UI – Part 208 – Holy Spirit – Christian/Muslim
What is the Holy Spirit and how does its work?
The Christian faith believes God reveals himself through the Word, or the Bible. He makes himself known so believers know his purpose and his way. It is also the foundation for Truth. How has God done this?
God has spoken in the Bible. He did so directly in Creation. God spoke the universe, the stars, the plants, the animals and the humans into existence. But then God spoke to the humans using angels, visions, dreams, interpreters, symbols, quiet whispers, miraculous signs and other means. It is not how he spoke that is important, but THAT he spoke.
God also spoke through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. In the Word, the Gospels, God speaks through Jesus. He made himself ever more known then as well. The disciples followed having encountered God and the experience led them as believers to continue his message.
Finally, Jesus about to depart from his earthly existence, God announced through him that there would come a Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, that would dwell in every human who believes. That Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit. It is God revealing himself, making his purpose and ways known directly to the believer as the Spirit living within. It is the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, that will live forever.
The Spirit of Truth from Bible book of John 14:16-17, “…I (Jesus speaking) will ask the Father (God), and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you (the Believer) know him, for he lives with you and will be in you (indwelling)”. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Counselor is not, as Muslims have been told, Muhammad. It is made clear the Father (God), the Father of Jesus, His Son, a divine or supernatural incarnation, made provision for the Holy Spirit, unseen and forever alive, in the Believer. Muhammad as a mortal was seen, died and does not dwell within the heart and soul of man as the Spirit of Allah (for that would be Gabriel, if that Spirit were present.) Muhammad was never Holy.
The Spirit Within
“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment.” (1 Corinthians 10-15)
Our body is not our own. We have been created as a vessel for the Spirit. When it is the Spirit of Truth we can tell right from wrong, and as believers, obey. We grow in the Word, the Spirit made more alive within us as we pursue Him, which we do voluntarily and with thanksgiving.
The Word provides the Truth that is made clear through the Holy Spirit, a reminder and guarantee of God’s Mercy and Grace. Truth is revealed as a person, the person of Jesus, and confirmed through the Spirit within each believer as his commitment to his faith grows.
God speaks and is encountered in the Old Testament in events, in the New Testament through Jesus Christ, and forevermore through the Holy Spirit indwelling in those who believe. The Word, the Bible, connects everyone who seeks Him, His knowledge, His truth and His understanding. Accepting Christ brings the Holy Spirit inside the person and makes the Truth perceptible and most clear. We learn to obey God, we want to obey God, as we have the Spirit that defines the pathway to the eternal kingdom as the Truth is continuously revealed and reinforced in the Word.
The only similarity between the Holy Spirit of Christian faith and the Islamic faith is the angel Gabriel. In the Quran Gabriel appears to be the spirit of Allah that brings messages to the messengers (to Muhammad). It is just the angel, not an indwelling presence in believers. It appears also that Allah directs the spirit, and his inspiration, “to whom he pleases.”Sura 40:15 reads, “…He makes the spirit to light by His command upon whom He pleases of His servants….” It is selective. You may be a believing Muslim, or a cultural Muslim believing as a society practice, but not have the spirit of Allah upon you.
The spirit within Islam may be a guide to the Truth, but it is not clear what that truth may be. As Allah is the Best of Deceivers (Sura 8:30) one can never know what is Truth. Whereas the Bible speaks only Truth, never turning upon itself in any fashion to alter that which is put forth.
As to the angel Gabriel in the Bible as well as the Quran it is Gabriel that announces the Virgin Mary is with child, having never slept with a man. Sura 21:91, “And she who guarded her chastity, so We breathed into her of Our inspiration, and made her son a sign for nations.” It was Allah who made the birth of Jesus possible, as too the Biblical God. The Biblical God accepts responsibility and takes credit as the Father; Jesus is His Son. Allah does not.
An author, Azali, wrote on the web an article entitled, Who is the Holy Spirit in Islam?[i] His writing is detailed and concludes there is no Holy Spirit in Islam. He writes, “…the spirit of the Holy is never called the Holy Spirit in Islam. This is the trick of the translators; they make the spirit of the Holy out to be the Holy Spirit. In Islam the spirit of the Holy is not holy, but he is a property of the Holy, a slave of Allah (Abd Allah), and at the disposal of Allah.”
There are clear distinctions between the spirit of the Quran and the Holy Spirit. Both appear as God or Allah, yet the Quran uses only the angel Gabriel as the deliverer. The Bible uses various forms for God to speak, if speaking is as the spirit of the Lord made known. Also the Son of God is the Person of God, the deliverer of His Word, making known who God is, which in turn remains indwelling in believers post the Resurrection. It is not a choice of God, but the one who accepts Christ and believes who is filled with the Spirit. The Truth is thus made known and affirmed through the Bible; the Word of God.
From the website Answering-Islam[ii]:
“…The God of the Bible is righteous. He abhors evil, and it would be blasphemy for us to say that God creates moral evil.[iii] The central doctrine in the Biblical teaching is its emphasis on a unity in God’s moral character, but Islam does not think of Allah in this way. There is no law of righteousness in the being of Allah. Allah does ‘as He pleases’, states the Quran; He guides men aright or He leads men astray.[iv] When we read, in Sura 15, vv. 29 to 43 and elsewhere, of the legend concerning Satan, we find that Satan says to Allah: ‘As Thou hast beguiled me I will beguile them,’ and the same verb is used of Allah’s beguiling Satan as is used of Satan’s beguiling men. But Christians would regard it as blasphemy to think of the God of the Bible in terms of Satanic activity. The God of the Bible is conditioned by His holy nature. He sets before man life and death, and says to man ‘Choose.’”
From the prior paragraph the “choosing” part means accepting Christ. Also ‘deception’ may be a form of moral evil. God does not deceive. In choosing Christ the believer will find the Holy Spirit taking over, his commitment to the Risen Lord reflected in a daily activity that involves reading the Bible, prayer, obedience, and developing a community of fellow believers. Always thankful for the Grace and Mercy of God the Believer discovers a growing relationship with the Person of the Lord through the Word, which in turn reveals Truth. The Holy Spirit is God indwelling as a reminder and guarantee to use the tools, the gift of God, and to grow in the Spirit of Truth.
An ideology, referred to today as a religion, Islam, was developed over 600 years after Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of all humans. After Christ returned to God the Holy Spirit was made present in brothers of Christ. It is interesting the Bible speaks in 1 Timothy 4:1, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
Thanks Be to God.
“May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Grace and Peace
[iii]Such passages as Isaiah 45:7 (‘I make peace and create evil’) do not imply God’s creation of moral evil, but refer to His ordering of the world which provides both security and calamity (cp. Amos 3:6). This fact is quite clear from the context in both passages. (Source: Ibid. Answering-Islam)
[iv] Islam held to this doctrine in spite of Christian objections, as we may see from the well-known account of the sermon preached by the Khalifa Umar after the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem. Umar quoted Surah 17 v. 99: ‘He whom Allah shall guide shall be guided indeed; and whom He shall mislead thou shall find none to guide.’ A Christian monk interrupted him twice, crying, ‘God forbid; the Lord doth not mislead any one but desires rather the right direction of all.’ Umar silenced him by threatening him with death. (Source: Ibid. Answering-Islam)