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Does the Quran Reject Christ’s Eternal Generation? Pt. 3

I now arrive at the final segment of my rebuttal https://answeringallah.com/does-the-quran-reject-christs-eternal-generation-pt-2/

The Holy Bible on the Eternal Begetting of the Son

In the previous section, I showed how wisdom is said to have been created even though it proceeded forth from the mouth of God before all creation. I explained how this establishes that wisdom has eternally existed as an intrinsic aspect of God’s own eternal and immutable Being, and therefore refutes the notion that creating must necessarily refer to something being brought into being from non-existence.

This depiction of wisdom’s begetting/creating serves as a helpful illustration to the biblical description and the early church’s understanding of the eternal begetting/generation of the Son of God since God’s wisdom and word are equated:

“O God of my fathers and Lord of mercy, who hast made all things by thy word, and by thy wisdom hast formed man, to have dominion over the creatures thou hast made,” Wisdom of Solomon 9:1-2 RSV

Here is where the New Testament comes into play.

According to the Christian Greek Scriptures, Jesus is the eternal Word of God who became a flesh and blood human being:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men… There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14

“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3

“He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.” Revelation 19:13

This depiction of Christ as the Word that became flesh is important since, like wisdom, God’s word is said to proceed from his own metaphorical mouth, since it springs forth from God’s eternal heart:

“Now hear the word of the LORD, O you women, And let your ear receive the word of His mouth; Teach your daughters wailing, And everyone her neighbor a dirge.” Jeremiah 9:20

“But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”’” Matthew 4:4

“To the chief Musician. Upon Shoshannim. Of the sons of Korah. An instruction;—a song of the Beloved (yadidot). My heart is welling forth/bursting with a good word (rachash libbi dabar tob): I say what I have composed touching the king. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” Psalm 45:1

Here’s the Greek rendering of the foregoing Psalm:

“For the end, for alternate [strains by the sons of Kore; for instruction, a Song concerning the Beloved (tou agapetou). My heart has uttered a good word (he kardia mou logon agathon): I declare my works to the king: my tongue is the pen of a quick writer.” Psalm 44:1-2 LXX

 What makes this particular Psalm rather intriguing is that this happens to be one of the biblical texts that the early church fathers cited as evidence for their belief in the eternal generation of the Son!

Chapter 7. The Son by Being Designated Word and Wisdom, (According to the Imperfection of Human Thought and Language) Liable to Be Deemed a Mere Attribute. He is Shown to Be a Personal Being

Then, therefore, does the Word also Himself assume His own form and glorious garb, His own sound and vocal utterance, when God says, Let there be light. Genesis 1:3 This is the perfect nativity of the Word, when He proceeds forth from God — formed by Him first to devise and think out all things under the name of Wisdom — The Lord created or formed me as the beginning of His ways; Proverbs 8:22 then afterward begotten, to carry all into effect — When He prepared the heaven, I was present with Him. Thus does He make Him equal to Him: for by proceeding from Himself He became His first-begotten Son, because begotten before all things; Colossians 1:15 and His only-begotten also, because alone begotten of God, in a way peculiar to Himself, from the womb of His own heart — even as the Father Himself testifies: My heart, says He, has emitted my most excellent WordThe Father took pleasure evermore in Him, who equally rejoiced with a reciprocal gladness in the Father’s presence: You are my Son, today have I begotten You; even before the morning star did I beget You. The Son likewise acknowledges the Father, speaking in His own person, under the name of Wisdom: The Lord formed Me as the beginning of His ways, with a view to His own works; before all the hills did He beget Me. For if indeed Wisdom in this passage seems to say that She was created by the Lord with a view to His works, and to accomplish His ways, yet proof is given in another Scripture that all things were made by the Word, and without Him was there nothing made; John 1:3 as, again, in another place (it is said), By His word were the heavens established, and all the powers thereof by His Spirit — that is to say, by the Spirit (or Divine Nature) which was in the Word: thus is it evident that it is one and the same power which is in one place described under the name of Wisdom, and in another passage under the appellation of the Word, which was initiated for the works of God Proverbs 8:22 which strengthened the heavens; by which all things were made, John 1:3 and without which nothing was made. John 1:3 Nor need we dwell any longer on this point, as if it were not the very Word Himself, who is spoken of under the name both of Wisdom and of Reason, and of the entire Divine Soul and Spirit. He became also the Son of God, and was begotten when He proceeded forth from Him. Do you then, (you ask,) grant that the Word is a certain substance, constructed by the Spirit and the communication of Wisdom? Certainly I do. But you will not allow Him to be really a substantive being, by having a substance of His own; in such a way that He may be regarded as an objective thing and a person, and so be able (as being constituted second to God the Father,) to make two, the Father and the Son, God and the Word. For you will say, what is a word, but a voice and sound of the mouth, and (as the grammarians teach) air when struck against, intelligible to the ear, but for the rest a sort of void, empty, and incorporeal thing. I, on the contrary, contend that nothing empty and void could have come forth from God, seeing that it is not put forth from that which is empty and void; nor could that possibly be devoid of substance which has proceeded from so great a substance, and has produced such mighty substances: for all things which were made through Him, He Himself (personally) made. How could it be, that He Himself is nothing, without whom nothing was made? How could He who is empty have made things which are solid, and He who is void have made things which are full, and He who is incorporeal have made things which have body? For although a thing may sometimes be made different from him by whom it is made, yet nothing can be made by that which is a void and empty thing. Is that Word of God, then, a void and empty thing, which is called the Son, who Himself is designated God? The Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 It is written, You shall not take God’s name in vain. Exodus 20:7 This for certain is He who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Philippians 2:6 In what form of God? Of course he means in some form, not in none. For who will deny that God is a body, although God is a Spirit? John 4:24 For Spirit has a bodily substance of its own kind, in its own form. Now, even if invisible things, whatsoever they be, have both their substance and their form in God, whereby they are visible to God alone, how much more shall that which has been sent forth from His substance not be without substance! Whatever, therefore, was the substance of the Word that I designate a Person, I claim for it the name of Son; and while I recognize the Son, I assert His distinction as second to the Father. (Tertullian, Against Praxeas https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0317.htm; bold and underline emphasis mine)

  1. That the same Christ is the Word of God

In the forty-fourth Psalm: My heart has breathed out a good Word. I tell my works to the King. Also in the thirty-second Psalm: By the Word of God were the heavens made fast; and all their strength by the breath of His mouth. Also in Isaiah: A Word completing and shortening in righteousness, because a shortened word will God make in the whole earth. Also in the cvith Psalm: He sent His Word, and healed them. Moreover, in the Gospel according to John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. Also in the Apocalypse: And I saw the heaven opened, and lo, a white horse; and he who sate upon him was called Faithful and True, judging rightly and justly; and He made war. And He was covered with a garment sprinkled with blood; and His name is called the Word of God.

  1. That Christ is the Hand and Arm of God

In Isaiah: Is God’s Hand not strong to save? Or has He made His ear heavy, that He cannot hear? But your sins separate between you and God; and on account of your sins He turns His face away from you, that He may not pity. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with sins. Moreover, your lips have spoken wickedness, and your tongue meditates unrighteousness. No one speaks truth, nor is there true judgment: they trust in vanity, and speak emptiness, who conceive sorrow, and bring forth wickedness. Also in the same place: Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom is the Arm of God revealed?  Also in the same: Thus says the Lord, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is the support of my feet. What house will you build unto me? Or what is the place for my rest? For all these things has mine hand made. Also in the same: O Lord God, Your Arm is high, and they knew it not; but when they know it, they shall be confounded. Also in the same: The Lord has revealed His Arab that holy Arm, in the sight of all nations; all nations, even the ends of the earth, shall see salvation from God. Also in the same place: Behold, I have made you as the wheels of a thrashing chariot, new and turned back upon themselves;  and you shall thrash the mountains, and shall beat the bills small, and shall make them as chaff, and shall winnow them; and the wind shall seize them, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: but you shall rejoice in the saints of Israel; and the poor and needy shall exult. For they shall seek water, and there shall be none. For their tongue shall be dry for thirst. I the Lord God, I the God of Israel, will hear them, and will not forsake them; but I will open rivers in the mountains, and fountains in the midst of the fields. I will make the wildernesses watery groves, and a thirsty land into watercourses. I will establish in the land of drought the cedar-tree and the box-tree, and the myrtle and the cypress, and the elm and the poplar, that they may see and acknowledge, and know and believe together, that the Hand of the Lord has done these things, and the Holy One of Israel has shown them.

  1. That Christ is at once Angel and God

In Genesis, to Abraham: And the Angel of the Lord called him from heaven, and said to him, Abraham, Abraham! And he said, Here am I. And He said, Lay not your hand upon the lad, nor do anything unto him. For now I know that you fear your God, and hast not spared your son, your beloved son, for my sake. Also in the same place, to Jacob: And the Angel of the Lord spoke unto me in dreams, I am God, whom you saw in the place of God where you anointed me a pillar of stone, and vowed to me a vow. Also in Exodus: But God went before them by day indeed in a pillar of cloud, to show them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire. And afterwards, in the same place: And the Angel of God moved forward, which went before the army of the children of Israel. Also in the same place: Lo, I send my Angel before your face, to keep you in the way, that He may lead you into the land which I have prepared for you. Observe Him, and obey Him, and be not disobedient to Him, and He will not be wanting to you. For my Name is in Him. Whence He Himself says in the Gospel: I came in the name of my Father, and you received me not. When another shall come in his own name, him you will receive. And again in the cxviith Psalm: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Also in Malachi: My covenant of life and peace was with Levi; and I gave him fear, that he should fear me, that he should go from the face of my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips. In the peace of the tongue correcting, he walked with us, and turned many away from unrighteousness. Because the lips of the priests shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at His mouth; for He is the Angel of the Almighty. (Cyprian, Treatise XII (Book 2) https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050712b.htm; bold and underline emphasis mine)

Chapter 13

 That the Same Truth is Proved from the Sacred Writings of the New Covenant.

And thus also John, describing the nativity of Christ, says: The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full Of grace and truth… For, moreover, His name is called the Word of God, Revelation 19:13 and not without reason. My heart has emitted a good word; which word He subsequently calls by the name of the King inferentially, I will tell my works to the King. For by Him were made all the works, and without Him was nothing made. John 1:3 Whether says the apostle they be thrones or dominations, or powers, or mights, visible things and invisible, all things subsist by Him. Colossians 1:16 Moreover, this is that word which came unto His own, and His own received Him not. For the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. John 1:10-11 Moreover, this Word was in the beginning with God, and God was the Word. John 1:1 Who then can doubt, when in the last clause it is said, The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, that Christ, whose is the nativity, and because He was made flesh, is man; and because He is the Word of God, who can shrink from declaring without hesitation that He is God, especially when he considers the evangelical Scripture, that it has associated both of these substantial natures into one concord of the nativity of Christ? (Novatian, Treatise Concerning the Trinity https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0511.htm; underline emphasis mine)

The reason why this Psalm readily lend itself in support of Christ’s eternal begetting is that not only does it mention the Word, but also because it is specifically addressed to the Beloved, a term which the NT ascribes to Christ as God’s uniquely beloved Son:

“and a voice came out of the heavens: ‘You are My beloved Son (ho Hyios mou, ho agapetos), in You I am well-pleased.’” Mark 1:11

“Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is My beloved Son (ho Hyios mou, ho agapetos), listen to Him!’” Mark 9:7

The Father loves the Son (agapa ton Hyion) and has given all things into His hand.” John 3:35

“Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me (hegapesas Me) before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24

“to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved (to Hegapemenoo).” Ephesians 1:6

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (tou Hyiou tes agapes autou),” Colossians 1:16

And just as the Psalmist speaks of the Word springing forth from God’s heart, Jesus is said to be dwelling in the bosom or heart of the Father:

“No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father (ho on eis ton kolpon tou Patros), He has explained Him.” John 1:18

“God, unseen until now, is revealed in the Voice, God’s only Son, straight from the Father’s heart.” The Voice (VOICE)

Hence, a more appropriate biblical passage could not be found than Psalm 45(44):1-2 to affirm the eternal nature of the Son’s begetting, not as an act which brought Christ into existence, but rather as an apt description of Christ’s being an eternal, inseparable, intrinsic “aspect” of God’s own infinite, uncreated Being. I.e., Christ is the eternal Word/Son of God who eternally and fully partakes of the Father’s very own underived essence, an essence of which the Father is the Source. As such, the Father and the Son are inseparable from each other since there never was a time when the Father existed without his Word/Son.

Hence, the early church fathers were absolutely correct when they affirmed that “there never was a time when the Son was not,” since the Son is “begotten, not made,” being “begotten of the Father before all ages.”

The Quran Affirms the Eternal Generation of the Son

Astonishingly, unlike what the Muhammadan claims in his post the Quan actually affirms the eternal begetting of Christ since it expressly calls him the very Word of God!

And the angels called to him as he stood praying in the sanctuary: Allah giveth thee glad tidings of (a son whose name is) John, (who cometh) to confirm a word from Allah, lordly, chaste, a prophet of the righteous… (And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah). S. 3:39, 45 Pickthall

People of the Book! do not go to excess in your deen. Say nothing but the truth about Allah. The Messiah, ´Isa son of Maryam, was only the Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He cast into Maryam, and a Spirit from Him. So have iman in Allah and His Messengers. Do not say, ´Three.´ It is better that you stop. Allah is only One God. He is too Glorious to have a son! Everything in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Him. Allah suffices as a Guardian. S. 4:171 (Aisha Bewley https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/st6.htm)

Here we have the Islamic scripture explicitly testifying that Jesus is none other than the preexistent Word of God who came down as a Spirit into Mary, for the obvious purpose of becoming human.

This is the very reason why Muslim tradition calls Jesus the Word of Allah (Kalimatullah) and the Spirit of Allah (Ruhullah):

“… They will go to ‘Isa and say, ‘O ‘Isa! You are the Messenger of Allah and His Word which He cast to Maryam and a spirit from Him. You spoke to people while in the cradle. Intercede with your Lord on our behalf. Do you not see what we are suffering?’ ‘Isa will say, ‘My Lord is angry today with such anger as has never existed before nor will again,’ AND HE DID NOT MENTION A SIN. ‘O my soul! My soul! My soul! Go to someone else. Go to Muhammad.’ (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 68. Book of Tafsir; bold, capital and underline emphasis mine)

It is narrated on the authority of Ubadah b. Samit that the messenger of Allah observed: HE WHO SAID: “There is no god but Allah, He is One and there is no associate with Him, that Muhammad is his servant and His messenger, that Christ is servant and the son of His slave-girl and he (Christ) HIS WORD which He communicated to Mary and is HIS SPIRIT, that Paradise is a fact and Hell is a fact,” Allah would make him (he who affirms these truths enter Paradise through any one of its eight doors which he would like. (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 0043)

And here are some Islamic fairytales about Jesus where he is expressly called the Spirit of Allah:

“Jesus continued his mission, aided by divine miracles. Some Qur’anic commentators said that Jesus brought four people back from the dead: a friend of his named Al-‘Azam, an old woman’s son, and a woman’s only daughter. These three had died during his lifetime. When the Jews saw this they said: ‘You only resurrect those who have died recently; perhaps they only fainted.’ They asked him to bring back to life Sam the [sic] Ibn Noah.

“When he asked them to show him his grave, the people accompanied him there. Jesus invoked Allah the Exalted to bring him back to life and behold, Sam the [sic] Ibn Noah came out from the grave gray-haired. Jesus asked: ‘How did you get gray hair, when there was no aging in your time?’ He answered: ‘O, Spirit of Allah, I thought that the Day of Resurrection had come; from the fear of that day my hair turned gray.’” (Stories of the Prophets by Ibn Kathir, translated by Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa Geme’ah, Office of the Grand Imam, Sheikh Al-Ahzar, edited by Aelfwine Acelas Mischler [El-Nour For Publishing and Distribution and Translation Est.; 38 Al-Madina Al-Monawara St., Toryl Al-Gadida], pp. 347-348; bold emphasis mine)

And:

“Jesus suddenly prostrated and his disciples with him. They sensed a fragrance which they had never smelled before. Jesus said: ‘The one who is the most devout and most righteous may uncover the table, that we might eat of it to thank Allah for it.’ They said: ‘O Spirit of Allah you are the most deserving.’

“Jesus stood up, then performed ablution and prayed before uncovering the table, and behold, there was a roasted fish. The disciples said: ‘O Spirit of Allah, is that the food of this world or of Paradise? Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Did not Allah forbid you to ask questions?’ It is the divine power of Allah the Almighty Who said: “Be,” and it was. It is a sign from Almighty Allah warning of great punishment for unbelieving mortals of the world. This is the kernel of the matter.’

“It is said that thousands of people partook of it, and yet they never exhausted it. A further miracle was that the blind and lepers were cured.

“The Day of the Table became one of the holy days for the disciples and followers of Jesus. Later on, the disciples and followers forgot the real essence of the miracles, and so they worshiped Jesus as a god.” (Ibid., p. 351; bold emphasis mine)

Finally:

“While they were on their way, suddenly they came to a huge lion in the middle of the road; and they were alarmed. But Jesus said to them, ‘Put me before him.’ When they sat him in front of the lion, he took hold of the lion’s ear and said, ‘What made you sit here?’

“The lion said, ‘O Spirit of God, I am waiting for an ox to come to me so that I can eat it.’

“‘The ox might belong to poor people,’ said Jesus. ‘Go to such-and-such place, where you will find a camel. Eat it and leave the ox to its owners.’ So the lion went off in the direction of the mountain.” (Muhammad ibn ‘abd Allah al-Kisa’i, Tales of the Prophets (Qisas al-anbiya’), translated by Wheeler M. Thackson Jr. [Great Books of the Islamic World, Inc., 1997], 86. Jesus son of Mary, p. 330; bold emphasis mine)

It is obvious that Jesus is called the Spirit of Allah precisely because of the Quran’s teaching that Christ already existed as a Spirit alongside Allah when he was then sent forth from Allah’s own presence into Mary in order to become a man.

Here is where the problem lay for this Muslim neophyte. God’s Word and Spirit are not created since they come forth from him, making God the Source of the Word and Spirit. And since the Quran and Islamic tradition agree that Jesus is God’s Word and Spirit this means that, contrary to the arguments of the Muhammadan, the Islamic scripture actually affirms the eternal begetting of Christ since it expressly states that he is the Word who came forth from God to become flesh from his blessed virgin mother.

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