Saturday, January 22, 2011

Allah's will is higher than His nature

"If on the day of judgment God passes the evil people into heaven, and the good people into hell, then we would not have a right to question, because this is the way of God, and He is above all of our comprehension." Imam Al Ghazzali, "one of our best theologians" (quoted by Abdullah Kunde in a recent debate, beginning around 9:18 in the last section, questions and answers. See below.)

Here is an excellent debate between Muslim Abdullah Kunde and Christian Samuel Green: It gets to the heart of the issues of the differences between Islam and Christianity. Islam believes the Qur’an is “the savior”, not a person. Islam teaches that what man needs most is guidance and laws and dos and don’ts in order to control people and make a moral and clean and right society, with the right worship of Allah. Really, in consistent Islam, it not just the Qur’an that is “savior” of society, but it is Islamic law, which derives from the Qur’an and the Hadith and others sources. (see below) The most important thing that drives Islam's goals of conquering the world for Allah is instituting external laws to improve society, in their view, not freedom from sin and guilt and salvation from the wrath of God. In order to conquer the world for Allah, the sensual rewards in paradise were added for fighting and dying in Jihad (struggle)/Qatal (fighting) against the unbelievers. Those sensual rewards are what motivated the Muslims to fight and seek to conquer the world.

Yet, Abdullah Kunde confessed that no Islamic government consistently follows Islamic law; not Saudi Arabia (Sunni version), and not Iran (Shiite version). (The two supreme examples of governments that would claim they are following the Sharia law and creating a just and good society.)

If the Muslims have no example of this "utopia" here on earth; then why should we trust that they would be able to accomplish this in the west? Of course they cannot. People are too wicked and sinful and lots of sin goes on in the Muslim world secretly. External laws cannot change the heart. But the good news is that Christ can change the heart. (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:1-21; 2 Cor. 5:17; Galatians 5:22-23)

Christianity teaches that man cannot clean himself up and that what humans need most is salvation from their sins. God Himself comes and saves by the incarnation of Christ and His atonement on the cross and Jesus’ resurrection proves that His atonement was true and that He truly was and is the eternal Son of God who became flesh and lived and taught and allowed sinful men to crucify Him and He turned away the wrath of God by His powerful atonement and sacrifice; and He satisfied the justice and holiness of God by becoming the sin offering and guilt offering. "Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29; see also I John 2:2; Revelation 5:9 and 7:9; Isaiah 53)

Abdullah Kunde is one of the better Muslim debaters, in my opinion, because he is calm and respectful and doesn’t play any tricky word games (like Ahmad Deedat and Zakir Naik) or get angry or make too many ad hominem or emotional arguments or “guilt by association” type of arguments. He seems really sincere, but, of course, he is sincerely wrong.

Debate: Savior of the World, Jesus or the Qur'an?

Sam Shamoun provides some excellent responses to Abdullah Kunde’s arguments:

I wish that I had learned the Hadith well when I first started witnessing to Muslims, 27 years ago. At that time, there was no internet, and the 9 volume book set of Sahih Al Bukahri was expensive and hard to come by, let alone trying to purchase also the other sets of Hadith. Thanks to the internet, Christians can now research and see the Hadith complete collections of Sahih Al Bukhari, Sahih Al Muslim, and Malik Muwatta; and partial collections of Sunan Abu Dawood also. The media focuses only on the Qur’an, but there are many things in Islamic theology and jurisprudence (Legal basis for Sharia law includes not only the Qur’an, but the Hadith, Tafsirs (commentaries), Tarikh (Islamic History) and Sirat (biography of the prophet of Islam, Muhamamd.)

Sam Shamoun - Response to Kunde - Part 1

Shamoun Response to Kunde – Part 2

Shamoun Response to Kunde - Part 3.

“Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah's Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and the Qur'an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success.” Qur’an Surah 9:111 Hilali-Khan

Most of the other versions of the Qur’an in English also say that this promise is “binding” on Allah. This is very interesting. This is probably why is the common Islamic belief that no one can know if one will go to paradise except for dying in Jihad. That is the only guarantee of “salvation” in Islam.

Shamoun concludes: (in his response in part 1)
“However, if Allah isn't under any necessary obligation to save anyone and doesn't have to commit to keeping his promise or fulfilling his obligation to his servants then this means that Allah is a lying, deceitful, capricious deity who cannot be taken at his word. Such a god cannot be trusted and is unworthy of being worshiped.”

Indeed, it seems one of the fundamental differences between the God of the Bible and the god of Islam is that the God of the Bible wills and acts according to His good and holy nature; whereas the god of Islam’s main principle is His will power to do whatever He wants, and His will is over any kind of obligation to act according to a good and holy nature. That is, Allah can go back on His promise and not be faithful, if He wants to. The Holiness of God is emphasized more in the Bible, whereas in the Qur'an, the emphasis is on the will power of Allah. Although Abdullah Kunde admitted that Allah does not sin and does not lie; Muslims don't spend much time explaining how that can be in the light of Qur'an 3:54 - that Allah is the very best of deceivers/ schemers and that one still must put the power of Allah's will above any promise to be faithful and above His character of holiness and goodness.

The debate shows that Muslims clearly misunderstand the Trinity and the distinction between one substance and three persons, and other things like the voluntary sacrifice of Christ, the promise of God for eternal life, the guilt of all humans because of sin in Adam.

They call the doctrine of the Trinity “illogical and a contradiction” because they fail to see the Oneness of God in His nature/substance/essence and the Three-ness of God in His persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They hear our explanations with their physical ears, but they cannot hear the truth spiritually. ( John 8:43)

Muslims struggle with understanding the redemption that God provided in Christ. They call the sacrifice of Christ for our sins an injustice. They think that we believe that God (the Father) forced Jesus to pay for our sins; whereas the truth is that Jesus, the eternal Son, freely and voluntarily laid down His life for us. (John 10:18)

Why do Muslims think that a promise from God that He makes to us; makes Him somehow lower than man and less powerful, if God Himself is faithful and honest and cannot lie? That would be an interesting discussion and debate to have; about the nature of God, the character of faithfulness, truthfulness, the issue of lying, and the trustworthiness of God’s word and promise.

The Muslims seem to think that God cannot be obligated to fulfill His word of promise to us; for that would make Allah somehow lower, or less powerful. What if God is by nature faithful and cannot lie? (see Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:13-20; I Corinthians 1:9; I Thessalonians 5:24; Lamentations 3:23-24) The Hebrews 6 passage tells us that God could not swear by anything higher than Himself. His character and nature is above any kind of capricious will that Allah has in Islam. God swears by Himself, because His character and nature is perfect and faithful and true.

But the God of Islam had to add a law to Himself to order Himself not to do any injustice or oppression:

“Abu Dharr reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying that Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: My servants, I have made oppression unlawful for Me and unlawful for you, so do not commit oppression against one another.” Sahih Al Muslim Book 032, Number 6246

Allah had to command Himself, just like he commands humans to not do any oppression or injustice. Interesting. His capricious will is more foundational to his character, than a holy and good nature.

The Al Ghazzali statement about judgment day that Abdullah Kunde quoted was very interesting indeed! Al Ghazzali see a Muslim web-site dedicated to him (1058 – 1111 AD, born in north east Iran, in the city of Tus in the Khorrasan province.) is still considered one of the most famous and respected Muslim theologians of Islamic history. He is like Augustine for Christians, Luther and Calvin for Reformed Christians.

Abdullah Kunde quoted it at the end on the last video section of questions from the audience:

"If on the day of judgment God passes the evil people into heaven, and the good people into hell, then we would not have a right to question, because this is the way of God, and He is above all of our comprehension." Imam Al Ghazzali, "one of our best theologians"

I am still trying to track that quote down. I hope to find it someday. I have heard many Muslims say this in the past 27 years, and since Abdullah Kunde affirms it, I have no doubt that Al Ghazzali wrote something like that, and that this is very deep in the psyche of Muslims as to how they see Allah.

If all Muslims agree with that statement that it is Islamic theology and not much disagreement; then that is enough for anyone not to want to become a Muslim, for it reveals the arbitrary and capricious nature of Allah and that His capricious will is above His nature/character and any promise or word to be faithful to that promise that He would give to believers.

But the God of the Bible cannot lie and is faithful to His promises. God's will never contradicts His nature. The true God is both pure and holy and good and Sovereign. In the Bible and Christianity, the true God, His will proceeds from His nature and does not contradict it. We can rely and trust on a perfect holy and good and faithful and loving God. That is good news!

Titus 1:2
God cannot lie.

James 1:13-14
God cannot sin, and is not tempted by sin.

I guess that is why Muslims do not really have real peace in their hearts, for they know that Allah can "outwit" / deceive / trick them on the final day. “Allah is the best of deceivers/schemers/tricksters" (Quran 3:54; 8:30; 10:21)

Yet, Jesus promises true peace (John 14:27, Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 5:1-11) and eternal life to those who repent of their sin and trust in Him. (John 3:16; 3:36; 5:24; 20:30-31; Acts 2:38; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9-10, many other verses).

Dr. White makes an excellent point in addition to Sam Shamoun’s response number 2 to Abdullah Kunde:
“If you are going to say the Federal Headship of Adam or the imputation of sins to Jesus in His sacrifice are "illogical," then say the same thing about the corresponding beliefs in Islam.”

Why Sharia (Islamic law) should never be allowed in the west:

Abdullah Kunde also revealed why the west should never allow Sharia law to be introduced - Christians, who are Dhimmis under Sharia law, cannot evangelize Muslims, and Kunde he admitted that it is a rule that Christians cannot build new churches. (based on the Pact of Umar or Omar)see here about The Pact of Umar, second Khalif of Islam; died in 644 AD The Pact of Umar, is also the basis for not allowing any evangelization in the Muslim world. see another article here on the pact of Umar and other "dhimmi" verses from the Qur'an and Hadith This along with the second class status of being “dhimmis”, and having to pay the Jizeye tribute tax of submission to the Islamic state (see Surah 9:29), eventually led to the complete disappearance of Christians and Jews in some places in the middle east and North Africa. Over the centuries Christians have fled and immigrated to get away from the unjust and harsh treatment of the Islamic Ummah. The small minority communities that have survived to today are constantly under attack, killed, and churches are being burned. (Iraq, Egypt) This also happens a lot where the Islamic community wants to enforce its will on the Christian populations, Sudan, Nigeria, Indonesia). The largest surviving community of descendants of these Christians in the Middle east are the Coptic church in Egypt, who are constantly persecuted.

What an unjust religion! This exposes the ultimate Islamic agenda in the west. There is no real freedom of thought, or of religion in Islam. “If any one leaves the Islamic faith, kill him.” This is what the Hadith says. see Sahih Al Bukhari 9:84:57 They should not be allowed to have Sharia compliant options in the west, as this leads to a slow takeover of western culture. If Muslims are given the freedom and chance again, they will seek to force westerners to Islam the way they did in early history of Islam in the Middle East and North Africa and Persia, and then not allow evangelism or conversions of Muslims to become Christians, and not allow any new churches to be built.


Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Thanks Ken for posting this. It's quite informative.

BTW, have you ever noticed that secular liberals are often more sympathetic to Islam than to Christianity? It's puzzling.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hi Ken,

Would you agree with the counsel of this post: Walking around with Muslims: Options for Showing and Telling the Gospel?

Ken said...

Thanks TUAD,
Yes, I would agree generally with that article and I wish I had written it. That should be our emphasis, for most people, especially at the beginning of a friendship with a Muslim, or at the beginning of preaching the gospel to them and showing them what the NT says about Jesus.

some people object to "friendship evangelism" and say it should be more confrontational, like the way Paul was in the synagogues with Jews in the book of Acts.

I can see both methods in the NT - Jesus was the friend of sinners and tax-collectors and ate with them. (Matthew 11; Luke 5; Luke 15:1-2ff) He took the approach with the woman at the well in John 4, which seems closer to the "walk around the wall approach".

That is what practiced most of the time for the past 27 years.

That is how most people should approach Muslims. Start with getting into their life by accepting their hospitality and eating shish kebab and drinking strong coffee and tea with them and be patient.

I started with friendship, hospitality, learning their language, focusing on Jesus, and giving out New Testaments in their language. I did not think debates "worked" at the time. God can use them still, if the gospel is clearly explained; etc. And some debates are very good for having equipping and something long lasting into the future to prepare people for apologetics.

Dr. White's debates have really been a blessing to us all in his knowledge of textual variant issues; which always comes up with Muslims.

I didn't know the Hadith very well until the internet. ( Didn't have the money to invest in expensive books.)

However, there are appropriate debates and issues that need to be confronted; and Muslims are generally into "arguing" (it always seemed to me); and so I have changed my mind in the past few years that there are valuable debates for understanding the issues, etc.

I have had to learn more and more about the Hadith, and other things in the past 10 years. 9-11-01 changed things.

My article is more like the first point (break down the wall) that the author at the article you linked to advice for us not to do. There is a place for that; but we must be prepared.

Generally, I agree with that - we should get to know Muslims and spend time with them and give them a NT or the gospel in the context of hospitality and love and respect.

It does no good to throw Jihad issues or Aisha's age (one of Muhammad's wives), etc. at a Muslim as the first thing one talks about with them.

But, my article has some of the Jihad stuff, true. I think it is unavoidable because of the strong Muslim agenda of many Muslims to "take over the west".

Maybe one of the reasons the west has been unprepared is because we did try to be nice and politically correct to Muslims for so long and we avoided all that stuff for so long, that it blindsided the whole western world. (especially 9-11-01 to today)

If you go under the subject of Islam on the side bar here, you will some of my early articles where I tried to include the "walking around the wall with Muslims" approach.

However, also - without actually building on Islam (treating it as true and mixing it with Christianity; which is syncretism)

There are some basic concepts that we can use to "build upon" (or use as springboards to go to the NT) in Islam and the Qur'an, but one must have wisdom and discernment how to use the concepts as spring boards and not give the impression that the Qur'an is the word of God, etc.

Ken said...

TUAD wrote:
BTW, have you ever noticed that secular liberals are often more sympathetic to Islam than to Christianity? It's puzzling.

Yes, because, it seems to me, a large part of secular liberalism is anger at God for allowing sin and evil and the Holocaust, and that anger and bitterness leads to agnosticism and atheism based on disillusionment with God and blaming God for things like the Crusades, slavery, colonialism, racial prejudice; wars, suffering.

Secular liberals are like John Lennon's song, "Imagine".

However, they also don't want to appear to be prejudiced against another culture, as racism is the worst sin in the secular liberal intellectuals mind, so they go overboard with political correctness and giving Islam a pass. They don't want to be doing what those "Christians" did in the Crusades, so they are more sympathetic to Islam and modern Muslim groups are more peaceful.

It is part of the psyche that keeps the secular liberal feeling intellectually superior to both Christianity and Islam.

That is just the way it seems to me. Liberalism is also based on feelings a lot; and they are also very ignorant of the details of what Islam teaches.

They hate the mistakes of their own cultural past (Crusades, slavery, treatment of American Indians), and don't want to judge another culture, so they are harsher on the Christian past of the west and give Islam a pass.

Ken said...

I should add that "friendship evangelism" doesn't last long with many Muslims, unless God is working in their hearts to draw them to Himself.

Once you start getting into the gospel, (crucifixion of Christ, Deity of Christ, Trinity, grace alone, faith alone, and the implications that if the Bible is right, then the Qur'an is logically wrong; it creates fear in Muslims' hearts.) and then if you learn and use some verses from the Qur'an or Hadith in apologetic or polemic type of thing - the Muslims sees that you know something about Islam, they start avoiding you and referring to their Imams or Sheikhs.

In their society/countries, it is easier to visit them and have hospitality contexts.

Many strong Muslims will not let you in because of their cultural restrictions (food Hallal laws; separation of women; etc.)

More nominal Muslims are easier to meet and talk to and visit in the west because they don't follow all the details of Sharia law.

If you don't have much time, then, the straight preaching of the gospel is good, if they will listen. The problem is getting the Muslim to listen.

Learning one of their languages (Arabic, Farsi, Turkish, Urdu, Bosnian, Indonesian, etc.) is very helpful for specific outreach to those cultures/peoples.

But eventually, cultural and political issues come up and that is when things get hard. If you are conservative, pro-life, etc. - they will label you with other politicians that they don't like and then you are in their "box" in their mind.

Viisaus said...

Allah as a deity is like Nietzsche's Übermensch, "beyond good and evil." Muslims have never much themselves bothered much with theodicies, but rather react with fatalistic submission to the unpredictability of Allah - the very name of Islam means "submission", after all.