Who said "God is the Messiah"?

For some time I have been wondering about a repeated phrase in Surah al-Ma'idah. Pickthall translates:

They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary ...

They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary...

I have never heard any Christian say or read in any theological book the formulation "God is Christ" or "God is the Messiah". The common formulation is that "Jesus is God" (and never, "God is Jesus") or "The Messiah is God".

The Qur'anic inversion of the word order is never used, and would, in fact, be wrong as the article What do we mean when we say "Jesus is God"? explains in detail.

This is not a modern idea, but one that has been held by Christians throughout the centuries. This was even noted by Muslim author Neal Robinson, who makes mention of an ancient Nestorian reference:

... The text which dates from around 550 CE. concludes a discussion of the Trinity with the words ‘The Messiah is God but God is not the Messiah’. The Qur'an echoes only the latter half of the statement. C. Schedl, Muhammad and Jesus (Vienna: Herder, 1978), p. 531. (Robinson, Christ In Islam and Christianity [State University of New York Press, Albany 1991], p. 197; bold emphasis mine)

Why then does the Qur'an invert the proper statement of the Christian faith?

It is hardly possible to imagine that the true God would not have been aware of the actual doctrine which he wanted to repudiate. Does this ignorance not rather point to the conclusion that the author of the Qur'an was not the Omniscient One?

A number of similar historical problems are discussed in Why I am not a Muslim.

Yusuf Ali translates the above verses as "They do blaspheme..." instead of "they disbelieve". This is only one of many mistranslations deliberately done to make the Qur'an more useful to attack the Christian faith.

Qur'an Commentary Index
Answering Islam Home Page