Muhammad was wrong … what about Moses?
Published: 8 December 2013 (GMT+10)
Christians reject the claimed revelations of Islam and other non-Christian religions, so on what basis do we accept the revelation of Scripture? Kevin M. asks:
I am a committed Christian and believe Jesus died for our sins and the world was created by God in 6 days.
However, my faith gets shaky around a Christian argument against Islam. The argument is that Mohammad received his ‘revelation’ out of thin air and thus he was a crack pot.
The problem I have with this argument is that I can level the same accusation against both Moses and The Apostle Paul.
I realize that this isn’t your normal field of expertise but I respect your opinions and your perspective.
Lita Cosner answers:
I am glad to hear that you’re a committed Christian; that means we can assume some starting assumptions that wouldn’t otherwise be the case.
First, God’s word is completely accurate and non-contradictory. If you read Scripture, He always gave His prophets signs to authenticate their ministry. For instance, Moses worked amazing miracles; as did Elijah and the other prophets. And all their prophecies agreed completely with what came before.
When Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God and accusing the Jewish leaders of perverting the faith with their oral tradition, He authenticated His message with miracles that were unprecedented in all of Jewish history, so much so that the Pharisees were culpable for their unbelief. And of course, the Resurrection was the ultimate authentication of Jesus’ claims.
Jesus gave the apostles authority to go out and spread the Gospel, and the Spirit gave them what we now call the New Testament. We believe that the apostles were a special gift to the church, and after the last ones died, there was no more revelation of Scripture because at that point, God had revealed everything we need today for faith and obedience to Christ. When we look at the whole of God’s revelation from Genesis to Revelation, we see a beautiful harmony, and an overarching narrative that beautifully conveys how God has interacted with His creation and instructs us about how we are to relate to Him, and what we can hope for in the future when we believe.
Now, with that background, let’s look at Muhammad. As Christians, we affirm that Scripture comes from God and is without error. So anything that doesn’t agree with Scripture must be wrong. And the Koran/Qur’an seems at points as if it was written specifically to contradict Christianity. See the table at Creation, Islam, and Academic Integrity, for example. Worse yet, the Qur’an can’t even be consistent within itself.1
We can say that Moses and Paul weren’t crazy and actually did hear from God because God authenticated their message with miracles, and their message was completely consistent with prior revelation. Muhammad’s false revelation was not even consistent with itself.
I hope these few thoughts are helpful.
References and notes
- For instance, see this list: http://www.answering-islam.org/Quran/Contra/. Return to text.
I've just read and highly recommend a book by Robert Spencer, 'Did Mohammad Exist?', a very interesting look at the evidence for the early development of Islam as told per Islamic traditions. It turns out the archeaological, and textual evidence is very very thin, with a great amount of the material being late and in dispute.
Good answer :) I do have one query. "after the last ones died, there was no more revelation of Scripture because at that point, God had revealed everything we need today for faith and obedience to Christ."
Unfortunately, I once got myself caught up with some Mormon missionaries, which lead my "friend" (so-called) to convert. That being the case, I decided to study Mormonism. Since Mormons believe their "scriptures" to be just more of God's will, I was wondering if you could defend the statement? God bless :)
The Bible has been confirmed to be historically accurate, and its teachings are internally consistent. Neither one of those things is true of the Book of Mormon, and it conflicts with the Bible. If the Bible is inerrant Scripture, the Book of Mormon certainly cannot be, and it is inferior at every possible point.
Another indicator that the Bible reflects truth and Divine inspiration, while the Qur'an reflects error and demonic inspiration is the "fruit" of each. Compare the freeing, uplifting effects on individuals and societies resulting from the application of Biblical principles with the enslaving effects of the application of Qur'anic principles throughout history.
The gospel and salvation is firmly grounded in history and prophecy – I will give some examples:
4000BC God promised Eve that He would give her a descendant who would crush the head of the serpent (Satan) - Genesis 3:15
2100BC God promised Abraham that the covenant for forgiveness would be fulfilled through the line of Abraham's son, Isaac - Genesis 17:19
2050BC God showed Abraham that He would provide an atonement (a sacrifice) for sin, and that this sacrifice would be made on the same mountain where Abraham offered his son Isaac - Genesis 22:14
1860BC God declared that the promised ruler would come from the descendants of Judah, son of Jacob - Genesis 49:10
1400BC God promised Moses that He would raise up a prophet like Moses - Deuteronomy 18:15
1000BC God promised King David that the a descendant of David's would rule over an eternal Kingdom - 2 Samuel 7:12-13
8th Century BC The Prophets Isaiah and Micah prophesied that Messiah would be born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem and live in Nazareth - Isaiah 7:14 and 11:1, Micah 5:2
730BC Isaiah prophesied that a righteous King would reign on David's throne forever, an eternal King with an eternal Kingdom.
"Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this" - Isaiah 9:7
710BC Isaiah prophesied concerning Jesus - His humility and humiliation, His suffering and pain, His death and resurrection, all in order to bear our sins and offer sacrifice for the penitent - Isaiah chapter 53.
520BC Zechariah prophesied that Messiah would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver - Zechariah 11:12-13
Well written, and boldly stated Lita. I agree completely.
Can you please elaborate on the inconsistencies of the Qu'ran...
A quick Google search for 'Qur'an contradictions' should bring up some lists that are far more detailed than anything I could give in a short response.
Jesus rose from the dead mohammed did not
Didn't Muhammad claim to perform miracles as well?
To quote the "Miracles of Muhammad" Wikipedia page, "the Qur'an does not overly describe Muhammad performing miracles, and the supreme miracle of Muhammad is finally identified with the Qur'an itself." While Muslim tradition later ascribed miracles to Muhammad, it is difficult to see why the Qur'an would not refer to these miracles in an attempt to add credibility to his teachings.
When discussing Islam I often surprise people by stating that I agree with something that Muhammad said. His initial reaction at receiving his "vision" in the cave was sheer terror as he was convinced that he had seen a jinn or demon. I agree with Muhammad on this point - it was his wife, Khadijah, who convinced him that he had in fact seen an angel, Gibril or Gabriel.
This was not his first strange "vision", however. As a child he was nursed by a Bedouin woman. During this time he had a strange experience about his heart being taken out and cleansed by 2 men in white robes. Muhammad’s mother later asked him what happened and gave him no peace until he told her. When she asked if he feared a demon had possessed him, he replied that he did. This would certainly explain the antagonism of the spirit of Islam to Christianity
Simply put, the oldest religion "wins". We can trace ours literally back to the beginning of the universe where the singular God was giving special revelation to the very first man alive. Polytheism of all sorts and over all eras is immediately discarded as false. Then, any religion – like Islam, for example – which even sounds a little like ours (I have the figure Abraham in mind to be specific), but whose "special revelation" came far too late in human history to be worthy of serious consideration, is immediately exposed as a piggy-back or copy-cat religion. Finally, as Lita points out, any religion which claims the form but denies the power, was dead before it even got started. In any culture, over any era, the heart which will not be satiated until it finds truth, will ultimately want one question answered: "What was the first religion?" When that heart finds out that the only place the manuscript of that first religion resides in our Bible, its thirst for truth will begin to be slaked. Over every generation, from the beginning of time to the end of time, all doubt, confusion, and noise regarding the ongoing human query, “Which religion is right?”, can be removed by the simple directive, “Go and find the first one.” It’s not hard. The oldest religion wins.
Perhaps the greatest difference which is immediately evident between Christianity and Islam is the means by which they have been spread and continue to be spread. The one has been spread by faithful communication of the facts of Christ's miraculous birth, ministry, death and resurrection while leaving conversion to the work of God the Holy Spirit alone. Meanwhiie the other has been spread largely by a convert or die mentality which asserts that it's believers have a mandate to take over the world by whatever means they find necessary, including lying and murder. Please note that I refer above to true Chrstianity as spread by the Apostles and those who follow them, and not to Dark Age Roman Catholicism which was was perpetrated in much the same way as Islam, by force of arms. If a work truly is of God, then He alone must accomplish it, not human means of warfare or coertion of any kind.
The proof, as the saying goes, is in the pudding. If it is God's work, then man's means of "arm twisting" have nothing to do with it and anything which has grown by that means, such as forced "conversion" to Islam OR to "Christianity" so-called, is impotent in the final analysis and will be judged, not rewarded, by God.
God's dilemma is revealed in the Bible, Romans 3:23-26: his justice is perfect and complete,and his grace/mercy is also perfect and complete. If God were to forgive someone, that's mercy, but not justice; if God were to punish every sin without mercy, that's justice without mercy. But for God to have mercy on someone, justice must also be meted out for his crimes/sins. So, in order to extend mercy to someone, a substitute needs to be introduced who is ready, able and willing to take the first person's punishment on himself so that person can go free.
In Christianity Christ is, of course, the substitute so that God's perfect Justice AND his perfect Mercy/forgiveness are fully satisfied, and he has been true to himself.
In Islam, there is no substitute, yet Allah is supposed to be fully Just and fully Merciful. Either there is no mercy/forgiveness in Islam or there is no justice. Therefore Allah has fallen short of his own standard.
One Muslim I spoke to reckoned that mercy comes after punishment, so Allah is both merciful and just; but that's not the case. Mercy means to go without punishment that was deserved.
This is why the scriptures say that God is "just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Just AND merciful.
Praise his holy name - all our sins were laid on Christ so we go free!
Another issue is that the Qur'an teaches that Jesus did not die. However, the Old Testament prophets said that the Christ would die (Psalm 16:10, Isaiah 53:9. Jesus Christ himself said he would die (Mark 9:31). The Apostle Paul who was himself a prophet (Ephesians 3:3)said Christ had died (1Thess 1:10). Yet 600 years later, a 'prophet' came along who said Christ never died.
I ask you: who should we believe?
I worked for more than 20 years in Saudi Arabia so I know something about Islam and Quran. Islam is an anti-Chrst religion. They believe that Christ is just an ordinary prophet and not God. They believe that Christ was not crucified and someone else (Judas) really was hanged on the cross. There also insist that our Bible is corrupted and Quran is the final book revealed by God which I think is not true. Also, all Muslims hate so much the chosen people of God, Israel. If they love and beleve in God, they should love Israel, right?
The above is all true. I have read the Koran and it a hateful, rambling structureless book lacking any beauty and mainly consisting of threats of hell for any who disobey Muhammed. Jesus came according to many prophecies which he fulfilled, Muhammed fulfilled prophecy too-Jesus' prophecy that false prophets would lead many astray. ' You shall know them by their works'.. These works are documented on jihadwatch and religionofpeace and elsewhere. Pray for Muslims, but understand the Koran. It is a death warrant for westetn civilisation.
Amen, Amen and again Amen. We have the inerrant, infallible Word of God.
I personally believe the key to this original question is found not so much in what Paul received by way of vision but what he commented on what had previously been recorded in the Old Testament and hence available to people for centuries. In 1Cor 15:1-6 Paul states:
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.”
This is the place in the Bible where the ‘gospel’ is defined – the gospel ‘by which you are saved’. God prophesied this gospel in the Old Testament (‘according to the Scriptures’), then enabled it to happen (Christ died, He was buried and then raised on the third day), and did it in front of witnesses (verses 5 & 6) and did not just reveal it to a single person.
Remember that when Paul first wrote this, there were many people still living (verse 6) who could have simply said this was incorrect – if it was – but they didn’t.
So, Christian belief is not just based on the visions to one person, but on the solid foundations of prophesy, fulfilment of that prophesy and fulfilment in front of multiple witnesses.
What other religion can do that – especially a fulfilled prophecy that someone would be raised from the dead?
Thank you Dominador for bringing up the fact that Muslims are taught that the Bible has been corrupted. That is a fact not all Christians realize. How convenient is that when you want to spread a false religion? Just state that the Bible no longer states the truth becaue man has mis-translated it over bthe years, and "presto" your foot is in the door to bring in your own version of so-called "truth".
My question to Muslim teachers is: if it truly is God's Word, how could mere mortals corrupt it? Is God not able to see that His Word stands to all generations? And if they "know" that the Bible IS corrupted, how do they know that the Koran is NOT corrupted? Are their teachers capable of supernaturally travelling back in time to observe whether these things are so???
Muslim teachers also state that Bible is mistaken because it does not mention Mohammed. Again, how convenient is that when you are pushing him as the so called "great prophet"??
I maintain that the Bible DOES mention Mohammed, just not by name. He is automatically included in Christ's warning to us in Matthew 24:11 and elsewhere. He stated that MANY false prophets would come along after Him and decieve MANY people. That is precisely what Mohammed did. Christ does not name him specifically because He would have to list ALL the false prophets which would arise and that list would necessitate that the Bible go on for several volumes to cover the names of all the snakes that come and go through history attacking God's truth.
Mohammed is one of Christ's prophecies: a deciever who was out to make a name for himself, with no regard for God's truth, and as such he fulfilled exactly what Christ predicted.
Later scripture must not diverge from newer so called scripture. Gal 1:8 Paul says that is another person or even an angel were to give a different gospel let him be eternally cursed. Also Paul says that demons masquerade as angels of light. Given that most religions that use the Bible as their foundation (Mormon and Muslim) change the gospel with their writing and get authority to do so by an angel. Therefore, if indeed they were given by an angelic type being, it was demonic and they were deceived and so have deceived many.
On the question, How do we know the Bible is true? Jesus said 'The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth'. Also 'What father will give his son a scorpion when he asks for an egg?' Therefore come to God your Father and ask 'Is this Bible indeed your holy truth? Show me how I can know this!' If we read it humbly, seeking the answer, we will find it. Keep reading, keep asking, until you are sure. Other people cannot convince you, as they are in the same boat as you - therefore it has to be God who convinces you himself. Jesus spoke 'as one who had authority' because he was The Author. The Holy Spirit likewise speaks with authority, convincing us of the truth. Seek and you will find. Blessings in Christ.
I am so thankful that I am a solid believer and do not have to quibble about other faiths , except that I feel so dreadfully sorry for them , not knowing the "absolute truth" that our great God provided a way of salvation for all who believe that He gave His only begotten Son,that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life .
Great article great comments you are blessed. Lord protect this ministry and those who support it in Jesus Christ's wonderful name, thank you Lord for all you've done!! Amen
I appreciate your article and agree with you. However, one point you made could be misinterpreted. It is true that our present Bible consists of writing of the Apostles (New Testament). The Lord continues to speak to our hearts. He will never contridict the Scriptures but revelation continues for those with a personal relationship. The Lord is not silent today and in fact I think He yearns for His children to hear His voice.
Thank you for your good work. As a strong Creationist, I pray for the continuing success of your ministry. Merry Christmas (Happy Christmas is you are in the UK)
While no one disputes that God still speaks through His word today, the point is that He is no longer speaking in the same way that He did when He inspired the Scriptures. This is because God has infallibly given us all the information we need to have saving faith in Jesus, and all the instruction we need for living a Christian life.
My challenge to all religions of the world including Islam for the purpose of being fair to all is: does any holy book or books claim to be a revelation of God?
The Bible claims to be the revelation of God to mankind consistently from cover to cover, example:
17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
For me, one of the biggest differences between the Bible and the Q'uran is that the former is dynamic, God's revelation through history, human experiences and ultimately through Jesus, God incarnate who was tempted like we are yet without sin. The Q'uran on the other hand claims to be God's message packaged in a series of revelations, given to one man in a short period of time. It is static and lends itself to an autocratic religion, whereas the Bible is dynamic, lending itself to a real-life religion, truth in living form, so it is relevant, formative and powerful to people of all cultures at all times. It permits translation without losing its divine inspiration. It is centred in God incarnated, our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is Prophet Isa to Muslims, who, when they allow Him to be who He is, convert to become Christ-followers. As to whether there are contradictions in the Bible: I readily expect the infinite God to be 'mysterious and contradictory' to my finite human understanding. I would be worried if I understood everything He has revealed in Scripture as a neatly buttoned-up theological text-book. I can gladly accept that we can know we are eternally saved (John 10:27-29, Eph 1:4), yet must be careful lest we lose our salvation (John 15:2, Hebrews 6:1-6). A contradiction to our finite minds is not a contradiction in the mind of the Eternal God for whom past, present, future are irrelevant in His eternal NOW. He is the "I AM"!
I love God because He is Greater than I am! If I said there were no contradictions I would imply that I understand God, and therefore share His infinity. I am content to fear the Lord in His mysterious infinity.
I believe the bible was written and compiled before the Qur'an was. The lord warns us through the apostle Paul (I believe) of false teachings to come. Paul writes: if any angel comes down and gives a message contrary to the gospel then that message isn't from God. This is exactly what happened to moteammate.
Theer are three pints Francis Schaffer makes which show that the Bible is unique. There are also others. First however is the statement of the Lord Jesus that "by their fruits you shall know them. (Mt.7:20) The amount of blood shed by religions suggests that religions are not of God. I hasten to add that I am a born again Christian who came to the Lord Jesus in May 1956 while serving in the Royal Navy. Christianity is the fulfilment of the oly religion God gave. That was Judaism and neither Judaism nor Christianity have been responsible for starting wars thoug they may act in self defence as Israel when by human reasoning they ought to have been overhelmed by Muslim hatred. They were not so Israel and its uniquely remarkable history gives us absolute certainty that the Bible is true.
Christianity in the English speaking world was responsible for more social reforms than anyone. It was the movement of Christians in U.K. and later in USA who succeeded in freeing the slaves. Now with Christian belief rejected slavery is coming back. Islamic nations even though signing the United Nations declaration have never given up on slavery and slave trading. "By their fruts you shall know them".
Scheaffer had argued that the Bible has all the answers to the big questions. What are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? and many others like this are all answered in the Bible.
Then we can argue that the Bible works in practice. I and many others have been with the Lord Jesus for many years. We have never been let down. No promise in the Bible has not been kept. Life is possibly more difficult since the god of this world Satan becomes our enemy the moment we are saved and does all he can to subvert us. With evolution and false religions for instance. Internally consistent.
At first brush, this article seems a bit peripheral to the ministry of CMI. However, it illuminates what happens when cultures abandon belief in the true God, the Creator of all things. When that abandonment is coupled with a belief in evolution, or perhaps fueled by the teaching of evolution, religions like Islam find an open door. Now that the western world has, in its willful ignorance, embraced the philosophy of evolution and, thus, promoted atheism, all religions begin to look to the evolutionist, whether marginal or sincere, like fairytales to be treated equally with dismissal or derision. Europe now finds itself awash with Islam and Islam will not be ignored or dismissed. Read Don Richardson's "Secrets of the Koran" (2003). Lest you think you can persuade a "moderate" Muslim to leave their religion, recall that many Christians have a weak knowledge of scripture and a tenuous belief at best. The difference is, the Christian is free to abandon their belief without threat of death. Regards the origins of the Bible, a pre-PC history textbook like Cary and Scullard's "A History of Rome" (1975) will help illuminate the objective reality of Christ in history and further detail why we can trust the accuracy of what we call scripture as it was presented in the everyday Greek koine dialect - OT and NT. The other false religion mentioned in the comments, Mormonism, was piggybacked on Christianity. The great irony of Mormonism is that the teachings of the organisation are contradicted by the Book of Mormon. Never confront Mormons with the Bible which they are taught to ignore. Ask them why they believe doctrines taught in Mormonism refuted by their own book. (But be prepared to show them!)
I'm much encouraged by reading these comments that there are committed Christians who stand for the truth.
it has benn a worrying thing to see some professsing Christian denominations willing to accept godless philosophies such as evolution and try to force them into the Bible in order to accommodate todays thinking and God's truth.
Try mixing water with oil. you end up with an unsavoury mess.
praise the Lord that His Word is life.
Stand fast all ye who love the Lord.
One major key issue when talking about the truth it is the prophecies. Only the bible has clear and understandable and numerable proven accomplished prophecies. The Qur’an is no exception. There is no real prophecy in this book. Why so! It is much too risky to issues prophecies if you are not God… The bible stands alone in the field of prophecies with almost 1/3 of it being prophetic. The Jews knew where their king was to be born; they knew he was to be the son of David and so one. But they did not even understand the real depth of these prophecies. Abraham understood he was to have a son, but he never understood that it was much more than only Isaac. God had Jesus in mind and we can now contemplate this truth. Eve understood that he son would crush the devil, but never could she see far enough to understand and see Jesus. Nevertheless, we see all these prophecies that even the human author could not fully understand and we can appreciate the depth of God’s revelation.
All religions are alike and Islam is no exception. It teaches that we are saved by works. But the bible brings a completely different message. A message that no human would ever preach a message that is folly for the wise and scandal for the Jews. It is the message of the cross. We are saved not because of owe works but because of Jesus and Jesus alone. If Jesus did not die on the cross (as Mohammed says), there is no hope. No surprise, Satan wants to eliminate Jesus and his work…