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20. For Readers of the Qur'an

5) Christ's Authority Over Nature

The Qur'an tells us three times that Allah gave the Son of Mary authority to overcome the course of nature and to change its sources.

The Creation of a Bird

In the Qur'an, we read this testimony of Christ: "… I will create for you out of clay the likeness of a bird; then I will breathe into it, and it will be a bird, with the permission of Allah …" (Sura Al 'Imran 3:49).

ا ... أَخْلُقُ لَكُمْ مِنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ فَأَنْفُخُ فِيهِ فَيَكُونُ طَيْراً بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ... (سُورَة آل عِمْرَان ٣ : ٤٩)

In the Qur'an the Almighty afterwards confirmed to Christ, speaking about the past, after raising him to heaven, that he had actually created the form of a bird out of clay and blew into it. Then it became a real live bird, with His permission (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:110).

In these two verses, the Qur'an highlights that in the Son of Mary dwells a unique creating power: As a young lad, he formed a bird out of clay. For this act, the Qur'an uses a verb in two forms: "I create" (akhluqu) and, speaking about the past, "You create" (takhluqu). The specific expression used in these two forms is normally attributed only to Allah in the Qur'an, who created (khalaqa) everything out of nothing. However, the Qur'an ascribes this unique expression to Christ too. This Qur'anic testimony confirms that Christ was a creator indeed, with the permission of Allah.

Having formed a bird out of clay, the young 'Isa, according to the Qur'an, blew into it, then the dead material became alive and the bird flew away. By this clarification, the Qur'an shows that Christ carries in himself a life-giving breath: he blew into the dead matter and gave it life. The Son of Mary is the Spirit of Allah in bodily form; therefore, he is able to grant life to dead substances. He is not only the best physician who can cure all diseases, raise the dead and drive out demons, but, according to the Qur'an, is also the Creator and Giver of life, with Allah's permission, of course!

The evangelist John testifies that Christ is the incarnate word of God, through whom the Almighty made the cosmos: "All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John 1:3-4) Allah created the universe by his word. The Gospel here confirms Christ's ability to create life in lifeless matter. (See also John 20:22)

The Qur'anic report that Christ created a bird out of clay is not found in the Gospel. This story was confirmed neither by the Virgin Mary, Christ's mother, nor by Luke, the Greek physician and historian, nor by other eyewitnesses. None of them saw or heard about this event. This legend appeared two hundred years after Christ in apocryphal stories in Syria, which were ascribed to Christ by those who loved him. Yet, the fathers of the church did not accept this story in the texts of the Gospel because, indeed, it never took place. However, some Syrian slaves in Mecca told Muhammad about their faith and he accepted their children's story as a real revelation of Allah.

A Dining Table From Heaven

The other story that Muhammad testified of is the Qur'anic echo of the feeding of 5000 of Christ's listeners in the desert (John 6:1-15). In the Qur'an, we read the following verses:

112 When the disciples said, "O 'Isa, Son of Mary! Will your Lord consent to send down to us a dining table (Ma'ida) from heaven?" He said, "Be careful of (your duty to) Allah if you are believers." 113 They said, "We desire that we should eat of it and that our hearts should be at rest, and that we may know that you have indeed spoken the truth to us and that we may be of the witnesses to it." 114 'Isa, the Son of Mary, said, "O Allah, our Lord! Send down to us a dining table (Ma'ida) from heaven which should be to us a feast to the first of us and to the last of us, and a miraculous sign from You, and grant us means of subsistence, and You are the best of all providers." 115 Allah said, "Surely I will send it down to you, but whoever shall disbelieve afterwards from among you, surely I will torture him with a torture with which I will not torture anyone else among the nations." (Sura al-Ma'ida 5:112-115)

١١٢ إِذْ قَالَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ هَلْ يَسْتَطِيعُ رَبُّكَ أَنْ يُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْنَا مَائِدَة مِنَ السَّمَاءِ قَالَ اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ ١١٣ قَالُوا نُرِيدُ أَنْ نَأْكُلَ مِنْهَا وَتَطْمَئِنَّ قُلُوبُنَا وَنَعْلَمَ أَنْ قَدْ صَدَقْتَنَا وَنَكُونَ عَلَيْهَا مِنَ الشَّاهِدِينَ ١١٤ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا أَنْزِلْ عَلَيْنَا مَاِئدَة مِنَ السَّمَاءِ تَكُونُ لَنَا عِيداً لأَوَّلِنَا وَآخِرِنَا وَآيَةً مِنْكَ وَارْزُقْنَا وَأَنْتَ خَيْرُ الرَّازِقِينَ ١١٥ قَالَ اللَّهُ إِنِّي مُنَزِّلُهَا عَلَيْكُمْ فَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بَعْدُ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنِّي أُعَذِّبُهُ عَذَاباً لاَ أُعَذِّبُهُ أَحَداً مِنَ الْعَالَمِينَ. (سُورَة الْمَائِدَة ٥ : ١١٢ - ١١٥)

In the Qur'an we read that after the Son of Mary had delivered a long sermon, his disciples became hungry, and doubted that their Lord could prepare for them bread in the desert. They did not fully believe in him without reservation, but tempted him. Yet, Christ encouraged them to fear Allah, and to believe in him, without proofs. But they continued to doubt and increased their temptation. They insisted on receiving a dining table from heaven as a proof to his ministry and authority. The Son of Mary did not reject this temptation, but prayed to "Allahumma" and asked him to bring down from heaven a dining table full of divine food as a feast for everybody and as a sign and guarantee that Allah will regularly provide them in the future with all necessary food and dress.

The Almighty immediately answered Christ's prayer according to the Qur'an and instantly sent down a table from heaven. Yet, he threatened to punish every unbelieving skeptic among his disciples with the most horrible of all His punishments, if they afterwards would not believe in Him and in His Christ. This threat is still valid today for whoever reads the Qur'an.

The important secret in this story is the evidence that Christ has the right of intercession and that he is the eligible mediator between Allah and his disciples. The One who was born of the Spirit did not only overcome disease, distress and death, but could also bring down the fullness of blessing from heaven. Allah responded to his prayer before he had ended it, which indicates that the Son of Mary has a direct line with God, who answered his prayer immediately.

The Feeding of the Five-Thousand According to the Gospel

The feeding of a great multitude in the desert actually took place twice. First when five-thousand listeners met, and second when four thousand people came to the desert to hear the words of Jesus. He was moved with compassion for them, after their long stay with him, and provided food for them in a miraculous way, as we read in the Gospel: Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-10.

John 6:1-15 -- 1 After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). 2 And a great multitude was following Him, because they were seeing the signs which He was performing on those who were sick. 3 And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. 4 Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 Jesus therefore lifting up His eyes, and seeing that a great multitude was coming to Him, said to Philip, "Where are we to buy bread, that these may eat?" 6 And this He was saying to test him; for He Himself knew what He was intending to do. 7 Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little." 8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, 9 "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?" 10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 12 And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost." 13 And so they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. 14 When therefore the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, "This is of a truth the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15 Jesus therefore perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force, to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.

Did you recognize the secret of the silent increase of bread and fish? Christ thanked his heavenly Father for the "little" he had in his hands and believed in the power of the Almighty. Then the blessing out of the faith expressed in Christ's prayer increased the "little", he had in his hands, into a massive amount of food. The fragments that remained after feeding them were more than what was at hand in the beginning. Therefore, give thanks for the "little" the Lord has provided, then you will see that he will multiply it for many of your friends.

Some of Christ's Miracles Around the Lake of Galilee

Whoever examines the biography of the Son of Mary finds that he had divine authority over the elements of nature: John 6:16-21 -- 16 When evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. And it had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 And the sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When therefore they had rowed about three or four miles, they beheld Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. 20 But He said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." 21 They were willing therefore to receive Him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.

Mark 4:35-41 -- 35 On that day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side." 36 And leaving the multitude, they took Him along with them, just as He was, in the boat; and other boats were with Him. 37 And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38 And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" 39 And being aroused, Jesus rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40 And He said to them, "Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?" 41 And they became very much afraid and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"

Jesus was the Spirit of Allah in human nature. He had authority over all spirits and diseases and even over earthly elements and materials. The laws of the universe submitted to him. He is the Creator and the Omniscient One, with the permission of Allah, because he has created everything with his powerful Word.

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