What do Christians mean by the Incarnation and why is it not something demeaning to say about God In most families, and definitely most Middle Eastern families, who is the "head, protector, sustainer, nourisher" of the members of the family, i.e. wife and children? Apart from God being the ultimate protector and sustainer of everything the immediate protector and sustainer to the children is the father. Because that is as everybody experiences immediate reality [in a healthy family at least], the attribute "Father" is a very good attribute to describe God. Just as any other attribute of God, we do understand that it is "like the familiar meaning of the word from our experience" only much greater and infinite. But we can only understand anything as it relates to our immediate experience. As such the attribute to be "Father" does carry much truth and is a good and proper one for God and is used many times all throughout the Holy Scriptures. Now, what does that have to do with the Incarnation? Let us imagine the family of the World champion in heavy-weight boxing, and assume he has a little 5 year old son. Let us assume he is a wonderful loving and caring father. Then he will surely forget all about him being a celebrity on the world stage and also take time to play with his son. He will invest time and love to build a relationship. As every little boy wants to be just like his father, there will definitely be many occasions when the little son will want to do boxing with his father. And because it is the hearts desire of the father to be with his son and love him ina way he can best receive it, he will do some boxing with him. But how will he do so? This professional boxer could easily kill his little son with even just a moderate punch. No, he will make baby punches, he will play / fight on the level of his son. And he might even let his son "knock him out", because all this is building a wonderful father-son relationship. Now, imagine some of the father's admirers/fans are watching this. Imagine they say: This is degrading. This is below the dignity and great power of our hero. This cannot be our world champion. We know our world champion would always win. It is below the nature of our world champion to be knocked out by a little five year old.... But the champion doesn't care. He is first of all FATHER before he is champion. And these people go ahead and found the fan club of those those who fight for the greatest glory of the world champion by denying that he ever got knocked out by a little boy. They declare this theory to be blasphemy. In order to support their case they come up with the theory that he never even had a son as to destroy the foundation of the myth of him playing with such a boy. But what do they do? They think they defend his honor and glory as the uncontested ruler of world boxing. But in reality they subtract from him, they take away from him the wonderful quality of being a loving father who would even dare to look stupid in front of his fans just to build a strong relationship with his little boy. Yes, there is much that is good and admirable in the motivation of those M(ost)U(ncompromising)S(upporters)I(n regard to his)M(ajesty)s but they do deny the very heart of the one they admire. They see his glory compromised when his displays his love. Now imagine he doesn't only have a son, he also has a little daughter. And it might be even more offensive to many that a father [famous or not] would play with dolls because he wants to spend time with his daughter and show her his love the way she understands best. Is the imagage of a father playing with dolls offensive? It would be good if it is, because then it might be even closer to represent the incarnation which is so offensive to the Muslim mind. --- For any effective communication of two parties which live on different plains, like the 1st grader with the nobel price laureate, the father scholar with his 3 year old [just to add a few more examples], and in even greater proportions the infinite God with us finite human beings, the one on the higher level will have to come down and accomodate to the one on the niveau below him in regard to communication. Muslims say that they believe in revelation. Christians believe in revelation too. Muslims say "God sent books", and prophets who brought those books. We believe the same. But we do believe that God did much more. He was not satisfied to be distant from us. He is the Father who loves us so much that he comes near and stoops down himself to be in a realationship of love with us. He doesn't only want the obedience to some commands sent in the form of a memo [book] but he desires our love as every parent desires not only to be feared by his children but loved by them. But we can only truly love God when we have experienced his love. And the humility of God is part of his glory and a sign of his love, it does add and not subtract to his glory and praise. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ["gave his Son" in this context basically just means: "He gave of himself" the question of the relationship between Father and Son in the Holy Trinity is left for other times.] Now, analogies are never perfect. The one thing that is definitely not to be translated from the above is the "playing". God didn't play when he came in his Son. He was dead serious. But he did come because he wanted to establish and increase this love relationship. And I praise God for it because He is such a wonderful father that He would not stay aloof but come near and love us the way we best understand it. And those who consider this to be degrading and reject this kind of love, are those who are loosing out on it. --- It is my hearnest desire and prayer that this example might speak to some and be a contribution to the mutual understanding of our faith. May God guide us to His truth, which is His great love for us.
The Book And The Word There are many books in this world. Wonderful and inspiring books, and horrible books full of violence, filth and evil. It is not the form of a book but the content that matters. You don't honor or reject the Qur'an because it is a book. It is the content, the essence, not the form on which your respect for the book is based. A book is an ordinary thing. The Qur'an is extraordinary in your eyes, not because of its physical form but because of what you believe to be the essence of its content and origin. The verses of the Qur'an are for you the word of God whether they are scribbled on a small piece of crumbled paper, or engraved on a tablet of pure gold. The "carrier" of the word does not make the value of the word any less or any greater. In the same way, Jesus is a man. That is something very ordinary. There are many men. Good men and evil men. It is a "form of being". The question is: "What is the essence?" Just as you don't reject the Qur'an from being divine because it comes in the ordinary form of a book, there is no reason to reject the word of God, when he comes in the ordinary form of a man. The question is whether you are willing to recognize the extraordinary essence and origin of this Jesus who comes to you in such ordinary form.
Who is Jesus?
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