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18. Bible and Qur'an Series
BOOKLET 3 - The Textual History of The Qur'an and the Bible
(A reply to Amad Deedat's Booklet: Is the Bible God's Word?)
A Study of the Qur'an and the Bible

9. Pornography in the Bible?

In his next chapter Deedat makes much of the story of Judah's incest with Tamar (recorded in Genesis 38) and of similar stories in the Bible (such as Lot's incest with his daughters) and suggests that the Bible cannot be the Word of God because such stories are found in it.

We find this line of reasoning extremely hard to follow. Surely a book claiming to be the Word of God cannot be rejected as such because it shows up men - even the best of them - at their worst. All the stories Deedat refers to have to do with the wickedness of men and how the frank disclosure of the sins of men can affect the Bible's claim to be the Word of God is beyond comprehension. Throughout the Bible God is shown to be absolutely holy, perfectly righteous, and wonderfully loving. Very significantly Deedat nowhere suggests that the character of God in the Bible is worthy of reproach and surely this is all we really are concerned about when it comes to determining whether a book is the Word of God. If it unreservedly exposes the sins of men for what they are and refuses to cover up the excesses of even the best of them, it surely has a very fair claim to be God's Word - for it is concerned about his praise and not the praise of men. It is the glory of God that the Bible is concerned about - not the vainglory of men!

What is also significant is that Deedat conveniently overlooked a story in the Bible which reveals far greater wickedness than those he chooses to deal with. In 2 Samuel 11 we read that David saw Bathsheba bathing and had her brought in to him and he committed adultery with her. After this, when she conceived a child, David had her husband Uriah killed and took her as his own wife.

This story is at least the equal of all those referred to by Deedat in its wickedness but he carefully chooses to omit it. Why? Because the Qur'an also refers to it. We read in the 38th Surah (Sad) that two men appeared before David and one who had ninety-nine ewes demanded the only ewe that the other had for himself. David retorted that he who had the ninety-nine had wronged the other in demanding his lone ewe. After this, however, we read that David realized that the parable was against himself and the Qur'an quotes Allah as saying of him:

David guessed that We had tried him and he sought forgiveness of his Lord, and he bowed himself, and fell down prostrate and repented. So we forgave him that. (Surah Sad 38:25-26)

As with the story of Cain and Abel we have a vague sequence of events which have no apparent connection with what precedes. How did God try David and what had he done that he repented of for which he received God's forgiveness? We have to turn to the Bible to find the answer. In 2 Samuel 12 we read that the prophet Nathan came to David and told him of a rich man who had flocks of lambs but, when he needed one for a meal, took the one precious lamb of one of his servants instead. David was angry at the rich man but Nathan said to him:

You are the man. Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul, and I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah, and if this were too little I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have smitten Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the Ammonites.” (2 Samuel 12:7-9)

It is now clear how God had tried David. He had more than he could wish for and a host of wives but had taken the one wife of his servant for himself. When David responded, “I have sinned against the Lord”, Nathan answered, “The Lord has also put away your sin” (2 Samuel 12:13). The stories in the Qur'an and the Bible are so similar that they clearly refer to the same cause - David's adultery with Bathsheba. We need only say two things in the circumstances. Firstly, Deedat obviously chose to ignore this story of David's wickedness because he knew that it had a sequel in the Qur'an. Secondly, the fact that the Qur'an upholds the Biblical narrative shows that there can be no genuine objection to similar stories where the misdemeanors of other prophets are set out in the Christian Bible.

All the prophets were men of flesh and blood and were as likely to fall into gross wickedness as any lesser mortal might, and the Bible cannot fairly be criticized for sparing them no mercy in exposing their deeds. Even Muhammad was a man of passions similar to those of any other man and, although he had up to nine wives at one time, he could not restrain his desire to cohabit with whichever one he chose rather than share the company of each in turn. When Surah al-Ahzab 33:51 was “revealed”, which gave him divine sanction to defer and receive whomever he wished of his wives at his own whim and discretion, his favorite wife Ayesha was constrained to comment:

I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, page 295)

Jesus Christ was the only man that lived who was not subject to the whims, desires and failings of other men. Deedat asks, in the light of 2 Timothy 3:16, under what headings we can classify the stories he mentions. I will kindly oblige with an answer:

1. Doctrine. All men are sinners, including even the prophets and the best of men. All need forgiveness which comes through the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

2. Reproof. Men cannot sin against God without incurring consequences. It is very interesting to see that immediately after the story of Judah's incest the only son of Jacob we hear of at any great length is Joseph - the one son whose conduct throughout the pages of Genesis remains blameless. He triumphed through his faithfulness while in time his less fortunate brothers had to bow the knee to him and beg him to give them their food for survival.

3. Correction. Although God may forgive us our sins he may yet make us suffer the consequences for our own good. David was forgiven of his adultery but he suffered four severe losses in his life as a result of his sin. Nevertheless this served to correct him for he never did anything remotely like this again.

4. Instruction into Righteousness. These events all show that man has no inherent righteousness but only the most awful potential, given the opportunity, to commit the worst of sins. We need to seek the righteousness of God instead, which comes by faith in Jesus Christ. After repenting of the terrible crime he had committed, David prayed:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not thy holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12)

Sinners can obtain the righteousness of God by repenting of their sins, seeking God's forgiveness, and trusting to him for their salvation. As the Apostle Peter put it so well:

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38)

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