What writings should be called God’s word? The words which are literally said by God himself? Muslims claim that the Koran contain God’s words, not the words of Muhammad. His words are separately recorded in Hadith. Christians claim that every word in the Bible is inspired but the fact is: there’s difference between revelation and inspiration. Revelation is absolute, inspiration is suppositional. This is because revelation comes via an angel. There is no possibility of making a mistake for the angel. However, as the heart has relation to the mind and to the evil commanding soul, it is affected by them. Therefore, mistakes may occur in inspiration. What do Christians say?
Christians say what the inspired Bible says with regard to its revelation and inspiration. 2 Tim 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and in profitable for teaching, reproof, and training in righteousness, so that the person of God may be fully equipped for every good work.” In other words, the entire accepted canon of Scripture, including the Old and the New Testament are fully inspired by God, and are therefore authoritative for belief and practice to the Christian. Also, there is 2 Peter 1:19-21 which tells us that, because of the myriad of fulfilled prophecies in the life of Jesus, and because of his miracles, we now “have the word of the prophets made more certain.” In other words, the detailed prophecy fulfillments of Jesus are solid evidence supporting the belief in the inspiration of the Bible. Peter goes on to declare that the Bible writers (he is talking about the Old Testament, but this obviously applies equally well to the New Testament) “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” So, like Paul in 2 Timothy, Peter is making the verifiable claim that the entire Christian Scripture is inspired by God. There is no issue of mistake here. Then there is Psalm 119:160. All your words are true, all your righteous laws are eternal.” Here, the writer is referring to the Old Testament. Also, there is Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, where Paul says “And we thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as human word, but as it actually is: the word of God.” Again, we see the clear statement that what Paul said, including 1 Thessalonians, Romans, Galatians, etc., is the inspired word of God. It is the revelation of God directly to Paul, not through the intermediary of an angel.
Of course, the passages I just quoted are not EVIDENCE for inspiration. They are merely CLAIMS of inspiration, but the claim is clear. The Bible claims for itself full authority as revelation and inspiration. Of course, the Qur’an acknowledges this claim of Old and New Testament authority when it refers to these testaments as ” injil.” For example in sura 5:46, the words about Isa (Jesus) are called gospel or injil. Muhammad considered these writings as authoritative, even if some Muslims do not. This happens twelve times in the Qur’an. But, not only does the Bible claim that the Old and New Testaments are fully inspired–that they are the very words of God–but they also provide abundant EVIDENCE for this inspiration in such fulfilled prophecies as Micah 5:2, Isaiah 53, Zechariah 9:9, Daniel 9:24-25, Psalm 22:16-19 and so many more fulfilled prophecies. EvidenceforJesus
These show (as God claims in Isaiah 42:9 in which God claims that in Isaiah and other prophecies he declares things to be true before they happen) that the Bible is due to divine inspiration. There is voluminous evidence for the revelation and inspiration of the Bible.
By contrast, although the Qur’an does claim for itself authority and inspiration, the evidence to support this claim is sorely lacking. There is no prophecy in the Qur’an fulfilled hundreds of years later. There are no public miracles by Muhammad which parallel Jesus walking on water, feeding thousands and raising people from the dead. The claim for inspiration is found in the Qur’an, as it is in the Bible, but the evidence to support such a claim simply is not there, which is a problem for Muslims, as they are well aware. This is why Muslims tend to attack the inspiration of the Bible–not because it is not there, but because their own scripture lacks internal evidence for inspiration. This leads to insecurity on the part of Muslims, understandably. But, rather that provide such evidence from miracles and prophecy fulfillment, because it does not exist, they are left with only one option, which is to try, unsuccessfully, to undermine such evidence when found in the Bible. Their attempts only work when they are speaking to one another in a Muslim echo-chamber, but not in an open debate with Christians, which they lose regularly. We put on such a debate several years ago “Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Which is the True Legacy of Abraham” which is available at www.ipibooks.com
In this debate Shabir Ally really struggles to provide any evidence whatsoever for the inspiration of the Qur’an. Why? Because he had none, other than questionable claims regarding numerology.
You claim that “inspiration is suppositional.” This is a claim, but on what do you base this statement? What I can say about this is that when the word “inspiration” is used by Bible writers, it is nothing suppositional at all. This is mere rhetoric on your part. Whether inspiration is suppositional or not is a matter of definition, I suppose, but what is clear is that the Bible claims that its inspired writings are the fully authoritative and the revelation from God. There are plenty of passages which prove this. You say that “revelation comes via an angel.” Who says? What authority do you have to simply declare that God’s revelation always and only comes by an angel? Muslims claim that the words of Muhammad come from an angel. Fair enough, but what is the evidence to support this? Do we have any such evidence? Were there people present in the room who saw this angel? Claims are one thing, but evidence is another. On this we have the word of Muhamad, but this is not evidence. And, like I said, who says that God can only reveal himself through angels? Did God speak to David (a prophet in Islam) through angels? What about Elijah? This seems like a rather weak argument to me. Let me repeat. 1. The statement that revelation comes only by angels is just that: a statement without evidence. 2. There is no evidence, other than his own claim, that Muhammad was spoken to by an angel.
You say that mistakes may occur in inspiration. Again, this depends on your definition of inspiration. Clearly, the Bible claims that it does not contain such mistakes (Psalm 119:160). The Bible is fully inspired in the sense that it is the very words of God, “as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” This is my answer to your important question.