One of the central tenets of Christianity is that Jesus was the son of God. In Islam, there is no son, but there are
prophets who can cross the line between this world and the next, and bring us messages that they receive directly from God. But Jesus called himself the son of man (88 times in the New Testament). His older brother James the Just
, who became the leader of the Church after Jesus' passing, refers to him as a man, not a divine being. (Before and during this time, "son of man
" meant that he was human, not divine.) This was in keeping with the Jewish belief that God, as the creator of time, space, energy and matter, is beyond them, and cannot be born or die, or literally have a son. For example, the Jerusalem Talmud
2:1) states explicitly that "if a man claims to be God, he is a liar." One might also say that Jesus' humility was prudence in the face of the Roman occupation of Judea, who had made it illegal for anyone to claim hereditary political titles, which included religious titles, since ruling by divine right was a common practice for ancient political leaders. For whatever reason, and despite the disciples begging that Jesus proclaim himself as the messiah, he did not. The belief in Jesus as the son of God was written into the New Testament later.
We believe that Jesus was a man, not metaphysically different from any other person, consistent with Jewish tradition. We believe that God is everything, and thus is in all things. Some people acknowledge that God is everywhere, in all people, and some deny it. But calling Jesus a person does not demote Jesus, from divine to mundane. Rather, it empowers all people to make contact with God as He does truly exist in all things, including us. And it promotes Jesus to the status of the greatest of the prophets, not the lesser of the Holy Trinity.
In fact, we believe that thinking of Jesus as divine, while we are not, would actually be demoting God. Our God is everywhere, and in all things. To think that some things are divine and some are not requires that divinity be a subset of the Universe. God would then no longer be all-powerful and all-knowing.
Such mistakes are merely the consequence of our imperfect attempts to grasp something that is beyond our comprehension. We must personify God if we are to integrate His laws into our daily lives. That's when the subset is created. Then we might decide to include a prophet in that subset, promoting a human to divine status. If others insist that the prophet was just human would be a demotion. But this is just a problem springing from the earlier mistake, forgetting that we had made only part of the Universe divine, and the rest of it not.
Aside from the metaphysical issue, conceiving a prophet as metaphysically different from ourselves diminishes the applicability of the teachings. Christians believe that God sent His only son to become human, so that He could show us how to live in person. But it's pretty easy to forgive ourselves for not living up to the example that Jesus set, if we ourselves are not of the same stock. What was easy for Jesus might be somewhere between difficult and impossible for us, because He was divine. It is more humbling to consider that Jesus was just a man, and that anything He could do, we can do as well. Yet it's also empowering. So we believe that the real value of studying scriptures is to realize that God is in all of us, and if we make contact with the holiness that God has already given us, we can achieve our own true potential.