I started reading the Bible and realized that there are many similarities between Allah in the Quran and God in the Bible. Do you think they are referring to the same God?
You are right in saying that there are many similarities. For example both the Quran and Bible describes God as the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac. Furthermore both teach that God is one and he alone is to be worshiped. The scriptures also teach that God is the creator of all things. While there are similarities we must also acknowledge that there are some key differences between them.
What are those key differences?
The Allah of the Quran is a unitarian God that is one God and one person. I am using the word “person” or “being”. The God that the Bible describes is one God existing in three persons.
You mean the Bible also considers Jesus and his mother Mary as gods besides God?
Not at all. Christians don’t regard Mary the mother of Jesus as God. However we believe that one God exists in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Quran describes Allah using 99 names. Many of the descriptions of Allah also fit the description of the God in the Bible don’t they?
I agree that some of the descriptions fit the God of the Bible. For example God is merciful, pure and almighty. However there is one description in particular that Christians will not use to describe God.
Which one is that?
In surah 3:54 the Quran says “but they the Jews were deceptive and Allah was deceptive for Allah is the best of deceivers.” I believe the arabic word used was “makr” which means “deceive”. The Bible does not teach that God is one who uses deception.
There is a Bible verse that says that God is love in the Quran. Allah is also described as a loving God.
Both the Quran and Bible describe a God who loves. However the Bible describes God as unconditionally loving, even the unbelievers. The Bible said that God loved the whole world, which include both believers and unbelievers and was willing to send his son to pay for the penalty of their sins.
God loves even those that rejected him?
Yes. Jesus told the story of a young man who rebelled against his father and left home. Yet his father, who represented God in the story, waited every day for his son to return home.
I noticed that Christians like to refer to God as their father. The Quran does not teach that Allah is our father.
How does the Quran describe the relationship between Allah and Muslims?
Allah is our master and we are his servants. The Quran does not teach that we can have a personal relationship with God.
In the Bible Jesus taught that when we pray we should address God as “abba”. This is the most intimate way a child addresses his father.
It is quite unthinkable for Muslims to think that the great and mighty God would want to have a personal relationship with man.
The Bible teaches that God loves to have a personal relationship with us and when we get to heaven we will be with God forever. Not only that, God even took on flesh and lived among us in the person of Jesus. God came in the person of Jesus and lived on earth.
Didn’t the Bible teach that Jesus went through great suffering while he was on earth?
I find it hard to understand that even God could suffer.
The God of the Bible is not beyond suffering. Because he loves sinners, God was willing to take on flesh and come down to earth to pay the penalty of our sins.
Muslims believe that Allah is beyond suffering there is nothing man can do that can cause Allah to suffer.
Not so for the God of the Bible. The Bible teaches that because God loves us, he is even grieved when he sees us sinning because he knows that sin will destroy our life.
In the Quran Allah may be angry when we sin but he is never grieved by our sin. He expects us to serve and obey him.
The Bible also teaches that God expects us to serve and obey him. However the God portrayed in the Bible is also a humble God. He too is willing to serve us.
God serving us?
Yes, once before Jesus and his disciples had their meal, Jesus wrapped a towel around his waist and started washing the disciples feet. This is a task to be performed by servants only.
Now I see that while there are similarities between Allah and the Quran and God in the Bible, there are also many differences.