Attributes of God
It 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? In the ensuing section I will analyze several of these notions.
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”. 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.”
The implication springing from previous paragraph is thus unavoidable. Read the rest of this entry »