The Friday FAITH section of the local paper highlighted a very important point of difference between the Islamic religion and Christianity with regard to its sacred writings. Earl Vaughan Jr., staff writer, describes the Islamic religious festival of Ramadan as the “month of fasting…to honor the time when the Muslim holy Book, the Quran, was sent down to the prophet Muhammad as a guide to mankind” (Fayetteville-Observer, Section E; September, 5, 2008).
Did you notice exactly what he said, “sent down?” Therein lies the difference—a Christian would never describe his Bible as a sacred book sent down. God didn’t send a book to Christians; instead, the way in which Christians received the Word of God from God was far different and radically superior.
God Almighty, Creator of the Universe, and Sovereign God of all used at least forty different authors to pen sacred texts, manuscripts, under the verbal inspiration of the Holy Spirit. These men had to live it, experience it, and use their own language and method of communicate based on their society, culture and other influences; yet what they wrote was exactly what God wanted written each and every time.
Then this same Sovereign God watched over and preserved the manuscripts as they were copied and copied and copied and distributed to God’s people centuries before the printing press or FedEx or any other method of sending packages and such.
Then God used others to confirm what was clearly inspired because of its authenticity, wide acceptance and use, authorship and orthodoxy in a process that the church typically describes as canonization.
I really don’t know what Vaughan means when he says sent down. The Bible says Holy men spoke as they were moved by God, but that is much different than “sent down.” For some reason I envision Scottie beaming stuff up and down from the Starship Enterprise when I read “sent down.”
In Exodus 24, Moses receives from God stone tablets that contain instructions concerning the law and commandments, so I certainly don’t deny God’s ability to use any means He sees fit to communicate with people, but it makes more sense to me that He would use something already on this planet like stone and etch on it a message rather than sending something down.
Maybe Vaughan wasn’t as careful with his words as he should have been, but then again he wasn’t inspired and so we can’t expect his words to be perfect. But the inspired words of the Bible are pure of any error because of God’s Sovereign care in inspiring and preserving His Word.
I guess I just don’t buy it, and that is why I am a follower of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.