Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Unambiguous

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The Koran claims to be a book that is easily understood; one that presents the commands of God in a way that all can understand, believe, and follow. In this since, it claims to be unlike former revelations from God that left people at variance as to what to believe and left them fighting and wrangling over their differing views of what God had really said.
"And We have not sent down upon thee the Book except that thou mayest make clear to them that whereon they were at variance [the subject of their wranglings], and as a guidance and as a mercy to a people who believe." (Koran 16:66)
"and We shall bring thee as a witness against those [these Meccans]. And We have sent down on thee the Book making clear [clearing up] everything, and as a guidance and a mercy, and as good tidings to those who surrender." (Koran 16:91)
"an Arabic Koran, wherein there is no crookedness [free from torturous wording]; haply [to the intent that] they will be godfearing" (Koran 39:29)
However, history has shown that there is much in the Koran that is ambiguous and difficult to understand. Even today we see a wide disparity of beliefs in Islam with doctrinal and religious wranglings between many of the competing factions. For example, here is but one example from the Koran of a verse that is far from clear.
"And say to the believing women, that they cast down [refrain] their eyes and guard their private parts [observe continuance], and reveal not their adornment [ornaments] save such as is outward [external]; and let them cast their veils over their bosoms, and not reveal their adornment [ornaments] save to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands' fathers, or their sons, or their husbands' sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons..." (Koran 24:31)
This verse is far from clear as to what and how a woman should cover herself. Some have taken it to mean modest dress, some a covering of the hair, others covering the entire face, and still others covering the entire body including the hands. For a revelations that is supposed to be clear and free from ambiguity, there is much that still remains uncertain within.

The Koran also claims that it clears up and settles every matter of disagreement between various Jews, Christians, and each other.
"This Koran could not have been forged [devised] apart from God; but it is a confirmation of what is [revealed] before it, and a distinguishing [clearing up] of the Book [of the Scriptures], wherein is no doubt, from the Lord of all Being." (Koran 10:38)
"And not a thing is there hidden [no secret thing] in heaven and earth but it is in a Manifest Book [the clear Book]. Surely this Koran relates [declareth] to the Children of Israel most of that concerning which they are at variance [most things wherein they disagree]; it is a guidance, and a mercy unto the believers [faithful]." (Koran 27:78-80)
However, history has again shown that the Koran has offered little in the way to clear up the differences and disputes regarding their scriptures by either the Jews or the Christians. In fact, the Koran stands at odds against much of what was previously written in the Jewish and Christian scriptures. In my opinion, the Koran offers little light as to the message and the revelation of God other than what had already been revealed in the scriptures prior to the coming of Muhammad.

Finally, it appears that Muhammad himself, later in life, understood that the Koran was not as clear and direct as had been previously claimed in the Koran itself. In a later revelation, he adds this caveat.
"It is He who sent down upon thee the Book, wherein are verses clear [Some of its signs are of themselves perspicuous] that are the Essence [basis] of the Book, and others ambiguous [are figurative]. As for those in whose hearts is swerving [given to err], they follow the ambiguous part [follow its figures], desiring dissension [discord], and desiring its interpretation; and none knows its interpretation, save only God. And those firmly rooted in knowledge say, 'We believe in it; all is from our Lord'; yet none remembers, but men possessed of minds [endued with understanding]." (Koran 3:5)
If the Koran were really as clear as it claims to be then there would be no need to warn its readers that parts of it are figurative and, in fact, not clear. Even more so, while admitting that parts are figurative and parts clear, it fails to identify what is figurative and what is clear. Leaving us once again without guidance and direction; left to our own opinion as to what the book really means; left again with a book uncertain.

More to come...
David Robison

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Clear signs

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The Koran repeatedly refers to the "clear signs" that were "sent down" to warn and instruct the people. These Clear Signs did not originate with Muhammad, but were a pattern established by God long ago.
"Ask the Children of Israel how many a clear sign We gave them." (Koran  2:207)
In some cases, the Koran makes references to the "clear signs" that were the attesting miracles done by the prophets to prove their message was genuine and that they were sent from God. The Koran says of Moses,
"And We gave Moses nine signs, clear signs. Ask the Children of Israel when he came to them, and Pharaoh said to him, 'Moses, I think thou art bewitched [enchanted].'" (Koran 17:103)
However, in most cases, these signs have nothing to do with sings as we normally think of, that being supernatural signs, miracles, and wonders. In most cases, these "clear signs" that the Koran speaks of are the very verses of the Koran and of other sacred books sent down to Mankind from God above. The Koran says of Jesus,
"And when Jesus came with the clear signs [manifest proofs] he said, 'I have come to you with wisdom, and that I may make clear to you some of that whereon you are at variance; so fear you God and obey you me." (Koran 43:63)
Notice that the Koran claims that Jesus understood that the clear signs He came with was the wisdom which was able to correct all misunderstandings and false doctrine that left the Jews debating among themselves. Here, the clear sign is not that He rose from the dead but rather that He brought the wisdom to make clear what God had always intended.

This is something unique in regard to the Koran and Muhammad. Neither offer anything in the way of miracles or supernatural proofs of their genuineness or their appointment by God. The only proof, or clear sign, that they offer is the Koran itself.
"the Koran was sent down to be a guidance to the people, and as clear signs [explanation] of the Guidance and the Salvation [of that illumination]." (Koran 2:181)
"A sura that We have sent down and appointed; and We have sent down in it signs, clear signs, that haply you will remember." (Koran 24:1)
The Koran claims for itself that the proof of its genuineness is that its verses are direct, clear, and compelling to our understanding. Its proof is that, once hearing the Koran, we are, or ought to be, compelled to follow it because its verses will resonate within us.
"It is He who sends down upon His servant signs, clear signs [clear tokens], that He may bring you forth from the shadows [of darkness] into the light. Surely God is to you All-gentle, All-compassionate." (Koran 57:9)
"A Book whose verses are set clear [stablished in wisdom], and then distinguished [set forth with clearness], from One All-wise, Allaware [All-informed]" (Koran 11:1)
But is this truly the case? Is the Koran really self-evident? Are its verses and signs clear enough to convince all that it is truly God's word sent down from above? Is the Koran so compelling that neither it nor Muhammad need any signs and wonders to give proof of their mission and genuineness?

In my opinion, no! While it may have a resonance when recited in Arabic, I find its message in English to be less than compelling. Such a claim of self-evidence based on "clear signs" depends so much on the opinion and estimation of the one hearing those signs. In my estimation, they are left lacking.

More to come...
David Robison

Monday, November 23, 2015

Koran - A new testament - In Arabic

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and you can read the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
The Koran teaches that, to each nation, God sends their own messenger and their own testament, speaking and written in their own tongue, that they might be warned and rightly guided into the truth.
"Every nation has its Messenger [Apostle]; then, when their Messenger [apostle]comes, justly the issue [a rightful decision] is decided between them, and they are not wronged." (Koran 10:48)
"And We have sent no Messenger [Apostle] save with the tongue [speech] of his people, that he might make all clear to them." (Koran 14:4 )
 "And thou shalt see every nation hobbling on their knees [kneeling], every nation being summoned unto its Book: 'Today you shall be recompensed [repaid] for that you were doing [have done]. This is Our Book, that speaks against you the truth; We have been registering all that you were doing.'" (Koran 45:27-28)
In this sense, the Koran was sent down, written in Arabic and for an Arabic speaking people.
"We have sent it down as an Arabic Koran; haply you will [that ye might] understand [it]." (Koran 12:2)
"The sending down of the Book, wherein no doubt is, [s revelation send down] from the Lord of all Being [the world]. Or do they say, 'He has forged it'? Say: 'Not so; it is the truth from thy Lord that thou mayest warn a people to whom no warner came before thee, that haply so they may be guided." (Koran 32:1-2)
Muhammad believed that he was chosen as the messenger to bring a Arabic book from God to warn, instruct, and lead a people whom previously had been without a warner and a book from God. He was an Arabic warner with an Arabic book for an Arabic speaking people. His mission was not to change the world, or to convert a people of an unknown tongue, but to being God's message to the people around him who spoke his language. He was a messenger and a warner sent to a specific people, not to the world in general.
"Surely We have sent thee with the truth good tidings to bear, and warning; not a nation there is, but there has passed away in it a warner. If they cry thee lies [treat the as a liar], those before them also cried lies; their Messengers [Apostles] came to them with the clear signs, the Psalms [scriptures], the Illuminating Book; then I seized [chastised] the unbelievers, and how was My horror [vengeance]!" (Koran ?35:22-24)
Given this, it makes me wonder how Islam went from an Arabic message to an Arabic people to a conquering force seeking to establish its religion and rule over all of mankind. Muhammad himself sought to expand his Islamic control over other nations and people through military battles and campaigns. We have seen over the past fourteen hundred years the aggressive expansion of Islamic rule throughout the world; often through military conquest rather than peaceful persuasion. Even today, there are those within our borders and without that are actively seeking to overthought our societies and cultures in order to bring about Muslim rule. However, one must ask, "Where is our warner? Where is our book written in our own language?" If we are so bad and in such need of reform, let God do what He promised in the Koran and send us our own messenger and our own book! However, it is those who claim to follow Islam yet disregard the message of the Koran who are seeking to destroy us from within. This inconsistency is one of the reasons I find it hard to accept the Muslim message: the inconsistency both within the Koran itself and in the combative lives of those who seek its spread its message in a way that seems contrary to the message of Muhammad himself.

More to come...
David Robison

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Koran - A new testament - The mother book

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
Muslims hold the Koran to be unique and prized above all other books. Their reverence for the Koran goes far beyond that which any other religion has for its sacred texts. Muslims, who hold the Jewish and Christian texts in honor, see the Koran as a book that stands apart from them and one that requires special handling and treatment. The Koran itself requires that those who copy and preserve it be noble and those who handle it be pure.
"No indeed; it [the Koran] is a Reminder [warning] (and whoso wills, shall remember it) upon pages high-honoured, uplifted [exalted], purified, by the hands of scribes noble [honored], pious [righteous]." (Koran 80:11-15)
"it is surely a noble [honorable] Koran in a hidden [preserved] Book [let] none but the purified shall touch [it], a sending down [revelation] from the Lord of all Being [the Worlds]." (Koran 56:76-77)
There are many reasons for this reverence, one being their believe concerning the origin of the book and their belief that the Koran is an exact, word-for-word, copy of the master book in heaven which is also written in Arabic. The Koran says this of its origin,
"By the Clear Book, behold, We have made it an Arabic Koran; haply you will [that ye may] understand and behold, it is in the Essence of the Book [a transcript of the archetypical Book], with [kept by] Us; sublime [lofty] indeed, wise [filled with wisdom]." (Koran 43:2-3)
During Muhammad's first revelation, Gabriel speaks to him of the Pen that is in heaven.
"Recite: In the Name of thy Lord who created, created Man of [from] a blood-clot. Recite: And thy Lord is the Most Generous, who taught by the Pen, taught Man that he knew not." (Koran 96:1-5)
When asked about this Pen, Muhammad replied,
"The first thing God created was the pen. He created the tablet and said to the pen: 'Write!' And the pen answered: 'What shall I write?' He said: 'Write My knowledge of My creation till the day of resurrection.' Then the pen traced what had been ordained." (Muhammad, his life based on the earliest sources)
This archetypal book, this copy of the Koran in heaven written by the Pen, is refereed to in subsequent revelations as "a glorious recitation (qur'an) on an inviolable tablet and as the mother of the book" (Muhammad, his life based on the earliest sources)

This belief that the Koran is a literal, word-for-word, copy of the original Arabic book written by the Pen in heaven seems quite fanciful. For nearly four thousand years, God hid the knowledge of this book from mankind. No where in the Jewish or Christian texts does the existence of such a book find evidence, nor is there existence of the Pen that write it or the Tablets upon which it was written. Similarly, this Mother of the Book would have had to be written in Arabic for the Koran to be a word-for-word copy of the book. No where in the Jewish or Christian texts is it alluded to that the official language in heaven is Arabic, or that there is even language as we know it in heaven. Why would God write a book in a language that would not exist for nearly four thousand years? For four thousand years God was revealing Himself to mankind and in all that time He never did it in Arabic! Even if heaven did have an official language, I would have assumed it to be Hebrew since the Jews were God's "chosen people" (Isaiah 43:20) and those though whom salvation was to come. I personally cannot and do not believe there is such a Mother Book and, if the existence of a Mother Book is to be disbelieved, then so is the Koran which claims its origin from such a questionable book.

More to come...
David Robison

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

If God died on the cross, then who is running the universe?

Recently, a Muslim reader posed this question to me:
Now tell me if God incarnated and came to earth then who was controlling the skies and matter? Also, also you said that Prophet Jesus (pbuh) died, if He is dead it means God is dead as well, and if this is the case then who is controlling the universe as there is no god left? Also you said Prophet Jesus will come again. How will He come again as God and Prophet Jesus (pbuh) both died?
To answer this question, there are two things we must understand. First is the nature of death. James says, "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." (James 2:26) Death is not extinction but merely separation. When we die, it's not that we cease to exist, rather it's that our body and our spirit are separated and the fleshly part of our life dies and our spirit lives on. Our body is temporal but our spirit is eternal and lives on eternally even after our death. Even the Koran testifies to this truth.
"God takes the souls [unto Himself] at the time of their death, and that which has not died, in [during] its sleep." (Koran 39:43)
"Count not those who were slain in God's way as dead, but rather living with their Lord, by Him provided [richly sustained], rejoicing in the bounty that God has given them, and joyful in those who remain behind [follow after them] and have not joined them, because no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow," (Koran 3:164-165)
Furthermore, the scriptures make it clear that the dead are not unaware, but fully alive and able to perceive, feel, and communicate. Jesus tells the story of two men who died and their very different experiences after death. "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom." (Luke 16:22-23) When asked about the resurrection, Jesus said, "But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." (Matthew 22:31-32) Truly, those who die live on, just not in this world. This is why the scriptures speak of those who are "cut off out of the land of the living." (Isaiah 53:8) Still living, just not in the land of the living. Even though Jesus died on the cross, He still lives, both as God and man.

The second thing we must understand is that God is not limited by human or physical limitations. God is the one who fills all things. Paul says, "He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things." (Ephesians 4:10) God is everywhere at all times. David knew this and said, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,  even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me." (Psalms 139:7-10 NKJV) God is able to dwell in human for in Jesus Christ and still fill the universe He created and controls. Paul tells us that Jesus "emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2:7) Jesus emptied Himself but He didn't empty heaven. Whether embodied in Jesus Christ or filling the universe He created, God is still in control.

I hope this helps.
David Robison

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Koran - A new testament - A process of preservation

This is a continuation of my posts in the series "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
Muhammad received his first revelation, delivered to him by the angel Gabriel, in 610 CE. These revelations continued for approximately twenty two years until Muhammad's death in 632 CE. The revelations were delivered to Muhammad in the form of short Suras, or chapters, which, during the revelation, Muhammad committed to memory and then taught them to his family, friends, and follows. These were taught to recite the revelation word-for-word just as Muhammad had been taught to recite them by Gabriel.

The Koran, primarily and fundamentally, is meant to be recited. This may seem odd to those who grew up in cultures where written records were esteemed over the oral transfer of knowledge. However, in the nomadic desert society in which the early Muslims lived, oral recitation greatly assisted the memorization and transmission of the Koranic verses to believers, many of whom were illiterate, The Koran itself speaks of the importance of its recitation.
"and a Koran We have divided [parsed out in sections], for thee to recite it to mankind at intervals [by slow degrees], and We have sent it down successively [piecemeal]." (Koran 17:107)
As Muhammad began to teach his friends and family to recite the Koran, they began to write down what he taught them so that they might preserve and remember the words they had been taught. During his life, the Koran existed in this form; scraps of it preserved on "parchment, wooden planks, or palm leaves" (The History of the Qur’anic Text, Muhammad Mustafa Al-a`zami) and in the memories of the believers. However, after Muhammad's death, the benefit of a compiled and standardized Koran was quickly realized.
"About a year after his death, at the direction of Abu-Bakr, his father-in-law and immediate successor, Zayd, the chief ansar or amanuensis of the Prophet, collected the scattered fragments of the Koran “from palmleaves, and tablets of white stone, and from the breasts of men,” but without any regard to chronological order or continuity of subjects." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume IV, Section 44. The Koran, and the Bible)
The Suras were generally arranged from largest to smallest rather than chronologically. To westerners this might seem odd, but it is no different from the Jewish book of Psalms which too has no apparent (or overt) chronological order. Once the job of compilation was complete, all other copies of the Koran, including the fragments from which it was compiled, were burned, thus ensuring a single authoritative and standardized version of the Koran.
"With the task complete, the ink on the final copy dry, and duplicate copies dispatched, there was no need for the numerous fragments of the Qjir'an circulating in people's hands. So all such fragments were burned. Mus'ab bin Sa'd asserts that the people were pleased with 'Uthman's decision; at the very least no one voiced any objections.' Other reports confirm this unanimous approval." (The History of the Qur’anic Text, Muhammad Mustafa Al-a`zami)
Thus, the claim is that the Koran had existed in its present form, unaltered, for over fourteen hundred years since it was first recorded by those who heard it from the prophet Muhammad. This claim is more than tradition for many Muslim believers, it is also a point of faith. Any suggestion that there may have been corruptions or alterations to the Koran is often met with vehement objection by believers, especial radical and fundamentalist believers. Unfortunately, this has often stifled any development of historical, socialistic, and critical examination of the Koran, its development, and its preservation until today. However, our concern here is not so much the history of the Koran but what it contains and what it has to say. To this we will turn our attentions to next.

More to come...
David Robison

Monday, November 16, 2015

How could God decide to start a family

Recently, a Muslim reader asked me this question.
"God Is unique ...if He starts having family then there is no difference between the creator and the creation."
This is an astute question as it acknowledges that God is unique and we expect Him to be different from ourselves. One of the greatest difficulties we face when trying to understand God is in trying to understand Him in human terms. Here we try to understand God and the Son of God in human terms of having children and starting a family. Though we call Him the Son of God it is not as if God one day decided to take a wife and start having children. My reader correctly surmises that if this were the case then God would no longer be unique and no different form the rest of His creation. To properly understand what is meant by the term "Son of God" we must first understand this term in its context.

Often the scriptures use the same term to mean multiple things, each which must be understood by its context. For example, what the scripture means by being born or begotten is different based on its context. When the scripture says that "Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers." (Matthew 1:2 NKJV) it means that Isaac, Jacob, and Judah were born of natural means with a father and a mother. When the scriptures speak of Jesus saying "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14) It does not mean that Jesus was born in the normal human since but that the Word of God was incarnated in human flesh in the womb of the virgin Mary. And, when the scripture says that Jesus, "is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything." (Colossians 1:18) it is obviously not speaking of normal child birth or the production of a human family since no one has ever created a family by giving birth from the dead.

Similarly, when Jesus is call the "Son of God" we do not take the term "Son" to mean and stand for normal sons and daughters as we might have them. The scriptures speak of Adam this way, "the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God." (Luke 3:38) Although Adam was in no way birthed as normal children, yet he is called the son of God because he was directly made and fashioned by the hands of God. Similarly, Job refers to the angles as the sons of God, not because they were birthed, but because they were created. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them." (Job 1:6) Also, believers are called the children of God, not because we are born so but because we are made so by the salvation of God. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." (John 1:12) So Jesus is called the Son of God, not because He was made or because he was birthed, but because He came from the Father and entered this world through the womb of a virgin.

Finally, we must realize that, even as Jesus was born into this world, it was not as if He never existed until His birth. Jesus told this parable of Himself and His mission on Earth.
"At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, so that they would give him some of the produce of the vineyard; but the vine-growers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed. And he proceeded to send a third; and this one also they wounded and cast out. The owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.'" (Luke 20:10-13)
Here, Jesus shows us that when He was sent from the Father to enter this world as a child, that He already existed with the Father. Jesus' birth was not His creation. He was from eternity with the Father and will for all eternity continue to be with the Father. John says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:1, 14) John clearly states that Jesus always existed with God as the Word of God and was, in fact, God. His coming forth as the Son of God was his appearance upon Earth but not His creation as the Son. Paul writes of Jesus, "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." Things that can only be said of God. Similarly, "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:6-8) Showing clearly that Jesus existed as God long before He ever became a man and walked among us.

I hope this helps you to understand Jesus as the Son of God and His incarnation into this world.

David Robison

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Climbing with Abraham by David Ramos

I was recently introduced to a new author named David Ramos who just released his new book, "Climbing with Abraham". In his book, Mr Ramos takes us on a thirty day adventure with Abraham; walking with him, seeing his ups and downs, and, most importantly, finding out how faith in God sustained him and enabled him to achieve the promises and plans of God for him in his every day life. Mr Ramos' writing style is fresh, thoughtful, and personal. As we read the story of Abraham, we begin to understand that we are reading Mr Ramos' story as well. His story, and the lessons we learn from Abraham, gives us great hope and courage that we too can become people of faith just like Abraham. Mr Ramos writes, "The Christian life is, for the most part, not supernatural. What Christ and the Holy Spirit did and do is certainly beyond this world. But on our part, most of what we do will be classified as normal. Normal prayers, normal errands, normal difficulties and frustrations, and normal successes. It’s God who takes the normal and turns it into supernatural." We live in everyday life yet it is our faith that ties us back to God and helps us not only to see God in everything we do but to also see our lives and everything we do in God. We are part of a a larger plan and purpose. Sometimes or frustrations come when we loose sight of the fact that we are in God's plans not Ne in ours. If we can just look up and see the larger reality then our life will begin to become more clear and take on greater understanding and importance. This is what Abraham found through his of faith and what Mr Ramos challenges us also to find as we too walk in faith with God, I highly recommend this book for yourself or for any one you may know who is also journeying through this life by faith.

David Robison

Friday, November 13, 2015

Muhammad - A new apostle - A man of many wives

This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.
We cannot leave our discussion of Muhammad without first an introducing to his many wives. Philip Schaff describes Muhammad's proclivity for multiple wives in this manor.
"Mohammed was a slave of sensual passion. Ayesha, who knew him best in his private character and habits, used to say: ‘The prophet loved three things, women, perfumes and food; he had his heart’s desire of the two first, but not of the last’… He had at least fourteen legal wives, and a number of slave concubines besides. At his death he left nine widows. He claimed special revelations which gave him greater liberty of sexual indulgence than ordinary Moslems (who are restricted to four wives), and exempted him from the prohibition of marrying near relatives." (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Section 42. Life and Character of Mohammed)
Mecca, where Muhammad lived, was a center for trade along the African trade route and Muhammad himself was quite skilled at trade. His reputation for skill, honesty, and trustworthiness attracted the attention of a rich merchant in Mecca name Khadijah.
"She had already been married twice, and since the death of her second husband it had been her custom to hire men to trade on her behalf. Now Muhammad had come to be known throughout Mecca as al-Arnin, the Reliable, the Trustworthy, the Honest, and this was initially owing to the reports of those who had entrusted their merchandise to him on various occasions. Khadijah had also heard much good of him from family sources; and one day she sent word to him, asking him to take some of her merchandise to Syria." (Muhammad, his life based on the earliest sources, Chapter 12 Questions of Marriage)
It was shortly after returning from a business trip to Syria that Khadijah send him an offer of marriage. Muhammad accepted and Khadijah became his first wife, even though she was fifteen years his senior. From all accounts it was a happy marriage and a mostly monogamous one, with the possible exception of the female slaves which he owned and with whom it was not considered cheating in his age and culture. After her death he married other wives, and multiple wives, one being as young as nine years old. Ayesha was his favorite whom he married when she was nine and he fifty five. He even declared that she would be his bride in paradise.
"She was then only nine years old, a child of remarkable beauty, as might have been expected from her parentage... Small preparations were made for the wedding -not enough, at any rate for 'A'ishah to have had the sense of a great and solemn occasion... In her own words: 'I was playing on a see-saw and my long streaming hair was dishevelled. They came and took me from my play and made me ready.'... Her removal to the Prophet's house changed nothing in this respect... 'One day,' said A'ishah, 'the prophet came in when I was playing with the dolls and he said: "0 'A'ishah, is this?" I said: "It is Solomon's horses", and he laughed.'" (Muhammad, his life based on the earliest sources, Chapter XL The New Household)
While marriage to a nine year old might offend our modern senses, no one of his day seems to question or denounce his marriage to such a young girl.

We will discuss the topic of polygamy as a Muslim doctrine in a later post, but what stands our here is Muhammad's justification for additional wives based upon his position of a prophet. Christian doctrine clearly teaches that those with greater responsibility and oversight within the church ought to be those who exercise the most self-control over the sexual apatites. Paul repeatedly writes, "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife." (1 Timothy 3:2 NKJV) Even more disturbing is Muhammad's use of prophesy to secure his own sexual wants in the face of his wives and his people.

Muhammad had received a Copt slave from the governor of Egypt whom he was quite smitten with. However, his wife Hafsa was jealous of her and forced Muhammad to swear to stay away from her and to leave her alone. However, he had recently begun to associate with her again which made Hafsa very mad. Conveniently, Muhammad received a prophesy from Gabriel justifying his renewed affections for the slave girl.
"O Prophet, why forbiddest thou what God has made lawful to thee, seeking the good pleasure of [desiring to please] thy wives? And God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. God has ordained for [allowed] you the absolution [release] of your oaths." (Koran 66:1-2)
God is a God who keeps His promises, yet here here he grants permission for Muhammad to break his. Furthermore, it is quite unbecoming for any prophet of God to prophesy permission for his own indigence in sexual pleasures. Such abuse of the prophetic does not originate with God but in the lustful and carnal heart of man.

David Robison

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Does God have a girlfriend?

Recently, a Muslim reader of my posts questioned my on my belief that Jesus is God. While he believes that Jesus was a prophet, he does not believe that He is God or ever claimed to be God. Based on this difference of beliefs, he asked me the following questions.
I have some question for you then you are so I am going call you brother..hope you don't mind....well brother, Question number one... Who is God? Is He married or have a girlfriend? If it's not true then why you say Prophet Jesus is a son of God? And if it's true then..who were Prophet Adam And Eva to God....both of them were born without it means if Prophet Jesus pbuh is a son of God because He was born without a it also make's Prophet Adam and Eva the eldest children of God?
This is a very interesting question and one that seems common to many Muslims. Even Muhammad had questions on this same point when he declared emphatically that God never had a wife, a consort, or a girlfriend.
"He -- exalted be our Lord's majesty! has not taken to Himself either consort [spouse] or a son [any offspring]. The fool among us spoke against God outrage [that which is unjust]" (Koran 72:3)
"What, has your Lord favoured you with sons and taken to Himself [taken for himself] from the angels females [daughters from among the angels]? Surely it is a monstrous [dreadful] thing you are saying!" (Koran 17:42)
"Or has He taken [adopted] to Himself, from that He creates, daughters, and favoured you with sons [chosen sons for you]?" (Koran 43:15)
This great misunderstanding, that God must have been married in order to have a Son, has made believing difficult for many throughout the past two thousand years. Here is what I believe... John taught us,
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:1-5, 14)
John introduces us to the Word. This Word was, from the beginning, with God, created creation with God, and was, in fact, God. John shows us that God, while being one, is also plural. This should not surprise us as, from the very beginning, God speaks of Himself in the plural, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Genesis 1:26) and He speaks similarly of Himself in the Koran, "A Book We have sent down to thee that thou mayest bring forth mankind from the shadows to the light by the leave of their Lord." (Koran 14:1) Moreover, even at times we think of ourselves in the plural; we are body, soul, spirit yet one person. We are one but we also see within ourselves a plural nature. Therefore we ought not to be surprised that God also expresses Himself in the plural, though He is one.

Here John uses the Greek word logos which is translated into English as word but more precisely means our thoughts, reasonings, speech, motives, and ideas. God, dwelling in heaven, desired to reveal His logos, His thoughts, will, mind, purpose, and message to mankind. He therefore set about to incarnate that Word in human form though the womb of Mary. Mary was a virgin and did not understand how she could have a child. The angle Gabriel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35) It had long been foretold that God would come to the aid of His people and bring to them the salvation they could not achieve for themselves. "And He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness upheld Him." (Isaiah 59:16)

So what should we call this emanation from God? We could call Him "the Word made flesh," or "the arm of the Lord revealed," or "the Son of God." What is difficult is that we are trying to use human words and language to express something that is spiritual and, in many ways, inexpressible. However, what is important is not what we call something but what that something really is. We need to not judge things by how we name them or express them in language but by who or what they are in truth and reality. This truth, that Jesus was both God and the Son of God, was testified to when Jesus raised Himself from the dead. "Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord," (Romans 1:3-4) His resurrection from the dead is his proof, or clear sign, that He was who He said He was, the Son of God, God incarnate, and Emanuel - God with us! His resurrection was witnessed to by many, giving us proof that it actually occurred just as it has been recorded for us.
"He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also." (1 Corinthians 15:4-8)
It is in Him that I believe and He is the hope of both my salvation and my righteousness. After having received Him, I have no need of any other prophet, teacher, apostle, or holy man. His death has paid the price for all my sins and His resurrection has given me entrance into the newness and abundance of life I seek, and I hope that all will come to know Him just as I have come to know Him, as my Savior, Lord, and God.

I hope this helps to answer your questions.
David Robison