Thursday, September 27, 2007

How does God introduce himself to human beings?

One interesting question in comparing the Bible and the Qur'an is to try to find out how God introduces himself to human beings. We will see this by comparing the story of the calling of Moses as it is recorded in the Qur'an and in the Bible.

a) Sura 20:11-16
When Moses approaches the burning bush, God addresses him: "O Moses! I am your Lord! I have chosen you! Listen then to the inspiration sent to thee. Verily I am God: There is no God but I: So serve me and establish regular prayer for celebrating my praise."

b) Exodus 3:4-10
"I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob... I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land..."

What is the main subject in each text? How does God introduce himself?

* In Islam:
The oneness of God is the subject. This is really the centre of Islam. Daily Millions of Muslims confess this in their creed and prayers. Nothing more is said about God, nor about what he does. His main characteristic is that he is one. As a result of who God is, man is called to perform the religious duties.

* In the Bible:
The centre is not monotheism, but God's redemptive work with his people, his salvation story. Monotheism is clearly taught in the Bible, but it is not the main characteristic of God. Before the first commandment emphasizes that there is only one God, there is the statement: "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:2-3). In 1Corinthians 15:3-5+11 we see that the centre of the message of the Apostle Paul was the deeds of salvation of God in Jesus. God always acts first in his love and does something for man, because man is in need of salvation.

This brief comparison shows us a main difference between the two religions:

Islam: Who God is and what man has to do.
Gospel: Who man is and what God does.

The most precious of the Gospel, the saving action of God, is missing in Islam. More, it is being denied. The most precious in Islam, that God is only one, not having a son, not providing salvation, is contradicting the Gospel. So we see that in the centre of the two religions there is a big difference.

1 comment:

Sunil said...

Taher Latif,

>> The most precious of the Gospel, the saving action of God, is missing in Islam. More, it is being denied..
>> So we see that in the centre of the two religions there is a big difference.

There are several crucial/central contradictions between the message/doctrine of God of OT/NT (the God of Abraham-Isaac-Jacob; the faith/scriptures affirmed by Jesus) and the version as proclaimed by Muhammad. However, Muhammad seems to refers to the Judeo-Christian prophets and the scriptures affirmed by those prophets in a seemingly approving manner. If so, then Muhammad’s faith is self-refuting as the Judeo-Christian prophets/scriptures predate Muhammad and if he talked of them approvingly, he is approving a message/doctrine/morality/facts/law that is contradictory to that of his own in almost all matters. On the other hand, if Muhammad was not speaking approvingly about Judeo-Christian prophets/scriptures, then he was starting a completely new religion that has nothing to do with the God of OT/NT, which means it was a new religion hanging in mid-air and recent history (or the proverbial house built upon sand) with no foundation/basis to stand on, delinkied from the very prophets/scriptures on the basis of which he sought to base his legitimacy on. If the faith proclaimed by Muhammad has nothing to do with God of OT/NT, then it is an express violation of the First commandment of OT/NT.

So, regardless of whether Muhammad talked approvingly of Judeo-Christian prophets/scriptures or not, either way, the faith proclaimed by him appears self-refuting.