Chapter 5: The redemption of Mankind
There are two things that demand a divine redemption: First, the Holiness of God. Second, the sin of man. It is a fact that all human beings are sinners.
The apostle Paul says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). That means that all human beings are measured by God’s standards and are all found wanting.
This is the Bible’s declaration about man.
As I mentioned before, the Quran declares in Surat Al-Asr 103:2:
Lo! Man is in a state of loss.
Again the Quran declares in Surat Joseph 12:53:
I do not claim to be innocent myself: One’s soul is prone to evil.
Man is totally depraved. He is in a state of loss. His soul is prone to evil; therefore he is helpless and cannot save himself.
Look around and see the violence, the wickedness, the deception, the killing, the perversion of the homosexuals.
All these things demonstrate that human beings are sinful by nature.
How could any man obtain the forgiveness of a Holy God?
Good deeds cannot annul ill deeds, or pay for man’s sin against a just and Holy God for sin is an offense against a Holy God.
You cannot offer good deeds to obtain God’s mercy and forgiveness. In fact, this would be an insult to the Holy God.
The prophet Isaiah says concerning good deeds:
But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6 - NKJ).
How can we possibly think that we can exchange filthy rags for God’s forgiveness, if we really believe in a Holy and Just God?
The Quran declares that there is no human means to redeem a individual if he or she rejects faith.
Those who reject faith, neither their possessions nor their progeny will avail them aught against Allah: they are themselves but fuel for the fire (Surat Al-Imran 3:10 - King Fahd Holy Quran).
Job asked this important question:
... but how can a man be righteous before God? (Job 9:2).
God is a just and holy God.
God is a merciful and loving God.
Because He is just, He must punish the sinner according to His word: "The soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20).
Because He is merciful and loving, He must provide a way to reconcile His justice with His mercy and forgive the sins of the one who will come to Him. That way was the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.
God was not taken by surprise when Adam and Eve sinned. He knew they would sin. We read in the book of Acts, "Known to God from eternity are all His works" (Acts 15:18 NKJ). God knew from the beginning that Adam and Eve would sin; therefore, before He created them, He provided the way for their redemption
The apostle Peter says:
Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, he indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last times for you (I Peter 1:18-20 - NKJ).
The death of Jesus Christ on the cross was foreordained before the foundation of the world.
The apostle Peter declared to the Jews who were gathered on the day of Pentecost:
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it (Acts 2:22-24).
By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, Jesus came to be crucified.
Counsel demands a Triune God. In eternity the Triune God knew that man would fall into sin, that he needed to be redeemed to reconcile God’s justice with God’s mercy and demonstrate God’s love to man. Jesus offered to redeem man. Jesus is called in the Gospel of John, the "Word." At the same time He is the creator of man.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:1,3).In the Quran Jesus is called the Word of God:Behold the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: His name will be Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the hereafter and of [the company of] these nearest Allah
(Surat Al-Imran 3:45).
Jesus is a Word from God. The Word of God is not created.
When the Quran says, "The similitude of 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), it contradicts itself, because Adam was not created by the word "Be," but by the breath of Allah.
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I am about to create man from clay: when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My Spirit, fall ye down in prostration unto him" (Surat Sad 38:70,71).
Likewise, Jesus was not conceived by the word "Be," but by the Spirit of God.
And Mary [mother of Jesus] the daughter of Imran, who guarded her virginity (literal translation); and We breathed into [her body] of our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of his revelations, and was one of the devout [servants] (Surat Al-Tahrim 66:12).
The Quran gives a clear permission to the Muslim to believe in God’s son, if he or she is convinced by clear evidence that God has a son.
The Quran says:
Say: "[Muhammad] if the Most Gracious Had a son, I would be the first to worship"
(Surat Al-Zukhruf 43:81).
The Most Gracious had a Son, His Son is the creator of all things. The creator of mankind became the Redeemer of mankind, to open the door of mercy for mankind.
The Quran declared the same truth about Jesus Christ:
We will grant Him as a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained
(Surat Maryam 19:21).
Jesus Christ was a sign for mankind by His birth from the Virgin Mary without a man. But He was a mercy from God by His death in the place of sinners on the cross.
If He did not die on the cross to save sinners, then what mercy was it in Him for mankind?
I am aware that the Quran says concerning Muhammad:
We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures (Surat Al-Anbiya 21:107 - King Fahd Holy Quran).
But my question is, what mercy was in Muhammad for all creatures while he did not redeem them?
Was Muhammad merciful when he commanded the Muslims to fight, torture and kill the Jews and the Christians, and anyone who opposed him.
These are the words of the Quran:
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad], nor acknowledge the religion of truth [Islam] from among the people of the Book [Jews and Christians] until they pay the jizya (poll tax levied from those who did not accept Islam) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (Surat Al-Tauba 9:29 - King Fahd Holy Quran).
The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad] and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is execution, or crucifixion, or cutting off hands and feet from opposite sides (that means cutting the right hand and the left foot) or exile from the land (Surat Al-Maidah 5:33 - King Fahd Holy Quran).
The word "mercy" according to Webster’s Dictionary means: "A refraining from punishing offenders... kindness in excess of what may be expected... the power to forgive."
All these meanings cannot be applied to Muhammad but can be applied only to what God did through the death of His Son Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul says,
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved) (Ephesians 2:4,5).
In the cross of Jesus Christ God demonstrated His love, His wisdom, and His justice.
A young man from Morocco said to me, "God would not let one of His chosen prophets be killed, let alone if that prophet, as you Christians claim, is His Son."
My answer was that the Quran mentioned that the Jews killed many of the chosen prophets of God.
I will mention some of these Quranic verses:
- Why then have ye slain the prophets of Allah in times gone by, if ye did indeed believe?
(Surat Al-Baqarah 2:91 - King Fahd Holy Quran).
- Certainly record their word and [their act] of slaying the prophets in defiance of right
(Surat Al-Imran 3:181 - King Fahd Holy Quran).
- [They have incurred divine displeasure] in that they broke their covenant; that they rejected the signs of Allah; that they slew the messengers in defiance of right (Surat Al-Nisa 4:155).
- We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers; We gave Jesus the son of Mary clear [signs] and strengthened him with the holy spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride? Some you called impostors, and others ye slay (Surat Al-Baqarah 2:87 - King Fahd Holy Quran)
There are other verses in the Quran which mention the killing of good and chosen prophets.
But in the case of Jesus Christ we have to be reminded that He came to die. His death was the focal point of His mission.
When Jesus came to the coasts of Caesarea Philippi He asked His disciples,
Whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven... From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day (Matthew 16:15-17, 21).
After the confession of Peter, declaring that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus revealed to His disciples that He would be killed but He would be raised again.
In the cross of Jesus Christ God demonstrated three things: