I originally wrote this post last spring, but, for whatever reason, never got around to publishing it. So, long over do, here it is.
Prominent among Muslims is the belief that the Christian and Jewish (implied) scriptures have been falsified, the text having been changed and corrupted. They seek support for this in the Qur’an and the Hadith (their two authoritative texts). This is how Muslims explain that, although Muhammad was predicted in the Christian and Jewish scriptures, he was rejected by both groups.
But is this a legitimate claim? The evidence argues to the contrary.
1. The word of God reflecting the character of God.
The falsification of scripture is incompatible with the character of God as recognized by Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. God is truthful, trustworthy, and faithful. Therefore, His word cannot be corrupted or become unreliable. God is sovereignly powerful. But a God who intends to communicate yet fails to preserve His message from falsification is not a sovereignly powerful God.
The Qur’an itself says,
We [referring to God with a “royal we”] have sent down the Qur’an Ourself, and We Ourself will guard it. – Sura 15:9.
[Prophet], follow what has been revealed to you of your Lord’s Scripture: there is no changing His words…. – Sura 18:27.
And the witness of the Christian scriptures correspond to this.
So, I ask, how does a falsification of scripture fit with this theology?
2. The manuscript evidence.
There are more manuscripts for the Biblical text than any other ancient document. And when we examine these manuscripts, we can confidently determine that the Biblical text has been transmitted with incredible accuracy.
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The Qur’an by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don’t know Arabic. So I can’t evaluate the quality of the translation. The author is certainly qualified though. It’s a very readable translation, contains a helpful introduction, and has good notes.
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In The Prophet and the Messiah: An Arab Christian’s Perspective on Islam & Christianity Chawkat Moucarry seeks to present a comparative examination of Christianity and Islam’s major claims and differences. He organizes his presentation according to four topics, which focus on both religions’ major truth-claims and illuminate the fundamental differences between Christianity and Islam. These topics are (1) the sacred scriptures, (2) key doctrines, (3) Jesus, his person and his work, and (4) Muhammad’s prophethood. Moucarry begins his work by presenting some introductory remarks about engaging in mutual dialogue. And finally, he closes by addressing some contemporary concerns.
As Moucarry begins his comparative presentation, he begins where both religions do—their sacred scriptures. Both religions claim to have received special revelation from God. However, regarding the nature, content, and method of that revelation, Islam and Christianity differ.
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In Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed, Dr. Carson presents a Biblical investigation and evaluation of the title “Son of God,” and specifically the title “Son of God” as it is used to refer to Jesus.
He breaks up the short book into three chapters.
In chapter 1, “‘Son of God’ as a Christological Title,” he investigates the various Biblical uses of “Son of ___,” then focuses specifically on “Son of God,” and then focuses even more specifically on how the “Son of God” title is employed in reference to Jesus. Clearly, many “Son of ___” uses do not express a biological relationship, but presume some other kind of relationship or shared trait. Having established this point, Carson teases out its implications for the use of “Son of God” in reference to Israel’s kings who are called “Sons of God” and eventually the ultimate “Son of God” in this sense–Jesus.
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