate (2 Kings 16:7).
  • for belonging to a certain class or group of individuals. For example, ‘son of Adam’ refers to being part of the human race (Ezekiel 2:1). It also refers to belonging to a certain social, national or ethnic group. For example, ‘Sons of Israel’ refers to the Israelite people (Genesis 32:32).
  • for belonging to a certain time or age. For example, ‘Son of a night’ refers to something that is one-night old (Jonah 4:10)
  • As being characterized by a certain attribute, state or condition.

It is this final usage that is most relevant to our discussion about the meaning of ‘Son of God’.

Compare the term ‘son of God’ to the following examples:

  • בֵּן חַיִל (bēn ḥǎ∙yil), literally means ‘son of strength’. It refers to a brave soldier, i.e., an elite fighting soldier (2 Samuel 17:10).
  •  בֵּן בְּלִיַּעַל (bēn beliy∙yǎ∙ʿǎl), literally means ‘son of wickedness’ or ‘Son of Satan’ and refers to a wicked or rebellious individual (Deuteronomy 13:14).
  • עֳנִי בֵּן  (ben oni), literally means ‘Son of poverty’, and refers to an oppressed individual (Proverbs 31:5)
  •   מוּת בֵּן (ben maut), literally means ‘son of death’, and refers to a death-row inmate (Psalms 79:11)
  •   אָדָם בֵּן (ben adam) means ‘Son of man’ refers to a person of low social class (Psalms 49:2).

In all of these cases, the construction implies that the ‘son’ is characterized or is in some way affiliated with the metaphorical father. In Jewish idiom, when applied to an individual, ‘son of God’ would mean a person who is in some way characterized or affiliated with God or godliness.

Jewish Context of the Title ‘Son of God’

Now that we have an understanding of the general grammatical construction of the term ‘son of God’, it is an opportune time to look into its specific uses in Jewish idiom and the context in which it has been used. Just knowing that it grammatically refers to someone being affiliated in God in some undefined way is not enough.

The construction has been used in reference to kings, judges and prophets of God.

For example, it is stated that God said to King David:

‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you’ (Psalms 2:7).

And more generally about judges, prophets and kings:

‘I said, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you’ (Psalms 82:6).

It was also used to refer to a people who were to do the will of God on earth, such as the tribe of Israel or Ephraim, as well as righteous individuals.  The Bible states that God said about Israel:

‘Israel is my firstborn son’ (Exodus 4:22)

God states about the tribe of Ephraim:

‘Is not Ephraim my dear son?’ (Jeremiah 31:20).

In certain later texts, the term is used for a righteous individual. In one place, it is stated:

‘For if the righteous man is God’s child, he will help him’ (Wisdom of Solomon 2:18).

Thus, according to Old Testament usage, the idiomatic construction ‘son of God’ refers to the affiliation of a human being with God in the sense of being granted temporal authority through divine mandate, or of being righteous and carrying out the Law of God, thus becoming characterized by piety (i.e. godliness).

This final point was also accepted and explained by ancient Jewish commentators:

The Rabbis lay impressive stress on the fact that Israel’s divine sonship is grounded in the Law entrusted to it and will be seen in a walk according to the commandments of the Law. Rabbi Aqiba derives from Dt. 14:1 the assertion: ‘Beloved are the Israelites; for they are called the sons of God. It was declared to them as a special love that they are called God’s sons,’ Abot Pirque, 3, 14. Acc. to Rabbi Jehuda b. Shalom (c. 370) God said to the Israelites: ‘You have the wish to be singled out, that you are my sons? Busy yourselves with the Torah and observance of the commandments, so all will see that you are my sons,’ Deuteronomium rabba (Debarim rabba), Homiletic Midrash on Deuteronomy (Strack, Einl., 206), 7 on 29:1: The same thought underlies the statement: ‘When the Israelites do God’s will they are called sons; when they do not do God’s will they are not called sons’. [2]

The term is also used to refer to spiritual entities, such as angels or fallen angels. The Bible states:

‘For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings (lit. the sons of God) is like the Lord’ (Psalms 89:6).

They are the sons of God in that they carry out His commandments. It is not in the sense that they share the same nature as God, as God is infinitely superior not only to human beings but also all spiritual entities, though one can say that they are of a finer spiritual quality than mankind.

In all cases, the term maintains a sense of being subordinate to the wishes and desires of God, and implies a hierarchy in which God, the ‘father’, maintains a sense of authority over his servants or ‘children’.

In any case, the Jews were and are resolute monotheists, and never interpreted the term ‘son of God’ in any sort of polytheistic fashion which ran counter to the idea of one, indivisible God. They were conscious enough to never use the construction ‘son of God’ with the personal name of God (Yahweh), instead joining it with the term ‘Elohim’:

The Old Testament often uses בֵּן (ben) and בַּר (bar) for beings which belong to the divine world or sphere but they are combined with other words for God, never with the name יהוה (Yahweh), rather with אֱלֹהִים (Elohim). [3]

‘Son of x’ Used by Jesus (as)

It is thus within this Jewish historical context that the term ‘Son of God’ was used and most likely understood by Jesus (as) and his followers. There is ample evidence for this in the New Testament.

Not only was the term ‘son of God’ known to Jesus (as), so was the general construction of ‘son of x’, which he employed on a few occasions, always in its common and generally accepted usage.  

In the New Testament, the Hebrew term בֵּן (bēn – son) is usually found translated as the Greek word υἱός (huios).

A few of the cases where he used the construction are:

  • He granted two of his followers (both brothers) the title of ‘sons of thunder’ (Mark 3:17), a reference to their zeal in following the faith.
  • He declared an unrelated follower as the ‘son of Mary’ (John 19:26-27), demonstrating how his followers were like his spiritual family, something he also confirmed in another place when he said, ‘whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’ (Matthew 12:50).
  • He referred to the Jews as ‘sons of the Devil’ (John 8:44) and denied their ‘sonship’ of the prophet Abraham in the spiritual sense, even though they were his physical descendants when he stated ‘if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.’ (John 8:39)

Jesus (as) was also aware that the construction sometimes implied a sense that the son was subordinate to the father. He rejected this inference in terms of the title ‘Son of David’, and stated that he was not subordinate to David, rather that he was a prophet who was independent in his commission (Mark 12:37).

Nevertheless, no such declaration exists for the term son of God, indicating that it never meant anything to him other than its orthodox Jewish use. Jesus (as) was a ‘son of God’ as the Jews understood the term – a righteous individual, subordinate to God, who had been given a divine mandate – in his case, being the Messiah. ‘Son of God’ was in his case synonymous to the Hebrew terms prophet (navi) or messiah (mashiakh). Both denoted human beings, not in any way divine, who carried out prophetic duties.

‘Son of God’ used by Jesus (as)

Jesus (as) was also aware of the specific construction ‘son of God’ and employed it exclusively in its orthodox meaning on several occasions.

Jesus (as) used the term ‘sons/children of God’ for peacemakers. He stated:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

And also, for those who love and pray for their enemies:

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:44-45).

We find that he was explaining that the sonship of God was something that could be attained through good deeds. The term denoted becoming holy, purified, and godly. His own sonship was no different in nature. Jesus (as) too became a ‘son of God’ – not from birth, rather according to all four Gospels, historically it was at or close to the time of his baptism that he was first declared to be the son of God.

Jesus (as) Explains the Term Son of God

It seems then that the historical context provided by the Old Testament and later Jewish writings provide a decidedly non-divine interpretation to the term ‘son of God’. The next question is, ‘did Jesus (as) ever explain the use of the term himself?’. This is an especially important point, as the declaration of Jesus (as) himself would surely be more important and authoritative than the interpretation of anyone else, either a contemporary or someone who appeared later.

In this case, we are fortunate to have such a testimony.

There is only a single place in all four Gospels where Jesus (as) explains the use of the term ‘Son of God’ in relation to himself. This explanation is found in the Gospel of John, which coincidentally, is also the only Gospel where Jesus is stated to have explicitly used the term for himself.

In the Gospel of John, it is stated that Jesus proclaimed that he was one with the father, upon which the Jews tried to stone him, stating that he had blasphemed by calling himself, God. Jesus replied:

‘Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are ‘gods’’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? (John 10:34-36)

It is interesting that here Jesus (as) answers the question of how he is one with God, while also providing an explanation for how he was or at least said to be, a ‘son of God’. One possible explanation for this is that the interpretation of being one with God was the same as being the son of God. Or, that in the process of answering their main objection, he also cleared up another objection they had, which was the title of ‘son of God’.

In any case, in reply to their accusation of blasphemy, he stated that their own Jewish scriptures referred to certain human beings as being gods. The reference seems to be to the Book of Psalms, where it is stated:

‘I said, ‘You are ‘gods’; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.’ (Psalms 82:6-7)

The Jews never interpreted such texts literally, rather they would always understand them as being metaphorical – a term applied to human beings who had been given a divine mandate. Therefore, his argument was that if he had very sparingly used the term son of God for himself, what problem did they have with such a metaphorical term that was well-known to them and was interpreted in an entirely monotheistic manner? Moreover, being a ‘son of God’ was surely not as great or problematic a claim (theologically and polemically) as being God, yet they themselves interpreted the greater claim which appeared in their scriptures in a purely monotheistic fashion, but unscrupulously would not do the same in his case, and that too with a comparatively inferior claim.

He went on to confirm that the use of the term was one of adoption; of a metaphorical import, purely monotheistic and not in any way affirming divinity:

Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works…(John 10:37-38)

He did not tell them, ‘believe me because of my nature. I am literally God, bow before me and observe my great divine power.’ Rather, he directed them to view his works – he stated that he was doing the work of God, meaning, fulfilling the commandments of God.

He was claiming to be a righteous individual who was carrying out the mandates of God on earth. Therefore, he was a ‘son of God’ in terms of his actions making him a son of God. His works proved that he was a son of God in the same way that the works of previous righteous individuals proved that they were sons of God. This was completely in line with Jewish thought, which spoke about people whose piety granted them the distinction of being labelled the sons of God:

the title belongs also to any one whose piety has placed him in a filial relation to God (see Wisdom ii. 13, 16, 18; v. 5, where ‘the sons of God’ are identical with ‘the saints’; comp. Ecclus. [Sirach] iv. 10). It is through such personal relations that the individual becomes conscious of God’s fatherhood…[4]

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) was the divinely appointed reformer of the age. He was sent by God to clarify the teachings of Islam as well as demonstrate their truthfulness. He claimed to be the awaited the second coming of Jesus (as)– the Promised Messiah. He dedicated hundreds of pages in exploring and explaining the reality of Jesus. In one place, he writes:

According to my understanding, other prophets were superior to Jesus (as) in regards to these epithets and titles. This is because Jesus (as) himself has decided this matter and stated that, ‘why are you grieved at my using the term ‘son of God’?’ This was not a huge ordeal. In the Psalms, it is stated that ‘you are all gods’. The words of Jesus (as) which are recorded in John 10:35 are:

‘I have said you are ‘gods’’? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?

Now, those that are fair should study these verses with fear of Allah Almighty in their hearts. Was it not imperative for Jesus (as) at this time, when his sonship was being questioned, that he state, if he was truly the son of God, that the fact is that I am the Son of God Almighty, and you all are human beings? Rather, he challenged them through his response in such a way that he brought a close to the argument, that you yourselves are deeply involved in my way of speech. I have been called ‘son’ whereas you have been called ‘god’

‘Son of God’ vs. ‘Son of Man’ and ‘The Son’

It should be noted (again) that Jesus (as) hardly ever used the term ‘son of God’ for himself.

There is tacit acceptance of the term in many places where people (even demons) refer to him as the ‘son of God’, but his explicit use of the term is very hard to come by. In none of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) does he ever directly use the term ‘son of God’ in relation to himself. In the Gospel of John, the term has been used by him in only three instances:

But when Jesus (as) heard it, he said, ‘This illness is not unto death; it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by means of it.’ (John 11:4)

do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? (John 10:36)

‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. (John 5:25)

It is highly unusual that three of the four Gospel writers omitted any reference of Jesus (as) using this important term for himself, and that its explicit use is only found in the Gospel of John, which was written last. Moreover, that the same writer also included a purely monotheistic explanation of the term through the words of Jesus (as).

In any case, as opposed to the term ‘Son of God’, Jesus (as) refers to himself almost exclusively in the Gospels using other terms: ‘Son of Man’ and the absolute ‘The Son’. Why is this, and what do these other terms refer to? Again, the use of capitalization with these terms is subject to the interpretation of the translator. They could just as easily be written in small case wherever grammatically possible.

Some Christians try to paint the term ‘son of man’ as a reference to a divine apocalyptic figure of the latter days in the Book of Daniel. Nevertheless, even there the figure has not been referred to as ‘son of man’, rather only as ‘like a son of man’. A comparison has been drawn between the figure and other human beings, with the prophet Daniel stating:

I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. (Daniel 7:13)

This was a vision that the prophet saw, and therefore is subject to interpretation. Jesus (as) was not ‘like a son of man’, rather he always claimed to be ‘a son of man’. That all-important ‘like’ is nowhere to be found in his many usages of the term for himself.

Coming back to the term ‘son of man’, we find that it has been almost exclusively used in the Old Testament, not as referring to a divine figure, rather to refer to man as contrasted with God – an antonym. In Hebrew, the term is ben adam:

Son of Man

A title derived from a Hebrew (ben ˒āḏām) and Aramaic (bar ˒ĕnāš) idiom which designates a collective (humanity) or an individual within the collective (human being)… In the OT the phrase occurs often as a designation for ‘humanity’ or a ‘human being’ in contrast with divine prerogatives (Ps. 8:4 [MT 5]; cf. also Num. 23:19). The phrase is used 93 times in Ezekiel as a designation for the prophet, perhaps here too emphasizing the mere mortal nature of the prophet in contrast to the majesty of God who speaks to him (e.g., Ezek. 2:1). [6]

Therefore, it is almost certain that Jesus (as) was using the term to declare his humanity and most probably as a rebuttal to those who either thought or accused him of claiming to be divine. It was a term that clarified that he was a (very human) prophet. Moreover, it was a term that highlighted his humility. In many places in the Old Testament, the term ‘son of man’ has been used by the prophets to highlight their frailty as humans and dependence on the grace of God. For example:

what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him? (Psalm 8:4)

Jesus (as) also used it in this sense:

Foxes have dens, and birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has no place to lay His head.’ (Matthew 8:20).

The absolute use of ‘the son’ can also be viewed in this sense. Judging by his common use of the term ‘son of man’ it is most likely that his use of the term ‘the son’ referred back to ‘son of man’ and not the term ‘son of God’. Even if it did refer back to ‘God’ instead of ‘man’, his consciously omitting it in favor of the more ambiguous ‘the son’ shows that he, in any case, did not commonly use the phrase for himself.

Thus, the term ‘son of God’ was very sparingly used by Jesus (as), and only tacitly approved by him in a monotheistic sense when used by others. He himself almost always gave preference to the titles ‘son of man’ and ‘the son’, which were not subject to the same misunderstandings that could arise from the use of the term ‘son of God’.

Jesus (as) as the ‘Servant of God’ in the Old Testament

Despite the use of the term ‘son of God’ in the New Testament, it is significant that no clear instance of the term can be found in the Old Testament or in later Judaic writings in reference to the Messiah:

Thus far there is no clear instance to support the view that in pre-Christian times Judaism used the title ‘son of God’ for the Messiah. The Messiah is ‘my son’ in Ethiopian Enoch 105:2, but this verse was added later since it is not in Greek Enoch and has thus to be disregarded. The Latin of 4 Esr. 7:28; 13:32, 37, 52; 14:9 uses filius meus for the Messiah, but the Greek original is undoubtedly παῖς (pais – servant) corresponding to Hebrew עַבְדִּי (abdi – my servant) Thus, all the apocryphal references which might seem to testify to the Messianic title ‘Son of God’ fall to the ground. [7]

There are, however, disputed places where the term ‘son’, as in the Son of God, is said to refer to the coming Messiah such as:

I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. (2 Samuel 7: 12-14)


‘I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.’ I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, ‘You are my son; today I have become your father’. (Psalm 2:6-7)

By and large, the Old Testament’s prophecies refer to the coming Messiah as a ‘servant’ rather than a ‘son’. The author of Matthew also claimed that one such prophecy in Isaiah 42:1 was fulfilled in the person of Jesus (as):

This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. (Matthew 12:17-18)

It is telling that no such prophecy has been quoted from the Old Testament by the authors of the Gospel to support the idea that the Messiah would be called a ‘son of God’.

Moreover, we find that the term ‘servant’ (pais παῖς) was also applied to Jesus (as) in the Book of Acts (Acts 3:13,26, 4:27, 30), meaning that some of the earliest followers of Jesus (as) commonly referred to him as a servant of God.

The word for ‘servant’ in the Old Testament is עֶבֶד ebed, meaning slave, servant, or worshipper:

The term serves as an expression of humility used by the righteous before God. Different emphases in this regard are self-abasement, the implied claim on God for help, and grateful self-commitment when help is received. These elements are present in other nations too, but distinctive in the OT are the exclusiveness and totality involved in being God’s servant, the gracious decision of God which makes it possible, and the historical character of the relationship. [8]

When used in relation to God, it generally refers to righteous individuals chosen by God to fulfil the duty of prophethood. The term implies their subordination to God. Ebed has been used to describe prophets such as Abraham (Genesis 26:24), Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5), Jacob (Isaiah 44:1), Isaiah (20:3), Job (1:8) and David (2 Samuel 7:5).

The Old Testament thus refers to the Messiah as the Servant of God, according to the prophecies about his advent that Christians themselves present. There are various examples of this, such as:

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)

See, my servant will act wisely, he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. (Isaiah 52:13)

Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. (Zechariah 3:8)

These passages demonstrate that the Messiah was foretold as being a humble servant of God. He was not to be in any way divine, nor different in essence from other servants of God who had been granted the mantle of prophethood.

Was Jesus (as) Called ‘Son of God’ or ‘Servant of God’?

The first point to keep in mind is that nowhere in three of the four Gospels is Jesus (as) ever recorded to have explicitly used the term ‘son of God’ for himself, and its very sparing use is found only in the Gospel of John. He mostly referred to himself as ‘son of man’ or ‘the son’.

The writers of the Gospel did not quote any passage from the Old Testament supporting the idea that the Messiah would be called the ‘son of God’, nor is there any explicit text referring to the Messiah as such.

This lessens the validity and importance of the title ‘son of God’ in comparison to the title ‘servant of God’.

It is thus possible, if not likely, that Jesus (as) and his followers used the term ‘servant of God’ and other primary, theologically significant terms which are found in the Old Testament, such as ‘son of David’, when referring to Jesus (as), and not ‘son of God’, which was uncommon and at most of secondary significance.

When the stories about Jesus (as) were finally penned by the Greek authors of the Gospels, they adopted a term regarding Jesus (as) that was subject to interpretation: huios tou theos. This term could, admittedly, be translated literally as ‘son of God’, but could also be understood figuratively as ‘servant of God’: υἱός huiós, hwee-os’; apparently a primary word; a ‘son’ (sometimes of animals), used very widely of immediate, remote or figuratively, kinship:—child, foal, son. (Strongs Definitions)

Unfortunately, there are no texts which preserve the original words of Jesus (as) in his native tongues to compare the Greek texts against. Nevertheless, the circumstantial evidence drives us strongly to the idea that Jesus (as) most likely did not commonly refer to himself as the son of God, nor did his contemporaries. It was not a common term amongst the Jews, nor was the awaited Messiah to be referred to primarily as a ‘son of God’.

Therefore, we can conclude that the term ‘son of God’, if used at all, was most likely done so infrequently and that too within a legitimate, monotheistic Jewish context, as the explanation of Jesus (as) in John clearly indicates. Jesus (as) most likely commonly referred to himself quite humbly as a ‘servant of God’ and ‘son of man’, with his Jewish followers most likely referring to him in terms other than ‘son of God’. They most likely preferred other terms that were commonly used for the awaited Messiah, such as the title of ‘son of David’, found upon the tongues of many of his believers. (Matthew 9:27)

Why then did the Gospel authors use the term ‘son of God’ so liberally for Jesus (as), if it was not used as such by his contemporaries? This is perhaps due to the legends that arose about him, guided along by propaganda, superstition, and common ignorance prevalent at the time, in the intermediary period between his disappearance and when the Gospels were finally written.

A Point to Ponder – Other Titles of Jesus (as) and an Objective Standard to Separate Metaphor from that which is Literal

While on the topic of the true interpretation of the term ‘son of God’, it is helpful to view the term within the larger context of other titles that are attributed to Jesus (as).

The point to take home here is this: without a common standard by which we can judge what is literal from what is a metaphor, and the correct meaning of that metaphor, every person is at liberty to construct their own interpretation of the Gospels. The hope of understanding the historical Jesus and his true message would then go out the window.

Christians are, by and large, guilty of falling into this error. Whereas they adamantly pursue a decidedly non-monotheistic interpretation of the term ‘son of God’, they quite easily and happily accept certain monotheistic interpretations for many of the other titles of Jesus (as).

For example, Jesus has been called the ‘Lamb of God’ in the Gospel of John (John 1:29, 36). Whatever the interpretation may be, one thing is certain – no Christian would state that Jesus was a literal lamb. The interpretation is one that is inevitably metaphorical.  

He was the ‘King of the Jews’ (Matthew 2:12) or at least alleged to be (Matthew 27:37). Again, a literal king and kingdom evoke a vastly different image than the ministry of Jesus (as). The interpretation of this title, once again, is decidedly metaphorical.

He was the ‘son of Joseph’ (Luke 4:22). Now, this is an interesting case. Was he the literal son of Joseph or the son of God? If he was the biological, literal son of Joseph, one must deny the virgin birth. Because of these difficulties, most Christians declare that this title was one that was not literal.

And the list goes on. He claimed to be the ‘Light of the World’ (John 8:12), ‘The Bread of Life’ (John 6:35), ‘The Living Bread’ (John 6:51) ‘The Resurrection and The Life’ (John 11:25). No Christian claims that all of his titles were literal.

So far, we have looked at some metaphorical titles of Jesus (as). Nevertheless, we find that there are certain titles that Christians are adamant are literal, despite the difficulties.

Christians claim that Jesus (as) was the awaited Messianic king from the Davidic line and was a literal ‘son of David’, although they are hard-pressed to demonstrate it.

The lineage of Jesus (as) is recorded in two different ways in the gospels of Matthew (1:1-17) and Luke (3:23-38). Both Gospels trace his lineage through Joseph – problematic, to say the least, because Christians claim Jesus was not his biological son!

To get around this problem, commentators usually state that Matthew traces his lineage through Joseph, while Luke through Mary, the mother of Jesus. With this explanation, commentators admit then that the genealogy presented in Matthew of Joseph is immediately invalid and unnecessary–Jesus had no share in it, as he did not share any blood with Joseph.

Coming to the second lineage in Luke, we find that Jesus is stated to be ‘of Joseph, the son of Heli’. Commentators claim that the passage is not literal. Rather, they claim Heli refers to the father-in-law of Joseph; that is, the father of Mary. This too is implausible. There is no genealogical record, in either the Old or the New Testament, which refers to a man as the son of his father-in-law. There is no verse in the New Testament that says Mary is the daughter of Heli.

In any case, even if one does accept that Luke presents the lineage of Mary and not Joseph, problems persist. The maternal connection is not sufficient for succession to the throne of David, which is passed on only through a continuous male line. Biblically, the right of lineal privilege, that is, kingship and priesthood, are exclusively passed on through the male line. There is no example of it having been passed on through the maternal line.

So, through either lineage, Jesus is disqualified from being a descendant of David who could sit on the Davidic throne. Nevertheless, Christians are adamant, and through theological wrangling, try to demonstrate that Jesus was literally a descendant of David. Because, in this case, a metaphorical interpretation just would not do.

In a similar vein, Jesus is also called the son of Mary (Mark 6:3). Is this passage literal or metaphorical? By what objective standard would we determine the answer?

The difficulty with metaphors is that there is no qualifying word telling us that we are dealing with something that is not literal. That must be understood from the context and common sense. Moreover, especially in the case of theology, once we determine that a certain term is metaphorical, it must be interpreted in the correct fashion. That interpretation must be based on common sense and basic, tried-and-true accepted fundamentals.

In the case of Christianity, nothing can be more basic or fundamental than the belief in pure monotheism, a God who is One, indivisible and is uniquely divine with no equal or partner. Jesus (as) himself emphasized that to believe in one God is the very first, most important commandment:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one’. (Mark 12:28-29)

In another place he stated:

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

In short, pure monotheism must form the basis of our interpretation of the words of Jesus (as). Otherwise, one will quickly become lost to the realms of polytheistic thinking.

The Holy Qur’an – Jesus (as) as the ‘Servant of God’

The Holy Qur’an and other Islamic literature provide us with a foundation for understanding the various titles and words of Jesus (as) within a monotheistic framework.

The Holy Qur’an declares that Jesus (as) referred to himself as عبد اللہ Abd-ullah, meaning a servant of God:

قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا

He said, ‘I am a servant of Allah. He has given me the Book, and made me a Prophet [19:31]

In another place it is stated:

وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وَلَدًا ۗ سُبْحَانَهُ ۚ بَلْ عِبَادٌ مُّكْرَمُونَ

And they say, ‘The Gracious God has taken to Himself a son.’ Holy is He. Nay, they are only honoured servants. [21:27]

All of the prophets, indeed all of mankind, are referred to as servants of God (5:119). This highlights the superiority of God to His creation. All others are His servants and part of His creation, whereas He is the only one who is divine. In line with this general principle, the Qur’an does not reference Jesus (as) stating that he was a ‘son of God’, or others referring to him as such. Therefore, the Qur’an strongly supports the claim that Jesus (as) fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of a Messiah who would be a servant of God, and supports the idea that he did not use the term ‘son of God’ for himself.

Apart from the title of servant, The Qur’an also grants him other titles, such as Ruh-ullah (a spirit of God) and Kalimatullah (a word of God). The Qur’an mentions many titles granted to different prophets over the ages. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) for example, was granted many titles, such as Khatam-un-Nabiyeen (The Chief of the Prophets), Muhammad (the praised one), Ahmad (the one who praises), Nur (light), etc.

No matter the titles granted to the prophets of God, they are never interpreted in a way that run contrary to the concept of Tauheed, or unity of God.

Islam – The Meaning of ‘Son of God’

Even though the Qur’an does not refer to Jesus (as) as the son of God, it nonetheless does not deny that the term can legitimately be used in a metaphorical manner for servants of Allah.

In one verse, the Qur’an declares that those people who are thought of as the sons of the God are not to be understood as being divine – they are merely his honoured servants:

وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وَلَدًا ۗ سُبْحَانَهُ ۚ بَلْ عِبَادٌ مُّكْرَمُونَ

And they say, ‘The Gracious God has taken to Himself a son.’ Holy is He. Nay, they are only honoured servants. [21:27]

In another place, it tells Muslims to remember Allah like they do their fathers, or even more so:

فَاذۡکُرُوا اللّٰہَ کَذِکۡرِکُمۡ اٰبَآءَکُمۡ اَوۡ اَشَدَّ ذِکۡرًا

…celebrate the praises of Allah as you celebrated the praises of your fathers, or even more than that…[2:201]

The Holy Prophet (sa) once referred to the Creation of God as God’s children, in the sense that God cares for them as a parent would their child:

Hadhrat Anas (ra) relates that the Messenger of Allah (sa) stated:

The Creation of Allah is His progeny, and the most beloved of them to Allah are those that are most useful to His progeny. [9]

Thus, the Qur’an and Ahadith do not reject outright the use of the term ‘son of God’ in a metaphorical, monotheistic fashion. It is not commonly used though, as compared to other terms, such as servant and slave (عبدabd), perhaps owing to the misunderstandings that could arise by its general use.

The Promised Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) explains in one place the metaphorical, monotheistic usage of the term ‘son’ or ‘children’ of God:

…those who lose themselves in God are called the children of God. However, this does not mean that they are literally God’s sons. It would be sheer blasphemy to say so; for, God is Holy and has no sons. But they have been called ‘children of God’ only as a figure of speech since, like an innocent child, they keep on remembering God with utmost zeal. Indicating the same spiritual station, the Holy Qur’an says:

فَاذۡکُرُوا اللّٰہَ کَذِکۡرِکُمۡ اٰبَآءَکُمۡ اَوۡ اَشَدَّ ذِکۡرًا

Meaning that, remember God with such love and heartfelt compassion as a child remembers its father. This is why God has been addressed as Ab or Pita [meaning ‘Father’] in the scriptures of every people. Figuratively speaking, God has a resemblance to a mother also and just as a mother rears her child in the womb, so are the beloveds of God nourished in the lap of God’s love. They are granted a holy body out of a filthy origin. This is why the auliya’ (friends of Allah) are called ‘children of God’ by the mystics. It is only a figure of speech. Otherwise, God has no children, and God is:

لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ

He begets not, nor is He begotten [10]

In another place, the Promised Messiah (as) explains the spiritual process by which one becomes part of the ‘progeny’ of God through the Holy Spirit:

If you ask what exactly is the quality and spiritual power in which the two of us—the Messiah son of Mary and my own humble self—resemble, the answer is that it is an overall quality with which the spiritual sensibilities of the two of us have been endowed. At one end, the chain stretches deep down below, and at the other, reaches high above. The descent signifies the extreme anguish and concern for the good of God’s creatures. It reinforces the already close and strong ties that exist between the Messenger of God and his devoted disciples and transmits the spiritual vitality inherent in the holy person of the Messenger to all the green and vibrant branches. The upward journey symbolizes the superior love, which is rooted in strong faith. God so wills that love at first sprouts in the heart of the worshipper and then attracts the love of the Almighty Himself. When the two loves meet—each functioning as the male and female counterpart—they give birth to a strong communion and intense affinity between the Creator and the created. The blazing flames of Divine love set afire the tinder-dry firewood of human love, giving birth to a third phenomenon known as Ruhul Qudus. The spiritual birth of man at this level is deemed to take place when God Almighty especially wills such love to be born. Figuratively speaking, it would not be wrong to say that this spirit, saturated as it is with the love of God, grants a new birth to the human soul which, through God’s will, is now filled with His love. That is why this love-laden spirit, again figuratively speaking, is like an offspring to the Divine spirit, the author of this love. Since Ruhul Qudus is born in the human heart as a result of the union of the two souls, we can say that it is like a son to both. This indeed is the holy trinity which is the necessary accompaniment of love at this level and which the impure of heart have misconstrued polytheistically. They have tried to equate a minuscule particle of mere possibility which is so self-negating and unreal, with the Supreme Self-Existent God. [11]

Meaning, once one receives the Holy Spirit, they can be termed a ‘son of God’.

In one verse of the Qur’an, Allah states that the Jews and Christians claim they are the sons of God, but rejects the application of the term in their case, stating instead that they are under His punishment:

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ وَالنَّصَارَىٰ نَحْنُ أَبْنَاءُ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ ۚ قُلْ فَلِمَ يُعَذِّبُكُم بِذُنُوبِكُم ۖ بَلْ أَنتُم بَشَرٌ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقَ ۚ يَغْفِرُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ وَإِلَيْهِ الْمَصِيرُ

[5:19] The Jews and the Christians say that we are the sons of Allah and his loved ones. Say, ‘Why then does He punish you for your sins? Nay, you are only human beings from among those he has created.’ He forgives whom He pleases and punishes whom He pleases. And to Allah belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, and to him shall be the return.

Here the Qur’an does not state that their claim of being the ‘sons of God’ is inherently blasphemous, but only rejects that the term can be applied to them. Allah states that if they were truly the sons of God, then they would not be suffering under His punishment. In this case, the term has been used symbolically to denote those that do the will of Allah and thus in a sense become His adopted, beloved children, thereafter enjoying His blessings. Those who are under the punishment of Allah can in no way be referred to as His children.

The Promised Messiah (as) states:

Allah has mentioned in the Holy Qu’ran a saying of the Jews, and that saying is ‘we are the sons of Allah and His beloveds’. In this place, Allah has not rejected the term ‘sons’ by declaring it as blasphemous, rather He states that if you were the beloveds of God, then why does He punish you? Thereafter, He does mention ‘sons’ again at all. From this, it is understood that in the books of the Jews, the beloveds of God were called His sons as well. [12]

How Did Jesus Become a Divine Son of God?

The Jewish Plot Against Jesus (as)

There remains an important question: if Jesus (as) never claimed to be a divine son of God, how did these ideas enter into the Christian psyche? How did the idea of metaphorical sonship, grounded in pure monotheism, transform into a polytheistic one? How did such a huge blunder become accepted as part of common Christian theology?

It would be a mistake to believe that all Christians in history accepted that Jesus (as) was a divine son of God. There are documented early unitarian and monotheistic Jewish-Christian movements, such as the Ebionites, who rejected the divinity of Jesus (as). Unfortunately, they did not survive the battles for the mantle of orthodox Christianity over the centuries.

Nevertheless, it likely that the idea that Jesus was a divine son of God came to be accepted early in some factions of the nascent Christian community. How do we account for this? Some would state that the early acceptance of the idea points to its truthfulness.

Such an answer does not serve the orthodox Christian position. How would they account for the equally early (supposed) heretical movements about the nature and teachings of Jesus? How would they account for the early schisms between the apostles of Jesus and Paul, who wished to take the message of Jesus to the Gentiles and forego the Law, to the vocal objections of others? Early Christianity was not a place of books and minute study – most people were illiterate, and stories were spread through storytelling. False reporting and even greater faults in interpretation abounded. Jesus (as) stated:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

The rumour-mongering and creation of false doctrines only got worse after the correcting hand of Jesus (as) was no longer present amongst the people. Paul, seemingly exasperated by what he felt were teachings contrary to the truth, in one place wrote:

These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. (1 Timothy 6:2-5)

It is not difficult to see that where people were ready to introduce other heresies about Jesus (as), that they would not be averse to doing the same in the case of him being a ‘son of God’.  

Nevertheless, like the white dot on the dark side of a yin-yang, every good lie has an aspect of truth. The relatively minor idea that Jesus (as) was a ‘son of God’ had its roots in monotheism, but very quickly became distorted and blown out of proportion.

The process of the adoption of the title for Jesus (as) in a non-monotheistic fashion can be understood as having several different parts. Primarily, it was the Jewish propaganda against him, claiming that he stated to be a, or as the Christians today understand it, THE ‘SON of God’, that poisoned the unrefined and all-too-willing minds of the gentile Christians who began to believe that lie and adapted it to their own polytheistic ideas within the Roman ‘son of God’ paradigm.

The Trial of Jesus (as) and the Beginning of the End

To understand what most likely happened, let’s go back to the Jews and their relationship with Jesus (as).

Reading the Gospels, we find that the Jews repeatedly tried to misconstrue the words and actions of Jesus (as), putting them out of context in an attempt to turn people away from him and to have him arrested. In one place, the Gospel of Luke states:

Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. (Luke 20:20)

Matthew states:

When they finally arrested him, they subjected him to a sham religious trial. Though they brought many false witnesses, they were unable to prove any instance of blasphemy. (Matthew 26:60)

It is telling that they were unable to prove any instance of blasphemy. If Jesus (as) had claimed divinity (a certain case of blasphemy before the monotheistic Jews) they would surely have been able to prove it.

When all else failed, they employed their final trump card: they ‘accused’ him of having claimed to be the ‘Son of God’. It was a catch-22. If he denied the title, the Jews would say that he had refused to be a metaphorical son of God and was therefore not a righteous individual, prophet or the Messiah. Moreover, they would charge him with lying, stating that he had never denied the title for himself before, which itself would be a cause for the negation of his claim of prophethood – a prophet of God would, after all, not lie. If he accepted the title, they would misconstrue it and claim that he understood the words literally and had thus committed blasphemy.

Jesus (as) was well-aware of this ploy of theirs; they had used crafty questions before, where any response would be twisted by them and presented as being controversial or blasphemous. His strategy to not fall into their traps was to reply vaguely and guardedly. At his trial, he employed the same tactic. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke state that in reply to the question of whether he was the ‘son of God’, he replied guardedly with ‘you say I am’ (Matthew 26:64, Luke 22:70). The Gospel of John is entirely silent on the actual charge but mentions how Jesus was slapped by a guard for not replying directly to the questions of the high priest (John 18:22).

Only the Gospel of Mark claims that Jesus replied in the affirmative, ‘I am’, but there the charge is different – he was asked whether he was the ‘Son of the Blessed’, not the ‘Son of God’, though one could argue that the ideas are synonymous. Even so, ‘Some manuscripts of medium quality read, ‘You say that I am.’ [13]

In any case, Jesus (as) had previously clearly explained to the Jewish leadership that he only used the term for himself in a metaphorical, monotheistic manner (John 10:34-36), but it did no good. The Jews continued to reject him and accuse him of blasphemy.

Therefore, it is possible that Jesus (as) felt that there was no point in arguing with them any further during the trial – they would not believe or exonerate him no matter what he said. Therefore, whether he replied in the affirmative or vaguely, it made little difference. As the events of the trial show, he was not cross-examined nor allowed to present any further explanation after they concluded that he had blasphemed by claiming he was the son of God.

The Decree of God Could Not be Changed

Reading through the Gospels, one finds a certain resignation in his words and actions before the crucifixion. God had told him that it was something that he must bear, and therefore it seems that he accepted the events preceding his crucifixion as necessary and ultimately unchangeable; it was the decree of God. He, therefore, did not flee from the area, nor argue with the Jewish Sanhedrin; rather, according to Mark, it seems he even gave them an unguarded response, almost as if to speed up the process so that they could finally hand him over to the Roman authorities. It seems that the trial had dragged on for the entire night (John 18:28). Nor did he try to explain the situation to Pilate when questioned, much to his surprise (Matthew 27:14).

The Promised Messiah (as) states:

It seems to me that Prophet ‘Isa must have seen some dream about his crucifixion, and dreaded that in the event of his crucifixion, the mischievous Jews would impute to him the stigma of being accursed. This is why he prayed vehemently and that prayer was accepted. God changed that destiny such that, apparently, he was put on the cross, and was even interned in the tomb, but, like Yunus, he entered alive and came out alive. Prophets are ever so brave; he was never afraid of the wretched Jews. [14] [15]

Concept of Son of God in Greek and Roman Society

After the crucifixion of Jesus (as), through the efforts of Paul and his party, a twisted concept of Jesus began to be preached amongst the Gentiles. The converted Gentile Christians, at least some and quite possibly a large majority of them, very quickly deified Jesus (as), and the term ‘Son of God’ began to be applied to him in a divine, polytheistic fashion.

These Gentiles were not ignorant of the term ‘Son of God’ – it was a common enough term in Roman mythology. Nevertheless, their understanding of the term was one that was far removed from the Jewish context in which it was originally used for Jesus (as):

‘Son of God’ was a royal title that made its way from Egypt and the East into the Hellenistic kingdoms and the Roman Empire (e.g., Alexander the Great was called ‘son of Ammon’ and ‘son of Zeus’). Its use in the Roman Empire was initially more a statement of political ideology than an application of mythological beliefs concerning divine generation (e.g., Octavian, who referred to himself as Lat. divi filius). ‘God’ and ‘divine’ were also applied to outstanding individuals, including poets, philosophers, military leaders, seers, and miracle workers (e.g., Plato, Apollonius of Tyana, Pythagoras); the main idea present in such uses of the term was that of unusual power. In a related sense, members of guilds that formed under the patronage of various gods called themselves ‘sons’ or ‘children’ (Gk. paídes) of that deity. [16]

Apart from its political usage, it was widely used as a term to define the divinity of demigods and hero-figures.

Roman and Greek mythology abounded with divine man/god figures. Stories of gods begetting demigods after consorting with human females and men becoming gods after death were commonplace. The divine realm was a pantheon, a realm filled with Gods, each which should be worshipped. Moreover, there was no hard line between the divine and mortal realms. A mortal could ‘ascend’, and become a god, worthy of worship and respect.

Thus, for the Gentile convert, the term ‘Son of God’, especially in regard to Jesus, who was not a political figure, was to be understood literally.

Greek and Roman mythologies allowed for all sorts of interactions between the divine and mortal realms.  

There are stories where gods temporarily became humans, such as where the gods Jupiter and Mercury disguise themselves as mortals and wander the earth.

There were stories of demigods being born of a god and a mortal, such as in the case of Alexander the Great, thought to be the son of the god Zeus and human mother Olympias, or in the story of Hercules, thought to be the son of Zeus and the mortal Alcmene. Plato was also thought of by some to be the son of the god Apollo.

There were also stories of human beings who became divine due to their great deeds. Romulus, the founder of the Roman empire, was thought to have been born of the union between the god Mars and a virgin mortal, Rhea. He was supposedly taken up to heaven and made a god in the heavens once he had established the city of Rome. Julius Caesar was declared to have become a god after his assassination and accepted into the great pantheon of gods. His adopted son, Octavian (or Caesar Augustus) was said to have been the son of the god Apollo and a mortal female, Atia. As his father was declared a god, he was declared the son of God during his lifetime, and also posthumously declared a deity. Other emperors were declared gods posthumously, although many were worshipped as divine while alive (See ‘How Jesus Became God’, Bart D. Ehrman, pg. 14-20)

Jesus Becomes a Divine Son of God Amongst the Gentile Roman Converts

These new gentile converts were thus utterly ignorant or at best completely dismissive of the historical Jewish meaning of the term, especially considering the teachings of Paul, who minimized the importance of the Jews and the Law. The concept of pure monotheism was foreign to them. In all likelihood, they were probably completely unwilling to forego their mythology and paganism for it.

The Bible tells us of their zeal for worshipping hero figures and deification of mortals, as well as the influence that Hellenistic mythologies had in their beliefs. The Book of Acts tells us that when Paul and Barnabas healed a man before the Romans in the city of Lystra:

‘they shouted in their local dialect, ‘These men are gods in human form!’  They decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes, since he was the chief speaker’. (Acts 14:11-12)

Even when Paul and Barnabas tried to stop them, they ‘could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them.’ (Acts 14:17)

To them, it would have been hard, if not impossible, to accept a Messiah figure who wasn’t divine in some sense. In their minds, a merely human Jesus would be inferior to their other heroes and mythological gods.

So, the propaganda of the Jewish enemies of Jesus (as), who resolutely continued to claim that Jesus had claimed to be a literal ‘Son of God’, for which he was crucified and killed, found willing reception within the naïve minds of newly converted pagan gentiles, who were accustomed to accepting figures who showed great works as gods. When these constructs meshed with the idea that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, the narrative became complete in their minds and followed with the religious zeal by which they were characterized. Jesus was a divine god-figure, the Son of God (or one of many such figures) that had overcome death and ascended to become part of the pantheon of gods. This is the same sort of idea that was promoted by Paul, stated in one place that Jesus became the Son of God after his resurrection:

‘…regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord’. (Romans 1:3-4)

The gentile converts most likely looked to the Jews for direction in regard to Jesus – they were, after all, the first recipients of the message of Jesus, and spoke his language. Paul, the preacher to the gentiles, was himself was a Jew, but his letters are almost empty in terms of details about the life of Jesus (as). If the Jewish leadership was adamant that he claimed to be the ‘Son of God’, by what authority could they doubt them, even if they wanted to?

Mixing a lie with a half-truth makes the lie all the stronger. In this case, it had the effect of derailing the entire understanding about Jesus (as) as a monotheistic, Jewish messiah. The Jewish propaganda had hit its mark – in their mind, what greater victory in their dispute with Jesus (as), than if his own followers began to believe that he had claimed to be divine? For their part, the gentile Christians were glad as well – more than just a man, they had been presented a divine saviour who was similar to the ones they were already accustomed to accepting.

Thus, the potent mix of misinformation and ignorance about monotheism led to the rapid adoption of the idea that Jesus was more than mortal – the divine son of God had taken shape in the Gentile Christian mind in place of the true historical Jesus (as). 

The Islamic Viewpoint – The Corruption of the Message of Jesus (as)

The Qur’an tells us that Jesus (as) never taught his followers anything other than monotheism and certainly never told them to take him as a divine figure. The Qur’an states that such beliefs only came to be widely accepted when he was no longer present amongst his people after the crucifixion, and indeed, after his eventual demise:

وَإِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ أَأَنتَ قُلْتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِي وَأُمِّيَ إِلَٰهَيْنِ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ ۖ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أَقُولَ مَا لَيْسَ لِي بِحَقٍّ ۚ إِن كُنتُ قُلْتُهُ فَقَدْ عَلِمْتَهُ ۚ تَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِي وَلَا أَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِكَ ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ [] مَا قُلْتُ لَهُمْ إِلَّا مَا أَمَرْتَنِي بِهِ أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ ۚ وَكُنتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَّا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنتَ أَنتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَأَنتَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

And when Allah will say, ‘O Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say to men, ‘Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?’, he will answer, ‘Holy art Thou. I could never say that to which I had no right. If I had said it, Thou wouldst have surely known it. Thou knowest what is in my mind, and I know not what is in Thy mind. It is only Thou Who art the Knower of hidden things’. [5:117]

‘I said nothing to them except that which Thou didst command me — ‘Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.’ And I was a witness over them as long as I remained among them, but since Thou didst cause me to die, Thou hast been the Watcher over them; and Thou art Witness over all things.‘ [5:118]

Such beliefs spread in his absence, where he was no longer able to correct them. [17]

The Qur’an tells us that the Christians imitated and repurposed the polytheistic beliefs that they inherited from those before them in constructing their polytheistic beliefs about Jesus (as). In this case, the Roman and Greek polytheistic beliefs.

Allah tells us in the Holy Qur’an:

وَقَالَتِ الْيَهُودُ عُزَيْرٌ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَقَالَتِ النَّصَارَى الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ ۖ ذَٰلِكَ قَوْلُهُم بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ ۖ يُضَاهِئُونَ قَوْلَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن قَبْلُ ۚ قَاتَلَهُمُ اللَّهُ ۚ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ [] اتَّخَذُوا أَحْبَارَهُمْ وَرُهْبَانَهُمْ أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا إِلَٰهًا وَاحِدًا ۖ لَّا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ سُبْحَانَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

And the Jews say, Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say, the Messiah is the son of Allah; that is what they say with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before them. Allah’s curse be on them! How are they turned away! [9:30]

They have taken their learned men and their monks for lords beside Allah. And so have they taken the Messiah, son of Mary. And they were not commanded but to worship the One God. There is no God but He. Too Holy is He for what they associate with Him! [9:31]

Meaning, different shades of polytheism and the deification of human beings existed well before Christianity and Judaism. Christians did nothing more than adopt the stories that already existed in their times to their new Christian religious traditions and teachings, falling into the same type of polytheistic thinking as those before them. Instead of heeding the words of their prophets and holy scriptures that taught monotheism, they took the erroneous polytheistic interpretations of their religious teachers, preachers and monks as being authoritative.

The Promised Messiah (as) states:

And in their Torah, which has been altered and tampered with, there exist several types of indignations towards God Almighty. For example, in Genesis 32, it is written that God wrestled with Jacob all night until the morning, yet He was not able to defeat him. In the same way, contrary to the principle that God Almighty is the creator of everything in the universe, they have declared certain men as being the sons of God. In one place, women have been described as the daughters of God, and in another place in the Bible it is stated that you are all gods. And the truth is that Christians have learned of creature-worship from these very teachings. This is because when Christians realized that the teachings of the Bible makes many people into the sons and daughters of God, rather into God Himself, they came to a decision, stating, ‘come, let us as well include the son of Mary amongst them so that he may not remain any less than the other sons’. It is based on this that the God Almighty has stated in the Holy Qur’an that the Christians have not come up with anything new in making Jesus into a son of God, rather they have only followed the footsteps of those faithless and idolatrous people who came before them. [18]

Moreover, the Qur’an indicates that the Jewish leadership were given to inventing false stories and levelling untrue accusations against Jesus (as). In the case of his mother, Mary, the Qur’an states:

وَبِكُفْرِهِمْ وَقَوْلِهِمْ عَلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ بُهْتَانًا عَظِيمًا

And because of their disbelief and their uttering against Mary a grievous calumny [4:157]

If they were willing to slander even his mother, with whom they had no direct quarrel, how much greater would their slander and effort be against the person of Jesus (as)?

Islam thus tells us that the polytheistic interpretation of Jesus being the divine Son of God is something that arose contrary to the claims of Jesus (as), which finds its basis in the idolatrous teachings of previous peoples. His Jewish enemies most likely had a hand in promoting the idea.

In a truly miraculous fashion, the Qur’an gives a succinct and powerful interpretation of what is implied in the Biblical narrative.


Therefore, the term ‘son of God’ was one that was most likely not widely used by Jesus (as) or his contemporaries.

The meaning of the term did not imply divinity in the Jewish context – the context in which Jesus (as) lived and preached. His own explanation of the term demonstrates that he understood it as being metaphorical, entirely within the realm of monotheism and in no way implying his divinity.

The idea that he was a divine son of God came to prominence after his disappearance following the crucifixion. This was most likely due to Jewish propaganda, the unsubstantiated rumours and lies about his life and teachings swirling amongst an illiterate populous, and the willingness of the common gentile Christian converts to deify and worship human beings and other hero figures.


[1] ‘Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in the English Translations of the New Testament’, Jason DeDuhn, pg. 143

[2] Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. Vol. 8 pg. 359.

[3]Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

[4] The Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 11, pg. 461, under ‘Son of God’


میری دانست میں تو اور انبیاء حضرت مسیح علیہ السلام سے اس القاب یابی میںؔ بڑھے ہوئے ہیں۔ کیونکہ حضرت مسیحؑ خود اس بات کا فیصلہ کرتے ہیں اور فرماتے ہیں کہ میرے ابن اللہ کہنے میں تم کیوں رنجیدہ ہوگئے یہ کونسی بات تھی زبور میں تو لکھا ہے کہ تم سب الہ ہو۔

حضرت مسیحؑ کے اپنے الفاظ جو یوحنا ۱۰باب۳۵ میں لکھے ہیں یہ ہیں کہ میں نے کہاتم خدا ہو جبکہ اس نے انہیں جن کے پاس خدا کا کلام آیا خدا کہا اور ممکن نہیں کہ کتاب باطل ہو تم اسے جسے خدا نے مخصوص کیا اور جہان میں بھیجا کہتے ہو کہ تو کفر بکتا ہے کہ میں خدا کا بیٹا ہوں۔ اب منصف لوگ اللہ تعالیٰ سے خوف کرکے ان آیات پر غور کریں کہ کیا ایسے موقعہ پر کہ حضرت مسیحؑ کی ابنیت کے لئے سوال کیا گیا تھا حضرت مسیحؑ پریہ بات فرض نہ تھی کہ اگر وہ حقیقت میں ابن اللہ تھے تو انہیں یہ کہنا چاہئے تھا کہ دراصل خدا تعالیٰ کا بیٹا ہوں اور تم آدمی ہو۔ مگر انہوں نے تو ایسے طور سے الزام دیا جسے انہوں نے مہر لگا دی کہ میرے خطاب میں تم اعلیٰ درجہ کے شریک ہو مجھے تو بیٹا کہا گیا اور تمہیں خدا کہا گیا۔

(جنگ مقدس صفحہ ۱۰۸، روحانی خزائن جلد ۶)

Jang-e-Muqaddas (The Heavenly War), pg. 108, Ruhani Khazain (Spiritual Treasures) vol. 6

[6] Freedman, D. N., Myers, A. C., & Beck, A. B. (2000). Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (1242). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans.

[7] Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. 1964- (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. Vol. 8, pg. 361.

[8] Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1995). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (763). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.


عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «الْخَلْقُ عِيَالُ اللَّهِ، فَأَحَبُّهُمْ إِلَى اللَّهِ أَنْفَعُهُمْ لِعِيَالِهِ»

(مسند أبي يعلى، مسند انس بن مالک،ثَابِتٌ الْبُنَانِيُّ عَنْ أَنَسٍ، حدیث ۳۳۱۵)

Masnad Abi Ya’la, Masnad of Anas bin Malik, Thabit Al-Bunani from Anas, Hadith #3315


خدا میں فانی ہونے والے اطفال اللہ کہلاتے ہیں لیکن یہ نہیں کہ وہ خدا کے درحقیقت بیٹے ہیں کیونکہ یہ تو کلمۂ کفر ہے اور خدا بیٹوں سے پاک ہے بلکہ اس لئے استعارہ کے رنگ میں وہ خدا کے بیٹے کہلاتے ہیں کہ وہ بچہ کی طرح دلی جوش سے خدا کو یاد کرتے رہتے ہیں۔ اِسی مرتبہ کی طرف قرآن شریف میں اشارہ کرکے فرمایا گیا ہے  فَاذۡکُرُوا اللّٰہَ کَذِکۡرِکُمۡ اٰبَآءَکُمۡ اَوۡ اَشَدَّ ذِکۡرًایعنی خدا کو ایسی محبت اور دلی جوش سے یاد کرو جیسا کہ بچہ اپنے باپ کو یاد کرتا ہے۔ اِسی بنا پر ہر ایک قوم کی کتابوں میں اَب یا پِتَا کے نام سے خدا کو پکارا گیا ہے۔ اور خدا تعالیٰ کو استعارہ کے رنگ میں ماں سے بھی ایک مشابہت ہے اور وہ یہ کہ جیسے ماں اپنے پیٹ میں اپنے بچہ کی پرورش کرتی ہے ایسا ہی خدا تعالیٰ کے پیارے بندے خدا کی محبت کی گود میں پرورش پاتے ہیں اور ایک گندی فطرت سے ایک پاک جسم اُنہیں ملتاہے۔ سو اولیاء کو جو صوفی اطفال حق کہتے ہیں یہ صرف ایک استعارہ ہے ورنہ خدا اطفال سے پاک اور لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ ہے۔

(روحانی خزائن، جلد ۲۲، حقیقة الوحی، صفحہ ۵۸۲)

Haqiqatul Wahi (The Truth of Revelation), pg. 582. Ruhani Khazain (Spiritual Treasures), vol. 22, Eng. Trans. Pg. 729


اگریہ استفسار ہو کہ جس خاصیت اور قوت روحانی میں یہ عاجز اور مسیح بن مریم مشابہت رکھتے ہیں وہ کیا شے ہے تو اس کا جواب یہ ہے کہ وہ ایک مجموعی خاصیت ہے جو ہم دونوں کے روحانی قویٰ میں ایک خاص طور پر رکھی گئی ہے جس کے سلسلہ کی ایک طرف نیچے کو اور ایک طرف اوپر کو جاتی ہے۔ نیچے کی طرف سے مراد وہ اعلیٰ درجہ کی دل سوزی اور غم خواری خلق اللہ ہے جو داعی الی اللہ اور اس کے مستعد شاگردوں میں ایک نہایت مضبوط تعلق اور جوڑ بخش کر نورانی قوّت کو جو داعی الی اللہ کے نفس پاک میں موجود ہے ان تمام سرسبز شاخوں میں پھیلاتی ہے۔ اوپر کی طرف سے مراد وہ اعلی درجہ کی محبت قوی ایمان سے ملی ہوئی ہے جو اوّل بندہ کے دل میں بارادہ الٰہی پیدا ہو کرربِّ قَدِیر کی محبت کو اپنی طرف کھینچتی ہے اور پھر اُن دونوں محبتوں کے ملنے سے جو درحقیقت نر اور مادہ کا حکم رکھتی ہیں ایک مستحکم رشتہ اور ایک شدید مواصلت خالق اور مخلوق میں پیدا ہو کر الٰہی محبت کی چمکنے والی آگ سے جو مخلوق کی ہیزم مثال محبت کو پکڑ لیتی ہے۔ ایک تیسری چیز پیدا ہو جاتی ہے جس کا نام روح القُدس ہے سو اس درجہ کے انسان کی روحانی پیدائش اس وقت سے سمجھی جاتی ہے جب کہ خدائے تعالٰے اپنے ارادہ خاص سے اس میں اس طور کی محبت پیدا کردیتا ہے اور اس مقام اور اس مرتبہ کی محبت میں بطور استعارہ یہ کہنا بے جا نہیں ہے کہ خدا ئے تعالیٰ کی محبت سے بھری ہوئی روح اس انسانی روح کو جو باارادہ  الٰہی اب محبت سے بھر گئی ہے ایک نیا تولد بخشتی ہے۔ اسی وجہ سے اس محبت کی بھری ہوئی روح کو خدائے تعالیٰ کی روح سے جو نافخ المحبت ہے استعارہ کے طور پر ابنیت کا علاقہ ہوتا ہے اور چونکہ روح القدس ان دونوں کے ملنے سے انسان کے دل میں پیدا ہوتی ہے اس لئے کہہ سکتے ہیں کہ وہ ان دونوں کے لئے بطور ابن ہے اور یہی پاک تثلیث ہے جو اس درجہ محبت کے لئے ضروری ہے جس کو ناپاک طبیعتوں نے مشرکانہ طور پر سمجھ لیا ہے اور ذرّہ امکان کو جو ھالکة الذات، باطلة الحقیقت ہے حضرت اعلیٰ واجب الوجود کے ساتھ برابر ٹھہرا دیا ہے۔

(توضیح مرام، صفحہ ۶۲ تا ۶۳، روحانی خزائن، جلد ۳)

Taudih-e-Maram (Elucidation of Objectives), pg. 62-63. Ruhani Khazain (Spiritual Treasures), vol. 3, Eng. Trans. pg. 18-20


خدا تعالیٰ نے یہودیوں کا ایک قول بطور حکایت عن الیھود قرآن شریف میں ذکر فرمایا ہے اور وہ قول یہ ہے کہ نَحْنُ أَبْنَاءُ اللَّهِ وَأَحِبَّاؤُهُ ؂ یعنی ہم خدا کے بیٹے اور اُس کے پیارے ہیں۔ اِس جگہ ابناء کے لفظ کا خدا تعالیٰ نے کچھ ردّ نہیں کیا کہ تم کُفر بکتے ہو بلکہ یہ فرمایا کہ اگر تم خدا کے پیارے ہو تو پھر وہ تمہیں کیوں عذاب دیتا ہے اور ابناء کا دوبارہ ذکر بھی نہیں کیا۔ اِس سے معلوم ہوا کہ یہودیوں کی کتابوں میں خدا کے پیاروں کو بیٹاؔ کرکے بھی پکارتے تھے۔

(حقیقة الوحی صفحہ ۶۷، روحانی خزائن جلد ۲۲)

Haqiqatul Wahi (The Truth about Revelation), pg. 67, Ruhani Khazain (Spiritual Treasures) vol. 22

[13] (Brooks, J. A. (2001). Vol. 23: Mark (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (243). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)


مجھے معلوم ہوتا ہے کہ حضرت عیسیٰ نے اپنے سُولی دئے جانے کی نسبت کوئی خواب دیکھی ہو گی اس لئے ان کے دل میں یہ خوف دامنگیر ہوا کہ اگرمیں سُولی دیا گیا تو شریر یہودی لعنتی ہونے کی تہمت میرے پر لگائیں گے پس اسی وجہ سے انہوں نے جان توڑ کر دعا کی اور وہ دعا قبول ہو گئی اور خدا نے اس تقدیر کو اس طرح بدل دیا کہ بگفتن سُولی پر چڑھائے گئے۔ قبر میں بھی داخل کئے گئے مگر یونس کی طرح زندہ ہی داخل ہوئے اور زندہ ہی نکلے۔ نبی بہادر ہوتے ہیں ذلیل یہودیوں کا ان کو خوف نہ تھا۔ منہ

(حقیقة الوحی، صفحہ ۲۸۷، روحانی خزائن جلد ۲۲)

Haqiqatul Wahi (The Truth about Revelation), pg. 287. Eng. Trans. pg. 349, Ruhani Khazain (Spiritual Treasures) vol. 22

[15] See also Nishan-e-Asmani (A Heavenly Sign), pg. 455, Ruhani Khazain (Spiritual Treasures) vol. 4

[16] (Myers, A. C. (1987). The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (961). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.)

[17] See Hamamatul Bushra (A Pidgeon of Glad-Tiding), pg. 198-199, Ruhani Khazain (Spiritual Treasures) vol. 7


اور ان کی توریت میں جو محرف اور مبدل ہے خدائے تعالیٰ کی نسبت کئی طور کی بے ادبیاں پائی جاتی ہیں۔ چنانچہ پیدائش کے ۳۲ باب میں لکھا ہے کہ خدائے تعالیٰ یعقوب سے تمام رات صبح تک کشتی لڑا گیا۔ اور اس پر غالب نہ ہوا اسی طرح برخلاف اس اصول کے کہ خدائے تعالیٰ ہریک مافی العالم کا رب ہے۔ بعض مردوں کو انہوں نے خدا کے بیٹے قرار دے رکھا ہے۔ اور کسی جگہ عورتوں کو خدا کی بیٹیاں لکھا گیا ہے اور کسی جگہ بیبل میں یہ بھی فرما دیا ہے کہ تم سب خدا ہی ہو۔ اور سچ تو یہ ہے کہ عیسائیوں نے بھی انہیں تعلیموں سے مخلوق پرستی کا سبق سیکھا ہے کیونکہ جب عیسائیوں نے معلوم کیا کہ بائیبل کی تعلیم بہت سے لوگوں کو خدا کے بیٹے اور خدا کی بیٹیاں بلکہ خدا ہی بناتی ہے۔ تو انہوں نے کہا کہ آؤ ہم بھی اپنے ابن مریم کو انہیں میں داخل کریں تا وہ دوسرے بیٹوں سے کم نہ رہ جائے۔ اسی جہت سے خدائے تعالیٰ نے قرآن شریف میں فرمایا ہے کہ عیسائیوں نے ابن مریم کو ابن اللہ بناکر کوئی نئی بات نہیں نکالیؔ بلکہ پہلے بے ایمانوں اور مشرکوں کے قدم پر قدم مارا ہے۔

(براھین احمدیہ حصہ چہارم ، صفحہ ۴۶۴ تا ۴۶۵ حاشیہ، روحانی خزائن جلد ۱)

Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya (Arguments in Support of Muhammad(sa)) part 4, pgs. 464-465 Footnote, Ruhani Khazain (Spiritual Treasures) vol. 1)