Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Islam, Submission With No Peace Pt. 4

Galations 1:8 ~ "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

In this post will will provide a basic biblical contrast to the essential claims made by Islam. As you can tell from parts 1, 2 and 3 there is much that can be said about Islam but we will seek to narrow this apologetic to 4 points:
1- Is  The Biblical God Transcendent?
2-The Biblically Affirmed Deity Of Jesus
3- God's Plan Of Salvation & The Problem Of Sin Original Sin
4- The Final Revelation Of God To Man

Section I: Is The Biblical God Transcendent? 

In a response to Pope Benedict XVI’s lecture at the University of Regensburg on Sept. 12th 2006, leading Islamic Scholars presented a document called "A Common Word Between Us And You". Within this document there were 8 points outlined to display the unique and supposedly similar relationship between Islam and Christianity. The object of the document was to correct statements that were supposedly erroneous and misrepresentative of Islam, and to expound upon those "misunderstandings" encouraging Christians to expand their views toward Islam and Islamic teachings of the Quran, and especially many of those that were set forth within the Pope's address.

One of the retorts presented within "A Common Word" concerned God's "absolute" transcendence. Transcendence meaning that God cannot be physically intermingled or touched with his creation and most specifically with that which is flesh. This was the Islamic rebuke regarding the Pope's exposition of this concept found within the Islamic faith:
"You also say that “for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent,” a simplification which can be misleading."~"A Common Word Between Us And You"
The Muslim Clerics then go on to invoke that in order for one to truely understand transcendence as taught within Islam, one should study the teachings of al-Ghazali (d.1111CE) as his teachings are more representative of Islamic belief regarding this issue than the scholar that the Pope referenced. This is what al-Ghazali has to say about the subject:
-"He [Allah Ta`ala] is not a body with a form, or a limited, quantitative substance, not resembling bodies in quantifiability or divisibility, or in being a substance or qualified by substance, or in being an accident or qualified by accidents. He does not resemble anything that exists, nor does anything that exists resemble Him. There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him, nor is He like unto anything. He is not delimited by magnitude, contained by places, encompassed by directions, or bounded by heavens or earth." (Qawa'id, 1.3)

-"He - the Most High - is not a body composed of different substances, since the body is that which is composed of substances. When His being a substance limited by place is refuted, His being a body is also refuted, because every body is limited by place and is composed of substances. But it is impossible for the substance to be free from division, composition, motion, rest, form, and quantity, all of which are characteristics of originated phenomena. And if it were possible to believe that the Maker of the world is a body, it would also be possible to believe in the divinity of the sun and the moon as well as other heavenly bodies. If, therefore, one should dare to call Allah a body but not meaning thereby a composition of substances, he would be wrong as far as the name is concerned, but not in negating the idea of body." (Risalah, 1.5)
While it is true that the Quran teaches that Allah (God) is the sustainer of all things, (therefore he has involvement with the world and creation) the Quran also clearly teaches that God is not mingled with or does not take on the limitations of his creation or humanity under any circumstance. To say that the extension of Allah(aka: khalifa or Allah's agent on earth) is God himself or God in the flesh is Shirk (blasphemy) within Islamic teaching and is worthy of the penalty of death. Angels, though representatives of Allah, are NOT to be considered equal to or with Allah under any circumstance. Specifically, StateMaster Online Encyclopedia says this of the Islamic concept of Transcendence:

"For a Muslim, divine transcendence must be protected, and all talk of incarnation or even attempts at figurative artistic representation of the divine, or even of holy persons, are regarded as culpable detractions from God's absolute unicity, supremacy and transcendence. A Muslim is a believer in or follower of Islam."
Therefore one of the first and most notable differences regarding the God of the Bible and Allah of the Quran comes in the manner of how God has revealed, communicated and interracted with humanity, especially as it pertains to the process of salvation. This information directly effects the message that God gave to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel, as it points to and reveals the actual source of the message. The message of the Quran is not authenticated by the scriptures that even the Quran holds in high esteem calling it "The Book" and the "Holy Injil" (the Old Testament)

For Christians, it wasn't an angel that has preeminence in the message of salvation toward man. It begins with God personally providing for and covering the nakedness or shame of Adam and Eve upon banishing them from the garden for their sin:

Genesis 3:21 ~ "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of SKINS, and clothed them."

From the beginning what God did indicated and signified that there would be a "death" to cover man's shame (sin). Next, it was God who made, performed and actualized a covenental relationship with Abraham and vicariously all of humanity:

Genesis 15:12-21~"And when the sun was going down, a DEEP SLEEP fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13- And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;14-And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15-And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16-But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites [is] not yet full. 17-And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18-In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19-The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20-And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21-And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites."

Abraham did not have the strength, wherewithall or the awareness to make or keep the covenant, so God created and prepared the covenant and passed through it himself to validate and seal it. Amazingly, according to the scriptures upon which Islam claims to be based, and upon which Islam says that the revelation of God was given to Muhammad through Gabriel, it was God himself who personally tended to the sins of mankind making a way of escape. God himself was not seperate from his creation but was active within the midst of the creation.

Additionally, Moses spoke to God face to face beholding what is called God's "glory"(Ex. 24:16, Ex. 33:11, Deut. 5:4, Deut. 34:10), God's glory was seen by the congregation of Israel and later by Solomon and the priests of Israel as Shekina (Ex. 16:10, Num. 14:14, Num. 16:42,Num. 20:6, 1 Kings 8:11, 2 Chron. 5:14, 2 Chron.7:1-3). The key here is that this was God himself acting and moving and not a mere aboration, or angelic representative.

The New Testament builds upon this concept and theme further revealing that it was God himself who descended and took on the limitations of flesh without divesting himself of his diety. This is called the incarnation:

John 1:1-4~"1-In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2-The same was in the beginning with God. 3-All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4-In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

John 1:14~ "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."

According to the New Testament, God was not seperate from what and those he created in any sense. He was/is sensitive to the needs of man and familiar with our most personal needs:

Hebrews 4:15~ "For we have not an HIGH PRIEST which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin."

Additionally the New Testament confirms the active role of God in the salvation of mankind:

John 3:16 ~ "For GOD SO LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

2 Corinthians 5:19~"To wit, that GOD WAS IN CHRIST, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."

Based on this attribute alone, it should be thoroughly understood that the God of the Bible and Allah of the Quran cannot be one in the same, as one has of his own accord revealed himself readily to his creation, taken upon the limitations of mankind and redemmed mankind in a surgical and precise fashion, whereas Allah has restricted himself physically from his creation, sent only a representative of his message who is of a lower class than himslef while simultaneously declaring that he himself can only be perceived by humanity through the actions of human agency while he himself remains personally hidden.

Section II: The Biblically Affirmed Deity Of Jesus

As noted from Section I, within Islamic teaching there is no room at all for what the Bible teaches regarding how God has revealed himself to his creation nor for the incarnation of Jesus Christ. In Islamic teaching Jesus is no more than a prophet and certainly not one who died on the cross because of this he was not the one who rose from the dead in any sense other than the metaphorical sense of rising in one's consciousness. Because of this sharp difference, the teachings of Christianity are considered "Shirk" (blasphemy)or the greatest sin.

To confirm this thought, let's look at the Quran pronouncing a curse upon those who believe in the deity of Jesus:

"The Jews call Uzayr 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 upon them: how they are deluded away from the truth!"(Sura 9:30)
Islam as well as most biblical critics have traditionally held in question how much the bible teaches regarding the deity of Jesus, however it is abudantly clear that the gospels as well as the first written epistles of Paul clearly hold that Jesus was deity and not merely a man or prophet.

Prior to the gospel of John (90 AD), that I referenced earlier in this writing, it can be established that the first written narratives of the New Testament, the epistles of Paul to the Corinthians (55 AD)and Phillipians (55 AD) clearly upheld the deity of Jesus and that statements regarding the deity of Jesus were clearly pronounced as "essential" beliefs among Christians. There was no compromise on this subject among Christians and was reflected as much in Nicean Creed of 325 AD. Here is one of the first statements giving Jesus divine glory that we find within the New Testament:

Phil.2:9-11~"9-Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10-That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; 11-And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

There was NONE that heaven would bow down to except God himself. God would not share his glory with mere mortals.

Isaiah 42:8~ "I [am] the LORD: that [is] my name: and MY GLORY will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images."

God would not and does not instruct worship to anyone other than himself.

Jesus Receives Worship While On Earth Biblical Prophets Don't:

When questioned about the first commandment of God toward men, Jesus in Mk. 12:29 repeated the Hebrew Schema שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד - "Shema Yisrael YHWH Eloheinu YHWH Echad" Deut 6:4 and the Hebrew V'ahavta "And ye shall love" from Deut. 11:13. Understanding this is especially important because it affirms that serving ONE Lord and worshipping ONE God was unquestionably what Jesus taught and practiced. In other words what Jesus affirmed was clearly Jewish and clearly monotheistic:

"And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:"

As already noted, part of being a strict montheist was realizing that noone else was to be worshipped other than God himself. In context not even angles were to be worshipped as they were mere messengers of God and not God himself. With that said it cannot go without noting that Jesus regularly and often received worship in the Gospels and throught the New Testament.

In Matthew the wise men sought out Jesus with the express purpose of giving him worship Mt.2:1-2 says:

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,2-Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him."

Additionally Matthew also contains an inclusio based on power and authority. The inclusio begins with the temptation in the wilderness in Mt. 4:8-10 with satan attempting to tempt Jesus by asking him to "worship" him:

"8-Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9-And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10-Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

The word used for worship (Gk: proskuneses)was the expansion of the word worship (Gk: proskuneo) of Mt. 2:2. The inclusio ends Mt. 28:16-20:

"16-Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17-And when they saw him, they worshipped (Gk: proskuneo) him: but some doubted. 18-And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19-Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20-Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen."

Thus the theme is clear. Without bowing to satan in any sense Jesus rightfully claims all power and authority that he had and receives the worship that was due him. He then exclaims this to those who had previously been blinded by the god of this world or satan himself.

God Calls Jesus God, Angles And All Of Heaven Worship Him, Not So Of Prophets:

Heb. 1:5-8~"For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6-And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7-And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 8-But unto the Son [he saith], Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom."

Repeating Psalms 45:6 Hebrews confirms that Jesus' nature was not merely the nature of angels of angelic beings and that it was not an angelic being receiving worship in heaven where only God is worshipped. Further, Revelation chapter 5 is filled with a beautific scene of heaven where Jesus is worshipped by all in heaven and occupies the throne of heaven or the seat of God himself.

Jesus Receives And Answers Prayer, Prophets Don't:

Contrary to Catholic doctrine, noone in heaven has authority to receive prayer but God himself. We see over and over throught the New Testament that believers not only prayed to Jesus but were encouraged to continue in prayer toward him. One of the first prayers made was to find a replacement disciple:

Acts 1:24~"And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,"

The disciples prayed for the power to preach and minister the gospel and for the power to produce "signs and wonders" in the "authority" of Jesus (Acts. 4:30) Another notable prayer was the prayer of Deacon Stephen when he was stoned:

Acts 7:55-60~"55-But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56-And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57-Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58-And cast [him] out of the city, and stoned [him]: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59-And they stoned Stephen, calling upon [God], and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60-And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."

There are many other things that could be said and pointed out here but there is ample evidence scripturally to understand that the New Testament clearly taught that Jesus was not merely a man. He was/is God that took upon himself the limitation of humanity and dwelt among us (Jn. 1:14).

Section III: God's Plan Of Salvation And The Problem Of Original Sin:

In Islamic teaching there is no such doctrine as "original sin". In fact sin is not the problem between God and man as Muhammad records that he was a sinner and that Jesus was without sin. Nonetheless, in spite of this acknowledgement, and angel named Gabriel "supposedly" claimed that Muhammad was the "Seal Of the Prophets" or the last and greatest prophet among men.

What concept of salvation there is within the Quran is based on observance of the Shahadah (Pillars Of Faith) as referenced in Islam, Submission With No Peace Pt. 1, and faithful observance to ritualisms such as fasting and traveling to Mecca and good works:

"Those who avert evil with good, theirs shall be the ultimate abode, Gardens of Eden which they shall enter; and those who were good to their parents and wives and their seed" (Sura 13:22-23)
"Men who fast a women who fast...for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and great reward" (Sura 33:35)
The message of the Quran came well after Jesus finished works righteousness by tearing the wall of partition between God an man by his death on the cross. In contrast, the work for salvation within Islam is never  finished. In the Old Testament, which the Quran is supposed to confirm,  works righteousness included sacrifices of expiation (remission of sins). This sort of concept is one far missing from Islamic teaching and the Quran all together. The manner of accounting for sin is totally different within Islam. In the New Testament, the Biblical plan of salvation involves repentance from sin as sin is the problem between man and God, this salvation is received and rooted in faith, actualized and made effective by works and maintained by trust and relationship with Christ. (See: Are Works & Faith Inseperable?)

In short, in Islam any salvation that can be gained is only based on what one has done or what one does and even that cannot be guaranteed as eternal, everlasting or meaningful with God.

Section IV: The Final Revelation Of God To Man

About 500 years before Islam the writer of Hebrews recorded these words:

Hebrews 1:1-2~"1-God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,2-Hath IN THESE LAST DAYS spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;"

The final revelation of God to man was done in the person of Jesus Christ himself who is God. The bible accords:

2 Corinthians 5:19~"To wit, that God was in Christ, RECONCILING THE WORLD unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."

The revelation of God to humanity rests and abides within Jesus not Muhammad, the Quran nor Islam. Jesus hails that he is not merely "a way" but "the way"...in fact the ONLY way to both true peace with God, salvation and eternal blessings:

John 14:6 ~ "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and THE LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Yes, it is my hope that someone reading this will consider the dangers of Islam as it pertains to salvation and their eternal destination. Islam, like many cults, have adherants with deep seeded emotions and emotional attatchments which make witnessing  to those bound within this religion challenging, however, the Christian is not without the aid of the Holy Spirit who's abiding presence is yet another concept not contained within Islam. I pray that you would share this information with those within Islam who want to be free by the Power of Christ as he is truely the only one able to rescue lost souls and provide true peace.

Blessed!

Update 10/26/2009 ~ Could Speaking Out Against Islam & Islamic Doctrine Become A Violation Of International Law?  Hear A Special Report By Jay Sekulow.

2 comments:

  1. Sorry, I was gone so long, I finally got a new system and "Ain't God Good?"!!!

    Hope this blesses someone, I know it's uncomfortable, but the truth must go there in order to save the lost.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I will give the Muslims credit, even they don't believe in Darwinian evolution:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LG54AelcDio

    To their credit!

    ReplyDelete

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