It is often said that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Yet, Christianity and Islam have very different understanding of God’s nature.
This quick Christian apologetics video explains two specific ways Christianity and Islam differ in their understanding of who God is. Watch the video so the next time someone asks you, “Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?” you can clearly explain the differences.
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Welcome to Trinity Insight, the home of the thinking Christian. Today we’re asking the question, “Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?”
So, is Allah, the God of Islam, one in the same with the Christian God?
Well, it’s worth pointing out that of the three dominant monotheistic religions in the world – Christianity Islam and Judaism – all three points the God of Abraham as the one true God. This is why it’s so frequently heard in pop culture that at least these three religions all worship the same God.
Christians claim that the god of the Old Testament, i.e. the Jewish God, came to Earth incarnate as the Son, Jesus. So, Christians affirmed the God the Jews. And Islam sees itself is coming after Christianity and embracing Jesus, albeit as a prophet and not as the divine only begotten Son of God.
So, what’s the problem?
Well, at least Islam and Christianity have strikingly different understandings of who God is. Most importantly Islam makes the claim that there is only one God. Well, you might be thinking, “So do Christians.” But what Muslims mean when they say that there’s only one God is that he is not only one essence but also one person. In other words, they aren’t real big fans of the idea of the Trinity.
Christians agree that God has one essence, but He exists in three persons. This is a big difference, since the unforgivable sin for Muslims is called “shirk,” which is committed when one asserts that God has any partners or that there are any other divine beings. (By the way, if you believe the earliest Muslim biographers Muhammad himself committed shirk when he claimed that the popular deities of the day, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza and Manat, could also be considered divine.) So, good Muslims know that Christians are guilty of shirk for affirming that God exists in three persons.
Muslim apologists also argue that the Trinity is logically contradictory since it is a contradiction to say one God exists as three gods. Well, Christians agree with this. That’s why we say, “one God who exists as three persons.” If we said “one God and three gods” or “one person and three persons,” those would both be contradictory instead we say “one God and three persons” which is a mystery but it’s not a contradiction.
But there are some more serious problems with the idea that Allah and the Christian God are the same. Orthodox Christians don’t think of God as two using to do things that are intrinsically good, and they also don’t think of God as deciding arbitrarily on what is good. Christians believe that goodness comes from God’s own good nature.
For Muslims, it’s not so much that God is good at least not the way Christians believe. Instead whatever Allah wants to do becomes good. This is known as voluntarism, and it leads to a God who acts in contradictory ways. According to Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb, in one place God is referred to as the one who leads astray and elsewhere is the one who guides. He is described by terms like “the bringer down,” “the compeller,” “a tyrant” and “haute.” As they conclude, Muslim scholars cannot avoid the contradiction that God has logically opposed characteristics.
So, is Allah the same as the Christian God?
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