Muhammad was wrong … what about Moses?
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 Sanders 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.