Recent contacts of ICR scientists (especially Drs. John Morris, Duane Gish, and Ken Cumming) with Muslim business and professional men in Turkey have generated significant interest in key points of agreement between Bible-believing Christians and Qur'an (or, Koran)-believing Muslims.
As far as creation is concerned, for example, the Koran explicitly teaches the special creation of all things in six days by one God. For example, note the following excerpts from the writings of Mohammed in the Koran:1
We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, and no weariness touched us (50:37, p. 93).
The "we" and "us" in this verse are not referring to other gods, of course, but probably constitute majestic plurals. The Koran is very specific in denying the existence of other gods.
. . . The gods whom they call on besides God, create nothing, but are themselves created. . . . Your God is the one God . . . (16:20,23, p. 201).
Noah, his Ark, and the Deluge also are mentioned at several places in the Koran. For example:
Before them the people of Noah treated the truth as a lie. . . . So we opened the gates of Heaven with water, which fell in torrents, and we caused the earth to break forth with springs, and their waters met by settled decree. And we bare him on a vessel made with planks and nails (54:9-13, p. 77).
Instead of the mountains of Ararat, the Koran says that the Ark finally grounded on a mountain with a different name.
And the water abated, and the decree was fulfilled, and the Ark rested on Al-Djoudi (11:46, p. 219).
However, this is not necessarily a contradiction, since many Muslim scholars say that Al-Djoudi was a generic name for any high mountain.
It may be surprising to many Christians that Mohammed accepted the books of Moses (including Genesis) and also the psalms and the gospels as coming from God. However, Mohammed believed that these had become distorted in various ways, so that these mistakes had to be corrected by him in the Koran. Christians, of course, maintain that the Bible is right in all such conflicts, and that any distortions are only in the Koran.
In any case, the Koran does teach that Jesus was a great prophet and even that He was born of a virgin.
Remember when the angel said, "O Mary! Verily God announceth to thee the Word from Him. His name shall be Messiah Jesus the son of Mary, . . . She said, How, O my Lord! Shall I have a son when man hath not touched me?" He said, "Thus: God will create what He will; when He decreeth a thing, He only saith, Be, and it is" (3:40,42, p. 390).
Note that Jesus is thus called both "the Word" and "Messiah Jesus" in this passage.
However, although He is thus called "the Word" (as He is in the Bible—John 1:1, 3,14), the Koran repeatedly denies that He is the Son of God. For example:
The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only an apostle of God, and His Word which he conveyed into Mary, and a Spirit proceeding from himself. Believe therefore in God and His apostles, and say not, "Three:" (there is a Trinity)—Forbear—it will be better for you. God is only one God! Far be it from His glory that He should have a son! (4:169, p. 428).
Thus, the Koran teaches emphatically that there is only one God, denying not only the polytheism of the pagans but also God's Tri-unity.
The Bible, of course, reveals that Christ is the eternal and only begotten Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead. Furthermore, only God Himself can be man's Savior from sin. The Creator must become man in order to redeem men from sin and death. In spite of the similarities between the Koran and the Bible as far as creation is concerned, there is a great gulf between the two when it comes to salvation.
Muslims can rejoice with Christians over the birth of Christ, for they also believe He was virgin-born and sent from God. They believe He was a great teacher (even speaking from His cradle!) and performed mighty miracles. But they still miss the glorious truth that He became Immanuel ("God with us"—Matthew 1:23) when He was born.
Consequently, Mohammed and his followers also are unable to appreciate the marvelous significance of His atoning death and victorious resurrection. Here is what the Koran says about that:
Yet they slew him not, and they crucified him not, but they had only his likeness. . . . they did not really slay him, but God took him up to Himself (4:156, p. 427).
Christ did ascend back to heaven, of course, but only after He had died on the cross for all our sins and then defeated sin and Satan and death itself by His bodily resurrection.
It is sad that Mohammed and his Muslim followers have not understood this wonderful truth, for it leaves them without a Savior, and without any assurance of salvation. The Koran does speak of an eternal paradise for the righteous and an eternal hell for the unrighteous (including, but not limited to, all who are not Muslims).
A picture of the Paradise which God promised to them that fear Him. The rivers flow beneath its bowers: its food and its shades are perpetual. This is the reward of those who fear God; but the reward of the unbelievers is the Fire (13:35, p. 337).
Whoso desireth any other religion than Islam, that religion shall never be accepted from him, and in the next world he shall be among the last (3:79, p. 394).
But not even true believers in Islam are exempt from judgment:
The weighing on that day, with justice! And they whose balances shall be heavy, these are they who shall be happy. And they whose balances shall be light, these are they who have lost their souls, for that to our signs they were unjust (7:7,8, p. 294).
Not even devout Muslims (with the possible exception of those who are considered martyrs for their faith) can have any assurance of salvation before the Day of Judgment.
To the Christian, this seems very sad. Many Muslim people are devoutly religious in their faith, trying to live righteous lives according to the instructions in the Koran. Yet they—like all men and women everywhere—are sinners by nature and practice, for "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and therefore all need a Savior, since "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only One who can be such a Savior. Even the Koran acknowledges that He was just and righteous Himself (3:41, p. 390). On the cross, therefore, "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (I Peter 3:18). Then He "was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:25).
But when Mohammed denied the substitutionary death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus on the cross, he cut himself and his followers off from the only One who could take away their sins and make them truly righteous before God.
Jesus said: "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6), and He vindicated His otherwise incredible claim by rising from the dead. Whether Mohammed believed it or not, the fact is that Jesus did defeat death by His own bodily resurrection and then "showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).
Mohammed never claimed to be sinless, as Jesus both claimed and demonstrated Himself to be. Therefore, he also needed a Savior.
Mohammed died in Medina and was buried, but the tomb of Jesus is empty, for He rose from the dead and, forty days later, ascended to the right hand of His Father in heaven (Mark 16:19). Mohammed's body is still in the tomb, but Jesus is alive in His resurrection body of glory.
As we remember again the great incarnation of God, when "the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), we should remember the millions of Muslims in prayer. They also believe, as we do, that God sent Him into the world by miraculous conception and virgin birth, but they still need salvation through receiving Him as personal Savior. "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17).
1 The references as given refer, in order, to the Sura (or chapter) in the Koran, then the verse, and lastly the page number in the 1909 Everyman's Library edition. The chapters and verses, however, refer to the Arabic edition, which have been arranged differently in the English translation as issued in the edition published by the Everyman's Library (J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., London, 1909).
2 See the ICR pamphlet The Resurrection of Christ for a summary of the "many infallible proofs" of Christ's bodily resurrection.
* Dr. Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.