Monday, November 30, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Could not have been forged

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.
One of the oft repeated defenses for the Koran is that, even if men and Jinn tried, they could not reproduce the likes of the Koran.
"And if you are in doubt concerning that We have sent down on Our servant, then bring [produce] a sura like it,  and call your witnesses, apart from [besides] God, if you are truthful." (Koran 2:21)
"Or do they say, 'He has forged it [the Koran is his own device]'? Say: 'Then bring you ten suras the like of it, forged [of your devising]; and call upon whom you are able, apart from God, if you speak truly.'" (Koran 11:16)
"Say: 'If men and jinn banded together [assembled] to produce the like of this Koran, they would never produce its like, not though they backed [help] one another.'" (Koran 17:90)
It is interesting how the requirement went from one sura, to ten, and then to an entire Koran! Muhammad faced many distractors in his day who claimed that his work was just a work of a poet and not that of a prophet.
"Nay, but they say: 'A hotchpotch of nightmares [a medley of dreams]! Nay, he has forged it; nay, he is a poet! Now therefore let him bring us a sign, even as the ancient ones were sent as Messengers.'" (Koran 21:5)
"saying, 'What, shall we forsake our gods for a poet possessed [crazed poet]?'" (Koran 37:35)
But the Koran defends Mohammad in light of their retorts.
"We have not taught him [Muhammad] poetry; it is not seemly for him. It is only a Remembrance [warning] and a Clear Koran, that he may warn whosoever is living, and that the Word may be realized [sentence may be justly given] against the unbelievers [infidels]." (Koran 36:69-70)
So what is the nature of the Koran such that no one could produce the likes of it through mere human effort and apart form direct revelation from God? How are we to judge one book against another? Certainly, if I were to try and assign a place for the Koran among other works of classical literature I would have to place it far below these other great works of literature. To me, the Koran does not stand out as any great work of literature. 

One of the natures that the Koran claims for itself is that it is the best guidance for mankind.
"Say: 'Bring a Book from [before] God that gives better guidance than these, and [that I may] follow it, if you speak truly.'" (Koran 28:49)
However, I would readily place before the Koran the works of the early Christian Apostles and writers; works providing greater and better guidance for our daily lives than the Koran does. The Koran also claims for itself a better form of discourse; one that the person instinctively and viscerally recognizes and knows.
"God has sent down the fairest discourse [best of recitals] as a Book, consimilar in its oft-repeated [in unison with itself], whereat shiver [creep] the skins of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and their hearts soften to the remembrance of God. That is God's guidance, whereby." (Koran 39:24)
However, I must say that such is not true for me. My skin does not crawl nor does the Koran later bring a warm memory of God, yet when I read the Christian scriptures my heart is warmed by the love and mercy of God and the great sacrifice God gave for my redemption. Yes, the Koran is full of threatening and judgments that might cause some to react with fear and terror, but the Gospel is full of love and acceptance that woos the unbeliever back to God. Finally, the Koran puts forward this challenge,
"Woe that day unto those who cry it lies! 'Eat and take your joy a little; you are sinners!' Woe that day unto those who cry it lies! When it is said to them, 'Prostrate yourselves!' they prostrate not. Woe that day unto those who cry it lies! In what discourse after this will they believe?" (Koran 77:45-50)
But I would ask, "why was there a need for another discourse in the first place?" For me, the Jewish and Christian scriptures are sufficient for redemption, salvation, guidance, correction, reproof, training, and for all other matters that affect the human life. Therefore, why do we need another testament or another book from God? Certainly we do not need on of the character and nature of the Koran; one full of judgment and threatenings that make the skin crawl.

More to come...
David Robison

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Abrogation

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.
Muhammad, speaking in an attempt to bolster trust and faith in the Koran, said,
"What, do they not ponder the Koran? If it had been from other than God surely they would have found in it much inconsistency [many contradictions]." (Koran 4:84)
In other words, it is only because the Koran was given by direct word-for-word revelation to Muhammad that it is free from all contradictions and inconsistencies. However, is this a valid proof of its origin and divine nature? For there are any number of books that are consistent within themselves. For example, the Book of Mormon could be considered to be consistent within its own revelation. Are we to now accept it as being from God as well? Heretics through out the centuries have produced books describing their beliefs that are consistent and without contradictions when compared with themselves. Self-consistency is in no way a valid proof of divine origin but merely proof of a careful and articulate author. In fact, seeing that the Koran is the result of one author we should expect it to be consistent since Muhammad need only be consistent with himself.

That being said, the truth is that we do find inconsistencies and contradictions within the Koran itself. For example, consider this one example. early Muhammad writes,
"[Let there be] No compulsion is there in religion." (Koran 2:257)
And yet latter he writes,
"When you meet [encounter] the unbelievers [infidels], smite their necks [strike off their heads], then [till], when you have made wide [great] slaughter among them, tie fast the bonds [make fast the fetters]." (Koran 47:4)
"They wish that you should disbelieve [infidels] as they disbelieve [infidels], and then you would be equal [alike]; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate [fled their homes] in the way [for the cause] of God; then, if they turn their backs, take [seize] them, and slay them wherever you find them;." (Koran 4:91)
So which is it? Is it "No compulsion" or "slay them where you find them"? This contradiction and inconsistency exists multiple times within the Koran and to various degrees. Even Muhammad himself displayed this same inconsistency in his life. Philip Schaff describes his life in this manor.
"At first he proclaimed toleration: 'Let there be no compulsion in religion;' but afterwards he revealed the opposite principle that all unbelievers must be summoned to Islâm, tribute, or the sword. With an increasing army of his enthusiastic followers, he took the field against his enemies, gained in 624 his first victory over the Koreish with an army of 305 (mostly citizens of Medina) against a force twice as large, conquered several Jewish and Christian tribes, ordered and watched in person the massacre of six hundred Jews in one day, while their wives and children were sold into slavery (627), triumphantly entered Mecca (630), demolished the three hundred and sixty idols of the Kaaba, and became master of Arabia. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume IV, Section 42. Life and Character of Mohammed)
To explain such contradictions and inconsistencies, the Koran invokes the idea of abrogation.
"And for whatever verse We abrogate [cancel] or cast into oblivion [cause to forget], We bring a better or the like of it; knowest thou not that God is powerful over everything?" (Koran 2:100)
To abrogate is to cancel, revoke, or rescind. Some have justified God's revoking or rescinding former verses in that, previously mankind was not able to receive the fullness of God's revelation; so He reveals a little at a time; revealing more as they are more mature and more able to receive what God has to say. So was it that man was too tolerant and compassionate for them to hear the message to kill the infidels where they find them? Did God need to wait until their hearts were hardened and they became more intolerant before He could teach them to hate and to kill? Or was it God who changed and became more intolerant and less merciful towards those who believed different from the Muslims that He turned to command the Muslims to kill the Jews and Christians? Such abrogation, such contradictions and inconsistencies, is not worthy of a book that claims to be divine and the literal word of God.

More to come...
David Robison

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Koran - A new testament - Confirming the past

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 continuation of the scriptures previously delivered to mankind. Much like the Book of Mormon, the Koran believes itself to be a new revelation, a new testament, built upon the previous revelations and testaments, confirming what was said before and clarifying and unifying beliefs through its message. The Koran states that first there was the Law, then the Gospel, then the Koran; all from God and all part of one revelation.
"Surely We sent down the Torah [Law], wherein is guidance and light; thereby the Prophets who had surrendered themselves [professed Islam] gave judgment for those of Jewry, as did the masters [doctors] and the rabbis [teachers], following such portion of God's Book as they were given to keep [were the keepers] and were witnesses to." (Koran 5:48)
"And We sent, following in their [the prophets] footsteps, Jesus son of Mary, confirming the Torah [law] before him and We gave to him the Gospel [Evangel], wherein is guidance and light, and confirming the Torah [Law] before it, as a guidance and an admonition unto the godfearing." (Koran 5:50)
"He has sent down upon thee the Book with the truth, confirming what was before it, and He sent down the Torah [Law] and the Gospel [Evangel] aforetime, as guidance to the people, and He sent down the Salvation ['Illumination']." (Koran 3:2)
Muhammad believed that the Jews and Christians would instinctively see the truth of his message and would readily embrace the Koran as the truth from God. However, they did not. A fact which lead to latter wars initiated by Muslims in an attempt to convert the world to the message of the Koran. In the Koran, Muhammad exhorts both Jews and Christians to leave behind their objections and join him and other Muslims in following the Koran.
"Children of Israel, remember My blessing [favor] wherewith I blessed you, and fulfil My covenant and I shall fulfil your covenant; and have awe of Me. And believe in that I have sent down, confirming that which is with you [your Scriptures], and be not the first to disbelieve in it. And sell [barter] not My signs for a little price; and fear you Me." (Koran 2:38)
"There is a party [others] of the People of the Book say, 'Believe in what has been sent down upon those who believe at the beginning of the day, and disbelieve [deny it] at the end of it; haply they will then return [Thus do they go back]'" (Koran 3:65-66)
This idea, that the genuineness and authenticity of the Koran is demonstrated by its conformity with the previous Jewish and Christian scriptures, is repeated over and over within the Koran.
"Naught [nothing] is said to thee but what already was said to the Messengers [Apostles] before thee." (Koran 41:43)
However, is this, in fact, true? Later on, we will look in great detail at the historical inaccuracies of the Koran, but for now, these two examples will suffice.

Genesis records the account of Noah. It states that, "Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth." (Genesis 7:6) However, the Koran states,
"Indeed, We sent Noah to his people, and he tarried among them a thousand years, all but fifty; so the Flood seized them, while they were evildoers." (Koran 29:13)
In one account Noah lived six hundred years before the flood. In the other account, nine hundred and fifty years.

Samuel records the account of David defeating Goliath. "Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine... Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's hand... When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. The men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley." (1 Sam 17:48, 50-52) However, the Koran records,
"So, when they went forth against Goliath And his hosts, they said, 'Our Lord, pour out upon us patience [steadfastness], and make firm our feet, and give us aid against the people of the unbelievers [infidels]!' And they routed them, by the leave of God, and David slew Goliath." (Koran 2:251-252)
In one account, David slew Goliath while the other Israelites cowered. Only after David killed Goliath did the Israelites engage them in battle. However, in the Koran, they all rushed to the battle together and, during the battle, David kills Goliath.

One may say that these are small differences. However, the claim of the Koran is that it is a word-for-word translation of the Mother Book in heaven. How can a book that claims to be a word-for-word recitation from God and, at the same time claims to conform and confirm to what was written previously, have so many discrepancies and historical inaccuracies, especially when compared with the previous scriptures? The Koran does not conform and confirm and, in may places, actually differs and contradicts the scriptures. This is another key reason why I cannot and do not believe in the Koran.

More to come...
David Robison

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

New review of my book "Living Truly Rich and Truly Poor"

I want to thank David Ramos for his generous review of my new book, "Living Truly Rich and Truly Poor". You can read his review here. You can also follow David Ramos on his blog Offset. David has also recently release his new book, "Climbing with Abraham" that is available from Amazon. I will be reviewing his book soon in an upcoming post.

David Robison

Muhammad - A new apostle - He is special

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.
Muhammad saw himself as the first of a new religion; a religion that was ancient yet was being reset, restarted anew. He was to be the first both in time and prestige.
"Say: 'I have been commanded [bidden] to be the first of them that surrender [themselves to God]: 'Be not thou of the idolaters [those who join gods with God].'" (Koran 6:14)
Certainly, Muhammad was not the first to surrender themselves to God. Elsewhere in the Koran even he states that Abraham was a Muslim; one surrendered to God.
"No; Abraham in truth was not a Jew, neither a Christian; but he was a Muslim and one Pure of [sound in] faith; certainly he was never of the idolaters [not of those who add gods to God]." (Koran 3:60)
However, in this new reset of religion, he was the first to believe and obey the prophesies sent down by Gabriel. As such, Muhammad was not like the others who would believe after him. He was special and a cut above the rest of the believer.
"Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but the Messenger [Apostle] of God, and the Seal of the Prophets." (Koran 33:40)
This is not to say that Muhammad did not have any children of his own. However, it is to say that none was to take him as their close kin or even their brother. He was to be considered as special, separate,  and due to receive certain honors from the people. Even the term, "Seal of the Prophets" was meant to indicate that, even among the prophets, he was special and deserved to be treated with deference, loyalty, honor, and obedience. Muhammad was their leader and spiritual guide, but he was not their brother or their kinsman.
"Make not the calling of [address not] the Messenger [Apostle] among yourselves like your calling [addressing] one of another." (Koran 24:63)
This attitude of superiority is foreign to the record of the Jewish and Christian history. When Peter refereed to Paul, the Apostle, he simply refereed to him as "our beloved brother Paul," (2 Peter 3:15) Jesus Himself taught us that we "are all brothers." (Matthew 23:8) And in the context He explicitly included His disciples and Apostles. Furthermore, Jesus taught us that the greater we are the lower we ought to position ourselves; that the greatest among us ought to be the servant of all.
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28)
Even being an Apostle was a call, not to be first, but to be last.
"For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men." (1 Corinthians 4:9-10)
I am always leery of leaders who claim themselves to be special and require others to treat them with special honor, care, and support. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve, yet Muhammad prophesies of himself that he ought to be served and exalted by those who surrender to God. Such self exaltation is not mark of a mature man or woman of God and most certainly not that of a true prophet of God.

More to come...
David Robison

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Muhammad - A new apostle - Not to be questioned

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.
Muhammad believed himself to be the undoubtable and unquestionable oracle of God. He believed his words were the exact recitations, word for word, of the message he received from Gabriel, the angel of God. If one were to doubt him then there remained for them no other oracle, no other prophet, and no other guidance from God.
"How should they have the Reminder [but how did the warning avail them], seeing a clear Messenger [undoubted apostle] already came to them, then they turned away from him and said, 'A man tutored [taught by others], possessed!'" (Koran 44:12-13)
Muhammad demands that he be respected and believed just like Moses was before the people of Israel. He sees himself as the leader of the Arab people and one to be followed without question or challenge.
"Or do you desire to question your Messenger [apostle] as Moses was questioned in former time? Whoso exchanges belief for unbelief has surely strayed from the right way." (Koran 2:102)
Muhammad is obviously referring back to the times when the people of Israel challenged Moses' authority and God's appointment of him to guide and lead the nation of Israel. However, in those cases, God demonstrated His selection of Moses as their leader and prophet with signs and wonders. For example, on one occasion when Korah, a Levite, rebelled against Moses, along with several others with him, God responded and confirmed His selection of Moses with a clear sign.
"As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly." (Numbers 16:31-33)
However, Muhammad never offers us any sign, or proofs, of his ministry or his appointment by God; nothing other than his own words which he claims to be prophesy. To the people he leads, Muhammad believes himself to be the pinnacle of all authority, knowledge, and judgment.
"It is not for any believer, man or woman, when God and His Messenger [Apostle] have decreed a matter, to have the [any] choice in the [their] affair. Whosoever disobeys God and His Messenger [Apostle] has gone astray into manifest [palpable] error." (Koran 33:36)
Muhammad, and the Koran, inserts themselves between the believer and God; removing from the believer free will and the right to make their own choices as regards their lives. It demeans people by removing their right and privilege to live their own life before God; making their own determination as to what God wills for them and making their own decisions as to how they will obey that will in their lives. John, the Apostle, taught us that, "As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things." (1 John 2:27) However, Muhammad would usurp the ministry and guidance of the Holy Spirit within us and make us once again dependent upon a mere man for our guidance, teaching, and instruction. He would have us look to him where we ought to only look to God and to His Spirit within us.

More to come...
David Robison

Monday, November 09, 2015

Muhammad - A new apostle - Loyalty and fealty

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.
It is not enough to believe and obey Muhammad, but Muhammad also demands loyalty and fealty from believers to himself. He writes of himself in the Koran,
"Those only are believers, who believe in God and His Messenger [Apostle] and who, when they are with him upon a common matter [any affair of common interest], go not away [depart not] until they ask [sought] his leave." (Koran 24:62)
In Muhammad's understanding, prophets and apostles of God are more than mere delivers of a message, they are also akin to tribal leaders; to those who lead their people in and lead them out. They are not just spiritual leaders but also leaders in every aspect of life. The prophet not only informs us how God expects us to live, but he also determines the times of war and leads his people forward into battle. Muhammad cannot separate believing and obeying God from out loyalty, obedience, and assistance to the prophet, including himself, in all things temporal and eternal.
"Those who believe in him and succor [strengthen] him and help him, and follow the light that has been sent down with him -- they are the prosperers [they with whom it shall be well]." (Koran 7:156)
The Koran proclaims dire judgment on anyone who, not only disbelieves in Muhammad, but also who breaks fellowship and partnership with him.
"That, because they had made a breach with [opposed] God and with His Messenger [Apostle]; and whosoever makes a breach with [shall oppose] God and with His Messenger [Apostle], surely God is terrible in retribution [severe in punishment]." (Koran 8:13)
"But whoso makes a breach with [sever himself from] the Messenger [prophet] after the guidance has become clear to him and follows a way other than the believers', him We shall turn over to what he has turned to and We shall roast him in Gehenna -- an evil homecoming!" (Koran 4:115)
This kind of loyalty, and the demand for believers to succor the prophets and apostles, stands in stark contrast to the words and demands made by the apostles and prophets of old. No other apostle or prophet demanded such loyalty and fealty under penalty of eternal judgment. Moses was quite clear in exhorting the nation of Israel.
"You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him." (Deuteronomy 13:4
His commands was not that they should follow and cling to himself but rather that they should follow and cling to God. After the children of Israel entered the Promise Land, Samuel challenged them,
"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)
His hope was not that they might serve him but rather that they would choose and serve the Lord. Finally, when some sought to cause Paul pain by trying to steal some of the glory from Paul for themselves, Paul was not hurt by their disloyalty but rather said, "in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice." (Philippians 1:18) This kind of sensitivity to require loyalty and obedience to oneself has no foundation in the religious history of God and has no place in the life or character of a true prophet or apostle of God.

More to come...
David Robison

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Muhammad - A new apostle - Believe and obey

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.
There are several things that stand in striking contrast between the Jewish and Christian religions and the religion of Islam, one being the degree to which Muslims elevate and venerate one man; the man Muhammad. The Jewish religion is entirely vacant of any form of exaltation of a single man for worship, obedience, veneration, and devotion. Similarly, especially in the first few centuries, Christians also refused to elevate one man above another for special treatment and consideration, remembering Jesus' words that "you are all brothers." (Matthew 23:8) Later on, Mary and Peter would be raised to special status within the church but it was a later innovation and not taught or practiced within the early church. The only human focus of worship for Christians is the person of Jesus Christ who was more than a prophet, apostle, and warner but also God. As Christians we worship Him as God and not a mere human. However, Muslims continue to venerate and exalt Muhammad above all others; a practice that stems from more than simple honor, a practice that is commanded by the Koran. The Koran teaches that faith and obedience to Muhammad is the same as faith and obedience to God.
"And those who believe in God and His Messengers [Apostle] and make no division between any of them, those -- We shall surely give them their wages [reward at last]." (Koran 4:151)
"Whosoever obeys the Messenger [Apostle], thereby obeys God; and whosoever turns his back -- We have not sent thee to be a watcher over them [to be their keeper]." (Koran 4:82)
In Islam, there is no separating your faith, obedience, and fidelity to Muhammad from your faith, obedience, and fidelity to God. You cannot believe and follow God and doubt Muhammad at the same time and still consider yourself to have surrendered (to be a Muslim). This, in striking manor, separates Islam from Christianity and Judaism. However, the Koran explicitly condemns those who try to follow God without similarly following Muhammad.
"Those who disbelieve in God and His Messengers [Apostles] and desire to make division between [separate] God and His Messengers [Apostles], and say, 'We believe in part [some we believe], and disbelieve in part [some we disbelieve],' desiring to take between this and that a way [a middle way] those in truth are the unbelievers [infidels]; and We have prepared for the unbelievers a humbling chastisement [shameful punishment]." (Koran 4:149-150)
One must remember that these Suras were not penned by some prophets testifying of the need to believe and obey Muhammad. They were prophesied by Muhammad himself in regard to himself that others must obey and believe in him. Something never done in the past by any prophet or apostle of God. However, even Paul, when some claimed him as their leader in preference to other apostles of that day, rebuked them as being childish and carnal.
"For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, 'I am of Paul,' and another, 'I am of Apollos,' are you not mere men?" (1 Corinthians 3:3-4)
Our Christian faith is not dependent upon our belief and obedience to Paul, Peter, or any of the other prophets or apostles but only in our faith and obedience to God and to Jesus who is both the Son of God and God Himself. This kind of man-centered worship, veneration, and devotion is completely alien to the faith we have inherited from Abraham and aught not to be practice by any religion that claims Abraham as their father of faith.

More to come...
David Robison

Friday, November 06, 2015

Muhammad - A new apostle - Without miricles

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.
Muhammad states that he, and those whom God had sent before him, came with clear signs and proof that they were sent by God.
"their Messengers [Apostles] came to them with the clear signs [clear proofs of their mission], but they were not the ones to believe in that they had cried lies before; so God seals the hearts of the unbelievers." (Koran 7:99)
He even mentions Moses explicitly and the signs he brought that testified that his message was truly from God.
"Moses said, 'Pharaoh, [verily] I am a Messenger [apostle] from the Lord of all Being, worthy to say nothing regarding God except the truth. I have brought a clear sign [proof of my mission] to you from your Lord; so send forth with me the Children of Israel.'" (Koran 7:103-104)
However, when the people of Muhammad's day complained that he did not provide any testifying miracles or show any works of power to validate his ministry, his reply was that he was simply a warner and miracles were up to God.
"Nay, but they say: 'A hotchpotch of nightmares [medley of dreams]! Nay, he has forged it; nay, he is a poet! Now therefore let him bring us a sign, even as the ancient ones were sent as Messengers [prophets of old].'" (Koran 21:5)
"They say, 'Why have signs not been sent down upon him from his Lord?' Say: 'The signs are only with [in the power of] God [alone], and I am only a plain [spoken] warner." (Koran 29:49)
However, in truth, Muhammad was not a simple warner but also a prophet and an apostle; one who received a message from God to deliver to mankind. While it is true that it is God who grants miracles to be performed, which of His profits or apostles ever came without any miracles to testify to their claims, their ministry, or their message? The Jewish scriptures are replete with examples of the miracles and powerful works the prophets gave as proof that they were from God. Jesus Himself, speaking of His works said, 
"If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." (John 10:37-38)
Jesus' miracles testified that He from God and His greatest miracle, rising from the Dead, testified that He was the Son of God. John  says of the magnitude of Jesus works, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written." (John 21:25Paul, the Apostle, also spoke of the miracles he did that testified to his apostleship.
"The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles." (2 Corinthians 12:12)
Finally, the writer of Hebrews says that God has chosen to give proof to His message through the signs, wonders, and miracles He grants them to perform.
"After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will." (Hebrews 2:3-4)
Given all these things, I ask, "Where are Muhammad's miracles?" Where are his signs and clear proofs from God giving testimony and evidence to his ministry? This, for me, is one of the greatest impediments to believing in Muhammad. If he was a prophet and a messenger form God then let him show us the works of God that testifies to his claims, but no miracles were given, Perhaps he is simply a warner and not a prophet or an apostle at all.

More to come...
David Robison

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Muhammad - A new apostle - Visions and testemony

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.
One of the things that makes the Koran interesting is the number of time that, in prophesying, it prophesies of the prophet himself.
"We have sent among you, of [from among] yourselves, a Messenger [apostle], to recite Our signs to you and to purify you, and to teach you the Book and the Wisdom, and to teach you that you knew not." (Koran 2:146)
"Say: 'God is witness between me and you, and this Koran has been revealed to me that I may warn you thereby, and whomsoever it may reach.'" (Koran 6:19)
Repeatedly, throughout the Koran, you will find the command, "Say!" This is the angel Gabriel commanding Muhammad to repeat word-for-word the message he is being taught. Here the angel is commanding him to prophesy of himself; to prophesy his own testimony and witness from heaven. Here, Muhammad says we can believe in him because God has sent him. How do we know God has sent him? Because God told Muhammad that He sent him. This sounds like circular reasoning to me.

No where else that I know of, in any of the prophesies of the Jewish or Christian scriptures, did someone prophesy of themselves. Even Jesus did not testify, or prophesy, of himself. He said, "If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true." (John 5:31-32) If the only testimony we have of Muhammad's genuineness as a prophet comes from Muhammad, then that testimony is suspect at best.

However, what is equally as interesting is the mode of those visions from which he prophesied.
"This [Koran] is naught but a revelation revealed [to him], taught him by one terrible in power, very strong [endued with wisdom]; he stood poised [with even balance], being on the higher [highest part of the] horizon, then drew near [nearer] and suspended hung [approached], two bows'-length away, or nearer, then revealed to his servant that he revealed. His heart lies [falsifies] not of what he saw; what, will you dispute with him what he sees [saw]? Indeed, he saw him another time by the Lote-Tree [Sidrah-tree] of [which marks] the Boundary nigh which is the Garden of the Refuge [repose], when there covered the Lote-Tree [Sidrah-tree] that which covered; his eye swerved not [turned not aside]; nor swept astray [wandered]. Indeed, he saw one of the greatest signs of his Lord." (Koran 53:4-18)
Certainly, prophets of old had fantastic visions; both in day visions and in dreams at night. Here Muhammad claims to have seen Gabriel multiple times; one time even by the Lote-Tree. J.M. Rodwell says that the Lote-tree is the boundary beyond which man and angel cannot pass into heaven. It is "the loftiest spot in Paradise, in the seventh heaven, on the right hand of the thrown of God." (Rodwell, Koran end notes) Moreover, Muhammad claims to have been carried away in a night flight from Mecca to Jerusalem and back.
"Glory be to Him, who carried His servant by night from the Holy Mosque [sacred temple of Mecca] to the Further [more remote] Mosque the precincts of which We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing." (Koran 17:1)
Some traditions claim that this flight to Jerusalem and through the seven heavens was on the backs of the mystical beast Borak, while others claim it only to be a dream or vision. Either way, it is quite fantastical. Muhammad claims that these visions are real and are from God and not some other spirit.

"Your companion [compatriot] is not possessed [by djinn]; he truly saw him on the clear horizon; he is not niggardly of the Unseen [nor doth he grappel with heaven's secrets]. And it is not the word of an accursed Satan; where then are you going?" (Koran 81:21-26)
However, it is up for each one of us to decide for ourselves. For me, I find it quite hard to believe his own testimonies and his stories of his revelations and I often find them inconsistent with the ancient prophesies and prophetic experiences as recorded in the scriptures..

More to come...
David Robison

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Muhammad - A new apostle - Just a warner

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.
The Koran teaches that, before God sends judgment upon any people, He first sends His warners to speak to them in their own language so that they might understand and respond. The Koran claims that Muhammad is just such a warner; sent to speak to an Arabic speaking people.
"And We have sent no Messenger [Apostle] save with the tongue [speech] of his people, that he might make all clear [speak plainly] to them." (Koran 14:4)
"No madness [djinn-possessed] is in their comrade; he [his office] is naught but a plain warner." (Koran 7:183)
"Truly it is the revelation [this book] of the Lord of all Being, brought down by the Faithful Spirit upon thy heart, that thou mayest be one of the warners, in a clear, Arabic tongue." (Koran 26:192-195)
Moreover, the Koran also makes it clear that not only was Muhammad sent to a people of a specific language but also to a people of a specific geographical region; not to the Greeks, not to the Romans, but to the Arabs).
"I have only been commanded to serve [worship] the Lord of this territory [land] which He has made sacred [sanctified]; to Him belongs everything. And I have been commanded to be of those that surrender [to God (a Muslim)], and to recite the Koran." (Koran 27:93-94)
God chose the the Arabs because they were a central people; a people in full view of the rest of the world. The plan of God was to speak to the Arabs that the rest of the world might see and follow their example.
"Say: 'To God belong the East and the West; He guides whomsoever He will to a straight [right] path.' Thus We appointed [made] you a midmost nation [central people] that you might be witnesses to the people [mankind], and that the Messenger [apostle] might be a witness to you." (Koran 2:136-137)
Given  this narrative, there are a few things that we must consider. First, for as many times that Muhammad said that he was just a "plain warner," (Koran 22;48) it is evident that the Koran made him out to be much more than that. The Koran calls him, "the Seal of the Prophets" (Koran 33:40) and one on whom God "has sent down the Salvation [the illumination] upon His servant, that he may be a warner to all beings [creatures]." (Koran 25:1) Not just for Arabic speaking people but all people. Muhammad was not a mere warner; rather he claimed to be much more.

Secondly, while Muhammad was sent to an Arabic speaking people, we know that Jesus was sent for all mankind; bringing salvation and the Gospel to the entire world. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Thirdly, we must wonder that, today, there are more Muslims that do not speak Arabic than do. It is curious to me that so many people are turning to an apostle and a message that were not sent to them but to a specific people in a specific tongue. The Koran makes it plain that Muhammad was a witness to the Arabic speaking people and that they, not Muhammad, would be the witness to the world.

Finally, it makes me wonder why the Muslim people left their faith in God, their faith that God could change the world by changing them, and made it their aim to change the world through conquest and violence. If the words of the Koran are true, and the plan of God is certain, then God's plan to transform the Arabic world as a witness to the world around them should be sufficient without resorting to conquest to make converts. Islam has come a long way from the humble days of such a "plain warner."

More to come...
David Robison