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Who is the Intelligent Designer?

Who is the Intelligent Designer?


We return to the question, what makes God God? The answer is He is the creator—He is the intelligent designer.

And if He is the Creator, then He has absolute sovereignty over His creation and His creation is accountable to Him.
Is He the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; or is He Allah the God of the Koran and Islam; or maybe the God of the Hindus, Buddha, or one of the other Gods of other world religion? Could He be the God of all religions, as some claim, and that the world religions just have different ways of reaching Him.

Let us examine the scriptures and the various teachings of five of these religions. Hinduism and Buddhism is polytheist whereas Jewism/Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism are monotheist. All of the above religions, except Buddhism, teach that there is a God who created. The Buddhist believes in evolution.

Buddhism is based upon the teaching of Siddhārtha Gautama, a spiritual leader who lived in India about 500 BC. He is regarded as the Supreme Buddha. After Buddha’s death, his followers are believed to have summarized and memorized discourses and monastic rules. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later. For the Buddhist, the most meaningful purpose of life is to seek liberation from ignorance, suffering and the cycle of samsaric rebirth following the path of karma. The Buddhists do not have a belief in the afterlife except the reincarnation cycle where they do good works to satisfy karma and eventually free themselves of suffering. At the end of the karma cycle, the person ceases to exist.

Hinduism is the world’s oldest living religious tradition. It is unlikely that there was a single founder of Hinduism, but if there were such an individual, he or she is unknown to us today. Although we don’t know the name of individuals, we do know several cultures that contributed to the development of Hinduism. Of these contributing sources, two are especially important for our understanding of the history of the Hindu tradition. The first is the Indus Valley civilization. The second source is a group called the Aryans, a nomadic group of people who might have migrated to India from Central Asia. It may be fair to say that Hinduism is not only the world’s oldest religion; it is also the most pluralistic. Its great diversity is what makes the concept of Hinduism problematic” (Source: Web Site Hindu Beliefs).

Hindu Scripture is sometimes called shestra. It was first transmitted orally and, according to Hindu tradition, approximately 5000 years ago, when human memory began to deteriorate, it was recorded in manuscripts. It is extremely fragmented. “Hindu religion is often labeled as a religion of 330 million gods. This misunderstanding arises when people fail to grasp the symbolism of the Hindu pantheon. According to the Hindu scriptures, living beings are not apart from God, since He lives in each and every one of them in the form of atman (BG 10.39). Thus each living being is a unique manifestation of God. In ancient times it was believed that there were 330 million living beings.”

“Hindus view cosmic activity of the Supreme Being as comprised of three tasks: creation, preservation, and dissolution and recreation. Hindus associate these three cosmic tasks with the three deities, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Lord Brahma brings forth the creation and represents the creative principle of the Supreme Being.

Lord Vishnu maintains the universe and represents the eternal principle of preservation. Lord Shiva represents the principle of dissolution and recreation. These three deities together form the Hindu Trinity” (Source:Web Site Hindu Deties).

Brahma, the creator, is not a sovereign God with absolute authority over his creation. He shares power with other gods and he is not worshiped by the Hindus. According to the Puranas (a Hindu religious text), Brahma was self-born in the lotus flower. Legend also says that he was born in water from a golden egg laid by another deity. He was married and had descendents.

Hindus follows the laws of karma for their salvation and redemption. It is a works salvation where an individual strives to obtain spiritual purity by good deeds. Merrian-Webster defines karma as “the force generated by a person’s actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person’s next existence.”

The Hindus also believe in a caste system which is a social, economic, political and religious experience. In India, individuals are born into certain social level and privilege based upon their activities in previous lives. Their only hope is to improve their lives so that in the next reincarnation they can move up the levels of the caste system. If their life is bad and they have not done enough good deeds, they may reincarnate into a lower level or even into an animal such as a cow. The ultimate hope of the karma process is to become spiritually pure, break the samsaric cycle and be absorbed in an afterlife in the spirit world.

Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster. It was founded around the 6th century BC in Persia, which is now Iran. In times past, it was among the world’s largest religions.

According the Zoroaster, the creator of the universe was Ahura Mazda and “he is all good, and no evil originates from Him.” Zoroastrianism teaches that there are two forces in the world–good and evil. The evil forces are under the influence of Angra Mainyu, a destructive spirit who makes war with Ahura Mozda. We see the similarities to the God of the Bible and Satan.
Wikipedia states that, “The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, of which a significant portion has been lost, and mostly only the liturgies of which have survived. The lost portions are known of only through references and brief quotations in the later works, primarily from the 9th to 11th centuries.”

“Active participation in life through good thoughts, good words, and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay. This active participation is a central element in Zoroaster’s concept of free will, and Zoroastrianism rejects all forms of monasticism. Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail over the evil Angra Mainyu or Ahriman, at which point the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end. In the final renovation, all of creation—even the souls of the dead that were initially banished to ‘darkness’—will be reunited in Ahura Mazda, returning to life in the undead form. At the end of time, a savior-figure (a Saoshyant) will bring about a final renovation of the world (frasho.kereti), in which the dead will be revived” (Wikipedia).

We can see many similarities of Zoroastrianism to the teachings of the Bible and of the Koran. Some believe that Muhammad was probably strongly influenced by the teaching of Zoroastrianism. However, both Zoroastrianism and Islam teach a works salvation. A salvation based upon weighting good deeds against bad deeds.

As we have seen, all of the above world religions see man as trying to reach up to an impersonal god for forgiveness and redemption. They live their lives wondering if they have lived a faithful life and will be rewarded in eternity.

In Islam, the expression is “if Allah wills”. In the Bible, the entire focus is about a personal God reaching down to take man’s hand and pulling him out of the bondage of his sins. The entire story is one of atonement and redemption with God doing the work. Here we have the great contrast between the world religions and the Bible.

Dr. Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School, in his book “Is the Father of Jesus The God of Muhammad?”, Zondervan, asked a question. “How would you characterize someone who believes in the literal, verbal inspiration of Scripture, who holds that Jesus is God’s virgin-born Messiah, that Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, bodily ascended into heaven, and will one day return to do battle with the antichrist and in the end truly reign on earth? This person knows that Satan is alive and well on planet Earth, that angels and demons are real forces to be reckoned with, and that after death everyone on earth will go to one of two places—the burning fires of hell or the beautiful palaces of heaven. This individual does not believe in evolution, but believes that God created the world in six literal days. This person happen to be a tee-totaler, is strongly pro-life, and is committed to traditional family values. Women are highly regarded in the religious community to which this person belongs, but they do not function as preachers and leader there. This person is also deeply patriotic, regards pacifism as a weakness, deplores the separation of church and state and believes that government (ideally) should enforce God’s will in every area of society.”

“Do you recognize this person as a strict, conservative, Bible-believing Christian? Well maybe. But he or she might just as well be a devout, conscientious Muslim! More than any two religious traditions on earth, Christianity and Islam share both striking similarities and differences. Historically, the relationship between Christians and Muslims has been strained at best. All two frequently it has been marked by bloodshed and violence” (pp 19-20).

Now let us take a look at the nature of the two Gods they worship—they are not the same. The Muslims believe that at some point in the past they were one and the same God, the one true God, the creator of the universe.

However, over the years the Jews and Christians have changed the original revelation of God in the Bible and have corrupted the image of the true God into a false God. There is much in common in the Koran (also called the Quran) and the Bible. Many of the Bible stories recorded in the Bible are also recorded in the Koran—such as Adam and Eve, Noah and the great flood, Abraham, Moses, and David. However, in most cases the versions are different.

Muslims accept the Pentateuch, the book of the Psalms and parts of Gospels. However, they believe that the Gospels have been corrupted and that the Jesus now presented in the Gospels is not the same as the one who walked on the earth. They consider Jesus to be a great prophet and teacher but he was not divine. They now believe that God has sent the prophet Muhammad as the last and greatest prophet to correct the revelation recorded in the corrupted Bible. For the Muslims, the Koran has become the final authoritative word of God. They are taught that the Bible is accursed and they should not to read it.

One of their examples of the Jewish corruption is the promises given to Abraham. The Bible teaches that God entered in a covenant with Abraham in which he gave him promised lands. The Bible teaches that the covenant was also extended to all of the Jews through Isaac and Jacob. The Muslims believe that Ishmael, as Abraham’s first born, received the promises of the covenant and that the land belongs to the Arabs. Thus, we have the conflict between the Arabs and the Jews regarding the ownership of the land and the city of Jerusalem.
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Dr. George says that “At the heart of the Christian faith are three fundamental beliefs Islam has always rejected—the Trinity, the Incarnation, and redemption by divine grace through the cross of Jesus Christ” (pp 41). We could also add the fact that the Muslims do not accept the bodily resurrection of Jesus. However, they do believe that he ascended into heaven without dying. From the Koran we read these words, “That they said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah’; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise” (Koran 4:157-158, Abdullah Yusuf Ali).

Dr. George adds these words, “Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share a common passion for the oneness of God, the transcendent Creator and Lord of all that is” (pp 45). “Among the many distinctive truths Christians proclaim, the one that set them apart from Islam most fundamentally is this: The God of the Bible is the God who has forever known him-self, and who in Jesus Christ has revealed himself to us, as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The Trinity is the basis for the entire Christian life—the basis of everything we believe and teach. It is something confessed by all orthodox Christians—Greek Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholic Christian, historic Protestant Christian, and other as well” (pp 55).

Muhammad and the Muslims have a misconception of the Christian view of the Holy Trinity. Muhammad understand the Trinity to consist of the Father, the Virgin Mary, and their son, Jesus. They believe that Christians teach that the Father had physical sexual relations with the Virgin Mary and that Jesus was conceived from this relationship. Therefore, they consider the idea of the Holy Trinity as an abomination against the One Sovereign Holy God who they call Allah.

From another source and the Koran we get these statements, “Muslims believe in the Absolute Oneness of God, Who is a Supreme Being free of human limitations, needs and wants. He has no partners in His Divinity. He is the Creator of everything and is completely separate from His creation. God says in the Quran [Koran] regarding the Trinity: “O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not ‘Trinity’: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far Exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs” (4:171, Abdullah Yusuf Ali translation). “And behold! Allah will say: ‘O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah?’ He will say: ‘Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden'” (5:116, Abdullah Yusuf Ali).

There are other strong contrasts begin the God of the Bible and the God of the Koran. “On the Answering Islam” web site there is an article entitled “The Character of God in Bible and Qur’an (Koran)”. This is a very good article contrasting the two views and I have selected the following statement, “In a same way, when I pay close attention to the character of God portrayed for us through the biblical narratives and then I compare it with the Qur’an, I get the strong sense that the Qur’an plays a different tune, that it does not exactly match the God of the Bible, even though the Qur’an claims to be from the same God. Source: (“The Character of God in the Bible and the Koran”). This is a very good web site and you may want to visit it.

Now let us compare and contrast some the differences between the Bible and the Koran.

The Scriptures

The Bible – is a collection of books which, when taken as a whole, presents a living testimony of a Supreme Being who reins over the universe which He created. In the beginning, God established a master plan for this universe and throughout the ages, He has slowly and progressively revealed this plan to mankind. Except for the first two chapters of Genesis and the last two chapters of Revelation, the entire book is a story of redemption with God seeking a relationship with mankind. The Bible reveals a struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. It has been said that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. The entire Bible looks forward to and back to the cross where God the Son died and became an atonement for the sins of mankind so that man could be redeemed from the bondage of his sins. The picture is that of God extending His hand to pull man out of the quicksand of sin. He established a relationship and companionship that is comparable to the marriage relationship between a man and woman—a relationship in which men and women could live abundant lives through the blessings of God’s grace and the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible was divinely inspired by God Himself and written over a period of 1800 years by 40 plus authors from all walks of life. It was written in different places and at different times. It was actually written on three different continents and in three different languages, yet it reads as if it were written by one person. Josh McDowell in his book “evidence that demands a verdict” writes an apologetic (defense) of the Bible. The above comments and what follows is taken from his book. He quotes from F. F. Bruce’s book “The Books and the Parchment”, Fleming H. Revell. “Any part of the human body can only be properly explained in reference to the whole body. And any part of the Bible can only be properly explained in reference to the whole Bible….The Bible is not simply an anthology; there is unity which binds the whole together. An anthology is compelled by an anthologist, but no anthologist compiled the Bible” (pp 19).

McDowell adds, “The Bible has been read by more people and published in more languages than any other book. There have been more copies produced of its entirety and more portions and selections that any other book in history. Some will argue that in a designated month or year more of a certain book was sold. However, over all there is absolutely no book that reaches or even begins to compare to the circulation of the Scriptures. The first major book printed was the Latin Vulgate. It was printed on Gutenberg’s press” (pp 21).

On the uniqueness of its survival he writes, “Written on material that perishes, having to be copied and recopied for hundreds of years before the invention of the printing press, did not diminish its style, correctness nor existence. The Bible, compared with other ancient writings, has more manuscript evidence than any ten pieces of classical literature combined” (pp 21).

The Koran (Quran) – is a collection of revelations received by the prophet Muhammad from a spiritual being, claiming to be the angel, Gabriel. Islamic historians claimed that his revelations began in 610 AD and continued piecemeal over a period of twenty years. Muhammad was an illiterate man thus he could neither read nor write. In the beginning, Muhammad was not sure whether the spirit was of God or of Satan. His revelations, in the form of dreams, visions, and unpredictable trances were written by others on whatever was available — leaves, skins, mats, stones, or bark. There seems to be evidence that friends of Muhammad memorized the recitations and recounted them on to others. Those who memorized were called reciters. During a battle, one of the reciters was killed resulting in the loss of part of the revelations.

To understand the Koran, we must first understand Muhammad—what influenced him before the revelations and how his life was changed by the revelations. We need to go back to a world before Muhammad was born. The Arabs worshipped pagan gods. The center of their worship was a cube-like block structure, called the Kaaba, located in the center of the city of Mecca. Muslim legend holds that the structure was built by Adam and was restored by Abraham and his son, Ishmael. Surrounding the Kaaba were 360 pagan gods, one for each day of the lunar year.

During one month out of the year, the Holy month of Ramadan was celebrated. At one time Muhammad’s grandfather was curator of the Kaaba. Today, to the Muslim, it is the most Holy site on earth, the center of the earth and the entry door into heaven.

At an early age, Muhammad took a job working with a camel caravan. As time passed, he became the leader of the caravan and later married the owner of the caravan, Khadija. As Muhammad traveled across the country, he met many Jews, Christians and believers of other religions. Since Muhammad could neither read nor write, he relied on others to read to him. He remembered the stories he heard during his travels. Although history does not completely reveal the sources of his knowledge, it is obvious, as you read the Koran and Hadiths (saying and traditions of Muhammad) , that he was strongly influenced by what he had been told. There were probably many discussions about religion as the caravan workers sat around the campfires at night. Thus, the Koran reflects many strong Jewish and Christian influences. The teaching of Zoroaster and his belief in the oneness of God probably also influenced him.

The Koran also reflects the views of Christian heretical groups such as Arianism which taught that Jesus was not fully devine. Arius taught that the Father existed before the Son thus placing the Father and Son on a different level. This literally meant that the Son was a created being. This heretical teaching was later addressed and clarified by the church bishops at the Council of Nicene in 325 AD where they declared that Jesus was fully divine.

We also see the influence of another heretic, Marcion, who believed that the God of the Old Testament was different from the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was anti-Jewish and “rejected the entire Old Testament and also those New Testament writings which he considered favored Jewish readers — Matthew, Mark, Acts and Hebrews.”

The Eastern Greek Church was strongly influenced by Platonism, and, in many ways , influenced the Church at Alexandria, Antioch and surrounding areas. Some Muslim scholars believe that Paul got the idea of the physical resurrection from the Platonic view of a spiritual resurrection.

The Koran also reflect the influence of several uncanonized books known as the Apocrypha, such as the “The Infancy Gospel of Thomas”, “Gospel of James”, perhaps the “Gospel of Barnabas”, etc. The questions as to why these books were not cannonized could also have been discussed by the caravan workers around the campfires at night. Some believe that Muhammad’s wife, Khadija, may have been member of the Egyptian Coptic Church.

We need to look at the influence these revelations had on Muhammad’s later life. Muhammad became a furious warrior fighting against the non-believers of Islam, slaying the unbelievers, raping the women and taking the spoils of warfare. He thought the killing of Christians and Jews were, not only divinely sanctioned, but also mandated. The Koran says, “And slacken not in following up the enemy” (4:104a, Abdullah Yusuf Ali). “O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protector” (5:51a, Abdullah Yusuf Ali). “They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them” (5:73, Abdullah Yusuf Ali). “Say: ‘Obey Allah and His Messenger’: But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith” (3:32, Abdullah Yusuf Ali).

In 630 AD, Mohammad marched on the city of Mecca with an army of ten thousand men. There he cleansed the Kaaba of idols and declared it to be the temple of Allah.

Muhammad died in 632 AD at the age of 62. His followers continued to spread the claims of Allah across the Arab nations, by the way of the sword, basing their efforts on the Islamic tenet of Jihad. For many years, under an Islamic leader who was head of the Islamic authority known as the caliphate, Islamic warriors swept across the Middle-East, Northern Africa, and parts of Europe killing and enslaving millions in the name of Allah.

Let us consider another factor. Whereas, the Bible was inspired and written by many authors over a period of many years, the Koran was a so called revelation to one man, Muhammad, who claimed to be the last and most authoritative of the prophets. There is no actual confirmation for his claims.

The Koran was canonized and standardized in 653 AD during the caliphate of Uthman. The revelations of Muhammad were collected from many sources and compiled into one book. When reading the Koran , you will notice that it is markedly fragmented in many places. Also, many of Muhammads sayings and traditions were compiled in different collections called the Hadiths. Muslims not only consider the Koran to be sacred but also the Hadiths.

Prophecy

Only in the Bible do we see God’s revelation revealed in prophecy. We do not find this in any of the other world religion’s sacred text. The study of Biblical prophecy foretells events that have unfolded and will continue to unfold across the pages of history. It has been said that the Old Testament is the New Testament hidden and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. There is as much design in God’s word as there is in His creation. We can follow the golden thread of prophecy from the beginning of Genesis through the end of The Revelation.

Not only do we have the prophetic written word, but God uses types, shadows/patterns, numbers, covenants, and Jewish feasts to weave His prophetic word together. We should be aware that all of these point to the work which was completed by Jesus upon the cross. The Old Testament contains over 300 references to the Messiah that were fulfilled in Jesus. According to the book of Hebrews, the entire Mosaic Law was a shadow of the work completed upon the cross. For a deeper study of this subject, see my article on the “Introduction to Biblical Prophecy]” on this web site. Just click above.

Love of God

Bible – The God of the Bible is a loving God who seeks intimacy with mankind. His very nature and character are pure love. In the Bible, God “draws near”, “comes down” and “seeks after us“ in order to enter into an intimate relationship with us. The whole Bible portrays the story of God seeking man. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 8:5). “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The God of the Bible reveals Himself and seek fellowship and companionship with the people.

Koran – In stark contrast, the Koran portrays God as one who is far away and transcendent. A Muslim theologian has said, “God reveals only his will, not himself. He remains forever hidden. Even though he is near as the jugular vein as the Koran states, this is a ‘technical’ nearness, since just as we are not ‘aware’ of our jugular vein most of the time and don’t have a personal relationship with it, this only conveys that God is everywhere (far and near) like the air that is around us. Allah love is conditional and accidental. Love is something God does, not what God is.” He does not love everyone, only the faithful Muslim. The conditional nature of Allah’s love is shown in the following verses in the Koran, “On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will (Allah) Most Gracious bestow love” (19:96, Abdullah Yusuf Ali). The Koran also says, “Allah loves not transgressors” (2:190b, Abdullah Yusuf Ali).

Sin

Bible – The Bible teaches that sin is contrary to the Holy character of God and His justice demands satisfaction. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The Bible teaches that when Adam sinned that all his descendants inherited a sin nature and thus are born with a sin nature. God has also imputed sin to our account because of the fall of Adam. This is called original sin. Yet, because of our sin nature, we have all committed personal sins against a Holy God and each of us has a rebellious spirit. Before God changes our hearts, we have a nature which desires to be independent from God, our Creator.

Koran – The Koran does not teach the doctrine of the fall of man nor original sin. Muslims do not believe that sin is imputed–salvation is a process that we work through during our lifetime. According to the Koran, man was born free to live a sinless life. “The Koran says that Adam forgot to walk in the right way. Sin is forgetfulness, heedlessness, a failure to remember. This forgetting to obey is the result of inherent weakness, not active rebellion against God.” According to Islamic teaching, one way to overcome forgetfulness is to be in constant prayer. Their definition of sin says that it is anything against the teaching of Islam or against the will of Allah. We should also note that teachings within the Koran assumed that physical death was natural and planned for all mankind before the fall and was not the result of Adam’s sin.

Salvation

Bible – The Bible teaches that God’s justice demands that sin be atoned for by the shedding of blood. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). Immediately after Adam sinned, God killed two animals and offered a sacrifice for Adam’s and Eve’s sins. He then clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of the animals. From that day forward, until the cross, man was commanded to offer animal sacrifices for the covering of their sins. However, the book of Hebrews says that the animal sacrifices were not enough. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Heb. 10:4).

Therefore, in the fullness of time God, sent forth His son to die on the cross for the atonement of all sins, past, present and future. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb. 9:12). The shedding of Jesus’ blood became a propitiation thus satisfying God’s wrath against us. The Apostle Paul said, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Rom. 3:25). By confessing and repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are saved because of the shedding of His blood. The Apostle John wrote, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).

Islam – Allah does not require a blood atonement for sins. “Adam ‘atoned’ for his sin by saying ‘My Lord I have sinned and if you do not forgive me and have mercy upon me then I shall indeed have lost.’ So God forgave him. Similarly, all human beings have the door to forgiveness left open to them by God until the day they die. There are no intermediaries between mankind and God. If they sincerely repent to God, ask His forgiveness, and forsake their evil deeds before their hour comes then He shall forgive them and there is nothing more pleasing to Him than to forgive the sins of one who comes to Him in sincere repentance.”

“If you have faith in God, believe in His messengers, and obey His commands then He shall multiply every single good deed that you do many, many times and erase your evil deeds, until on the Day of Judgment His mercy shall cause your good deeds to far outweigh your evil deeds and grant you passage into an ecstasy and Paradise so great that we cannot even imagine it, to abide there eternally. In the Hereafter there is only reward and no work” (source: from the book “What did Jesus really say”, Web Site Islam.com). However, there will not be any fellowship with Allah as he will reside above the seventh heaven.

Dr. Timothy George in his book “Is The Father of Jesus The God of Muhammad?” makes the following statement, “Islam teaches that God’s messengers and prophets have brought the very thing forgetful and ignorant human being most need, namely, divine guidance, the perfect distillation of which is the Quran. Obedience to God’s revealed guidance is the way to salvation, and it involves both correct belief and righteous acts: “To those who believe and do deeds of righteousness hath God promised forgiveness and a great reward” ((Koran 5:10), pp 109). The Muslims finds salvation by walking “the straight path”. Walking the straight path begins by keep the five Pillars of Faith: 1) Affirmation of the creed (Shahada), 2) Observance of Salat (obligatory Prayers), 3) Paying of Zakat (charity), 4) Observance of Sawm (fast) during Ramadan, and 5) Performance of Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca.

    Shabada – Every Muslim must confess the creed: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger [Prophet] of God. By confessing this creed, a Muslim agrees to abide by all the teachings of Muhammad and to be faithful in living by the Koran. All authority is invested in the messenger, Muhammad. “O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination” (4:59, Abdullah Yusuf Ali). “It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path ” (33:36, Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

    Salat – The prescribed prayer is prayed five times daily – at dawn, noon, midafternoon, sunset and later at night. Salat is considered a duty for the Muslim and ritual purification is required. The prayers must be said while facing the direction of Mecca, and congregational prayer is compulsory in the Mosque on Friday, the Muslim day of worship. Tradition says that Muhammad received the instructions from Allah for the five daily prayers when he made his “Night Journey” to heaven. Muslim’s believe that the prayers keep the believer on “the straight path”.

    Zakat – Required charity of a Muslim. It is given by free Muslims (not slaves), who have a certain amount of wealth. A person with less than this does not need to give zakat. Generally the amount is about 2.5 percent of one’s annual income.

    Sawm – Required fasting during the month of Ramadan. Fasting during Ramadan last daily from dawn until sunset. Muslims are expected to abstain from all food and water during this time period. Sexual contact is also forbidden. “The purpose of the fast is to cultivate discipline and self-control and encourage contemplation.”

    Hajj – During a person lifetime, a person is expected to make a pilgrimage to Mecca unless prohibited by health or lack of finances.

We also need to keep in mind that Islam is a complete lifestyle: religious, social, legal and political. A good Muslim will commit to living out this complete lifestyle by keeping the commandments of the prophet Muhammad. Many countries are Islamic States and, therefore, practice Sharia law. “Most Muslims believe Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Qur’an, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad” (Wikipedia).

Dr. Timothy George in his book “Is The Father of Jesus The God of Muhammad?” gives this summary of the Muslim concept of Salvation. “The Quran strongly emphasizes that everyone will reap the fruits of his or her own deed on the day of judgment. No soul will bear another’s burden (Koran 6:164). The Muslim scholar Abul A’la Maududi has described the final accounting in this way:

    ‘Man will stand by himself—helpless and alone—to render his account, and awake the pronouncement of judgment, which shall be in the power of God alone. Judgment will rest on one question: Did man conduct himself, in submission to God, in strict conformity with the truth revealed to the prophets, and with the conviction that he would be held responsible for his conduct in life on the Day of Judgment? If the answer is the affirmative, the reward will be paradise; if in the negative, the punishment will be hell'” (pp 113).

In the Bible, Christians are told to go into all the world and make disciples for Christ through the showing of love and ministry. According the teachings and examples of Muhammad, Muslims are told to go into all the world and make disciples for Allah by way of the sword. Those that do not believe should be killed or enslaved. The Koran says, ” Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the Jizya [poll tax] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (9:29, Abdullah Yusuf Ali). Some will say that this is the view of radical Islam and not the teaching of peaceful Islam. We must keep in mind that history has recorded that Muhammad preached and practiced Islam with the sword.

Note: All quotations for the Koran were copied from the Web Site: The Koran. All quotations of the Bible were copied from the Web Site: The New Kings James Version of the Bible.

Hidden Treasures

For years, critics have claimed that certain facts and names found in the Bible does do not exist anywhere else in secular history. Today, the archaeologist spade and other resources are proving otherwise. Consider the following.

Scattered across the area of the Middle East, known as the Fertile Crescent, are hundreds of earth mounds, which for centuries have been considered to be normal hills. A little over a hundred years ago it was discovered that these mounds were actually long lost cities of the past. Many had never been identified in secular history.

Over the years these cities have been destroyed and because of the water source, a new city has been built over the old ruins. This pattern of rebuilding has been repeated many times. Wind-blown sand has long ago covered and preserved these cities. Today, when the word of God is being challenged on every corner, it is amazing that God would reveal these hidden treasures to us. Excavations of these sites have uncovered knowledge that confirm, supplements and illustrates Biblical history in remarkable ways.

Digging in the Tigris-Euphrates valley has uncovered ruins of some of Earth’s oldest known cities; we have been surprised and amazed at their advanced culture. This land of old Babylon has long been known as the cradle of civilization. Huge libraries have been located containing hundreds of thousands of clay tablets inscribed with ancient markings. These markings consist of a lost ancient Babylonian writing system called cuneiform. Experts are now involved in the long and complex process of deciphering the tablets.

In 1835, Sir Henry Rawlinson, a British army officer, was about two hundred miles northeast of the site of the old city of Babylon when he discovered a towering rock face rising about seventeen hundred feet out of the old Mesopotamian plain (presently Iraq). The face of the rock had been cut to form a large, smooth surface on which huge markings were inscribed. A closer observation revealed that the stone contained the record of the conquest of Darius, King of Persia and conqueror of Babylon. This is the same king who freed the Hebrew captives and allowed them to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the Temple.

The history of the conquest was recorded in three languages, Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. Careful analysis enabled comparison of the previously undecipherable cuneiform marks to be the key to translating the messages coded on hundreds of thousands of stone tablets which were dug out of the old buried libraries. From these early records, we have learned much about the life of these people who lived in this early age of civilization.

The stone tablets contained stories similar to the Genesis accounts of creation, the Garden of Eden, the fall of man and the flood. Some of the events were different, but the major changes related to the pagan elements of the Babylonian accounts. The Babylonian stories are grossly polytheistic while the Genesis account is monotheistic. It seems that both accounts may have came from a common source. Some scholars have suggested that the Babylonians knew the stories of their origin, but introduced pagan elements into them.

This observation is very consistent with the words of the Apostle Paul as recorded in Romans chapter one, “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:21-23). Early man had not forgotten the story of his origin, but he had forgotten his Creator. He rebelled against God, the Creator, and made gods of His creation.

Many critics have argued that the Bible is full of errors, and cannot be trusted due to discrepancies introduced by many years of copying and translating. Some even go so far as to teach that many of the books of prophecy were written after the fact and are actually a historical report.

In 1948, a young nomadic shepherd boy was chasing a lost goat in the dry Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea. In order to scare the goat, he threw a rock into a cave, and was surprised by hearing a crashing sound. Upon careful investigation, he found clay jars with old scrolls in them. These scrolls, known today as the “Dead Sea Scrolls”, were over two thousand years old and pre-dated the time of Christ and the New Testament writings. Approximately 1,100 ancient documents and over 100,000 fragments have now been found.

All the books of the Old Testament, except Esther, have been found as well as many documents supporting the Scriptures and Jewish life. Through these findings, it is amazing that scholars have learned that over the past two thousand years very little has been lost or corrupted in the translations. Copies of the books of prophecy, pre-dating the incarnation of Christ, have been found that foretell the details of his birth, ministry and death. God, in his infinite mercy, has allowed the revelation of these treasures so that we can have proof that His Word is true.