Is Jesus God?

by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din

The Light (Pakistan), 16th December 1921 Issue (Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 1–2)

In form, Jesus is human. His parentage is also claimed to be human, as is evident in the attempt made by Matthew’s Gospel at a genealogy tracing Jesus to the house of David. The genealogy affirms that he was indeed the son of Joseph who was a descendant of David.

Matthew was well-aware that the claim to the throne of David could not be established otherwise, and without that there was little hope of Jews accepting Jesus. In presenting his claims to the throne of David, Matthew aimed at portraying Jesus as the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. To prove him Messiah is to say that he was nothing more than a prophet and mortal. To believe, that Jesus was anything else is not only to deny the truth of Matthew’s Gospel, but also to render the endeavours of the evangelist absolutely useless.

The Gospels also record that to all appearances he was a mortal and known to his fellow-Jews as born of Mary and Joseph.

“Is he not the carpenter’s son?”

rings in the ears of those who read the Christian Gospels.

His mortal frame was subject to wear and tear, and as such needed respiration. He took rest, ate, and drank. Exactly as he was born of mortals, he stood in need of everything that a mortal requires to keep his soul and body together. Whenever he could not get food, he suffered the agonies of hunger. It was on such an occasion that he made for a fig tree to help himself. Being disappointed, he flew into a fit and began to swear and curse the tree. In a transport of agonising pain of hunger, he forgot that figs do not bear fruit “in winter,” and that it was madness to curse one. Shakespeare, a keen student of human failings, could not choose a truer character in the grip of starvation.

With regard to his sentiments and feelings, he is again out and out a mortal. His claims and his departure from the established Jewish law, brought on his head persecution which it is the lot of every prophet to suffer. Under persecution he does not display manly qualities, much less manifestations of Divine power. An undue sense of danger is on his nerves, drives him from place to place, and forces him to urge upon his followers not to disclose his whereabouts. At last when he fell a victim to the wicked scheme of Rabbis, who induced the Roman Government to arrest him on the grounds of treason, he proved a worse victim to despair and despondency, and his want of faith assumed the shape of that pathetic cry of:

“O my God! O my God! Why hast thou forsaken me?”

This is a picture of the religious tone of mind of Jesus as described in the Christian Gospels. A Muslim would certainly repudiate the charge implied in the account preserved in the Christian scriptures. But as it is, a Christian could not explain away such a picture of helplessness. These heartrending cries are said to have been followed by the death of the mortal, whom some credulous minds were to set up as a deity.

In a word, Jesus was human in form, in birth, in the maintenance of his body, in sharing physical and mental agonies with mortals, and the worst of all in sharing death with them. The question “Is Jesus God?” elicits but an emphatic No.