A Response to Islamic Polemics against our God

Many years ago, the “grandfather” of Islamic hate literature, Ahmed Deedat, wrote a book What is His Name? to ridicule the God of the Bible and exalt the deity of Islam.

Another Islamic polemicist, Adel Elsace, took the tirade further in his book, The Truth About God And Religions. Both authors concluded that the God of the Bible has been so humanized and derogated and only Islam has the perfect concept of God.

These men obviously gleaned their arguments from atheists because their ignorance is astounding and Muslims who parrot these “scholars” are logically shooting themselves in the leg.

Before we go further, let’s delve a little into Christian theology. There is a theological term known as Anthropopathism. A reference work defines it as:

“The practice of describing God as if He displayed human emotions, such as jealousy (Exodus 20:15), anger (Psalm 77:9) … Although the Old and New Testaments plainly show that God is beyond our human experiences…the Bible frequently uses such language to declare that God is personal and that He responds to the actions of His creatures” (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ed. Ronald Youngblood, Thomas Nelson, 1995, p. 79)

Anthropopathism is a word used to describe how God “condescends” to our own limited understanding by expressing many truths about Himself analogically (as compared to human actions and emotions) so that we can understand Him.

Let’s picture it as a man trying to describe himself to an ant. The ant has never seen how organized we live, since they live in small tunnels and have nests in the ground. So the man speaks of his own streets as if they were those ant tunnels.

Now let’s examine the Muslim arguments:

1. Gen. 6:6 “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on earth, and it grieved him at heart.” Your God repents like man!

Yes some Bible passages say He “repents” (1Sam. 15:11), “repented” (Amos 7:3) and “relented” (Ps.106:45).

These passages are interpreted figuratively, metaphorically or anthropopathically to show God’s response to man’s sin.

Others say that God is not man who repents (Num. 23:19), will not repent (1Sam. 15:29) and doesn’t change (Mal. 3:6). These parts are interpreted literally. (This doctrine is called the Immutability of God).

The Quran says: “Then Adam received commandments from his Lord and his Lord RELENTED towards him; for He is oft REPENTING” (Sura 2:37).

Why is Allah relenting and repenting?

2. Genesis 8:21 “And the LORD smelled a sweet savour…”

This doesn’t diminish our God but does for Allah. God is Spirit (Jn. 4:24) and spirit personalities are able to smell or perceive.

Allah is not a spirit; to regard him so is a blasphemy in Islam, yet Islamic tradition forbids eating garlics or onions before prayer and even flatulence during it (“Whoever has eaten garlic or onion because of hunger or otherwise should not come near our mosque” Bukhari 1:812).

The Quran also says that Allah watches and hears (Sura 13:33, 58:1). If he can see and hear, then he can smell or why does he hate man’s natural odour?

3. Gen. 11:5 “And the LORD came down to see the city and tower…” How can God come down?”

This is another proof that the God of the Bible is not the Allah of Islam. In Scripture, God came down in several places (Gen. 3:8, 18:1-22, 33, 32:24-32, Exo. 3:7, Psa. 14:2).

His condescension to visit the earth doesn’t diminish His glory but rather shows His love for man and interests in affairs of men. His manifestation on earth doesn’t imply His absence in heaven.

Sura 53:5-10 tells us that Allah appeared to Muhammad on earth:

“And he appeared. Afterwards he approached [the prophet] and drew near him. Until he was at the distance of two bows length [from him] or yet nearer”.

This place is often ignored or explained away by Quranic translators because Allah is supposed to be a distant deity who shouldn’t appear to people.

Sura 50:16 says he is as close as the jugular vein (to strangle sinners?) Sura 32:5 says he is about 1,000 light years away. Sura 11:7 even says he has a throne over the waters.

A hadith agrees: “His throne was over the water, and He wrote everything in the Book” (Buhkari 4:54:414).

Allah is probably like those Hindu deities shown seated on a floating water lotus, or like Poseidon the Greek water god.

4. Gen. 32:30 “...For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” God has a face and fights with Jacob?

This was referring to the encounter which Jacob had with God. He did not see God in His invisible essence, but a manifestation of God.

Other examples abound (Exo. 4:14, Num. 14:14, Deut. 34:10, Jud. 6:22). The God of the Bible is knowable and relates with man.

The Quran says there is nothing likened to Allah (Sura 112:4) i.e. he is an unknowable, impersonal deity.

Yet we are told he has a face: “Everyone upon it will disappear while your Lord’s FACE will remain full of majesty…” (Sura 55:26-27).

He has eye: “…in order that thou mayest be reared under my EYE” (Sura 20:39). The hadiths also say Muslims will see his face in paradise (Bukhari 1:347).

5. God rested and was refreshed Exodus 31:17 “...on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”

According to Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Lexicon, the Hebrew word for rest, shabath, means “to put an end”, or “to stop.”

The word “refresh” there was figuratively/anthropopathically used to show that God derived great delight and pleasure after surveying the work of creation. God “will neither sleep nor slumber” (Psa. 121:3-4) and He “does not faint or grow weary” (Isa. 40:28).

Allah brags that after he created “nor did any sense of weariness touch Us” (Sura 50:35). This is amusing.

Apparently, the Quran’s author heard about Exodus 31:17 but didn’t understand that the “rest” used there is not literal. Yet, from this pedestal of error, ignorant anti-Christian Muslim armies of the night have been roused to slander the God of the Bible.

6. Moses threatened God to repent. Exo. 32:12 “Turn from thy fierce wrath and repent of this evil against thy people.”

The word “repent” literally means to change one’s course. Here, Moses was pleading with God when He decided to release His judgment on the sinful Israelites and God changed His plan.

God in His mercy withheld His judgement. He wasn’t “threatened” by Moses. No man can threaten the Creator. Moses’ action prefigured the ministry of Jesus Christ – His mediatorship. Jesus interceeds before God on behalf of Christians today just as Moses interceded for the Israelites (Heb. 7:25).

Do Muslims have an intercessor/mediator before Allah?

Sura 32:4 says “apart from Him [Allah] you have no protector neither mediator”. So Allah is the one who mediates for Muslims to himself! How absurd.

Sura 6:51 says “there is no protecting allay nor intercessor beside him [Allah]”.

So Allah prays to himself about himself! Is this reasonable? Either Allah has a superior deity he prays to or he prays to himself! Subhanallah, isn’t Allah great?

7. Moses sees God’s back parts Ex. 33:23 “…and thou shall see my back parts...”

No issue here. The God of the Bible manifested Himself to Moses. God is a Spirit Being. Since Allah is not a spirit, he shouldn’t be described in human terms.

But the Quran says Allah has a hand (“Allah’s hand rest on their hand” Sura 48:10); has a shin (Sura 68:42); mounts a throne (Sura 57:4) and has emotions – ranging from pleasure to anger to undiluted hate (Sura 98:8).

Sura 69:15-17 says 8 angels will carry Allah’s throne (Will he be sitting on it? Big guy!)

The hadith says Moses too will hold a leg of that throne (Bukhari 3:41:594). It may be that same throne over water as we read earlier or it will teleport to paradise.

8. Your God is like a drunken man Psa. 78:65 “Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, as a warrior wakes from the stupor of wine.”

The literary tool used here is a figure of speech called a simile – when you liken someone or his action to something. Maybe our Muslim friends need a class in elementary English literature.

Interestingly, the Quran says Allah will forget people, just like a drunken man:

“Such took their religion to be more amusement and play and were deceived by the life of this world. That day shall We FORGET THEM. As they forget the meeting of this day of theirs…” (Sura 7:51).

Allah even threatens to induce Muhammad with forgetfulness:

“And if We will, We could take away that which We have sent to you by inspiration. Then you would find no pleader for you against Us in that respect” (Sura 17:86).

Doesn’t this sound a lot like old pagan myths of gods who play tricks on the brains of their slaves?

You see, the whole enterprise of Islamic apologetics presents a quite humourous (and tragi-comic) episode in self-delusion and blindness to the absurdity of one’s own position.

I hope these folks stop their ridiculous charade and humbly learn about the God of the Bible.