Monday, September 15, 2014

Pericope Harmonisation in the Qur'an

Recently I was sharing the Gospel outside a local mosque, and one of the men who talked with me mentioned that since the New Testament tells the same story a few different ways in different books, the New Testament can't be from God. In essence he was making a clumsy and unsophisticated appeal to what some call "the Synoptic problem". It isn't really a problem at all but the meme is perpetuated by the many ignorant heathens in the West who have Internet access, as well as by pretty much any Muslim with the least desire to talk to a Christian about such matters. Yet even such a luminary as Bart Ehrman once told me in private email that he considered it an insuperable task to harmonise the four accounts of Jesus' Resurrection. When I told him I was way ahead of him, he didn't reply.

Anyway, I told my Muslim friend that the Qur'an does the exact same thing and though I didn't remember the exact references, I remembered that the pericope where Allah tells Satan (Iblis) to prostrate before Adam and Satan refuses was "guilty" of the same thing that my friend was saying proves the human origin of the New Testament. He didn't believe me and I couldn't prove it at the moment, but I went back and doublechecked, and this is what I found.

Also of interest to anyone who is familiar with the biblical account of creation is the way the Qur'anic author seems to try to follow the pattern of the fall laid out in Genesis, but messes up in numerous details. Nowhere in Genesis does Satan say anything about the nakedness of the first couple. Obviously nowhere is there any angelic interaction, much less does Adam name the angels or become the object of a worshipful posture. 

Acts 10:25-26 - When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.”
Revelation 19:10 - Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Revelation 22:8-9 - I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”

If two or more authors or witnesses recount what they saw in ways that complement but do not contradict each other, why not consider that they are merely adding to the story from their own perspective? This Muslim argument against the divine origin of the New Testament fails, for it disproves the divine origin of the Qur'an as well.

No comments: