In the history of religion Judaism, Christianity and Islam are considered the three Abrahamic faiths. The idea is that there is a continuity between the three different religions that can be traced back to the legacy of Abraham and the early Hebrews. For this reason, so the argument goes, all three religions are basically differing expressions of the same faith. So this means that all three religions actually worship the same God. The Yahweh of the Jews is really the same deity as the God/Jehovah of the Christians, who is in turn no different than the Allah of the Muslims. But is this really true?
To call these three religions “Abrahamic” has a measure of truth historically. However, in belief and practice the three religions are very distinct and very different. A careful examination of what the Bible teaches will clearly demonstrate that the Christian Deity is not the same God as the deity presented in the Quran. Let’s examine some specifics to illustrate this point.
The Bible is clear that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4, 1 Timothy 2:5, Galatians 3:20). Yet, the Scriptures are equally clear that the one God is tri-personal, existing as three distinct divine Persons (Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Matthew 3:16-17, etc). However, in Islam Allah is seen as an absolute unity. Indeed, the idea of the Trinity is considered sinful and blasphemous in the Quran. The Quran emphatically states: “They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One Allah. If they desist not from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous penalty will befall the blasphemers among them” (Surah 5:73 Y. Ali).*
Since God is triune in nature, He exists in eternal relationship within His own being. The Father loves the Son, who loves the Spirit, who loves the Father. It is for this reason that the Bible declares that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Notice that it does not say that God is loving, but that He is love. Love is an essential feature of His very nature. However, Islam does not say this about Allah. He is an absolute unity: “He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute” (Surah 112:1-2 Y. Ali). As an absolute, solitary Being he has no comparable being to love, to be in relationship with. He exists solely in himself, alone.
It is interesting to note that Allah is seen as an unknowable being. There is nothing in creation like him, and nothing that can be compared to him. “There is nothing whatever like unto Him” Surah 42:11 Y. Ali). Allah is so far above us, that we can never comprehend his true being. However, contrast this with the God of the Bible. He not only can be known, He desires to be known. Indeed, He is the Self-revealed God. God reveals Himself in many ways. Prominent among these is through the creation (Psalm 19:1-6, Romans 1:19-20) and through the Scriptures (Hebrews 1:1, Deuteronomy 29:29, John 8:47). Indeed, the entire Bible is a revelation of the Person and nature of God. However, the chief way in which God has revealed Himself is through Christ, the Son of God (John 1:18, Hebrews 1:2). In Jesus we see the perfect revelation of all that God is (Colossians 2:9, John 14:9). What a huge difference! One God desires and chooses to be known; the other deity cannot even be known.
Since God is love, then the Lord is relational in His very nature. Therefore, we are not surprised that the Bible reveals that God is our heavenly Father (Matthew 6:8, Luke 12:32, Galatians 4:6) and that He desires for us to be His children (John 1:12, Romans 8:15-16, 1 John 3:1). In contrast, Allah has no children. Indeed, the Quran rebukes those say they are children of Allah: “The Jews and the Christians say: ‘We are sons of Allah, and his beloved.’ Say: ‘Why then doth He punish you for your sins? Nay, ye are but men, of the men he hath created’” (Surah 5:18 Y. Ali). What is our relationship to Allah according to the Quran? He is our master, and we are his slaves (see Surah 14:31, also 2:186 and 15:42). Again, there is a huge difference between a God who is our loving Father, and a deity who does not possess a fatherly nature, and views us as his slaves, bound to do his will no matter what.
To be fair, the Quran does teach that Allah does love some people. But this love is restricted to Muslims, to those who submit to Islam and follow Muhammad: “If ye do love Allah, Follow me [Muhammad is speaking]: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Surah 3:31 Y. Ali). What about those who do not believe in Islam? The Quran is clear; Allah does not love them: “Say: ‘Obey Allah and His Messenger’: But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith” (Surah 3:32 Y. Ali). Of course, the “Faith” spoken of here is Islam. For only those who believe in Allah and Muhammad are true believers: “Only those are believers, who believe in Allah and His Messenger” (Surah 24:62 Y. Ali).
The God of the Christian faith is vastly different than this. He is a loving God who cares for all men. He loves those who love Him; and He loves those who reject Him. God’s love is unconditional, for all men. In the Old Testament we see the Lord declare “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). It is important to note that God declared this to Judah at a time in the nation’s history when the people were engaged in idolatry and disobeying God. The New Testament declares that the Lord loves the entire world so much that He sent His own Son to die for humanity (John 3:16). Notice what the Apostle Paul says in this regard: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8). Yet once again, there is a great difference between a deity who loves certain individuals who submit to him and his prophet, and the God of Scripture who loves all men equally. Indeed, a God who loves men so much that He would give His Son as a sacrifice for them.
This brings us to another difference between Allah and the God of the Christian faith. As we have seen, Islam completely rejects the idea of the Trinity. Of course, as a result the concept of the deity of Christ is also completely rejected. Indeed, the idea of Christ being the Son of God is abhorrent to Muslims who believe in the Quran. For the Quran emphatically declares that Allah has no son: “Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!” (Surah 9:30 Y. Ali). Indeed, to say that Allah has a son is an unforgiveable sin in Islam: “Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Marium; and the Messiah said: O Children of Israel! serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust” [italics added] (Surah 5:72 Y. Ali). The teaching here is clear—those who believe in the deity of Christ will be cursed by Allah and spend eternity in hell.
What a far different picture we see of God and Christ in the Bible. The Bible is unequivocal in presenting Christ as the second Person of the Triune Godhead. He is God Himself (John 1:1, Philippians 2:6, 1 John 5:20, 2 Peter 1:1). Yet, although fully God, Christ chose to become a Man, to take on human flesh (John 1:14, Colossians 2:9). He did this for our salvation, to redeem us from sin and death: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). In this sacrificial, redemptive act we see a dramatic display of the difference between the true and living God of the Scriptures and the idea of God/Allah in Islam. The deity of Islam is a solitary being, unknowable and distant. The Deity of the Bible is a loving God who has such compassion on sinful and fallen humanity that He is willing to involve Himself in our situation. He is willing to even take on human flesh, and then take on our sins, and to die in our place in order to redeem us. What a difference!
“[Christ] being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11)
P.S. If you would like to read an insightful and in-depth study of this topic I would highly recommend a book entitled Not the Same God by Sam Solomon. Sam Solomon is an internationally known speaker and recognized expert on Islamic beliefs. You can purchase his book by going to the ANM website.
* The Quran is divided into chapters called surahs. The abbreviation “Y. Ali” refers to the Yusuf Ali translation of the Quran.
Truth Builders is a ministry initiative of Advancing Native Missions. However, the content of this site is the personal opinion of Victor Morris, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions, views or conclusions of Advancing Native Missions, its leaders or staff