Could Allah Be Our God Too?

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?

There has been a lot of discussion about this recently after a Wheaton professor, Larycia Hawkins, proclaimed that Christians and Muslims do in fact worship the same God, a statement she made to explain her choice to wear a hijab for the length of Advent as an act of solidarity with Muslims.

Our opinions of whether Hawkins ought to be terminated for her words and whether she should or should not have worn a hijab as a method to love her Muslim neighbors may be interesting discussion points, but they are peripheral issues. What I’m most interested in is the question that has arisen more prevalently since all the headlines battling as a result of her actions.

It is a fairly common question, even prior to the gasp-inducing headlines that have ensued after one woman’s choice of words.

Is Allah the same God as the God of Christianity?

I remember five years ago, sitting amid five quiet Somalian women, and one exuberant Egyptian woman, pointing to simple English words and helping them pronounce them, struggling through my own pronunciation of Arabic phrases, while my lovely Egyptian friend laughed loudly at me, her large hand patting me on the back. In the midst of our fledgling friendship the warning given by the leaders of this informal ESL school during our morning meeting kept nagging me: “You can talk about God all you want, but you cannot talk about Jesus.” It was a surprising rule, that all of us, professing Christians, couldn’t share the author and perfecter of our faith with these women who had come to our country as refugees, fleeing death and persecution, looking for hope. But I was warned my first day of volunteering that any mention of Jesus would be met with quick and stern responses from their husbands and their mosque. If they heard one word of us speaking of Jesus as anyone more than man or prophet they would be pulled from these English lessons and forbidden from seeing or speaking with us again. This rule had been established from past experience, Jesus was not to be spoken of.

I remember pouring chai that I had boiled on that kitchen stove, scalded milk, cardamom and black pepper filling the air, carrying it down precariously on a metal tray and serving it to each woman, repeating As-salamu alaykum, the only Arabic I could remember well enough to use regularly. I remember watching their comfortable, stoic interactions with their children who ran around wildly and happily while we went over pronouncing the word “pencil”, they would whisper in Arabic to one another, laughing together. There was a lot to admire about these women who had endured so much, who were starting over in a foreign land and working hard to learn the skills they needed to function in an alien culture. I remember coming to love these women, despite our limited words. And I remember the hard look of their husbands’ eyes when they came to take them home after lessons had finished. I remember wondering if they could see how desperately I wanted these women to know the freedom Jesus offered them, and if that was the reason they looked at me with such animosity every time they came to retrieve their wives.

Do we worship the same God if they fear the name of Jesus because he undoes their religion, while I fear him in awe of his being my Creator and Rescuer?

I remember sitting on the upper floor of the evangelical church of Egypt, listening to the stories of those who had converted to Christianity from Islam. I won’t ever forget the calm face of the pastor as he told of a woman who decided to follow Jesus, and shortly thereafter was murdered at the hands of her Muslim brother and father who had pushed her from a four-story window because of her apostasy, her’s was one of many stories like it.

I remember waking to the siren for the call to prayer and the drone of Arabic over all the mosque’s loud-speakers, synchronized and drowning out all other sounds of Cairo’s bustling life. The faithful prostrating themselves before Allah, hoping their zealous efforts would be enough to win his favor.

I remember watching Burkha clad women, faceless, their gloved hands holding the small brown hands of their children and walking behind their husbands who wore shorts in the 115 degree heat.

Do we worship the same God?

Their God is distant, unknowable, demanding, devoid of mercy. Mine came down from his distance, breaking into humanity to be knowable, and met all his holy demands in himself as we drained the life from his body. Can they be one in the same?

I remember the first time someone told me they believed Muslims and Christians worshiped the same God. I think I may have laughed aloud reflexively. As I thought of all the women I knew in Burkhas, whose god declared them secondary property. I thought of my friends in hijab who believed they had to hold tightly to their five pillars or risk the wrath of their Allah, never really certain if he looked on them with favor or disdain. I thought of all those men who feared the name of Jesus because he undid everything they’d built their lives on.

No, we do not worship the same God.

Their Allah is holy, yes. He is powerful, yes. He is a distant imposter built on the ideas of the God of Abraham, but the similarities end there. He is not good, and he does not love. He demands enslavement and offers uncertainty.

My God is perfectly good, loving, and faithful, and so knowable that his spit touched the eyes of a blind man, that his hands washed the feet of his followers, and there were those who touched his hands and side scarred by the evil of humanity. He is so loving that he breathed his last breath on our behalf. My God is certain and does not need to force our affections violently or coercively; he draws us to him with his own deep affection and care for us, and he assures us of his unconditional favor by his own work on that blood-stained wood, not our ability to hold up pillars that crumble by the failing hands of humanity. He demands faith in the freedom he gives openly, and he offers certain, unfailing hope.

Christians have an absolutely certain responsibility to share this unfailing hope we have in this Jesus with our Muslim neighbors. They need him as much as we do, so we must speak the name of Jesus as God; that name that created riots and turned pious men into blood-thirsty murderers as they shouted, “crucify him!” with greater passion than any prayer they had uttered.

Declaring Jesus as God is still a violent theological utterance. It makes enemies, and it is also the only way that we can love our enemies fully. The incarnation of Jesus Christ, the coming down of God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, is the intersection at which every other religion breaks down. Jesus declared himself to be God and to be the only way to know God,  was murdered for his words, and defeated death to prove their truth.

Hawkins words were her attempt at trying to love her Muslim neighbors, this much I can agree with her on: that we ought to love them. But to announce that we worship the same God is not how we love a people who are enslaved to an imposter god.

May we love our Muslim neighbors, may we serve them, befriend them, and care for them; and may we love them enough to show them Jesus, the one God who loves them deeply and offers them himself.

***
For further reading on the “Same God” debate, check out these articles:
Muslims and Christians Do Not Worship the Same God
The ‘Same God’ Debate Is Too Important to Leave to Philosophers

 

 

23 comments

  1. Christians, Jews and Muslims all pray to the same God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jews don’t accept Jesus as Messiah either, but you don’t hear Christians saying the God of the Jews is a different God – just that their understanding of God is different or incomplete. I suspect this is the kind of “substitution” that comes from racism, fear and ignorance.

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    1. I suggest you take the time to read the two articles I linked

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      1. Thank you for the invitation, but I dealt with this question for years in Seminary courses already. I’ve read and studied all three sacred texts, and I’ve lived among all three kinds of adherents. It’s the same God.

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  2. Nick Haisch · · Reply

    You are really just preaching to the choir here. I read your whole post and was really hoping you would quote some verses from either holy text and compare or contrast their points of view. Instead you insulted and belittled their faith & God while building up your own. This is the kind of thinking that drives a wedge between two cultures and religions, making matters worst.

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  3. Nick Haisch · · Reply

    You are really just preaching to the choir here. I read your whole post and was really hoping you would quote some verses from either holy text and compare or contrast their points of view. Instead you insulted and belittled their faith & God while building up your own. This is the kind of thinking that drives a wedge between two cultures and religions, making matters worst.

    By the way, I’m not even saying they are the same God.

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    1. Quoting verses from each religion’s scriptures would not change her central tenet–that Jesus Christ is incompatible with the Muslim view of God. I once had the privilege of hearing a Kurdish Iraqi share his testimony of how he left Islam for faith in Christ, and he explained the difference between the two faiths thus: “Jesus Christ died for me? That is not Allah. Allah doesn’t die for anyone–you die for Allah.”

      He is now sharing that truth in a part of the world where he could lose his life for those beliefs; he does it because he thinks the difference between Christ and Allah matters. I agree we should not be unnecessarily divisive or incite people to violence over differences in belief; however, that doesn’t mean we should pretend that those differences don’t exist or have real consequences.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your comment, Sarah. Wonderfully said.
        And Nick, I think it is important to distinguish between insult and disagreement. We can disagree without insulting or belittling someone.
        Thank you both for your comments

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  4. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. Yes, our God is love – love to the extent of absolute sacrifice on our behalf. He pursues us with enduring affection.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Hannah

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  5. nick haisch · · Reply

    The difference between insult and disagreement is all in the delivery. Your delivery swings heavy towards insult.

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    1. Noted. Considering the bulk of the delivery was simply recounting things that I saw in an Islamic country and learned from those formerly of the Islamic faith and was told directly by those who worked intimately with them in an effort to serve them. How would you propose delivery to avoid what you deem insulting?

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      1. nick haisch · ·

        Imagine having a face to face conversation with a Muslim and saying this.

        “Their Allah is holy, yes. He is powerful, yes. He is a distant imposter built on the ideas of the God of Abraham, but the similarities end there. He is not good, and he does not love. He demands enslavement and offers uncertainty.”

        How to you think they would take that. Would they be offended? Would create a constructive conversation?

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      2. I don’t have to imagine that conversation, I’ve had it. I think you’re once again confusing terms, offending someone is not the same as belittling or insulting them. And just because someone walks away from a conversation offended does not mean that it wasn’t constructive.
        Let’s put this concept another way;
        Say I have a friend who believes her husband to be faithful to her, but I have seen him with another woman. It is my obligation to tell my friend the truth: that her husband is unfaithful, she may initially be offended to hear me speak of her husband that way, she may even walk away unhearing initially. But my obligation to tell her the truth remains if I am going to be a loving friend.
        Now, if I were to insult or belittle her I would say something about her lack of judgement, poor choice in husband, or something of her character etc.. that would be neither constructive nor would it necessarily be true.
        The bulk of my post was experiential, and I ended indicating that we ought to love our Muslim neighbors generously, so generously that we are willing to share the Gospel with them, regardless of the hostility that it may be met with. Because they are enslaved to a god who is neither true nor worthy of their devotion. And just as I needed someone to share with me the truth and good news of the gospel: that Jesus is God and that he died on our behalf out of his great love for us, in order to be freed from the imposter gods that enslaved me, they need to hear that truth too. To do anything less isn’t love.

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  6. nick haisch · · Reply

    I think it might be more like…..

    You have a friend who loves her husband. You see her husband out to dinner with another woman. You then go back and tell your friend about the situation. In doing so you tell her that her husband is not a “good” person, doesn’t “love” her and you can’t believe she is with “slave” driver like him. She is offended and insulted that you would speak about the love of her life like that and belittle his character. You get all your feelings out about how you don’t like her husband and it turns out he went out to dinner with his sister. It actually turns out her husband is not a horrible person. Not perfect, not that same as your husband, but they have a perfectly happy family and they love each other very much.

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    1. It seems quite clear you had more issue with my conclusions than my delivery.

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  7. Hi Lydia,

    Here are a few quick thoughts and clarifying questions in response to your post:

    1. “Allah” is the word that Arab Christians use for God (and even used for God before the founding of Islam). Are you suggesting that Arab Christians worship a different God than European Christians?

    2. Both Christians and Muslims claim to worship the God that Abraham worshipped (as you mention in the post). Abraham worshipped only one God. Therefore, the logical conclusion seems to be that both faiths claim to worship the same God. Would you at least agree that both faiths claim to worship the same God?

    3. It seems you are arguing that Muslims do not worship God in the correct way (because they do not acknowledge the divinity of Jesus). However, this is different than arguing that Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God. Even Abraham did not recognize the divinity of Jesus, although most Christians believe that Abraham worshipped the same God that Christians worship today. For clarification, are you arguing that Abraham worshipped the same God as modern Christians, or that Abraham worshipped a different God than modern Christians?

    The view that Muslims and Christians (and Jews) worship the same God is a common view within mainstream and historical Christianity. This was the view promoted in my Bible classes at Seattle Pacific, and seems to be the view held by most (non-Evangelical) Christian denominations. Even C.S. Lewis (a writer admired by Evangelicals, although not Evangelical himself) promoted the idea that all pious worship is worship to the one true God (e.g., in “The Last Battle”, Emeth’s worship of Tash was attributed to Aslan).

    Anyway, good post for encouraging discussion.

    Best,
    David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment David.
      1. Obviously I am not implying that Arab Christians and European Christians are worshiping a different God, I think the bulk of my post makes that clear, that it’s faith in Jesus alone, regardless of nationality that allows us to know and worship the One God. I am aware that “Allah” is the Arab word for god, but I have known many former Muslims now Christians who distinguish between Allah and the God of Christianity. And many Muslims I know will still use the word “Allah” in reference to their god, even as primarily English speakers. I assumed it would be recognized colloquially and not necessarily literally. I opted for using Allah synonymously with the god of Islam just to make the post easier to read (because sometimes I just get tired of typing “the god of”, but I can see how that could be confusing to some. In the future I’ll try and reword things differently so that is clearer.
      2. Yes, Muslims claim to worship the same God Abraham worshiped, but my point is that claim is erroneous. The post I linked at the end goes into greater detail on that subject historically (and better than I could).
      Those of the Muslim faith deny Jesus’ divinity post-incarnation, whereas
      to say Abraham didn’t recognize the divinity of Jesus pre-incarnation is a false claim, he couldn’t deny what had not yet happened, Abraham never denied the divinity of Jesus because Jesus came long after Abraham’s death. But it is clear that Jesus affirms Abraham and the Jews who faithfully followed the One God (and later the author of Hebrews confirms this as well), and those Jews who did worship God recognized Jesus as divine and rejoiced at his coming, including those who learned of him post-ascension (i.e. Paul and the church that sprang up after consisting of both Jews and Gentiles).
      While Muslims do claim they worship the same god as Abraham, I posit that is a false claim, to say one thing is not the same as it being true. Just as the Israelites built a golden calf, called it God, and attributed all that God had done for them to that golden calf does not make that golden calf the same god.
      As Jesus said, “no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6b), anyone who denies Jesus post-incarnation can’t be worshiping the same God, regardless of seeming similarities.
      As for Lewis’ comment, 1. I don’t think it is wise to build theological foundations on a fictional children’s book, though Lewis illustrates many aspects of Christianity beautifully in the Narnia series, we should be wary of using them as our primary source of defense of an idea.
      In Lewis’ book Mere Christianity, where he is actually making theological defenses he says this:
      “If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. […] But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong.”
      Now, I suppose you could look at that and say, Lewis believed that they worshiped the same God and were just wrong about Jesus (which is arguably the most important thing to be right about). And maybe he did believe that, but there are plenty of places I disagree with Lewis on, even if he is very right in most other areas.
      What I am arguing is that Islam has a holy god, and even a singular god, and those are pieces of truth, but often the most beautiful lies are the ones with bits of truth mixed in them.
      Yes, Muslims believe they are worshiping the one true God, the God of Abraham, but they are mistaken, and it’s an oppressive, dangerous lie to believe.
      It isn’t a matter of worshiping God the “correct” way, it’s that you cannot know nor worship him at all without Jesus. And I have many dear friends who are devoted to this god who is not worthy of their affections.
      And I know many men who hate the utterance of Jesus as God because he changes everything when people see him for who he is, and it is very clear that the god of Islam is not compatible with the person of Jesus.
      As usual, I appreciate your comments, your intelligent and thought-provoking questions, and your overall tone of respect. It’s a rarity among the internet world, so thank you. And thank you for your first point, I will be more careful with my wording in the future.
      Lydia

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Lydia,

    Thanks for answering my questions. I think you have articulated yourself clearly, and that your views are representative of the more conservative branch of Evangelicalism. (I grew up in a conservative Evangelical church and am familiar with this perspective.)

    The biggest problem with the view that Christians and Muslims worship different Gods is that it is a polytheistic view, and is inconsistent with the historical Christian creeds. For centuries, Christians have affirmed that there is only one God. To say that:

    “Their God is distant, unknowable, demanding, devoid of mercy. Mine came down from his distance, breaking into humanity to be knowable, and met all his holy demands in himself as we drained the life from his body.”

    is to suggest that there are two Gods, a Christian God and a Muslim God. Interestingly, this is similar to the polytheistic views of ancient Israel (and other ancient Canaanite tribes), that there are many gods, but Yahweh is the greatest of the gods (i.e., greater than the gods of the other tribes). It is a pernicuous belief that has popped up in modern Evangelical culture as well (e.g., Chris Tomlin’s worship song, “Our God [is greater]”).

    If we affirm the historical Christian creeds, that there is only one God, then Muslims either worship or do not worship this one God. It does not make logical sense to say that there is only one God, and that Muslims worship a different God. If Muslims do not worship the one God, the God of Christians, and the God of Jews, then who do Muslims worship when they direct their prayers at the creator of the universe, a distant and powerful God much like the God of the Old Testament?

    As always, thanks for engaging in healthy debate.

    Best,
    David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. P.S. I came across a special edition of the Occasional Bulletin from the Evangelical Missiological Society, on the topic, “What are the missiological implications of affirming, or denying, that Muslims and Christians worship the same God?” It was created in response to the Wheaton-Hawkins situation (although it does not address the situation specifically), and includes a number of different perspectives on this issue from Christian professors within the Evangelical community. I thought you would appreciate reading it because your post also addressed the missiological implications of affirming or denying that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. The full bulletin can be read for free here:

      https://www.emsweb.org/images/occasional-bulletin/special-editions/OB_SpecialEdition_2016.pdf

      Also, thanks for the links you provided. It was interesting reading McGrew’s perspective on the issue.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for the link, it’s lengthy (and I have little ankle biters running around most of the day) so I haven’t had a chance to read it through completely, but it has been an interesting read thus far.
      I think the issue you’re taking here is a linguistic one. In using the term the “god of Islam” I’m not saying that their god is an actual being, but referring to their worship of something.
      For instance in the command, “you shall have no other gods before me, (Exodus 20:3)” it isn’t suggesting that there are other actual gods in existence, but rather it is a term used synonymously with idolatry. That is, anything that we worship besides the One God (the only God who actually exists) is our idol/god (an action that is a crime against God).
      Again like the story of the Israelites with the golden calf. Aaron announced “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”, now, God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, so this true event that God did for them was now ascribed to the golden calf. That doesn’t make the golden calf God, nor does worshiping the calf actually make it have existence as a being, the calf as god is simply a manmade idea to take the place of God, using true language about God and ascribing it to something else, a lesser “god” or idol, but still a non-entity and not God.
      So saying the “god of Islam” does not affirm that Islam is worshiping an actual being, but rather an idea about God, an idea that is not synonymous with the God revealed to the Israelites and ultimately through Jesus Christ, and though there are similarities the differences are significant and important enough to distinguish.
      While Muslims believe their god to be the creator of the universe, powerful, etc, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is an actual being nor that he is the One God who actually did create the universe.
      The god of Islam may have elements of what is the nature of The One God, pieces of his character they have adopted and adapted to their religion, but the differences are enough that it is not reconcilable with the person of Jesus Christ, and as such it cannot be God, but a man-made idea about God that is in opposition to how he has revealed himself to humanity through the person of Jesus Christ.
      Thanks again for the great questions.
      Lydia

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well said. Yes, I did not actually think you believed there are multiple gods. I was trying to make a connection between the “us vs. them” language you were using and the language used by Israel during its formative, tribal years (i.e., with Moses & Joshua, when each tribe had its own god to protect it in battle). For example, in Deuteronomy 32:8-9 (NRSV), El Elyon (translated as “God Most High” & referenced by Melchizedek in Genesis 14:19 as “maker of heaven and earth”) assigns Yahweh (translated as “the Lord”) to Israel, and other gods to other tribes:

        “When the Most High apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods; the Lord’s own portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share.”

        I interpret this passage as saying that God the Creator was assigning one of his Sons, Yahweh, to be the God of Israel. This is partially consistent with Christianity in that Jesus is believed to be Yahweh-in-the-flesh. However, it is inconsistent with Christianity in that, in Christianity, Jesus is believed to be the one and only Son of God the Creator (or God the Father). To me, this passage suggests that early Israel (circa Moses & Joshua) was influenced by other semitic faith traditions.

        In fact, there is compelling evidence that Israel did not have monothestic views in the formative years. Consider that the Torah includes both polytheistic language (e.g., Deuteronomy 10:17) and monotheistic language (e.g., Deuteronomy 4:35). A number of hypotheses have been proposed to explain why this occurs (none of which are perfect), but the general idea is that Israel was henotheistic (worshipped one God, Yahweh, the God of Israel, but acknowledged the existence of other gods) in the formative years before they fully adopted a monotheistic worldview (possibly around the time of King Josiah, circa 622 BCE). The Torah (according to this theory) was composed by a priest/scribe, such as Ezra, after the Babylonian exile in order to give the people of Israel an identity (this is also believed to be the start of Judaism). The integration of ancient, henotheistic fragments with then-modern monotheistic ideas, helps to explain the fragmentary nature of the first five books of the Bible (e.g., two creation accounts in Genesis 1 & 2).

        I realize that you probably hold to the traditional view that Moses wrote the Torah, and so this is likely where we disagree. And I’m confident that you are clever enough to find monotheistic interpretations of Deuteronomy 10:17 and Deuteronomy 32:8-9 as well, so that you can continue to hold to the traditional view. : )

        With this said, I think we can both agree that there is only one God, and so the question becomes, “Given that only one God exists, to what extent does each person, or each group (e.g., Christians, Muslims) understand this one God?” I would argue that none of us fully understands God, and also that there are overlaps between the Muslim and Christian understanding of God (as you acknowledged as well). I would also argue that specific information about Jesus and his nature is not required to have a partial understanding of the one true God. Paul affirms this in Romans 1:20 (NRSV):

        “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.”

        If Christians and Muslims both have an incomplete understanding of the one true God, and we all direct our worship to this God out of our incomplete understandings, then both Muslims and Christians worship the same God, albeit neither group does so perfectly.

        Anyway, I appreciate these conversations because I always learn something new. Thanks again for discussing these ideas with me.

        -David

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Some interesting points, I’m unfamiliar with the theory of henotheism, it certainly sounds like an interesting topic to read about further. Thanks for mentioning it! If you have any suggested reading on the topic let me know.
        I just wanted to make a final comment, mainly in regard to your reference to Romans 1:20, as a former biblical studies major I just can’t let that poorly contextualized comment sit there 😉
        While Paul does affirm an understanding of the nature of God revealed to all men this isn’t to affirm the gods of other religions.
        To begin with Paul is addressing all peoples here, not just those who worship a singular “god”, and his point is not to affirm them and their worship, but rather to reveal their guilt that necessitates their need for Jesus’ saving grace to intercede on their behalf.
        In Hodge’s Commentary on Romans he says this:
        “the English translation seems to imply too much. The apostle does not mean to say that everything that may be known concerning God was revealed to the heathen, but simply that the knowledge they had about him made their impiety inexcusable […] Though God’s revelation in his deeds is sufficient to give men no excuse, it does not follow that it is enough to lead men, blinded by sin, to saving knowledge of himself.”
        So, yes, as I’ve said Muslims (and all other religions) have an incomplete view of God, and because of this incomplete view, they are worshiping something other than God. Though I am willing to say the god of Islam has more in common with God than most other religions, it is still incomplete, and the incompleteness is enough to say they are different. Which later in Romans 1 Paul writes about humanity’s propensity to turn from our Creator to created things (which I would argue includes our ideas/gods/idols etc).
        But Christianity has the fullest possible picture of God because of Jesus. God became man, to reveal himself to us very specifically (and irreconcilably to any other god of any other religion).
        So I disagree with your assertion that “Christians and Muslims both have an incomplete understanding of the one true God” Christianity is complete because of Jesus. Certainly not complete in the sense that we know all there is to know about God, but complete in the sense that we know the fullest of what God has revealed about Himself to humanity.

        Thanks again, your comments always make for some interesting, challenging, and fruitful dialogue.
        Take care,
        Lydia

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Interesting. I’ll have to read Hodge’s commentary. Thanks for the reference. 🙂

    Michael Heiser, an academic editor for the Logos Bible software, provides a good overview of various theistic perspectives in the Hebrew Bible (including henotheism):

    http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1276&context=lts_fac_pubs

    In terms of Bible scholarship, Heiser is on the conservative end of the spectrum (placing more emphasis on the text than on archeological and/or historical evidence), so I thought you would appreciate his perspective.

    Grace and Peace,
    David

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