Between Allah & Jesus, Part 2

See how the story unfolds between a Christian and a Muslim as they debate Jesus and Muhammad; the Bible and the Qu'ran; and theology and religion, in part two of this book excerpt from "Between Allah and Jesus" by Peter Kreeft.

BY: Peter Kreeft

 

Continued from page 1



“Because you say God’s Word is God’s Son, and you say that that is Jesus. But Jesus is the prophet of God’s Word, not God’s Word. If he is on earth, and human, he cannot be also in heaven and divine. And if he is in heaven and divine, if he is God’s eternal Word in heaven, as you say he is, then he cannot be also a human prophet on earth. That is illogical and contradictory. We believe no such contradictions.”

“It is not a contradiction. It is only a paradox, an apparent contradiction.”

“Well, it certainly seems to be a contradiction. We are more logical than you. We do not believe in paradoxes like that.”

“But I think you do. I think that you believe something just as paradoxical,” Fr. Heerema interjected.

“No, we do not,” ‘Isa answered. “Our Prophet is human and not divine, and our God is divine and not human.”

“But what of your holy book, ‘Isa, your Qur’an? You believe that it is the eternal unchangeable truth and the eternal Word of God, do you not?”

“Yes.”

“So there is a heavenly Qur’an, an eternal Qur’an, in God’s mind eternally?”

“Yes.”

“But there is also an earthly Qur’an, which you read and recite.”

“Yes . . .”

“So how is the earthly Qur’an related to the heavenly Qur’an? Are there two Qur’ans or only one?”

“Only one.”

“So the same Qur’an is both earthly and heavenly.”

“But it is the same Qur’an, one Qur’an, not two—one truth, not two—one divine Word, not two.”

“Whether it is in heaven or on earth?”

“Yes.”

“Well, that is what we believe about Jesus. So if we are associators, so are you. And if you are not, then we are not either.”

‘Isa did not have an immediate answer to this, and Fr. Heerema continued: “ ‘Isa, do you see this book I am carrying?”

“Yes.”

“What is it?”

“It says ‘The Qur’an’ on the title page. But it is not the Qur’an. It is a translation of the Qur’an. The Qur’an is in Arabic, not English. A translation of the Qur’an is not the Qur’an. All it can do is communicate some of the meaning of the Qur’an.”

“And why is the meaning of the Qur’an not the same as the Qur’an?”

“For the same reason the meaning of the ‘Ode to Joy’ is not the same as the ‘Ode to Joy.’ ”

“An interesting comparison. Do you mean that you can’t translate Arabic into English as you can’t translate poetry into prose, without leaving something behind?”

“More than that. The ‘Ode to Joy’ is not just poetry but song. It must be recited. That is what the Qur’an is: recitation. The book in paper is like directions for the book in the human voice, as sheet music is directions for music that is played, or as the words of a play are directions for the actual performance.”

“I find that very interesting. So the Qur’an is more like a play than like a novel?”

“In that sense, yes. But it is not a book of stories, like your Bible. It is a book of eternal truths.”

“But this eternal truth is recited in time, in history, when it is proclaimed.”



“Yes.”



“And this Qur’an is the Word of God?”



“Yes.”



“So the Word of God happens, in time.”



“The recital of it happens. The truth of it is eternal,” ‘Isa said.



“But with that qualification, you would say that the eternal truth, the eternal Word of God, happens in time.”



“Yes.”



“Well, we Christians say the same thing about Jesus.”



“But when you Christians say ‘the Word of God,’ you mean a person, not a book.”



“We mean first of all the person, yes, but also, secondly, the book. But you put the book first.”



“We do.”



“I think we disagree with you about that. We believe in the primacy of the person, the power of the person, the value of the person first of all.”



“Perhaps that is because you do not understand the power of a book,” ‘Isa retorted. “We do. We Muslims understand the power of the Word, the spoken word. It is like the power of music. And in that way, I think perhaps we understand even your book, your Bible, better than you do.”



“What do you mean? Are you saying you understand Christianity better than Christians do?”

Continued on page 3: 'Your Book, Your Bible, Was Once Very Powerful in Your Culture...' »

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