The Fundamental Error of Islam
- A. Ibrahim, Imam of the Islamic Center of Mill Valley writes in A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam states:
Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified. It was the plan of Jesus’ enemies to crucify him, but God saved him and raised him up to Him. And the likeness of Jesus was put over another man. Jesus’ enemies took this man and crucified him, thinking that he was Jesus.
Imam Ibrahim backs this up with a quote from the Qur’an:
(…They said: “We killed the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but the likeness of him was put on another man (and they killed that man)…Qur’an 4:157
The fundamental error of Islam is that it only appeared that Jesus was crucified. This is essentially Docetism. Matt Slick provides a perfect explanation of this Gnostic error.
Docetism was an error with several variations concerning the nature of Christ. Generally, it taught that Jesus only appeared to have a body–that He was not really incarnate (Greek, “dokeo” = “to seem”). This error developed out of the dualistic philosophy which viewed matter as inherently evil–that God could not be associated with matter and that God, being perfect and infinite, could not suffer. Therefore, God as the word, could not have become flesh per John 1:1, 14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us . . . ” This denial of a true incarnation meant that Jesus did not truly suffer on the cross and that He did not rise from the dead.
The basic principle of Docetism was refuted by the Apostle John in 1 John 4:2-3. “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” Also, 2 John 7, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
Ignatius of Antioch (died 98/117) and Irenaeus (115-190), and Hippolatus (170-235) wrote against the error in the early part of the second century.
Docetism was condemned at the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
The Gnostics were of two kinds, docetics and adoptionists. The docetics said that it only appeared that Jesus was crucified, but in fact someone else, often Judas, was crucified instead. The adoptionists said that the Christ adopted Jesus and abandoned Jesus on the cross.
The result for both forms was the same: Jesus the sinless Lamb of God, both God and man, did not die on the cross and thus did not take our sin upon Himself. Therefore, there is no salvation in Christ.
Many sects and cults over the centuries have taken a Gnostic stance and thus substituting their own teaching as the means of salvation.