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THE CELL LEADER’S MANUAL

An Apologetics Primer:

Caribbean Apologetics Issues, No. 6

GEM ’85, this rev. Aug. 2002a.1.2.2

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect . . ."     (1 Peter 3:15)


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3.6       Islam in the Caribbean

Islam is now being strongly promoted in the Caribbean as a major alternative to the Christian Faith, to postmodernism and to neo-paganism, as people grope for meaning in the aftermath of the disintegration of modernity.   It is also not well understood in the region, and so it is properly the capstone Apologetics in action case in this primer.

The Islamic Challenge

Islam is rapidly growing as a spiritual challenge in the Caribbean.  For example, Suriname and Guyana — the latter with Muslims as some 10 – 12% of the population — are now both full members of the Islamic Conference Organisation, OIC, and are therefore officially Islamic countries.  In the mid 1990’s in Barbados, over half of recorded conversions were to Islam.  Jamaica, too has a rising Islamic influence, especially through the claims[21] that the Spanish settlement from 1494 on was predominantly Moorish, and that “Moor”: (1) implies Islamic – true, and (2) includes Black African (misleading[22]). 

It is then inferred that the majority of Jamaicans are descended from Islamic Moors, who were brought here as slaves by the Spanish or the British, so that: “[c]ontemporaneous to the autonomous Muslim Maroon ummah, hundreds of thousands of Mu’minun (the Believers of the Islamic faith) of African descent worked as slaves on the plantations in Jamaica.”[23]    Specifically, the Maroons are viewed as resisting the British invaders of 1655 by jihad, as Saladin resisted and finally defeated Richard the Lion Heart and the other Crusaders in the Middle East.  Slave revolts, similarly, are reinterpreted by Dr. Afroz as jihads, especially the 1831/2 “Baptist War” rebellion:

Jihad became the religious and political ideology of these crypto-Muslims, who became members of the various denominational nonconformist churches since being sprinkled with the water by the rectors of the parishes.[24] Despite the experience of the most cruel servitude and the likelihood of a swift and ruthless suppression of the rebellion, the spiritually inspired Mu’minun collectively responded to the call for an island-wide jihad in 1832. Commonly known as the Baptist Rebellion, the Jihad of 1832 wrought havoc of irreparable dimension to the plantation system and hastened the Emancipation Act of 1833. [Afroz, p. 227. NB: This claim is most improbable .]

Thus, it is concluded by Islamic advocates that the Caribbean’s ancestral and cultural roots are largely Islamic.  Islam, then, seeks cultural legitimacy in the Caribbean as being linked to our predominantly African identity, which is specifically tied to an emphasis on jihad as military struggle.  On this basis, Caribbean peoples are in effect invited to turn away from both secularism and the Christian religion of our oppressors, and “return” to Islam. 

Responding to the Islamic Challenge

The shaky historical and cultural foundation for the above claims should be quite evident: the overwhelming historical and anthropological evidence is that our “crypto-Muslim” African ancestors were in fact predominantly and very actively animistic, and that Islam first gained a significant institutionalised presence in the region with the settlement of Indian indentured labourers in the mid-nineteenth century.  As for the concept that the Maroons were Moorish/Islamic to the point of constituting an Islamic community under Islamic law (i.e. an ummah), one should start by considering the fact that they have been famous, from Spanish times, for Jerk Pork — a major Islamic no-no[25]!

But, while it would be relatively easy to challenge the above in a Seminar Room, it is another matter to take it on in the streets, or even on middle class verandahs, given the unhealed wounds of our unfinished history of oppression and injustice at the hands of “Christian” Europeans and North Americans.

That is, just as has been the case with Rastafarianism, mere argument is not enough.  For, until and unless the Church takes the lead, and demonstrates successful reformation and renewal of the cultures of our region towards sustainable prosperity and development, Islam will have a powerful appeal to many Caribbean people.[26]

Understanding Islam

As a part of our overall response to the growing regional Islamic challenge, it is necessary to understand and respond to Islam in general[27]:

(1)       In the early seventh century, the Angel Gabriel reportedly appeared to Muhammad, a merchant from Mecca in SW Arabia, and initiated a series of revelations that have been handed down in the Quran [“Recitation”] and the Hadiths [traditions and sayings of the Prophet].  These revelations and traditions are the foundation for Islamic teachings/belief and faith [iman], law [sharia] and community [umma], all of which are to be integrated, instituted and enforced in a properly established Muslim state.[28]

(2)       Muhammad first hesitated — he wondered if he was going mad under demonic influence, and had to be encouraged by his wife, Khadijah — but then began to preach in Mecca, where he made but few converts.  While his basic sincerity was clear, he found that his claims were rejected by the Christians and the Jews,[29] and by the majority of the pagan Meccans; some of whom threatened his safety and persecuted his followers.  So, after being invited to be its ruler, he fled to Yathrib in 622, which was renamed Medina, the City of the Prophet.

(3)      From the base in Medina, Islam then spread by alliance, conversion and military victories.  Within a decade, Arabia was under Islamic rule. Jews and Christians were reduced to subject people status as dhimmis [protected persons], and were ultimately expelled from Arabia under Umar.  It also seems that pagans were often viewed as having no religion, and were at least sometimes offered the options of conversion to Islam, or being put to the sword.  All of this was in accord with the temper of the times, and it seems that at least some Christians in Syria saw the prospect of Islamic rule as an improvement over “Christian” Byzantine rule! 

(4)        After Muhammad’s death in 632, at the [approximate] age of sixty-three, the process of conquest continued under Abu Bakr and the other early Caliphs.  Islamic armies swept over the Persian and Byzantine empires, spreading across the Middle East and North Africa, and on into Europe and India by 711.  In the West they were stopped by Charles Martel at Tours, about a hundred miles from Paris, in 732.  Reportedly, Islamic sea raiders attacked the Irish coasts as well.[30] (NB: This footnote discusses the crusades and related issues, with links to discussions by Bernard Lewis and Bat Ye'or. This link, the 463 years of continual Jihad-associated attacks [not the often assumed "peaceful coexistence"] leading up to the first Crusade of 1095. Here, one may explore links on the related issues of slavery, the slave trade and abolition.)

(5)        Beyond those regions, Islam has been predominantly spread by traders and the teachings of Islamic holy men, especially the mystical Sufis.  Thus for instance, Indonesia became the world’s most populous Muslim country, and sub-Saharan Africa saw a gradual Islamic penetration from the North from about the tenth century on.[31]  (In recent decades, there has also been a large-scale, well organised Dawa, a missionary campaign to proclaim and establish Islam in all nations.)

(6)        Islamic believers famously practice the Five Pillars of Islam: (1) Confession that Allah alone is God and Muhammad his Prophet/Apostle — Authoritative Spokesman; (2) Prayer to Allah while prostrated towards Mecca, five times per day; (3) Fasting (especially during Ramadan); (4) Almsgiving; (5) where possible, Pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Mecca.[32]   Some add a sixth pillar, Jihad, or struggle: classically, in the sense of religiously motivated military conflict to extend the sphere of Islam, but the term is also used in the “higher” sense of spiritual/moral struggle.

(7)        In the process of its initial territorial expansion, Islam viewed the world as divided into two zones: Dar al Islam [the house of submission to Allah[33]]; and Dar al Harb [the house of the sword/war].  In the former domain, those who hold to other religions — most notably Judaism and Christianity — may continue to practice their belief, but are often subjected to the conditions of the Pact of Umar, and are Dhimmis [“protected persons”] with sharply restricted Civil Rights relative to Muslim men.[34]  From the Seventh Century on, this has materially contributed to the conversion of subject peoples to Islam, as people sought to gain the status of full members of the community.[35]

(8)        Treaties with non-Islamic states, on this classic Islamic view, are inherently temporary truces,[36] and the expansion of Islam by military means is always an open option.  (According to some observers, the classic example of this was set by Muhammad himself, who they say broke a peace treaty between Medina and the Quraysh of Mecca,[37] and so conquered his native city, putting to the sword key opponents and critics, including a poetess who had composed satirical poems challenging his integrity.) However, from the Middle Ages on, there have been Muslim scholars, jurists and statesmen who have argued for a more permanent character to such treaties.[38] 

(9)        Islam views the Old Testament prophets and Jesus as Prophets of Allah, and regards the Bible as inspired, to the extent that it has not been corrupted.[39]  In particular, the concept of the Trinity is viewed as an attempt to elevate Mary — yes, Mary — and Jesus to divine status alongside Allah, that is Shirk,[40] and Christianity is therefore often viewed as idolatrous.  Muhammad, as Allah’s final Prophet, has the last say on matters of revelation and fact.

(10)        As Surah 4:156 – 158 records, the Quran specifically denies the crucifixion of Christ: “they killed him not, nor crucified him . . . . Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself.”[41]  Thus, the Quran’s message is explicitly incompatible with the core gospel message: “on which [we Christians] have taken [our] stand.  By this gospel [we] are saved if [we] hold firmly to the word . . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures . . . .  And if Christ has not been raised [from the dead], our preaching is useless and so is [our] faith . . . [we] are still in [our] sins.”  [1 Cor. 15:2 – 5, 14, 17.]

(11)        As Dr Patrick Sookhdeo — who is familiar with Caribbean Islam from his upbringing in his native Guyana — also reports, “Muslims believe that Jesus will come back to earth as a Muslim, will marry and have children, then die and be buried near Muhammad.  Some traditions assert that at this second coming He will destroy every cross, kill all Jews, convert the Christians to Islam, and reign as king of all Muslims.”  [Sookhdeo, p. 22.]

(12)        Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam [NOI] is somewhat divergent from mainstream Islam, as it is rooted in the rejection of racism in the United States, and views Islam as the answer for the Black man.  It is somewhat syncretistic between Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness and more orthodox Christian beliefs, has Afrocentric elements and views the White race as the product of breeding experiments over six hundred years by an evil scientist.  In some cases, NOI spokesmen reportedly may go so far as to view white people as incarnate devils. 

Responding to Islamic Theological Claims

Clearly, the critical theological divergence between Islam and the gospel is that Islam does not accept the need for Christ as the Redeemer/Saviour and reconciler between the Holy God and sinful, rebellious and morally defiled man.  Consequently, Islam redefines Jesus as a merely human Prophet of Allah, and rejects the biblical testimony to Christ’s Eternal Sonship, Incarnation, atoning death on the cross, and his resurrection — by raising the charge that the texts have been corrupted.

However, there is no real evidential basis for such corruption of the text, since we can directly trace its history, and that of the teachings of the Church Fathers, to the edge of the First Century.  Indeed, this history is also externally supported: for example Pliny the Younger, Roman Governor of Bithynia circa 110 AD, in discussing trials of Christians, confirms the doctrinal picture we read in the New Testament.  Josephus, a Jewish historian, and Seutonius, a Roman historian, allow us to carry this recognizable picture back to the 30’s to 70’s. Pagan graffiti in Roman Arenas mocks early Christians for worshipping a crucified Christ (who is sometimes mockingly caricatured with an Ass’ head). Even the Talmud, by accusing him of blasphemy and demonic powers, provides inadvertent support to the historicity of Jesus’ teachings, claims and miracles. 

In short, biblical, orthodox Christian teachings and beliefs are, beyond reasonable doubt, rooted in the historic New Testament Faith.  Paul summarises the core of that Faith as he sets out the theme of his Epistle to the Romans, which dates to the 50’s in the First Century — within thirty years of Jesus’ ministry:

[T]he gospel of God — the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. [Rom1:2 – 4.]

Thus we may see the critical contrast between authentic Christian faith and Islam’s underlying principles: a gospel of salvation that leads to righteousness through personal spiritual transformation by the power of the indwelling Spirit[42] vs. a framework of religious laws, traditions and precedents that seeks to bring people and communities to submission and, through conformity to its rules, to reform them towards righteousness. 

Unfortunately, such a law-centred framework for achieving righteousness simply will not, and cannot, work.[43] The agonized, lived-out words of the Apostle Paul — who started his life as “a Hebrew of Hebrews . . . as for legalistic righteousness, faultless”[44] — explain why:

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do . . . . When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  Who will rescue me from this body of death?[45] 

In short, knowing and delighting in the righteous requirements of God is good, but it is utterly incapable of breaking through our underlying problem: enslavement to sin.  Is there any hope for us? 

Thank God, yes! Paul, speaking from experience, explains why the gospel lives up to its name — Good News:

Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord . . . . because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set [us] free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit . . . .  And if the Spirit of him who raised Christ from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit . . . . if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.[46] 

Thus, while it is appropriate to point out to our Muslim friends that there are significant misunderstandings in the Islamic picture of Christianity, that there is good historical evidence for the claims that Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, died on a cross and rose from the dead, and that there is solid reason to reject the claims that the New Testament is fraudulent or corrupted, these are not the heart of the matter.

Instead, let us focus on the core issue: sin, enslavement to sin even in the teeth of delighting in laws that identify and command what is good and right, and our consequent profound need for radical Salvation and transformation from within by the Spirit of God.  To access that hope and transforming power, we must put our trust in the Incarnate Christ and Eternal Son of God, who came in love, humbled himself and became obedient to the point of dying on a cross for our sins as our sinless substitute, and then rose in power on the third day as Son of God and Lord, in order that he might fill all things with his grace and glory.

Consequently, we conclude, on a note of both warning and hope[47]:

  All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the law.”  Clearly no-one is justified before God by the law because, “The righteous will live by faith.”  The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.”  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the ethne [Nations] through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

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NOTICES: This course module was originally created by Gordon Mullings, in 1985, for use as part of a manual for Cell Group Leaders for the UCCF, in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. It has been subsequently revised and developed, to date. (DISCLAIMER: While reasonable attempts have been made to provide accurate, fair and informative materials for use in training, no claim is made for absolute truth, and corrections based on factual errors and/or gaps or inconsistencies in reasoning are welcome.) FAIR USE: The contents of this module are intended for use as a support for learning about responding to the typical intellectual challenges to the Christian Faith and gospel that are commonly encountered in the Caribbean, especially in tertiary education and in commentary in the regional and international media. Permission is therefore granted to link to this page for fair use under intellectual property law, and for reasonable citation of the linked content on this site for church- or parachurch- group related training and/or for personal or academic use; this specifically excludes reproduction, linking or citation for commercial, controversial or media purposes without the Author's written permission -- especialy where matters relating to the validity and value of Faith/Religious/Atheological Commitments and Truth-Claims are being debated or disputed. PDF version available, under similar terms. COPYRIGHT:GEM 2002. All rights are reserved.

FOOTNOTES:

[21] Drawn from several recent academic papers, newspaper articles and exhibitions by Dr. Sultana Afroz of UWI, and others. Cf. Prof. Maureen Warner Lewis’ devastating response: http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20021020/focus/focus3.html

[22] The OED notes: (1) Moor: a member of a Muslim people of mixed Berber and Arab descent, inhabiting N W Africa”;  (2)Berber: a member of the indigenous mainly Muslim Caucasian peoples of N. Africa”; and (3) “Arab: a member of a Semitic people inhabiting originally Saudi Arabia and the neighbouring countries, now the Middle East generally.”  For, arising from the Islamic conquest of The Middle East and North Africa in the seventh century, and from a process of conversion to Islam and intermarriage, the Moors emerged as a new people.  They played a major role in the Islamic invasion of Europe from 711 - 714 AD on, and ruled much of the Iberian Peninsula (making significant cultural contributions to Iberia and to Europe as a whole) until the Reconquista was completed when the Moorish Kingdom of Granada was defeated by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1491.  There was an infusion of black, sub-Saharan Africans into the Moorish mix, largely due to the Islamic slave trade.  Trade and travel  into sub-Saharan Africa also led to the penetration of Islam in East, Central and West Africa. However, the predominant religions and cultures of sub-Saharan Africa continued to be animistic until quite recent times, with the rise of the Christian Missionary movement — in which Jamaicans (especially the Baptists) and other Caribbeans played no small part from 1839 on.

[23] Afroz, S.: “The Jihad of 1831–1832: The Misunderstood Baptist Rebellion in Jamaica,” Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2001, p. 227.  In short, the Afroz claim is that Afro-Jamaican slaves were predominantly Islamic. (For, the historical record indicates that the population at Emancipation was 320,000, as say Rev. Devon Dick reports.)

[24] NB: Highly unlikely, as such  Anglican rectors as a rule frowned on non-conformists, especially Baptists — “immersionists.”

[25] Similarly, Nanny is far more readily understood as an adept of African Religions than as a miracle-working Sufi Saint.

[26] Over the past five centuries, once the Scriptures were put in the hands of the ordinary man, Christianity has frequently played a leading prophetic role in cultural and social reformation, not least in the abolition of slavery.  Even the modern democratic nation-state is largely a heritage of the Protestant Reformation.  [Cf. The Dutch Declaration of Independence, 1581, Duplesis-Mornay’s 1579 Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos, and Rutherford’s Lex, Rex as well as the second paragraph of the American Declaration of Independence, 1776. Also, cf. discussion here.]

[27] Summarised fom various sources, especially Chapman’s Cross and Crescent, Cooper’s Ishmael My Brother, Sookhdeo’s A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Islam, the Caner’s Unveiling Islam and the Web site http://www.answering-islam.org.uk/ .

[28] That is, Islam traditionally seeks territorial control as a legally established religion, through state power.

[29] As a false prophet teaching doctrines contrary to the Jewish and Christian traditions and Scriptures.

[30] The Crusades, strictly speaking, were therefore counter-offensives; however despicably carried out in contravention of the letter and spirit of the Gospel. They were apparently initially provoked by the harassment of Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land — e.g., in 1064-5, seven thousand German pilgrims were ambushed, with much slaughter.  [Cf. the Caners’ Unveiling Islam (Kregel, 2002) pp 73 -5, and the Internet Medieval Sourcebook article at http://www.fordham.edu/halshall/source/1064pilgrim.html.  [Internet extra: Cf. also here and here. Usama bin Laden's "justification" for his terrorism is discussed here. Also cf. Bernard Lewis' now classic 1990 paper on The Roots of Muslim Rage. Also, here is a discussion of the 463 years of Jihad-inspired attacks that led up to the first Crusade of 1095. The conquest of Canaan under Joshua is discussed here, raising several significant points that are not usually considered. (The vexed issue of the inheritance of the blessing of Abraham should be considered here also.) Finally, it is worth reflecting on Government under God and especially on his prophetic judgements against the nations, and God's alternative: global blessing through the spreading of the gospel to those same nations. Cf. also, the cluster of links in this site's resources page, here.]

[31] This is why in many African nations in the band from say the Ivory Coast and Nigeria to Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, there is a consistent pattern of an Islamic North, and a Christian and/or Animist South.  (The strong Christian presence in sub-Saharan Africa is in the main due to the modern Christian Missionary movements of the past three Centuries.  That in Northern Africa is due to the strong base of early Christianity in the African provinces of the Roman Empire.)

[32] Originally, the Kaaba was a Pagan shrine, reportedly dedicated to 360 gods, including Allah.  The three goddesses, Al Lat, Al Uzza and Manat — who in the “Satanic Verses” Muhammad allowed prayers to be directed to — were apparently traditionally identified as Allah’s three daughters, in the native pagan religion.  (Cf. Sura 53:19 – 23, subsequently abrogated and modified to read very differently in the current version.)

[33] The root meaning of the word “Islam” is submission; such submission to Allah then results in “peace.”  A “Muslim” is one who has submitted, and thus has found peace.  This contrasts with the Christian/Hebraic message that there is a radical alienation from God due to sin and guilt, which must be expiated.  [Cf. Rom. 5:1 -11, 7:14 – 8:19.]

[34] For instance, their testimony in Court is regarded as not credible relative to that of a Muslim.  This sharply restricts the ability of dhimmis to engage in commerce with confidence, to own property or to hold responsible positions.  Thus, since this condition is deeply rooted in Islamic tradition, even where it is not officially the law of the land, it leads to a distinct second class citizen status for such dhimmis. Cf. http://www.dhimmitude.org/archive/by_lecture_10oct2002.htm for Bat Ye’or’s detailed review.

[35] The consensus of the four main schools of Islamic law, Hanifi, Maliki, Shafi and Hanbali, is that adult males who leave Islam are subject to the death penalty.  Even where this is not enforced through the state, such converts are often isolated from their families, sometimes under threat to their lives, and need the understanding and ongoing support of the Christian community.

[36] Islam regards deception in war as religiously justifiable.  Thus, Muhammad’s treaty with Mecca reportedly set the precedent for Takiya, described as “peace when you are weak for the purposes of defeating your enemy when you are stronger.”  [Cf. Farah, The lesson of al-Hudaybiyah, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=27712.]

[37] Others assert that the Meccans provoked Muhammad’s assault by attacking his allies.  (It should be noted that such disputes over who first started hostilities are common.  But the most salient points for our attention are that: (1) what may constitute a “provocation” in Islamic eyes is extremely flexible, and (2) “temporary truces” is a clear Islamic model for dealing with powerful opponents in the short term while preparing for renewed hostilities at a more favourable time.  For, in Islamist eyes, true peace is only possible when the world is reduced to submission to Allah — the root meaning of “Islam.”) 

[38] The ambivalence in the commitment of Islamic nations to the UN Charter on Human Rights is a most important case in point.

[39] Thus, attempts to use NT or OT texts to demonstrate the Deity of Christ will often be dismissed as instances of corruption of the text.  The secularist-influenced biblical criticism of the past several centuries may also be pressed into service to support such claims, compounding the argument.  Although the historical and textual critical evidence, in fact, do not support such a corruption thesis, the issue rapidly becomes one of the Authority/Credibility of Muhammad as God’s final Prophet, and so it is very hard for the evidence to be heard.  Thus, relationship and trust must come before argument and debate: the truth, in love.

[40] See Surah 4:48 and 171, and 5:116.  Shirk is viewed as the most deadly of all sins, 4:48 describes it as unpardonable: “Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else.”  However, the Islamic view on the Trinity reflects Muhammad’s encounters with heretical sects in Arabia rather than the biblically rooted orthodox Christian understanding of the Tri-unity of the Godhead.  [Especially see Heb. 1:1 – 14, John 1:1 – 14, Phil. 2:5 – 11, 1 Cor. 12:2 – 6, Acts 5:3 - 4.] The historic Christian teaching asserts that God is One, a complex unity: a unity of Eternal being, integrated with a diversity of personal manifestation: Father, Son and Spirit.  (It bears noting that Son, here, is not used in the physical sense; the incarnation is not at all parallel to the pagan tales of gods and their proclivities for pretty girls.)   Thus, the tension between unity and diversity in the cosmos finds its resolution in the inherent nature of the Godhead.   This is mysterious, but it is not contradictory, for even water, ice and steam share a common nature while being vastly diverse as to manifestation.  More profoundly, “God is Love” [1 John 4:8] — an interpersonal, relational concept — is viewed by Christians as integral to the essential nature of God.  

[41] Cited, Patrick Sookhdeo, A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Islam [Ross-Shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2002], p. 39. 

[42] Cf. Gal. 5:1 – 6:10.

[43] Cf. Rom. 9:30 - 10:21, Gal. 3:1 – 14 & 5:13 – 6:10, Eph. 4:17 – 5:21 and Col 2:8 – 3:17, esp. 2:20 – 23.

[44] Philippians 3:5 – 6.

[45] Rom 7:14 – 15; 21- 24.

[46] Rom 8:1 – 14.

[47] Gal. 3:10 – 14; Cf. Rom. 9:30 – 10:21.