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What do Muslims believe about God?


CBN.com - On the surface, Muslim belief about God--"Allah" in Arabic--appears to closely resemble that of Christianity. God is One, and He alone is to be worshipped; It is He Who created the universe and maintains it in existence. In addition, He is Living, Self-Existent, Transcendent, Eternal, All Seeing and Hearing, Omniscient, Omnipotent, and so on. Moreover, while the Creator-creature distinction is basic, this does not mean that God is silent in His universe; the Qur'an affirms the reality of divine revelation in scriptures. It strongly denounces the polytheism of the pre-Islamic tribes of Arabia and calls them to submit to the One True "Lord of the Worlds." Could then this "Allah" be the same God of which the Bible speaks?

When one looks beneath these similarities, however, one discovers a view of God that in reality is quite hostile to that of Christianity. Islam repudiates, for example, the Trinity, insisting on a rigorously Unitarian view of God. Muslims invariably assume that we really believe--irrationally--in three gods (e.g., "If Jesus were a god, what would happen to the world when there is a disagreement between him and God?") This of course includes a rejection of the Deity of Christ. Indeed, the Qur'an misunderstands, in a literal and crassly polytheistic sense, the term "Trinity" to mean we believe in Father, Mother and Son gods, and the term "Son of God" to imply physical procreation (Qur'an 5:72-3, 116-7; 112:4). Likewise, in the Qur'an the "Holy Spirit" is not God, but rather the angel Gabriel (2:87), and God is not Spirit, or personal. Muslims often quote Sura 42:11: "There is nothing like unto Him."

Hence, although we may say that when Muslims speak of Allah and Christians speak of God both refer to one and the same being, their respective views of God and His relationship to His creation are essentially antithetical. At the heart of the disagreement is each side's understanding of divine "transcendence." For Islam, the gulf between the Creator and His creatures is so absolute and uncrossable that a knowledge of God is impossible. We can know what He is not, and we can know His will, but He Himself is always unknowable. Man's present separation with God is normal, and the Incarnation impossible. For the Christian, on the other hand, the Creator-creature distinction does not mean that God is unknowable, because we are made in His image. Man's separation from God is due to sin; it is abnormal and not meant to be permanent. We may have a personal knowledge of God, even though our knowlege of Him is not exhaustive.

Islam's insistence on absolute transcendence is the very thing of which the Bible speaks when it says that men "suppress the truth by their wickedness" (Rom 1:18). Islam is repressing the knowledge of God which man possesses by virtue of his creation in God's image, thereby cutting Muslims off from a personal relationship with God. Muslims try to make up for this need in various ways, such as the practices of mysticism and "folk religion," which are very widespread in Islam. There is nevertheless still a void that can only be satisfied by an intimate relationship with God. Here is where you and I come in. A life lived in close fellowship with God is generally attractive to the Muslim. Is, however, my walk with God such that it will draw Muslims to Him?
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