Differences Between the God of the Qur’an & the God of the Bible

It will become clear that the Qur’an and the Bible are talking about two entirely different deities.

There are some similarities between the deities presented in the Qur’an and the Bible. Both the Qur’an and the Bible teach monotheism. Both teach that God is sovereign and the creator of all things. Beyond that, there are few similarities. Here are a few of the major differences.

 

You’ve probably heard it said. “All of the Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—they all worship the same God.” More and more today, we hear such things from the mouths and tweets of idealized and uninformed westerners.

However, such thinking is a hazardous ignorance. The Qur’an does not believe that Allah (the God of the Qur’an) and the God of Christianity are the same. Many Qur’anic teachers do not believe that they are the same. And neither do biblically thinking Christians.

Last week the Cripplegate began a series on the differences between the Qur’an and the Bible. We looked at a brief introduction to Islam as well as the textual origin and transmission of the Qur’an. Today, we compare the God of the Qur’an with that of the Bible. As we do, it will become clear that the Qur’an and the Bible are talking about two entirely different deities.

As noted last week, there are some similarities between the deities presented in the Qur’an and the Bible. Both the Qur’an and the Bible teach monotheism. Both teach that God is sovereign and the creator of all things. Beyond that, there are few similarities. Here are a few of the major differences.

1. The God of the Qur’an is not known as Father.

There is not one verse in the Qur’an where Allah is likened to a loving father of believers. In fact, the concept of God’s fatherhood of believers is a difficult thing for Muslims to grasp. For some, it is even offensive.

In the Qur’an, there lacks the concept of kindhearted fellowship with God as father. There is no concept of adoption into the family of God. Tender security under the fatherhood of God is an idea that is foreign to the Qur’an. The Qur’anic teaching is that a believer’s relationship with God is primarily one of submission.

The Bible also teaches that a believer must relate to God in submission. However, submission only describes a fraction of that relationship. In the Bible, one of the most sacred facts is that the God of the universe becomes our Father at salvation. The incredible news is that through the finished work of Jesus Christ, the most flagrant sinner is tenderly, eagerly, and permanently welcomed as a beloved child into the family of God. In light of the holiness and glory of the biblical God, and the sinfulness and unimpressiveness of humanity, the fatherhood of God is quite frankly a wild and extraordinary truth. Why would a God like the God of the Bible ever wish to call even one person like the people of this world, “My child”? One would almost understand why this idea would be too offensive to be an essential doctrine of the faith. Nevertheless, it is true. One of the most profound illustrations of the permanent and tender fatherhood of God comes from Christ’s teaching in the parable of the lost son from Luke 15:11-32.

The parable begins with a wealthy and generous father who has two sons. In an act of high-handed contempt, the younger son requests his share of the inheritance before the father has died. This would be akin to declaring his wish for his father’s death. Immediately, the son moves out of the house; not to another city, but another country, demonstrating his disdain for the family. There, he wastes the wealth on prostitutes and flagrant debauchery. He quickly finds himself shekel-less, starving in the proverbial gutter. To make matters more offensive to a Jewish audience, he is not only working with pigs, but fighting with them for food. After some time, he comes to his senses, and recalls that even his father’s slaves have more than they need. He is scraped out of the gutter and stumbles home in swine-stenched rags to his father’s estate. Because the father had been hoping and watching for his return, he sees his son from a distance. Defying cultural dignity, he runs, throws himself upon his utterly filthy son, hugs and kisses him in joyful, compassionate tears. The vagrant son confesses his unworthiness, to which the father responds immediately with a celebratory confirmation that he is permanently and eagerly welcomed to the family. The son was dead and has come to life; lost and was found.

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