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God in Islam & Christianity by Mind Map: God in Islam & Christianity
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God in Islam & Christianity

Opening Statements

[1] William Craig

[1] Religious Relativism is incorrect, [1] It is logically Inconsistent, [2] The concept of God in Islam and Christianity is so different in crucial respects that they cannot both be right, [3] Everyone needs to ask themselves what reasons they have for thinking their beliefs are true. Otherwise, we run the risk of being deluded.

[2] Going to defend two basic contentions, [1] That there are good reasons to think that the Christian conception of God is true, [1] Jesus of Nazareth regarded himself as the unique, divine son of God, [1] Going to examine several sayings of Jesus that are demonstrably authentic., [1] The parable of the wicked tenants of the Vineyard (Luke chapter 20), [1] Even the sceptical scholars of the radical Jesus seminar admits the authenticity of this parable, [2] In this parable the owner of the Vineyard sends servants to the Vineyard to collect its fruit. The Vineyard symbolises Israel. The tenants are the Jewish religious leaders. The servants are the prophets sent by God. The owner is God himself., [3] The tenants beat and reject the owners servants. Finally, the owner says "I will send my only beloved son. They will listen to my son. Instead, the tenants kill the son because he is the heir to the Vineyard., [4] What does this parable tell us of Jesus's self understanding? It tells us that he thought of himself as God's special son distinct from all the prophets, God's final messenger, even the heir to Israel. This was no mere Jewish prophet., [2] Matthew 11:27 - Jesus said "all things have been delivered to me by my father, and no one knows the son except the father. And no one knows the father except the son, and those to whom he chooses to reveal him., [1] This is drawn from an old source shared by Matthew and Luke which scholars call the 'Q' document., [2] It's unlikely that the early Church invented this saying because it says that the son is unknowable. For the post-Easter church we can know the son, so this saying is not the product of later church theology., [3] What does this saying tell us about Jesus is self concept? It tells us that he thought of himself as the exclusive and absolute son of God, and the only revelation of God the Father to mankind., [3] Mark 13:32 - Jesus said "but of that day, or that our, no man knows. Not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the father.", [1] This is an authentic saying of the historical Jesus because the later church, which regarded Jesus as divine, would never have invented a saying ascribing ignorance or limited knowledge to Jesus. But here, Jesus says that he doesn't know the date of his return, [2] What do we learn from this saying? It not only reveals Jesus is self-consciousness of being the only one son of God, but it also presents us with an ascending scale from men, to the Angels, to the son, to the father. A scale on which Jesus transcends every human being and even every angelic being., [2] C.S. Lewis was right when he said: "a man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said, would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic, on the level of a man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is the son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, spit at him, kill him as a daemon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord, and God - but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us., [2] His divine understanding of himself was vindicated by his resurrection from the dead, [1] If Jesus really did rise from the dead then he must have been who he claimed to be - the unique divine son of God., [2] Most people think that the resurrection of Jesus cannot be historically investigated - you either just believe it by blind faith or not. I spent two years at the University of Munich in Germany as a fellow of the Alexander van Humbolt Foundation studying the historical basis for the resurrection of Jesus and I found that the historical grounds for that event are remarkably good, [3] There are three major historical facts that are established by the consensus of biblical criticism that support the resurrection of Jesus, [1] The empty tomb, [1] The evidence indicates that Jesus's tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers on the Sunday morning following his crucifixion. According to Yacob Kramer, an Austrian scholar who has specialised in the study of the Resurrection “by far, most scholars hold firmly to the reliability of the biblical statements regarding the empty tomb", and then he lists 28 prominent scholars in support. I can think of at least 16 more that he neglected to mention., [2] According to D.H. Van Dalen, It is extremely difficult to object to the empty tomb on historical grounds. Those who deny it to do so on the basis of theological or philosophical assumptions. But those assumptions may simply have to be changed in light of the facts., [2] Jesus's appearances alive after his death, [1] The evidence indicates that on separate occasions different individuals and groups of people saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death. In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul lists some of these appearances. He wrote “Christ was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and he appeared to Cephus, then to the 12, then he appeared to more than 500 brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, although some have fallen asleep, then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared to me., [2] According to the late Norman Peren Of the university of Chicago, the more we investigate the traditions with regard to the appearances, the firmer the rock begins to appear upon which they are based., [3] These appearances were bodily and physical. They were witnessed not only by believers, but also by unbelievers, sceptics, and even by enemies., [3] The very origin of the Christian faith itself implies the reality of the Resurrection, [1] All historians agree that Christianity sprang into being because the original disciples sincerely believed that God had raised Jesus from the dead, and that they proclaimed this message everywhere they went. Wherein the world did they come up with that outlandish belief?, [2] If you deny that Jesus really did rise from the dead then you have got to explain the origin of the disciples belief in terms of either Christian influences, or Jewish influences., [1] Obviously, it couldn't have been the result of Christian influences, for the simple reason that there was no Christianity yet., [2] Neither can it be explained by Jewish influences, because the Jewish concept of resurrection was radically different from Jesus' resurrection., [3] As renowned new Testament scholar Ramachi Miramias puts it: nowhere does one find in the literature of ancient Judaism anything can parable to the resurrection of Jesus Apart from the resurrection of Jesus the origin of the disciples belief remains inexplicable., [4] Can to explain away these three great facts like “‘the disciples stole the body,’ or, “Jesus wasn't really dead" have been universally rejected by contemporary scholarship. The simple truth is that there is no plausible, naturalistic explanation of these facts. Therefore, it seems to me that the Christian is amply justified in believing that Jesus rose from the dead, and was who he claimed to be., [5] Thus, it seems to me that there is good reason to believe that the Christian conception of God is true., [2] There are not comparably good reasons to think that the Islamic conception of God is true

[3] The Muslim conception of God, [1] The Muslim conception of God shares many elements of similarity with the Christian conception of God. This is only to be expected since historically Islam is an offshoot of the Judaeo-Christian tradition. It therefore has many elements of truth. Nevertheless, I do not see any comparably good reasons to believe that the Islamic conception of God is wholly true., [2] What good reason is there to think that the Islamic conception of God is true? As the Koran says "produce your proof, if you speak truly", [3] Two reasons why I am persuaded that the Islamic conception of God is not adequate. My misgivings are historical, and philosophical, [1] Philosophical, [1] In Islam, God is not all loving, [1] My philosophical difficulty is that Islam seems to have a morally inadequate concept of God. Muslims and Christians agree that God is the greatest conceivable being by definition, if there is anything you can conceive of greater than God then that would be God. Thus, necessarily, God is the greatest conceivable being., [2] Besides being all-powerful, all knowing, and so forth, the greatest conceivable being must also be all loving, for it's obviously better to be loving than unloving, and God is a morally perfect being. Therefore, God, as the morally perfect being, must be all loving. This is exactly what the Bible affirms. The Bible says "God is love. In this is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the sacrifice for our sins". Again it says "God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us". What a contrast when we read what the Koran says about God's attitude towards sinners., [3] From the Quran, [1] God loves not the unbelievers, [2] God loves not evildoers, [3] God loves not the proud, [4] God loves not transgressors, [5] God loves not the prodigal, [6] God loves not the treacherous, [7] God is an enemy to unbelievers, [4] Over and over again the Koran declares that God does not love the very people that the Bible said God loves so much, that he sent his only son to die for them, [5] This may seem paradoxical with the Koran calling God [Arabic] 'the all merciful', until you realise that according to the Koran, what gods mercy really cashes out to is that if you believe and do righteous deeds, then God can be counted on to give you what you have earned, plus a bonus… the Koran says "work, and God will surely see your work, every soul shall be paid in full for what it has earned. Those who believe and do deeds of righteousness, perform the prayer and pay the alms, their wage awaits them with the Lord.", [6] According to the Koran, God's love is reserved only for those who earn it. It says "to those who believe and do righteousness, God will assign love". So the Quran assures us of God's love for the God-fearing and the good doers, but he has no love for sinners and unbelievers. Thus, in the Islamic conception, God is not all loving. His love is partial, and has to be merited., [7] Don't you think this is an inadequate conception of God? A God who says "if you measure up to these standards, THEN I will love you". As the greatest conceivable being, the most perfect being, the source of all goodness and love, God's love must be unconditional and impartial. Therefore, the Islamic conception of God seems to be morally inadequate. Philosophically therefore, I cannot agree to it., [2] Historical, [1] A historically inadequate conception of Jesus, [1] According to the Koran Jesus was not divine, but merely a human prophet, [1] Quran Verse: They are unbelievers who say that God is the Messiah, Mary's son. The Messiah son of Mary, was only a messenger., [2] The Koran and then goes on to imagine the following dialogue between God and Jesus: "God said 'Jesus, did you say two men 'take me and my mother as gods'"? Jesus answers "no! I only said 'serve God, my Lord and your Lord', [1] This passage evidently embodies the misunderstanding that the Christian Trinity comprises of God the Father, Mary, and their offspring Jesus - a view that no Christian would affirm., [2] The Koran states that Jesus was not crucified, [1] Quran Verse: Jews say 'We slew the Messiah - Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of God". Yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, but only a likeness of that was shown to them, [2] Later Muslim tradition says that Judas was crucified in his place. Obviously, either the new Testament or the Koran hasn't got its facts straight here, they can't both be right. We simply have to ask the question "which is more apt to be more historically reliable?" - A collection of documents which was written down within the first generation, whilst the eyewitnesses were still alive, or a book written 600 years later by a man who had not even any first-hand contact with the new Testament., [1] To ask the question is to answer it. The primary source document is clearly the documents of the new Testament., [3] Legendary stories about Jesus have found their way into the pages of the Koran, [1] I am referring to stories about Jesus found in the apocryphal Gospels. These are forgeries which appeared in the second and third centuries after Christ and which the Koran unwittingly repeats as facts., [1] For example the Koran mentions the story borrowed from the apocryphal infancy Gospel of Thomas of how the boy Jesus makes a bird out of clay and then it comes to life., [2] The story of Jesus's birth is also fancifully embellished in the Koran. Jesus comes out of Mary's womb talking, and expounding Islamic theology. Here is how the Koran describes Jesus's birth, [3] Quran Verse: When Mary felt the throes of childbirth, she lay down by the trunk of a palm tree crying "Oh would that I had died!'. But a voice from below cried out to her "do not despair! Your Lord has provided a brook that runs at your feet, and if you shake the trunk of this palm tree, it will drop fresh ripe dates into your lap. Therefore rejoice eat and drink. Carrying the child she came to her people, who said to her ‘Mary, you have surely committed a monstrous thing! Your father was not the wicked man, neither was your mother unchaste. She made a sign to them, pointing to the child, but they replied ‘how can we speak to a babe in the cradle?', Whereupon he spoke and said ‘I am the servant of Allah! He has given me the Gospel and ordained me a prophet. His blessing is upon me wherever I go and he has commanded me to be steadfast in prayer, to give alms to the poor as long as I live, he has exhorted me to honour my mother, he has purged me of vanity and wickedness. I was blessed on the day I was born, blessed shall I be on the day of my death, and may peace be upon me on the day that I will be raised to life’., [4] I think it's painfully obvious that this story has been rewritten in light of Islamic theology., [5] Equally unreliable from a historical point of view, is the Koran's allegation that Jesus was not crucified - a fact that even Robert Funk - the chairman of the radical Jesus seminar recognises as - and I quote ‘one indisputable fact about Jesus’. It seems very clear then that the Koran presents us with a historically inadequate, and therefore inaccurate picture of Jesus., [6] For these and other reasons, even if I was not a Christian I still could not become a Muslim. There is just no good reason to believe that the Islamic conception of God is true.

[4] Summary, [1] In summary, We have seen two good reasons to think that the Christian conception of God is true., [1] First, Jesus of Nazareth regarded himself as God's unique, divine son., [2] Jesus' divine self understanding was vindicated by his resurrection from the dead., [2] Moreover, we have seen two good reasons to think that the Islamic conception of God is not wholly true., [1] First, Islam seems to have a morally inadequate conception of God., [2] Second, Islam has a historically inadequate conception of Jesus., [3] It seems to me therefore, that when we weigh the evidence as dispassionately and objectively as we can, the evidence suggests that God has revealed himself decisively to mankind in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Through him we can come to know God's wonderful love and forgiveness.

[2] Jamal Badawi

[1] Pure Monotheism requires 3 key conditions, Conditions, Believe that God is the creator and sole sustainer of the universe. There can be no partner or co-creator with him, God alone is worthy of worship. None can be worshipped instead of him, alongside of him, nor can he be worshipped through any of his creatures - no confession or clergy with authority., God is not only one numerically but also in attributes and person., Any departure from these conditions is shirk. This is not only polytheism but also means to associate others with God in his exclusive, divine attributes. The Quran presents this as the cardinal sin that will never be forgiven., Pure monotheism has been the message of all prophets throughout history, All followers of previous prophets were Muslims

[2] Literal meaning of the term 'Islam' is to achieve peace with God, within oneself, with others, humans, animals, planets, ecology etc, through submission to God and acceptance of history

[3] Gods qualities and attributes, There is absolutely nothing comparable to God., He begets not nor was he begotten, Justice, Forgiving qualities, Holiness, 'wadood' is more than 'god is love'. It means 'full of loving compassion'. The readiness of God to forgive those who turn back to him is evidence of his loving quality.

[4] The incarnate second person of Jesus, Jesus as both Fully man and fully god. Infinite and finite at the same time. This is a contradiction in terms., To a Muslim it is a deep belief that Jesus was one of the five greatest prophets in history., The gospel statements saying that God raised Jesus shows that there is a greater power than Jesus., Resurrection is not a big deal and does not make a person divine. God raises whoever he wishes., John 14: I am the way,the truth and the life, nobody comes to the father except by me, Every prophet speaks not for himself. Jesus said in John that he speaks for God who sent him. Every prophet in his lifetime is the way the truth and the life, nobody can reach God except by following the way that God revealed to that prophet., John 10: I and the father are one, In John 17:11 Jesus spoke of being one with his disciple, In John 14:20 Jesus said 'I am in you as the Father is in me", which means that the oneness with the father is only oneness in purpose not in divinity or essence, let alone the greek words i don't have time to elaborate(?), Jesus saying 'whoever has seen me has seen God', Where Jesus says 'see' here he actually means 'known/understand'. The Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament say that nobody has ever seen God., Thomas saying 'My Lord and my God' and Jesus does not rebuke him, Some biblical scholars say that there are alternative modes of expression where this actually means 'My godly Lord'. This means that you are godlike but not literally God., Mark 14 Jesus accepting worship from others, This is very strange because the word worship is sometimes used to mean 'intense love'. Mayors are sometimes addressed as 'your worship' as well. If Jesus himself were an object or worship the pages of the New Testament would be full. Instead, we find he himself worshipped God. He fell to his face and prayed to God, and prayer is petition from the finite to the infinite., Where Jesus says "before Abraham was, I AM" in John 8, The words 'I AM' do not carry the connotation given to it. this is not the same term used in Exodus because the Greek term used in each case is not the same., The preexistence in terms of being before Abraham can be understood in terms of the Bible itself. In 1 Peter 1:20 it says of a jesus ass one who was destined before the foundation of the Earth. In Acts 2:23 the same thing speaks and uses the exact term 'foreknowledge' of God. So yes, Jesus, and all of us existed in the foreknowledge of God before the foundation of the earth., Why did the Jews try to stone Jesus? It was not because he said that he was God, but because Jesus healed someone on the sabbath, thereby making himself equal to God. That's why he had an eloquent response to them about how the sabbath is made for man, not man for the sabbath., Jews were also offended because of their love for Abraham and didn't like the notion of a jesus putting himself above., There is no conclusive claim (evidence?) that Jesus ever said he was god. This should be crystal clear when it comes to divinity, you can't have amibiguous statements when it comes to teaching people the basics of the faith.

[5] Points raised by Dr Craig, Agree that trinity and pure monotheism are not compatible. One must be right and the other wrong., Luke, servants and sending the only son, The word servant is more honorific than son of God. In the Quran the word servant has a higher meaning than son because we know from the Bible that the term 'Son of God' refers to any good person, Dr Craig has looked very literally at biblical statements about 'only' and 'beloved'. Eg: in the Quran the term 'first born' is attributed to more than one prophet: Abraham, Jacob and David. If we take it literally that's a self contradiction. First does not necessarily mean one event. The term 'only son' is used metaphorically in the Bible and not in the literal sense. Eg: genesis 22:2 'taking your only son, Isaac', obviously this was not his only Son, because Ishmael was already there, 86 times in the Bible Jesus is referred to as 'Son of God'. Not once was he ever referred to as 'God the Son'. That theology developed later and this is extremely significant., Matthew 11:27 Jesus says 'god gave me everything', Logically if someone is receiving and someone is giving, the one giving is fester and he's the only one God., There can be no trinity then because god the father is totally emasculated because he has given 'everything' already. If you want to take things literally it goes both ways., Question about the 'knowledge of the hour', This itself is an admission that Jesus is not divine, because one of the attributes of divinity is to know the hour, not be unaware of the future, The disciples own religious experiences and statements, This is all immaterial because angels are themselves 'creatures' of God and lower than God himself., Didn't find any of the points mentioned by Dr Craig very convincing, Rejection of Islam, Reject Dr Craigs assumption that Islam is an offshoot of judeo Christian tradition. This is based on the false assumption that when two texts are similar then the latter must have copied from the earlier. We also know that two texts can also have been based on a third common source, which is exactly what Muslims believe. God revealed the Torah to Moses. God revealed the Injeel to Jesus and it is the same God who revealed the Quran to Muhammad. So Islam is based on the same source on which Judaism and Christianity base their beliefs., That Muslims do not have a morally adequate view of God because of this notion of love, The notion of love is already there in the Quran directly and indirectly and can be found in dozens and dozens and dozens of verses., Dr Craig has a flawed exegesis and does not understand the mode of expression in the Quran., Where the Quran says that God does not love the cruel, the rejectors of faith, and all kind of evil deeds, it is actually a metaphor referring to rejection, and not loving evil deeds. When God speaks about loving the believers, the kind, it does not mean exclusive love for those people, it is also a metaphor of loving the good deeds., I consider it morally inadequate for God to say that he loves those who do evil and those who do good equally, as it leaves us with the conclusion that it doesn't make any difference and that when Adolf Hitler encounters Mother Teresa in paradise he will smile at her and say "are all, it didn't make any difference, did it?", Dr Craig mixes two things: statements in the Quran about loving and hating, to refer to the good deeds and evil deeds in order to give us the moral inducement. That is the ultimate of moral adequacy is to make a distinction between good and evil., The other thing Dr Craig is confusing is the notion of God loving human beings in spite of their evil. In that we don't differ. eg: As Muhammad said: "if this world is worth even the wing of a fly, God would not even have given the unbeliever a drink of water from it." So people disobey God but he still let them breathe and eat and even then he says 'if you repent and come back to me, I will forgive you and receive you'. In one of the hadith Qudsi God says 'if you come to me one inch I'll come to you one arm'. I think there is a mixup between God caring about all, including those who are disobedient, and if he doesn't care about them, why does he send Prophets?, Dr Craig keeps claiming that the Bible is authentic, there no disagreement, I disagree. In codex A in the british Museum it was found the one of the Greek manuscripts was originally written 'ho" which means 'which', they found after analysis there was a different ink that added the letter S to ho, and hos means God and that totally changed the meaning and this is only but one example of many of the various editorial work that was done in the scriptures., Dr Craid could not present a convincing argument about why trinity is better, nor could you make any effective rebuttal that Islam is inadequate concept of the true monotheistic faith

[6] Resurrection, There is evidence in the first/second book of kings and in Ezekiel that God raised people from the dead, sometimes even just through touching the bones of dead prophets., We will all be resurrected at the end, does that mean we will all be promoted into the Godhead?

[7] Muslims don't see what the disciples say as binding because they are not prophets of God.

[8] Trinity, Baptism that appears in Matthew 28, this is found in manuscripts dating from the fourth century when the doctrine of the trinity became official, Eusebius referred to the same quotation from matthew 28:19 18 times without using the so called Trinitarian baptismal formula, which indicates that it came later., In the New Testament the baptismal formula did not include the Trinitarian form, only the name of Christ. That's in Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48 and 19:5., Jesus being manifest in the flesh in 1 Timothy 3:16., The revised standard version of the bible does not talk about Christ but about God. Actually it says 'he who was manifest in the flesh', not that God was manifested in the flesh.

William Craig



Response to Badawi