Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Lord Jesus Christ – the God who is above all creation!

Sam Shamoun

Muslim Dawagandist Sami Zaatari has written another article attacking the Deity of Christ (*). In this recent tirade Zaatari appeals to specific texts from the inspired writings of Paul to show that God is the head of Christ and that the Son will eventually subject himself to the Father. Zaatari concludes from these verses that Jesus cannot God.

A Consistently Inconsistent Dawagandist!

We do have to hand it to Zaatari since he is consistent in one area. Zaatari is consistently inconsistent! In his article Zaatari quotes the words of Paul to prove that Jesus is not God. What makes this rather ironic is that whenever a Christian quotes Paul to prove that Jesus is God Zaatari whines and complains, demanding that the Christian quote the words of the Lord Jesus to back up Paul’s statements.

One would assume that Zaatari would apply his own argumentation consistently at this point and quote where Jesus said that God is his head or that he will subject himself to the Father at the end of the age after he has destroyed all his enemies.

But seeing that Zaatari is consistently inconsistent we are not surprised that he doesn’t practice what he preaches or lives up to his own demands. Zaatari will do and say anything to pervert the truth of God’s Word and promote the lie of Islam.

Yet since Zaatari quoted Paul with approval he cannot then reject what Paul wrote in regard to the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, if Paul’s testimony is reliable enough to prove Zaatari’s case then his witness is also good enough to refute and expose Zaatari’s desperate polemics.

Distorting the Doctrine of the Trinity

Realizing that he cannot refute the overwhelming Biblical evidence in support of God being Triune Zaatari is forced to distort what the doctrine of the Trinity actually teaches:

Trinitarians believe in the false polytheistic doctrine of the Trinity, and this belief states that there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of these three are fully God, and are all equal to the other, basically there is no hierarchy within the group [sic], none is more greater than the other. (Emphasis ours)

Zaatari is simply wrong when he says that that Trinitarians believe that there is no hierarchy within the Godhead. This simply exposes his ignorance or more likely his dishonesty since we would expect that someone that has spent so much energy attacking and blaspheming the Holy Trinity would at least have taken the time to learn what Christians actually believe concerning it.

Historically speaking the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has always affirmed on the basis of God’s inspired Scriptures that the three eternally distinct Persons of the Godhead are co-equal in respect to their Divine substance, e.g. the Father and the Son (as well as the blessed Holy Spirit) are homoousion (of the same substance). However, the Church has also taught and believed that the Son and the Holy Spirit are subordinate to the Father in terms of order or function. Christians have understood that the eternal Son’s functional or economic subordination to his eternal Father is due to the paternal/filial relationship, e.g. by virtue of being the eternally begotten Son Christ is subservient to the Father prior to, during, and after his Incarnation. After all, the NT does speak of the Father sending the Son, whereas the Son is never said to have sent the Father, a point which speaks volumes.

To state this in a different way, the Church has always held that there is an eternal hierarchy within the Godhead, one that implies that the three distinct Divine Persons are both equal in one respect but not so in another sense. On the basis of the Holy Scriptures the Church has emphasized that the inequality is not in relation to the uncreated Divine essence or eternal Being that is fully and equally shared by all of the eternally distinct members of the Godhead, but in respect to their function and relation to one another. Noted Evangelical NT scholar and systematic theologian Wayne Grudem puts it this way:

“Finally, it may be said that there are no differences in deity, attributes, or essential nature between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person is fully God, and has all the attributes of God. The only distinctions between the members of the Trinity are in the ways they relate to each other and to creation. In those relationships they carry out roles that are appropriate to each person.

“This truth about the Trinity has sometimes been summarized in the phrase ‘ontological equality but economic subordination,’ where the word ontological means ‘being.’ Another way of expressing this more simply would be to say ‘equal in being but subordinate in role.’ Both parts of this phrase are necessary to a true doctrine of the Trinity: If we do not have ontological equality, not all the persons are fully God. But if we do not have economic subordination, then there is no inherent difference in the way the three persons relate to one another, and consequently we do not have the three distinct persons existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for all eternity. For example, if the Son is not eternally subordinate to the Father in role, then the Father is not eternally ‘Father’ and the Son is not eternally ‘Son.’

“This is why the idea of eternal equality in being but subordination in role has been essential to the church’s doctrine of the Trinity since it was first affirmed in the Nicene Creed, which said that the Son ‘was begotten of the Father before all ages’ and that the Holy Spirit ‘proceeds from the Father and the Son.’” (Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, Chapter 14. God in Three Persons: The Trinity – How can God be three persons, yet one God?, D. What Are the distinctions Between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?, 2. The Persons of the Trinity Eternally Existed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, p. 251; underline emphasis ours)

Grudem then addresses those Evangelicals who would deny this essential truth, which has been affirmed and held from the very beginning of the Christian faith:

“Surprisingly, some recent evangelical writings have denied an eternal subordination in role among the members of the Trinity, but it has clearly been part of the church’s doctrine of the Trinity (in Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox expressions), at least since Nicea (A.D. 325). So Charles Hodge says:

The Nicene doctrine includes, (1) the principle of the subordination of the Son to the Father, and of the Spirit to the Father and the Son. But this subordination does not imply inferiority…. The subordination intended is only that which concerns the mode of subsistence and operation….

The creeds are nothing more than a well-ordered arrangement of the facts of Scripture which concern the doctrine of the Trinity. They assert the distinct personality of the Father, Son, and Spirit…and their consequent perfect equality; and the subordination of the Son to the Father, and of the Spirit to the Father and the Son, as to the mode of subsistence and operation. These are scriptural facts, to which the creeds in question add nothing; and it is in this sense they have been accepted by the Church universal.

“Similarly, A. H. Strong says:

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while equal in essence and dignity, stand to each other in an order of personality, office, and operation….

The subordination of the person of the Son to the person of the Father, or in other words an order of personality, office and operation which permits the Father to be officially first, the Son second, and the Spirit third, is perfectly consistent with equality. Priority is not necessarily superiority…. We frankly recognize an eternal subordination of Christ to the Father, but we maintain at the same time that this subordination is a subordination of order, office, and operation, not a subordination of essence.” (Ibid., pp. 251-252; underline emphasis ours)

The following articles provide additional evidence that this functional or economic subordination within the Trinity has been the historic position of the Church and is therefore completely in line with orthodox Trinitarianism:

It is evident why Zaatari chose to misrepresent the historic, orthodox understanding of the Holy Trinity. He had to do so in order to attack a straw man since he knew he couldn’t refute the doctrine if it is properly defined.

With the foregoing in perspective we can now proceed to rebutting Zaatari’s prooftexts.

The meaning of headship in Paul’s thought

Zaatari quotes 1 Corinthians 11:3 to prove that Christ is not equal to God (the Father):

“The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”

This no more proves that Jesus is not equal to God in essence than Paul’s statement that man is the head of the woman proves that women are inferior in nature to men.

The absurdity of this assertion is clearly seen from the comments which Paul makes right afterwards:

“A man should not wear anything on his head when worshiping, for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory. For the first man didn’t come from woman, but the first woman came from man. And man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man. For this reason, and because the angels are watching, a woman should wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority. But among the Lord’s people, women are not independent of men, and men are not independent of women. For although the first woman came from man, every other man was born from a woman, and everything comes from God.” 1 Corinthians 11:7-12

These statements conclusively prove that Paul didn’t think that men are superior to women in nature. Paul realizes that man’s existence is just as much dependent upon woman as the latter’s existence is dependent upon him since this is how God has designed things. Paul also writes elsewhere that in Christ there is no distinction between male and female when it comes to the issue of salvation and glory:

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” Galatians 3:26-29

Paul is simply echoing the teachings of Genesis which says that both male and female bear God’s image and have been given dominion over the entire physical creation:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let THEM have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, In the image of God he created him; male and female he created THEM. And God blessed THEM. And God said to THEM, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ And God said, ‘Behold, I have given YOU [plural in Hebrew addressing both the male and the female] every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. YOU shall have them for food.’” Genesis 1:26-29 ESV

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed THEM and named THEM Man when they were created.” Genesis 5:1-2 ESV

Paul’s point regarding woman being from man is also a direct allusion to the following Genesis story:

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.’ So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man. ‘At last!’ the man exclaimed. ‘This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called “woman,” because she was taken from “man.”’ This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one (lit., the two become one flesh).” Genesis 2:18-24

This account explains why the female is called woman, i.e. since a woman came out of man she fully shares in the same nature and therefore has equal value and dignity.

In fact, the inspired Apostle even quotes Genesis 2:24 to make the case that husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies:

“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, ‘A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:25-33

In light of the foregoing it is obvious that Paul didn’t mean that man was the head in the sense of being superior to a woman in essence and dignity. Paul’s point was that man had authority over a woman without this making him better in nature. Even Zaatari sees this point since he writes that,

So notice what Paul states, Paul makes it clear that the head of man is Christ, just as the head of the woman is the man, and this essentially means that Christ is above men and is like their leader, just as the man is the leader of the house and is in charge of the woman and so forth… (Emphasis ours)

However, Paul does say that Christ is the head of man, which may be taken as supporting Zaatari’s argument that Jesus is not equal to God in nature. After all, we know that Christ is not just greater than man in authority and status, but he is also superior in nature by virtue of being more than a man. The inspired Apostle taught that Christ is fully God in essence just as we are about to see.

Putting Paul’s Christology in Perspective

In order to determine what Paul meant when he wrote that God (namely, the Father) is the head of Christ we must first examine his teaching concerning the Lord Jesus. If Paul taught that Christ is a created being then this would affirm that the inspired Apostle believed that the Father was Christ’s head by virtue of being vastly superior both in terms of position and nature. However, if Paul actually believed that Christ is fully God in nature then this means that the Son is equal to the Father in essence and therefore the Father’s headship over Christ can only be in terms of authority, e.g. God has greater authority by virtue of being the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ – the Eschatological Judge and Omniscient Lord

Paul taught that Christ is coming to judge every person and expose everyone’s hidden motives:

“Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.” 1 Corinthians 1:7-8

“My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.” 1 Corinthians 4:4-5

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others.” 2 Corinthians 5:10-11

According to the Hebrew Scriptures it is Yahweh who alone knows the secret intentions of man and who will judge a person for what s/he has done:

“then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people what their actions deserve, for you alone know each human heart.” 1 Kings 8:39

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9

“But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10

The only way that Paul could ascribe these exclusive Divine functions and qualities to the Lord Jesus is if he believed that Christ is Yahweh God (yet not the Father or the Holy Spirit).

Christ – The Preexistent Divine Lord of the OT

The Apostle also believed that Jesus saved Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt and provided for them in the wilderness:

“I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, ‘The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.’ And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death (Destroyer).” 1 Corinthians 10:1-10

According to the OT the Rock that delivered Israel and the Lord whom the people put to the test in the desert was Yahweh (cf. Numbers 21:4-9; Deuteronomy 32:3-4, 12-15, 18, 29-31). This again confirms that the blessed Apostle taught that Jesus is God and not a mere creature!

Christ – The Agent and Sustainer of Creation

According to Paul Jesus is the one Lord through whom all things were created and through whom we live:

“But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

Paul writes something similar in another letter:

“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear (beloved) Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.” Colossians 1:13-18

Paul’s statements imply that Christ is omnipotent since he must have the power to create and keep the entire creation under his total control. This is the very same power that also enables the risen Lord to transform our mortal, corruptible bodies to be like his glorious body when he returns from heaven:

“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.” Philippians 3:20-21

The inspired Apostle’s comments also bring out the fact that Christ is uncreated or eternal since he plainly says that the Son existed before all creation!

Can there be any doubt that Paul believed that Jesus is fully God in nature seeing that only God is eternal and omnipotent? This leads us to our next section.

Christ - The God-man who reigns supreme over all creation

In case the readers are still uncertain whether the inspired Apostle believed and taught that Christ is the eternal God (yet not the Father or the Holy Spirit) the following passages should erase such doubts:

“Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” Romans 9:5

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” Colossians 2:9-10 NIV

These verses testify that Paul proclaimed that Christ is the God-man and therefore has two distinct natures, i.e. Jesus possesses the whole fullness of Deity and continues to have a physical body by virtue of the human nature which he still possesses.

The Apostle even calls Jesus the Lord of glory, another Divine title!

“None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:8 NIV

Worshiping the risen and exalted Christ

Since Paul taught that Christ is God it is not surprising to find him referring to the early Christians worshiping Jesus. For example, Paul depicts Christians as those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ:

“I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” 1 Corinthians 1:2; cf. Acts 9:14, 21; Romans 10:9-13

What makes this practice rather amazing is that the saints in the OT were known for calling on the name of Yahweh (cf. Genesis 21:33; Psalm 99:6; Joel 2:32), and therefore shows that the first Christians were worshiping Jesus as Yahweh!

Noted NT scholar Richard Bauckham writes that,

“In both Acts and Paul (whose usage here certainly reflects pre-Pauline Christian usage), Christians are those who ‘call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 1:2; cf. Rom. 10:12-14; Acts 9:14, 21; 22:16; 2 Tim. 2:22; Hermas, Sim. 9:14:3). The phrase, no doubt drawn into Christian usage especially from Joel 2:32 (Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13), regularly in the Old Testament refers to the worship of God (e.g. Gen. 4:26; 12:18; 13:4; Ps. 105:1). Its early Christian usage indicates a cultic practice of confessing Jesus as Lord that was regarded as the defining characteristic of Christians (cf. Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:11). As Hurtado points out, this ‘ritual use of Jesus’ name reflects an explicit identification of Jesus as an appropriate recipient of such cultic devotion … It represents the inclusion of Jesus with God as the recipient of public, cultic public reverence.’ Hurtado also connect it with the wider use of the name of Jesus in early Christian religious practice: baptism, healings, exorcisms. In all these cases, there seems to be an association of the Lord (kurios) Jesus with the divine name in the Hebrew Scriptures, often represented in the Greek by kurios (while Maranatha may well attest an equivalent association already in Aramaic-speaking Jewish Christianity). As Philippians 2:11 attests, where the divine name appears, worship cannot be far behind. We must reckon with a very clear inclusion of Jesus in the identity of the Lord YHWH that integrated Jesus also into the worship of YHWH. This integration was so central as to make ‘those who call upon the name of the Lord’ a defining characteristic of Christians from a very early date.” (Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel – God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity [William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI/ Cambridge, U.K. 2008], 4. The Worship of Jesus in Early Christianity, 2. Origins, 129-130; underline emphasis ours)

Paul himself would often pray to Christ asking him to return or to pour out his favor upon all the Christians he was writing to:

“If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed. Our Lord, come (Marana tha)! May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.” 1 Corinthians 16:22-23

On one occasion Paul mentions how he begged the Lord Jesus to deliver him from the torment inflicted upon him by an angel of Satan:

“even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Another indication of early Christian worship is the observance of the Lord’s Supper, which commemorated the death of the Lord Jesus. According to Paul this was a means of communion or fellowship with the risen Christ:

“When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper. For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk. What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this! For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.’ In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.’ For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died. But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:29-32

The blessed Apostle also contrasts the observance of the Lord’s Supper with the pagan practice of offering sacrifices to idols, which is highly significant:

“When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ? And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body. Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar? What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too. What? Do we dare to rouse the Lord’s jealousy? Do you think we are stronger than he is?” 1 Corinthians 10:16-22

The pagans erroneously thought that they were sacrificing to gods that were real, when in reality they were sacrificing to demons.

With that said, the fact that Paul contrasts the Lord’s Table with the sacrifices of pagans to idols indicates that the Apostle believed that Jesus is the presiding Deity who is being worshiped through this religious rite. Notice the series of contrasts:

Sharing in the Lord’s blood and body (10:16; 11:27) Sharing in demons (10:20)
The cup of the Lord (10:21a; 11:27) The cup of demons (10:21a)
The table of the Lord (10:21b) The table of demons (10:21b)
Likened to eating sacrifices to God (10:18) Eating sacrifices to demons (10:20)

It is apparent that Paul is contrasting the gods worshiped in the pagan rites with the God worshiped by Christians in the observance of the Lord’s Supper, with that God being the risen Lord Jesus! As the following Evangelical scholars explain,

“The Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:20) is also a religious rite focused on Jesus Christ. Jesus himself instituted the Lord’s Supper on the Passover (Matt. 26:2, 18, 26-29; Mark 14:12-16, 22-25; Luke 22:8-20), the Jewish rite memorializing the Lord God’s deliverance of Israel from their bondage in Egypt (Exod. 12:21-27, 42-49; Deut. 16:1-8). The apostle Paul spoke of Jesus as ‘the Lord’ honored in the rite that the Lord himself instituted…

“While the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus and has its own religious background in the traditions of Judaism concerning the Passover, the Corinthians were for the most part converts from paganism who had yet to break free entirely from the temptations of idolatry in their polytheistic culture. Paul therefore sharply contrasts the rite of the Lord’s Supper with pagan rites that were superficially similar enough that immature believers apparently were participating in both. In drawing these contrasts… Paul contrasts the Lord Jesus with the deities worshiped in the pagan rites (which Paul calls ‘demons’). Paul thus makes it clear that the Lord’s Supper is a religious rite in which the Lord Jesus is the presiding deity, the object of religious devotion or ‘service’ for Christians.” (Robert M. Bowman Jr. & J. Ed Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ [Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 2007], Part 1: The Devotion Revolution – Jesus Shares the Honors Due to God, Chapter 5. The Ultimate Reverence Package, pp. 66-67)

Moreover, the fellowship that believers have with the risen Lord is something that Paul refers to on more than one occasion:

“God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9


“Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among (or in [en]) you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” 2 Corinthians 13:5

For Paul to write these verses he must have believed that the risen Lord Jesus is both omniscient and omnipresent. Christ not only has to know who is truly faithful to him he must also have the ability to be present with all of his followers when and wherever they gather!

Summation of Paul’s Christology

  • Christ is the spiritual Rock who saved Israel out of Egypt and provided for them in the desert.
  • Christ is the Agent of creation who gives life and sustains all things. This assumes that Paul truly believed that Christ is Almighty or omnipotent since only an all-powerful Being is capable of keeping the entire creation in place.
  • Christ is the eternally blessed God that rules over all.
  • Christ possesses all the fullness of the Deity and continues to exist as a glorified man with a glorified, immortal physical body as a result of his resurrection from the dead.
  • Christ is even called the Lord of glory whom the rulers of this age crucified.
  • Christ is the Lord who comes to judge the motives of every individual in order to repay everyone for all their deeds. For Paul to say this he must have assumed that Christ is omniscient since only one who knows everything can know the secret intentions of a person.
  • Christ has intimate communion with all the members of his spiritual Body, the Church, which again affirms that the blessed Apostle believed that Christ has all of God’s omni-attributes, in this case omniscience and omnipresence.
  • The Church worships and prays to Christ as their risen Lord.

In light of the foregoing it is abundantly clear that Paul did not believe that Jesus is a creature. The evidence from his writings proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the blessed Apostle truly believed that Jesus is fully God in essence and that Christ is the Creator, Sustainer and Savior of the entire creation.

Therefore, Paul was not claiming that God is the head of Christ in the sense that he is superior to the latter in nature and essence. Rather, Paul’s point is that God is the head of the Son in terms of authority since he is his Father.

We now turn to Zaatari’s final objection.

Christ – The eternal King!

Zaatari quotes 1 Corinthians 15:26-28 to prove that Jesus is not God. Here is the passage, this time adding verses 24-25 for context:

“After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For the Scriptures say, ‘God has put all things under his authority.’ (Of course, when it says ‘all things are under his authority,’ that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.”

Zaatari writes,

-God has put everything under the feet of Jesus, but this doesn't include God himself.

-Jesus himself will be under God.

In the first place, Christ subjecting himself to God no more proves that he isn’t God then Jesus’ willful subjection to his mother proves that he isn’t a man either:

“Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:51 NKJV

As we saw earlier, Paul affirms both of these truths, e.g. Jesus is fully God in essence and subordinate to the Father. Paul expressly taught that Jesus is subject to God in terms of authority while being equal with him in essence since he is the Divine Son of God. The following writer states it best:

“At times Paul writes as if Christ is 'subordinate' to the Father. For he tells us that 'God sent forth his Son to redeem' (Gal 4.4) and 'did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all' (Rom 8:32). And in a notable passage he declares that 'when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one' (1 Cor 15.28). Taken by themselves these passages might warrant the conclusion that Paul held a merely subordinationist view of Christ and did not place Him on the same divine level with the Father. But if they are taken together with the passages cited above in which Paul does put Christ on the same divine level as the Father by presenting Him as the creator of all things and the 'image of the invisible God' who was 'in the form of God' and equal to God, it becomes clear that Paul views Christ both as subordinate and equal to God the Father. Possibly he thus means merely to subordinate Christ in His humanity to the Father. But more probably he wishes to indicate that while Christ is truly divine and on the same divine level with the Father, yet there must be assigned to the Father a certain priority and superiority over the Son because He is the Father of the Son and sends the Son to redeem men, and there must be ascribed to the Son a certain subordination because He is the Son of the Father and is sent by the Father. Nowhere, however, does Paul say or imply that the Son is a creature, as the Arians subordinationists will say later on. On the contrary, he makes it clear that the Son is not on the side of the creature but of the Creator and that through the Son all things are created… (Edmund J. Fortman, The Triune God — A Historical Study of the Doctrine of the Trinity [Wipf and Stock Publishers: Eugene, Oregon, February 1999], p. 18; underline emphasis ours)

Secondly, the Son’s voluntary subjection at the end of the age doesn’t mean that Christ will cease to reign with his Father, since both Paul and the rest of the inspired Biblical authors affirm that Christ rules forever:

“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.” Ephesians 1:19-23

"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!" Isaiah 9:6-7

“‘Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, ‘for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!’” Luke 1:30-33

"But to the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You love justice and hate evil. Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.'” Hebrews 1:8-9

“Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:11

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: ‘The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.’” Revelation 11:15

The readers may be wondering if Paul’s statement doesn’t mean that Christ’s kingdom will come to an end then what does it mean? The following Evangelical authors help us understand Paul’s point and also explain why the Apostle’s comments cannot be distorted to mean that Jesus is not God:

“What Paul means is that the Son will deliver to God the Father a fully reconciled kingdom in which all his enemies have been defeated (1 Cor. 15:24-26). Paul is speaking of a ‘stage’ in the kingdom of God in which God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is in this age focusing on bringing people redemption from sin and salvation from evil powers and death (see also Eph. 1:19–23; Col. 1:13–20). In other words Paul is referring specifically to a spiritual or mediatorial phase of the kingdom of God in which Christ’s position as ruler is most prominent…

“The third objection is widely thought to be the most difficult, but we think it poses no insuperable objection to the deity of Christ. The objection suffers from a problem similar to the first: if Paul is understood to mean that at the end the Son will change his status by subjecting himself to God, that implies that the Son is not currently subject to God. If Jesus is a creature, inferior to God, is it possible for him not to be subject to God for even a minute?

“Recall the point we made earlier about the Son humbling himself to become a human being for the glory of the Father and the salvation of the lost. In his resurrection, as the ‘last Adam’, Jesus Christ continues to be a man, retaining his human nature (Acts 17:31; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 15:45-47; 1 Tim. 2:5), albeit in a glorified, immortal state (1 Cor. 15:42-44; Phil. 3:21). As a human being, the Son still honors and subjects himself to the Father as his God (e.g., John 20:17; 2 Cor. 1:3; Rev. 3:12). In that context, the Son, who is both fully God and fully human (Col. 2:9), rightly and properly subjects himself to God the Father. But this fact about the relationship between God the Father and the incarnate Son does not diminish the Son’s exalted status over all creation. He is still ‘Lord of all’ (Rom 10:12).” (Bowman Jr. & Komoszewski, Putting Jesus in His Place, Part 5: The Best Seat in the House – Jesus Shares the Seat of God’s Throne, Chapter 21. Jesus Takes His Seat, 262-263)

Sami further reasons that everything would already be under Jesus’ authority if he were God. This again completely ignores and distorts the teaching of the Holy Bible, and is further evidence that Sami is incapable of refuting what the inspired Scriptures actually teach.

According to Paul himself, Jesus set aside his heavenly riches and status in order to assume the role of a servant and die an accursed death so that believers might be saved and share in Christ’s glory and inheritance:

“You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God (lit., in the form of God existing [en morphe theou hyperchon]), he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

Therefore, Christ received from the Father the authority which he had voluntarily aside for a season to accomplish the work of redemption.(1)

We now come to our final section.

Christ – The Sovereign Head of Muhammad!

Sami concludes his article by saying that for once he agrees with Paul, an agreement which has serious implications on his Islamic beliefs.

Recall that in 1 Corinthians 11:3 Paul said that the head of every man is Christ. Paul also wrote that Jesus is the Lord of all,

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile — the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Romans 10:9-13 NIV

“Christ died and rose again for this very purpose — to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.” Romans 14:9

And that everyone will eventually worship Christ as Lord:

“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

Since Sami says that he agrees with Paul he must therefore accept the fact that his false prophet Muhammad will one day bow down before Christ and worship him as his Lord and Master! He has no choice but to admit that Christ is supreme over Muhammad, and is more prominent than the latter, since Jesus is the sovereign head of Sami’s false prophet.

Amazingly, even the so-called authentic sources of Islam agree with Paul that Jesus is superior to and better than Muhammad:

Sami must further accept that one of the systems that the Lord Jesus will eventually destroy according to 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 is Islam since it sets itself against the rule of Christ by denying his Deity and intimate relationship to God as his beloved Son.

Sami cannot object to any of these points since this is the necessary inference and logical outworking of Paul’s inspired statements.

So we are extremely happy and thankful that Sami agrees with Paul for once!

Lord Jesus willing, there will be more responses to Zaatari’s bluster and distortion of Biblical truth to appear soon.

Unless noted otherwise all scriptural quotations taken from the New Living Translation (NLT) of the Holy Bible.

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(1) It is apparent that Zaatari doesn't believe his own argument otherwise he would apply it consistently to his own religious scripture and conclude that the Allah of the Quran isn't God (which he isn't, but for different reasons). According to the Quran, Allah receives an inheritance from his creatures:

And certainly We! We it is Who give life, and cause death, and We are THE HEIRS. S. 15:23

Lo! We, only We, inherit the earth and all who are thereon, and unto Us they are returned. S. 19:40

If we apply Zaatari's logic to the Quran then the conclusion must be that Allah is not the true God since he receives an inheritance, which means that someone else is giving him something and therefore proves that he doesn't own everything. Yet if Allah were the true God then he would already own and possess everything, and since he doesn't he therefore cannot be the true God.

Zaatari obviously doesn't believe this which only further exposes his inconsistency and double standards.

For more on this topic we suggest the following articles and rebuttals: