RSS

Tag Archives: Christianity

Christian God & Muslim Allah 2/2

Attributes of God

Quran and BibleIt is often pointed out that the list of Gods attributes in both religions is nearly identical. Both acknowledge His Judaic background and understand God to be omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and morally perfect creator of all that is, eternal alpha and omega, first and last, greatest conceivable being abounding with grace, mercy and compassion, most holy and righteous who alone by his very definition is worthy of worship. Except for a few disagreements, many of these above mentioned major characteristics of what is referred to be God are astoundingly corresponding. At this point however it is important to ask what do Muslims and Christians mean when they use these labels? It is the case that the same terms are being applied but are they also embodying the same concepts and ideas?[1] In the ensuing section I will analyze several of these notions.

Omnipotence

When it is being said that God can do all things and there is nothing He cannot do, Islam and Christianity differ in their philosophic conclusions. While Muslims perceive Allah’ omnipotence in the absolute sense of the word, Christian understanding maintains a certain qualification – God can do all things (that are logically possible) and there is nothing (logically possible) He cannot do. In Hebrews 6:18 we read that “…it is impossible for God to lie”[2]. Since God is morally perfect Christians hold that it would be in the direct contrast with His nature, as if He lied, He could not be morally perfect anymore. Likewise He cannot create a stone He would not be able to lift or make a married bachelor as these are logical contradictions. Similarly God cannot learn anything new or be wrong due to His omniscience and He cannot sin due to his holiness. Consequently there are number of things Christian God cannot do, while being considered almighty within the logical framework. Now, the generous Muslim view of omnipotence raises at least one disturbing possibility. Craig writes: “[on] Islamic view of God’s power that trumps everything, even His own nature… God is so powerful that he could say to faithful Muslims on the Day of Judgment, “Ha, ha! I tricked you! I’m sending all of you to eternal hell for believing in me and my Prophet!” On this view God is not constrained even by His own goodness.”[3]

Trustworthiness

The implication springing from previous paragraph is thus unavoidable. Read the rest of this entry »

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Reasonable Faith, Theology

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Christian God & Muslim Allah 1/2

(or) same thing, different name…

In an interview for christianitytoday.com made in 2011, Miroslav Volf, professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, was asked this question: “Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?” he answered: “I think that Muslims and Christians who embrace the normative traditions of their faith refer to the same object, to the same Being, when they pray, when they worship, when they talk about God. The referent is the same.”[1] Afterwards he goes on to explain his position to a greater detail, yet his initial statement remains.

In a world of multicultural societies full of pluralistic prospects we experience a natural tendency to link similar looking concepts and consider them to be the same. We incline to connect ideas that are foreign to us to those we are already familiar with, thus looking rather for similarities than differences. Today many would share Volfs perspective and suggest that the Muslim “Allah” and the Christian “God” is virtually the one same god, only perceived from different angles. In the following lines I will not attempt to give, what is in philosophy called, “a killer” argument, that would decisively disqualify one of the alternatives. No, the intention of this paper is more modest. Both similarities and differences of the two theologies will be highlighted and the conclusion, whether the referent is the same, will stay with the reader.

Only one God

With regard to the broad spectrum of world religions Islam and Christianity is at this point truly very close to each other. In fact this parallelism is taken to be one of the most impressive. Yet this is not to say that a great many other religions do not recognize a figure of a high god. Egyptians worshipped Ra, Isis or Osiris, while Greeks gave their praise to Zeus or Jupiter.[2] Nordic people among others feared Odin and Thor while in China “Yu-huang-shang-ti” was originally taken to be the greatest sky deity. Hinduism exalts Brahma, Vishnu and Siva while Mahayana Buddhism follows the example of Buddha. Hiebert, Shaw and Tienou further in their book offer a list of several other tribes that hold this belief: “In sub-Saharan Africa, belief in a creator God is taken for granted by almost everyone. The Masaii call this god “Engai,” the Yoruba “Olorun” [“ Lord of the Sky”], the Dinka “Nhialic,” the Mende “Ngewo,” the Ibo “Chukwu,” and the Fon “Mawu.”[3] The overriding issue with all these other belief systems is that they at the same time recognize multiple high or lesser gods or goddesses, ending up in polytheism. Their belief is nowhere confined to only one god. On the contrary both Islam and Christianity make indisputable claims about only one true God.open_bible

Bible claims:

Det. 6:4: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” Mk. 12:32: “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 1 Cor. 8:4: “…We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” Exod. 20:3: “You shall have no other gods before me.”

The last verse is mentioned as one of the Ten Commandments given by God directly to Moses when he was on the mountain of Sinai.quran

Quran claims:

Surah 112[1] “…He, Allah, is One. [2] Allah is He on Whom all depend. [3] He begets not, nor is He begotten. [4] And none is like Him.” Surah 57 [3] He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things. Surah 4[48] “Lo! Allah forgiveth not that a partner should be ascribed unto Him. He forgiveth (all) save that to whom He will. Whoso ascribeth partners to Allah, he hath indeed invented a tremendous sin.”

The last verse in Islam is associated with an unforgivable sin called “shirk” (associating). As suggested, Allah, if he pleases, can forgive other sins yet if someone breaks his commitment to the only one God, he falls beyond Allah’ remission.[4] Thus it appears that this strong monotheistic attitude is an undeniable bond between the two religions. Read the rest of this entry »

 
5 Comments

Posted by on May 15, 2013 in Reasonable Faith, Theology

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Paul: What Is The Gospel?

In Romans 1:16-17, Paul explained what the Gospel is. He viewed it as God, in his righteousness, justify (or acquit or vindicate) a morally guilty person, both Jews and Gentile, through faith in Christ Jesus, His Son. It is “the power of God for salvation of the Jew first as well as the Gentile”(Witherington 2004: 47)

Through faith in Christ Jesus, God implemented his righteousness, which is “a divine gift rather than human achievement” that also enables obedience, to Jews and Gentiles as He put believers right with Himself.

God’s righteousness is “incompatible with dependence on mere human righteousness” and “is not a goal to be reached by human effort, but a relational premise that should dictate the new life of faithfulness to Christ”. (Keener 2009: pg)

Paul understands that faith in Christ Jesus, which is both an intellectual acknowledgement and genuine dependence, loyalty and allegiance to Christ Jesus, involves dependence on God’s righteousness and is not “a human work, whether physical or mental in nature”. (Ibid pg)

The gospel is good news because God preserves from His wrath those who trust in him. At the cross, God has already delivered both Jews and Gentiles from His final judgment and began restoring those in Christ into the image of His Son.

According to Paul, Keener explained, “[t]he gospel is the object of faith, and its subject is God’s Son (1:9), Jesus Christ (15:19, 20; 16:25).” (Ibid pg)

Bibliography:

Keener, C. S. (2009) Romans.  Kindle edn.  New Covenant Commentary Series. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books.

Witherington III, B. (2004) Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Theology

 

Tags: , , ,

…a few thoughts for a Christian leader

Let me start with a simple question. How would you define “leader“?

One of the Webster’s dictionary definitions is saying that the leader is: “a person who has commanding authority or influence” in free Farlex dictionary we can find a slightly different definition that is saying:” One who is in charge or in command of others.” Or “a person who rules, guides, or inspires others; head”. However this is only a general definition of the word “leader” today. There are surely many other definitions that are dependent on a department that we are dealing with (e.g. Business, Economics, Sports, Transport, Art, Government, Law…).

Now let’s focus on a definition of a leader in Christian environment. When we talk about a Christian leadership it is important to start with talking about Jesus and His command to us as a Christians. Several times He is saying follow me! (Matt 8:22; Matt 9:9; Luke 18:22) or maybe even more clearly we read in 1 Pet 2:21: ”To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.” This passage of scriptures was originally written for servants and slaves.

Look upIt is essential to look up to Jesus, to take him as an example, to follow his lead. In connection with Christian leaders it is important twice as much. So we see that one of the important things is to be a servant. This shows a little difference comparing to commercial world. It is not common for your boss, in your job to serve you that much even though he might help you sometimes but it is not that kind of servant hood that we are talking about. Christian leader must be able to be submissive and devoted they must be able to bring sacrifices. Jesus did that when he was washing feet of his disciples (John 13:4-5). Are any of us more then him not to do so? Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Theology

 

Tags: , , , ,