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Archive for the ‘koran’ Category

GO TO PART 4

This is the last installment in this series (unless another pressing passage needs to be addressed).  Surah 4:157 is probably the strangest passage Muslims try to use to prove that the Quran teaches that the Bible has been textually corrupted.  Instead of establishing that the Bible has been corrupted, Surah 4:157 is an excellent example of how the Quran has the problem of conflicting and contradicting the teaching of the Bible while suffering from the problem that the Quran as a whole upholds the Bible as authoritative and having been faithfully transmitted.  Thus, any contradiction that the Quran has with the Bible poses a problem that is internal to the Islamic religion/worldview.

Below are three English translations of this passage, though afterwards all citation of the Quran will be from Yusuf Ali’s translation:

Sahih International

And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.

Yusuf Ali

That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

Shakir

And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the messenger of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure.

From this verse, a Muslim apologist proceeds with the following reason:

Here is another explicit verse speaking of Bible corruption, the Quran states that if anyone believes that Jesus died and was crucified they then follow nuthing but CONJECTURE which is corruption. Which book today tells us that Jesus died and was crucified? The Bible, so hence the Quran here does call the Bible corrupt. So it cant get anymore clear than that.

But does this verse really teaches that the Bible has been corrupted?  Let’s take a closer look at the Quran itself and this Muslim apologist’s argument.

Establishing the Context:  Surah 4 is titled “The Women.”  It is a long chapter in the Quran that addresses many social issues such as sex, marriage, inheritance, etc.  Verse 157 is situated in a section beginning at verse 153 through 176 which focuses on the subject of the unbelief of the people of the Book (Jews and Christians).

Exegesis

(1) It is rather strange that anyone can say of Surah 4:157 that this “is another explicit verse speaking of Bible corruption” when nowhere within this verse or the surrounding context does it have anything to do with Scripture nor the Bible.  Furthermore, there are not any verbs for  “writing,”  hence this verse cannot be the basis for proving that the written transmission of Scripture has been textually corrupted since it does not even address the topic of writing, let alone the Scriptures of the Jews or Christians!

(2) Again, this verse cannot be “another explicit verse speaking of Bible corruption.”  Our Muslim apologist wrongfully thinks that following conjecture is the same thing as textually corrupting the text of Scripture when he states: “Quran states that if anyone believes that Jesus died and was crucified they then follow nuthing but CONJECTURE which is corruption.”  Again, looking at Surah 4:157, following conjecture is not the same thing as corrupting the transmission of God’s revelation in the Old or the New Testament!

(3) Closer examination of Surah 4:157 further refutes our Muslim assumption that following conjecture is equal with textual corruption of the Bible from what it originally says.  The Muslim apologist asked rhetorically, “Which book today tells us that Jesus died and was crucified? The Bible, so hence the Quran here does call the Bible corrupt.”  Of course, it’s the Christian portion of the Bible (the New Testament) that teaches “Jesus died and was crucified.”  However, Surah 4:157 was not talking about Christians and the followers of Christ when it describes those who had “only conjecture to follow.”  The beginning of the verse shows clearly that the subjects are those that “said (in boast), ‘We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.’” Surah 4:157 is talking about the Jewish religious leaders who were against Jesus and had Him put to death, not Christians and their Scriptures!  If conjecture is the same thing as changing the transmission of Scripture as this Muslim assumes, and in light of his other assumption that the corrupt change done to the Scripture (Old Testament) was to teach “Jesus died and was crucified” (I’m not talking about Messianic prophecies but that “Jesus” was the name and referent of the one who died and was crucified) then how come there are no textual evidence of Old Testament manuscripts mentioning “Jesus died and was crucified?”  It is a puzzling quagmire the Muslim apologist has gotten himself into when he tries to force Surah 4:157 to talk about the Scriptures, when it’s not talking about it at all.

(4) Furthermore, in the greater context of Surah 4, Surah 4:157 could not possibly teach that the Bible has been textually corrupted unless Muslims want to say that this verse contradicts with what the rest of the Surah’s view of the Bible: namely, that the Bible is still authoritative and without textual corruption.  Readers should consult part 2 of this series to see how Surah 4:46 at first glance might seem to deny the Bible’s faith textual transmission ends up affirming instead, along with the discussion of Surah 4:47 as further support.

(5) Everything stated earlier is not to say that Surah 4:157 does not conflict with the New Testament’s teaching that Jesus Christ the Son of Mary was killed and crucified.  Of course it does, but Surah 4:157 does not say that the Bible has been corrupted from it’s original content.

(6) Can the Muslim apologist reason that since Surah 4:157 contradicts what the Bible teaches, and that the Quran and the Bible ought not to contradict then therefore it’s the Bible that has been textually corrupted?  The Muslim cannot resolve this difficulty with this conclusion since the door to this conclusion is closed by the context of Surah 4 and the whole of the Quran when it affirms  the Bible’s authority and accurate transmission.  Instead, this allows the Christian apologist to make the case that in light of Surah 4:157 contradicting with the Bible’s Matthew 27-28, 1 Corinthians 15, etc., in light of the Quran’s own bibliology, it’s the Quran’s that’s in trouble when it conflicts with the Bible’s teaching.  And that’s the dilemma for the Muslim: Why does Surah 4:157 not submit to the authority of God’s revelation in the Bible but conflict against it?  If the Muslim affirm what the Quran teaches, that the Bible is authoritative and has not been lost nor forgotten, then they ought to reject what the Quran teaches in Surah 4:157.  However, if the Muslim instead affirm Surah 4:157 as true while rejecting the New Testament teachings, inherently they still reject what the Quran teaches, concerning the Bible’s authority and faithful transmission.  Either way, the rational dilemma is there: Muslims will have to deny the Quran themselves sooner or later.

Instead, hear the Words of the New Testament and it’s organic unity with the Old Testament:

For I delivered to you [b]as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

(1 Corinthians 15:3-5)

As verse 3 makes it clear, Christ did die–and he died “for our sins.”  That’s what the Bible teaches.  I pray that those Words go deep and God will use it to bring about faith in anyone reading this who have not yet trusted in the Person and Works of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection to make righteous those who realize their sins and need to be reckoned right with God.

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