To some Muslims, the term, "Son of God," brings up images of a sort of divine being with a goddess wife who together have somehow produced a child. So when Christians use the term in reference to Jesus, they immediately assume that the Christians are committing blasphemy by stating that God has participated in some sort of sexual union with another god--a goddess wife.
They say: "the most gracious has betaken a son!" Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous! At it in the skies are about to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, that they attributed a son to the Most Gracious, for it is not consonant with the majesty of the Most Gracious that he should beget a son," (The Qur'an, 5:88-92).
This is naturally a ridiculous scenario and is a false assumption. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God had relations with anyone to produce a literal son, nor has Christianity taught that God produced a son through any physical act whatsoever. Such a thing is heretical. Nevertheless, the Bible in numerous places calls Jesus the Son of God. But, it does not mean that Jesus is the literal offspring of God.
The Muslims need to ask what does that term mean in its historic and Biblical context. Instead of imposing upon the Biblical term a meaning that is foreign to it, the Muslim should learn what the Bible means by the term and think of it in the context as revealed in the Scriptures where it is used. To not do that would be the same as my taking a term out of the Qur'an, removing it from its Qur'anic context, applying another meaning to it, and then saying what the Qur'an teaches is false. The term, 'Son of God,' is used in different senses in the Bible. But, never does it mean that God has a wife and produces offspring.
Old Testament usage of the term Son of God
The term "Son of God" is used in two main ways in the Old Testament. Neither way denotes any physical relation to God. Rather, the references deal with those who are under divine obedience to the call of God. It is used of Israel as a nation through the Exodus. Hosea 11:1 says, "When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son."1 It is also used in reference to angels. Job 1:6 says, "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them." Also, in Job 38:7 it says, "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" These are in reference to angels who are created beings and in no way implies literal dependency from God.
New Testament usage of the term Son of God
The term, "Son of God," occurs 47 times in the King James New Testament. In reference to Jesus, it is a title as the heavenly, eternal Son who is equal to God the Father (John 5:18-24). It is Jesus who fully reveals the Father (Matt. 11:27). He is the exact representation of the Father (Heb. 1:1-3), He possesses all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18), and Jesus had glory with the Father before the world was made (John 17:5).
The Muslim is taught from the Qur'an and, therefore, cannot accept the fact that Jesus is divine. To the Muslim, that is shirk--blasphemy of the worst kind. But believing it doesn't make it so. To the Christian and according to the Bible, Jesus is the one who alone saves us from our sins. We cannot earn our way to Heaven, perform enough good works to please God, or ever be "sincere enough" in repentance to somehow obtain forgiveness from God. Instead, Christianity is a faith in God's great love and sacrifice for His creation. Jesus, the Son of God, is the divine one who fulfilled prophecies, walked on water, healed the sick, and rose from the dead. Only the Son of God can do these things.
- 1. Scripture quotes are from the NASB.