We live in a world with many different deities. There is the God of the Bible, Allah of the Koran, the Mormon deity, and others like Odysseus, Odin, Dionysius, et cetera. This can be a problem, since only one can be true. How does one determine which one it is?
The standard way that any deity will reveal him or herself would be through a written document. Since the God of the Bible’s document differs from all the rest, let us take a look at some of its characteristics.
- The Bible was written over a period of 1,500 years (1,400 BC – 100 AD). It consists of 66 books written by about 40 writers. It is important that the many different writers over the long period of time, had one central theme: God’s plan to establish an eternal Kingdom of peace. Also, there is one main person who is central to the whole plan, Jesus, the Son of God.
- The Bible is filled with history. God promised the land Canaan to Abraham.1 Subsequent events focus mainly on Canaan, though the Israelites became a nation in Egypt. After the Exodus they settled in Canaan. Later they were exiled by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Though both world powers are no more, we have ample evidence that they existed. Many events in the Bible can be traced to the places they happened, like King Saul who died on Mount Gilboa in Israel.
From the above, we can expect that the testimony of a deity should be accompanied by a history which took place in a country. That is the minimum requirement. It proves that the deity can control history and is therefore omnipotent. It is easy to write an account of some god or of his sayings, without any historical references. Yet how can one prove that it is the product of a supernatural agent and not of men?
Let us look for instance at the difference between the God of the Bible and the ‘God’ of the Koran (Allah). How can one determine which one is the true God? Let us apply the above standards to the Koran.
- Mohammed claimed that an angel called Gabriel (not the Biblical Gabriel) gave him revelations over a period of 23 years around 609-632 AD. After his death they were collected and became the Koran. That is vastly different from the Bible’s about 40 writers over a period of 1,500 years.
- Is the Koran a book of history? There is little original history in the Koran. We find many references to mainly Biblical historical people and events. Why did Allah think it is wise to let Mohammed quote Biblical history, which differs from the Bible’s in quite a few cases? 2
- Notably absent in the Koran, is Allah’s own country. Since Mohammed was an Arab, we expect that it could have been some part of Arabia. Yet in this aspect, the Koran fails to measure up to the Bible and its historical setting in Israel.
When we discuss or compare different religions and have to decide which one to believe, we have to compare their books. It is especially important to compare them to the Bible’s unique characteristics. That is because all of the other gods and deities are in opposition to the God of the Bible. The uniqueness of the structure and revelation of the Bible tells us that it is not a human, but a supernatural product. The other gods and deities should do the same before we take them seriously.
- Genesis 15:7
- J Gilchrist, The Qur’an, The Scripture of Islam, Life Challenge Africa, 1995, 2003, p 32-36, 89-100