Deus aut homo malus. Christ is either “God or a bad man.” It was C.S. Lewis who took it one step further stating that Jesus was either the Lord, a liar, or a lunatic. Why bother asking? Well, good men or sane men don’t go around claiming they are the truth (John14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”), that they are God incarnate (John 1:14, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son,” or “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father,” John 14:9), that they will die and rise again (John 2:19, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”), or that they are the Creator (John 1:3, “All things were made through him”).
These are just a sampling of the claims Jesus uttered about Himself, and they were substantiated by His rising from the dead on the third day.
I say this to say that the deity of Christ and the Trinity are the two most important doctrines that separate orthodox Christianity from every other cult or religion, including Islam.
I know that Muslims claim Jesus was a prophet of God. I recall a true story once told by a friend of mine. He was approached at an airport by a Muslim man and was asked, “What do you think of Mohammed?” My friend asked the Muslim if he truly wanted him to answer the question. The man answered yes, with anticipation. He asked the man: “Is Mohammed a prophet?” The man: “Yes.” My friend: “Jesus is a prophet? The man: “Yes.” My friend then asked: “Can a prophet of God lie?” The man said no, a true prophet of God cannot lie.
My friend went on kindly to explain that if Jesus is right, then Mohammed is wrong. Jesus said He was the Son of God and the way to God, the resurrection and the life. My friend then added that if Jesus is wrong, then Mohammed is still wrong because He said Jesus was right. The man was very upset, glared at him, and then left in a huff. Do you see the dilemma?
I know that any Muslim man reading this will say that we don’t know the Qur’an, that we can’t understand it unless we can read Arabic and so on. Well, many former Muslims who can read Arabic say that in the Qur’an Jesus is a true prophet of God. Those same skeptics will say Jesus is a prophet but Mohammed is a greater prophet. I know of no other prophet who said He was going to rise from the dead and then did it. Jesus was no ordinary prophet. He was who He said He was — the incarnate Son of God.