Fundamentals of the Christian Faith in the Light of the Gospels
by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din
Significance of the Term “Son of God”: The Righteous Called Angels and Children of God
And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection (Luke, 20:34–36).
Jesus has taught in these verses that on the Judgement Day the righteous will be like unto angels, and will be regarded as the children of God. Just as a man, in consequence of his evil actions, becomes the devil, very much in the same way, by adopting a life of righteousness and good deeds he becomes equal to angels, and gains the lofty position of becoming the son of God. This is how Jesus achieved that position and deserved to be called the Son of God.
“And [thou] shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” (Luke, 1:31–32).
Jesus, in this verse, has been called the son of David; and the happy news has also been given that he would inherit the throne of David, proving thereby that he was a human being, and the son of a human being, but would on account of his righteous life and goodness, be called the Son of God. This sacred verse has established beyond the least shadow of doubt that Jesus belonged to the human species. The Gospels teach that every man, by adopting a life of righteousness and fear of God, can become worthy of being called the Son of God. At another place in the Gospel, it is recorded that when Jesus was baptised of John in the river Jordan, a voice came from heaven announcing for that righteous deed the good gift:
“Thou art my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew, 3:14).
And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptised of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heaven opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying:
“Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark, 1:9–11).
It was on account of Jesus’ having performed this good act that this glad tidings came from on High, but prior to the performance of this deed, he was not considered worthy of this title. Jesus, of a truth, was a human being, as his ancestors, too, were human beings. In other words, he was, physically speaking, a mortal man, and remained even so all through his life, but it was on account of his excellent and pure life that the happy title,
“Thou art my beloved son,”
was conferred upon him. Just as we call the Aulia Allah (i.e. the saintly people) the children of God, in the same way, the Most High God calls His righteous servants generally and His apostles particularly as His children. It is recorded in Exodus, 4:22,
“Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn”;
and in Genesis, 1:27, about Adam,
“God created man in his own image”;
Adam has therefore, been called, in the Gospel according to Luke (3:38),
“Adam which was the son of God.”