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July 19, 2016

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Agreeing with the Muslim that the Bible has been corrupted is going beyond the question of *God*. In other words, the *only* overlap is found in lines related to the Kalam cosmological argument. Anything beyond *that* moves out of the arena of *God*. The nature of a single, intentional, transcendent, First Cause / Uncaused Cause Who creates things truly other from Himself counts as evidence of the Christian God vis-à-vis Romans 1 [hence we can't just discount that as real evidence of the real God]. None of that leads reason into Christ and into.... and into.... But it does align with the terms and conditions of Romans 1.

But that's all.

The moment we move into *any* Islamic "theology" or claims about the OT or the NT or Christ.... and so on..... is the moment we move out of Romans 1.

But Romans 1 is not Zero / Nothing / Noda / void of a specifically Christian evidential landing zone.

That's important.

The price of "that" is the price of "Romans 1", which costs the Christian nothing, and in fact affirms what natural revelation is capable of transposing into the mind of man.

The key is to start and stop at Romans 1.

Otherwise, all the concerns of the opening piece by Alan come (justifiably) roaring in.

A peculiar state of affairs emerges:

Interestingly it is perhaps a worse case for the Latter Day Saints (LDS). They, knowing God as God, willingly turn their eyes upon what they themselves count to be a creation of God, namely Christ, and chose to worship the creation.

Romans 1 comes roaring in.... in very painful ways for the LDS. And in ways very different and distinct from how it is that Romans 1 speaks to the *God* of the Muslim as the Muslim, unlike the LDS, refuses to worship anything *but* the *God* described in Romans 1, the single, intentional, transcendent, First Cause / Uncaused Cause Who creates things truly other from Himself.

Both the Muslim and the LDS know the God of Romans 1 (the single, intentional, transcendent, First Cause / Uncaused Cause Who creates things truly other from Himself).

The former comes to a full stop, and worships, the latter continues on to this or that creation of that God of Romans 1, and, having known God as God, chooses to worship a creation of that *God*.

Qualifier:

It's okay to be "in part right". It's okay for the Christian to say to someone, perhaps the Muslim or the LDS, "Listen, I'll grant you A and B, but the rest of the alphabet, well, you've completely missed it, and here's why."

"That" particular "move" does not seem to cost the Christian anything, and may even bring up unexpected lines of evidence *for* the Christian God *within* the Muslim's / LDS's *own* theology which can serve as a springboard for that person's mind to see further into something which he had not formally unpacked.

Lastly, as already stated, we have to align ourselves with Scripture, and, on Scripture, Romans 1 and the terms and conditions therein (really) counts as (real) evidence of the (real) God, and hence we (really) cannot just discount that. All of creation's testimonies (Natural Theology) carries reason and logic into the reality of the One True *God*, into the reality of the single, intentional, transcendent, First Cause / Uncaused Cause Who creates things truly other from Himself. It was a Muslim, and not a Christian, who developed the Kalam *argument* for, in defense of, the reality of the One True God. That the Christian now uses that same *argument* is peculiar and even unwise and even dishonest *if* that argument does *not* land in the lap of the Christian God as per the terms and conditions of Romans 1.

Of course, Romans 1 preceded Kalam, so, well, there's that fact to dive into as well.

The last paragraph was supposed to have a break with "lastly", so, just to be complete:

Lastly, evidence:

As already stated, we have to align ourselves with Scripture, and, on Scripture, Romans 1 and the terms and conditions therein (really) counts as (real) evidence of the (real) God, and hence we (really) cannot just discount that. All of creation's testimonies (Natural Theology) carries reason and logic into the reality of the One True *God*, into the reality of the single, intentional, transcendent, First Cause / Uncaused Cause Who creates things truly other from Himself. It was a Muslim, and not a Christian, who developed the Kalam *argument* for, in defense of, the reality of the One True God. That the Christian now uses that same *argument* is peculiar and even unwise and even dishonest *if* that argument does *not* land in the lap of the Christian God as per the terms and conditions of Romans 1.

Of course, Romans 1 preceded Kalam, so, well, there's that fact to dive into as well.

https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2016/01/07/why-muslims-and-christians-worship-the-same-god/

I thought a good way to address this was to separate natural theology from scripture... so, when a kid in Saudi Arabia uses his intellect to reason, as Dr. Craig says would be his properly basic right, that God exists, the kid will call God "Allah" because of his language. Then he will begin to learn things about God, either true things or false things. So I would say that "Allah" is of course "God", but the Qu'ran and the Islamic teachers are not authoritative in giving folks knowledge of God in the way that the Bible is.

I think there might be a bit of semantic confusion with the way the question was posed, too... saying the words "same God" implies that there really is such a thing as that which is called Allah in the Qu'ran, but Christians know that that isn't the truth: that isn't a "different God", it's "unauthorized prophecy about the real God."

This whole discussion centres around highly sloppy use of language, combined with some ungodly agendas.

(1) "Christians and Muslims both make truth claims about a particular divine being (let's call it "God") that occupies a particular ontological space".

This statement is entirely true. It makes sense to ask a Christian "what is God like?" and a Muslim "what is God like?" and then evaluate whether those claims are compatible.

This becomes more obvious when we consider Jesus. The Christian says "Jesus was X". The Muslim says "Jesus was Y". These claims contradict precisely because both parties agree that we're talking about a singular person. If the Christians agreed that they were talking about someone entirely distinct to the Muslims, and vice versa, then both sets of claims could be true. But they are conflicting claims about a single truth.

(2) "The differences don't matter".

On the other hand, this claim is hellish, in that it brings death. Having a false worship of the true God is no better than worshiping a false God, excepting only that you might be one small step closer to accepting the truth.


Ironically, two opposite claims - "Christians and Muslims believe in the same God" and "Christians and Muslims do not believe in the same God" - can both betray to an overly subjective view of reality. The former claim can attempt to paper over fundamental differences. The latter claim can suggest that what matters is what you believe, not the reality against which your claims are evaluated.

Have read Beckwith's essay/defense.

A question:

Is a person who contemplates God as an intellectual concept capable of offering sincere worship of God?

As good as the Kalam Cosmological Argument is, does this bring one closer to salvation?

And, if what we state about salvation as a necessary offering from God, and a right understanding of Jesus is paramount to this, are we not to be clearer on Who God is?

>> A question:

Actually, a set of questions. On further review, I am not asking to cover one general concept, but three facets of one important matter.

DGF,

The trio of worship, knowledge, and the Salvific is an important trio.

In my previous post I did not grant the Salvific, because Romans 1 does not grant it.

I'd approach it with something like this:

Strictly on the terms of Romans 1, the Kalam satisfies those terms of (real) evidence driving (real) knowledge of (the real) God. Romans 1 does mention worship based strictly on those terms, and, also, it mentions worshiping a creation of God instead.

But Romans 1 isn't the Salvific.

Again on the terms and conditions of Romans 1, but rather it sums simply to (real) knowledge of a (real) fact based on (real) evidence.

Salvific:

Remember that the Jew too both knew and worshiped that God and, once introduced to Christ, should they have rejected Christ, their level of worship remained real but less than what was possible now that Christ emerged, and, also, it remained as worship landing on the (real) God. Yet they were not saved (no Salvific).

So that state of affairs *is* possible: Real Worship. Real God. No Christ. No Salvific.

Key point:

If full knowledge of God is required for (real) worship, then no man worships.

Not even Christians.

Hence Andrew's point about "What Sort Of God Is God" comes roaring in with yet more of the same vis-à-vis knowledge:

Do Christians who hang their negro slaves and tell us God is all over it with His two thumbs-up (really) worship the (real) God?

Well yeah.

But:

Clearer knowledge leads to clearer worship. Hence, Romans 1 seems to set the stage on its terms and conditions for the level of "Natural Theology" driving reason and logic to the (real) fact of the (real) "God" (Kalam) via (real) evidence which then leaves the man at a "Y" in the road: worship that God or worship one of His creations.

If we reject Romans 1 and its terms and conditions, which do not amount to the Salvific, but which do sum to worship [...levels of clarity and knowledge equates to levels of fullness and hence to levels of truthfulness...] and to (real) knowledge of (the real) God based on (real) evidence, then we as Christians in fact reject Romans 1 terms and conditions, slim as they are.

Lastly:

Theologically and in terms of convergence with the way we see these lines of evidence within Scripture play out in the real world it seems Romans 1 is accurate vis-à-vis the trio of knowledge, worship, and the Salvific, and, also, it's not apparent that we give anything up by allowing Romans 1 the (real) "fragment" that Romans 1 provides to what is a much larger overall picture.


Andrew,

On hanging Negro slaves just before going to Church, and, on Jihad, well Romans 1 clarifies just what is what and what isn't what. To know and attend to Christ *is* to attend to the *real* God *even* in those negro-hanging Christians, just as Natural Theology (Kalam) permits (real) knowledge and real worship of the real God.

But notice that none of that ends up as a blanket sweep or justification for "the rest of the show". Not in the Christian nor in the Muslim.

Romans 1 allows those crazy negro-hanging Christians to have been real Christians really worshipping the real God even as we rightly condemn all sorts of X's in their minds, hearts, souls, and, we find yet more clarity with respect to what Romans 1 is *not* granting with respect to What sort of God is God, what sort of God do we believe in?

Romans 1 works both ways, or in all possible ways, in all possible directions. It salvages important things for the Christian too, when it comes to "What sort of God do we believe in?" (wrt the negro, etc.)

It's quite a clarifying arena which Scripture presents there and which permits us as Christians to claim the One True God in spite of our many moral failings, past and present, etc.

That line of approach, or that sightline, may help clarify what it is Romans 1 *is* granting and what it is *not* granting. It's not granting the Salvific, and, it's *not* granting full knowledge of the sort of God the real God actually IS wrt to what we believe about that God.

It's Natural Theology, really.

Andrew,

"...permits us as Christians to claim the One True God in spite of our many moral failings..."

I should have added:

"....permits us as Christians to claim the One True God in spite of our many moral failings and in spite of our many mis-beliefs about what sort of God the real God really is...."

I certainly understand Alan's argument and also sentiments, as I believe Islam is completely wrong. However, I think it's a bit more complex than his arguments are stating. I think some Muslims do in fact worship the same God as we do, but that they are wrong about who God is. I myself do not think that I fully understand God's nature and who he is. But I know his embodiment is Jesus, and that the created the whole world. I believe that some Muslims are sincerely seeking Yahweh, and that many will find him. It is simply that their understanding and conception is incomplete and flawed. For these people that we might say that their conception of who God is is not the same, but not that they do not worship the creator of the universe. Alan's argument works in that it claims that Islam's conception of God is incorrect and incompatible with Christianity's. But I fail to see how that extends to people within Islam truly seeking the creator of our universe. It means they are wrong about who God is, but that is as far as his argument extends.

I think we can think that some Muslims worship the same God, without affirming their teaching. I don't affirm Muslim teaching at all, but am willing to admit that within Islam, there are those who worship the creator, even if their conception is dead wrong. You don't have to affirm Muslim teaching in order to believe that in my opinion.

scbrownlhrm,

>> But Romans 1 isn't the Salvific.

Again on the terms and conditions of Romans 1, but rather it sums simply to (real) knowledge of a (real) fact based on (real) evidence.

Salvific.

Romans 1. Whither this Romans 1?

And here we must travel from the cozy world of natural theology to the more rancorous realm of revealed religion.

Romans 1. Why start here? Why not something from the Tanakh or the Qu'ran?

Because we must be concerned with the salvific.

We note that God is the source of all good. We hold our daily bread to be but a portion of the overall good. Whiter those finer things as forgiveness of sins, redemption, heaven?

It is at this point we must decide to part company with Islamic notions of the Godhead.

We only regard that in the chronological mix of the three world theistic religions, between the two calling for the salvific through moral-integrity (Judaism, Islam) we have one declaring redemption by grace (Christianity). In the foundational argument of which revealed religion is of divine origins, one that doesn't follow the usual paths or methods makes for compelling reasons. Whither this diverse idea?

By the by, Francis Beckwith makes this intriguing analogy of the identity of Kal-El/Clark Kent as seen by Lois Lane/Lana Lang. Two conceptions of the same individual by two different people. Still sorting that one out.

DGF,

The reason we *must* start and stop at Romans 1 is because that is the only "zone" of full and complete overlap between the Christian and the Muslim.

And we best not grant the Muslim anything more.

Again, the Jew's worship lands on the one true God even as they reject Christ. The overlap there with the Christian is much wider than the overlap between the Christian and the Muslim.

But overlap is overlap. The OT is (real) revelation. According to Scripture.

But then this too: Natural Theology landing on the Kalam is (according to Scripture) also (real) revelation.

Revelation is revelation. The OT and Natural Theology are both revelation of God by God. According to Scripture. That is why [1] the Jew worships and [2] the Muslim worships and [3] Romans 1 mentions worship despite its (Romans 1) very narrow slice of (real) revelation.

And, (real) knowledge of (real) facts really do count.

The reason we have to grant Natural Theology is because revelation by the Creator through natural theology (through creation) grants to the Muslim what it grants to all men. It's not special to/for the Muslim. But is special revelation by God.

All of creation's testimonies (Natural Theology) carries reason and logic into the reality of the One True *God*, into the reality of the single, intentional, transcendent, First Cause / Uncaused Cause Who creates things truly other from Himself.

It was a Muslim, and not a Christian, who developed the Kalam *argument* for, in defense of, the reality of the One True God.

That the Christian now uses that same collection of evidence, that same *argument* is entirely dishonest *if* that argument does *not* land in the lap of *evidence* of the (real) God as per the terms and conditions of Romans 1.

If we affirm Romans 1, then we affirm Kalam, and if we affirm Kalam, then we affirm the same "stopping point" of the Muslim who invented that argument as a collection of (real) lines of evidence affirming (real) facts about the (real) God.

I'm not sure we as Christians can just steal that from the Muslim and then just pretend that it and Romans 1 are somehow not God's revealing of His Attributes by and through His creation.

If Scripture tells us that such a sightline is [1] revelation by God of Himself and [2] such evidence lands on the one true God and [3] Man there at the "Y" in the road will either worship that God or else worship a creation of God, well then we are safe in granting such lines.

So that is why we must start and stop in Romans 1.... because the question is a question on overlap. Not the divergence which we find outside of Romans 1 (Quran and so on....). '

It's the same with the Jew. On overlaps we cannot go into the books of Paul. There's no overlap there with the Jew. But the Jew speaks of the one true God. The OT revelation is (according to scripture) real revelation.

Just as is natural theology vis-à-vis Romans 1 is (according to scripture) real revelation.

We do well to affirm real revelation.

As for Non-Overlap, well, we are under no obligation to grant anything else to the Muslim. But then, granting the (real) revelations defined by Romans 1 doesn't grant anything else.

DGF,

When the Jew states, “God I praise you”, he is speaking according to what Scripture defines as revelation (the OT). It’s incomplete. It’s not Salvific. But it “lands on” the God who came through real revelation. So too with natural theology at that point wherein “God I praise you” is one speaking according to what Scripture defines as revelation (natural theology)…… it’s not complete at all, and it’s not Salvific. But it “lands on” the God who came through real revelation.

"Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?"

Worship? What do you mean by worship?

The Christian making this case is forced to give a non-Christian definition of worship if he is to proceed.

Yes. This is about words.

What on earth do we think the biblical definition of worshiping God is? Christians understand false worship, but the concept of equality of worship is clumsily camouflaged in the question: “Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?”

One should ask this instead:

Do Muslims and Christians glorify the same God?

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God in spirit and in truth?

No.

When peaceful Muslims bow and kiss the Black Stone - closer to idolatry or worship?

When 19 violent Hijackers shout Allahu Akbar taking thousands to their gruesome death – closer to evil or worship?….80/20 split?....both?...full evil full worship? Perhaps they're worshiping God and doing evil at the same time.

Perhaps that’s just a little too much to stomach on the worship front for some.

Oh how these questions offend.

For some reason, the fervor from those to make a case that Christians and Muslims worship the same God isn’t matched with the same fervor to address this simple question.

True, going beyond Natural Theology, beyond Romans 1, beyond the Christian's evidence (Kalam argument) which he borrows, or steals, from the Muslim, beyond what Scripture tells us leads Reason to the rational conclusion of the One True God, beyond what Roman's defines as a resulting "Y" in the road whereat worship either stops on that Kalam "IT" or else dives into created things, then we arrive immediately at the location where all of the OP's concerns come (justifiably) roaring in.

But then, all of that was already stated earlier.

From the get-go.

Of course, once we *exit* Romans 1 we arrive at what the Hyper-Calvinist describes as God's express preference there on the TV screen as the news of said hijackers emerges. It's worse than Steven King's worst nightmare, and it's God's express preference, according to many, many thoroughgoing HC's. Some even assign express causation there to God.

I don't worship that God. The Hyper-Calvinist does. But at lower, less complete levels, we both worship the same God. So too with the Jew at even lower levels. The lowest point of convergence is there in the form of worship we find expressly defined in Romans 1 at that proverbial "Y" in the road.

That "Y" isn't unique to a Muslim. Rather, it's merely Scripture's definition of "Man" and "Revelation" and the "Y" and that form or level of "worship" and "choices" amid said revelations. There are higher, even saving, revelations.

There’s so much commitment to this. Some people want this so badly.

KWM,

I've drawn out scripture's definitions.

You can argue against Romans 1, or for a different set of definitions in Romans 1.

KWM,

I've seen fairly robust and somewhat tenable arguments that Paul wasn't addressing the story of mankind and revelation but was in fact addressing a specific city or culture there in Romans 1. It was given in a thread on this same topic. It's workable if you prefer that set of definitions, or some other set.

IMO Paul was addressing definitions wrt mankind and revelation.

One *can* apply it "locally" though as in the case of Later Day Saints worshiping Christ, which sums to a choice to worship a *creation*.

So it can show error too once we move beyond the immediate territory of that proverbial "Y".

Clarification:

Christ is a *creation* of God according to the LDS, etc, and not according to those who affirm the triune God.

Taking care not to confuse Mormons and JW's:

Even though the official Mormon stance is that they count worship of Christ to be idolatry, it seems the incline slopes yet again towards Romans 1. Though by a slightly different, and very interesting, direction, at http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-mormon-view-of-creation

A much longer discussion of this is in “Creatio ex nihilo: A Critique of the Mormon Doctrine of Creation: A critique of the Mormon doctrine of the eternity of matter in light of philosophy and science” by W.L. Craig at http://www.reasonablefaith.org/creatio-ex-nihilo-a-critique-of-the-mormon-doctrine-of-creation

On the terms and definitions of Romans 1, one wonders if in fact the Mormons do in fact worship "God". This carries us into the following assertion: The universe is a brute fact”. Now, *that* arena becomes very interesting, both in the physical sciences and in philosophy / metaphysics. And in Romans 1.

I'd like to know where this idea comes from. Arabs originated in an entirely different region than the Jews - the first peoples that anthropologists will designate as Arab populated the southern coast of Yemen. The Pagan Arab pantheon doesn't mesh with the Jewish one. Further "Allah" isn't the Arabic word for God, it's a proper name - which never corresponded with YWH or the other variants. The pre-Islamic history of Mohammad and Koresh tribe is well documented, these weren't people that were running into each other all the time. The Judeo/Christian God doesn't have daughters, doesn't think the color green is special, and doesn't have the crescent moon as a symbol. If you really want to know what "most Arabs" believe as to whether they worship the same god - you only have to ask them "do you worship the same god as the Jews?"

Great post, seriously (I promise I'm not spam). I liked how you were straight to the point, and also pointed out the problems with believing what Islam says.
I typed something up 6 years ago on this in response to somebody's question about it, and since the question is again arisen, I decided to update it.

Great Article, I didn't know Muslims believed this,

I'd be curious to here your take on the use of Allah in the major arabic translations of the New Testament for God. I have seen at least one ministry use El Lah for "the God" instead.

Thanks again for writing, -Red

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