Sunday, December 2, 2007

Harmony of Opposites

Within Taoism, as well as in Neo-Confucianism there is the idea of opposites as represented by Yin and Yang, and expressed in Nature, or the 10,000 myriad things.

The opposites of yin and yang are the forces of female and male principles which manifest Cosmically as receptivity, and initiative respectively. These forces are united metaphysically in what is termed in Neo-Confucianism as T'ai Chi, or the Great Ultimate. In Toaism it is called the Tao that can be named.

In the Judeo-Christian Scriptures the harmony of opposites is also taught. This is seen in the famous text from Ecclesiastes, theres a time for war, and a time for peace...

Also in the New Testament, Christ is spoken of thus, Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God 1Cor

This is a very important doctrine to consider as Christians. We may learn a new perspective concerning God's relationship with the Cosmos, which Christians are often accused of not appreciating.

That relationship begins deep in the Godhead, as He is in His Essence. The Essence would be the Tao that cannot be named, and that Tao which can be would be the Godhead as revealed in the Beginning. The Father is that which may first be known in the Revelation of the Logos (the Preincarnate Christ), as He reveals deity. This is the First Emanation. It is in this that T'ai Chi, the Great Ultimate is known. T'ai Chi represents the harmony of Yin and Yang, the female and male principles respectively.

The Second Emanation is that of the Son, born of the Father for eternity. It is here where Yin and Yang are revealed through Li, Principle, the inner law of all things. It is also here that the Logos contains within Himself the male-female principle of Yin and Yang, refered to as Dunamis-power (Yang), and Sophia-wisdom (Yin).

It is from the dynamics of the two pole opposites as found within the Logos, from which all male-female relationships, or opposites within the Cosmos may be rooted. All change, and dyamics spring from these pole opposites within Him. Thus, the harmony is the balance between these two principles of Male and Female.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Li as Principle and the Logos

The Neo-Confucian term Li- principle, can be understood in relation to Christian theology as being the Logos.

Let's look at this a little:
The Chinese word Li means reason, logic, science, theory, inner principle, or structure. This is in agreement with the Greek word logos which means reason as well as speech. Heraclitus used it for the principle which controls the universe. The Stoics used this word to signify the anima mundi the soul of the world. And Marcus Aurelius spoke of spermatikos logos as the generative principle in nature. Of course this word is best known for its usage in Christianity, particularly the Johanine writings. Most famous of all is the opening verse in John's gospel,

In the beginning was the Word [Gk- Logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him, and without him was nothing made that was made.- Jn 1:1-2.

Thus it is understood within Christianity that Christ as the Logos is the principle, reason, and structure within all things found in the Cosmos. Thus the Scriptures state, And he is before all things, by him all things consist [Gk. are held together]- Col 1:17.

With this being said, it in not accurate to say that Li- principle is personalized within Confucianism. For though having its roots in a metaphysical reality, as we believe in the metaphysical reality of God, this principle is not necessarily a "person" as we ascribe to the Second Person of the Trinity, the Logos.

Within Neo-Confucianism Ch'en Ch'un (d.1223) taught that Li- principle is identical to Tao, though with the differentiating nuance that Tao is the Way that men can follow forever, and Li is that Principle which will forever be unchanging. The concept of T'ai-Chi (the Great Ultimate) is here seen as the metaphysical reality that is the eternal harmony of all things. This term is often paired with Wu-Chi, the Great Non-Ultimate. Within Taoism, the Great Ultimate is the Tao that can be named, and the Great Non-Ultimate is Tao that cannot be named, beyond all being and delimitation. As Wing-tsit Chan (d.1994) explained, these two terms represent a single reality, the Principle, but from two different points of view. "The Non-Ultimate is the state of reality before the appearance of forms whereas the Great Ultimate is the state after the appearance of forms."- Source Book, pp.464-65.

This is right in tune with God as presented in Judeo-Christian Scriptures. But of course with the main difference that one is impersonal, the other is personalized. For God, Who is identified as the Logos (Jn 1:1) can also be seen as Wu-Chi, and T'ai-Chi. For God is the Non-manifest deity, which is correlative to Wu-Chi, the Non-Ultimate; and He is Manifest deity which corresponds to T'ai-Chi the Great Ultimate. Thus the Non-manifest, and the Manifest deity are One God, and One Logos from different points of view. As Jesus said, neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son- Mt 11:27b, which would be the Unknowable Essence of Li as Wu-Chi; and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him- refers to God as He has revealed Himself to Himself, and to the Cosmos is Li as T'ai-Chi.

A final thought on this is that of Ch'i, which is the vital-energy, wind, or breath permeating all things within the material Cosmos. As Chu Hsi (d.1200) taught, Ch'i and Li are two sides of the same reality. Li is hidden, and Ch'i is manifest. This is the same idea between Wu-Chi, and T'ai-Chi but on a different level. Thus when Li is non-manifest as Tao, it is Wu-Chi, but when manifest as Tao, it is T'ai-Chi. Then once Li-principle is manifest (as the Great Ultimate), it is non-manifest, at least in relation to the Cosmos until that Ch'i is "breathed forth", then Li is manifest with all its forms within the Cosmos.

The idea of Ch'i, though a materialist doctrine on one hand, is akin to the concept of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Father and Son of the Trinity. As Jesus said, He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.- Jn 16:14. And Scripture also states, Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.- Ps 104:30. Thus the Holy Spirit is sent forth, as the concept of Ch'i, and manifests the Principle that is the Logos in all His glories within the Cosmos. This is done first as creation, then second as a perpetual renewing of the Cosmos' existence at each moment.

Thus we see Li-principle as the Logos, manifest and non-manifest first revealing the Great Ultimate, Who is Manifest deity, second revealing the material Cosmos through the ch'i-like agency of the Holy Spirit.

Peace and blessings.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Jesus: Who's Son is He?

It is no secret that in Islam it is denied that Jesus is God's Son. But if He is not the Son of Allah, then who's Son is He according to the Quran?

Of course we know the Judeo-Christian Bible teaches that Jesus is the Son of God:
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.- 1Jn 4.15.
Neither is this a doctrine introduced in the New Testament Scriptures. Though Judaism does not teach that Jesus Christ is God's Son, the doctrine is nonetheless found in the Jewish Scriptures called the Tanakh, what Christians refer to as the Old Testament:
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.- Psa 2.7;
and, Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.-v.12.
Thus it is not inconceivable that the earliest Christians, who were Jewish believers in Jesus as the promised Messiah, would also believe that He was the Son of God.

What does the Quran teach on this matter?
Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him.- Q 112:1-4.
And, The Jews call Uzayr [Ezra] a son of God, and the Christians call Christ the Son of God. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!- Q 9:30.
And, To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth: how can He have a son when He hath no consort?- Q 6:101a.

Islam rejects the notion that God is "father", or can have a son because it implies in the Arabic mind either the idea of procreation, or temporal sequence. For one, the Moslems have an aversion to these ideas because the pagan Arabs of Mecca in pre-Islamic times worshiped whom they said were daughters of Allah: their names are even given in the Quran as Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat (Q 53:19-20). These goddesses with Allah (Il-Lah- the god) were the head of the Arabic pantheon whose center of worship was at Mecca.
Now Moslems believed that Mohamed sought to return people to the true monotheistic religion of ancient times. Etymologically this is true. And Mohamed in this regards was the ultimate iconoclast amongst his people. I will at this time give no weight to supposed evidence of archeology from Robert Morey as inconclusive, as he claims that Allah was a moon god worshiped in pre-islamic times. Etymological evidence suggests otherwise.
In all fairness and misconceptions aside, the Quranic narrative is correct in this regard. And we can understand as Christians why Islam, and the Quran in particular are opposed to the idea of God having a Son, or being a Father. Because in the Arabic culture there had to be a strong exodus from the idolatry and polytheism of Mohamed's day in which Allah was included. Even in Israel in ancient times the worship of Yahweh (Elohim) was mixed with that of other gods, and had to be reclaimed in its original monotheism by an arising prophet (Ezek 14.1-7; Zeph 1.4-5).

Before we answer the question, Who's Son is Christ according to the Quran, we will first answer the Islamic objection to the Father and Son of the Godhead.
First, it is a misconception on Islam's part to assume that the doctrine of God the Father, and God the Son are in any way akin to the concepts of the pagan nations among whom Christianity evangelized. We may now appreciate the fervor behind the backlash against idolatry and polytheism as Mohamed sought to distance his people from the idea of Allah having daughters, etc. But it is not in this sense that God is the Father of Jesus Christ:
1) Not in the sense of procreation. God did not come down as Zeus did, and impregnate a woman, and have offspring in this way.
No. But God in His Ultimate Unity is infinitely transcendent and unknowable beyond all duality (Dt 6.4; Ga 3.20; Acts 17.23). When He revealed Himself, it was as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This revelation is through the Logos, Who is the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son. He who reveals is the Father, and He who is revealed is the Son, in Whom all deity and the cosmos, albeit in its preexistent state (Col 1.15-17; Heb 1.2-3), are known. This is the meaning of this text taken to a metaphysical/theological application: All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.- Mt 11.27. Therefore, not as an act of procreation with a consort, nor even yet exclusive to the incarnation through Mary (Ps 2.7; Heb 13.8), but as an eternal act of Self-Revelation, the Son is ever revealing the Father in His being revealed as the Logos, and the Father is ever revealing the Son in His being the Revealer, yet they with the divine Breath of Spirit are One in Essence.
2) Not in the sense of temporal sequence, as the texts referred to above (Ps 2.7; Heb 13.8) speak to the eternality of the Self-Revelation of deity. Beyond which God could not be known, nor could He have brought about creation with out introducing duality to Himself in relation to the Cosmos. Thus it was through His Self-Revelation that He could be known, and the Cosmos through Him. Though Essentially He remains One. Nor could we have known such an impersonal God if He forever remained hidden in His transcendent Oneness.

Now on to the question at hand: Whose Son is Jesus according to the Quran? To be sure, He is often called the Son of Mary (Q 19:34). But who was His Father in the Quran? Are we to assume that He was fatherless? God forbid.
No, but we read in the Quran, Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus. The son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah...She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: when He hath decreed a Plan, He but saith to it, 'Be', and it is!"- Q 3:45, 47.
And in this same context concerning Mary and her Son Jesus, the Quran again says, It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter., He only says to it, "Be", and it is.- Q 19:35.
I am not claiming that Islam teaches that Christ is not created, but in the texts above it doesn't seem to say this. What is does say is that a Plan, in this case, the Plan of the Messiah, is created.
Also, Christ is here called a word from Him, that is from Allah. And further, the Quran states, Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from Him- Q 4:171a. Though the text here denies the Sonship of Christ, and the very Trinity, nonetheless the language echoes (if not originates from) the gospel of John, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God...And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us- Jn 1.1-2, 14a.
The Quran, while denying that Jesus is God's Son, nevertheless does not attribute His being sired to human paternity. But the teaching is that Christ was, yes a Word, but also His Word, that is, a Word from Allah.

Is this "word" created? Is this breath from Allah created? If this is believed in Islam, then herein is a big difference, obviously. But conclusively, is He the Son of Mary? Yes. A Son of Allah? This is denied. Yet He has no human father. Instead it is affirmed that He is a word, yea, Allah's very word: to this the Christian Scriptures agree. But it is hinted at, at least, in the Quran that this word, or the Son of Mary was created, as a thing to whom Allah said, 'Be!', and it was. But I would counter this to say that He, as Allah's Word, is the very word 'Be!' And when He, the Logos is spoken to anything Allah wishes, it is.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Tri-unity in Kabbalah

A fascinating phenomena within esoteric Judaism, called Kabbalah, are the repeating themes of threes found within their mysticism. I will list these themes and then comment on the first tri-unity in comparison with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. But let me say right off that I'm not convinced that the early Kabbalists believed in, or were somehow crypto-Christians. It was Christians who utilized what they found in Kabbalah as similar to their own faith with which they either evangelized the Jews, or began the Christian Kabbalah movements.

The tri-unities within Kabbalah are:

1. Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur;
2. Keter, Chokmah, Binah;
3. Keter, Tifferet, Malkuth;
4. Pillar of mercy, pillar of severity, and the pillar of balance;
5. Mother letters Aleph, Mem, and Shin;
6. Chesed, Gebura, Tifferet;
7. Netzach, Hod, Yesod
(and there may be more for future discussion)

Commentary on the Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur:
These three Kabbalistic terms transliterate as Nothing, Infinite nothing, and Infinite Light. These are called the 3 veils of negative existence, (or the 13 veils if you count the Hebrew letters used in the 3 terms). They represent the levels of God before manifestation. This relates to the Essence of God "prior" to Him Birthing forth the Son, or Speaking forth the Logos. Though we know this Holy emanation occurs eternally. Thus the 3 veils of negative existence refer to the Non-manifest deity as yet being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, albeit "occultisized", hidden, unknown. This is Agnostos Theos spoken of in Acts 17.23.
1) Ain
Is the negative "Nothingness" that is the only way to describe the divine Essence as all affirmations are not possible. This is non-manifest deity in its most Hidden transcendent state. This is comparable to the Father insofar as the Father gives birth to the Son, or speaks forth the Logos, which He does for an eternity (Ps 2.7; Heb 13.8). In other words, like the Father as the Source. Yet it is not like the Father in that as the divine Essence beyond all activity, it is the Perfect Emptiness. As the Kabbalists explain it, it is the vacuum of pure spirit.
As God in His Inmost Essence is Pure Being, and the Absolute Self, He is non-delimited Being. To define Him is to restrict Him. This is not possible in that Ain-nothing is beyond all definition, or delimitation.
He is the Absolute Self, as Ain permutes in Hebrew to Ani- I. Thus the Essence of God is beyond all objectification.
2) Ain Soph is conceived of as the deity between transcendence to the revealed God called Yahweh. This is the non-manifest veil of nothingness, where there is a kind of contraction as in the Kabbalah of Isaac Luria (a.k.a. the Ari). This contraction the Ari called tsimtsum. Which is conceived that God in His infinite vastness contracted down to a single point of Light, to make room, as it were, for the Cosmos.
This contraction is a perfect correlation to the Son of God, as Scripture states of Him, But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men- Phil 2.7. The Greek word used for ...made himself of no reputation is kenosis which means to make empty, to empty, or to make void. This is most often applied to the Self-emptying of the Logos when He incarnated as a man (Jn 1.1, 14).
Yet applying the Scripture speaking to the eternity of the Son, the same yesterday, today, and forever.- Heb 13.8b, we know that there is a primordial kenosis of the Logos from eternity to eternity. How is this so? In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.- Gen 1.1. The Beginning is the Self-Revelation of deity as Father and Son (Jn 1.1-2). The Hebrew bereshit
is this word. The second word to follow in the Genesis text in Hebrew is bara, which is to create, but also to "cut out", to carve out. Thus meaning a negation. Creation is actually an act of negation. Thus when all things were seen pre-existently in the Logos, as with Him are all things (Jn 1.1-2; Mt 19.26), He emptied Himself- kenosis, as an act of denying nothingness from God. For the pre-existent things in them selves do not exist. And this is impossible with God, For with God shall nothing be impossible.- Lk 1.37. Because God is pure non-delimited Being, nothingness is an impossibility with Him. The things with Him in the Logos, as entities, are glories, and revelations of the Son. But as foreknown entities, non-existent in themselves there nothingness is an impossibility with God, hence they are negated from Him, which is a conceptual, if not actual kenosis. This kenotic dynamic within the God head is Ain Soph.
3) Ain Soph Aur
is the final veil of negative existence. This is the Infinite Light which is the point of Light (the point in the middle of the circle) at the final moment of the infinite contraction. This is that point of Light just prior to the first positive, or affirmative emanation of deity called Keter-crown. Ain Soph Aur is that final veil of non-manifest deity just prior to the phrase, Let there be light- Gen 1:3a.
The 10 Sephirot emanate from Ain Soph Aur- the limitless light, from Keter to Malkuth. The 10 Sephirot have been compared to YHWH- Yahweh, the Holy Tetragramaton. As Christians we see theologically that Yahweh is identical to the Godhead in His Oneness of Essence, and His Threeness of Persons. But we can see that as the 10 Sephirot are the modes in which not only does God bring about the Cosmos, but also how He relates to creation. So too, the name YHWH did not appear in Scripture until it was in relation to the Cosmos, These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD [YHWH] God made the earth and the heavens- Gen 2:4. Thus this Holy Name is associated with the cosmos as the 10 Sephirot are said to be.
It is in this sense that the Holy Spirit can be represented by Ain Soph Aur. Why? Because as the Breath sent forth from the Father and the Son, He carries with Him not only all the cosmos, but all the glories of the Glory Jesus Christ, all logoi of the Logos.
Scripture states, Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.-Ps 104.30. He goes forth as an out breath of the Father and the Son. Yet this is still as a veil of negative existence. Earlier we saw that creation (distinct from the formative and making aspects of existentiation- Is 43.7) is a negation. Hence when each entity is denied as other than God, they are thus individuated. But this too is prior to affirmative existence. All that need be said now is, Let there be light- Gen 1.3a., which begins the 10 m'amerot- commands of existentiation that result in our coming into being in the Cosmos.
Scripture also says, He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine and shall show it unto you.- Jn 16.14-15; and, But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.- 2Cor 3.18.
Thus we see that the three negative existences of deity as elucidated within the esoteric tradition of Judaism, Kabbalah, are comparable to the Godhead in His emanations and manifestations from a negative, or non-manifest aspect. We may say that deity prior to being manifest toward the Cosmos as He truly is being YHWH, there were yet inward movements of unknowableness within the very Godhead Himself. These things are truly inscrutable from our weak human attempts at explaination. Yet as Paul the apostle preached, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.- Acts 17.23b.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Trinity and the Trikaya

In Mahayana Buddhism the Buddha is said to have three bodies, which in Sanskrit are called Trikaya (tri-three, and kaya-body). These consist of:

1. Dharmakaya: Buddha body of universal principle (dharmadhatu), which is beyond comprehension, yet is the Emptiness, or Buddha-Mind (depending on which of two major schools of thought one adheres to) within all things, yet transcendent beyond all things, as ultimate reality;

2. Sambhogakaya: Buddha body of enjoyment, or bliss. This is the exalted place of assembled buddhas who receive the teaching of the Buddha. It is also a place of deity;

3. Nirmanakaya: The Buddha body of appearances, or transformation body. This is the body the historical Buddha walked in on earth.

Often the Trikaya is called a "Buddhist Trinity", but is this term accurate? Is the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity, (One God in Essence, subsisting in Three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) comparable to this Buddhist teaching?

First of all, the Trikaya are emanations of the One Buddha-Nature, or Buddha-mind which is One. This is similar to the Judeo-Christian God in His Oneness, which is a Oneness of Essence, but are the Persons of the Trinity emanations? By and large this is not an acceptable theology within Christianity. However, this disbelief is based on the temporeality of the idea of emanationism.

Yet I believe that the Persons of the Trinity are successive emanations from each other, much as the Trikaya are. But with a couple of important differences:

1) The emantaions of the Godhead are eternal, which is to say that God is forever revealing Himself through the speaking forth of the Logos, the Father is always birthing forth the Son, as Scripture says, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.- Ps 2.7. So also the Holy Spirit is sent forth eternally, and thus He continuously renews the face of the earth (Ps 104.30 );

2) And, the Buddhists believe that the emanated buddhas, especially of the Sambhogakaya and Nirmankaya, have no real permanence, no existence, but are appearance only. They are considered, as well as everything else, as "empty dharmas". This is a docetic view of deity, and the cosmos. Docetism being the Gnostic Christology that while the historical Jesus walked the earth he wasn't really here physically (that corporealty is so evil, how could He have incarnated), but was here only in appearance. Thus the view is called epiphanic, and the philosophy can be applied to various cosmological doctrines. Thus the obvious difference would be that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit do exist as such. With the Trikaya, only the Dharmakaya as the Buddha-principle is the ultimate reality, Emptiness, or Mind.
I can see a correlation, not so much between the Trikaya and the Persons of the Trinity as Persons, but as to the sphere or domain of each Person of the Trinity:
1.The Dharmakaya correlates to the Father in that He is the First emanation, or the First Emanator, as both statements are simultaneously true, as God is Self-revealed. He is closest to the Essence, the Godhead being the Father. But without the Son we would not have known the Father (Mt 11.27), He would have forever remained Agnostos Theos (Acts 17.23), the Unknown God, which He is in Essence, as is the Dharmakaya;

2. The Sambhogakaya is correlative with the Son, in that all deity is revealed in Him (Col 1.15; 2.9; Heb 1.3). Anything that we know of God, of the Father is revealed in Him, as Jesus said, he that hath seen me hath seen the Father- Jn 14.9b. And so it is with the assembly of buddhas in the heavenly realms of Sambhogakaya, they teach through their deity-like status, and enlightenment the reality of the innermost essence that is called Buddha-nature, or Buddha-mind. Through their dharma (teaching), they show the inmost essential nature of emptiness, they do so through their own enlightenment. This is also taught of the bodhisattvas, who are buddhas-to-be, but hold off on their own enlightenment in order to lead others to attainment;

3. The Nirmanakaya is comparable to the Holy Spirit in that, as the Nirmanakaya represents the empty dharma of phenomenal existences, so too the Holy Spirit relates in a special way to the cosmos in that He conveys the glories and revelations of deity which are the entities which come into manifest reality. The difference here though is that while the Buddhist cosmos is mere appearance, the cosmos of Christianiy is the very incarnation of deity through the Being of God (Acts 17.28). True, in and of ourselves we have no existence, and to think that we do independent of God is our own "maya-delusion"(Ga 6.3), yet in stead of negating our existence through the essential emptiness (which thing is also true in relation to the divine Essence -we are less than nothing- Ps 62.9), we are affirmed as existents through the very incarnation of deity who is being. This existence then is ever, and always renewed by this Breath.

Thus the Trikaya-Trinity comparison is one of function rather than one of a diversity of personalities within a Godhead, especially as the Trikaya are not perceived as a threeness of persons subsisting as one. And a major difference, too, is of existence, not only cosmologically, but also theologically.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Crucifixion and the Quran

It is commonly held in Islam that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ did not occur.
It is stated in the Quran, That they said (in their boast), "We killed Christ Jesus The son of Mary, The Messenger of Allah"- 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, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise-
Q 4:157-158.
Most Moslems believe this to mean that Jesus Christ never died, but simply ascended up to heaven. Yet the Quran quotes Jesus as saying, "So Peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)"- Q 19:33. What an awesome presentation of the Gospel in that verse! Clearly the Gospels were well known to Mohamed as he received the Quranic revelation. Did he really intend to say that Jesus would not be killed? Or that He would not be crucified? Doubtful.
In fact, I don't see in Q 4:157-158 a denial of Christ's death, nor yet a denial of His crucifixion. Actually, I see a harmony between the text of that Surah, and John's gospel, when Jesus said, Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.- Jn 10.17-18.
It is so then that Jesus was not actually killed by the Jews, but it only appeared to them that they crucified Him, when in fact, He laid His own life down for us on the cross. It is not that He simply appeared to die on the cross as a docetic type of epiphany, with someone else being the actual victim (as portrayed in the apocryphal gospel of Barnabas). This need to have Jesus "trick" the Jews is not necessary if we realize that the Quran is not actually denying His crucifixion, nor yet His death. And to consider that He was raised up to life, and subsequently raised up to Allah, as is also in harmony with Christian Scripture (Jn 20.9-17; Acts 1.2-3, 9). Thus the Quran tells us, And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgement He will be a witness against them- Q 4:159. To this Jesus also said of Himself, I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.- Jn 8.24, and again Scripture says, ...that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.- Jn 20.31.