Friday, May 1, 2015

Allah or God?

Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the creatures the Lord God had made.  “Really?” he asked the woman. “Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden?”  Genesis 3:1

The only theological training Hawa ever received came from what her family, culture, and mullahs passed on which revolved mostly around traditions, rules, and punishment.   
One of Satan’s strategies with mankind is casting confusion about God’s true character. Satan did not introduce another totally different 'god' to Eve but rather mixed deception with the Truth and muddied her understanding by twisting God’s character.  I meet many Muslim women, like Hawa, who have grown up with a convoluted and ambiguous knowledge of God.    

Perhaps you have a precious Muslim friend who talks about God and you wonder if you are talking about the same God or a different God because both of your declarations sound miles apart. She might use the word God rather than Allah, too. You have heard varying views among Christians or read explanations about this subject. However, your question is not just a matter of semantics or a study because you have a Muslim friend and want to know how to proceed when talking about God. You don’t want to blow it and shut down a relationship by going about conversation the wrong way. You want to have an on-going relationship so you can continue sharing more about our wonderful God. You long for her to know God.
Many Christians are convinced that Allah and God are two different Gods. However stating it bluntly that way to a Muslim woman will most likely end in an argument which usually shuts down further opportunities.  One time in Pakistan I shared evangelistically with a lady and said the words:  “My God…and your god…” What an explosive reaction I received which abruptly ended further conversation. “There is only one God,” she argued firmly. What she “heard” was there are multiple gods.  I find it more helpful to start with a mutual belief in one God who is the Creator but beyond that we have different understanding and information of what He is like.   

 “I have bad memories of my father,” Hawa moaned.  “Was he harsh?” I asked her. “Yes,” she replied. I explained that often our understanding of God is formed by how our father is. “Do you think God is angry and always wants to punish you?” I inquired.  “Yes,” she answered. I knew the time had come to speak truth about God’s character but it had to be done extremely simple for her to process.  “Hawa, God is good.  God is kind.  God loves you. God does not want to punish you. God is not angry with you.” We ended our time in prayer which she always welcomes. Again, the attributes of God’s true character were declared as I prayed.  Long before sharing the gospel story a foundation of God’s attributes needs to be declared clearly and repeatedly.  It is more beneficial to shine the light on God’s true character to a Muslim woman than to get into a heated argument about whether God and Allah are the same Deity. When light is shone they will see the differences.   
Dear heavenly Father, help Muslim women to hear and understand what You are really like. In Jesus’ name, Amen.