One of the most often used arguments against the Christian position by those of the Islamic faith is found in the New Testament documents themselves. The lynch-pin of the Islamic argument is that Jesus is not God or the God-man, the second person of the Trinity. Rather, Islam declares that Jesus was simply a prophet of Allah and nothing more, as seen in Sura 4:171;
“O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word, (“Be!” – and he was) which He bestowed on Maryam (Mary) and a spirit (Rooh) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: “Three (trinity)!” Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God), Glory be to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is All Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.” (Muhsin and Hilali English Translation)
As seen above, the Qur’an declares that Jesus (Iesa) was simply the “Messenger of Allah” and there is an absolute denial of the Tri-unity of God in this verse when it states; “Say not: ‘Three! Cease! (it is) better for you…” An internal look at this shows that this verse is flawed because it implies that the Christian commits the unforgivable sin of “Shirk”; where different gods other than Allah are worshiped (as in polytheism). However, this is simply not the case (see part one of this study) because Christianity has always maintained that God is One Being and Three Divine Persons – He is Tri-personal. Notice that the word “trinity” in the verse above is not in the original text. Rather, the text simply speaks about “three,” with the text going on to say Allah would not take upon himself a son. This is not speaking about the Trinity, but rather, polytheism. Sura 5:116 makes this claim of polytheism clear when it states;
“116. And (remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection): “O Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Did you say unto men: Worship me and my mother as two gods besides Allah? ” He will say: “Glory be to You! It was not for me to say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, You would surely have known it. You know what is in my innerself though I do not know what is in Yours, truly, You, only You, are the AllKnower of all that is hidden and unseen.”
Again, the text of the Qur’an is not clear as to the Christian belief of the Trinity where it states; “two gods.” A Straw-man to say the least.
However, this is not what I wanted to speak about today (but it will help to clarify the below statements). Rather, I would like to address the claim that Islamic scholars and their faithful make about the New Testament documents being interpolated. The claim is that any New Testament references that teach the deity of Christ were (1) later additions and changes to the Biblical text, or, (2) that Paul deceived the early Christian church into following a falsely deified Jesus. Both of these views die the death of a thousand question beggings, because this view is derived from the text of the Qur’an with no external evidence. Meaning, the Muslim assumes that the text was changed because Jesus cannot be God in the Islamic system…because the Qur’an says so. So the question must be asked, where is the manuscript evidence for such a claim? Are there any manuscripts that omit Jesus being called God in John 1:1, Romans 9:5, Titus 2:13 and the like? The answer for this is NO, there is no manuscript evidence for such a claim. Hence, the Muslim is left in a state of circularity. He must make the claim that Jesus is not God. But, he must derive this claim without any support from the very documents that he says have been changed.
Regarding their second objection regarding the Apostle Paul, the same issue arises. Where is the evidence that Paul influenced the early church into worshiping a falsely deified Jesus Christ? Again, this is pure speculation that leaves the Muslim circular. Rather, the message of Paul comports with the message of John (John 1:1, 1:18), Peter (2 Peter 1:1), the author of Hebrews (1: 6-13) and so on. The great textual scholar Daniel B. Wallace is noted for rightly proclaiming; “An ounce of evidence is worth more than a pound of presumption.” Excellent and cogent words indeed. Hence, the burden of proof rests on the Muslim to provide evidence for their claims; a task that cannot be done.
Below is a brief clip of this very issue being played out in a debate on this subject. The Christian Apologist in the clip is Dr. James R. White and notice his line of questioning against his Islamic opponent, it is very telling.