Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Difference between the Bible and the Qur'an


on a transcript of a lecture by Dr. Gary Miller

Bible is a collection of writings by many different authors. The
Qur'an is a dictation. The speaker in the Qur'an - in the first
person - is God talking directly to man. In the Bible you have many
men writing about God and you have in some places the word of God
speaking to men and still in other places you have some men simply
writing about history. The Bible consists of 66 small books. About
18 of them begin by saying: This is the revelation God gave to so
and so… The rest make no claim as to their origin. You have for
example the beginning of the book of Jonah which begins by saying:
The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Elmitaeh saying… quote
and then it continues for two or three pages.

you compare that to one of the four accounts of the life of Jesus,
Luke begins by saying: “many people have written about this man,
it seems fitting for me to do so too”. That is all… no claim of
saying “ these words were given to me by God here they are for you
it is a revelation”, there is no mention of this.

Bible does not contain self-reference, that is, the word 'Bible'
is not in the Bible. Nowhere does the Bible talk about itself. Some
scriptures are sometimes pointed to in the Bible, say: Here where
it talks about itself, but we have to look closely. 2nd Timothy
3:16 is the favourite which reads: “All scripture is inspired of
God” and there are those who would say, here is where the Bible
it talks about itself, it says it is inspired of God, all of it.
But if you read the whole sentence, you read that this was a letter
wrote by Paul to Timothy and the entire sentence says to Timothy:
“Since you were a young man you have studied the holy scriptures,
all scriptures inspired by God” and so on… When Timothy was a young
man the New Testament did not exist, the only thing that stems he
was talking about are scriptures – which are only a portion of the
Bible - from before that time. It could not have meant the whole

is at the end of the Bible a verse which says: “Let anyone who takes
away from this book or adds to this book be cursed”. This to is
sometimes pointed to me saying: Here is where it sums itself as
a whole. But look again and you will see that when it says: Let
no one change this book, it is talking about that last book, number
66, the Book of Revelation. It has too, because any reference will
tell you that the Book of Revelation was written before certain
other parts of the Bible were written. It happens today to be stacked
at the end, but there are other parts that came after, so it can
not be referring to the entire book.

is an extreme position held only by some Christian groups that the
Bible – in its entirety - cover to cover is the revealed word of
God in every word, but they do a clever thing when they mention
this, or make this claim. They will say that the Bible in its entirety
is the word of God; inerrant (no mistakes) in the original writings.
So if you go to the Bible and point out some mistakes that are in
it you are going to be told: Those mistakes were not there in the
original manuscript, they have crept in so that we see them there
today. They are going on problem in that position. There is
a verse in the Bible Isaiah 40:8 which in fact is so well known
that some Bibles printed it on the inside front cover as an introduction
and it says : “ The grass weathers, the flower fades, but the word
of our God stands forever”. Here is a claim in the Bible that the
word of God will stand forever, it will not be corrupted, it won't
be lost. So if today you find a mistake in the Bible you have two
choices. Either that promise was false that when God said my word
wont fade away, he was mistaken, or the portion which has the mistake
in it was not a part of the word of God in the first place, because
the promise was that it would be safeguarded, it would not be corrupted.

have suggested many times that there are mistakes in the Bible and
the accusation comes back very quickly: Show me one. Well there
are hundreds. If you want to be specific I can mention few. You
have for example at 2nd Samuel 10:18 a description of a war fought
by David saying that he killed 7000 men and that he also killed
40000 men on horsebacks. In 1st Chronicles 19 it mentions the same
episode saying that he killed 70000 men and the 40000 men were not
on horsebacks, they were on foot. The point be what is the difference
between the pedestrian and not is very fundamental.

27:5 says that Judas Iscariot when he died he hung himself. Acts
1 says that no he jumped off a cliff head first. If you study Logic
very soon you will come in your course to what they call an “undecidable
propositions” or “meaningless sentences” or statements that can
not be decided because there is no contextual false. One of the
classic examples sited is something called the Effeminites 
paradox. This man was Cretan and he said “Cretans always lie”, now
was that statement true or false? If he was a Cretan and he says
that they always lie is he lying?  If he is not lying then
he is telling the truth then the Cretans don’t always lie ! You
see it can not be true and it can not be false, the statement turns
back on itself. It is like saying  “What I am telling you right
now is a lie” would you believe that or not? You see the statement
has no true content. It can not be true and it can not be false.
If it is true it is always false. If it is false it is also true.

in the Bible at Titus 1:12 the writer is Paul and he is talking
about the Cretans. He says that one of their own men – a prophet
- said “Cretans always lie” and he says that what this man says
is true. It is a small mistake, but the point is that it is a human
mistake, you don’t find that if you carefully examine the true content
of that statement. It can not be a true statement.

I come back to the Qur'an, and as I mentioned the speaker in the
Qur'an is - in the first person - is God. The book claims throughout
that it is the word of God. It names itself 70 times as the Qur'an.
It talks about its own contents. It has self-reference. The Qur'an
states in the first Sura after Fatiha that “This is the book, there
is no doubt in it, it is a guidance for those who are conscious
of God” and so on and so on… It begins that way and continues that
way stressing that. And there is one very amazing statement in the
Qur'an when you come to the fourth Sura 82nd Ayah which says to
those who say Qur'an is something else than the word of God. It
challenges them saying: “Have they not considered the Qur'an, if
it came from someone other than God they will find in it many mistakes”.
Some of you are students, would you dare to hand in a paper after
you completed a research work or something at the bottom you put
down there “You wont find mistakes in this”. Would you dare to challenge
your professor that way?. Well the Qur'an does that. It is telling:
If you really think you know where this came from then starts looking
for mistakes because you wont find any. Another interesting thing
the Qur'an does is that it quotes all its critics. There has never
- in hundreds of years - ever been some suggestion as to where that
book came from but that the Qur'an does not already mention that
objection and reply to it. Many times you will find the Ayah saying
something like: Do they say such and such and so, say to them such
and such and so. In every case there is a reply. More than that
the Qur'an claims that the evidence of its origin is in itself,
and that if you look at this book you will be convinced.

the difference in Christianity and Islam comes down to a difference
of authority and appeal to authority. The Christian wants to appeal
to the Bible and the Muslim wants to appeal to the Qur'an. You can
not stop by saying: This is true because me book say it is, and
somebody else would say something else is true because my book says
differently, you can not stop at that point, and the Qur'an does
not. The Christians may point to some words that it is recorded
Jesus said and say this proves my point. But the Muslim does not
simply open his book and say: No, no the Qur'an says this, because
the Qur'an does not simply deny something the Bible says and say
something else instead. The Qur'an takes the form of a rebuttal,
it is a guidance as the opening says (Huda lil mutakeen). So that
for every suggestion that the Christian may say: My Bible say such
and such, the Qur'an will not simply say: No that is not true, it
will say: Do they say such and such then ask them such and such.
You have for example the Ayah that compares Jesus and Adam. There
are those who may say that Jesus must have been God (Son of God)
because he had no father. He had a woman who was his mother, but
there was no human father. It was God that gave him life, so he
must have been God’s son. The Qur'an reminds the Christian in one
short sentence to remember Adam - who was his father ? - and in
fact, who was his mother ? He did not have a father either and in
fact he did not have a mother, but what does that make him? So that
the likeness of Adam is the likeness of Jesus, they were nothing
and then they became something; that they worship God.

that the Qur'an does not demand belief - the Qur'an invites belief,
and here is the fundamental difference. It is not simply delivered
as: Here is what you are to believe, but throughout the Qur'an the
statements are always: Have you O man thought of such and such,
have you considered so and so. It is always an invitation for you
to look at the evidence; now what do you believe ?

citation of the Bible very often takes the form of what is called
in Argumentation: Special Pleading. Special Pleading is when implications
are not consistent. When you take something and you say: Well that
must mean this, but you don’t use the same argument to apply it
to something else. To give an example, I have seen it in publications
many times, stating that Jesus must have been God because he worked
miracles. In other hand we know very well that there is no miracle
ever worked by Jesus that is not also recorded in the Old Testament
as worked by one of the prophets. You had amongst others, Elijah,
who is reported to have cured the leper, raise the dead boy to life
and to have multiplied bread for the people to eat - three of the
most favourite miracles cited by Jesus. If the miracles worked by
Jesus proved he was God, why don’t they prove Elijah was God ? This
is Special Pleading, if you see what I mean. The implications are
not consistent. If this implies that then in that case it must also
imply the same thing. We have those who would say Jesus was God
because he was taken up in the heaven. But the Bible also says the
a certain Einah did not die he was taken up into the heaven by God.
Whether it is true or not, who knows, but the point is if Jesus
being taken up proves he is God, why does not it prove Einah was
God? The same thing happened to him.

wrote to a man one time, who wrote a book about Christianity and
I had some of the objections I mentioned to you now. And his reply
to me was that I am making matters difficult to myself, that there
are portions in the Bible that are crystal clear and that there
are portions that are difficult, and that my problem was that I
am looking at the difficult part instead of the clear parts. The
problem is that this is an exercise in self deception - why are
some parts clear and some parts difficult? It is because somebody
decided what this clearly means, now that makes this very difficult.
To give you an example, John Chapter 14 a certain man said to Jesus:
Show us God, and Jesus said: If you have seen me you have seen God.
Now without reading on the Christian will say: See Jesus claimed
to be God, he said if you have seen me you have seen God. If that
is crystal clear then you have a difficult portion when you go back
just a few pages to Chapter 5 when another man came to Jesus and
said show us God and he said you have never seen God you have never
heard his voice. Now what did he mean there if on the other occasion
he meant that he was God? Obviously you have made matters difficult
by deciding what the first one meant. If you read on in Chapter
14 you will see what he went on to say. He was saying the closest
you are going to seeing God are the works you see me doing.

is a fact that the words “son of God” are not found on the lips
of Jesus anywhere in the first three Gospel accounts, he was always
calling himself the Son of Man. And it is a curious form of reasoning
that I have seen so often that it is established from Bible that
he claimed to be God because - look how the Jews reacted. They will
say for example he said such and such and the Jews said he is blaspheming,
he claimed to be God and they tried to stone him. So they argue
that he must have been claiming to be God because look ! - the Jews
tried to kill him. They said that’s what he was claiming. But the
interesting thing is that all the evidence is then built on the
fact that a person is saying: I believed that Jesus was the son
of God because the Jews who killed him said that’s what he used
to say ! His enemies used to say that, so he must have said it,
this is what it amounts to. In other hand we have the words of Jesus
saying he would keep the law, the law of Moses and we have the statement
in the Bible, why did the Jews kill him ? Because he broke the law
of Moses. Obviously the Jews misunderstood him, if he promised he
would keep the law, but they killed him because he broke the law,
they must have misunderstood him, or lied about him.

I talk about the Bible and quote various verses here and there I
am often accused of putting things out of context, to say you have
lifted something out of what it was talking about and given it a
meaning. I don’t want to respond to the accusation as such, but
it doesn’t seem to occur to many people that perhaps those who wrote
portions of the Bible in the first place were guilty of the same
thing. Maybe they – some of those writers - believed a certain thing
and in order to prove it quoted from their scriptures – the
Old Testament, the Hebrew writings - quoted out of context to prove
their point. There are examples of that kind of thing. In Matthew
2 it said that a king wanted to kill the young child Jesus so he
with his family went to Egypt, and they stayed there until that
king died, and then they came back. When the writer of Matthew,
whoever he was, because the name Matthew wont be found in the book
of Matthew; when he described this event saying that he came back
out of Egypt, he said: “ This was to fulfil a prophecy which is
written” and then he quotes Hosea Chapter 11 “Out of Egypt I called
my Son”. So he said because Jesus went to Egypt and then came back
out of Egypt and we have this passage in the Hebrew scriptures “out
of Egypt I called my son” Jesus must have been the son of God. If
you look and see what he was quoting, Hosea 11:1 he quotes the second
half of a complete sentence, the complete sentence reads: “When
Israel was young I loved him and out of Egypt I called my son”.
Israel the nation was considered as the son of God. Moses was told
to go to Pharaoh and say to him: If you touch that nation of people,
you touch my son; warning him, warning Pharaoh: don’t touch that
nation, calling the nation “the son of God”. So that this is the
only thing talked about in Hosea 11:1. “Out of Egypt I called my
son” can only refer to the nation of Israel. I mentioned this point
some months ago here in another talk, to which a young lady with
us objected that Israel is a symbolic name for Jesus. You will have
a hard time finding that anywhere in the Bible because it isn’t
there. You can take an index of the Bible and lookup the word “Israel”
everywhere the word occurs and you will find no where in any place
that you can connect the word Israel with Jesus. But never mind
- suppose it is true, read on, the second verse says “and after
that he kept on worshipping Bal”, because this is what the Israelites
were guilty of, very often they kept falling back into Idol worshipping.
So if that “Israel” really meant Jesus and it means that Jesus is
the son of God that came out of Egypt they must also mean that Jesus
from time to time used to bow down to that idol Bal. You have to
be consistent, and follow through on what it says. So the point
is whoever wrote Matthew and Chapter 2 was trying to prove a point
by quoting something out of context, and he undid himself, because
if you follow through on it, it can not be so.

I can come back to the claim the Qur'an makes that it has internal
evidence of its origin. There are many many ways that you can look
at this. As one example, if I single out somebody here and say:
You know, I know your father - he is going to doubt that,
he has never seen me with his father. He would say, how does he
look like, is he tall short does he wear glasses? and so on, and
if I give him the right answers pretty soon he will get convinced, “Oh yes, you did meet him”. If you apply the same kind of thinking
when you look at the Qur'an, here is a book that says it came from
the one who was there when the universe began. So you should be
asking that one: So tell me something that proves it. Tell me something
that shows me you must have been there when the universe was beginning.
You will find in two different Ayahs the statement that all the
creation began from a single point, and from this point it is expanding.
In 1978 they gave the Noble prize to two people who proved that
thats the case. It is the big bang origin of the universe. It was
determined by the large radio receivers that they have for the telephone
companies which were sensitive enough to pick up the transmissions
from satellites and it kept finding background noise that they could
not account for. Until the only explanation came to be, it is the
left over energy from that original explosion which fits in exactly
as would be predicted by the mathematical calculation of what would
be this thing if the universe began from a single point and exploded
outwards. So they confirmed that, but in 1978. Centuries before
that here is the Qur'an saying the heavens and the earth in the
beginning they were one piece and split and says in another Ayah
: “of the heavens we are expanding it”.

me tell you about a personal investigation, it occurred to me that
there are a number of things you can find in the Qur'an that give
evidence to its origin – internal evidence. If the Qur'an is dictated
from a perfect individual; it originates with God, then there should
not be any wasted space, it should be very meaningful. There should
be nothing that we don’t need that you can cut off, and it should
not be missing anything. And so that everything in there should
really be there for a specific purpose. And I got to thinking about
the Ayah which I mentioned before, it says, the likeness of Jesus
is the likeness of Adam. It an equation, it uses the Arabic word
(mithel), it says Jesus, Adam, equal. You go to the index of the
Qur'an, you look up the name ISA it is in the Qur'an 25 times,  you lookup the name Adam it is there 25 times. They are equal, through
scattered references but 25 of each. Follow that through and you
will find that in the Qur'an there are 8 places were an Ayah says
something is like something else, using this (Mithel),
you will find in every case and take both sides of it whatever that
word is look it up in the index and it will be lets say 110 times
and lookup the other word and it will be said to be equal to the
same 110. That is quite a project of co-ordination if you try to
write a book that way yourself. So that everywhere you happened
to mention that such and such is like such and such that then you
check your index, filing system, or your IBM punch cards or whatever,
to make sure that in this whole book you mentioned them both the
same number of times. But that’s what you will find in the Qur'an.

I am talking about is built on a thing that is called in Logic:
Use and Mention of a Word. When you use a word, you are using its
meaning. When you mention a word, you are talking about the symbol
without the meaning. For example, if I say Toronto is a big
- I used the word Toronto as I meant this place Toronto
is a big city. But if I say to you Toronto has 7 letters,
I am not talking about this place Toronto, I am talking about this
word - Toronto. So, the revelation is above reasoning, but
it is not above reason. That is to say we are more up not to find
in the Qur'an something that is unreasonable, but we may find something
that we would have never figured out for ourselves.

author of this sentence said if this book came from someone besides
God then you will find in it many Ikhtalafan (inconsistencies).
The word Ikhtilaf is found many times in the Qur'an. But
the word Ikhtalafan is only found once in the Qur'an. So
there are not many Ikhtilafan in the Qur'an, there is only
one - where the sentence is mentioned. So you see how things are
put together perfectly. It has been suggested to mankind: Find a
mistake. Man could not get hold of a mistake, and he is very clever,
because this sentence could also mean: Find many Iktilafan
and so he quickly goes to the index to see if he can find many
of them and there is only one... Sorry clever person !

No comments:

Post a Comment