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.Allah is the name by which Muslims refer to God. However, its use, especially historically, has not been limited to Muslims. Arab Christians in pre-Islamic times also refereed to God as Allah as do other religions stemming from that part of the world. In Arabic Allah simply means God or "the God."
The picture we get of God through the Koran is one that is full of emotions, especially human emotions. The Jewish and Christian religions have long shown God to be a God of emotion. For example we see God laughing, rejoicing, jealous, angry, grieved, sorry, and most importantly, and most thankfully for our sakes, loving.
"Jehovah thy God is in thy midst, a mighty one that will save: he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will exult over thee with singing." (Zepheniah 3:17 Darby)
"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)
"We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." (1 John 4:16)
However, in reading the Koran we come away with a different image of the emotional makeup of God, one that is more human than divine. In many ways, the God of the Koran seems to come across as petulant which means to be childish, peevish, or bad tempered. Here are some examples of God in His emotions as we find them in the Koran.
"they have forgotten God, and He has forgotten them" (Koran 9:68)
The God of the Koran is peevish and easily dismissive of the needs and frailties of mankind. However, the God of the scriptures is one who loves and cares for His creation; one who never forgets, never ceases to care, and always desire their well being.
"Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me." (Isaiah 49:15-16)
Jesus literally inscribed us on the palm of His hands when He allowed them to be nailed to the cross; wounds which He caries with Him even today as a reminder of all those He gave His life for. How could He ever forget us?
"God shall mock them, and shall lead them on blindly wandering [in their perplexity] in their insolence [keep them long in their rebellion]." (Koran 2:14)
God does not mock us. Even in our sin and brokenness He still calls out to us to return in repentance and reconciliation to our Father in heaven.
"Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
Even as His enemies, God still desires our reconciliation and even sent His Son for our atonement and salvation.
More to come...
"Upon the day the chastisement shall overwhelm [wrap] them from above them and from under their feet, and He shall say, 'Taste now what you were doing [your own doings]!'" (Koran 29:55)
"This is Gehenna [Hell], then, the same that you were promised [threatened]; roast well [endour its heat] in it today, for that you were unbelievers!'" (Koran 36:63-64)The God of the Koran is vengeful, even seeming to enjoy and look forward to the punishment that awaits the unbelievers. When Muhammad's God is hurt, His anger is aroused and His heart turns, not to compassion and mercy, but towards wrath and a deep desire for vengeance. So deep does the Islamic God hold spite in His heart that he holds it over those who have slighted him, leading them gleefully on to destruction.
"So leave Me with him who cries lies to this discourse [charges this revelation with imposture]! We will draw [lead] them on little by little [by degrees] whence they know not; and I shall respite them -- assuredly My guile [plan] is sure." (Koran 68:44-45)However, the God of the scriptures is one who desires mercy instead of judgment and one who never ceases to call us back to Himself.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)The God of the Koran has been made in the emotional image of Muhammad rather than the other way around. His emotions are human based and often appear to be laced with darkness, moodiness, and offense. While God is a god of emotion, His emotions are not like our. Our emotions are often stained with darkness while His are always pure, loving, and full of light. Tertullian wrote of God and His use of emotion in contrast to man's use of the same:
"And this, therefore, is to be deemed the likeness of God in man, that the human soul have the same emotions and sensations as God, although they are not of the same kind; differing as they do both in their conditions and their issues according to their nature. Then, again, with respect to the opposite sensations,— I mean meekness, patience, mercy, and the very parent of them all, goodness,—why do you form your opinion of2893 the divine displays of these (from the human qualities)? For we indeed do not possess them in perfection, because it is God alone who is perfect. So also in regard to those others,—namely, anger and irritation, we are not affected by them in so happy a manner, because God alone is truly happy, by reason of His property of incorruptibility. Angry He will possibly be, but not irritated, nor dangerously tempted; He will be moved, but not subverted." (Tertullian, Against Marcion, Book 2, Chapter 16)In other words, while God is a god of emotions, He holds them in perfection with no hint of corruption or darkness at all. Out emotions are impure and can often lead us into sin and degradation, but God's emotions are always pure and always good. The God of Muhammad seems to be more like Muhammad in His emotions than Muhammad like God. Such an emotional God cannot be counted on and, in my estimation, appears far less than divine.
More to come...