By Richard Bailey

Islam 202: Answers to Common Muslim Questions

These questions are just a few common ones; more can be found here and here.

 

1)    Why do Christians cover up their absurd teachings about God by calling them a “mystery”? Islam is clear in saying God is one.

a.    If, after so many years of scientific research, the physical universe in which we live is still beyond our complete understanding, why should we think it strange that we cannot fully understand the invisible Creator of this universe? In fact, if we could completely understand God, then we would be equal to Him! The Bible tells us:

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” –Isaiah 55:8-9

“How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” –Romans 11:33

2)    Do you believe in three gods?

a.    Jesus Himself said that God is One. “’The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”’” –Mark 12:29b.    The Bible categorically states 28 times that God is One:

Deut. 6:4-5 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (see also Deut. 4:35, Deut. 4:39, 1 Kings 8:60, 2 Kings 19:19)

Psalm 86:10 “For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.”

Isaiah 44:6,8 “This is what the Lord says…I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God”; “You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” (also Is 37:16, 20; Is 43:10, 11; Is 45:5-6, 18, 21; Is 46:9; Is 48:12, Hosea 13:4)

1 Timothy 2:5-6 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.” (also Mark 12:29, John 5:44, Rom 3:30, 1 Cor 8:4, Eph 4:6, 1 Tim 1:17, James 2:19, Jude 1:25)

c.     God created all things by Himself (“I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.” Isaiah 44:24) and uses several metaphors to describe how he did it.

By His Wisdom (Proverbs 8:1-31). Did God ever exist without wisdom? Did God create His own wisdom? No. God’s wisdom is “from eternity, from the beginning.” God’s wisdom was brought forth at the time of creation and by His wisdom God created everything. (Jeremiah 10:12)

By His Right Hand (Isaiah 48:13). Does this mean that God’s right hand created instead of God Himself? Of course not. God created everything by His right hand – by his power.

By the Breath of His Mouth (Psalm 33:6,9). These verses show the breath of God’s mouth and God’s Word are the same.

By His Word (John 1:1-3). The Word of God is the communication or manifestation of God. The Word was “with” God (two?) and yet the Word “was” God (one)! Notice John 1:14  - “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Somehow, by the power of God, God’s eternal word became a human being like us named Jesus (God can do anything)! Jesus is God’s word, the breath of His mouth, His right hand, and His wisdom, through whom all things were created.

3)    How can Jesus be God? Why do you blaspheme by calling Jesus ‘God’?

a.    See John 1:1-3, 14 again. The eternal Word of God was with God (seeming like two) in the beginning, yet also was God (only one). Everything God created He created by saying, “Be!” – by his Word. God’s Word is not another God; God’s Word is God’s communication of Himself. Can God exist without His Word? Was there ever a time when God’s Word did not exist? It is like my word or communication, which is in one sense a part of me, but is not a second being, separate from me. So God is One, and He has his Word, which comes out from Him and communicates Him. Jesus is “Kalamat Ullah” – the Word of Allah, who came out from Allah and came to the world as a human being. God in His sovereignty chose to reveal Himself to us by His Word, who became a human being and lived among us, having become one of us.

4)    How can Jesus be God when He did things God doesn’t/won’t do? After all, Jesus talked about God as His God – but God has no God. Jesus prayed to God, got hungry and thirsty, was tempted, got tired, learned obedience and changed, etc.

a.    The description of Jesus we read in the Injil is the description of one who became a human being. Notice it does not say that a man somehow became God; it says Allah’s eternal Word became a man. Hebrews 2:17 says Jesus became ‘like us in every way’ – bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. Therefore, because He became a real human being like us, He did things we do. If He didn’t do those things He wouldn’t really be one of us. Jesus is Almighty God, but for our sake when he became a man He chose to no longer function as God. He was still God and could use His powers as God, but chose instead to only function as a man. He was born, grew, got hungry and thirsty, got tired and sleepy, prayed to his ‘Father’ in heaven, was tempted as we are (but never sinned), and died (but was raised up victorious over death). All these things prove He became a real human being. Jesus is not an apparition nor was He pretending to be a man. As a human being, He had all of our needs and limitations except for our sinful, fallen nature. One reason He is called the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45) is because He became just like Adam was before he sinned.

b.    The greetings and salutations in the New Testament epistles seem to imply His deity in a unique way. All of these letters were written after Jesus had ascended to heaven and was no longer physically present with His people. Still, the apostles presented Him as the co-author (with God the Father) of grace, mercy, peace, and faith; the co-sender of His apostles; our Savior (in the same sentence where God is presented as Savior); the one who is given glory forever; one with whom we have fellowship even though He is in heaven; and the one who keeps us and brings us to eternal life. Can anyone but God do these things?

·   Romans 1:7

·   1 Cor 1:3

·   1 Cor 16:23

·   2 Cor 1:2

·   2 Cor 13:14

·   Gal 6:18

·   Eph 1:2

·   Eph 6:23

·   Phil 1:2

·   Phil 4:23

·   1 Thess 1:1

·   1 Thess 5:28

·   2 Thess 1:1-2

·   2 Thess 3:16-18

·   1 Tim 1:1-2

·   2 Tim 1:2

·   Titus 1:3-4

·   Philemon 1:3

·   Philemon 1:25

·   Heb 13:21

·   James 1:1

·   1 Peter 1:2

·   2 Peter 1:1-2

·   2 Peter 3:18

·   1 John 1:3

·   2 John 1:3

·   Jude 1:1

·   Jude 1:21

·   Rev 22:21

5)    How can Jesus be God and man at the same time? How can He be on earth praying to God in heaven, talking about God as “my Father”, and yet He and the Father still be one God?

a.    God can do anything! Just as in the act of creation, when God’s eternal Word came out of Him when He spoke to create all things but did not become two gods, when He spoke His eternal Word into the virgin Mary, God’s Word remained God and at the same time became a man like us. Jesus never stopped being Almighty God’s eternal Word. It says “the Word became flesh” not “the Word changed to flesh.” He is not sometimes God and sometimes man, nor is he half God and half man. He both fully God and fully human at the same time.

b.    Philippians 2:6-8: We read that Jesus, ‘being in very nature (morphae) God...made himself nothing, taking the very nature (morphae) of a servant, being made in human likeness.' Notice how the eternal God took upon Himself the very nature of a servant in becoming a man.

6)    When did Jesus begin to exist?

a.    He was before John the Baptist (the prophet Yahyah) even though He was born 3 months after him. "This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me" -John 1:29-30.  He is both before and after John.

b.    He was before David who lived about 1000 BC.  Jesus was born in the lineage of King David, but is called, "the root and the offspring of David" (Revelation 22:16) because He existed before Him.  He is both before and after David.

c.     He was before Abraham who lived about 2000 BC.  Jesus said, "Before Abraham was born I AM." -John 8:58.  "I AM" = "Jahwah." He is both before and after Abraham.

d.    He was before the world began.   Jesus said, "And now Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." -John 17:5

7)    But why would God do such a thing? He doesn’t need Jesus or anyone else to die for us. God can forgive whomever He wants to forgive!

a.    God is Love. One of God's greatest attributes is love. True love is self-giving (not taking) for the sake of another.  God gave Himself to us in order to forgive us and save us from eternal judgment/death. (Hebrews 2:14-15, 5:8-9 talk more on salvation)

b.    God is Just. God’s justice requires Him to have a punishment for those who sin. Jesus received that punishment in place of humanity.

8)    Why was it necessary for Jesus to be born without a human father?

a.    Jesus was born of Mary so that He could be truly human, "bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh."  It was necessary for Him to be born without a human father in order to reveal His divine origin - to show He is from heaven; the eternal Word of God made flesh.

9)    Isn’t it wrong for us to sing or laugh in our worship of Allah? Isn’t Allah far above such human emotions as laughter, joy, grief, or love?

a.    More and more I am impressed with the truth of God's emotional make up.  I have started collecting verses that talk about His grief, envy, jealousy, wrath, hate, rejoicing, singing, laughing, pleasure, delight, compassion and love.  God has all these emotions, and we have them because we were created in His image.  God is not like a human being; rather humans are like God!  We sing, laugh, cry, get angry, grieve and rejoice because God does!

grief - Ephesians 4:30; Genesis 6:6

envy - James 4:6

jealousy - Exodus20:5

wrath - Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6; Numbers 18:5

hatred - Isaiah 61:8;  Malachi 2:16

rejoicing - Zephanaiah 3:17; Isaiah 62:5

singing - Zephanaiah 3:17

laughter - Psalm 2:4

pleasure - Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 3:17; Psalm 51:18

delight - Psalm 35:27; 147:11; Zeph.3:17

compassion - Hosea 11:8; 2 Corinthians 1:3

love - 1 John 4:7,8; Deuteronomy 7:8

10) How is it possible for us to have an intimate relationship with the Almighty God?

a.    God is so great (Allah-O-Akbar), and His love is so complete, that He enables us to have a relationship with Him more intimate than any human relationship!  Just look at what God's Word says:

"This is what the high and lofty One says, He who lives forever, ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit.'" –Isaiah 57:15

"We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.  And our fellowship is with the Father and with his son, Jesus Christ." -1 John 1:3

"this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." – John 17:3

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." –Romans 8:15-16

"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the Spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us." -1 Corinthians 2:11-12

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