I am writing this letter during the month of Ramadan and I have just finished re-reading the Koran,1 which good Muslims are also instructed to do at this time. I have been trying to compare its teachings with those of the Bible, and would urge our Muslim friends to do the same, especially at this time. Mohammed himself, writing in the years around 600 A.D., frequently referred to the narratives in the books of Moses, as well as those associated with Jesus in the New Testament. Many of the teachings on practical living are similar in the two books.
One important point of commonality, especially gratifying to us here at ICR, is the clear teaching in the Koran that there is only one omnipotent, omniscient Creator and that He created all things in six days.2 Some Muslims say these "days" were really long ages, but the Koran itself doesn't say this, often noting that God created instantaneously,3 just as the Bible teaches (e.g., Psalm 33:6-9). However, there is one very significant difference.
Allah displays many characteristics of the God of the Bible; he is called "compassionate," "merciful," "almighty," "the Lord of the worlds," "Wise," "the first and the last," "Forgiving," "Gracious," and so on. These characteristics certainly apply also to our God of the Bible.
But I could find no mention anywhere in the Koran of Allah as "Love." The God of the Bible is, above all, a God of love! In fact, "God is love" (I John 4:8), and "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Therein is another key difference, of course. The Koran denies categorically that Jesus was the Son of God.4 He was said to be merely one in a long line of prophets, Adam being the first, with Mohammed the last and greatest.
However, Mohammed is dead and Jesus is alive! Jesus was crucified and died, all right, but then He defeated death forever; His resurrection to a glorified physical body is, as many volumes on Christian evidences have shown, the best-proved fact of all ancient history.5
The Koran denies this fact, but the Koran is wrong, as the evidence of real history proves conclusively. After Christ's resurrection, "He shewed Himself alive . . . by many infallible proofs, being seen of (His followers) forty days" (Acts 1:3). John later saw Him again and heard Him say: "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" (Revelation 1:18).
The Koran does agree with the Bible on the fact of the virgin birth of Christ and on His future second coming. But when it denies His atoning death6 for our sins and then further denies His resurrection (which proved beyond doubt that His claims were all true), then it is seeking to destroy the very heart of Christianity. It would thereby also undermine God's plan for forgiving our sins and offering eternal salvation to all who would put their trust in Him. Thus the loving God of the Bible cannot be the same one as the god called Allah.
Every person—Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Protestant—is a guilty sinner before our holy Creator God. Even Mohammed was a sinner, needing forgiveness and salvation. Our Lord Jesus was not a sinner, however. Being virgin-born, He alone had no innate sin, and His whole life was without any sinful act. Thus, He alone could die as an innocent sacrifice for all other men and women. He allowed Himself to be crucified, and to die as their Substitute. Because He loved us! As the great Apostle Paul said: "The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
Does Mohammed love us? Does Allah love us? Absolutely not! The Koran is replete with threats of eternal burning in hell for all kinds of forbidden human activities. Even faithful Muslims have no assurance of salvation and heaven. Infidels, of course, have no chance at all; they are all consigned directly to hell.
And who are infidels? The Koran says that all Jews, Christians, and, in fact, all non-Muslims are infidels and must either convert to Islam or, if possible, be slain, thereafter proceeding to endless torture in hell. In fact, only those Muslims whose good deeds outweigh their sins (or who die fighting non-Muslims) will get to Paradise with all its sensual rewards.7
On the other hand, the true God, as revealed in the Bible, is a loving God who is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). No one deserves to be saved, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and God will not force anyone to accept His free gift of salvation through Christ. Nevertheless, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (I John 4:9).
God loves Muslims, too, even though the Koran (allegedly the inspired words dictated to Mohammed by Allah) does not say that. God has, in love, provided a Savior for all who will accept His free gift of total forgiveness and eternal salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and He has told all Christians to go and "preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), not only here in America, but "unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). This is to be done, not with the sword, but by love and reason. Every person needs to come to his or her own personal decision to accept Christ as Savior, whether they are Americans or Asians, men or women, Muslim or Christian in background, rich or poor, or whatever. And that is the most important decision they can ever make! "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). One does not have to have his work weighed in balances to earn a gift. He simply accepts the gift—or turns it down!
We here at ICR would love to see our many Muslim friends—here in America and everywhere—receive this wonderful gift. I personally have enjoyed knowing many Muslims in the engineering schools where we worked and studied together, and have great appreciation for their abilities and contributions to the world. These friends of former days included Iranians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Afghans, Pakistanis, Arabs, and others.
My family and I were even making arrangements back in the late 1940s to move to Afghanistan to help that nation by teaching in a proposed engineering college there. That door closed, but in the process I tried to study as much as I could about Afghanistan and the Muslim people and their religion in general.
Muslim people have indeed been well taught to fear the God of creation, and that is good, for He is all powerful and most holy. But He is also, in the person of His only begotten Son (not begotten by natural generation through Mary, of course, but by eternal and continual heavenly generation) the God of salvation, for He is a loving and caring God. Therefore, He became a man, the eternal Word made flesh, (John 1:1-3,14) in order to pay the infinite price to redeem lost men from sin and death and hell.
We would dearly love to see our Muslim friends—especially the seven million American Muslims who have chosen to live here in the United States as a great country of freedom,—now to exercise that freedom (which they could never have done openly in their own native lands) to accept the eternal freedom found only in our Lord Jesus.
That is my reason for this open letter, so let us know if we can help. We are praying for you.
- There are a number of English translations of the Koran. The one I have been using was given to me many years ago by a Muslim friend, so I assume that it is a good translation. The Koran contains 114 "Suras," more or less equivalent to chapters, but each representing a special "revelation" of God to Mohammed. The passages quoted below are typical passages.
- "We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, and no weariness touched us" (Sura 50:38). Allah frequently uses "we" and "us" when speaking of himself, even though he vehemently denies the Trinity, as well as polytheism.
- "And when he decreeth a thing, he only saith to it, `Be,' and it is" (Sura 2:111).
- "Infidels now are they who say, `Verily God is the Messiah, Ibn Maryam (son of Mary)!'" (Sura 5:19). "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!" (Sura 4:169).
- For a brief summary of proofs of the resurrection, see the ICR booklet The Resurrection of Christ, sent free on request through ICR Customer Service or the web at [../../bible/].
- "And for their saying, `Verily we have slain the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, and Apostle of God.' 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 to himself." (Sura 4:157).
- "Infidels now are they who say, `God is the Messiah, Son of Mary' . . . They surely are Infidels who say, `God is the third of three;' for there is no God but one God" (Sura 5:76,77) "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 lost" (Sura 3:79). "When ye encounter the infidels, strike off their heads till ye have made a great slaughter among them, and of the rest make fast the fetters" (Sura 47:4). "And when the trumpet shall be sounded, . . . They whose balances shall be heavy, shall be the blest. But they whose balances shall be light,—these are they who shall lose their souls, abiding in hell for ever" (Sura 23:3-5). "And whoso fight for the cause of God, . . . he will bring them into the Paradise, of which he hath told them" (Sura 47:5,7)