I’ve been asked a question by a Muslim that’s kind of stumped me. They asked me something along the lines of “if Jesus is God, how could he have been God if He died on the cross while God is supposed to be immortal?”

He used verses such as:

Which he will display at the proper time— he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. - 1 Timothy 6:15-16

I’m aware that death is merely a separation of body and soul. But, if to be immortal is to never be subject to such an event, how is Jesus God if He was evidently mortal during His earthly ministry? How can you be both mortal and immortal at the same time?

I’m struggling to get around the idea that this isn’t an inherent contradiction.


1 Answer 1


Your question is a question about the Hypostatic union of the divine and human natures into one person. Jesus has two natures, human and divine. His human nature experienced death. His divine nature did not.

This idea seems impossible to many, such as Muslims. Despite its seeming impossibility, it is exactly what Job prayed for. God terrified him, so he longed for someone like him, a human being, to mediate between him and God. Job knew that he needed such a mediator. His friends laughed at him and said in Job 25:6 that men are like worms and can never fill that role. In the end of Job, God said that Job's words were correct.

Here is Job's plea:

32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him,
    that we should come to trial together.
33 There is no arbiter between us,
    who might lay his hand on us both.
34 Let him take his rod away from me,
    and let not dread of him terrify me.
35 Then I would speak without fear of him,
    for I am not so in myself. (Job 9:32-35)

Before God shows up, Elihu speaks as mediator, as a type of Christ:

5 Answer me, if you can;
    set your words in order before me; take your stand. 
6 Behold, I am toward God as you are;
    I too was pinched off from a piece of clay. 
7 Behold, no fear of me need terrify you;
    my pressure will not be heavy upon you. (Job 33:5-7)

The passage in Job 25 spoken by the unhelpful friend Bildad is prophetic:

2 “Dominion and fear are with God;
    he makes peace in his high heaven.
3 Is there any number to his armies?
    Upon whom does his light not arise?
4 How then can man be in the right before God?
    How can he who is born of woman be pure?
5 Behold, even the moon is not bright,
    and the stars are not pure in his eyes;
6 how much less man, who is a maggot,
    and the son of man, who is a worm!” (Job 25:2-6)

The ESV (as with the Hebrew) has Bildad ridiculing "the son of man", a title Jesus would later apply to himself. An inscription in the Dome of the Rock explicitly rejects the idea that God had a son, saying "God is only One God. Far be it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son." Note that this passage in Job mentions the moon and the stars, which symbols figure prominently on the flags flown by Muslim nations and organizations.

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