I’ve been asked to draw up two very brief summary passages describing, respectively, the Islamic view of Jesus and the view of Jesus taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There’s no great urgency to the request, but I thought that I would write up some initial notes. Here goes:
Muslims regard Jesus as the sinless son of Mary — uniquely and miraculously having a mother but no father — and as, perhaps second only to Muhammad, one of the very greatest of all prophets. Like all humans, he is a creature, a servant of God, divinely created (not begotten). Known in the Qur’an as al-Masih, an Arabic form of the Hebrew māšîaḥ or messiah, he performed miracles during his lifetime before being assumed into heaven while his enemies thought that they were killing him on the cross. He will return at the end of time as part of the Last Days and will defeat the Deceiver (al-Dajjāl) in battle prior to the great “Day of Reckoning” or “Day of Judgment.”
Latter-day Saints regard Jesus as the sinless son of both Mary and, in some unexplained way, of God the Father. He was the firstborn Son of God in the pre-existent world and the Only Begotten Son of God in this world. Having been the Jehovah of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, a divine member of the Godhead, he descended to earth and took upon himself a physical body as the promised Jewish Messiah. He worked miracles during his earthly ministry, and his death at the hands of sinful mortals atones for the sins of all who accept his grace, making him the pivot on which the plan of salvation rests, the indispensable mediator and intercessor between humans and the Father. However, he overcame death, rising physically from the tomb and thereby enabling the eventual resurrection of all humanity. He will return in power to inaugurate a thousand-year reign of peace and, at the very end of time, to judge the living and the dead.
I’m not entirely satisfied with these, and they’re only hasty and preliminary drafts. One of my goals — I’ve clearly not fulfilled it yet — is to make them roughly of equal length, because I’m not trying to privilege one over the other. (I don’t think that that’s what is wanted.) I’m also not trying to make the Latter-day Saint viewpoint the default position, even though it’s mine, and, thus, I don’t want to emphasize what Muslims don’t believe about Jesus.
Anyway, feedback would be welcome. Have I left anything obvious or crucial out? They can perhaps be a bit longer, though I think not twice as long.
Posted from Richmond, Virginia