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?”