God’s Verbal Interaction with Man, Part One
In the Koran, Allah is said to not directly communicate verbally with mankind. In the Holy Bible, however, God is said to have verbally communicated with several men. I would like to consider them in this series and one in particular here in this article, Abraham.
THE KORANIC ACCOUNT
It is beneath the dignity of Allah to condescend to speak to a mortal with the exception of disclosing information or from behind a covering hidden from view or by dispatching a messenger who reveals with His permission what He pleases; certainly He is Exalted and exercises good judgment (Surah 42:51).
Have you ever, Muhammad, been informed of the history of Abraham’s surprise visit by some highly distinguished guests? When they approached him, they greeted him saying, Peace! And he answered; Peace! Observing that they were new in the community, he had a fatted calf killed and brought it to them in their honor. He said won’t you eat? When he became fearful of them; they said, do not be afraid, we have good news for you. Your wife will give birth to a son possessing good judgment. She approached sobbing and placed her hands on her face crying: I am barren! The guests replied that this was the will of her Lord. He is of excellent judgment and knows everything. Later Abraham asked: Servants of Allah, what is your mission. They replied, “We have been dispatched to visit a very evil people and bring down on them, from heaven, a sudden abundant deluge of clay stones. These are people chosen by the Lord for destruction for their persistence in evil. Those who were believers in the city we saved. However, there was only one family of Muslims in the city. We provided the city as an omen for anyone who fears a cataclysmic destruction (Surah 51:24-37).”
COMMENTARY ON THE KOANIC ACCOUNT
According to the Koran, Allah does not lower himself to speak directly to mortals. He may reveal something new of significance to someone, but not usually. He will hide himself behind something, or send a messenger to deliver the message he wants to send to people, for example, when Gabriel spoke to Muhammad to reveal Allah’s word to him.
The messengers who visited Abraham were unknown to him so he recognized them as strangers. He entertained them as guests and determined that they were from Allah.
According to the Koran none of the visitors were identified as Allah.
THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT
And the Lord appeared unto him, Abraham, in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of day; And he lifted up his eyes and looked, and lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, pass not away, I pray thee from thy servant: Let a little water be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are come to your servant. And they said, So do, as you have said. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hastened to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat (Genesis 18:1-8).
And they said unto him, “Where is Sarah your wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.” And he said, “I will certainly return unto you according the time of life; and, lo, Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” And the Lord said unto Abraham, “Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, ” ‘Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?” “Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto you, according to life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Then Sarah denied, saying, “I laughed not; for she was afraid.” And he said, “Nay: but you did laugh (Genesis 18:9-15).”
And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And the Lord said, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know (Genesis 18:16-21).”
And the men turned their faces from thence, and went towards Sodom: but Abraham stood before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said, “Will you also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: will you also destroy and not spare the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from you: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” And the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.” And Abraham answered and said, “Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: will you destroy all the city for lack of five?” And he said, “If I find there forty-five I will not destroy it.” And he spake unto him yet again, and said, “Peradventure there shall be forty found there.” And said, “I will not do it for forty sake.” And he said unto him, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: peradventure there shall thirty be found there.” And he said, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there.” And he said, “I will not destroy it for twenty sake.” And he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there.” And he said, “I will not destroy it for ten sake.” And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place (Genesis 18:22-33).
The two angels who looked like men went to Sodom and met Lot at the city gate. He persuaded them to stay with him and his family for the night. While they were eating supper the men of the city surrounded the house and demanded that the two strangers come out so they could have homosexual relations with the two men. Lot said that this was wrong and offered them his two virgin daughters instead. The men of the city refused Lot’s daughters and demanded the men. The two angels who appeared as men struck those close to the door of Lot’s house with blindness. Lot was told to warn those he loved in the city and flee to the mountains for his life. The angels took him and his family by the hands and dragged them out of the city. Lot and his family fled and were told, do not look back (Genesis 19:1-23).
Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground (Genesis 19:24,25).
But Lot’s wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).
And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood before the Lord: And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace. And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt (Genesis 19:27-29).
COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT
Scripture says the LORD appeared to Abraham. This would be Yahweh, God Himself. Actually The Christ before taking on flesh. It is called a theophany, which is defined as God manifesting Himself in physical form. Abraham called him ‘My Lord,’ and ‘Adonai,’ which shows that Abraham recognized the visitor when he first saw Him.
God with the two angels ate the meat set before them which shows that they approve of eating meat. God is not a vegetarian.
When Sarah laughed within herself the Lord knew and told Abraham that his wife had laughed. When Abraham confronted his wife and she said she did not laugh Abraham told her, you did laugh. This shows Abraham knew for sure the he was in the presence of God.
God is standing with Abraham and says, “I will go down now, and see whether they, Sodom and Gomorrah, have done altogether according to the cry of it. This phrase, “I will know,” shows that God was able to check out Sodom and Gomorrah while standing with Abraham. God knew the number of righteous people in the cities.
We find that God would not destroy the righteousness with the wicked. However, the righteous escaped only with their lives. Their home and possessions and loved ones were all destroyed.
Abraham called the One before whom he stood, “The Judge of all the earth.” This is the creator of the universe, God Himself: The One who would take on flesh and be Christ Jesus. Jesus said that God the Father has given all judgment to the Son (John 5:22, 23).
God allowed a mortal to stand before Himself and plead for the cities. He humbled himself to converse with a mortal man.
COMPARING & CONTRASTING THE KORAN WITH SCRIPTURE
The god of the Koran does not condescend to mortal man. The three individuals who met with Abraham in his tent were all recorded as messengers of god and none of them god himself.
In the Holy Bible the God of Creation met with Abraham in person. He was willing to condescend to meet with mortal man. He even allowed Abraham to intercede on behalf of the righteous people living with the people God was going to destroy.
Which God would you prefer to serve: The one who will not humble himself to meet with mortal man, or the One who will humble Himself to meet with mortal man.
The Koran’s passages is a paraphrase of several English translations.
The Koran, translated by N.J. Dawood: A Penguin Classic
The Qur’an, translated by M.H. Shakir: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc.
The Holy Qur’an, translated by Maulana Muhammad Ali: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Lahore Inc. U.S.A.
The Koran, translated by Marmaduke Pickthall: Everyman’s Library
The Holy Bible is paraphrased from the King James Version
The Liberty Annotated Study Bible: Liberty University & Thomas Nelson, Inc.