Response to John Ankerberg’s The Truth About Islam Booklet
By Sheila Musaji
In the little booklet THE TRUTH ABOUT ISLAM (by John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Harvest House Publishers, 1991) one particular “point” is raised over and over again.
“His (Allah’s) will is supreme, and in that role he is considered the author of both good and evil. Thus Allah is not a God of holiness and love.” p.l4. “Again, even Muslim scholars concede that Allah is the author of evil” p. 14. “Allah is considered the author of evil. Rather He is infinitely holy and righteous. (1 Samuel 2’4’ Psalm 77:1:]. 99:9; Revelations 1.5:4; Habbakkuk 1:13)” p. 18. ”. .. this makes Allah the author of evil, a doctrine that most Muslim theologians hold” p. 27. “The Koran presents an evil deity, one who is acknowledged as the author of evil.. “ p. 43.
Clearly this is a “difference” between Islam and Christianity that is seen as significant, and the quotes referred to from the Bible do say that God is “holy” and “righteous”, as does the Qur’an.
Human beings have wrestled with this “problem” of the existence of evil for thousands of years. The book of Job is an ancient discourse on this topic, and similar discourses can be found throughout the scriptures, the literature and the philosophical writings of people all over the world and at every period of recorded history. It is difficult for human beings to resolve the apparent contradiction. Most of us are unable to give thanks for death as well as for life - for our trials and suffering as well as our joy - to see the real victory in moral and not material terms.
Do Muslims believe that God is the Creator of all that exists? YES! Does this make of God “an evil deity”? NO! If we look at the Old Testament, New Testament and the Qur’an, what do we find?
“I am the Lord, and there is none else; I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I am the Lord, that doeth all these things” Isaiah 45:7
“Thou art the Lord, thou alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and thou preservest all of them ... ” Nehemiah 9:6
“Cease to do evil” Isaiah 1:16
“Hate the evil and love the good. ” Amos 5:15.
“And God saw everything that He had made and behold it was very good. ” Genesis 1:31
“I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil ” Deuteronomy 30:15
“Choose life. .. ” Deuteronomy 30:19
“I am God and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done. saying. My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purposes .. “Isaiah 46:10
“Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?” Job 2:10
“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty. ” 40:2
“All things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. ” Colossians 1:16-17.
“There is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. ” Romans 13:1
“Be not overcome of evil but overcome evil with good. ” Romans 12:21.
“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. ” 1 Timothy 4:4-5.
“He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. ” John 1:3.
“Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they were created. ” Revelation 4:11
“All things work together for good to them that love God. ” Romans 8:28
“To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth; everything renders worship to Him. To Him is due the primal origin of the heavens and the earth; when He decrees a matter He says to it: “Be”; and it is.” 2:116-117
“We created not the heavens, the earth, and all between them, but for just ends. And the Hour is surely coming (when this will be manifest). So overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness. For truly it is thy Lord Who is the Master-Creator, knowing all things. “15:85-86
“He has created the heavens and the earth in accordance with (an inner) truth; sublimely exalted is He above anything to which men may ascribe a share in His Divinity!” 16:3
“We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in mere idle play; none of this have We created without an inner truth: but most of them understand it not. “44:38-39
“For, God has created the heavens and the earth in accordance with an inner truth, and has therefore willed that every human being shall be recompensed for what he has earned and none shall be wronged. “45:24 46:3
“Unto God belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. ” 2:284
“God knows all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth; and God has the power to will anything. ” 3.-29
“And He alone is truly forgiving. All embracing in His love. in sublime almightiness enthroned, a sovereign doer of whatever He wills. “85:14-16
“But since good and evil cannot be equal, repel thou evil with something that is better. .. “41:34. 23:96
“These it is that shall receive a twofold reward for having been patient in adversity, and having repelled evil with good, and having spent on others out of what We provided for them as sustenance. and whenever they heard frivolous talk, haying turned away from it and said ‘Unto us shall be accounted our deeds, and unto you your deeds. “28:54-55
“It is He who hath created for you all things that are on earth; moreover His design comprehended the heavens, for He gave order and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things he hath perfect knowledge:. 2:29
“With every difficulty there is relief.” 94:5
It would seem that God as the ultimate source of all that exists is a concept taught clearly by the Messengers of God to all of the People of the Book. Although Muslims would disagree with the usual Christian interpretation of the meaning and identity of the “Word of God” referred to in John 1:3, they certainly agree that through God and by His Word (Kun) all things were made, and without Him was not anything made that was made.
Good/evil, virtue/vice, belief/disbelief, sin/good deeds, reward/punishment. .. exist only in connection with MAN as a creature with free will. However, even if we seek to place mankind as the source of evil we must acknowledge that this creature (man) was also created by God who knew fully his nature and the possibilities inherent in that nature. Ultimately, all that exists was created by God and serves a purpose (whether we understand fully or not).
From the Qur’an, we learn that all that exists was created with a purpose 21: 1718. There is no disorder in creation 67:25. That human beings specifically were created with a purpose 23:116, 75:37. That human beings were created pure with a choice of foI1owing either good or evil 95:5; 76:3, 40; 90:9-11; 91:8-9. That human beings are endowed with an innate conscience which makes them aware of evil 7:23; 75:3; 40: 11; 49:9; 90: 10; 91:89. We are told not to do evil 6:121, 152; 7:34. We are told that good overcomes evil 11:15. That evil (sins, errors) can be forgiven through repentance 3:136-137; 4:111; 16:120; 42:26. That prayer guards us from evil 29:46. That Satan has no power over those who believe and put their faith in God Alone 16:100. That Satan has no power of his own, only that allowed to him by man (that is Satan takes advantages of man’s weaknesses if we do not resist) 15:43; 16:101; 14:23; 15:43. That for those who deliberately do evil there will be punishment 2:226; 5:90, 20:116; 6:161; 10:28; 28:85; 40:41.
If Rev. Ankerberg is teaching that Christians do not or should not also believe that God is the creator and sustainer of all that exists, and that there is an ultimate purpose which is good and just, then possibly we are witnessing in our lifetime the birth of a new sect or school of Christianity. I would like to know: 1) On what scripture is this belief based? 2) What was created by some power other than God? 3) What power exists that God did not create? 4) What is the new definition of Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent?
Originally published in the Spring 1992 print edition of The American Muslim