Origins of Yahweh?

We worship the God of Abraham, and he is made known to us via the Bible.

Apologies to any Arab Christians out there. I know you have a hard life in your native lands. And unfortunately you would not feel welcome on BioLogos. This place is mainly white male evangelicals.

Apparently that’s true, for some of us.

1 Like

Guess what? I cheated and spoke to a librarian! How evil.

Allah is an Arabic word that means “God” or, more accurately, “the God.” In Western culture, it is commonly believed that the word Allah is used exclusively by Muslims to describe their god, but this is not actually true. The word Allah is used by Arabic speakers of all Abrahamic faiths (including Christianity and Judaism) as meaning “God.” However, according to Islam, Allah is God’s proper name, while Christians and Jews know Him as YHWH or Yahweh. When Arabic-speaking Christians use the word Allah, it is usually used in combination with the word al-Ab. Allah al-Ab means “God the Father,” and this usage is one way Arab Christians distinguish themselves from Muslims.

We call Judaism, Christianity and Islam the Abrahamic faiths because all trace their origins to Abraham.

This is not to say that all three religions are the same, of course.

What are some of the attributes of God that all three Abrahamic faiths affirm?

  • There is only one God, who has always existed. He created all things

  • God initiated contact with humankind by approaching Abraham and establishing a covenant with him. (In other words, it was God in search of man, not man in search of God.)

  • God is a personal God, and anyone may pray to him.

  • There will be a day of judgement, when the righteous/faithful will be rewarded and the wicked will be punished.

Your map of God is deficient, in my White, Male, Christian opinion. [P.S. I am a firm believer in

  • Jesus of Nazareth’s execution and burial–doubted or justified by many traditional Jews, repudiated by orthodox Muslims; and challenged by a myriad of atheists;
  • His resurrection–denied by traditional Jews, orthodox Muslims, and atheists alike;
  • His ascension into Heaven–denied by more than those who affirm it;
  • But I reject your naive and uninformed stereotype as an “evangelical”. You are essentially clueless about who I am and what I believe, and appear to prefer couching your slander in stereotypes. I am a far better friend and ally of Palestinians than I am of Jews.]

Whether white, male, evangelicals run rampant through Biologos or not is a moderator problem and your cross to bear, if true. I do not run with a pack or a herd. Aim your arrows elsewhere.

By all means, continue to ignore what a Palestinian Christian said:

  • Allah or Yahweh - A Conversation About The Name and Nature of God
    • “…in one of the Islamic classes that I was in a female Christian student from the Middle East stood up and in response to the discussion on the status of Allah and Yahweh stated that the attribute that we were talking about described the “Allah of the Bible,” but it did not describe the “Allah of the Qur’an.” In other words, even though she grew up with the word “Allah” in her Arabic Bible, she understood that the “Allah” that she was worshiping was not the same as the “Allah” that the Muslims worship.”

Why not read what I actually wrote:
What are some of the attributes that all three Abrahamic faiths affirm?

But you just insisted that Palestinians have a deficient knowledge of the faith! Besides, I got my information from a reference librarian who used academic databases.

I did. You haven’t said said anything useful.
Here, … Let me try to help you out.

A brief list of attributes that Yahweh and Allah have in common.

Now, let’s take a little walk down Memory Lane.

@Relates wrote:

You responded:

@Relates responded:

@Dale chimed in and asked:

To which you eventually replied:

Ding! ding! ding!
Your response there is “A Difference” between Allah and Yahweh, and not a minor difference, at that.

We Christians share in common with Jews, a belief in the God of Abraham, made known to us via the Bible. The significant fact here, is that the portion of the Bible from which Jews obtain their information about Yahweh is also, word for word, essentially, in OUR Bible. Muslims reject the Jewish Tanach and say that it has been corrupted, because the Qur’an says it has been corrupted and the Muslims reject the Christian Scriptures, which they call “the Injil” for the same reason. The important point, IMO, here is that Muslims affirm that Allah IS the author of the Qur’an (delivered to Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel).
Now, follow the dots:

  • Allah authors the Qur’an which affirms that the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures have been corrupted and are unreliable products.
  • Jews, however, affirm that Yahweh is the source of the Scriptures which the Muslims affirm are corrupted and unreliable.
  • So, Allah rejects what Yahweh gave Jews? And you still think that Allah and Yahweh are the same God, just because they both are Gods and because Muslims and Jews both affirm that there is one God? I say “Nonsense”.
  • Meanwhile, Christians affirm that their Scriptures–which the Muslims reject as corrupted and unreliable–were inspired by God the Holy Spirit. So, Allah doesn’t like the Holy Spirit’s work-product? How’s that work?
  • Pray tell, how can you continue to hang your argument for Allah and Yahweh being one and the same God of Abraham on the the fact that Islam, Judaism, … and Christianity say they worship One God, who happened to be the God of Abraham? Your argument boggles my mind.
  • Oh wait! you say, all three Abrahamic faiths affirm:
    • One, eternal God, who created all things, who approached Abraham and established a covenant with him, who is a “personal” God, who may be addressed, in prayer, by anyone, and who will reward the righteous/faithful and punish the wicked on the day of judgement.
    • LOL!
    • I do NOT and will not worship Allah. Islam’s Allah is a very poor imitation of Yahweh. Moreover, I reject and deny Mohammed’s status as a Prophet. He was, IMO, a deluded or very clever usurper.

Read what I wrote again. You’re confused.
I wrote:

Again, who, what was this Abraham? What has God as He is, as was incarnate in Christ, got to do with him?

Try reading Genesis 12. And read “God in Search of Man” by Abraham Herschel. Definitely ask a librarian for help.

What does Genesis 12 say that’s new? That’s been recently added? What have I missed? What does Herschel know that I don’t? That I need to know? Or a librarian? What help do I need?

It seems that “epistemic humility” is rather the antithesis of “I decided against belief in the supernatural."

In context with the above, it also appears that “I think the only safe way to handle God conceptually is as a mystery” still precludes whatever “God” is from being supernatural, so the antithesis with epistemic humility remains.

I recommend asking the mystery what it thinks” is also antithetical to it because it is stated explicitly that the supernatural God has already revealed is excluded, since “Everything some dumb kid dreams up or which is written in a holy book or explicated by a scholar is necessarily speculation.” Where is this hypothetical humility please, with “some dumb kid” on a par with Bonhoeffer’s hermeneutic?
 

(I took the liberty of italicizing your I, @Terry_Sampson, because your “I could be sure” was not indicating a possibility but a certainty, since you followed it with the declaration, “I’d stake my life on it.”)

1 Like

Seems I have to explain what I wrote…
There is just one true God and He was once known as the God of Abraham. So far so good.

If there are several groups who inform that they believe in the God of Abraham but provide crucially different teaching about how we can get peace with God, where is the problem?

Personally, I do not believe that the problem is multiple gods. I believe the problem is having different images of the one true God (descriptions of what God is like and what He expects from us). Christianity and Islam paint a different picture of God - not maybe the best choice of words as painting a picture of God is a nono, at least in Islam. I guess you get the meaning anyway.

It could be said that also within Christianity, different branches tell partly conflicting teaching about God, i.e. paint different images of God and His will. This is not a fatal error as long as we tell a correct message about how a person can be saved - our good life is not enough, we can find peace with God only through the saving act of God in Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus instead of earning our salvation.

Islam does not tell this message. That is the fundamental difference that truly matters.

Why does it matter?

Look! If you want to believe that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam worship the same god, knock yourself out. You’re going to believe whatever you want to believe and I am quite sure that if you think I’m trying to persuade you to change your mind, you’re going to hold on tighter to what you believe than you would have if I said nothing. But the fact is that you and I have an apparently, irreconcilable difference between us, and if it is indeed irreconcilable, then we (you and I must accept that conclusion and decide separately and individually what you and I are going to do about it.)

Now, according to you, the fundamental difference that is the only difference that “truly matters” is how we can be saved. Thanks, but no thanks; that’s just another “irreconcilable difference” that we’re going to fuss over.

I say that the differences between the three religions do matter, and that the only thing about them that they have in common is the myth that they worship the same god, that each claims to be a monotheist religion, that each claims to trace it’s history back to Abraham, and that none of the things they have in common is as important as the fact that believers in God are typically believed to be human beings, insofar as that has been deemed probable to date.

So, is any difference between any two religions justification for going to war against each other? No, I don’t happen to think so at this time. I’ll get back to you if I come up with one.
So, why is it important to claim that the three religions worship the same God? I suggest that the sole reason for doing so is the last sentence of the following article:
Do Christians, Muslims, and Jews worship the same god?

  • If we started to recognize and acknowledge the similarities, we might have much less Islamophobia in our world.

Personally, I’ll believe that bit of wishful thinking as soon as I believe this:

  • If we started to recognize and acknowledge the similarities, we might have much less Anti-semitism in our world.
1 Like

Of course the differences between the three religions matter. Especially the difference between Christianity and Islam in what they teach about God and the fate and role of Jesus Christ.

Maybe my thinking is wrong but I can acknowledge the similarities without compromising my faith or the teachings of Christianity. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are classified together under the title ‘Abrahamic tradition’ because all accept that the God of Abraham is the only true God. The teachings of Islam have diverged from the teachings of Judaism and Christianity so much that it may be difficult to recognize the similarities. Yet, we are all humans created by the same God.

I believe that knowledge, good acts or our cultural background cannot save us, even if we are born in a Christian family. I believe that we need to turn towards God and receive the gift of God, salvation through Jesus Christ to find lasting peace with God - be saved, born again, or some similar expression. This is a very crucial point for me and therefore affects my opinion of religious teachings. Islam does not tell about the gift of God, salvation through Jesus Christ. For me, this is the most crucial difference between Christianity and Islam.

2 Likes

And again, why does it matter? What difference does it make?

I hope that as many as possible would find lasting peace with God (be saved), muslims included.

I know that all branches of Christianity do not have similar teachings about the need to turn towards God and receive the gift of God. That is my understanding and affects my opinions. I hope that muslims could get the same peace with God as I have received. Without the gospel of Jesus Christ, few can learn about the real Jesus Christ and the possibility to get this peace.

2 Likes

btw, what do the @moderators think? Do Muslims worship the God of Abraham? People want to know your opinions.

Speaking for only for myself, it surely seems that the God of the Christians is the same as that of the Jews, except with a continuation of the story which departs from Judaism.

From wiki I learned:

Hebrew Bible, also called Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament, or Tanakh, collection of writings that was first compiled and preserved as the sacred books of the Jewish people . It also constitutes a large portion of the Christian Bible, known as the Old Testament.

The Koran does not seem to have found any place in the Christian BIble and neither do Christians (as far as I can tell) view it as related to the BIble.

Regardless I see no reason to assume each of the three worships a different God. As others have said the manner of the worship varies but each one worships a singular God. If indeed God is a singular being, it may well be that this being is what each religion worships in its own way., (In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t think God is a singular being apart from something that is in us which supports God belief.) So for me it isn’t really a question of whether the Jewish, Christian and Islamic God are the same being as it is a question about whether the same phenomenon which supports belief in each of the Gods is the same. I do think that is likely the case.

2 Likes

For a monotheist there is no other God for the God of Islam, or of Judaism, or of Christianity to be. One can insist that another group has an incorrect view of the one God. But saying that Muslims “worship a different God” while those who fail to subscribe to or those who do subscribe to the doctrine of the Trinity within Christianity have different ideas about the “same God” is to draw a line on a blurry continuum where no obvious place exists for such a line to be drawn.

7 Likes

I might have skimmed a few of the posts in this thread - and don’t think I’ve read very many in much depth - so my answer here may repeat a lot of stuff they may have already been said. And this is me writing with my own hat on (not as a moderator, but as just another participant here - hopefully my words will be weighed for their own merits alone. In other words - this is not put forward as any sort of ‘Biologos’ opinion, but only my own.

To the extent that anybody worships a “Creator” of everything and everyone, then they are worshipping the same (with respect to the worshipped being ‘Creator’) - no matter what different word they may have for such a being, and whether they do so from within a Christian tradition or not. To the extent that anybody worships an “ultimate Good”, then I would say their worshipped being also is yet another Christian understanding of God - and so then … the same, no matter what words or tradition their worship is embodied in.

To the extent that anybody attributes false attributes to God (I would say, making God out to be an evil tyrant or a deceiver, for example), I say that to the extent they do that, they are worshipping something that is not the Christian understanding of God (whether they do so from within a Christian tradition or not).

Furthermore, I think it necessary to concede (as has been said before), that none of us can have a complete understanding of all of God. We will have necessarily incomplete understandings, and certainly some wrong understandings too. So all of us, then are giving imperfect worship to God, probably some a lot more than others. The being we hope to have a relationship with is a forgiving one, if the Christian and the biblical narrative are true as many of us here see it. So thankfully we don’t all have to ace any “factuality” exams before God will relate to us. I think Christ is our true picture of God, but he doesn’t guarantee us that our understandings suddenly then become infallible.

In short, I think there are Muslims who (by evidence of their lives) worship the true God, and Muslims who worship false gods. I think there are Christians who worship the true God, and Christians who worship false gods. (and I think people, sinful as we are, can fluidly move between those categories as we variously resist or fall to temptations in our lives.) And since people will accuse me here then of suggesting that there are “many equal paths” to God and that all religions must therefore be right, I will pre-emptively correct them with this: I believe Christ, and Christ alone is our hope, no matter what religion we call ourselves. Whether or not people have uttered some set of “right words” in the “right language” addressing Christ by the “right name” is of no consequence. If Christ has not got hold of their heart, no right words or doctrines have saved them. Whether Christ has got a hold of a person’s heart - that is everything. If he has got hold of their heart, no lack of doctrines or lack of using familiar names or recognized religious language can hurt them, or stick with them for long - as Christ will teach them everything they need when they need it.

3 Likes

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.