and he shall be a prophet to the people of Israel (saying), that I have come to you, with a sign from God, namely, that I will CREATE for you out of clay (annee AKHLUQU lakum mina ALTTEENI) as though it were the form of a bird, and I will blow thereon and it shall become a bird by God's permission; and I will heal the blind from birth, and lepers; and I will bring the dead to life by God's permission; and I will tell you what you eat and what ye store up in your houses. Verily, in that is a sign for you if ye be believers. S. 3:49 Palmer
When God shall say, O Jesus son of Mary, remember my favour towards thee, and towards thy mother; when I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, that thou shouldest speak unto men in the cradle, and when thou wast grown up; and when I taught thee the scripture, and wisdom, and the law, and the gospel; and when thou didst CREATE of clay (wa-ith TAKHLUQU mina ALTTEENI) as it were the figure of a bird, by my permission, and didst breathe thereon, and it became a bird by my permission; and thou didst heal one blind from his birth, and the leper, by my permission; and when thou didst bring forth the dead [from their graves], by my permission; and when I with-held the children of Israel from [killing] thee, when thou hadst come unto them with evident [miracles], and such of them as believed not, said, this is nothing but manifest sorcery. S. 5:110 Sale
These two passages demonstrate that Christ has the breath of life and can create in exactly the same way God creates:
HE it is Who created you from clay (Huwa allathee KHALAQAKUM min TEENIN) and then HE decreed a term. And there is another term fixed with HIM. Yet you doubt. S. 6:2 Y. Ali
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I am about to create man from clay (innee KHALIQUN basharan min TEENIN): When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him." S. 38:71-72 Y. Ali
Note the connection between God breathing his Spirit into man with Christ being strengthened with the Holy Spirit, breathing life into clay birds and resurrecting the dead. And also notice that Christ created a living bird from clay just as God created man from clay. These passages therefore teach that Christ had the same life-giving Spirit of God!
The Quran says by way of mocking the gods of the people:
"O mankind! A similitude has been coined, so listen to it (carefully): verily! Those on whom you call besides Allah cannot create (even) a fly, even though they combine together for the purpose. And if the fly snatched away a thing from them, they would have no power to release it from the fly. So weak are (both) the seeker and the sought." S. 22:73
Even though Jesus didn't create a fly, he did create a bird and breathed life into it just as Allah did to Adam!
In fact, according to one Salafi Muslim site the word for create (khalaqa) refers to creating something from nothing, an act which only God can perform:
Imam al-Bukhari reported in his Saheeh from Abu Sa`eed (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said: "There is no created being but Allah created it." In Arabic, the word "khalaqa" means to make out of nothing, which is something that ONLY ALLAH CAN DO; it is impossible for anyone except Allah to do this. It also carries the meaning of decreeing or foreordaining. [**]
See Fath al-Bari Sharh Saheeh al-Bukhari, 13/390. (439: Evidence that only Allah is the Creator of life; bold and capital emphasis ours)
But this very same word is applied to Christ which means, at least according to the above position, that Jesus must be God! Note how this works out logically:
God alone can create out of nothing (i.e. the literal meaning of khalaqa).
Khalaqa is applied to Jesus.
Therefore, Jesus must be God according to Islam.
The Quran also implies that Christ is alive in heaven:
And when Allah said: O Isa, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto Me and purify you of those who disbelieve and make those who follow you above those who disbelieve to the day of resurrection; then to Me shall be your return, so I will decide between you concerning that in which you differed. S. 3:55 Shakir
That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of God"; - but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, God raised him up unto Himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise; - S. 4:157-158 Y. Ali
Orthodox Islam has generally understood these passages to mean that Christ was taken alive into heaven, into the very presence of God himself.
Moreover, specific Islamic narrations teach that Jesus will be an intercessor for his people:
... "Surely! Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom (or a smallest ant) but if there is any good (done) He doubles it." (4.40) The Prophet added, "Then THE PROPHETS and Angels and the believers will intercede, and (last of all) the Almighty (Allah) will say, 'Now remains My Intercession. He will then hold a handful of the Fire from which He will take out some people whose bodies have been burnt, and they will be thrown into a river at the entrance of Paradise, called the water of life. ..." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s)
Ibn Kathir wrote in reference to Sura 3:45 that:
The next text supports the interpretation that Jesus may intercede:
And We did not send before you any apostle but We revealed to him that there is no god but Me, therefore serve Me. And they say: The Beneficent God has taken to Himself a son. Glory be to Him. Nay! they are honored servants. They do not precede Him in speech and (only) according to His commandment do they act. He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they do not intercede except for him whom He approves and for fear of Him they tremble. And whoever of them should say: Surely I am a god besides Him, such a one do We recompense with hell; thus do, We recompense the unjust. S. 21:25-29 Shakir
This reference says that at least some of those honored servants who were wrongly worshiped as gods or considered children of God will indeed intercede. And since according to the Quran Jesus is an honored servant who was wrongly worshiped as God and as the Son of God this therefore means that he may well be one of those interceding.
But this directly conflicts with the following text:
And those whom they invoke besides God HAVE NO POWER OF INTERCESSION;- only he who bears witness to the Truth, and they know (him). If thou ask them, who created them, they will certainly say, God: How then are they deluded away (from the Truth)? (God has knowledge) of the (Prophet's) cry, "O my Lord! Truly these are people who will not believe!" S. 43:86-88
No intercessor will they have from those whom they made equal with Allah (partners i.e. their socalled associate gods), and they will (themselves) reject and deny their partners. S. 30:13 Hilali-Khan
The above references claim that those invoked by the unbelievers have no power to intercede. Jesus happens to be one of those very beings that so-called unbelieving Christians invoked and continue to invoke in their prayers. Thus, either Jesus can intercede which means that the Quran is wrong; or he cannot intercede which means that the Islamic tradition is wrong.
In light of the aforementioned citations, we are left with the conclusion that:
Jesus creates in the same way God creates.
Jesus gives life in the same way God gives life.
Jesus is alive in heaven.
Therefore, the Quran clearly shows that the Lord Jesus fits the description of God, fulfilling the very criteria which demonstrates that Christ is indeed very God of very God.
Yet, it is at this precise point that we have a contradiction within the Quran itself. There is no denying that the Quran rejects the Deity of Jesus (cf. 4:171; 5:17, 70-75; 9:30). But, as we just saw, the Quran attributes titles, qualities and functions to Christ which shows that he is indeed God. Other titles given to Christ which affirm his essential Deity include the Word of God and a Spirit from God (cf. 3:39, 45; 4:171).
A Muslim may say that Jesus was given the ability to create and give life by God, just as the passages themselves state. He didn't have this ability within himself. This response doesn't solve the contradiction, but only pushes it a step further.
Why would God grant Jesus the abilities and characteristics of Deity? Why is God permitting Jesus to perfectly fit the description and fulfill the criteria which places one within the category of God?
Second, the expression "by God's permission" doesn't necessarily mean that Christ was given abilities he did not already have. The statements can be understood in light of the biblical teaching that Christ did nothing on his own initiative, but did everything in perfect union with his Father's will. (cf. John 5:16-30)
In other words, the Quranic expression simply implies that Christ only exercised his divine prerogatives in accordance with the decree of God, never acting on his own behest or initiative. It need not deny that Christ always had these divine attributes and characteristics. This becomes all the more likely when we recall that the Quran describes Christ as God's Word and a Spirit proceeding from God, titles which point to Christ's divinity and pre-existence.