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...