Fundamentals of the Christian Faith in the Light of the Gospels
by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din
Significance of the Term “Son of God”: Called the Children of the Devil
In the same metaphorical way, the Jews have been called the children of the devil for the reason that they had fallen away from righteousness and rectitude:
“They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God; this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me; for I proceeded forth and came from God…. Why do ye not understand my speech? … Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John, 8:39–44).
This text makes it clear that metaphor or figure of speech is quite different from actuality. The Jews were justified in believing themselves to be the children of Abraham, but as their actions were not like those of Abraham, Jesus did not consider them children of Abraham. This was a metaphorical use of the term. The Jews say:
“We be not born of fornication, we have one Father, even God.”
Jesus retorted in reply:
“You believe not that the Most High God is your Father; for, your actions show that your father is the devil, and his lusts you do and fulfil, and listen not to my words, for you are not of God.”
In short, the terms son of the devil and son of God should not be taken literally, much less to be made a basis for a religious belief.