2. The Bible on its own terms
3. The Koran on its own terms
4. Contrasts between the Bible and the Koran
5. Holy War in the Bible, Jihad in the Koran
6. Christian expansion, Islamic expansion
7. The ministry of the Prince of Peace
8. Questions from the audience
Biblical Ethics and Islam
Love of Hard Questions Seminar #220
21 April 2002
Now let me make another observation here, as I spoke. I’ll give this contrast, I said the Bible is written by many in a community over thousands of years with checks and balances. And now here’s the contrast. The Koran is written by one, in solitary, over two dozen years, with no checks and balances. Now what I just said is historically accurate and cannot be challenged.
The only point that a Muslim will challenge is, they will say it wasn’t written by Muhammad. Allah wrote it and gave it to Muhammad, but that’s the only point of disagreement there. That’s why I want to represent to you how they understand it and how I understand it as fairly as I can.
But apart from that, it does come in solitary within a 20- to 25-year period and there are no checks and balances of human community in whom the spirit of God abides. There’s no concept of that whatsoever. So you know what the difference is between the Koran and the Bible accordingly? The U.S. Government is based on checks and balances, the executive, the judiciary, and the legislative branches.
And where does the federal government get its polity from? Presbyterian polity, a democratic and constitutional republic. We elect representatives for a specific season, who then represent us in governing us and they are always accountable to us, in the cycle of those seasons. Pure democracy would be chaos, and no informed choice would be tyranny. Well what happens is, the Koran has no concept of checks and balances within the human political community beyond what is needed for a king to have enough sycophants to keep in power. And so that’s why you have totalitarianism in the one hand, and you have freedom on the other hand.
Okay let’s make another contrast between the Bible and the Koran. The Bible is defined, we mentioned that it starts with a story but then, as I indicated momentarily a little while ago, the Bible has three doctrines introduced to us in Genesis 1 through 3. And these doctrines are creation, sin, and redemption. They are the interpretive basis for the entire Bible.
The order of creation, and this is powerful, in Genesis 1 and 2 there is no destruction, no brokenness. Yahweh is good, Yahweh Elohim, the name in the Hebrew means he who is bigger than space, time, and number. He speaks the creation into being, it’s meant for you and I to be made in his image. And so he places us on a path and says here’s life and death, choose life and go forward in the order of creation.
But we choose to sin and that reverses the order of creation. So sin is a reversal of the order of creation. And he promises the Messiah, the history of the Bible is a contest between the Messiah and the ancient serpent, Satan, who is seeking to destroy the Messianic lineage between sin and redemption. That battle continues all the way into Revelation 20, when sin is buried in the abyss once and for all. And the last several chapters of Revelation are a party of celebration of the party we lost in Genesis.
Some times on the college campuses, I like to say, “This evening my topic will be food, drink, and sex.” And I have their interest. Well, the Bible, Genesis 1 starts with that, food, drink, and sex. Eat without gluttony, drink without drunkenness, and sex between one man, one woman, one lifetime, and you will have a healthy fulfilled life, but sin abrogates, it breaks that.
But the point being is, we cannot diagnose sin unless first we know the order of creation. Just like the Treasury agent first knows the real thing, then they know the counterfeit. And the devil masquerades as an angel of light. Mathematically if we’re looking at an “and” statement, and there are a thousand points of equation and 999 are true and one is false, what is the sum? False, because it will pollute the whole thing. If you are a sailing buff and you decide to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, and you take off from Newport and you’re aiming for Liverpool, and let’s say your compass is one degree off, where will you wind up? Maybe Portugal, you won’t get what you’re aiming for.
And so the whole understanding is the order of creation is the true roadmap. Sin reverses that, and redemption reverses the reversal and places us back on track for the fulfillment, or the redeeming of the order of creation, which is the new heavens and the new Earth. So this is how the Bible starts.
Now let’s come back to the first surah and think about this for a second. Is there any sense of creation, sin, and redemption in the first surah? Well, let’s look at this, and I just lost my page. Let’s look at this, and ask ourselves some questions as we go through it. It starts off with a confession of faith in the name of Allah.
Now a little bit later on down, “Thee do we worship.” Notice how it starts with doctrine and not with story? In fact, there’s almost no story in the Koran. It’s literally all preaching at you. I was talking to a scholar, an excellent scholar, Jane Smith. She was a dean at Harvard not long before I went there. She teaches at Hartford Seminary, comparative religion. She knows Islam very well. I was talking with her and I said you know Jane, I find the Koran very tiresome to read and she goes, “Yes, but don’t say that to my Muslim friends.” Why is that? It preaches and preaches and preaches at you, and says stay away from these people, and watch out for Hell, and do what is right. It just is relentless.
And so when it says in the name of Allah, it is actually a declaration of a doctrine and requirement and profession of faith from the outset. It’s exclusive. You must be a Muslim to get inside of a story that doesn’t have a story. The only stories you run into are pilfered, small portions of often times out-of-context biblical stories. We know nothing about the history of the second surah, I’ll talk about that as I progress, when it was written, why it was written, and the situation it was facing whereas the Bible tells you all the situations. So essentially, it starts with doctrine, it does not start with a story.
But now having said that, it says “most gracious, most merciful.” And you know this impresses me to high heaven. It says the image of God which, by the way, the Koran does not say men and women are made in God’s image. Women are second-class anyhow. My thesis at Harvard was in feminist ethics, where I showed that the only basis there is in human history for the equality of male and female is Genesis 1 and 2. Every pagan religious origin text starts with the assumption of war between male and female deities, and the male deities always win, they’re always on top. And in the Koran it doesn’t go through that mythology, but it comes to the same ethical conclusion. We’ll touch on that as we progress
But when it says most gracious and most merciful, it’s crying out for what the image of God wants, most gracious. Who doesn’t want grace, mercy? But you know something? All throughout the Koran there is never a story that shows Allah being gracious or merciful. So there you’re appealing to something that we as Christians understand to be rooted in God’s image, but there’s no origin for it, and there’s no restoration to it. Because the only thing that you can do to maybe get into paradise is to obey all five pillars of the faith, but then you’re not guaranteed unless you become a martyr in a certain category, and then you might have a guarantee.
So the fact that they’re appealing to grace and mercy is overwhelmingly important to me. How can we touch that desire for grace and mercy while facing an incommensurate conversation? Most Muslims don’t want to have the conversation we’re having tonight, and so we have to look much deeper in how we go about bringing the Gospel.
And then when it says in verse four, “master of the day of judgment,” and then a little bit later about those who avoid wrath, notice how judgment and wrath are defined without a good order of creation? It says cherisher and sustainers of the world before it says master of the Day of Judgment. It says most gracious and most merciful before it says any of that. But how does mercy exist unless there’s judgment to be released from? So you see the assumption, without being logical about it, the assumption is this is written in the Seventh century by a man who doesn’t know creation, sin, and redemption. He knows brokenness, tribes fighting against each other, he wants mercy but has no history of the order of creation, so he assumes that judgment was and judgment will be. And maybe Allah will get us out of that, but he has no origin to go back to. So for example, does anyone know what the first doctrine of Buddhism is? And Buddhism codifies some of the doctrines of Hinduism in different contexts. But does anyone know what the first statement of Buddhism is?
Voice from the Audience: All is illusion?
John Rankin: Almost, that’s Maya. Suffering is illusion, that’s the Hindu phrase. The Buddhist phrase is, “Suffering is.” Not God is, not the order of creation is, but suffering or sin is. And what’s the highest goal of Buddhism?
Voice from the Audience: Nirvana.
John Rankin: And what is nirvana? It is going into a qualified definition of nothingness, where you lose your individuality because they believe the body is evil, the spirit is good, and like a drop of water into the ocean, you merge with a cosmic consciousness. So it’s not that you’re obliterated, but your individuality is lost into this greater consciousness. They had no order of creation that all of us are individually unique and will have resurrection bodies and live forever.
So as we diagnose this, we then want to say how do we touch the yearning for mercy and grace in the face of this. So we say it doesn’t have an understanding of the doctrines of creation, sin, and redemption.
Okay, now let me make another contrast in terms of an order of content in the order of creation versus the order of content in the Koran. The order of the content of Genesis 1 and 2 is four topics. And these topics are God, life, choice, and sex. And there’s no other issue we ever have to deal with. Every other issue is a subcategory of these terms, if it’s not one of these terms, how these terms are defined, and how they relate to each other. And let me walk through them very quickly.
What are the first four words of the English translation of the Bible? “In the beginning God.” Even before we get to created, God. So the first subject of the Bible is God, and therefore God’s nature and his sovereignty is the all-defining doctrine of scripture, in the beginning God. And we notice in Genesis 1 and 2 his name is Yahweh Elohim, it means he who is bigger than space, time, and number. His power is without limit, his goodness is total, and that’s who he is.
Then, the second subject matter is the why-for of creation. Why did God make the universe? You and I as the crown of His creation, to use the language from Psalm 8 that comes back to Genesis 1 and 2. We are to rule over, be the stewards of his creation. So God, life, and in particular human life.
Let me share with you a story that goes back about 13 years, in fact, 13 years ago next week, now that I think of it. Brown University, I was addressing a debate over abortion with the then past-president of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island. She had been ex-communicated by her Catholic Bishop and so it made the front page of the news, and we had a full audience that night at Sayles hall on the main quad.
And I was this evangelical pro-life minister from Boston who came down, and I can tell you that in a setting like that, my opinions are in a minority, which is where I love to be. So, we’re having a debate, it was a vital debate. This one woman, about 400 students there, seven rows in on my right, asked a question during the Q&A, and the question in shorthand, and I’ll unpack it for you.
The question was, what about rape and incest? She’s saying, you as a pro-life minister surely, in the face of the evil of rape and incest, you would not compel a woman to give birth. And do you see the power of that question, and do you see the setup? It’s an honest setup, but the setup of that question, and how do you answer something like that?
Well, at that moment, I gave a spontaneous response and I said something like the following. I said, “That’s a very fine question, now let me ask you one question.” It turned into three questions, but I didn’t know it until it turned into three. Let me ask you one question, “Is it fair for me to assume that you, like me, are seeking the qualities of peace, order, stability, and hope?”
Now, when I said that, and 400 students and Sayles Auditorium has been changed in the meantime, but all the chairs in the auditorium were bolted to wood floors with the little fold-over desktops. And it was built in 1881, this was 1989, so the truth of the matter was those bolts probably were a little bit worn out after 1.1 centuries. And so you could hear people moving all night long with the bolts moving and creaking. There was always this underlying cacophony of buzz.
Now have you ever, in a room or an office, at the end of the day you turn off your computer and all of a sudden you go, oh my goodness I can hear myself think? Well that’s almost what it was like. And as soon as I said, is it fair for me to assume that you, like me, are seeking these qualities, peace, order, stability, and hope, it was pin-dropping silent.
You know you work a lifetime for 90 seconds of ministry sometimes, and that’s exactly what it was right there. In the face of the deepest, most passionate controversy, the evil of rape and the debate over abortion rights, quote unquote, how was this evangelical minister going to answer that question? And so I said is it fair for me to assume that we’re all seeking peace, order, stability, and hope? And she said yes, and every eyeball nodded yes, and it was stone silent.
I continued again spontaneously. “I said is it also fair for me to assume that like me you seek to live, to love, to laugh, and to learn?” The same affirmation. Now what’s interesting about this, and I deal with this in volume one of my trilogy, which I’ll talk about later, First the Gospel, Then Politics… .
But this is what I call the POSH L’s of God’s image, P-O-S-H, peace, order, stability, and hope, and the four L’s, to live, to love, to laugh, and to learn. It’s not a systematic definition of the image of God, but it captures some essence of the image of God. And it’s easy to remember. POSH refers to wealth and there was no poverty in the order of creation, no divorce, no death, no suffering. The whole creation was given to us, unlimited creativity for enjoying the goodness of God’s creation.
And so she nodded yes again, and it was still quiet. And I said, “Okay, if this is the case, then there is far more that unites us than divides us. And now I just have one more question for you. In the face of the hell of rape and incest,” and I use the word hell with theological precision, “in the face of the hell of rape and incest, does the abortion unrape the woman and restore to her the lost qualities of peace, order, stability, and hope? Or does it only multiply the brokenness further?”
And you know I didn’t have to answer her question after that. I did, but I didn’t have to, and I’m not going to now because that’s off subject. But what I was seeking to do was to touch the image of God, and the image of God was touched. Well you see, this is who we are, we are made in the image of God. We are the crown of God’s creation. And if you look at the Babylonian Genesis, the source the scholars love to throw against the Bible, does anyone know how the Babylonian Genesis begins?
It begins with internecine warfare between gods and goddesses who are nasty, and a lower level male deity, Marduk, kills the queen goddess, Tiamat in a war. And out of her carcass do you know what Marduk makes? The heavens and the earth. Does that ennoble your sense of your habitat? The split carcass of a dead goddess? And then Marduk forces all of Tiamat’s army into slavery. They complain about slavery, he being a nice tyrant, kills their number one god named Kingu, and out of the dripping blood of Kingu’s arteries, do you know what Marduk makes?
Man and woman. And do you know why he makes us? To be slaves to slaves. Does that ennoble your sense of your humanity? You get up in the morning, you look in the mirror--and for some of us that can be traumatic. And we want reason for encouragement. And we say you know I’m going to tackle this day because I was made out of the blood of a dead god to be a slave to people in the universe made out of the split carcass of a dead goddess. No, it doesn’t work in terms of value. Contrast that with the scriptures. We are made in God’s image, the crown of his creation. That’s the Biblical view of the image of God.
Thirdly, that’s God, life, and now choice. Sovereignty, God’s sovereignty, is the starting point of scripture in terms of the first words of God, about God. Well the first words are “Let there be light.” That’s his sovereign power. The first words in human history are of God to Adam in Genesis 2:15 through 17. Yahweh put man in the garden to till it, and then it says, Yahweh God (verse 16) commanded the man, you are free to eat from any tree in the garden. But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for when you eat of it, you will surely die.
Now, what is being said there? The first words of this sovereign God in human history to the first man is, “You are free.” There is the balance between the debate over sovereignty and choice. I won’t go in that direction, that’s another topic. But, it’s the sovereign God alone who can give us freedom, and that’s exactly what is happening in Genesis 2. To be made in the image of a Marduk, or an Aphrodite, or a Zeus or some other pagan religion, is to be made in the image of limited gods and goddesses who are slaves to passions they can’t control. And therefore, to be made in those images, are to be ourselves slaves. Yahweh is free, he’s eternal. We are free, we are finite, and that’s where the balance comes into the equation.
But the first words, you are free to eat. But in the Hebrew it’s far more robust. It’s two tenses of the verb to eat, akol tokal, translated “In feasting, you shall feast.” The infinitive and the imperfect, which equals an active participle, I’ll test you on those later. So in feasting you shall feast. The idea is an unlimited banquet. Let me just take a little survey. Is there anyone here tonight, if you didn’t have to worry about dietary restrictions given fallen and aging bodies, is there anyone here tonight who doesn’t like to feast and have a good banquet?
You see, ever since I first said this at Carmel Presbyterian Church six years ago, I’ve had more fun declaring the church is united. [audience laughter] We all agree. And I argue it’s the most important verb in the entire Bible for human nature, do you know why? It’s the first word God gave to us, feasting. And it’s unlimited menu of good choices of trees, but it also refers to our stewardship of filling and subduing the earth, and all our aesthetic choices as well.
There’s a passage in the RSSV, this is the Rankin Substandard Version, so don’t quote this anywhere, at least as the Textus Receptus. And it goes like this, ‘And Yahweh God commanded the man, you are free to go white water canoeing and downhill skiing. Any amens? Why else did God make mountains, cold weather, snow, rocks, rivers, and the technology to make canoes? It’s all simple to me. But the point being the entire creation is given to us, it’s good. It’s beautiful, and you are free to enjoy all its goodnesses -- but don’t eat the forbidden fruit. And what is the forbidden fruit? The tree of life is there, we eat from that and live forever, it’s given to us. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is an Hebraicism. It means the knowledge of everything. Everything there is to know is between good in the one hand, and evil in the other. Anything else to know? It covers everything.
And so what’s being said is you’ve been given everything good but you can’t know everything because you’re not God. And, you can’t know evil without being tempted or polluted by it. Only God can know evil and not be tempted or polluted by it. Therefore, if you eat the forbidden fruit you’re saying two things. Number one, God you’re not good, you withheld something from me that was good, which is the lie, the serpent accomplishes it.
And secondly, I am the master of my destiny. I will redefine good and evil according to my own terms. I will become my own god. And so that’s where the temptation is. So God gives us that freedom to say no. And this is radical, and this is why I point out another passage in the RSSV, again the Rankin Substandard Version. And it goes like this: “For God so loved the world that he gave each one of us the freedom to go to Hell if we damn well want to.” And if you look at the language of Hell in scripture, no one ever goes to Hell except those who want to.
I don’t have the time to go into that, but Revelation 6 when they see the coming of Son of Man, they cry for the mountains to crush them to dust rather than lifting up and rejoicing as in Luke 21 at the soon-coming King. Why is this? Do any of us know people who are happier in bitterness than in forgiving? That’s what Hell is, people who are more satisfied in owning their own vengeance and self-righteousness. That’s the moral language. Well from the outset, God gives us freedom to say yes or no. He spells out the consequences but he gives them to us.
And then finally, God, life, choice, sex. What we have, and I don’t have time to go into detail, but what we have in terms of human sexuality is male and female are equal, and they are complements. Again, this was my thesis at Harvard, in Feminist Ethics, full of pagan lesbians who told me--in fact three of my fellow students came to me in 1987, I was a 34- or 35-year-old white male, father of many, three at the time, four a little bit later, Evangelical pro-life minister. I simply was politically in the wrong place studying at Harvard or at least theologically as well. And they walked up to me at lunch one day and said you know John, for an Evangelical you’re a nice guy. They thought that was an oxymoron, theretofore. And then they told me how they could make me nicer, that was the interesting part.
But what they did was it gave me an unsolicited and unasked-for testimony that I simply was not prepared for. They said, John, the three of us are lesbian, and every lesbian we know has been physically, sexually or emotionally abused by a man in her preadolescent years.
Now this is not a statistical claim, it’s their personal testimony, but I’ll tell you, at Harvard University, Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, the whole area of 110 colleges and universities, they knew many from all over the country who had that testimony. And so what happens is that their view of God the Father was God, to use Mary Daly’s language, and pardon if this is offensive, but she calls God a rapist because she grew up in such a bad situation herself, and so hated the Roman Catholic hierarchy. And yet she taught at Boston College for 35 years. And the priests never had the courage to get rid of her until about two years ago, they made her retire at age 70, because of something outrageous she said. But there’s a broken life that comes into that.
And in contrast to that, God the Father is above male and female. We are made in his image, and the image of God is not complete without male and female, as we give to and receive from each other. So as the three are one, we, the two becoming one, reflect the image of God in that Trinitarian sense, in terms of reflecting the complementarity and unity of the trinity. And so this is the understanding of Genesis.
Every pagan religious origin text apart from Genesis, women are second class, and therefore the nature of marriage, family, and social order are based on the covenant of marriage. You see in marriage, when the two become one, they give to and receive from each other, it only works if there’s trust. It only works if we trust the good God who made us. And I’m sure all of you know Calvin and Hobbes, right? John Calvin and Thomas Hobbs. The comic strip is a hall-of-mirrors play on that. John Calvin says you can only have a healthy society if you have healthy marriages where children grow up in a trusting environment, where husband and wife trust and respect each other as equals and complements, and children learn that trust on outward.
Hobbes, better part of a century later, says no, you need a top-down monster, Leviathan government to keep each other from their throats. But the question is how can you form a covenant for government unless you can trust the people that you formed the government with? Where does trust start? Calvin wins that debate. This goes back to the order of creation. It starts with trust. All the pagan religious origin texts start with distrust, and Islam does the same.
That’s God, life, choice, sex. The reversal of that is sex, choice, life, God. Pagan religion celebrates, in religious form, sex outside of marriage. Then it uses choice to justify it, and that can lead to orphaning children, to abortion, infanticide, divorce, to many other things that all land on the children and that can destroy life directly or indirectly. Destroy it directly through an abortion, destroy it slowly through a sexually transmitted disease, destroy it through breaking the ability of little children to trust. Sex outside of marriage, I argue, is the greatest social sin in history. Seventy to ninety percent of all men incarcerated in jail today grew up functionally without a father at home. And so fatherlessness is the social scourge of our nation because it’s men who can get women pregnant and take off. They have that chauvinistic evil liberty in that sense. And so the order of creation is the equality of marriage, and the equality of men and women, and the integrity of marriage. Paganism reverses that, and if you use a choice to directly or indirectly assault life, you do that as an affront against God, and that’s the reversal of the order of creation.
Sexual asceticism can do the same thing, okay. If you think you must be celibate and you’re not called to be celibate. There are those redemptively called to be celibate, but that wasn’t part of the order of creation. That’s only necessary in the face of sin by God’s own calling. So Paul was celibate for the sake of God’s kingdom. John Stott has been celibate his whole life for the sake of God’s kingdom, and thanks for both of their gifts.
Though you know Paul was, by a necessary inference, a widower. He could not have been a Pharisee without being married in that culture. And so the fact that he was single probably meant he was widowed very young. And he was grateful for that freedom after he came to Christ to labor in preaching the gospel and going through all the sufferings he went through.
So, that’s God, life, choice, sex. The Koran has no order of God, life, choice, sex. Allah, which comes from the Sumerian moon god, was a male deity with female consorts from the outset. There is no image of God. I was surprised when I learned this. There is no image of God. We are higher than the animals, but we’re lower, or we don’t have God’s full image.
There is no concept of liberty, and having said that, I will get some wonderful challenges from Muslims and they will quote the second surah, 2:256, and let me quote to you how they will disagree with me. I say there’s no concept of true liberty, and they will quote to me the following. Now imagine I’m reading these words, and you don’t know where they’re coming from. And just listen to the words and ask yourself do you like these words or not okay? “Let there be no compulsion in religion: truth stands out clear from error.” How’s that sound? That sounds very good.
But do you also notice it’s a negative construction? Perhaps you’ve heard that every major religious source in history has a golden rule, but do you know the only positive expression is in the Old and New Testaments? Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you, love your neighbor as yourself. All the other golden rules are to sum them up, Confucianism, Hinduism, pagan religion, and a couple of other sources are, do not do to others what you don’t want them to do to you.
Do you see how it’s rooted in sin, not the order of creation? It’s defensive. Now in the Koran it does say at one point, do to others as you do unto yourselves, if they’re Muslim. It’s only within the Muslim community in which that is given.
Let’s come back here. “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” Well that’s still--even if it’s a negative, that’s a fine statement, let there be no compulsion in religion. The problem is later in the Koran it says kill every Jew and Christian you see. And it says if they won’t convert willingly, convert them by the sword. Well, what liberty is that? Could a Muslim say I don’t want one inch of greater liberty to speak what I believe than I first give to those who disagree with me? They cannot. And yet a Jew and a Christian can, rooted in scripture on its own terms.
Now, why therefore do we have this passage? Muhammad was in Mecca, had all his wealth, but he began to preach his religion and ran into political and theological opposition of people who saw he was going to destroy their polytheistic way of life. And he almost lost his life about 622 A.D., almost lost his life. And had to flee under the cover of darkness, leaving all his wealth behind. Khadija had died, he had a total, I think, of nine wives. He had to flee, and that’s a different subject, and he fled up to Medina, was received by the Jews, who bankrolled his existence for awhile. In that process he tried to prove he was a messiah, they did not accept his argument. And then he had his mosque out of a barn, about a thousand followers. He had no money.
And when he had left the persecution in Mecca and came to Medina, is when he said, let there be no compulsion in religion. So he was saying it for his own sake after he who had been compulsed, if that’s a word. But this says something to me powerfully in terms of ministry. Do you know what I find to be the number one objection of the Gospel in all of society, at least in this nation? Don’t shove it down my throat. People have been abused by religious imposition at one level or another, and Muhammad was too. He wasn’t given the freedom to have a different view. And so he wanted freedom, but then when he came into control, he did not give that freedom.
Let’s progress and try to wrap up my thoughts here. And the fourth element in the God, life, choice, sex thing is that women are not equal to men. It says at one point in dealing with divorce law, it says women have rights but men have more rights. He actually gave more rights than polytheists gave to some women, but they were always second class, and it’s true what it says about a martyr. If they kill themselves, they’ll have 70 or 72 virgins awaiting them.
And if you look at that text, you’ll see the virgins aren’t image bearers of God. They’re not human beings, they are literally objects for sexual gratifications of male chauvinism. So there’s a lot of male chauvinism within Islam and therefore it doesn’t comport with the Bible.
Okay this I want to be very quick on, because I want to try to pull my thoughts to conclusion within ten minutes and go into Q&A. The Bible is the basis for the Declaration of Independence. I won’t go into this in detail, but when Thomas Jefferson and those with him called for unalienable rights given by our Creator, what are those rights? Life, liberty, and property. What does God give us in Genesis? The gift of life, the gift of freedom, and stewardship over the entire planet as his image bearers. In Leviticus, dealing with the jubilee ethics, at one point God says about coming into the land of Canaan, this is my land I give to you and remember that. And then a few verses later he says, take care of your land. Well that’s exactly what ownership is in God’s sight. He gives it to us, for us to have the full enjoyment out of it, and we only have the full enjoyment if we know it’s a gift that’s given to us to be good stewards of. I’ll just say briefly, the Koran has no concept of unalienable rights. It does not have these as given that no government may take away.
2. The Bible on its own terms
3. The Koran on its own terms
4. Contrasts between the Bible and the Koran
5. Holy War in the Bible, Jihad in the Koran
6. Christian expansion, Islamic expansion
7. The ministry of the Prince of Peace
8. Questions from the audience