God’s Verbal Interaction with Man, Part Three
Moses & the Burning Bush
The Koran states that Allah does not directly verbally communicate 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 in this writing: Moses and the Burning Bush.
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).
Allah made direct contact with Moses when speaking to him (Surah 4:164).
According to the Koran Allah does not lower himself to speak directly to mortals. He may reveal something of new significance to someone but not usually. He will hide himself behind a sheet or send a messenger to deliver the message he wants to send people. Such as when Gabriel was sent to speak to Muhammad in order to reveal Allah’s word to him.
The Koran contradicts itself when it says that Allah does not speak openly to mortals and then it says that Allah spoke directly to Moses. Moses was a mortal man who Allah spoke to face to face.
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses, Moses.” And he said, “Here am I. Do not come closer, put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground.”
Moreover he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites (Exodus 3:1-8).”
“Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send you unto Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” And Moses said unto God, “Who am I that I should go unto Pharaoh. And that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” And he said, “Certainly I will be with you; and this shall be a token unto you, that I have sent you: Where you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God upon this mountain.”
And Moses said unto God, “Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say unto me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them?” And God said unto Moses, “I AM THAT I AM,” and He said, “Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, ‘I AM hath sent me to you.’” And God said moreover unto Moses, “Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, ‘The Lord God of your fathers, The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations (Exodus 3:9-15).’”
COMMENTARY ON THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT
God speaks to Moses from the midst of a burning bush which was not being consumed by fire. This is a face to face encounter with God. Moses hid his face rather than to look upon God. God claims to be the God of Moses’ father and ancestors. God gives His name in memorial as, “The Lord God of your father, The God of Abraham, The God of Isaac, and The God of Jacob.” When Moses asks God who he should tell the children of Israel sent him Moses was told to say, “I AM”. God said, “I AM THAT I AM.” God is self-sufficient in Himself and is not in need of anyone else for His existence.
God got Moses’ attention through a natural phenomenon happening in an unnatural way. Moses had probably seen bushes burn before but they were consumed in the flames. This bush got Moses’ curiosity. Then God spoke directly to Moses from the fire.
For Forty years Moses had been keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro (Exodus 7:7; Acts 7:23). No doubt he had gone past this place several times without anything unusual happening. This time God got his attention and spoke to him. God initiated the encounter and identified Himself as one who associated with and was worshipped by the ancestors of Moses. He was their protector, guardian, and God.
God said that He saw the affliction of His people, Israel who were slaves in Egypt. Now, God is going to bring His people out of bondage into a land which He will give them. God claims the children of Israel as His people and He has heard their cry.
Therefore, God chooses a man to represent Himself before Pharaoh to bring His people out of Egypt. Moses did not choose himself, but he reluctantly obeyed God. Moses questioned who he was that he should confront Pharaoh. God told him that He would be with him. It was God’s presence with him that made Moses worthy.
COMPARING & CONTRASTING THE KORAN WITH SCRIPTURE
As stated in the Koran Allah does not speak directly to people. Yet the Koran states that Allah did speak directly to the mortal man Moses. So on this point the Koran contradicts itself. Scripture shows that God spoke directly with Moses face to face from the fire in the burning bush which wasn’t consumed by the flames.
Is it possible that God speaks to you from natural phenomenon which happens in an unexpected way? In the sciences it happens all the time. Yet people because of their bias, many refuse to recognize God.
Which God would you prefer to serve: The one who will not humble himself to meet with mortal man, or the One who is humble enough Himself to meet with mortal man.
Therefore, one can see quite clearly that the god of the Koran is not the God of the Holy Bible!
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.