In Gen 16:10-12 and 17:20 God promised that He would make descendant of
Ishmael to be too numerous to count and that they would be a great nation.
Was it already part of God’s plan to make the Islam religion to be the
second biggest religion believe by people in the world? Referring to Gen
16:12, it’s the vision God has for the Ishmael’s descendant. I always
thought that the many conflict in the Middle East have happened under the
previous knowledge of God and we can’t do anything about it, just accept
it. Could you please help to clear my thinking about this? Sometimes I
blame God for the conflict that have happened between the Islam, Judaism
and Christianity because I thought that it was God who gave the promise to
make the Ishmael’s descendants to be great.

I would say without qualification that God never wanted to establish the
religion of Islam. Muhammad is a false prophet and an imposter. He
certainly does not speak for the God of the Bible at all. The religion he
established is in diametric opposition to Christianity. The Koran teaches
that Jesus never died on the cross. It is very specific in saying that
salvation is not found in the blood of Jesus. There is absolutely no way
whatever to reconcile the teachings of Jesus Christ with those of
Muhammad. It may be true that God promised many descendants to Ishmael.
History has proven God more than true to his promise, given the great
number of people who would be considered Arabs today. God did this in
response to the faith of Abraham, not necessarily due to any great deeds
of Ishmael. Many try to paint a picture that Islam and Christianity are
sort of brother religions, as both trace their historical roots back to
Abraham: Christianity and Judaism through Abraham’s son Isaac and Islam
through Abraham’s illegitimate son Ishmael. However, the Old Testament
makes it very clear that Isaac was the son of promise and that the Messiah
was to come through Isaac, not Ishmael. No, God is not happy at all that
somewhere around 1.5 billion of the world’s souls are caught up in a false
religion which will only lead them to being lost forever!

I have just made some rather strong statements which may not be popular in
some company. You should do some of your own research on the nature of
Islam and the Koran. I would suggest the book by Geisler on the topic,
Answering Islam : The Crescent in the Light of the Cross, by Norman
Geisler and Abdul Saleeb. In addition, there is a power-point presentation
on Islam at this web site (click here: ISLAM) as well as an outline (click
here: ISLAM OUTLINE). I believe that if you do your own research you will
see that it is logically impossible to accept that the same God could have
willingly established both Islam and Christianity.

As far as the conflict in the Middle East goes, I would not presume for
God to tell you his exact view on the whole mess. Personally, I would not
blame the situation on God. I would blame it on the greed, arrogance,
hatred and short-sightedness of both the colonial powers, France and
England who set up the current political situation in the Middle East and
of the political leaders and people in the countries involved at the
present time. Along with you, I feel frustrated that there seems to be
little which we can do about this seemingly hopeless situation. My heart
and prayers go out to those who must pay the price for the greed and
hatred of so many in the Middle East.

John Oakes, PhD

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