American beliefs – do all religions lead to the same God?

Do all religions lead to the same God?  When Americans were asked to react to the statement, God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, more than half agreed, with 46% strongly agreeing.  Just based on an approximate 70+% of Americans claiming to be Christian, that number is surprising. 

do all religions lead to the same GodAnd disappointing.  It means, right or wrong, only about two-thirds of American Christians even think they know enough about their claimed religion to have a strong response to the statement.

Consider the image – either to the right or below – with three paths.  There could be more.  Two of them appear to go into a city.  The other appears to go to the right, probably bypassing the city.

But let’s say those were paths to God.  This question is especially for Christians – does it make sense that the path would split and there are multiple ways to reach God?  Before you answer, let me remind you of some things that your God, the God of the Bible, said.

The Narrow and Wide Gates

Mt 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Small gate, narrow road, hard to find.  No, that doesn’t line up with all roads leading to the same God.  Not at all.

In fact, further exploration shows that the image above is pretty much the opposite of what’s told in the Bible.  That, of course, is the Christian belief.  Jews disagree.  So do Muslims.  And since they are the only ones who even claim to have any sort of belief in the God of the Bible, I won’t even get into other religions.

Do Christianity and Judaism lead to the same God?

From the Jewish viewpoint, strictly speaking, I have to say yes, but.

We’ll see that in the Old Testament, faith in God was required.  Abraham was the example for that faith.

However, when Jesus came, the New Testament times began with the New Covenant.  While He is the same God, He is more fully revealed to us, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  As of that time, belief in Jesus as the Son of God and our source of salvation is now required.  We’ll get into that as well.

So yeah, the Jewish God leads to the same God as Christians believe in.  However, in the New Testament we are taught more about Him.  We find we can have a much closer relationship with Him.  And rather than a list of “Do nots”, we have a command to love.  

Old Testament Israelites, Hebrew people, Jews

Paul has a somewhat lengthy and difficult passage in Romans that addresses the Old Testament Jews.

Abraham Justified by Faith

Ro 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Christianity, no matter what some may claim, is not about us going things to earn God’s favor.  There’s nothing we can do – to amount of tasks we can perform – to earn God’s favor.  To make up for our sins.  The only thing He asks of us is faith.  Not an action.  Faith. 

The thing is, we look at faith today as just saying some magic words.  For instance, the so-called sinner’s prayer, which isn’t in the Bible.  In John 3:16-18, Jesus says we need to believe in Him.

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

The thing is, that word “believe” in verse 18 isn’t as simple as we make it out to be today either.  The word Jesus used for “believe” involves a belief so strong that we feel compelled to take action because of it.  Sometimes people get hung up on this.

Some don’t believe any action is required at all.  But a lack of action indicates we also have a lack of belief.

On the other hand, the action itself isn’t required.  It’s the faith and the belief that bring about the action.  Please see Are we supposed to Believe God, Believe in God or Follow God? for much more on this concept of belief in Jesus.  

Ro 4:4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
Ro 4:7 “Blessed are they
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Ro 4:8 Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”

And now we get into Abraham, the father of the Jewish people.

Ro 4:9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Here it comes – Abraham’s faith.

Ro 4:13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

This is one of many places where Paul talks about the Jewish law.  It wasn’t meant to save people.  It was meant to show when we sin.  Sacrifices were then to be made for those sins.  But Jesus was the final sacrifice, for all who believe in Him.  As such, with the New Covenant, the only atonement for sin was Jesus. 

That’s why Jesus is the path to salvation for us today.  More on that in a moment. 

Ro 4:16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
Ro 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

As I said, a rather lengthy and complicated discussion of why Abraham, and his offspring, were saved by faith.

New Testament people – all people, including Jews

With Jesus, a new Covenant was brought in.  One that was foretold throughout the Old Testament, the time of the old Covenant.  So it wasn’t, or shouldn’t have been, a surprise to the people in Jesus’ time.  Or, for that matter, to anyone today.

Without getting into a whole lot of stuff that will make this incredibly long, let’s just go through the passage below.  The timeframe is one of the instances where Jesus tells His disciples that He will be leaving them.

Jesus the Way to the Father

Jn 14:5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jn 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

This verse shows two of the persons of the Trinity, with the third implied.  The mentioned ones, of course, are Jesus and the Father.  Thomas, as well as the other disciples and us today, will know and understand – to the extent we are able – the things Jesus speaks of when we have the Holy Spirit.

For more on the Trinity of God, I highly recommend the previous article in this series, Messed up American Theology: Is The Trinity One Christian God?

Jn 14:8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jn 14:9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

So there is one way to God.  One way to eternal life.  And it’s through Jesus.  Belief in Jesus, with all that word “belief” entails.

Do Jewish people really need to believe in Jesus?

As we go through the next passage from Romans, keep in mind that Paul, the author, was Jewish.  A Pharisee, in fact.  Now, here’s what he says, as a follower of Christ.  It’s part of his letter to the  church in Rome.

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

Ro 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

Notice what Paul write about faith.  It’s so important.

Ro 1:11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

Notice that even though Paul is one of the Apostles, leaders in the new group of Christ followers, he still writes, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.  Again – the importance of faith, for all of us, no matter how long we’ve been a Christian.

Ro 1:14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.

One way of describing all people.  Although – I must point out, wise and foolish wasn’t meant at all the way we use those words today.  Again, it’s beyond today’s scope.  Just keep that in mind.

Ro 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

And here in the past portion is the key.  for the salvation of everyone who believes.  Since Paul was himself a Jew – first for the Jew.  And then for the Gentile.  And if you’re not aware, Gentile was the word they used for everyone who wasn’t Jewish.  Everyone.

Ultimately we see, preaching the Gospel, salvation through Jesus, was for everyone.  No exceptions.  

We should realize that, given the Great Commission we receive from Jesus.

The Great Commission

Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said,All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

You see – there aren’t any exceptions in there.  All nations.  Which in today’s words means all people.  Men and women.  All ethnicities.  No exceptions.  Everybody.  And yes, that also means Jews, Muslims and other religions.  It also means those that claim to be Christian, but aren’t, such as Jehovah’s Witness that doesn’t believe Jesus is the Son of God.  Rather, they believe Jesus was created by God, therefore not God, which is completely opposite of what Christianity teaches.

Does Islam lead to the same God – the God of the Bible?

In a word, No.  Islam does not lead to the same God as Christianity, the God of the Bible.  That’s one reason I always refer to the god of Islam as Allah.  There are many reasons this is the case, but I’ll give just two here.

Old Testament – Allah is not the same God as Judaism and Christianity 

Judaism, and from there Christianity, trace roots back through Abraham and Isaac.

On the other hand, Islam traces its roots back through Abraham and Ishmael.

There’s a problem with that second one.  Let’s see why.

All three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – claim to have Abraham as the “father” of their religion.  The reality is, only two of them do.  We’ll start with God’s original promise to Abram – not Abraham – and go from there.

God’s Covenant With Abram

Yes – God’s covenant with Abram.  There’s going to be a name change, from Abram to Abraham.  When we get there’s I’ll explain the importance of that name change.

Ge 15:1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:
“Do not be afraid, Abram.
I am your shield,
your very great reward.”
Ge 15:2 But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Ge 15:4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

So Abram is going to have a child.

Ge 15:6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

When we looked at Abraham being righteous because of his faith in God, it actually began not only here, but even before here.  If you’d like to see the entirety of Abram / Abrahams dealings with God, and how Islam fits in, please see What religion was Abraham?

Ge 15:7 He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”
Ge 15:8 But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”
Ge 15:9 So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.”
Ge 15:10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
Ge 15:12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
Ge 15:17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”

The way this covenant was sealed is unusual.

15:17 The deep sleep came on Abram when the sun was setting (v. 12). Now in heavy darkness, he saw supernatural light. a smoking oven and a burning torch: These symbols represented the glory of the Lord to Abram. Smoke and fire, with clouds and darkness, often precede God’s acts of judgment (see Ex. 19:16–20; Ps. 97:2–6; Is. 6:1–5; Joel 2:2, 3; Zeph. 1:14–16). This oven and torch imagery may indicate the impending judgment on Canaan—the promise that God’s word to Abram will be kept. between those pieces: This last element has profound implications. In solemn agreements between equals (parity treaties), both parties would pass between the bloody pieces of slain animals and birds. The symbol would be evident to all: “May I become like this if I do not keep my part of the deal.” But Abram was not to walk this grisly pathway. Only God made that journey in the symbols of smoke and fire. The fulfillment of the promise of God to Abram, the Abrahamic covenant, is as sure as is the ongoing life of the Lord! (See also 22:15–18.)  1)Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version (Ge 15:17). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

Yes – the usual way to do something like this was to have both parties to the agreement walk between the slain animals.  But that’s not what happened here.  Abram was asleep, doubtless such a deep sleep because God made it happen.  Then God walked alone.  It was a one-way agreement.  A solemn promise from God to Abram.  God would ensure that what was promised would be fulfilled.  Abram would benefit, but had nothing at risk in the Covenant and nothing to provide to it.

But then something happened.  

Hagar and Ishmael

This reads more like a soap opera or bad movie script.  But it’s not.  It’s what happens when we get impatient.  When we can’t wait for God to act, and try to make things happen ourselves.  Even when we know full well that there’s nothing we can or should do to speed things up.

Ge 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.”

OK, so Sarai wasn’t a party to the covenant God made with Abram.  May – maybe – she can be excused for what she did.  Remember though, God told Abram he would have children.  So many descendants they would be numbered like the stars in the sky.

But look at Sarai.  perhaps I can build a family through her.  Not God building a family through Abram.  No – Sarai building a family for Abram through Hagar.  Impatience.  Lack of faith.  And look what happens.

Abram agreed to what Sarai said.

Like I said, maybe Sarai could be forgiven.  But Abram certainly knew better.  This isn’t quite what God said.  In fact, this is God being left out.

3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

Note – this is going to be a son, not for Abraham, but for Abram.  That’s important, because Islam claims roots through Abraham.  SO this is the first problem for that claim.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.”

Ge 16:6 “Your servant is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

The truth is out and apparently seen by both Sarai and Abram.  God really did get left out of this.  It was all the two of them.  

Ge 16:7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Ge 16:9 Then the angel of the LORD told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.”
Ge 16:11 The angel of the LORD also said to her:
“You are now with child
and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the LORD has heard of your misery.

So the son of Abram will be Ishmael.  The first son of Abram even.  But not the son of Abraham.

Ge 16:12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers. ”
Ge 16:13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” 14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi ; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
Ge 16:15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. 16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Much more detail on the events surrounding Hagar and Ishmael are in What religion was Abraham?  But for now, the point is made – Ishmael was Abram’s first son.  And God was left out of whatever thinking went into making these events happen.  It was a plan hatched by Sarai, and agreed to by Abram.  But it wasn’t God’s plan.

A bit later, God’s plan finally comes to fruition.  Names will change.  And the Covenant will pass through Isaac, not Ishmael.

The Covenant of Circumcision

Ge 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. 2 I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

This is the confirmation of the Covenant we looked at previously.  The one God made with Abram.  But first, there are some legal issues to take care of.

Ge 17:3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram ; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

Abram is now Abraham.  Shortly, Sarai will be Sarah.

“Abram” means “high father”; “Abraham” means “father of a multitude.” “Sarai” is said to mean “contentious”; but “Sarah” means “a princess.” Their new names were preparation for the new blessing about to enter their home. Only the grace of God could take two idol-worshiping heathen and make godly kings and queens out of them!2)Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Ge 17). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.   

6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”

Reaffirmation of the original Covenant.

But what follows is something for Abraham and his descendants to do. 

Ge 17:9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

Sarai gets her new name.  And the promise that she will be the mother of nations.  

Ge 17:15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
Ge 17:17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”

Abraham wants Ishmael to share in the blessing, but God says no.  Ishmael will be made into a great nation, but the blessing is for Isaac.

Ge 17:19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.
Ge 17:23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen; 26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that same day. 27 And every male in Abraham’s household,  including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.

So the claim to Abraham as the Father of Islam forces some changes in the Biblical account of what happened.  The name change from Abram to Abraham must be ignored.  In fact, it’s necessary to have Abram be called Abraham all along.  It’s the only way to have Ishmael be the firstborn son of Abraham, as the Qur’an claims.  Then, according to the Qur’an, the blessing goes to Ishmael.  Islam relegates Isaac to being the second-born son of Abraham.

That, in turn, means all the other conversations and events taking place above must change.  Not to mention everything else in the Old and New Testaments that refer to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  It’s not a small issue.  It’s huge.

Islam can only lay claim to (1) Abraham as their father and (2) the blessing going to Ishmael by invalidating the very core of Judaism and the Old Testament foundation for Christianity.

But it gets worse.

How can Islam lead to the same God as Christianity when they claim Jesus isn’t God?

Yes, the Qur’an teaches that Jesus is not the Son of God.  Also, that Jesus didn’t die on the cross.

From Sura 4:

(171) O FOLLOWERS of the Gospel! Do not overstep the bounds [of truth] in your religious beliefs, and do not say of God anything but the truth. The Christ Jesus, son of Mary, was but God’s Apostle – [the fulfillment of] His promise which He had conveyed unto Mary – and a soul created by Him.  Believe, then, in God and His apostles, and do not say, “[God is] a trinity.” Desist [from this assertion] for your own good. God is but One God; utterly remote is He, in His glory, from having a son: unto Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth; and none is as worthy of trust as God.  3)Asad, Muhammad. The Message of the Qur’an . The Book Foundation. Kindle Edition.

This is a misunderstanding of the Trinity of God, as we saw in Messed up American Theology: Is The Trinity One Christian God?  And yet, there it is in the Islamic Scripture.  

If Jesus is not The Son of God, part of the Trinity, then His death on the cross did not provide salvation for us.  

But even beyond denying that Jesus was God, the Qur’an says Jesus didn’t die on the cross.

Also from Sura 4:

However, they did not slay him, and neither did they crucify him, but it only seemed to them [as if it had been] so; and, verily, those who hold conflicting views thereon are indeed confused, having no [real] knowledge thereof, and following mere conjecture. For, of a certainty, they did not slay him: (158) nay, God exalted him unto Himself – and God is indeed almighty, wise. (159) Yet there is not one of the followers of earlier revelation who does not, at the moment of his death, grasp the truth about Jesus; and on the Day of Resurrection he [himself] shall bear witness to the truth against them.  4)Asad, Muhammad. The Message of the Qur’an . The Book Foundation. Kindle Edition.

The only conclusion possible is that Allah is not the same as the God of the Bible.

Conclusion – American beliefs – do all religions lead to the same God?

As much as we might like to try to make all religions lead to the same God, the reality is – they don’t.

Judaism does lead to the Christian God.  But Islam doesn’t lead to either the Jewish God or the Christian God.  Again, that’s why I refer to the god of the Qur’an as Allah.  To not do that is to sow confusion.  To add to the mistaken belief that Allah is the same God the Bible.  That just cannot be true.

We aren’t God.  We don’t get to define Him.  He’s done that for us.

It’s the same with the Qur’an.  According to it, by way of a messenger to Muhammad, Allah defines himself.  It’s done by changing the Bible.  By changing the Scriptures of both Judaism and Christianity.  That alone should tell us that Allah is not the same as God.  If they were the same, no changes would be needed.

But changes are indeed made by Islam to Jewish and Christian Scriptures.  Many of them.  Huge changes.  Changes that take away the core beliefs and the foundations of both Judaism and Christianity.

How then can Allah and God be the same?  Quite simply, they can’t.  For the sake of the souls of Christians, I pray that we all understand that.

But even as I say that, don’t get me wrong.  We are not – I repeat NOT – to hate Muslims.  There’s nothing of hatred in Jesus.  Nothing.  We are to love them.  To reach out to them, in a loving way.

My first point here is that Allah and God are not the same.

After we realize that, we still have the Greatest Commandment.

The Greatest Commandment – Matthew

22:34-40 pp — Mk 12:28-31

Mt 22:34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Muslims are our neighbors, so we are to love them.

After that, we have my final point.

The Great Commission

Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said,All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

So – we must recognize that Allah is not the God of the Bible.  We must love Muslims.  We must reach out to them, with love, to share the truth with them.

That’s what Christianity teaches.  It’s not what we always do.  But that’s what it teaches.

References

1.Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version (Ge 15:17). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
2.Wiersbe, W. W. (1993). Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Ge 17). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
3, 4.Asad, Muhammad. The Message of the Qur’an . The Book Foundation. Kindle Edition.

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