One of our readers asks, "Is the god of the Koran the same as the God of the Old Testament? The writer does not think so, but the general public and sometimes 'church people' believe they are one and the same differing only in name."
Formally, there seem to be a lot of similarities between Jehovah of the Old Testament and New Testament) and Allah of the Koran. To both are ascribed similar characteristics (righteousness, mercy; truth etc.) and similar roles (creator, sustainer, judge etc.) but underneath these apparent similarities lie deep and irreconcilable differences.
Consider the divine unity: Jehovah is emphatically affirmed to be one (Deut. 6:4) and so is Allah. But what kind of oneness is spoken of? Is it strictly a mathematical kind of unity or is it a more complex unity? The unity of Jehovah in His being does not exclude but rather requires His threeness in persons (cf. Gen. 1:26; Is. 6:8; 63:9-10). Allah is one in being and in person. Again while both Jehovah and Allah are said to create, the question ishow do they create? Only Jehovah creates by His Word ("and God said;" Gen. 1:3 etc.) and Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Ps. 33:6,9). The Triune Jehovah differs from Allah also in the divine work of Providence. Jehovah leads and guides His people by His "Angel" in whom is His "name" (Ex. 23:20-23). The Old Testament prophesies of Jehovah's rule through One who is also God (Ps. 110:1; Dan. 7:13-14), the coming Messiah (Ps. 2:2, 6-12). This is totally contrary to Allah's government in the Koran.
Both Jehovah and Allah are presented as high and lifted up, but Allah's transcendence is at the expense of his nearness. As one scholar put it, "Islam not only believes in the hiddenness of [Allah], but, more seriously, in the impossibility of knowing [him]. The most that can be said is that believers know [his] will which [he] has revealed to them." On the other hand, true Christians not only know Jehovah's will but they know Him, the Triune God of the Bible through the mediation of Jesus Christ (Ex. 23:21; John 17:3) and the internal illumination of the Holy Spirit (Prov. 1:23; 1 Cor. 2:10- 16). Hence Moses' rhetorical question: "What nation is there so great, that hath God so nigh unto them?" (Deut. 4:7).
Both Jehovah and Allah are said to be merciful and to forgive sin. But how do they forgive sin? The Old Testament sacrifices point to the atoning death of the incarnate Son of God for all His elect (Is. 53). The Koran denies Christ's incarnation, and most Muslims believe that Judas was put on the cross in the place of Christ. Thus Christ did not make atonement for our sins, nor was He raised from the dead. Islam makes no provision for sin. Salvation based on free will and salvation by works including complete surrender to the will of Allah. Islam knows nothing of God's eternal election of His people in Christ, substitutionary atonement, justification by faith alone, assurance of salvation and covenant fellowship with the Triune God through Christ. Jesus, who is "Jehovah salvation" (cf. Matt. 1:21), is the only way to Jehovah (John 14:6), the jealous God who will not give His glory to another (Is.42:8).
- Volume: 8
- Issue: 19
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
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