UI – Part 180 – Muhammad Attempted to Change History
Jesus Divinity Denied
There was a man, Marcion, who denied the divinity of Jesus. Tertullian wrote a rebuttal to his claims. His booklet, Against Marcion, written 400 years before Muhammad provides interesting parallels to the attempts by Muhammad to alter history. Marcion was also misguided and ill-informed about Biblical history.
The more ancient document is the Bible. As to the claims about Jesus, to include the issue of his crucifixion, writers included apostles. More than disciples, the apostles where those who lived with and witnessed the master – Jesus. Christ was the master that taught the apostles, and the disciples had as their masters the apostles, for according to Tertullian, “the preaching of disciples might be open to the suspicion of an affectation of glory, if there did not accompany it the authority of the masters….” Christ gave us the faith, instilled first in the apostles, and the disciples renew and renew going forth to make disciples of all men.
There were witnesses at the time of the writing and publication of books of the Bible that were present at the crucifixion. There were those that witnessed miracles. They never said what was written and proclaimed was false. None of the apostles ever came forward to suggest one word of what was transcribed and made available for all of mankind to read was wrong. Tertullian is quoted, “…heresy, which is for ever mending the Gospels, and corrupting them in the act, is an affair of man’s audacity, not of God’s authority.”
Timing is Everything
This applies, in my view, to Muhammad. He was certainly neither a witness to Christ’s life, agonizing torture and death, nor his Resurrection. How can he make the statement that what the Bible recorded is in error? Over 600 years had transpired since Jesus birth. Thousands and thousands of years had passed which encompassed Biblical history. The artifacts of biblical history were strewn throughout the middle-east. The Word had spread. The stories told. The controversies engendered by Marcion, but also the Gnostics and others were shared. A cousin of Muhammad’s wife, a Christian, had even interpreted the Hebrew text into Arabic. Why and how could God be wrong? Applicable as well is Tertullian saying, “he simply amended what he thought was corrupt; though, indeed, not even this justly, because it was not really corrupt.” To go on, “he…erased everything that was contrary to his own opinion and made for the Creator….”
Marcion attempted to separate Christ from the Creator, thus opposing his divinity. Such is the case with Muhammad. The revelations received during periods in a cave may have been dreams of self-importance, the stream of thought placing Muhammad in the dream as a partner with God, the subconscious modifying history to include Muhammad – the ego, himself as a prophet, in the center. It became real to him.
Muhammad denied Jesus divinity. He substituted himself for the Holy Spirit. He claimed Ishmael as the son Abraham almost sacrificed (not Isaac as the Bible relates). He related may Biblical stories but with a twist, or I would say with an error in recall – or as many story tellers with aberrations or embellishments to fit the time and personal situation. The Christian Trinity according to Muhammad replaces the Holy Spirit with Mary. Mary was the mother of Jesus, as virgin, but Allah was not the Father, his involvement however acknowledged.
Muhammad was used as the founder of Islam, his recitations claimed as the basis for the Quran. This Scripture of Islam had its foundations in history, the history of a Truth told, shared, acknowledged, and vetted well in advance of the birth of the self-proclaimed-Prophet Muhammad. The inspired Word of God came first, the source for the Quran. If Christ’s divinity was to be denied, and Ishmael imported for Isaac into Abraham’s obedience to God, and more, why did Muhammad not select other passages and make corrections. For instance when the Evil Spirit first confronted Jesus he knew he was Holy – an untold aspect of Jesus life and confirmation of his godliness. Jesus then compelled the Evil Spirit to leave the body of the demon-possessed individual.
Muhammad took from history, that of the Jews, the Hebrew Bible, that sin is a deed. Man can atone for their sin thru repentance. Now for the Jews there was the necessity of changed behavior and sacrifice. For the Christian sin became a stain, part of man’s DNA, which the human soul cannot erase. Inherited from Adam and thru Abraham in the line from Adam, we fall short of perfect obedience to God. In Howard S Kushner’s book How Good Do We Have to Be? (1996, Little Brown & Co, NY, NY), he labels Original Sin as “the Birth of Conscience.” (pg. 21) It is biblical evolution from the animal to the human, morality introduced into the world. God’s pain in how the world turned out could now be experienced in man, as in the image of God. Man would have access to understanding and knowing God. A relationship with the Creator through knowledge of Good & Evil was at the advent of the bite into the forbidden fruit and Eve as Pandora opening the box that reveals all the travails of life on earth.
The stage was set for the gospel of Christ, the Old Testament depictions leading to the Saving Grace of our Lord and Savior. Act I was the OT; Act II the New Testament; Act III will be as prophesied. Kushner did not see the actions of Adam & Eve as condemning but revealing. God would always forgive those willing to repent.
But I see the need for God’s depiction of his relationship with humans to unfold, and the mechanism for humans to be right with God to be provided as only God could provide. We needed history. We concur with who man is when man knows who God is. Those that so understand will gain access to the Eternal Kingdom. God remains in control; man is gifted with an intelligence that parallels God; man can know God. Know God, know God’s sacrifice, and understand repentance, atonement, forgiveness, and be thankful. God allows humans to volunteer for His Grace with knowledge and wisdom. He gave man the gift of conscience, reason and choice. He wants it used to serve His purposes.
Good Intentions Clouded
Somehow Muhammad’s good intentions were clouded with confusion over the Biblical facts. He needed more time to study, to become a worthy disciple of God. He so wanted to be a Prophet, to share God’s Glory but was limited in knowledge and wisdom. So equipped he would have been more successful, in my opinion, during his preaching in Mecca. There were Arabs, Christians, they heard him speak and reacted to the distortions. He lost credibility. He could have been a contender for the continued fight by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the hearts and minds of mankind, to include the gentile Arabs. He would have been the Desert Paul.
Instead he fell in love with his own conclusions and carried them with him, at first exiled from Mecca, to Medina where he took the sword into battle against those who failed to embrace his false-teaching, false as to Biblical fact, and his Prophethood
Muhammad had a heart for God, but lost control of Biblical, historical Truth, making his truth that which was to prevail. A stubborn attitude was reflected in his dealings with those who would not accede to his proclamations. Even when he embraced much of the Judaic principles and practices, with particular emphasis on good deeds outweighing bad deeds, the concept of works over that of faith, he came to call for a fatwa against the Jews who opposed his methods, possibly more than his belief system. The Jews never physically abused Muhammad and his followers, but I guess the Saracens could not accept any form of resistance, verbal or silent.
After his death (632 CE) the successors made Muhammad’s system their system incorporating political, military, religion and civil authority in their roles as authorities over the conquered, the vanquished.
The Word of God – Man’s GPS
With open minds and open hearts we can all understand the Bible as the inspired Word of God intended for all mankind as the GPS to peace on earth. Many false teachers, self-proclaimed prophets, even Messiahs and Mahdi’s have followed Jesus and Muhammad to establish themselves, with followers, as the Truth to be Told and heard. Not all have done so in peace or as a humble servant to all people. The truth proclaimed was more their truth and not God’s Truth.
Continue to be guided, if not already, by the Word of God. The Word and your relationship with God is the map that grants access to His Eternal Kingdom without the constant need for Forgiveness. It has been granted, the sacrifice made, it only requires recognition of your sinful nature, repentance and atonement for your transgressions, as well as a heart for God. You believe because it is your desire to serve God, not a forced march with a sword at your neck, should you waiver, to a false kingdom made-up by man. God will know you and your heart. Be transformed by the Grace of God.
Grace and Peace.