The Bible (which means "the Book") is composed of 66 books written
over thousands of years by many different and highly literate people,
Hebrews and Christians, tracing back to Adam, who lived the story
of God's presence in their lives. It is attested to by a whole redemptive
community over time, as inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Bible starts
with the historical story of creation, identifies the story of the first
sin, and traces the story of redemption to the first and second comings
of the Messiah. The Bible, on its own terms, expects all of its claims
to be tested by the disciplines of history, science, law and reason;
indeed, the Bible is the source for these disciplines, and it invites
the toughest questions of its skeptics.
The Qur'an (which means "Recitation") is the holy book of the religion
of Islam (a word which means "submit"). The Islamic people are known
as Muslims. The origin of this word is uncertain, either from a
people in sixth century A.D. who originally followed a prophet
named Maslamah, or it may mean "traitor," used originally as a derogatory
word by those who opposed Islam, but later adopted as a badge of honor
by followers of Islam. The Qur'an is composed of 114 Surahs. The first
Surah is short and gives a model prayer for Muslims. Surahs 2-114 do
not have a historical or theological order, but they go in order from
the longest to the shortest. Surahs may be regarded as chapters, but
not in the biblical sense of an ordered larger text. Rather, each Surah
is regarded as a distinct revelation given by the Muslim god Allah to
the otherwise illiterate Muhammad (ca. 570-632 A.D.), during the last
22 years of his life. The Qur'an is designed for recitation by faithful
Muslims who are expected to submit to it without questions.
Thus, we note some crucial distinctions. The Bible starts with the
origin of history, and traces history to the time of Jesus's first disciples,
and is written by many people over thousands of years who belong to
a redemptive community. The witness of many, where cross-examination
of truth claims is assumed. The Qur'an comes through one man over 22
years, starts with a doctrinal prayer, and is historically and theologically
unordered thereafter. The witness of one, where there is no cross-examination
of truth claims.
2. The God of the Bible and Allah of the Qur'an
The God of the Genesis 1-2 is Yahweh Elohim. In the Hebrew, these
names by definition refer to the true Creator who is greater than
space, time and number, and who spoke the creation into being. In contrast,
the pagan gods of Babylon, Athens, Rome, Egypt, the Indus
River Valley et al. were all limited, petty, jealous and capricious
deities -- smaller than and subsequent to the material universe.
Some skeptics since the 1850s have tried to argue that Yahweh was a
Hebrew tribal deity, one of many pagan deities in the ancient Near East.
But to do so, they had to twist Scripture and history, and be intellecually
dishonest concerning scholarly research.
The name of Allah comes from a pagan male deity in Arabia at the time,
who had his female consort, Al-Lat. The Qur'an represents Allah as
the true and all-powerful god. But in historical terms, we shall see how
Muhammad elevated a local tribal deity to be the One God, in order to
advance his stature as the Prophet of the One God.
Thus we see a conflict, which solid historical work reveals:
Unbelievers seek to reduce the true God in Genesis to the level of a pagan
and limited deity; the god of Islam is in reality an obscure pagan deity
who has been raised to the level of being the "One God."
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.