God's Love

Why the God of the Qur’an Cannot Forgive Sins

Reposted permission, from The Cripple Gate.

Almost every system or religion proposes some sort of love. From systems in the east to the west, they feature some concept of love. Both the Qur’an and the Bible do so. They both teach that God is loving. But, what do they mean by love? And, what is it about the God of the Qur’an and the God of the Bible that renders them loving? Most assertions of love remain in realm of abstract or human-to-human benevolence. How can we tangibly measure love?

Today’s post is our sixth and final part of a series studying various differences between the sacred book of Islam, the Qur’an, and that of the Christianity, the Bible. In part one, we looked at a brief introduction to Quranic Islam, observing the development of the Quranic text. In part two, we noted the major differences between the God of the Qur’an and that of the Bible. Third, we studied nine differences between the Jesus of the Qur’an and the Bible. In part four, we observed the differences between the doctrine of salvation in the Qur’an and the Bible, noticing that the Qur’an teaches a works-based righteousness. Part five covered the difference between the integrity of the Qur’an and the Bible, noting a catastrophic conundrum for Quranic Islam. Finally, we examine the differences between the love of the God of the Bible and that of the Qur’an.

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The Importance of the Golden Rule

I’m assuming we’ve all heard The Golden Rule—“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the origin of which is usually credited to Leviticus 19:18 and the words of the Lord in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31; also known as The Great Commandment.

For people who like techie speak, The Golden Rule represents the ethic of reciprocity. And every major religion, including some not so major, recognize this maxim as words to the wise. Most parents use it as a way to teach children empathy and how to treat others.

I’m Libertarian enough to believe the Golden Rule applies to the role of government, in the sense that individuals have the right to do whatever they wish with their own life, liberty, and property, but the line is drawn at the life, liberty, and property of others.

We’ve heard it so often and take it all so for granted it’s become a cliché.

I was taught The Golden Rule when I was a child, but unfortunately, I don’t think much of it stuck. Or should I say I practiced it instinctively as an aspect of simple self-preservation. However, after receiving Christ I felt a compelling need to embody the love and compassion that Jesus showed to those around Him.

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Hosea: The Prophet and the Prostitute (Part 3)

Read the series so far.

2. God’s Love is Urgently Needed, 1:3-9

God’s people were living in prosperity and carnal ease, and God had to awaken them to the need of His love.

So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And the LORD said to him, “Call his name Jezreel [REJECTED], for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.” She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.” When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” (Hosea 1:3-9)

Hosea and Gomer’s Children

The blazing center of the power of Christ’s gospel is that it transforms us. God wanted to awaken Israel to their dire situation, so He essentially tells Gomer to name her children:

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Hosea: The Prophet and the Prostitute (Part 2)

God’s Relentless Love

Early in my ministry I conducted a marriage vow renewal ceremony for nine elderly couples. Several of the couples were married more than sixty years. Some of the couples couldn’t hold hands any more. One of the couples, the man couldn’t say “I do,” but everyone in that room said it for him. In one case, the husband had had a stroke, and the wife was still very mobile and attractive, but she did not forsake him. What a joy to see that! It’s rare in our country.

Marriage is a picture of God’s love for His church. Christ will never leave His bride. God’s love is relentless. That’s what we are going to find out in the book of Hosea.

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Hosea: The Prophet and the Prostitute (Part 1)

“He loved us not because we are lovable, but because He is love” (C. S. Lewis)

Have you ever been unfaithful to God? Have you ever backslidden as a believer in Christ? Do you ever feel like a failure? In Hosea 1, we see how the Lord disciplines every one of His children. He will not let us continue in sin. His love is relentless, and He always comes after His straying child.

The believer in Jesus Christ is constantly growing. We are not in any way sinless, but we ought to be sinning less. If you find yourself not sinning less, then chastening is coming your way. God will do what it takes to bring you to your knees not because He is cruel, but because He is the most tender compassionate Being in the universe. He wants you to be what He saved you to be. He wants you to confront sin in your life.

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I Carried You

“you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.” (Deut. 1:31)

Richard Dawkins, the most prominent apologist of atheism in the world today has said,

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Dawkins isn’t the first to say such things about God, just the most adamant. He is above all a propagandist, with a deep-seated antipathy to the Christian faith. For a Christian—even the most brilliant one—to reason with Dawkins on these points would be like two generals trying to parley before a battle, when one of them has dedicated his life to destroying the other.

As a former atheist recently said to me, “I read Dawkins’s God Delusion, and concluded that if arguments so weak, so circular, given by a man who obviously has a serious problem with God—if this is the best atheism has to offer, then God must really exist.” She later became a Christian. She admits though, that she still has her problems with the Old Testament. So do many Christians. At times they can be nearly as critical of God as Dawkins is.

After all, isn’t the God of the Old Testament the same one Who:

  • Destroyed the earth with a flood?
  • Called for the death of the first born of Egypt?
  • Called for the extermination of some of His own people?
  • Called for the extermination of all the Canaanites?
  • Let David off scot-free after he planned the death of a man then took the man’s wife into his harem?
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