7. THE ROLE OF MAN IN THE QUR’AN AND IN THE BIBLE
Islam claims to be ” the natural religion of mankind:” Several booklets by that name have been published. The key note in these is that Islam does not set a standard for man which he cannot attain. To the contrary, Islam sets a code of conduct in which man finds regulations for every aspect of life. He just needs to submit to Allah and his will— and all shall be well.
If he fails to fully carry out Allah’s commands, there is ample opportunity to compensate for transgressions or omissions by offering extra duties such as giving to charity, fasting or prayer.
This system looks good indeed. It promotes not only submission to Allah but also suppresses a social behaviour. Much more severe punishment for offences under Sharia (Islamic Law) provides a deterrent against crime which, very unfortunately, has been largely forfeited in practically all West- cm countries due to humanistic influences. A clearly formulated and generally known law which offers stem measures of punishment naturally offers much more restraint to crime, something we would all welcome.
A Muslim views himself as part of an integrated society. It restrains him in many ways, but it also protects him. The role of man in Islamic theology is to worship and obey Allah, the Supreme Master and Controller. If man totally submits, that is obeys, he will be rewarded for this by being permitted into Paradise. If not, he will be “rewarded with hell.” Man is born likewise with a clean slate— pure. He can if he tries hard enough, please Allah by doing all that is required of him, or, in reverse, by not doing what is forbidden to do. He can therefore save himself by his actions. And many devout Muslims are seriously striving to reach this, their final goal.
All that is totally contradicted by the Bible, which raises God’s standard, as we saw in other articles, to perfection: “Whoever keeps the whole Law, and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty” (James 2:10) “Your sins have separated you and your God” (Isa. 59:2).
There is a good reason for that. “God created man in His own likeness” (Gen 1:27). He was to be the very object of His love. But being created in His likeness included the possibility of choice. And from the very beginning man chose his own ways and preferences which led to disobedience, rebellion and separation from God: “They are corrupt and their ways are vile, there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on the sons of man to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt, there is no one who does good, not even one!” (Ps. 53:1-3). “Although you wash yourself with soda and use an abundance of soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me.” God further said: “How gladly would I treat you like sons… I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me…” (Jer. 2:22. 3:19-20).
Looking at this, God’s verdict, we must agree with His Word which states sadly: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the Law; rather, through the Law we become conscious of sin…” (Rom. 3:20). Indeed no law justifies. It only defines right and wrong and shows us to be offenders.
Consequently no man can ever hope to earn paradise or heaven. If we are honest to ourselves and to God, we will have to admit that He is right. Already David expressed this in one of his Psalms (51:4-5). “Against you, you only, have / sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak, and justified when you judge. Surely I have been a sinner from birth! “ We call that ‘original sin,’ a sinful nature with which we are born and which urges us to do wrong in thought, word and even deed— no man excepted.
It would be depressing to stop here, at this hopeless situation Yes, the standard of God is right and justified, and so in His judgment on us. However, there is Good News! Every so often we read the words “but God..”: “But God, Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love for us, made us alive with Christ, even when were dead in transgressions— it is by grace you have been saved… through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:4-8). Because Jesus Christ, our Lord, died for our sins in our stead, “We have been justified through faith, we have peace with God… we have gained access by faith in His grace in which we now stand” (Rom. 5:1).
God was not indifferent towards our calamity which was caused by the contrast of His nature and ours. He bridges that gap by justifiably punishing our sin— vet not on us, but on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, so that our sins are atoned or removed, and we can freely enjoy fellowship with our God and Saviour now and through all eternity.
We are highly special. Not only have we been created by God, we are loved by Him!! His love went as far as purchasing us back by His own blood.
“To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us to be a Kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father— to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” (Rev. 1:5-6). The Qur’an contradicts all this vehemently— although this is the evidenced heart-piece of the Bible and man’s only chance for eternity. Shall we not equip ourselves and do our utmost to spread this Good News understandably, so that no Muslim in our sphere of influence will have to die without the knowledge of this divine Truth?