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Dr. Gary Miller is a Canadian former Christian theologian and minister who converted to Islam. He now works on spreading and preaching Islam to the world.  May Allah Almighty bless him all the way !!.

DR MILLER: (Concluding a lecture on "What The Gospels Mean to Muslims" in

Lawrence, Kansas): So those are some thoughts, and I’d actually be more

interested in what you’re thinking then what I’m thinking. If you have some

questions or comments, don’t be shy to speak up. Thank you for your time

and attention, in any case. Don’t do that. {Miller politely objects to

APPLAUSE by a Christian audience of 40 or so people}

************START Q&A*************

QUESTIONER1: Can we ask you questions not exactly on the Gospel but on…

DR MILLER: Sure

QUESTIONER1: In relationship to some words that we hear: Sunnis and Shi’

ite. Like we understand Protestants and Catholics, so…

DR MILLER: Yes, it’s not quite parallel to that, historically, those are

really nicknames that were bestowed on people, I don’t think people at least

years ago deliberately told you, “I am Sunni or Shia or Wahabi” or something

like that. Those are nicknames bestowed from outside. Just as I don’t

think the first protestant said, “I am protestant.” That is a label that

came on. That basically refers to different approaches to certain issues.

The labels were unknown until some period of time after the time of the

prophet I am saying, well, at least 250 years before people were using these

kinds of things. And Shia just came from an Arabic word which means “party”

like the Republican party, that sort of thing. It was kind of a nickname

bestowed on people who claimed to historically belong to a certain party

loyal to a certain man. Others put the emphasis on saying that the loyalty

is not to a certain bloodline but to a certain code of behavior. That is

basically the root meaning of Sunna, which has to do with characteristic

behavior or habit or whatever. That is how these two nicknames came about:

One said we want to follow the behavior of a certain group of people; and,

the other group wanting to emphasize the line of descent of people. They

are roughly divided 90% to 10%. Some of the issues that divide are much

more important to a small group of people than they are to the bulk of

individuals. That is to say, if you approached someone and said I take this

position and I am against the position you take, chances are he doesn’t know

about either one of those positions. It is like a layman trying to debate

the matters that Church councils take up. Usually they don’t even know what

it is they are talking about in the first place. Most of those issues are

far removed from people, or if they have an idea of what those issues are,

it maybe some simplistic view of one or the other favorite thing they

carried over. I hope that’s helpful.

DR MILLER: Yes (pointing to the next questioner)

QUESTIONER2: I was just curious how does a Muslim, how does he know that he

has eternal life, what does a Muslim believe once he dies in sin?

DR MILLER: Well, as to exactly what happens to him, there are all kinds of

stories about that, nobody really knows. MAYBE DEATH IS AS INTERESTING AS

LIFE. It’s like saying what’s going to happen to this baby now that it is

born (referencing an infant screaming and crying out in the audience)? What

going to happen now that this man has died may be a very complicated thing,

too? The first part about what you are asking is how does he knows about

where he stands?

Look at it in this way, the Quran says that on the final judgment that

record of each man will be put in his hand. He knows by that record what

the decision is what the verdict is. There are no surprises. It is not

going to be the case where someone looks over his record and is thinking,

“This looks pretty close, I hope the judge is in a good mood today.”

(Audience laughter) It’s going to be very clear by the record.

So given that that is the case, anybody at any given moment should be able

to stop and think, “What if I died right now? Am I ready or not?” The

difference between that approach and the approach of some at least who would

say, ”I KNOW that my well being is looked after,” is some of those who would

say that, “I know that I am saved and a week from tomorrow I’ll still be

saved.” Whereas the Muslim would say, “I am ready to die now, a week from

tomorrow ask me a week from tomorrow.” That is he knows what the situation

is to now.

There is a confidence there I guess which the Muslim doesn’t often talk

about, there is the story of one of the men of 14 centuries ago, he was

about to be executed, in fact crucified, by the people in Mecca, Hubaibe

(a.s.), I am thinking of. The people who were about to kill him said, ”You

can have a moment to make some prayers if your want.” So he prayed very

quickly and then he came back, “I would have prayed longer but you would

think that I was stalling and I was afraid, and I am not, let’s get on with

it, I shortened my prayer.” So he was quite confident of what the situation

was at that point. That is distinctly a possibility. It is just a matter

of being honest with yourself, to say why have I done what it is that I’ve

done, what are my intentions, what brought me to here. Is it good or is it

bad? That’s something you know from the inside.

QUESTIONER2: So how do you know the things that you’ve done throughout your

life whether God thinks they’re good enough for Him? I’m saying you appear

before Him when you die, how do you know that it is good enough?

DR MILLER: It is not a question precisely of what is done, it is a question

of intentions. That is, it is said that if a man made up his mind to a good

thing and he got up to leave the house to go do it and fell and broke his

neck and died, the credit is his as though he did it. Because what matters

is that he was of that frame of mind that he was intending to do that.

Whereas if a man made up his mind to do a bad thing, and he broke his neck

on the way, he has committed no crime, too bad that he was in that state of

mind -- but he has committed no crime. In the third case, if a man made up

his mind to do a bad thing and then changes his mind he has credit for

changing his mind.

You see it is a matter of the intention, what is the frame of mind that you

are in, NOT NECESSARILY THE VALUE OF YOUR ACTS. The good things that people

do have a certain value but they really don’t add up to anything like the

compensation that comes back. As the one verse says, The punishment that

men receive is exactly equal to the wrong done but the reward they receive

is 10 times greater than any good they’ve actually ever done. That using

the figure 10 apparently figuratively, just to say penalties correspond with

crimes, but rewards are much greater than any particular good thing that was

done.

QUESTIONER2: Well, my point would be, how do you know that your intentions

are good enough?

DR MILLER: Well, it’s a matter of being perfectly honest with yourself.

That is all and that takes practice.

QUESTIONER2: How do you know that what you intend as good is good in His

Sight?

DR MILLER: Well, it sounds like, and I’m not trying to make fun or anything,

but that’s a problem sometimes psychologists talk about called “scruples.”

Those are people who are paranoid about their own motivation. It is always

good to ask why do I do this, and you’ve got to be honest with yourself, but

you drive yourself insane if you are continually trying to accuse yourself

of wrong doing. To think back, “When I was six years old, I remember my

mother picked me up. Was I sexually aroused?” That is mentally ill but

people can get into that state of mind if they are always doubting what was

my intention. It good to on a regular basis to ask yourself why do I really

want to do this thing, but if you are convinced that, “I’ll never know,”

then you are losing your mind. If you are convinced that you'll never know

your own mind, I think you’ve lost it.

QUESTIONER2: The point I’m trying to make is that you will never know.

DR MILLER: I disagree one hundred percent. You are saying a man will never

know his own intentions and I saying that is should be an easy thing to do.

QUESTIONER2: The point is you will never know.

DR MILLER: Okay, then you have your opinion and I have mine. I think it is

rather easy to know your own intentions.

QUESTIONER3: I think I understand his question. I’m not trying to reword it

but what I’m trying to think of is the comparison of two people. If your

intention is to do one thing: to wear a coat and tie because you think it’s

a good thing to do; and, my intention was to not wear a coat and tie, cause

I didn’t think it was necessary. In God’s Eyes are your intentions better

than mine or in God’s Eyes is each person’s good intentions, is there a

standard of good intentions or does each person do the best they can do

according to their own scruples?

DR MILLER: Well, I suppose maybe what you’re, that’s a complex question in

this sense. However I answer it, I’m agreeing with something that you’ve

wrapped up in a question with which I disagree. You’ve made it sound as

though different people have different scruples, and that is basically what

I disagree with. On the inside of every person is the same standard. The

Quran says that men are made of one sort of thing, they have one kind of a

nature, that is human nature. Men are not produced in such a way that some

are a little more careful than others, they get to be that way but they didn

’t start out that way. They all have the same standards. If people develop

different standards it is precisely because of that, they have developed

those different standards.

QUESTIONER3: Yeah, so you’re saying that the essence of human would be an

across the board, everyone has the same…

DR MILLER: It should be the same

QUESTIONER3: I didn’t hear you say that earlier.

DR MILLER: I didn’t, it’s my fault.

QUESTIONER4: I really appreciate the way you’ve presented yourself, and

your obvious intelligence, and your competence in scripture. And I

appreciate the gentle approach that you’ve taken both toward Christians and

Moslems.

Do you believe that Muhammad taught that God gave the Law to Moses?

DR MILLER: See that’s like one of the questions that are asked when you’re

put in a double bind of answer yes or no that eliminates any qualification

as to the terminology that is used. And you say, “The Law” given to Moses.

That He gave Moses a law I have no doubt. Yes, that is basically the Muslim

position. That he gave Moses the Law, which you can pick up from your

public library, is another question.

QUESTIONER4: The only Law that we have of Moses goes back to the Dead Sea

Scrolls which is about 200 years before Christ. There is nothing older than

that and they have essentially agreed with the ones we had before that which

were about a 1000 years after, maybe I should say, Jesus. Of course,

Muhammad called Jesus Messiah as you know but he didn’t mean what Christians

mean, obviously. The reason I’m asking is that the center of the Mosaic Law

was blood sacrifice. And in Leviticus 17 it says that without blood

sacrifice there couldn’t be atonement made for the soul. And it carries

over into the Christian New Testament that there is a blood sacrifice made

to make atonement for the soul, which is, of course, the blood of Christ.

May I read a passage from scripture to support what I’m saying?

DR MILLER: Go ahead, if it is not that long.

QUESTIONER4: It says, “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of

God.” That just means that every human being has sinned. And I don’t

believe that there is a person in here who thinks they haven’t. “Being

justified freely by His Grace through the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus

who God has sent forth to be a propitiation.” That’s a way of reconciling,

an atonement. “Through faith in his blood to declare his righteousness for

the remission of sins of their past through the forbearance of God.”

So the same system of atonement, the reason I’m saying this is because you

said that the system of atonement is not worked out very clearly. The same

system of atonement applies to the New Testament scripture as in the Old,

that is blood sacrifice. That man has sinned and God demands blood in the

Old Testament it is animal sacrifice; in the New Testament it’s the blood of

Christ.

DR MILLER: Sorry, you had a hard time trying to get that out. I didn’t know

that’s what you were getting at. The problem is that you should be arguing

with the rabbi who’ll tell you that is not so. I’m always telling people

that but they have no reason to believe me, I guess.

I had the good fortune a couple of years ago at Emory University in Atlanta

when there was a rabbi in the front row. This same point came up and I

mentioned the fact is the Jews have NEVER believed in blood sacrifice

actually paying the penalty for sins. If you don’t believe me, ask the

rabbi. He stood up, put his thumbs in his suspenders, he said, “The man is

quite right!” They do not believe it, and I suggest as a reference in the

Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, the article, “Redemption.” It points out

that what you’re talking about, the blood sacrifice actually paying for

atonement, is a concept COMPLETELY UNKNOWN to the Jews.

That there were blood sacrifices, for sure, but what they were supposed to

do is not the same kind of thing as orthodox Christian doctrine talks about.

It relates to such places as the 31st chapter of Jeremiah. You find it in

some of the Minor Prophets, the twelve so called Minor Prophets, where it is

pointed out that, for example, and it was said that Israel was ransomed from

Egypt. The point is made it doesn’t mean that they were paid for. Even

though the language reads like that. Instead of trying to convince you of

all that, I would say go and ask the rabbi if that is so.

Look it up in the Universal Jewish Encyclopedia or any other reference, on

Redemption, where it will show you that the Christian idea does not

correspond to the Jewish idea, according to the Jews. They’ve been using

the same books longer. It’s a point that the Quran makes, for that matter,

it says that the Jews and Christians use some of the same material and yet

they disagree. This exhibits a difficulty: At least one of them is mistaken

on this issue or various other issues.

As to what these verses themselves may mean when blood sacrifice is talked

about in a Christian portion of scripture, there’s room for disagreement on

positions. The Universalists and others, for example, said Jesus spoke

figuratively about an awful lot of things and it may be unjust to take him

figuratively here and literally there. He said that unless a grain of corn

dies it won’t grow, he didn’t really mean die, he means it goes into the

ground. So maybe when he said I’m going to die he meant something like that

and not literally die. It was Paul who said, “I die every day.” He didn’t

mean I really drop dead everyday and then I get up. He meant something

else.

The possibility has been there, it’s not a popular Christian position, but

the same words are open to other meanings by other people. I’m not even

saying that they’re right but I’m saying this thing is not so unambiguous as

it is sometimes portrayed. It is still very much an open issue.

QUESTIONER4: I certainly think that there’s a sense that you are right.

Because there are scriptures that say God is not satisfied with the

sacrifice of bulls, and the blood of bulls, and so the Messiah answers back,

“that a body you have prepared for me.”

DR MILLER: Now you see, that is precisely, I shouldn’t have even made it

sound like an unkind comment when I was saying it. Sometimes, the

suggestion is made that errors in the Bible do not relate to major doctrine,

and that’s precisely the one I was thinking of that does. Because if you

read in Hebrews the passage which says that a body was prepared for me, look

up the Psalm that it’s quoting from, I thinks it’s the 40th Psalm, IT DOESN’

T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT A BODY. It says God made an ear for me. Which relates

to an old miscopying of a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures by

whoever wrote Hebrews when he mistook two words that ran together that meant

“God dubbed me an ear” to God prepared me a body. This major doctrine has

been built upon what was a mistranslation by somebody centuries ago.

QUESTIONER4: Well, it’s just a matter of pointing and the Septuagint took

it, ah, a Greek translation of the Hebrew scripture. Of course, took it as

body, and so that’s what the writer of the Hebrew put down, and he took his

quote straight out of Septuagint, as you say, a wrong translation of the

Hebrew scriptures. I realize that is controversial, maybe I shouldn’t have

even tried to use it…

DR MILLER: Yes, and I don’t mean to embarrass you, I appreciate your input

and I want to give everybody else a chance as well. I don’t want to get into

a harangue, anybody else?

QUESTIONER5: This is regarding your God-man dilemma. I was wondering why

you chose to exclude any discussion of the physical resurrection of Jesus?

That is one of the main bases of showing divinity.

DR MILLER: Why is the resurrection the basis of divinity? I hope I am

raised up some day, what will that make me? Divine? Whether or not Jesus

was raised up from the dead is another issue, but if I grant you that he

was, what does that have to do with him being divine?

QUESTIONER5: It was a physical resurrection.

DR MILLER: I hope if I am raised up, that I look better than I do. I hope

that it is a physical resurrection. I don’t really see what that has to do

with divinity. It’s a case of show and tell, Jesus is divine: look he is

raised up. It is not relevant to divinity.

QUESTIONER5: No body ever died and three days later came back to life.

DR MILLER: I know, suppose I told you no body or suppose I tell many people.

What does it prove? As a matter of fact, the documents that are passed down

to us from the Roman empire of 2000 years ago report that this idea of that

someone was killed and raised up again was a rather common notion. There

lots of people making the same claim. There was a Mespheles had already

drawn popularity in an area of the Mediterranean 200 years before the time

of Jesus, and it was said of various people. In fact I’ll bet you that you

read in the next twelve months in the National Enquirer that somebody was

raised from the dead. Reports of it were coming out all the time and these

people didn’t think that makes somebody divine.

How many people did Jesus supposedly raise from the dead? I’ve always

wondered myself what it was like at the second funeral of Lazarus. A man

that was dead then alive again then one day he must have died again. I’d

have very mixed feelings as a relative going to bury him again. His actual

resurrection doesn’t establish the divinity of Jesus. And Elijah raised an

individual from the dead according to 2nd Kings. The resurrection itself is

all very interesting but it’s virtually like anything you can point to, how

do you demonstrate an Infinite God by pointing to some finite thing? There’

s nothing a human being can EVER point to, that thing that proves the

Infinite God. It establishes some power or ability beyond mortal men but

exhibit a thing that a man can look at with his eyes, and say that proves

the Infinite Ability of God. It technically can not be done because of THE

definition of the God they’re trying to prove. Some Christian theologians

have experimented with the idea that God is FINITE, not infinite. That’s

very interesting, that solves a lot these problems, I guess.

QUESTIONER6: Okay, now, some Christians claim that Jesus is God but Jesus

never said that in the Bible that “I am God and worship me.” On the other

hand I would like to ask with so many interpretations of what Jesus said is

that because nobody wrote it down when he said it? Or is it because it is

written so after a long, long time?

DR MILLER: Well, maybe a little of both, I don’t know. There is not a whole

lot that is reported that he said anyway. There was one newspaperman in my

city, Toronto, he said if you took all the words of Jesus you could print

them on the front page of a newspaper. There are not that many words to go

on that have been handed down. That was a point that I touched on, there,

which I was trying to explain to Muslims sometimes, take it easy.

When I travel around it very often happens that someone meets me at the

airport. Somebody I never met before, and he picks up the bag and we head

out for the car and before we get to the car, before we’re out of the

parking lot, he says, “Does it say somewhere in the Bible that Jesus said he

was God?”

The answer is, well, yes and no. It depends upon whether you are looking

for precise words or are you looking to find out what did he mean when he

said this thing? The Muslim has fallen into what is really an unfair kind

of reply. The Christian says look here Jesus says I am THE Son of God. The

Muslim says, “Ah, it must be a lie, somebody wrote that there!” When he,

Jesus, may have well have said that but now let’s see who was he talking to

and what were they talking about when he said that. And who says that “son”

should have a capital “S” there and so on. Those are ideas of some of the

people who have reproduced these things.

The episode, in particular, that I mentioned where the Jews said we are sons

of God his reply was no you are sons of the devil, I am a son of God. When

they said son of God they didn’t mean some kind of claim to divinity and

when he said you are sons of the devil he didn’t literally mean your

grandmother slept with the devil, I don’t think. But why is it that he MUST

literally mean when he says, “I am the son of God, only when I say son of

God, I mean SON of God, I mean capital ‘S’, Son!” Maybe he did or maybe he

didn’t. It is unfair to insist that what he meant was this thing and not

something like what the Jews meant when they were having this discussion.

As to whether or not people worshipped him, that is another one of these

things that, it is a trick of language, that the Quran accuses some people

of doing. Worship used to mean in English, what was WORTHY, worthyship. In

Canada we still call the mayor of a city, Your Worship. It doesn’t mean I

think he’s God. It’s just how you talk. It used to be in English, that if

you stood up when someone came into the room they’d say you worshipped him.

It says in the Bible that a man came to Jesus one day and he worshipped him.

If you look literally in the Greek the word there literally means, “he blew

him a kiss.” Now people have done that to me, I don’t like it, but I didn’t

think they were worshipping me like I was God. (Audience laughter.) It’s

just what was said. What I’m getting at here is that, I believe it’s the

2nd Chapter of Daniel, it says that Nebuchadnezzar came to Daniel and he

worshipped him, in the King James Bible. You point to that and say doesn’t

worship here sound more just kind of like a salute? Or he nodded his head

toward him or shook his hand or something like that. So in most Modern

English translations they changed that to something else. But THEY HAVE

LEFT ALONE A VERSE THAT SAYS A MAN CAME TO JESUS AND HE WORSHIPPED HIM.

Today, at least in many English speaking countries, worship has a different

flavor than it had long ago. Today it seems to carry a lot of baggage that

it didn’t used to have. As I say, it still doesn’t in many British areas,

you won’t find that argument cited by a Canadian generally will not point to

the place where a man worshipped Jesus. That’s kind of silly. Even a

little town of 500 people we call the mayor, Your Worship. It’s just a way

of talking.

QUESTIONER4: May I do it again just for the sake of what the Christian

scriptures say. It’s your day and I’m not meaning to take it away. You’ve

done a good job too. But can I do it with Thomas and read that situation

out here?

DR MILLER: I can probably quote it for you without reading it, if you’re

talking about “My Lord and my God…”

QUESTIONER4: Yeah.

DR MILLER: See that’s the same kind of…. I think everybody knows the

passage…

QUESTIONER4: It’s how Jesus responded that I’m interested in.

DR MILLER: What? How did he respond? Like this, you got it, Thomas, right

on the nose?

QUESTIONER4: “Then Jesus said to Thomas reach here your finger and look at

my hand.” He’s asking him to put his finger into the hole with his hands.

“And put it into my side and don’t be faithless but believing. And Thomas

answered and said to him, ‘My Lord and my God’.” Jesus’ response is “Thomas

because you have seen me you have believed. Blessed are they that have not

seen and yet have believed.” So Jesus, I think, is backing up what Thomas

says. He has him put his hand in the hole in his side and when Thomas calls

him my Lord and my God, he blesses Thomas for having seen and believed. He

doesn’t say far be it from God that He should have a son.

DR MILLER: Well, the point is there are at least three ways that I know of

that Thomas’ words can be taken. I don’t use it as a matter of course but

it has happened to me that I’ve been surprised and I’ve said, “My God!” The

man in front of me says yes, isn’t it terrible, such and such a thing is

true. He didn’t say, no, what do you mean; I’m not God. It may have been

an expletive.

He, Thomas, may have said, “My Lord, My God.” What Jesus was then talking

about was you Thomas didn’t think I was raised up. Now you’ve seen and you

believe I’m raised up, so congratulations. Other people won’t get to see

the evidence but they will believe. It’s not necessarily an endorsement of

some theological statement by Thomas.

In any case, even if Thomas was addressing him, “My Lord, My God,” that has

precedent in Scripture. The Muslim may not like it but the precedent is

there of other people who were addressed as God without being God. When

Moses spoke to the angel in the burning bush he called the angel, God.

Stephen explains later that it wasn’t actually God that was God’s angel.

When God Sends an angel and you speak to him you might call him God.

Moses was told, “I’m sending you as god to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron

will be your prophet.” In fact the word “as” is added in Italics in most

English translations, it is not there in the Hebrew. God says I am sending

you to Pharaoh, you will be god, as far as Pharaoh is concerned. This and

other cases, the precedent is there for a human being or some other being to

be addressed as God without being God. Paul talked about Satan as being the

god of the world, so there is a question of god is capital “G” or small “g”.

There are various ways of looking at it but I‘m not arguing that your

understanding is wrong, so much as trying to point out the case in not

closed by that. Other things are possible. It is ambiguous. In a session

like this it may sound like I’m trying to tell some people that they are

wrong. My intention is more to say if you think you have proved something

think again. Find something unambiguous or all-inclusive then wrap it up.

If you can do that, then I will say, “Yes, you are right.”

For now, what passes as proof is largely what is called SYNTHETIC reasoning.

That is not a criticism. Synthetic reasoning is when you take a lot of

things and you form what seems to be a sensible conclusion. IT IS NOT AN

INEVITABLE CONCLUSION. That is analytic reasoning. Synthetic reasoning is

when you say it is cloudy, the wind is blowing and the weatherman said

rain – It’s gonna rain. That’s synthetic reasoning. You have not proved it

’s going to rain.

Analytic reasoning is where you have said A and B makes C, there is no other

possibility. That’s analytic reasoning.

These types of things are sold, in my opinion, as synthetic reasoning I’ve

never seen it sold any other way. It is very coherent but it is not an

inevitable conclusion that one arrives at, OTHER CONCLUSIONS ARE POSSIBLE

BASED UPON THE SAME INPUT.

I want to give someone a turn who has not spoken; did I ask you before?

(Miller addressing audience)

QUESTIONER7: Sir, we’ve talked about the Christian scriptures and their view

of themselves, could you very quickly explain the Quran’s view of itself in

relationship to Christian scripture? What validity does it give for its own

superiority, if it claims that?

DR MILLER: Yes, to start with, it’s not so much a superior kind of a

scripture, if that’s what you mean. That is largely a Muslim

misrepresentation, which is an over enthusiastic patriotism.

The Quran does not claim superiority in the usual sense that people are

talking about because the Bible and the Quran are different kinds of books.

The Quran reads approximately like most of the so-called Minor Prophets and

some of the pronouncements of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. It is not like

most of the Bible, which are stories. That is, the book of Jonah begins by

saying the Word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying,

quote, what you are about to read came from God, through Jonah.

Whereas the book of Luke begins by saying, in effect, what you are about to

read is what I have gathered and put together because it seemed like a good

idea, saying, “It seemed the appropriate thing to do” to gather the evidence

and write this story. He doesn’t say, what you are about to read are words

God has handed to me and I’m now putting down on paper for you.

Those are two different kinds of things. The Quran is like the former.

That is why it is really rather short, it is about 80% the size of the New

Testament. It is pronouncements: if you read “I” it is God speaking, if you

read “you” it is you, it is God talking to whoever is reading this. So they

are different kinds of books, largely.

What it says of previous scriptures for one thing is that it says of itself

that it confirms the truthfulness of WHAT IS IN previous scriptures. That

is certain things the have fallen into debate, people were arguing about

certain things, and if they were really important things the Quran touches

on them. To say, it was correctly reported in that scripture on this matter

that it really happened like that.

It confirms the truthfulness of previous scriptures, and this verse also in

the 5th chapter, also says of itself that it is, and the Arabic word is

MUHAYMIN, which maybe best translated by the words, quality control. It is

kind of a test against other scriptures. That is, if somebody brings

something and says this is scripture and it says such and such, it may well

be the Quran says that specifically is NOT so, and the evidence is in that

place, go and look. It is acting as quality control in that regard.

But, of course, it does not go step by step all the way through the Bible,

the Hindu Gupta, and various other scriptures and say chapter 1 is correct,

there one mistake in chapter 2, 3 in chapter 4 and so on. It doesn’t do

that. It just talks about certain issues and the advice traditionally given

to the Muslim right from the beginning was that if, for example, the

Christian comes and he says such and such is true and it says so in my book,

and you don’t have a reason to agree with him – then give him the benefit of

the doubt. He might be right; he might be wrong but don’t insist he’s

wrong. Leave him with it unless you evidence to the contrary.

And so it is, a lot of what Muslims commonly talk about are really things

they may have picked up from the Christian or the Jew. Often to their

detriment, I’m afraid, they pick up some of the fairytales and carry them

over as well. That’s the key, it is confirming the truthfulness of key

issues and it’s also setting the record straight on certain other things

that people have misrepresented. A great deal else it does not comment on

because it doesn’t really matter.

QUESTIONER7: It’s a man-made instrument to confirm or not confirm another

supposedly man-made instrument?

DR MILLER: Oh, no, it doesn’t say of itself it is a man-made instrument. As

I said, it’s the Speech of God’s commandments. When you read it, it says,

“I” as God, and “you” the reader. It’s a pronouncement like as I said some

of the 18 of the 66 books of the bible are like that, they don’t just tell

the story of so and so, but they say, God told Hosea this, quote. It’s of

that nature.

QUESTIONER7: The point I’m trying to make is that its validity is based on

the fact that in part that it says it has a right to confirm or not confirm

other books of scripture.

DR MILLER: Well, as to its validity, there are various approaches to that.

But the one that is easiest to explain is that the Book by its physical

existence, the paper and ink, demands an explanation of where did it come

from? What it repeats many times is that if somebody says the origin of

this Book is such and such, then ask him or her so and so to see if they

still thinks that’s true. In another place, If they think this Book came

from such and such, remind them of this. So a person is confronted with the

Book and has to come up with an explanation of where did it come from, and

the person pursuing that comes to the conclusion that that is not so easily

answered. All of the usual ideas have probably already been discussed in

the Book itself with an explanation of why that can’t be so. You’d better

come up with another reason. It’s when you run out of options it becomes a

proof by exhaustion. It comes down to either this man was deceived or was

himself a deceiver, if you are going to explain all of the facts you need

BOTH of those assumptions and the point is they eliminate each other. You

cannot at one time think you are a prophet and lie to people about it. You

cannot have it both ways. You can be neither a liar nor deceived; you might

be one or the other, but you can’t be both. You’re left with still this

paper and ink, unexplained – what is its origin?

That’s one way of looking at how does it establish that it deserves respect.

There’s also the influence that it has had. It has accomplished certain

things that’s why historians of science, language, and philosophy will still

point to the Quran that’s the reason why the Arabs were suddenly civilized

after 10,000 years of NO preparation for civilization. Something in that

book is a stimulus. I hesitate to mention that, I suppose, because Islam is

not an Arabic sort of thing, don’t get that idea. 80% of Muslims don’t

speak Arabic, anyway. The point is that it had a sudden impact. That needs

an explanation, it calls for some kind of answer.

QUESTIONER8: Is there a difference between the word “gospel” and the word

“bible” as it contributes to the scriptures?

DR MILLER: Oh, yes, that’s a point maybe I should have dealt with. He’s

asking about words like bible, and gospel. The Quran when it talks about

gospel it means Injeel, in Arabic, Injeel, which is related to the Greek,

evangel, which is translated “gospel.” A long time ago, it might have been

better translated as “Good News.” Injeel was a message it wasn’t a book

some place. It was in the 2nd century that the collections of the accounts

of the life of Jesus got the nickname, gospels.

When technically any Christian that makes that distinction to say well these

are the four gospels but the gospel of Jesus is a message. It is not these

four books. These four books have the gospel in them somewhere. So the

Quran is talking about what was it Jesus said not what are those four

injeels.

As to bible, that is just an English nickname. It just means library; it is

a collection of writings. In other languages, they sometimes don’t call it

that, the Germans call it Helige Geschrift, holy writings. The bible is

just a convenient name. The Quran talks about people who use books, or use

the book, or book people but it doesn’t say people that use THAT book, the

Revised Standard of 1881. People who are in the habit of using a book to

support their position are people of the book without spelling out bible or

the gospel according to Matthew.

Maybe that’s all our time. Thank you again. (Applause)

 

 

 

 

 

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