THE HOLY BIBLE
List of contents:
- Introduction to the books of the Bible
- The Old Testament (the Torah, etc)
- The New Testament (the Injil, etc)
- The authenticity of the Biblical text
- Extant ancient manuscripts prove the authenticity of the Biblical text
- Theological truths prove the authenticity of the Biblical text
- The authenticity of the Biblical text according to the Qur'an
- The authenticity of the Biblical text according to early Islamic tradition
- Bible prophecy
- Biblical archeology
- Doctrines which the Holy Bible confutes strongly:
- The doctrine of abrogation of divine revelation is unbiblical
- The doctrine of Satanic inspiration is unbiblical
- VIII. Conclusion
Inspirationals from the Holy Bible:
"Your word is a lamp to my feet; And a light to my path" (Psalm 119: 105); "Your word is truth" (John 17: 17b); "Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your tabernacle. Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God." (Psalm 43: 3-4)
I. INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
The Holy Bible is the most widespread book in the world. The full Bible has been translated into more than 530 languages. In addition, portions of it are translated into more than 2880 languages and dialects used in the world. The Holy Bible is not one book, but many. It consists of two major divisions: the Old Testament (OT), and the New Testament (NT). The Old Testament consists of 39 books and the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books. The New Testament consists of 27 books. The 39 books of the Old Testament constitute the Hebrew Bible of the Jews. Jews are still waiting for the coming of the Messiah (the Christ). They rejected Him in His first advent, and therefore, they do not recognize the books of the New Testament. By contrast, Christians accept the authority of the Old Testament (OT), and consider it to be part of their Holy Bible.
The Old Testament was written centuries before the time of Christ. The New Testament was written in the first century, after the resurrection of Christ, by inspired saintly apostles and disciples of Christ. The books of the Holy Bible were written in three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe over a period of about 1500 years by some 44 inspired prophets and apostles who lived virtuous godly lives centuries apart in different locations. These writers were of varied backgrounds. Some of them were kings and priests. Others were physicians, farmers, shepherds, fishermen, and tentmakers. Yet, all the books of the Bible are consistent and harmonious with one another, and follow the same basic themes, as they were inspired by the same eternal Holy Spirit of the living God who has no beginning and no end. Despite the diversity of the languages, cultures, times, ages and locations of the writers of the biblical books, the Holy Bible exhibits remarkable unity in its message, purpose and theology. This is because the primary author of the Holy Bible is the eternal living God who inspired all the human writers who in turn reflected their varying personalities and styles in the sacred writings as they delivered the inspired message of God. This, in itself, is a sufficient proof of the divine inspiration and origin of the Holy Bible: “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1: 21); “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3: 16).
Unlike the Qur’an, the Bible is not the work of one man in a few years (about 23 years) as explained above.
The Holy Bible is the written account of God’s progressive self-disclosure in the history of ancient Israel, and supremely in the person of Jesus Christ. The Holy Bible constitutes an integrated coherent whole centered in the person of Christ. Christ is the central theme of the Holy Bible. Each of its books has its own distinctive message in the whole. The Holy Bible is a progressive unfolding and revealing of truth. It tells the historical story of the salvation of humankind according to the divine plan. It begins with the creation of the world, and ends with the consummation of the history of humankind and the recreation of the world after a prolonged spiritual battle between good and evil. The Bible message is delivered in a variety of literary forms. Some sections are historic narration of events. Others provide the speech of God in the first person using phrases like, “Thus says the Lord” or “The word of the Lord came to me” (Isaiah 1: 10, 18; 6: 8; Jeremiah 1:4; Ezekiel 1: 3; etc).
The Old Testament (Torah; etc.) abounds in persons and events prefiguring Christ, and signs and symbols of his work, and prophecies of his first and second advents. The central message of the Old Testament is the promise of, and preparation for, the coming of the Messiah (the Christ) who would provide the salvation of humankind from sin and spiritual death (separation from God). The New Testament (Injil; etc.) is the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s prophetic message of the salvation of humankind from the bondage of sin and corruption through Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Holy Bible in its entirety, with all its divisions and books, is a fully integrated unity.
Many critics tried to find errors and contradictions in the Holy
Bible but failed. The following works respond to their allegations:
1. N. Geisler and T. Howe, When Critics Ask (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1992).
2. W. Kaiser Jr., P. Davids, F. Bruce and M. Brauch, Hard Sayings of the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996).
3. G. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982).
In fact, some of the best legal minds in history have scrutinized the Holy Bible. The New Testament was carefully examined by legal experts such as Simon Greenleaf of Harvard who came to the conclusion that: “copies which had been as universally received and acted upon as the four Gospels, would have been received in evidence in any court of justice, without the slightest hesitation” (N. Geisler and A. Saleeb, Answering Islam [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002], p. 231).
The Holy Bible is a book for all peoples of all diverse backgrounds in all times--from the simple-minded person to the philosopher. Readers enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the Holy Bible, its artistic excellence, and the orderliness of its historical narration. One of the fictional characters of the novel of Brothers Karamazov by the famous Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared: “What a book the Bible is, what a miracle, what strength is given with it to a man. It is like a mould cast of the world and man and human nature, everything is there, and a law for everything for all the ages. And what mysteries are solved and revealed.”
II. THE OLD TESTAMENT (THE TORAH, etc.)
The Old Testament, excluding the apocryphal books, covers events spanning thousands of years from creation to about 400 BC. The original language of the Old Testament books is Hebrew, with the exception of parts of the books of Daniel, Ezra and Jeremiah, which were written in Aramaic. The Jewish Torah comprises the first five books of the Old Testament. It covers a period of thousands of years extending from creation to the death of Moses. Excluding the deuterocanonical/apocryphal books, the first 17 books of the Old Testament, from the book of Genesis to the book of Esther, are classified as history, while the last 17 books, form the book of Isaiah to the book of Malachi, constitute the prophetic section of the Old Testament. Wedged in between are the five books usually classified as poetical, from the book of Job to the book of Song of Solomon. The historical books narrate the history of God’s dealings with humanity in a chronological sequence to bring forth the Christ, the savior of humankind. The poetical books explore basic questions of human life, such as: the suffering of good people, worship, wisdom, and love. The prophetical books include prophecies, teachings, warnings, and exhortations to repentance.
III. THE NEW TESTAMENT (THE INJIL, etc.)
The original language of the New Testament books is the ancient common Greek language of Jesus’ time, which was widely used in the Roman empire of the first century AD, where the early Christians evangelized. This language had been highly developed and completed at least two centuries before the time of Jesus. Jesus himself did not write any material. He himself is the living Word of God. The first four books of the New Testament are the Gospels (Injil) written by two apostles (Matthew and John) and two Christian disciples (Mark and Luke). They record various aspects of the life, teachings, and work of Christ in His first advent on earth. They were written in different parts of the world—the Gospel of Mark in Rome; the Gospel of Matthew in Antioch; the Gospel of Luke in Greece; and the Gospel of John in Asia Minor. However, they complement and corroborate one another. The last book in the New Testament is the Revelation of John. It was written by the Apostle John at about 95 AD, about five centuries before Muhammad’s time. It has prophecies about the coming of the false prophet and the anti-Christ before the second coming of Christ to earth in glory and power to judge the living and the dead at the end of this age. The book of Acts describes the historical propagation of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, and the formation and the expansion of the early Church in various parts of the world in the thirty years following the ascension of Christ.
The rest of the New Testament books are twenty-one epistles written by the apostles and disciples of Christ to various ancient churches and persons in different parts of the world to explain the Gospel message, and to provide further instruction in the Christian faith addressing doctrinal and moral issues, and Church order. The Epistles fall into two main groups: those written by St. Paul, the apostle, and those attributed to other writers. Fourteen Epistles were written by the apostle Paul. He wrote to particular churches (the churches of Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossi, Thessalonica, etc.), and to individuals (Philemon, Timothy, and Titus). The other seven Epistles (James; 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2 and 3 John; and Jude) are known as the Catholic (universal) or general Epistles. They were written to groups of churches or to the universal Church in its entirety. For instance, the Epistle of James was written to the Jewish converts throughout the ancient world. The Epistle of First Peter was written to the Jewish converts of Asia Minor. Although the Epistles of second and third John were addressed to persons, they both compliment the Epistle of first John, and are, therefore, considered general Epistles.
All the books of the New Testament were written under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit between about 50 and 95 A.D. by either eyewitnesses, or those who related the accounts of eyewitnesses of the actual events of the life, teachings and miracles of Jesus: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1: 16). The closeness of the recorded accounts of the New Testament to the actual events certifies the accuracy of what is recorded, because the New Testament books were being circulated among many eyewitnesses of those events that could confirm or deny the accuracy of those accounts, as the apostle Peter addressed the Jews saying: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know” (Acts 2: 22). In fact, some of those eyewitnesses were hostile to Christianity and would be only too happy to expose and challenge any inaccuracies in the New Testament books had said inaccuracies existed. Hundreds of eyewitnesses of Jesus life were martyred for their Christian faith, including eleven of his apostles, and later the apostle Paul. They would not die for a lie that some fabricated. People will accept martyrdom only for the truth they believe.
IV. THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE BIBLICAL TEXT
A. Extant Ancient Manuscripts Prove the Authenticity of the Biblical Text
The traditional standard text of the Old Testament (the Masoretic text) has been transmitted across the centuries with remarkable accuracy. The most ancient extant hand written scrolls and fragments of the Old Testament books in Hebrew date back to the second century BC, nearly 800 years before Muhammad’s time. These were discovered accidentally by a shepherd boy in 1947 in caves of rocky ravines in Palestine overlooking the north shore of the Dead Sea. That is why they came to be known as the Dead Sea scrolls. They are essentially the same as the Old Testament books that we have today. They confirm their accuracy. You can see them on exhibit in the Shrine of the Book museum in Jerusalem. The oldest extant Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Torah; etc.) is the Septuagint (LXX) which dates back to the third century BC.
The most ancient extant fragments of the New Testament books in Greek date back to the late first century AD, nearly 500 years before Muhammad’s time. The Chester Beatty Papyri (late first century through third century AD) contain most of the New Testament. Again they are essentially the same as what we have today in the New Testament books. There are more than six thousand extant manuscript copies of the Greek New Testament or portions thereof in various museums and libraries. In fact, there is more manuscript support for the New Testament than for any other document from antiquity. In addition, the extant ancient translations of the New Testament books to Syriac and Coptic languages of the second century AD attest the accuracy of the New Testament text that we have today. Furthermore, more than 32,000 quotations from the New Testament by the early Church fathers of the first three centuries of Christianity before 325 AD are in full agreement with the text of the New Testament books. Moreover, the 16-volume work of Dean Burgen in the British Museum contains 86,489 independent quotations of the New Testament books from the writings of the Church leaders of the period 325-570 AD (Brother Mark, A Perfect Qur’an, 1983, p. 348). This scholar arrived at the conclusion that the entire New Testament could be assembled from these quotations.
The oldest and the most complete texts of both the Old and New Testaments in Greek are: Codex Vaticanus (early fourth century AD, available in the Vatican library); Codex Sinaiticus (mid-fourth century AD, available in the British museum); Codex Alexandrinus (fifth century AD, available in the British museum); and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (fifth century AD, available in the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris, France). Manuscript experts, regardless of their religious convictions, agree that the Holy Bible has been handed down with exceptional accuracy.
In addition, evidence from archaeological discoveries substantiates the historicity, culture, life-style, and geography to which the Holy Bible refers. Muhammad died in 632 AD, centuries after all the books of the Holy Bible were written. Those that allege that the Holy Bible was altered and corrupted in order to justify the many contradictions between the Qur’an and the Holy Bible cannot prove their claim, because, as discussed above, all the ancient manuscripts and fragments of both the Old Testament (the Torah; etc.) and the New Testament (the Injil; etc.), which predate the time of Muhammad and the Qur’an by several centuries, are consistent both with each other and with the biblical text that we have today, except for minor copying errors which do not affect any Christian doctrine.
It is a practical impossibility to alter in the same way the thousands of copies of the Old Testament (the Torah; etc.) and the New Testament (the Injil; etc.) that were in circulation in different languages throughout the world before the time of Muhammad. In fact, major doctrinal differences have existed between the Jews and Christians and between various Christian sects. They could never agree on changing the Holy Bible. Thus, it is concluded that the claim that the Holy Bible was changed, for reasons related to Muhammad, is definitely false because it has no foundation in historical facts which refute that claim. It does not withstand the conclusive scientific evidence that is available for all to examine and be convinced.
B. Theological truths prove the authenticity of the Biblical text
The Holy Bible emphasizes that the inspired word of the Almighty God in his books is unchangeable. “Forever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119: 89; 1 Peter 1: 24-25). Christ confirmed the same principle when he said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away” (Mark 13: 31; Luke 16: 17; Matthew 5: 18; 24: 35). God has sent his word in the Holy Bible (The Torah, The Injil, etc.). He protects it from corruption.
1. The true living God, the maker of the universe, is all-powerful. He is much more powerful than his creatures (humans, demons, etc.). No one can overpower him and change his words. Those that claim that the Holy Bible is corrupted commit the grave mortal sin of blaspheming and insulting the Almighty God by accusing him of weakness and inability to protect his written revelations in the Torah and Injil. "Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man (Christ), it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit (of God), it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. ... For every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12: 32, 36).
2. God would be misleading his people if he had allowed his words to be changed and falsified. The true living God does not mislead humanity. The falsification of the word of God contradicts not only his truthfulness, power, and wisdom, but also his faithfulness (Deuteronomy 7: 9).
3. God would preserve his word uncorrupted not only to enlighten but also to judge the human race. God would not mislead his people, Jews and Christians, for centuries by corrupted Scriptures. He could not judge them had he misled them?
4. If God failed to protect the Holy Bible from corruption, neither could he protect the Qur’an from corruption. We can either trust all of God’s revelations, or we can trust none of them.
C. The Authenticity of the Biblical Text According to the Qur’an
It is important that those who believe in the Qur’an know the position of the Qur’an pertaining to the authenticity of the biblical text of the Old Testament (the Torah; etc.) and the New Testament (the Injil; etc.). The Qur’an provides ample testimony on the textual integrity of both the Old Testament (the Torah; etc.) and the New Testament (the Injil), and holds them in great reverence and esteem. The testimony of the Qur’an confirms that both the Old Testament (the Torah; etc.) and the New Testament (the Injil; etc.) are not textually altered or corrupted, and that they are not abrogated. In fact, the Qur’an states that: “… There is no changing the word of God…” (al-An’am 6: 34, 115; Yunus 10: 64; al-Kahf 18: 27); “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it” (al-Hijr 15: 9); “Such was the law of God among those before you, and you will not find any change in the law of God” (al-Ahzab 33: 62); “It is the law of God which has taken course aforetime. You will not find any change in the law of God” (al-Fath 48: 23); “…You will not find any change in the law of God, nor will you find any alteration in the law of God” (al-Fatir 35: 43). This means that the Almighty living God of the Torah and the Injil; etc. (the Holy Bible) protects his inspired word in his Holy Bible from alteration and corruption so that future generations of believers may not be misguided and led astray by corrupted texts.
We present herein a brief survey of the pronouncements of the Qur’an
on the textual authenticity of both the Old Testament (the Torah; etc.) and
the New Testament (the Injil). The Qur’an declares that the true
unchanged Torah existed in the first century AD at the time of Jesus
(Isa) and John the Baptist (Yahya):
“O Yahya! take hold of the Book with might…” (Maryam 19: 12); “And God will teach him (Jesus) the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel” (al-‘Imran 3: 48); “And 'Isa (Jesus), the son of Maryam, said: O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of God (sent) to you, confirming that which is between my hands from the Torah…” (al-Saff 61: 6); “And in their footsteps We sent 'Isa (Jesus) the son of Maryam, confirming the Torah which was between his hands, and We gave him the Injil (Gospel)--therein is guidance and light, and attesting to (the truth of) the Torah which was between his hands: a guidance and an admonition to the righteous” (al-Ma’idah 5: 46); “And Maryam, the daughter of 'Imran (Jesus’ mother) … believed in the words of her Lord and his books…” (al-Tahrim 66: 12); “Then will God say: O 'Isa (Jesus) the son of Maryam! recount My favor to you and to your mother when I strengthened you with the Holy Spirit, so that you spoke to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught you the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Injil (Gospel)…” (al-Ma’idah 5: 110).
The Qur’an confirms that the Torah and the Injil (the Holy Bible)
were unchanged and authentic in the seventh century AD at the time of
“And before this, was the Book of Moses as a guide and a mercy: and this Book confirms (it) in the Arabic tongue…” (al-Ahqaf 46: 12); “To you (Muhammad) We sent the Book in truth, attesting to (the truth of) that which is between his hands from the Books, and guarding it in safety…” (al-Ma’idah 5: 48); “This Qur-an is not such as can be produced by other than God; but it is a confirmation of that (the Torah and Injil) which is between his (its) hands, and an explanation of the Book - wherein there is no doubt - from the Lord of the Worlds” (Yunus 10: 37); “…The promise of God is true in the Torah, the Injil (Gospel), and the Qur-an, and who is more faithful to his Covenant than God?...” (al-Tawbah 9: 111); “That which We have revealed to you of the Book is the Truth, attesting to that which is between his (its) hands (the Torah and the Injil)…” (al-Fatir 35: 31); (Yusuf 12: 111; al-Mu’min 40: 69-71; al-Ahqaf 46: 12, 29-30; al-Baqarah 2:91; al-‘Imran 3: 3-4; al-Nisa’ 4: 47).
The Qur’an speaks about some unbelieving Arab Jews in Medina who tried to change the Qur’an; and misread, misinterpret, distort and conceal the meaning of the Torah (al-Baqarah 2: 40-42, 75, 91, 140, 174; al-‘Imran 3: 70, 78; al-Nisa’ 4: 46-47; al-Ma’idah 5: 13; etc.). None of these verses imply that some unbelieving Jews attempted to change the text of the Torah. And these verses do not mention the Injil at all.
The Qur’an appeals to the Torah and the Injil:
“… Bring the Torah and read it, if you are men of truth” (al-‘Imran 3: 93); “But why do they come to you for decision, when they have the Torah in which is the command of God…” (al-Ma’idah 5: 43); “Let the People of the Injil (Gospel) judge by what God has revealed in it. If any fail to judge by what God has revealed, they are licentious” (al-Ma’idah 5: 47); “Say: O People of the Book! You have no ground to stand upon until you perform the Torah, and the Injil (Gospel), and what was revealed to you from your Lord…” (al-Ma’idah 5: 68—this is the last Sura of the Qur’an provided in 10 AH; al-Najm 53: 36-37; al-Shu’ara’ 26: 196-197; al-Isra’ 17: 101; al-Ra’d 13: 43; al-A’raf 7: 170; al-‘Imran 3: 79; al-Nisa’ 4: 60; al-Ma’idah 5: 45).
The Qur’an quotes from the Holy Bible:
“Before this We wrote in the Psalms, after the Message (given to Moses): My servants, the righteous, shall inherit the earth” (al-Anbiya’ 21: 105)—this is a direct quotation from Psalm 37: 29: “The righteous shall inherit the earth, and dwell in it forever.” “We ordained therein for them (the Jews): Life for life, eye for eye, nose for nose, ear for ear, tooth for tooth, and wounds equal for equal…” (al-Ma’idah 5: 45)--this is a quotation from the law God gave Moses in the Torah, Exodus 21: 23-25: “But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
The Qur’an testifies that the Holy Bible (the Torah, the Zabur, the Injil, etc.) is the inspired word of God:
“We have sent you inspiration, as We sent it to Nuh (Noah) and the Prophets after him: We sent inspiration to Ibrahim, Isma'il, Ishaq (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob), and the (Jewish) Tribes, to 'Isa (Jesus), Ayyub (Job), Yunus (Jonah), Harun, and Sulaiman (Solomon), and to Dawud (David) We gave the Psalms” (al-Nisa’ 4: 163, 54); “Thus He (God) sends inspiration to you as (He did) to those before you…” (al-Shura 42: 3; al-Hadid 57: 27); “…Say: ‘Who then sent down the Book which Musa (Moses) brought? A light and guidance to man…’ Say: ‘God (sent it down)’…” (al-An’am 6: 91; al-Baqarah 2: 87); “We (God) sent down the Torah: therein was guidance and light…” (al-Ma’idah 5: 44, 46; al-An’am 6: 154; al-Anbiya 21: 105; al-Furqan 25: 35; al-Qasas 28: 43; al-Mu’minun 23: 49; al-Sajdah 32: 23).
The Qur’an designates the Torah and the Injil (the Holy Bible) as the criterion (al-furqan) and the guidance: “We granted to Musa (Moses) and Harun (Aaron) the Criterion, and a Light and a Reminder for the righteous” (al-Anbiya’ 21: 48); “And We (God) gave Moses the Torah and the Criterion…” (al-Baqarah 2: 53; al-‘Imran 3: 3-4; al-Ma’idah 5: 43, 47, 68).
The Qur’an tells pagan Arabs to ask the people of the Scripture
(Jews and Christians) about the prophets. It would surely be unhelpful
and outright misleading to ask them if the Torah and the Injil, the
source of their knowledge, had been corrupted:
“And before you (Muhammad), We sent no one except men, to whom We granted inspiration. Ask the people of the Scripture, if you do not know” (al-Anbiya’ 21: 7); “And We have not sent before you (Muhammad) other than men, to whom We granted inspiration. Ask the people of the Message (Bible) if you do not know” (al-Nahl 16: 43).
In fact, the Qur’an instructs Muhammad himself to learn from the people of the Book (Jews and Christians). This means that the Holy Bible (the Torah; the Injil; etc.), the source of their knowledge and faith, was genuine and true, and the primary source of enlightenment:
“If you (Muhammad) are in doubt regarding what We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before you…” (Yunus 10: 94).
The above testimonies of the Qur’an establish that, according to the Qur’an, there were uncorrupted authentic Torah and Injil (the Holy Bible) at the time of Muhammad in the seventh century AD. Today’s Bible is the same as the Holy Bible of Muhammad’s day. Both are based on ancient manuscripts that had originated centuries before Muhammad’s time. In addition, the Qur’an, the Hadith and the classical Islamic commentaries do not make any explicit or implicit claims whatsoever about abrogating the Torah or the Injil in part or in whole. On the contrary, the Qur’an declares that it confirms the previous revelations (al-Baqarah 2: 89, 91, 97, 101; al-‘Imran 3: 2-3; al-Ma’idah 5: 43, 47, 48, 68; al-An’am 6: 92; al-Ahqaf 46: 12; etc.).
In fact, the Qur’an requires the Muslim person to believe in the Torah (the Old Testament) and the Injil (the New Testament), declaring that all holy books are equal. This means that the Muslim person is required to read them with reverence: “Say: We believe in God, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Ibrahim, Isma'il, Ishaq (Isaac), Ya'qub (Jacob), and the (Jewish) Tribes, and is given to Musa (Moses), 'Isa (Jesus), and the Prophets, from their Lord: we make no distinction between one and another among them…” (al-‘Imran 3: 84; al-Baqarah 2: 4, 136, 285); “And who believe in the Revelation sent to you (Muhammad), and sent before your time, have the assurance of the Hereafter” (al-Baqarah 2: 4); “…and the believers, believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you… to them shall We give a great reward” (al-Nisa’ 4: 162; al-‘Ankabut 29: 46); “Those who deny God and His Messengers, and (those who) wish to separate God from His Messengers, saying: ‘We believe in some but reject others,’ and wish to take a course midway: They are in truth (equally) unbelievers; and We have prepared for unbelievers a humiliating punishment…” (al-Nisa’ 4: 150-151, 70-72, 136). These verses explain clearly to the Muslim person that belief in the Qur’an alone is not sufficient. It requires him to also believe in the Torah and the Injil (the entire Holy Bible) in order to get the greatest reward.
D. The Authenticity of the Biblical Text According to Early Islamic Tradition
In early Islam, the Holy Bible was accepted by Muslims as the true word of God (ibn Ishaq al-Nadim [d. 990], The Fihrist, Vol. 1, p. 45). Imam al-Bukhari (d. 870) stated in his Hadith collection: “No one can corrupt the text by removing any of God’s words from his Book, but they corrupt it by misinterpreting it.” al-Razi (864-930) agreed with this position. He stated in his commentary: “It is impossible to have a conspiracy to change or alter the word of God in all of these copies without missing any copy. Such a conspiracy will not be logical or possible.”
Later on, the Spanish Islamic theologians ibn-Khazm (994-1064) and al-Biruni (973-1050) began to claim, without any proof, that the text of the New Testament (Injil; etc.) might have been altered. They did that in order to explain the conflicts between the teachings of the Injil and the Qur’an:
“As studies of Islamic apologetics have shown, it was only with ibn-Khazem, who died in Cordoba in 1064, that the charge of falsification was born. In his defense of Islam against Christians, ibn-Khazem came up against the contradictions between the Qur'an and the Gospels. One obvious example was the Qur'anic text: “. . . They slew him not, and they crucified him not . . .” (Surah 4: 157). “Since the Qur'an must be true," ibn-Khazem argued, "it must be the conflicting Gospel texts that are false. But Muhammad tells us to respect the Gospel. Therefore, the present text must have been falsified by the Christians.” His argument was not based on historical facts, but purely on his own reasoning and on his wish to safeguard the truth of the Qur'an. Once he was on this path, nothing could stop him from pursuing this accusation. In fact, it seemed the easiest way to attack the opponents. “If we prove the falsehood of their books, they lose the arguments they take from them.” This led him eventually to make the cynical statement: “The Christians lost the revealed Gospel except for a few traces which God left intact as argument against them.”
Many of the great Muslim thinkers have, indeed, accepted the authenticity of the New Testament text. Listing the names of these men seems a fitting conclusion to this essay. Their testimony proves that Christian-Muslim dialogue need not for ever be stymied by the allegation introduced by ibn-Khazem. Two great historians, al-Mas’udi (died 956) and ibn-Khaldun (died 1406), held the authenticity of the Gospel text. Four well-known theologians agreed with this: Ali at-Tabari (died 855), Qasim al-Khasani (died 860), 'Amr al-Ghakhiz (died 869 ) and, last but not least, the famous AI-Ghazzali (died 1111). Their view is shared by Abu Ali Husain ibn Sina, who is known in the West as Avicenna (died 1037). Bukhari (died 870), who acquired a great name by his collection of early traditions, quoted the Qur'an itself (Sura 3: 72, 78) to prove that the text of the Bible is not falsified" (Can We Trust the Gospel? J. Wingaard; as cited from The Islamic Christian Controversy, G. Nehls, p. 1f).
V. BIBLE PROPHECY
The Old Testament is rich in Messianic prophecies about both the first and the second advents of Christ (approximately 60 major Messianic prophecies and 270 ramifications). The fulfillment of the prophecies of the first advent occurs in the New Testament account of the incarnation, life, miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ: “Then He (Christ) said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me’” (Luke 24: 44, 27: Matthew 5: 17; John 5: 39; Hebrews 10: 7). Therefore, if you want to know more about the life, work and teachings of Christ, you may want to read one of the four gospels. You can start with the gospel of Luke and then second with the gospel of John.
Biblical prophecies fulfilled hundreds of years later are emphatic proofs of the divine origin of the Holy Bible. “Prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1: 21). The following are a few examples of Messianic prophecies and their fulfillment in history:
1. In the eighth century B.C, the prophet Isaiah had prophesied the virgin birth of Jesus: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (Literally God-With-Us)” (Isaiah 7: 14). This prophecy was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus from virgin Mary in about 5 B.C.: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1: 18).
2. In the eighth century B.C., the prophet Micah had prophesied the location of Jesus’ birth: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5: 2). This prophecy was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus in the village of Bethlehem in 5 B.C.: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem” (Matthew 2: 1).
3. In the sixth century B.C., the prophet Zachariah had prophesied the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, saying: “... Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you. He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey ...” (Zechariah 9: 9). This prophecy was fulfilled in about 30 A.D.: “The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!” Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written” (John 12: 12-14; Matthew 21: 1-11; Mark 11: 1-10; Luke 19: 29-39).
4. Again, in the sixth century B.C., the prophet Zachariah had prophesied that Christ will be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11: 12-13). This prophecy was fulfilled in about 30 A.D. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him (Jesus) to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver” (Matthew 26: 14-15; 27: 3-10). The betrayal of Judas had also been prophesied in Psalm 41: 9 by David the prophet in the tenth century B.C.
5. In the fourth century B.C., the prophet Malachi had prophesied about the coming of John the Baptist to prepare the way before Christ (Malachi 3: 1). This was fulfilled in the testimony of John about Christ, saying “… I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him (Jesus)” (John 1: 32, 30).
6. In the tenth century B.C, the prophet and king David had prophesied details of the crucifixion of Jesus: “They pierced My hands and My feet… They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots” (Psalm 22: 16b, 18); “All those who see Me ridicule Me. They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying: He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him” (Psalm 22: 7-8); “And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Psalm 69: 21b); “He guards all his bones. Not one of them is broken” (Psalm 34: 20) These prophecies were fulfilled in the crucifixion of Jesus in about 30 A.D.: “And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take” (Mark 15: 24); “And those who passed by blasphemed Him” (Mark 15: 29a); “One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink” (Mark 15: 36a); “But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs” (John 19: 33).
7. In the eighth century B.C, the prophet Isaiah had prophesied that, though innocent, Jesus would be counted with the wicked, and buried with the rich after his death: “And they made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence. Nor was any deceit in His mouth....He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53: 9, 12). This prophecy was fulfilled in the crucifixion and burial of Christ in about 30 A.D.: “With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left” (Mark 15: 27; Matthew 27: 57-60). The prophet Isaiah had also prophesied about Jesus beating, mocking and other abuses (Isaiah 50: 6). This was fulfilled as recorded in Matthew 26: 67-68; 27: 26.
8. In the tenth century B.C, the prophet and king David had prophesied the resurrection of Christ, saying: “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol. Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16: 10). Jesus himself prophesied his own resurrection: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ Then the Jews said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2: 19-21). These prophecies were fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead around 30 A.D. The Apostle Paul wrote: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time” (1 Corinthians 15: 3-8; Matthew 28: 5-7; John 20: 19-20, 27; 21: 1-23; Mark 16: 9-13; Acts 1:3; etc.). All the apostles of Christ, except the apostle John, were martyred for their testimony.
9. The prophet Daniel of the sixth century B.C. prophesied the second coming of Christ in glory and judgment: “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man (Christ), coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days (God the Father), and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7: 13-14). This prophecy will be fulfilled in the second coming of Christ at the end of this age: “Jesus said, "I am. And you will see the Son of Man (Christ) sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14: 62; 13: 26).
In addition to the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament (Psalm 2; 110: 1; 118: 22; Isaiah 9: 6; 11: 1; 53; etc.), the Holy Bible contains many other prophecies which have been fulfilled in history many years after the prophecies were uttered: prophecies concerning the rise and fall of the ancient Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman empires (Daniel 2); prophecies concerning the fall of the ancient Assyrian empire (Nahum 2-3); prophecies concerning the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrian empire (Isaiah 28; Hosea 10; Joel 2: 1-11; Micah 1-2), and the southern kingdom of Israel by the Babylonian empire (Isaiah 29; Jeremiah 2-29; Zephaniah 1); prophecies concerning the destruction of the city of Tyre (Ezekiel 26); and prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and its Jewish temple in the first century AD (Luke 19: 41-44; Matthew 24: 1-2).
VI. BIBLICAL ARCHEOLOGY
The Holy Bible provides the story of the fall of humankind and God’s work to save and restore humanity. It is not intended to be a history book. However, the history it narrates is accurate. The events it describes are historical facts that have been recorded with remarkable accuracy in its proper chronological, historical, social, cultural, and geographical settings. The revelation of the Old Testament (the Torah; etc.) lays the foundation of the revelation of the New Testament (the Injil; etc.). Therefore, the accuracy of the Old Testament is essential for the integrity of the New Testament. The confirmation of the history narrated in the Holy Bible does not demonstrate the validity of the theological truth it declares. However, the veracity of the Biblical historical narrative lends credence to its theological message. More than a century and a half of archeological discoveries in Biblical lands have confirmed the accuracy of the geography, the topography, the history, and the culture recorded in the Holy Bible. The peoples, locations, and events described in the Holy Bible are found where the Holy Bible places them. Archeology also corroborates the ethnography summarized in the Table of Nations of Genesis 10-11, which describes the origins and relationships of the ancient tribes of Biblical lands.
A few examples are cited herein of historical information provided in the Holy Bible and confirmed by archeological discoveries:
1. Abraham’s Family. Sarah, Abraham’s
wife, was barren. Therefore, she gave Hagar, her Egyptian slave, to
her husband Abraham as a concubine in order to provide him with an heir
(Genesis 16: 2-3). “So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram
named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.” (Genesis 16: 15).
What Sarah did was in full accord with the prevailing local customs
of northern Mesopotamia at that time as provided in the Nuzu tablets.
These tablets were discovered in the archeological excavations of 1925-1941
at Nuzu near Kirkuk in northern Iraq. Some twenty thousand clay tablets
written in an ancient Babylonian dialect were unearthed. These tablets
provide an accurate record of the social and legal structure of the
second millennium B.C. Assyrian society.
But God had another plan for Abraham, as he subsequently promised and miraculously gave him a son from his wife Sarah. God made that promise when Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah ninety years old: “Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year."” (Genesis 17: 19-21). After the miraculous birth of Isaac, Sarah asked her husband Abraham to cast out Hagar and her son Ishmael (Genesis 21: 10). Abraham was apprehensive about that request because “such action was in direct contravention of Nuzu law and social custom as by purely humanitarian considerations. However, it is important in this connection to notice that Sarah’s action could have been defended according to the ancient Sumerian code of Lipit-Ishtar (ca. 1850 B.C.), one of the sources underlying the legislation of Hammurabi, which stated that the freedom received by the dispossessed slave was to be considered adequate compensation for the act of expulsion” (R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament [Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 2004], p. 109).
2. The Conquest of Canaan. The book of Joshua describes the rapid conquest of the land of Canaan (Palestine), which took place under the leadership of Joshua after forty years of wandering in the wilderness of Sinai. Archeological discoveries at Jericho, Bethel, Lachish, Debir, Hebron, Gibeah, and Hazor show that these sites were destroyed in the fourteenth century B.C. This indicates that the land of Canaan was occupied rapidly by the Israelite invaders as described in the book of Joshua.
3. The Biblical History of Ancient Israel.
2 Kings 17 records the fall of Samaria, the capital of the northern
kingdom of Israel, and the exile of many Israelites in 722 B.C. to the
Assyrian empire. These events are documented in the Annals of Khorsabad
(a town north of Musel in Iraq) written in cuneiform on clay tablets
discovered in 1842 in the great castle of Sargon II, king of Assyria.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian empire, invaded the southern kingdom of Israel (Judah) in 605, 597, and 589-586 B.C. Its capital Jerusalem collapsed and was finally destroyed by the Babylonian attacks. A portion of the Israelite population was deported to Babylon in 605, 597 and 586 B.C. (2 Kings 24-25). This marked the end of the history of ancient Israel. “Excavations at Lachish, Tell en-Nesbeh, and artifacts recovered from the site of Ishtar Gate in Babylon have furnished conclusive proof of the devastation and depopulation of Judah and the presence of Jewish exiles in Babylon from 597 B.C. on” (R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament [Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 2004], p. 339).
Modern archeological discoveries have also vindicated the historicity of the events related to the return of Jewish exiles to Jerusalem form the Babylonian captivity about 537 B.C. as described in the Biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah (W. Keller, The Bible as History, Trans. W. Neil [New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books, 1982], pp. 329-336). The most significant of these archeological finds are the Cyrus Cylinders and the Elephantine papyri (J. P. Free, and H. F. Vos, Archeology and Bible History [Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992], pp. 203-206, 211).
4. The Life of Christ and the Early Church. Archeological discoveries confirm the geography and reign of various political and religious leaders mentioned in the Gospels and the book of Acts, as well as the crucifixion of the Christ (J. P. Free, and H. F. Vos, Archeology and Bible History [Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992], pp. 241-281).
5. The Testimony of Archeologists. World renowned archeologists, who were not conservative Christians and did not believe in the inspiration of the Holy Bible, arrived at the following conclusions based strictly on archeological discoveries and studies:
(a) William F. Albright, one of the world leading archeologists, stated:
“There can be no doubt that archeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition” (J. A. Thompson, The Bible and Archeology [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1975], p. 5).
(b) Nelson Glueck, another world renowned archeologist, concurs stating:
“As a matter of fact, however, it may be clearly stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible” (Norman Geisler and Ron Brooks, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences [Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1990], p. 179).
VII. DOCTRINES WHICH THE HOLY BIBLE CONFUTES STRONGLY:
A. The Doctrine of Abrogation of Divine Revelation is Unbiblical
The doctrine of abrogation of a revelation to replace it with a new revelation which is different from it and may be contradictory to it is strongly refuted in the Holy Bible: “My covenant I will not break, Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (Psalm 89: 34); “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has he spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23: 19; Malachi 3: 6). This doctrine has never been proclaimed by any prophet, by Christ or by any of his apostles throughout the Holy Bible. The inspired word of God is never abrogated: “Do not think that I (Christ) came to destroy the Law (of Moses in the Torah) or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5: 17-18); “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words (Christ’s words) will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24: 35); “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1: 24-25a). Moses’ prophetic career spanned forty years with the Israelites both in Egypt and the wilderness of Sinai. Not one verse of the commandments and the law that God gave him in the Torah was abrogated. None of the teachings of Jesus was abrogated by him or by his apostles after him. All the requirements and first advent prophecies in the Old Testament (the Torah; etc.) were fulfilled in Christ who came about 1400 years after Moses. By contrast, Muhammad gave the Qur’an in 23 years. It contained much abrogation!
Progressive revelation in the books of the Holy Bible, which were written over a period of about 1500 years, builds upon the original foundation laid down by former revelation in older biblical books. The older revelations prepare man and render him ready and capable to receive and accept the new higher level of revelation as his religious receptivity expands and matures. For a new revelation to be genuine and valid, it should be consistent with itself, and in harmony with the whole complex of former existing revelations. It can never abrogate a prior truth once for all given, nor supplant it. It expounds on it, supplements it, fulfills it, completes it, and provides additional development to it to address the changing human capacity and responsiveness as the humankind develops, matures, and becomes more receptive in the ebb and flow of human history over a period of centuries, not days, months or years. “Everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age…” (Hebrews 5: 13-14). A clear example on that is the animal sacrifices required in the Torah, but no longer required in the Gospel (Injil, etc.), because they are fulfilled in the perfect sacrifice Christ offered on the cross. Another example is the ritual purity required in the Torah and no longer required in the Injil. It pointed to the inner spiritual purity required in the Injil.
In addition, God responds to the changing human condition. If people repent and appropriate the atonement of Christ by faith, he may chastise them but not punish them. God does not change. The human situation changes. His judgment is directed toward a sinful condition which penitent faith in the atonement of Christ erases. If he promised prosperity to a nation, he will not bless it if it turns to wickedness and evil. “…the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it” (Jeremiah 18: 7-10; 1 Kings 21: 29; Jonah 3: 10). "But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die" (Ezekiel 18: 21).
Abrogation of God’s revelation by a subsequent revelation is not consistent with the wisdom, truthfulness, perfect knowledge, and foreknowledge of the living almighty God. God gives perfect revelation from the beginning. He does not improve upon himself because he is perfect. In fact, the doctrine of short term abrogation of revelation encourages the rise of false prophets, for if a false prophet provides a teaching that is later proven wrong, or his listeners later object to it, he could then abrogate it to suit the situation claiming that God abrogated it. So, a false prophet would use the doctrine of abrogation to lighten the requirements of a difficult teaching that his followers object to, in order to obtain their acceptance and loyalty. This is human experimentation, not divine revelation.
The false prophet could also use this concept to spare himself the embarrassment of forgetting a former teaching by claiming that his new teaching, which is different from the former one, abrogated the former teaching. Abrogation of verses is similar to the situation of a human author correcting, on a second thought, the proofs of his manuscript, replacing sentences or passages with others. One cannot trust the promises of a god who changes his mind. Just as he changes his mind about his revelation, he can also change his mind about the eternal destiny of the believer. Therefore, one cannot find assurance and security in following that kind of god. One major problem with the doctrine of abrogation is that it causes confusion and disagreements in qualifying and pinpointing the abrogating and the abrogated verses.
The Qur’an institutes the doctrine of abrogation in Islam: “If we abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten, we will replace it with a better one or one similar. Did you not know that God has power over all things? (Sura al-Baqarah 2: 106); “When we replace one verse with another and God knows best what he reveals, they say: ‘You are an imposter.’ Indeed most of them have no knowledge” (Sura an-Nahl 16: 101); “God abrogates or confirms whatever he will, for he has the book of books” (Sura al-Ra’d 13: 39; al-A’la 87: 6-8). Imam al-Hafez Emad al-Din ibn Kathir stated in his “Exegesis of the Qur’an” (vol. 1, p. 104): “According to ibn Jarir’s comment on the verse of al-Baqarah 2: 106, it means that we prohibit what has been permitted and permit what has been prohibited.” In doing this, the Qur’an contradicts its claims that: “There is no changing the word of God” (al-An’am 6: 34, 115; Yunus 10: 64; al-Kahf 18: 27); “This is a glorious Qur’an on a preserved tablet” (al-Buruj 85: 21-22).
In fact, some verses were abrogated and replaced the next day. Verse 66 abrogated verse 65 in sura al-Anfal 8. The beginning of Sura al-Muzzammil 73: 2-4 was abrogated by its end (al-Muzzammil 73: 20), and the abrogator has been subsequently abrogated by the injunction of the five prayers. Does not this sound like experimentation and trial-and-error approach, which are not consistent with the infinite wisdom of the all-knowing living God of the universe, who does not make mistakes and does not lack experience? Verses Muhammad provided at a later date cancel out verses conflicting with it he provided at earlier dates. Muslim authorities agree that the ninth sura of al-Tawbah is the latest. Therefore, its verse 5 of the sword abrogates as many as 124 peaceful and tolerant verses that preceded it, and conflicted with it.
Conflicts between various verses of the Qur’an are irreconcilable. In order to overcome this difficulty, Islamic scholars resort to the doctrine of abrogation declaring that the older conflicting verses are abrogated.
Out of a total of 114 Surah (chapter) of the Qur’an, only 43 Surahs do not contain abrogating and/or abrogated verses. This means that 71 Surahs (nearly two-thirds of the Qur’an) contain abrogating and/or abrogated verses as follows: 6 Surahs contain abrogating verses, 25 Surahs contain both abrogating and abrogated verses, and 40 Surahs contain abrogated verses (Abil-Kasim Hibat-Allah ibn-Salama Abi-Nasr, al-Nasikh wal-Mansukh__The Abrogator and the Abrogated). It is estimated that more than 500 verses (more than 3% of the Qur’an) have been abrogated. There are great disagreements among Muslim scholars about the abrogating and the abrogated verses in the Qur’an. These disagreements are traced back to early Islam. In fact, the companions of Muhammad were confused about it. For instance, two hadiths mention that verse al-Baqarah 2: 185 abrogated verse al-Baqarah 2: 184 (Bukhari, vol. 6, book 60, #33, #34), whereas one hadith stipulates it was not abrogated (Bukhari vol. 6, book 60, #32). The founding scholars of Islam could not even agree on whether the Qur’an abrogates only the Qur’an, or the Qur’an and the Sunnah abrogate each other as well. This means that Islam has no definitive knowledge of what it claims to be the perfect and final revelation for all times. It is important to stress the fact that the true living triune God of the Holy Bible "... is not the author of confusion ..." (1 Corinthians 14: 33).
Although they lost their validity, most of the abrogated verses are still in the Qur’an, and are still recited (Bukhari 6.61.527; 6.60.60). Muslim clerics and Islamists quote the abrogated Meccan passages of the Qur’an that call for love, peace, and religious freedom and tolerance in order to deceive the innocent. They intentionally hide the Medinan passages that abrogate it, and call for killing, decapitating, maiming and intolerance of non-Muslims. The historical background of this split personality in the Qur’an is that the teachings of Muhammad were tolerant when he started his career in Mecca because his followers were few. He was weak, vulnerable and surrounded by potential enemies. However, after he gained military and political power in Medina and his followers increased in number, his teachings became intolerant and advocated violence against non-Muslims. In fact, according to Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, al-Itqan fi ‘Ulum al-Qur’an, vol. 2, p. 24, ibn al-Arabi had said: “All the Qur’an contains pertaining to tolerance for non-believers have been abrogated by the verse of the sword: ‘When the sacred months are over slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render the alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful’ (al-Tawbah 9: 5). And this verse abrogated 124 verses.” This doctrine transformed Islam into a bellicose expansionary military-political ideology that persists to this day.
The following are but a few examples of the abrogated and the abrogating verses in the Qur’an. The following verses speak about religious tolerance: “You have your own religion, and I have mine” (al-Kafirun 109: 6); “There shall be no compulsion in religion” (al-Baqarah 2: 256a; Yunus 10: 100; Qaf 50: 45; etc). These verses were abrogated by the following verses: “He that chooses religion other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and in the world to come he will surely be among the losers” (al-‘Imran 3: 85); “Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given (Christians and Jews) as believe in neither God nor the last day, who do not forbid what God and his apostle (Muhammad) have forbidden, and do not embrace the true faith (Islam) until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued” (al-Tawbah 9: 29; etc).
The following verses speak of tolerance for the polytheists: “The secrets of the hearts of these people are well known to God. So leave them alone, and counsel them and speak to them eloquent words that would touch their very souls” (al-Nisa’ 4: 63; al-Hijr 15: 85; Ta Ha 20: 130; etc). These verses were abrogated by verses of violence: “When you clash with the unbelievers smite their necks, and when you have overpowered them bind your captives firmly. Then grant them their freedom or take a ransom from them until war shall have come to an end” (Muhammad 47: 4a); “And your Lord said to the angels: I shall be with you. Give courage to the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Smite them on their necks and every joint” (al-Anfal 8: 12, 38; al-Nisa’ 4: 89; al-Tawbah 9: 5; al-Baqarah 2: 191; etc).
B. The Doctrine of Satanic Inspiration is Unbiblical
All the prophets and apostles that were inspired throughout many centuries to write the books of the Holy Bible were never deceived by Satan to provide wrong teaching that confuses the people and leads them astray. The Holy Spirit of the omnipotent divine God has protected the inspired word of God from corruption by misleading satanic teachings. A god unable to protect his inspired word in the mouth of his prophet from satanic corruption is not the true living almighty God of the universe. The Holy Bible teaches that the concept of misleading Satanic inspiration is not true: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3: 16-17).
Demonic and satanic powers fear God and his prophets. Jesus set many people free from demonic powers that possessed and tormented them. Demons knew that he was the Christ (Luke 4: 41; 8: 26-39; Mark 9: 17-29; Matthew 8: 16, 28-34; 9: 32-33; 12: 22-23). They feared him and fled from him:
“Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Let us alone! What have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!’ But Jesus rebuked him saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’ And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, ‘What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out” (Luke 4: 33-36).
“Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!" For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. Jesus asked him, saying, "What is your name?” And he said, "Legion," because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid” (Luke 8: 26-35).
In fact, Christ stated emphatically that Satan has no power over him: “The prince of this world (Satan) is coming. He has no hold on me” (John 14: 30b). In addition, his disciples exorcised demons in his name: “Then the seventy (disciples) returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (Luke 10: 17).
A major problem with the doctrine of deceptive satanic inspiration is that the prophet who claims it loses his credibility. There may be many other satanically inspired verses that were never corrected, because that self-proclaimed prophet failed to distinguish between godly and satanic inspiration. As far as we know, satanic and demonic inspirations are related to occult and witchcraft practitioners, not the saintly prophets of the living God.
The doctrine of satanic inspiration is taught in the Qur’an “Never have we sent a single prophet or apostle before you with whose wishes Satan did not tamper. But God abrogates the interjections of Satan and confirms his own revelations. God is all knowing and wise” (al-Hajj 22: 52). However, the Qur’an did not cite a single specific incident where Satan caused a prophet or apostle of God before Muhammad to utter what the prophet proclaimed to be revelation from God, and later the prophet reversed that and claimed it was Satan, not God, who inspired him. In fact, this Qur’anic statement is erroneous because no one of the Biblical prophets spoke out of inspiration from Satan—not even once. The Qur’an could not be trusted because Muhammad could not distinguish between godly and satanic inspiration. In fact, the Qur’an in its entirety may be satanically inspired? This doctrine conflicts with the challenge of the Qur’an to produce something like it: “Say: ‘Surely if men and Jinn were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur-an they could not produce its like, even if they backed up each other with help and support’” (al-Isra’ 17: 88; al-Baqarah 2: 23; Yunus 10: 38). Satan met that challenge successfully by providing his satanic verses. A famous example for the claim of satanic inspiration in the Qur’an is what is known as the satanic verses of the Qur’an, which are the words that Satan put in Muhammad’s mouth. Muhammad recited Satan’s words as the word of God, which made him the messenger of Satan:
“Have you considered al-Lat and al-‘Uzza and Manat, the other third? [The following verses in italics are called the satanic verses, which were later removed from the Qur’an:] These are the high flying cranes (exalted intermediaries—goddesses of Quraysh), whose intercession is to be hoped for. Such as they do not forget” (al-Najm 53: 19-22).
After removing these verses, they were replaced with al-Najm 53: 21-26, which include the following end of this passage:
“These are only names which you and your fathers have invented. No authority was sent down by God for them.”
The satanic verses of the Qur’an taught worshipping three pagan goddesses alongside Allah (polytheism): al-Lat, al-‘Uzza and Manat, the daughters of Allah, the moon god of Quraysh and pagan Arabia of Muhammad’s time. These were four idols worshipped by pagan Quraysh in Mecca. Of course, the pagans of Mecca, who constituted the majority of the Meccan population at that time, were pleased to hear that their goddesses were acknowledged to be worshipped. This achieved Muhammad’s desire that his tribe Quraysh accept him as a prophet. Upon the objection of some of his followers, Muhammad, after almost a year, claimed that these verses were inspired by Satan, and dropped them from the Qur’an. This signifies that Satan had power and authority over Muhammad contradicting the Qur’anic statement where the god of Islam promised that Satan does not have authority over his servants (al-Ma’idah 5: 105; al-Hijr 15: 42; an-Nahl 16: 98-100; al-Jinn 72:27-28).
It is important to point out that the information about the satanic verses of the Qur’an and the historical circumstances surrounding them have been recorded in detail by reputable, scrupulously honest and competent pious Muslim scholars such as ibn Ishaq (d. 765, Sirat Rasul Allah), al-Tabari (d. 922, The History of al-Tabary, VI: 107), ibn Sa’d (d. 844, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir), Waqidi (d. 823, Kitab al-Maghazi) and others in their biographical and historical accounts of Muhammad. These men believed that he was indeed a prophet. The witness of the early Islamic sources is compelling. In addition, the Qur’an confirms the satanic verses in surah al-Hajj 22: 52.
Jesus did not rewrite any of the Old Testament books which had been completed centuries before His time. In fact, he and his apostles read and taught from them (Luke 4: 16-21; Acts 2: 16-28). In addition, he fulfilled the Old Testament’s law, and prophecies pertaining to the first advent of the Messiah (Christ): “Do not think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). The New Testament books were added to the already existing Old Testament books. They did not replace them. In fact, no one of the prophets before Christ and no one of the apostles and disciples of Christ rewrote any of the books that had been written centuries before his time by other prophets. By contrast, instead of teaching from the Holy Bible, Muhammad redid the entire Bible in what he called the Qur’an which retells biblical stories taken out of context in a distorted anachronistic way. Will you trust the word of one man whose claims to prophethood were neither confirmed nor validated by miracles, and whose morality is questionable at best; against the words of some 44 saintly men who lived godly lives many centuries before him. Their claims of prophethood were confirmed and validated by miracles, and many of them were martyred for proclaiming God’s message? We leave that up to your intelligence and judgment.