Summary: Muhammad started with the truth, so as to make it familiar to Christians of the day, then twisted it, added to it, subtracted from it.
Lesson 20, No Friendship with Infidels!
The end of Sura 2, "the cow" , and the beginning of Sura 3, called "The family of Imran." We'll go through verse 31.
You may recall that a story of Abraham and some animals and a dream is recorded in Genesis 15. The Koran has its own special version of that story, preceded by some extra "revelation" about an unknown king with whom Abraham dialogued. The patriarch is able to convince the monarch of Allah's great power by causing him to die for 100 years, then resurrecting him. The monarch, back from the dead, believes that only a day or two has passed, and his waiting donkey is proof of that to him. The only proof of the much longer absence is that Abraham says it happened. And of course the only proof that this dialogue ever took place is that Muhammad says it did.
There seems to be no connection here to the reality of the man Abraham that we have come to know in Scripture. Abraham was not a miracle worker. He actually struggled with the promises of God, but eventually believed God and received Isaac, who is the true miracle in the Abraham story.
This unusual incident is used to introduce the idea of resurrection, which Muhammad turns into a question in Abraham's mind. "My lord, show me how you give life to the dead." He directs the question to Allah, and Allah answers with a story that looks a little like the carcass incident in Genesis. But in Genesis, Abraham is not questioning resurrection. He is asking about his inheritance in the land of Canaan. And God makes it clear to His man that certainly this land will be his.
There follows a lengthy - by Koranic standards - discussion of the wisdom of proper use of material things. The sentiments are largely in keeping with Christian thought, until verse 27, when Allah purportedly links almsgiving with atonement for sin.
The Muslim, alas! is not permitted to know of Christ's full atonement for the sins of mankind, for in the Koran, Jesus does not die for our sins. Therefore a human-generated atonement must be engineered, as in Rome and all the great religions of the world. Here is one step in that atonement, secretly and generously giving to the poor. While we must applaud the action, the motivation is not of God.
Verse 275ff now demands that Muslims not charge interest on loans, on pain of eternal hell-fire. Mixed in with the serious judgment over this sin is a statement that once more makes Allah stand out as very different from the God of the Bible, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our Father. "Allah does not love every sinful infidel."
Au contraire, Muslim believer. The true God loves this world passionately. He saw the trouble we were in, the sin we had committed, and He wanted to do something about it. That's why Jesus had to come into the world, to give His life a ransom for sin. While it is true that believing in a god who does not love sinners coupled to a belief that robs us of the blood of Jesus is consistent, it is consistently false.
God does love sinners. Jesus, Who is God, came into the world to save sinners. Jesus ate and drank with sinners. And while mankind was still in its sin, the God-Man died for their sins. To think that we must muddle through on our own, doing our best to be good little Muslims or good little Christians, is a dark thought, and is what makes the traveling through this Volume a very difficult journey. Nevertheless, armed with Jesus' Light, let's move on.
Next Muhammad enjoins on his people to be sure that they make records of all financial transactions regarding debt. That's good. Preferably, two male witnesses of the proceedings are called for, but "if there were not two men, so one man and two women..."
I'll let you think about that one awhile.
In verse 285, heavenly messengers are lumped together into one basket. Messengers come from God, whether they be angels, the books, prophets, they all cause the people to believe. "We do not differentiate between any of his messengers." Since we know that Isa (Jesus) is one of the messengers of which he speaks here, this is a serious misstatement by one who is claiming to be God's voice.
Just for the record, Christians do differentiate. We say that "God spoke to us in times past by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son." Two baskets for us. Jesus alone in one, and everybody else in the other.
This longest of all the suras ends with a prayer for victory over the infidels. One thing that unites Muslims is the fight against the whole non-Muslim world, the infidel. This outward look keeps many of them from looking inward and hearing those voices that tell them something is missing on the inside, where it really counts. Victory over self and sin is not a theme of the Koran.