THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?
By Dillon Burroughs
It is a common statement in today's pluralistic society to hear someone say, "We all worship the same God." But is this true? A brief look at the God of the Bible and Allah in the Qur'an offers two conflicting views of God that indicates that these two deities cannot represent the same being.
First, the God of the Bible is expressed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the Christian belief of the Trinity that teaches there is one God who exists in three Persons. God the Father is God, Jesus Christ is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. In contrast, Allah is presented in the Qur'an as the one true god. In the Qur'an, Jesus Christ was a prophet, but is not the Son of God. The Holy Spirit is seen as a force, but is not part of the Triune godhead. In fact, Muslim apologists typically argue that Christians worship three gods rather than one. Muslim theology does not allow for the possibility of one God in three Persons.
Second, the attributes of God are different between the God of the Bible and Allah in the Qur'an. Foremost among these differences is that the God of the Bible is noted as being very personal. He is involved in the lives of each of His people. In the Qur'an, 99 names are presented for Allah to define who he is. Not one emphasizes his personal involvement in the lives of individuals.
Third, there is a great difference regarding the love of God and Allah's love. In the Bible, God so loved the world than He sent His one and only Son to provide salvation for those who would believe (John 3:16). In fact, God is not only loving; He is love (1 John 4:8). In the Qur'an, Allah is called Al-Wadood, the loving, the one who loves his believing slaves and his believing slaves love him. Whereas the God of the Bible offers unconditional love and is love, Allah's love is conditional and extends only to those who love him.
Finally, eternity with the God of the Bible is much different than eternity with Allah as presented in the Qur'an. Christians who have placed their faith in the resurrected Jesus will spend eternity with Him. In the Qur'an, little certainty is given regarding what happens after death. Those whose good deeds outweigh his or her bad deeds will enter paradise. Some, however, suggest martyrdom as an exception that automatically guarantees Paradise. In either case, salvation or eternity in Paradise is based on works rather than faith in Jesus Christ.
While many similarities exist between the descriptions of the God of the Bible and the attributes of Allah in the Qur'an, they ultimately present different gods, not two variations of the same God. Since this is the case, only one can be true or neither can be true. So due to these many clear differences, the God of the Bible and Allah of the Qur'an are two different gods.
The Bible clearly teaches that the Lord is God (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). As Acts 4:12 well states, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Image Credit: Omar Chatriwala; "Making dua"; Creative Commons
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