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Apollos
 
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Quote Apollos Replybullet Topic: Why a corrupt Bible is a problem for Islam
    Posted: 28 February 2009 at 7:39am

In interacting with Muslims in person, on this site and others, I understand how crucial it is for the claim of Bible corruption to be true. (There are so many differences between the Quran and the Bible that they both can’t be said to be God’s Word in their present form). What I have not yet discovered is a detailed comprehensive explanation by Muslims for how this corruption came about. I have learned that the corruption would have to be massive. It therefore seems to me that such a corruption has at least three major problems for Islam. I list them here and welcome any input from Muslims as to how their theory of Bible corruption accounts for these things.

 

1.      The Quran refers to the Bible as a means to evaluate its followers. It states that the Gospel confirmed and guarded previous Scripture. The version of the Bible that existed during Mohammed’s life is the same as we have today. So if the Bible is corrupt, the Quran’s statements here are incorrect.

Surah 5: 46-48

46. And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.

47. Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel.

48. To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed,

 

2.      If God’s Word the Bible has been corrupted over time, the logical implication is that other revelations from God could also be corrupted. How do we know that the Quran has not also been corrupted the same way?

 

3.      The type of Bible corruption Muslims describe requires a reversal of the attributes of God and the attributes of men. It is analogous to saying: “Raising someone from the dead is something men can do but water flowing down hill is a miracle”. To demonstrate this point, I will break down the issues into small objective aspects that anyone can check and confirm.

 

a.       Doctrine. If the Bible is corrupt as Muslims say it is, scores of words and concepts are definitely part of the corruption – because they are the very things Muslims object to. The list below is not exhaustive but just some of the obvious ones that Muslims reject.

 

Atonement

The Sabbath

Sunday worship (i.e. – the Church meeting on the first day of the week to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection).

Heaven

Paradise

Sin

Righteousness

The fall of Adam

The fall of Satan

Abraham’s son

The Messiah being David’s Lord

The Son of God

The Lamb of God

Sacrifice

Savior

Redeemer

Ransom

God’s Grace

God’s Salvation

Prayer (purpose, content, etc.)

Justification

Sanctification

Crucifixion

The Cross

 

The above words and concepts permeate the entire Bible and are woven throughout. For example, references to God as our Savior, our Redeemer or our salvation occur hundreds of times in the Old and New Testaments. For these words to have been incorporated as they are would require a massive re-write if they did not exist in the original writing. (To prove it to yourself, go through the first chapters of Genesis or John or Galatians – highlight the statements that conflict with the Quran and see what is left over). Furthermore such a revision would have created a chopped up awkward writing – but it doesn’t. If it was done at all, it would require a team of geniuses because it had to be done quickly. They would also have to partner with another team who could destroy all copies of the previous non-corrupted original. All of this would have to be done so that no one was aware that they had done these things. But it gets worse.

 

b.      Prophecies. Over a quarter of the Bible’s contents refers to events that were future to the prophet who was given a revelation. Whether the “corruptors” removed some original prophecies or not, they were smart enough to leave hundreds of prophecies intact so the Bible would still have this evidence of divine authorship. If they added any, they had to flow with other prophecies they left intact. But this meant they were adding another aspect of integration to their work.

 

c.       History, archaeology and culture. Everything that we can cross-check in the Bible confirms that it is accurate. If there were “corruptors” they were smart enough to leave references to such things alone and, if they added anything, to be sure their revisions were also accurate. But how could they know what was OK to change and what needed to be left alone? For example, the writers he could have never known so many things about the earlier times and locations the Bible describes like – where the first humans lived, where and when iron was first used, the names and locations of ancient cities and peoples we have only recently discovered. Its not just that the Bible describes things we can check out history-wise, it turns out the Bible can not be found to say anything incorrect about history. Each time someone thinks they’ve found an example, further inquiry shows the opposite. (e.g. – historians used to say Pilate never existed and then they found an engraving in Rome with his name on it; the said Jericho never existed and then they discovered the ruins, etc.). So while it would have been much easier to simply remove these references, the “corruptors” worked around another aspect of the original writing as they wove their fabrication.

 

d.      Science and advanced knowledge. The Bible is not a science book but it makes numerous statements about scientific knowledge that was contrary to the knowledge of when it was written. It mentions things like the gravitational forces of the Milky-way, the existence and incredible speed the belt of Orion is moving through space at, the earth being a sphere, the atmospheric processes that move water from the ocean to land via rain clouds, etc. Like the prophecy hurdle, the “corruptors” had to work around yet another challenge to their effort rather than just remove these references.

 

e.       Titles, names, types, feasts, patterns. The New Testament accounts incorporate numerous titles, psalms, passages, concepts and traditions from the Old Testament that flow seamlessly with the overall story. Even if these references were not originally intended to be used in the ways the Gospel writers employed them or if they were added to the Old Testament after the originals were destroyed, they have created a rich interwoven effect that is literarily ingenious. Consider below some of the Old Testament terms and titles the writers applied to Jesus.

 

Messiah/Anointed

Cursed

God with us/Immanuel

I AM

King

Servant

Lord

Lamb of God

Good Shepherd

Bread from Heaven

Healing serpent on a pole

Savior

Sacrifice

Redeemer

Condemned

Judge

Passover Lamb

First Fruit

Bridegroom

Son of Man

Son of God

 

You will note that at first glance many of these titles actually appear to be contradictions of other titles – such as Lamb of God (sacrifice) and Savior, Servant and King. The way in which they are used and harmonized in the Gospel accounts demonstrates great complexity and layering. If someone was fabricating this all, why would they select some challenging concepts?

 

Readers of the Gospels will observe that the writers did not incorporate these references awkwardly as we would expect them to. For example, if one just randomly grabbed a title like Levite or Priest from the OT and then tried to apply that title to Jesus as they did the titles above, it would be awkward because the rest of story does not support these titles. Jesus – according to the Gospels - did not come from the tribe of Levi so it would be odd to call him a Levite or a priest after that order. The extensive use of titles creates an enormous challenge for a story-writer if the story is contrived or corrupted.

 

There are also scores of Old Testament quotations that are employed in the New Testament – some to support a particular event, others to explain why an event occurred. Even if the reference were religiously inappropriate to apply to Jesus, interweaving these references as they have creates a complexity that is incredibly difficult to achieve.

 

Some partial references add a layer of depth that the casual reader may miss. For example, we read that while on the cross Jesus cried: “My God, my God  why has thou forsaken me?” This is a direct quote from Psalm 22 and when one reads the entire Psalm we find the next 18 verses sound like a recap of the entire crucifixion experience – even stating that they would cast lots for his clothes. The two Gospels that record the Psalm 22 quote don’t describe the plea a quote which makes it seem like they didn’t even know this themselves.

 

If the Old Testament was revised to fit the New Testament, we can deduce that the New Testament accounts must be historical and accurate – otherwise why not change the New Testament to fit what was already written in the Old Testament? If the New Testament was fabricated to harmonize with the Old Testament, we can deduce that the Old Testament was established and well known – otherwise why not change it to match the New Testament? It doesn’t make sense that both the Old and New Testaments would be rewritten to create some entirely new message. Still, that is the claim.

 

To change the Old Testament to fit the New Testament would not just require another hurdle but that action would also require a change in the practices and celebrations of the Jewish people – almost overnight. Otherwise there would not be a consistency between their traditions and their new Bible. Do you see how incredible this conspiracy is becoming? And were not finished yet.

 

f.       Wisdom. Many of the things the Bible say about Jesus show Him to be an incredibly wise and smart person – refuting Lawyers, Sadducees, etc. in ways no other human has been able to. At the same time many of these passages are the ones Muslims would have a problem with. This means the corruptors are the ones who fabricated these events and words. A very amazing accomplishment.

 

g.      Amazing Word Patterns. In addition to all of the above aspects that had to be harmonized for a corruption to take place, the Bible displays amazing word patterns that are far beyond coincidence. I describe just a couple of the hundreds that have been found already.

 

1.   A recurring aspect of word patterns involves the Bible’s number of completion - 7 or a number divisible by 7.  In the Hebrew version of the Torah – the 5 books of Moses – the word “Torah” (תורה) is spelled out by starting with the first letter, skipping 49 letters and then noting the next letter in the sequence. (You can do this yourself to check). It seems like just an oddity until one finds that the second book also shares this pattern and the last two books spell out Torah backwards. The middle book doesn’t spell out Torah but following the same pattern spells out “Elohim” or “God”. Coincidence? Remember this is just one of many examples.

2.   In the Greek version of the New Testament, all of the Gospels contain unique words – ones that only each writer uses. It turns out that each group of unique words for each writer is divisible by seven. To accomplish this by accident is highly improbable. To accomplish it on purpose would require an extraordinary effort and cooperation on the part of each writer and to what end? It has taken inquiring minds and mathematicians to notice these features. But it gets better – for the unique words of every writer of the New Testament displays this pattern.

 

h.      Timing (Covering the tracks) – When someone claims that something has occurred based on a lack of contrary evidence, the argument is known as “argumentum ex silentio” or  an argument from silence. It is a well known logical fallacy and some think that’s what the Muslim claim about the Bible is. Actually it is worse for there is a host of evidence contradicting this argument. It isn’t just an argument from silence, it is an argument against a symphony of evidence!

 

If a massive corruption of the Bible has taken place, when did it occur? If it happened after Mohammed arrived with the Quran, that would solve one of the problems I listed above. But there were already thousands of manuscripts of the Bible we use today – all around the world by that time. There were also thousands of Lectionaries that we have copies of today. These documents quote the Old and New Testaments and the NT could be recreated from them except for Revelation and Parts of Acts. If the Bible was revised it must have been before these Lectionaries were produced or they would have to have been revised and replaced as well. (Around 500 AD, Churches began writing out Lectionaries - Bible lessons for Sunday Services and Studies. Researchers have catalogued 2,300 of these ancient documents.) I don’t think anyone is claiming this happened. 

 

If the corruption occurred before the time of Jesus, that wouldn’t work because the New Testament is supposed to be corrupted too and it wasn’t written until after Jesus arrived. That means that the corruption would have had to take place sometime after Jesus ascended into heaven and before the Quran appeared. The earlier this date the more it would require the involvement of Jesus’ disciples. The later the corruption occurred, the harder it would be to remove copies of the original Bible, remove and replace secular history that referred to it, remove and replace Jewish and Christian documents and letters that referred to the original Bible, etc. They would have also had to reshape Jewish and Christian traditions, hymns, oral creeds, holy days and practices to coincide with the new Bible. This scenario would require killing people to kill to cover up witnesses who saw what was being done. Besides these obstacles, someone would have to rewrite and replace the copies of the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) that had been in use for 300 years. Lots more killings and cover ups and now a second version of the Old Testament that had to match with the new corrupted Hebrew version.

 

To accomplish all of these cover up efforts without a trace would require an army of people and series of supernatural events. To minimize inconsistencies they would have to be well coordinated. (The larger the group the more likely inconsistencies would occur). This is on top of the supernatural ability of people who could rewrite the Bible. With all of this supernatural activity being done in opposition to what God desired, we would have to believe that a coup of sorts had been perpetrated against God, something that trumps God’s abilities to safeguard His truth. Obviously this can’t be true so how does one account for all this?

 

i.        Motive – For all of the above to be accomplished, a lot of people had to have a common goal and motive. What would that be? It wasn’t fame for we don’t know who they are. It wasn’t money because there was no money to be made a lot to be spent in this effort. It wasn’t due to devotion of God because they had to know they were corrupting God’s Word. What is the explanation for this question?

 

As I mentioned in the introduction, I welcome a Muslim explanation that accounts for these problems in your claim that the Bible has been corrupted. I think they reflect divine attributes that are impossible for humans to create.

 

Apollos

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Quote Nur_Ilahi Replybullet Posted: 28 February 2009 at 7:15pm

Why a corrupt Bible is a problem for Islam.

The Title should read, WHY A CORRUPT BIBLE IS A PROBLEM FOR CHRISTIANITY. The facts that more and more Christians are dissatisfied of worshipping a powerless God who died on the cross. A Bible which is full of contradictions and traces of pornography and evil.

The version of the Bible that existed during Mohammed’s life is the same as we have today

However the Christians cannot produce this version as claimed above.

If God’s Word the Bible has been corrupted over time, the logical implication is that other revelations from God could also be corrupted. How do we know that the Quran has not also been corrupted the same way?

There is nothing in the Bible that says God is The Guardian - Al-Muhaimin, The Preserver = Al Hafiz - The All-Aware - Al-Khabir. And there are sentences in the Quran that Allah himself guaranteed that He Himself will guard this Holy Scripture. This aspects of guardianship of the Holy Scripture is not found in the Bible.

I quote from another website -

As for the claim that Allah did not preserve Divine Books (such as Torah, Gospel, etc.) or allowed them to be tainted and corrupted, this is not true. This is because Allah entrusted the People of the Book with the task of preserving and guarding their Books from any corruption but they disobeyed Him and failed to do so. This is stated in the Qur'an: "It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah's will, by the rabbis and the doctors of law: FOR TO THEM WAS ENTRUSTED THE PROTECTION OF ALLAH'S BOOK, and they were witnesses thereto..." (Al-Ma'idah: 44)

That is why Allah took upon Himself to guard the Qur’an. Almighty Allah says, “Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder (Qur’an), and lo! We verily are its Guardian.” (Al-Hijr: 9)"

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?cid=1119503546346&pagename=IslamOnline-English-Ask_Scholar%2FFatwaE%2FFatwaEAskTheScholar

I will make this short, and I will say that the Bible is corrupted because the Christians could not produce the authentic one that was written at the times of Jesus. (a Very big headache for the Christians indeed!) If the God that the Christians believe is Powerful, it will not be impossible for this God to preserve the holy scripture.



Edited by Nur_Ilahi - 28 February 2009 at 7:15pm
Ilahi Anta Maksudi, Wa Redhaka Mathlubi - Oh Allah, You are my destination, Your Pleasure is my Intention.
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Quote Apollos Replybullet Posted: 28 February 2009 at 10:35pm

The version of the Bible that existed during Mohammed’s life is the same as we have today

From Nur_Ilahi:

However the Christians cannot produce this version as claimed above.

From Apollos:

You’ve got to be joking. Are you saying we don’t have manuscripts of the Bible from Mohammed’s time? There are hundreds and the Bible of today is based on these. Please clarify what you are saying or do some study.

If God’s Word the Bible has been corrupted over time, the logical implication is that other revelations from God could also be corrupted. How do we know that the Quran has not also been corrupted the same way?

From Nur_Ilahi:

There is nothing in the Bible that says God is The Guardian - Al-Muhaimin, The Preserver = Al Hafiz - The All-Aware - Al-Khabir. And there are sentences in the Quran that Allah himself guaranteed that He Himself will guard this Holy Scripture. This aspects of guardianship of the Holy Scripture is not found in the Bible.

From Apollos:

Of course the Bible doesn’t use these terms because it doesn’t use Arabic. But the Bible makes it clear that God has assured us His word will remain and accomplish what He purposes. He never states that He needs humans to accomplish this or that it is uncertain. Below are a few examples.

 

(David re: God) Psa 138:2  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

 

(God) Num 11:23  And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD'S hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.

 

(God) Isa 54:10  For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

 

(Jesus) Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

 
Additionally, all you have done is say: "The reason the Quran hasn't been corrupted is because it says so." If one is supposed to ignore statements from the Bible that says it won't be corrupted but accept similar ones from the Quran, you are being inconsistent and hypocritical.
 

From Nur_Ilahi:

I will make this short, and I will say that the Bible is corrupted because the Christians could not produce the authentic one that was written at the times of Jesus. (a Very big headache for the Christians indeed!) If the God that the Christians believe is Powerful, it will not be impossible for this God to preserve the holy scripture.

From Apollos:

I don’t have a clue what you mean by this. Please clarify. And please clarify how anything you have said accounts for the supernatural attributes of the Bible that exists today.

 

Apollos

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Quote _ALI_ Replybullet Posted: 28 February 2009 at 11:16pm
 Salam Apollos
I'm really glad that you started this topic. Let me first tell you about what Muslims think of the Bible. We think that it is composed of three parts.
1)The part which agrees with the Quran may be true. For example those verses in which God is potrayed as 1, Holy, merciful etc.
2) The part which contradicts with the Quran, we all deem it false. For example, no Muslim can ever say that prophet Lot first drank wine, then commited adultery, with his own daughter, twice (first night with one, 2nd night with the other) Hence we disagree with Gen 19:30-36, and all the other similar parts are interpolation for us.
3) The part which neither contradicts nor matches with the Quran. That part could or couldn't be true.
But for us, Bible is irrelevent. God gives books for guidance and there is complete guidance in Quran for us, so Muslims don't read the Bible for the sake of guidance. They read it to chat with folks like you Smile
 


Edited by _ALI_ - 28 February 2009 at 11:38pm
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Quote _ALI_ Replybullet Posted: 01 March 2009 at 6:15am

.      The Quran refers to the Bible as a means to evaluate its followers. It states that the Gospel confirmed and guarded previous Scripture. The version of the Bible that existed during Mohammed’s life is the same as we have today. So if the Bible is corrupt, the Quran’s statements here are incorrect.

Surah 5: 46-48

I’ll just explain these verses 1 by 1

46. And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.

 

46: We Muslims believe that God sent many revelations. To Moses, He gave Torah. To Jesus, He gave Injeel(translated gospel). Now Injeel confirmed what was present in Torah (i.e God is one, all the fundamental commandments etc). That is what this verse says

47. Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel.

 

47:Here therein refers to the Gospel, not Bible. Which gospel is it? Gospel of Mark, John, Mathew? No, it is the Gospel of God given to Jesus. You guys don’t have that gospel, you only have a corrupted form of that gospel in the shape of gospel of Mark, Mathew, John etc. Part of it may be God’s word like I said before. Here Allah is saying that you should judge right from wrong by what Allah has revealed in the gospel, meaning that part of the gospels of Mark, Luke, John  which is God’s word in the true sense. And Shakir translates this verse a bit differently

SHAKIR: And the followers of the Injeel should have judged by what Allah revealed in it; and whoever did not judge by what Allah revealed, those are they that are the transgressors.

48. To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed,

Meaning prophet Muhammad (referred here are thee/you) has been given scripture (i.e Quran) which confirms the scripture that came before it (meaning it confirms what Injeel, Torah really said, note that scripture that came before it is not Bible, its Torah, Injeel and Zabur). This verse further says that Quran is guarding Torah and Injeel i.e gospel, meaning that Quran has the truth given by Torah and Injeel but you lost that, and turned Injeel into NT and Torah into OT. The verse is explained by Maududi in tafheem.net:

*78. This points to a fact of major significance. It could also have been said that the Qur'an confirms all those parts of the earlier divine books which are still extant in their true and original form. But the sense has been conveyed by employing the word 'the Book' rather than 'the previous Books'. This expression reveals that the Qur'an and all those Books sent down by God at various times and in different languages in reality constitute one and the same Book. Their Author is one and the same; their aim and purpose are the same; their teaching is the same; and the knowledge which they seek to impart to mankind is the same. The difference between these Books lies in their modes of expression, and this was necessarily so since they were addressed to different audiences. It is, therefore, not merely that these divine books support rather than contradict each other but that they are actually different editions of one and the same book - 'the Book'.

*79. In Arabic, haymana, yuhayminu, hayamanah signify 'to protect, to witness, to keep trust, to back and to support'. The expression 'haymana al-rajul al-shay' means that the man protected and guarded the thing. Likewise, 'haymana al-ta'ir 'alafirdkhih' means that the bird took its young ones under the protection of its wings. Once 'Umar said to the people: 'Inni da'in fa hayminu' ('I am praying; support me by saying amen'). To say that the Qur'an is muhaymin of al-kitab means that it preserves all the true teachings of the earlier divine books; that it has secured them from loss. The Qur'an also confirms those Books in that the contents of the Qur'an testify to the truth of those parts which are indeed from God. The Qur'an is, further, a witness over those Books in the sense that, with its help, the elements which embody true revelations from God can be distinguished from the accretions which have corrupted them. Whatever in these Books accords with the Qur'an is from God, and whatever is not in conformity with it is from human beings.

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Quote Apollos Replybullet Posted: 01 March 2009 at 6:48am

FROM ALI:

Surah 5: 46-48

I’ll just explain these verses 1 by 1

47. Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel.

 47:Here therein refers to the Gospel, not Bible. Which gospel is it? Gospel of Mark, John, Mathew? No, it is the Gospel of God given to Jesus. You guys don’t have that gospel, you only have a corrupted form of that gospel in the shape of gospel of Mark, Mathew, John etc. Part of it may be God’s word like I said before. Here Allah is saying that you should judge right from wrong by what Allah has revealed in the gospel, meaning that part of the gospels of Mark, Luke, John  which is God’s word in the true sense.

FROM APOLLOS:

Ali – How would these believers be expected to know what the true parts are? This passage does not say that there are true and false parts nor does it say that these believers are to look to the Quran as their guide for finding true and false parts. And if one reads that thinking into the passage, the whole point of the passage disappears – That Christians can judge or should have judged by what is in the Gospel.

48. To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed,

Meaning prophet Muhammad (referred here are thee/you) has been given scripture (i.e Quran) which confirms the scripture that came before it (meaning it confirms what Injeel, Torah really said, note that scripture that came before it is not Bible, its Torah, Injeel and Zabur). This verse further says that Quran is guarding Torah and Injeel i.e gospel, meaning that Quran has the truth given by Torah and Injeel but you lost that, and turned Injeel into NT and Torah into OT.

From Apollos:

Ali – Your explanation for this seems contrived to me. It brings in a host of outside concepts into this passage that aren’t stated here and turns “safe guarding” on its head by redefining this as “replacing” previous Scripture. Nonetheless, I grant Muslims great latitude in interpreting the Quran for it is your book, not mine. Thanks for your explanation of this.

Do you have an explanation for how the corruption of the Torah and Gospel occurred – accounting for the various features I described?

Apollos

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Quote Chrysalis Replybullet Posted: 01 March 2009 at 8:53am
"O Lord, forgive me, my parents and Muslims in the Hereafter. O Lord, show mercy on them as they showed mercy to me when I was young."
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Quote Apollos Replybullet Posted: 01 March 2009 at 9:29am
 
Chrysalis,
 
I am aware that many other groups hold similar ideas about the Bible being corrupted - including apostate "church" leaders that you reference here. My challenge here then could be put to them as well. I am not intimidated in the slightest by so called "scholars", atheists, and others who claim that Jesus was wrong. 
 
Feel free to look to these type of people to find quotes, theories or explanations that account for the supernatural attributes of the Bible I list. I know their explanations are inadequate. I don't know what yours is.
 
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