Islam and Incarnation

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A son came to earth. He had no father, but God protected him. He had few followers, but he prophesied of a Kingdom. He did marvelous acts, but he was merely a man. This Jesus, according to the Koran, was a man of God, but he was not the God-man. This Jesus was not incarnate, not God taking up human flesh to make Himself known to His creation, for Allah must forever remain apart from his creation.

Muslims believe they live in a world untouched by the incarnate God-man, and they do so happily because their doctrine so vehemently denies the incarnation. Islam fails because of its denial of the incarnation. Allah’s Character Al-Adl Allah’s justice demands payment that cannot be satisfied without the incarnation. To say that Allah is just is a gross understatement. One of Allah’s 99 names is Al-Adl, the utterly just, and Surah 95:8 leaves no room for argument on the issue. According to the Koran, if Allah was as just as he claims to be, there would be no life left on earth. Because Allah is just, he must exact payment for wrong each person has committed individually, but this is not what Islamic tradition consistently teaches. In one Sahih Bukhari hadith, a collection of Muhammed’s teachings gathered by his family and close friends in the years after his death, there is a story of a man who has committed 99 murders.

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Knowing that he has done great wrong and was coming to the end of his life, he seeks out a worthy Muslim to see what he must do to have Allah accept him. The murderer tells his story to the worthy Muslim, but the verdict came back that he would not be pardoned. Upon hearing the verdict, he kills the man and seeks out another Muslim in hopes of a different verdict. The man he finds is an even wiser Muslim who tells the murderer that he must go to a specific city and repent immediately. The murderer dies on his way to the city, and two angels, one an angel of mercy and the other of judgment, come to claim his body. A great argument ensues, and eventually a measurement is taken to see if he was nearer the city of repentance or the city he left and is found closer to the wrong city. Allah, being merciful and benevolent, shrinks the earth to make him closer the city of repentance so he could be in paradise.

This story is not an example of a cherry-picked Hadith. Muslims commonly use this Hadith to teach the nobility of repentance, but they ignore the fact that Allah broke his character of justice to save the murderer. Justice cannot be satisfied without payment; a consistent God cannot wink away sin. The incarnation solves the problem of justice through Jesus’ death on the cross. Al-Kabir Allah’s greatness diminishes without the incarnation. Allah is Al-Kabir, the great, as listed in the 99 names of Allah as well. One former Muslim went as far as to say that Allah’s greatness is the anchor of Islam. There is an almost universal understanding that love is the motivaton for every great action. Through the pen of Paul, Scripture affirms that love must motivate your actions for them to have worth because Scripture’s standard for love is extremely high. Jesus, whose words are deeply respected by Muslims, calls His followers to love even those who hate them, and He even goes a step farther to tell His followers to pray for them.

The Koran does not have such a high view of love as the Bible does. While it does commend a natural type of love where a man cares for those who care about him, the fundamental distinction is that love is only for those who deserve it, not for the unlovable and our enemies. The Koran’s small view of love eliminates the possibility of the incarnation which led to the greatest act of love of all time. “If God is the Greatest Possible Being, and love is the greatest ethic, where do we find love expressed in the greatest possible way” – the cross. Even if the incarnation did happen, Muslims vehemently deny the historicity of the cross and generally hold to a replacement theory. The replacement theory, that Jesus went all the way to the cross, but at the last moment, Allah took Jesus’ appearance and placed it on another man so that another man was crucified, does not solve the problem of Allah’s greatness.

If the replacement theory were true, that would mean Allah personally started one of the largest false religions in the world which is anything but great. Allah’s greatness requires an act of love with as much magnitude as the cross, but the Koran’s denial of the incarnation makes it impossible for Allah to manifest his greatness in the greatest possible way. The Christian’s Responsibility For Christians, it is important not only to point out the deficiencies of Islam regarding the incarnation, but they must lovingly transition to sharing truth for the purpose of evangelism. What set apart Christ’s ministry was that He found people where they were, but He did not leave them there. Christians must do the same and can do so because of the nature of the Gospel. The Gospel exhibits compossibility, the existence of two contradictory things at the same time similar to a paradox.

God’s justice demands sacrifice, and God’s mercy demands that our sin be paid for. By the miraculous incarnation and death of Jesus, both are met, and Christians can be enthusiastic to share this glorious news. Muslims need to see passionate belief in the life of a Christian before they will open their heart to Scripture’s message. While Christian educators do have a place teaching accurate reading and interpretation of a text to their students that would, if a Muslim applied these techniques to the Koran, show its self-contradictions, a Muslim’s greatest need is to see a passionate belief in a Christian’s daily walk with God. Christians can best display their passion when they have a personal relationship with a Muslim and have semi-private moments with him.

A close, personal relationship built on trust means people with positions like athletic coaches or private music instructors have incredible platforms for reaching young Muslims who are more likely to leave their faith. Summary The Islamic denial of the incarnation dismantles its theology of Allah. Islam deceives its followers by promising the more like Muhammed a person becomes, the purer his heart will be, but the Christian knows Jesus must make his heart pure in order to be like Him. Furthermore, if Muhammed is the best intercessor mankind has, then mankind is hopeless because not even Muhammed could not fully plead for his uncle except to get him to the lowest form of hell where he would wear sandals that caused his brains to boil. Muhammed did not incarnate to become a good intercessor, and Allah, unlike the true God, is distant and unknowable. Jesus, God in human flesh, paid the penalty all humans could not pay;

He is the perfect intercessor who enables men to know God personally and have a relationship with Him. Christians must be passionate about the Gospel, build relationships for the sake of it, and boldly declare it to those who desperately need it. Muslims need to know that the without the incarnation, Allah’s justice and greatness are thrown to the wayside, but through the incarnation man may know and have a relationship with a great, just God.

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