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?