Jesus taught people to pray to God as Father. “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt. 6:9) The Christian feels privileged to talk to God in such intimacy. We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Rom. 8:15) When Christians share with Muslims the concept of the Fatherhood of God, many do not realize that to Muslims that is a terrible message, and for this reason. It sounds blasphemous. The Koran sets the stage for the Muslim understanding of God.
Surah Ikhlas 112, Verses 1-4
- “Say: He, Allah, is One,”
- “Allah, the Eternal,”
- “He begets not, nor is He begotten,”
- “And there is none like unto Him.”
These four verses are cited in prayer each day by millions of Muslims.
Another important Surah for a devout Muslim is Surah 19:35.
“It is not [befitting] for Allah to take a son; exalted is He!
When He decrees an affair, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.”
Muslims believe that begetting a son is a physical act depending on the animal need of human nature. God Most High is independent of all needs and so it is derogatory to Him to contribute to Him such an act. It is merely a relic of material and anthromorphic superstition and is unworthy of Him. To talk about God as Father, for a Muslim, is to talk about sexual relations, and therefore to attribute something that is not right to God.
Ironically, there are many truths about God which Christians and Muslims agree on.
God is one
God is good
God is just
God is sovereign
God has sent prophets
God has sent revelation
However, there are fundamental differences. These differences, when they relate to God, are based, in part, on the Muslims understanding of the Fatherhood of God in material and physical terms, and not in the figurative usage of language which is conveyed in Holy Scripture.
There are many figurative images of God in the Bible.
God is our Father.
God is our Shepherd.
God is our Rock.
God is our Protector under whose “wings” we abide. Psalms 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.
God is a Faithful Husband who goes after His unfaithful wife Israel, in the book of Hosea.
There are many tender images of God in His relationship to humanity. The Koran perverts these images by pressing for literalism, when the language is figurative. Tragically, Islam does not allow for any intimacy between humans and God. Therefore, the Christian should be aware about the Muslim understanding of phrases, such as “son of God”, or, God as “our Father.”
Of course, Orthodox Christianity rejects and repudiates any idea of a crass materialism whereby God sexually engages with His creation like the Greeks and Romans believed about their gods in their mythology.
In Christian theology, the Sonship of Christ is spoken of in terms of eternal generation, not physical procreation. Jesus also spoke of God the Father in terms of subordination to the will of the Father.
In Christian theology, the sonship of man to God is based on adoption, whereby we can call Him Abba, Father. Christians are not God’s children by nature, but by adoption. We are like Mephibosheth, in the family of Saul, who was taken in by David and treated with mercy and grace.
The conclusion is that the Muslim religion does not have any way to be united to God in a filial way, and so is an impoverished religion. Only the Christian can say, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” (1 John 3:1)