Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God - page 6




Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?
by Andy Bannister, Director and Lead Apologist for RZIM-Canada

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Fourth, the God of the Bible Is a God Who Suffers

We live in a world that is broken, a world in which there is evil, a world in which there is suffering, a world in which there is pain. And the remarkable thing about the God of the Bible is that He does not stand aloof from that world but knows what it means to suffer.

In Psalm 23 and numerous other biblical passages, we hear that the God of the Bible is with us as we journey through life, even in our very darkest moments. He understands suffering, because, in Jesus, He has been through it Himself, because of His great love for us. The love of the God of the Bible is also demonstrated in what He has done to deal with the sin and shame that separate us from Him. The Bible tells us that God grieves for His people, grieves over their sin, rebellion, and unfaithfulness. And that ultimately, through Jesus and the cross, God paid the price to deal with that sin and brokenness; as Isaiah 53:4 says, He “took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.”

This is all very different from the Qur’an’s understanding of God. The god of the Qur’an is not a god who suffers. Allah feels no grief as a result of our sins or pain or suffering. Allah in the Qur’an certainly gets angry at sin, and that anger is expressed in wrath and judgment. But there is no heart response and nothing done by the Qur’anic god to deal with the problem of sin. As Muslim theologian Muhammed-al-Burkawi puts it:

Allah can annihilate the universe if it seems good to Him and recreate it in an instant. He receives neither profit nor loss from whatever happens. If all infidels became believers and all the wicked pious He would gain nothing. And if all believers became infidels it would not cause Him loss.

Indeed, according to Qur’anic theology, the Muslim must carry the weight of one’s own sin, hoping that on the day of judgment one’s good deeds outweigh the bad. As the Qur’an puts it in Surah Āl-Isrā’ 17:15: “No bearer of sin can bear the sin of another,” … although fascinating, this hints at the idea that a sinless one could bear another’s sins. In Christianity and in Jesus, whom both Muslims and Christians affirm as sinless, that has happened.

When we look, the God of the Bible, love and suffering, judgment and forgiveness are inextricably linked. The God of the Bible is a God who is relational and can be known, a God who is love and whose love for even the sinner saw Him willing to pay the price of the cross.

This is a huge contrast to the God of the Qur’an, who according to the Qur’an is not relational, does not make himself known, is not a god of love, and is not a god willing to take on our sorrows and infirmities.

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