Are the Allah of Islam and the Father of the biblical Lord Jesus the same Being? Different Beings? The same Being differently understood (or misunderstood)? In a blog post a few years ago entitled “Is Allah God? A Relevant Issue?,” Warrick Farah addressed this foundational and divisive issue. He asked, “Is this even a relevant question for us to invest our time debating or being divided over?”
Farah quoted pastor J.D. Greear:
“Theologically speaking, there is of course only one God. But as I note throughout the book, we see several places where Jesus or the Apostles confronted someone who believed wrong things about God, yet Jesus and the apostles engaged them with the common ground of, ‘Let’s talk about that God you think you know and [what] He is really like.’
For example, in John 4, when Jesus deals with a Samaritan woman who was considerably off on several points about God, Jesus told her that the problem was she did not understand the God that she claimed to worship. Many of the Jews to whom the Apostles spoke did not believe in the Trinity and found it blasphemous. Does that mean that the Jews worship a different God? A better, and more Biblical approach (in my view) is to take the God that they claim to understand and show them what His true revelation is like…”
At the end of his blog post, Farah concluded: “The only way to know God is through Jesus. A genuine personal relationship with God can only be Christological and Trinitarian. All other worship of God outside of Christ is “in vain” (Mk. 7:7). So whether or not Muslims believe in a different God is somewhat of an irrelevant issue, because in fact no one knows God apart from Jesus. All conceptions of God, whether they are American, Muslim, Asian, Agnostic, Pagan, Mormon, or even “Christian,” all of them are incomplete and inaccurate without the gospel revelation of the Son (Heb. 1:2).”
I think in one paragraph Farah has given a better answer than many others (myself included) have offered in lengthy books and articles. I would fine tune Farah’s concluding statement by noting that all human conceptions of God (as long as we’re in this world), even the conceptions of those who know and love Christ, are incomplete and probably to some extent inaccurate. But the essential dividing line (as Farah argues) is the presence or absence of saving knowledge of and faith in the True Christ. Thus even a nominally “Christian” conception of God (just as the other conceptions mentioned) can, apart from the gospel of the Son, be so inaccurate as to leave one outside the saving knowledge of the True God. Even the devil believes a lot of good doctrine. But his efforts hinder rather than encourage people’s salvation. We need an approach that encourages rather than hinders the salvation of as many as possible (1 Cor. 9:19).
Are the Allah of Islam and the Father of the biblical Lord Jesus the same Being? As Farah wisely pointed out, the best answer is Jesus. Let’s skip that argument and instead point people as effectively as possible to Jesus, as prefigured in the Old Testament and revealed in the good news of the gospel.