SETTING THE STAGE
In the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus Christ declares, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). In the same Gospel, Jesus would reply to His questioner, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Thus, in the final analysis, “truth” is embodied in the person of Christ Himself, as encapsulated in John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
What a brutal blasphemy, a Muslim scholar would declare. After all, according to Islam, the full and final “truth” is in the Qur’an, which is authored by Allah himself, completed and kept unchanged in the original Arabic language. Allah would declare in the pages of the Qur’an, “There is nothing like Him (i.e. Allah)…” (Surah 42:11).
And Muslim scholars, regardless of denominations and affiliations, would interpret this verse (Ayah) as a complete rejection of any “likeness”, “image”, “partner”, “associate”, or any form of direct revelation, and certainly not the “incarnation” of the creator of the heavens and earth. Allah is seen to be above all these considerations, in another world, beyond any possibility of being known. The only thing we can know is his “will” that he chose to reveal to selected “messengers” via intermediary angelic beings.
Philosophically, the Islamic Doctrine of Allah (termed the Tawheed) fits closely to the definition of via negativa as defined in the Oxford Dictionary: “A philosophical approach to theology which asserts that no finite concepts or attributes can be adequately used of God, but only negative terms.”
Yet some of the most outspoken “Christian” theologians/scholars would without hesitation, declare that, “Muslims and Christians believe in the same God,” based on “sufficient similarities”, as has Professor Miroslav Volf in his many books, culminating in Allah—A Christian Response. Even prior to that, Volf was the prime mover in authoring and furthering the official Christian response to the “Come to a Common Word Between Us and You” interfaith initiative put forth by 138 Muslim scholars in the autumn of 2007, based on the key premise that the main “commonality” between Islam and Christianity is the “love of God and love of neighbour”. Some 300 Christian theologians would initially accept this Muslim “invitation” (as it was termed), although some 20 have since officially removed their names.
This brings us to ask the main question, “Is the Qur’anic claim that Allah is one and the same as the Lord God of the Bible valid?”
Many who would yearn to find a better means of “engagement”, or some form of “peace” or accommodation, would state that the “differences” one observes between the Biblical and the Qur’anic versions of the nature of the “creator of the heavens and earth” are best explained by a communication impasse or a misunderstanding, based perhaps on “insufficient” information. Further, some Christian scholars would even venture to state that if Muhammad had had full access to the Biblical scriptures, he would not have had such an incomplete and flawed understanding of the God of the universe. Even so, they say, what Muhammad provided, though incomplete, was a major step in the right direction. This rather charitable assessment did not take into account the gravity of the fact that he was claiming divine inspiration for this apparent “misunderstanding”.
And then comes an increasing number of missiologists who would like to find some “common ground” or a “bridge” as in the Common Word exchange described above, to pave the way for Muslims to see the full reality of the Christian message. Their perspective is, simply, why focus on the “differences”, which they insist would predictably lead to divisiveness, rejection and animosity? Instead, they say one must start with the “similarities” and use those to establish a bridge to the fuller knowledge of the true God.
Therefore, in order to answer the main question of this book, we are necessarily sidetracked to deal with these apparently ancillary, but important, issues of alleged compatibility that have arisen among some Christians.
In reality, far from being “ancillary”, we will demonstrate from the Qur’an and other Islamic sources that these apparent “similarities”—interpreted by many as “commonalities” or “bridges”—are nothing but direct and indirect claims made in the Qur’an and elsewhere by Muhammad himself, for the purpose of establishing credibility among the pagans of Mecca, and spiritual authority for his ultimate claim to the Jews and the Christians of his day of being the fulfilment of the prophecies of their scriptures.
Further, we will demonstrate that far from being “misunderstandings”, these “differences” form a recognisable and intentional pattern that can easily be traced throughout the Qur’an, and the purposes for these changes identified.
THE “SAMENESS” ILLUSION DEFINED
Islam is portrayed by many secular and Christian scholars as one of the three great Abrahamic monotheistic religions, and Allah as just another name for the same God—although escalating events throughout the world during the past three and a half decades or so have led increasing numbers of people to question if the Allah of Islam is indeed one and the same as the Lord God of the Judeo-Christian scriptures.
The Qur’an itself claims this sameness in unequivocal terms throughout—but explicitly in the following Surah, and in many other supporting references laying claim to further similarities:
“…Our Allah and your Allah is one…” (Surah 29:46)
This direct claim, and apparent self-identification by Islam with the Judeo-Christian concept of “Monotheism” and previous revelations explains why so many Christian scholars have been so excessively drawn to these and other Qur’anic claims of “sameness”—similarities which at first glance give the strong appearance of agreement with much that is in the Bible—but which melt away when brought under scrutiny in comparison with their doctrinal or historical counterparts.
By definition, even cleverly designed “similarities” stop short of true “sameness”, as clearly demonstrated in the extreme physical “similarity” of a counterfeit bill (or note) and its original. A masterfully designed counterfeit bill may look identical, and it may even get past any number of exchanges before it gets detected as fraudulent. But no one would be so foolish as to say, or even to think, “Well, it’s almost perfect, so what difference does it make?” No one would be so foolishly bold as to make the argument of “sufficient similarity” in regard to currency. Yet in the realm of the spiritual, such clear and rational standards are relaxed in the name of “tolerance for diversity” under the broad umbrella of considerations of “cultural context”, or in regard to the variously expressed “fears”, including the “fear of offending” and the “fear of being unloving”. So in this matter before us, we find that it is no longer an issue of discernment of “truth” to live by, to stand for and to defend, but is rather an issue of reconciling or coming to terms with differences.
The desire to engage with Muslims must not render one insensitive to the realities of Islam, so that to explain away foundational “differences” in the Qur’an, such as the nature of God Himself as an “incomplete” but “sincere” misunderstanding on the part of Muhammad defies both logic and the Biblical definitions of revelation and prophethood. Yet there is the tendency to extend Biblical definitions so as to be able to accept some form of truth or validity of Muhammad’s account in the Qur’an.
To briefly demonstrate the extremes that are based on the above sufficient similarity measure, many will go on to propose that, since the Qur’an came seven centuries after Jesus Christ, but includes versions of the Biblical prophets and Jesus, the Qur’anic account itself then serves as a witness “pointing back” in time to validate Jesus in some imperfect, but partially valid form. This is in disregard of the fact that Issa (the Jesus of the Qur’an) did not die, was not resurrected, and came solely for the purpose of foretelling that the “expected one” to fulfil the scriptural prophesies would be “Ahmad”, another of the names of Muhammad. Even so, some others in this camp go even further to posit that a Muslim who comes to be a “follower of Jesus” must not leave Islam, but must retain his legal and cultural identity as a “Muslim”, and should then “follow Jesus” by continuing to worship in the Mosque, while praying secretly to Jesus, and being “salt and light” within the Islamic “Ummah”, or community.
THE PIVOTAL QUESTION
The pivotal question is as follows: “Is the Allah of Islam really one and the same as the Lord God of the Bible?”
Is he the Triune God, the Creator God who made man in His own image—then walked, talked and fellowshipped with Adam, and later spoke directly to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and a long line of prophets? Is Allah the covenant-making, the covenant-keeping, the covenant-sustaining God who willingly revealed Himself to humankind, and reaffirmed His presence and plan through succeeding generations of characters and events in Biblical history? Is he then the incarnational deity referred to by Isaiah as being, “Emmanuel, God with us…”(Is. 7:14)?
Indeed, is he the same deity who spoke through Jeremiah, asserting rhetorically, “Am I a God at hand,” says the Lord, “and not a God afar off?” (Jer. 23:23).
And finally, is he the God who was fully revealed in the person, life, death and resurrection of Christ Jesus?
In short, is Allah the same deity as successively revealed within history throughout the entire Biblical text as the Alpha and the Omega?3 Or is he quite different, in both nature and purpose?
To answer these questions, we must focus exclusively on the theological challenge of Islam—as expressed in the central doctrine of Islamic Monotheism called “Tawheed”, meaning the “absolute oneness”, “unity” or “purity” of Allah. We should keep in mind that since Islam is a system covering every aspect of life, not just a religion, there are three other challenges tied to it which provide the various “out-workings” of this theological base, including the means of implementation, governance, spread, and consolidation, which I have delineated and explained in another work to include the Political Challenge, the Administrative Challenge, and the Pragmatic Challenge.4
Briefly, the Political Challenge is that Islam is at the same time a “religion and a state”. The Administrative Challenge refers to the issues of implementing and maintaining Shariah law and its various branches. But the Pragmatic Challenge is more complex, and controversial, as it has to do with the means provided through Muhammad’s Sunnah of handling objections to its advancement and acceptance among its adherents as well as among non-Muslims.
However, it is the theological aspect, and in particular the doctrine of the Tawheed which is the driver, as the others are simply out-workings of this theological foundation. But we have a problem here in regard as to how we must refer to the “theological” factor.
BIBLICAL THEOLOGY AND THE UNKNOWABILITY OF ALLAH
This brings us to the key consideration of the full Islamic objections to the meaning, in fact the very idea of “theology”—the study of the nature of God.
This instantly becomes problematic, Islamically speaking, since Allah is “unknowable” except for his revealed “will”, so the term “theology” is not applicable within Islamic scholarship, but would be considered a term of great offence. Thus, for a Muslim, for one to infer that humankind could apprehend or understand anything about Allah’s actual nature, or to even venture to question what the Qur’an says about Allah is a legally punishable offence.
Consequently, Muslim scholars do not speak of “theology” per se when discussing Allah and the Qur’an. In fact Muslim scholars go to great lengths to avoid giving any appearance of speculating about the nature of Allah himself, while enabling doctrinal deliberations and decisions through what is termed as the disciplines of the Islamic Fields of Knowledge (Al-Ulum Al-Islamiyah), which include the Discipline of Morals (E’lm Al Akhlaq), the Discipline of Talk about Allah (E’lm Al-Kalam), and the Discipline of Jurisprudence (E’lm Al-Fiqh).
However, we will be using the term “theology” for purposes of clarity as this book concerns itself entirely with the theological differences between the “unknowable Allah” and the self-revealing Lord God of the Judeo-Christian scriptures.
Regarding his nature, Allah “revealed” his 99 names/attributes. To the rational mind, this list would appear to be descriptions of Allah’s “nature”—the very thing that is prohibited in Islam—and so is a classic example of a “contradiction in terms”. But in fact, the undisputed Islamic doctrinal position of Islamic scholars down through time is that these 99 revealed “names/attributes” are not considered to refer to his “nature”.
Yet some Christian theologians would differ and would refuse to accept the Islamically defined purpose of the names/attributes, and instead would accept them at face value as being bona fide descriptions of “Allah’s nature”, thus facilitating the use of these names/attributes to deduce a “sufficient similarity” with the attributes of the Lord God of the Bible for purposes of “bridging”. As a result, without realising it, or perhaps without knowing or taking into account what Islamic doctrine actually states and maintains (and what the Muslims really believe), in effect, these theologians have lent credibility to an Islamic position of “sameness” and thus have unwittingly contributed to the undermining of awareness of the truth of the Bible.
It will be the task of this book to demonstrate systematically that these apparent similarities are neither true “similarities”, much less “sufficient similarities”, nor are they “misunderstandings” as the result of insufficient access to the Biblical scriptures. Instead, they are an intentional point-by-point countering of the entire Biblical narrative and the whole counsel of the Judeo-Christian scriptures.
THE PARALLEL ISLAMIC NARRATIVE
Since the Qur’an is not chronological—nor is it ordered in any productive or readily observable way—any comparison is a labor-intensive endeavor, which is further compounded and compromised, and in point of fact, even further obscured by the substantive incorporation throughout the text of significant Biblical names, doctrinal terms, geographic locations, and even familiar key historic events, giving the perception of being somewhat parallel with the Biblical account, yet with diametrically opposing characterizations and definitions.
Hence, rather than getting distracted at the outset with precisely “how” the Qur’an is ordered within its own historical context, we will defer an in-depth discussion of these equally critical aspects of Qur’anic textual order for a later time, to keep the focus on delineating the nature, extent and impact of the incorporation and re-definition of Biblical elements within the text.
As stated earlier, the Qur’an starts out immediately by claiming “sameness” in regard to Allah and the Lord God. But it also lays claims to reflect “sameness” of revelation through a long list of (re-defined) Biblical prophets from Adam to Jesus, ending with Muhammad himself as the fulfilment of all previous prophecies, as well as full textual sameness through the alleged inclusion of the Torah, Psalms and Gospels, (renamed as, the Tawrat, Zaboor, and Injeel) as having “come down” from the “Eternal Tablet” that is the “Mother of the Book”, the Qur’an.
It is difficult to say which is more egregious among such incorporated and redefined terminologies and characterisations—the claim of the entire (re-defined) timeline of revelation represented by appropriation of the pivotal Biblical characters and events? Or is it the bold claim to the title of “Creator”— whereby in one simultaneous and multi-faceted stroke, the nature of the Lord God is both equated with Allah and downgraded, or purged, to fit perfectly with the Islamic “Tawheed” by removing what Islam sees as “partners” or “associates”, i.e. the Holy Spirit and Christ Jesus the Son of God.
In other words, embedded in the claim of “sameness”, is the further tacit claim that the Lord God of the Biblical scriptures was never Triune in His nature, but was always detached, absolutely singular, and thus in line with the doctrine of “Islamic Monotheism”, i.e. the “Tawheed”.
Furthermore, in “correcting” the “Trinity” by “purging” or “cleansing” it of “partners”, Muhammad rendered it an absurdity to even consider the remote possibility that the God of the universe could incarnate into human history.
Notwithstanding these stark realities about the nature of Allah, Islam and Islamic Monotheism, in a superficial reading of the Qur’an, Allah seemingly appears like the Lord God of the scriptures, God the Creator who is also the sustainer, the preserver, and the provider for His creation. But the acid test is: If Allah were to be the same “creator”, then his divine nature should be precisely the same, and thus his “creation” should both mirror and affirm the Genesis account.
If the same creator, what did Allah create?
When taking a closer look at the Qur’anic account of Allah’s actual “creation”, it becomes increasingly clear that what we are observing is a “creation” which may have the illusion, or surface trappings of the Genesis account, but which in detail and in core essence is quite different. Consequently, if the Qur’anic “creation” is different (on any level) from the Genesis account, it cannot be the handiwork of the Lord God of the Bible.
Notwithstanding this obvious and foundational difference, many Christian scholars who are looking for similarities/common ground all too easily accept the Islamic claim of Allah as the “creator god” on face value, rather than questioning in any depth the true nature and end result of Allah’s “Creation”.
This assumption of parity between the Lord God and Allah as “creator” leads to a virtual contagion of further misapprehensions and misconceptions down the line by many Christian theologians, including the attribution of the Biblical concept of “general and special revelation” to the interpretation of the Qur’an. (Note: there is no concept of general and/or special revelation in Islam. Instead Islam speaks of Tanzil [coming down] and Wahy [Islamic Inspiration]).
So, in superimposing a Biblical “lens” on the Qur’an by actively seeking to find parallels, and similarities to base even further hopes on, the contagion proceeds to view the Islamic declaration of the “oneness of Allah”, or “Islamic Monotheism/Tawheed” as a form of “general revelation” about the nature of God as derived (for one example) through the Qur’an’s account of Ibrahim, the Muslim version of “Abraham”, when he observed the failures of the “idols” of his society, and reasoned through watching the elements of nature (i.e. the stars, the moon and the sun) that the God of the universe could not be a created thing, but is “The Creator” and “deserves worship”. Thus Ibrahim went through a reasoning process that at face value might sound akin to the Biblical concept of “general revelation”. However, this is far from being the case, as will be elucidated later. As you will see, this incorrect perception is based on man’s abilities to perceive rather than being a direct revelation from the Lord God as in the Bible and therefore does not take into account the fact that Allah never speaks directly to his people, but only through angels and messengers.
In the same vein, the Qur’an is seen by these scholars also to contain a form of “Special Revelation”, based on the aforementioned incorporation within the Qur’an of versions of Biblical messengers, prophets, and events.
It is reasoned that this use of the Biblical lens regarding “revelation” furthers the hope of identifying some similarities or partial truth(s) within the Qur’an as a common ground to be deployed initially as a bridge when engaging Muslims, with the view to be later augmented with the fuller Biblical understanding of who the true God is.
This approach, or “model” of seeing Allah as an “unknown God” is incorrectly based on the Acts 17 model of the Mars Hill “unknown God”. The aim is “meet them where they are”, and to ultimately bring this purported “flawed” and faulty apprehension of “who Allah is” (according to Islam) into an expanded and corrected understanding of the true God of the Bible, by first accepting “assumed” common elements.
The trouble with this approach is that the “assumption” that Allah is an “unknown God” in the Qur’an is simply not the case. Instead, the Allah of the Qur’an is defined doctrinally, not as an “unknown God”, but instead as an “unknowable God”, in that he never reveals his nature—and furthermore this self-prohibition is reinforced in the discipline of Islamic Jurisprudence (E’lm Al-Fiqh) with multiple layers of boundaries which serve to bar his followers from questioning on any level.
Therefore, the “unknown God” of the Mars Hill passage represents a different mindset among the people of Athens toward “God” than that which is prescribed for followers of Islam, in that it is clear in this case that a god, such as Allah, who doesn’t reveal himself will forever remain unknown and unknowable.
Compounding the error, these scholars, when making such comparisons sidestep or place in abeyance the implications of the centrality and the uniqueness of Christ throughout the Biblical scriptures, as well as ignoring the other pivotal factors such as the historical progression (including the covenants) and typology-theology whereby everything in the scriptures speaks of Christ. Whether it is the moral law, the ceremonial law, the temple, the prophets or the sacrifices, in fact all of the scriptures speak of Christ.
TYPOLOGY: THE CRIMSON THREAD OR REDEMPTIVE ANALOGIES
We Christians believe in typology-theology, often called, typological symbolism, the Crimson Thread, the Redemptive Analogies, the Promise Plan of God, and/or others, with each being based on a hermeneutic which postulates that God placed foreshadows and promises of the coming of Christ in the laws, events, and people of the Old Testament.
This belief holds that:
- Adam was a foreshadow of Jesus (man of dust/man of heaven);
- Abraham was a foreshadow of Jesus (father of faith [Gen 17; Isaiah 41:8]);
- Isaac represented Jesus (sacrifice of son [Gen 22:1-22]);
- Joseph represented Jesus (suffering servant [Gen 37-50; Zechariah 11:13]);
- Moses represented Jesus (the deliverer [Matt 2:15; Hosea 11:1]);
- King David represented Jesus (King in exile [Rev 22:16; Isaiah 17:1-53, I Samuel 22:1-2]); And much more.
In each of the above, the series of covenants – themselves foreshadows and typologies of Christ – were given and affirmed in succeeding generations. In so doing, the Biblical narrative emerges within historical context, reflecting the Lord God’s self-revelation in creation, how He planned to redeem fallen humankind and how He promised a new covenant in Christ that would be “written on the heart”, not on stone. This New Covenant was fulfilled in Christ. This Christ-centered typology was the standard accepted Biblical hermeneutic as affirmed and taught by Jesus to His disciples. It was also uniformly confirmed by subsequent generations of theologians and church leaders up until around the 18th–19th centuries when, as a result of creeping societal changes, intellectual forces challenged traditional institutions like the Church, and emphasised reason, analysis and individualism. Concurrently, due to the pragmatic shift in society, there was a related shift in scholarly emphasis within the seminaries to put the focus on the textual context of scripture—with the result that context took precedence over supernatural affirmations through types and foreshadowings.
These typological reflections of the promises leading to fulfilment were increasingly seen to depend too heavily on a God who is involved and present, who gives a more direct divine guidance than was comfortable in the dawning age of “reason”.
Another explanation for its partial demise was the lengths to which some scholars extended symbolic correlation down to the minute details of the Old Testament Jewish rituals and practices. Taken together, this problem was further compounded by the liberal trend to de-emphasise the “supernatural” or “allegorical”, for fear of being accused of “finding Jesus under every rock”. However, the place and relevance of typology within Biblical hermeneutics is irrefutable as it is based firmly on the scriptures themselves.
We have a clear and final validation coming not from the words of man, but from the very words of the risen Lord Jesus Christ following His resurrection, and prior to His ascension. As He walked, unrecognised as to who He was, with two of His disciples along the Emmaus Road, He engaged them about the events of the past few days in Jerusalem, and as they were voicing their disappointments regarding His crucifixion, He exhorted them as follows:
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself (Luke 24:25-27).
Still, it was not until the risen Jesus accompanied them into the village, and accepted their invitation to dine that they recognised Him as their Lord.
Then He appeared to them as a group in Jerusalem while they were sharing their experiences of Him having earlier appeared to the two on the Emmaus Road:
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:44-48).
Notwithstanding this compelling proof from our Lord in His own words that indeed His incarnation, crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension were foreshadowed and prophesied in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms, these typologies are all too often neglected, or in some cases intentionally minimised for the previously mentioned reasons, especially that of lack of favour for the “supernatural” and “allegorical” affirmations.
To further substantiate the point, here are a few New Testament references harking back to the Old Testament:
… that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities
And bore our sicknesses” (Matt. 8:17).
“But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:36-40).
… and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:4).
This passage is even more assertive when seen within its full context:
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ (1 Cor. 10:1-4).
The Bible continues to emphasise that the “righteousness of God” is “revealed” by faith alone:
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed” (Gal. 3:8).
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds”, meaning many people, but “and to your seed”, meaning one person, who is Christ (Gal. 3:16).
It is important to note that many Christian theologians and missiologists who work with Muslims have set aside or hesitated to make use of these typologies for yet another problematic reason—that is, because of the Qur’an’s strong opposition to the deity of Christ, and the Muslims fear regarding the step of accepting Jesus as God—which the Qur’an claims is “making partners with Allah”, and so is “idolatry”, which is “Shirk”, the unforgivable sin in the Qur’an. Yet these same scholars have been pleased to employ the “similarities” between major Biblical figures and their apparent Qur’anic counterparts as “bridges to understanding”, without taking into account—or perhaps without knowing—that these figures, from Adam to Jesus, not only have Islamised names in the Qur’an, they have Islamised personalities, purposes and messages.
Being drawn by the glitter of “sameness”, they have created certain criteria which would vindicate their approach and methodologies, but at the expense of Biblical truths.
Little do they realise that they are buying into an intentional and very effective Islamic theme within the Qur’an of incorporating aspects of the Judeo-Christian scriptures that served to gain authority for Muhammad with the Meccean idol worshippers and a temporary but crucial validation from among the Jews and Christians of the day in Arabia—while at the same time becoming a mechanism to house very different doctrinal claims, all of which are in diametric opposition to the deity and salvific purposes of Christ.
IF THIS BE SO, WHAT THEN?
In the light of the foregoing implications, to even begin to comprehend the Islamic concept of Allah as compared to the Lord God, we need to re-examine this dichotomy through an honest holistic process of compare/contrast between the two entities, rather than continue to hold to the “similarities only”, or what some would term “sufficient similarities” criteria—an approach which considers “differences” as an inconvenient misunderstanding that can be ameliorated with enough patience, forbearance and love. Identifying “differences” is viewed as causing conflict and discord, rather than being a valid attempt to discover the truth of the matter. Opting for similarities only, sufficient or not, is a call for “peace and harmony” at the expense of truth.
If, at the end of the day, the Allah of Islam should differ to the extreme degree we posit, one must be prepared to put aside preconceived understandings and favorite methodologies, as well as allegiances to proponents of current missiological practices based on these similarities—and take upon oneself the personal task of re-assessing this issue. To that end, in approaching the Allah vs. Lord God dichotomy, at some point we need to identify and quantify exactly how and where Allah differs from the Lord God of the Bible, and to what degree.