by Josiah Nichols
[This paper was originally submitted to Dr. Robert Talley for partial completion of the Introduction to Apologetics class for Liberty University’s MDiv program on 11/22/2020]
Since September 11, 2001, Christians in America have had to come to grips with Islam one way or another. It is reported in the media to be a religion of peace. Yet, terrorists in the name of Islam have performed countless shootings, bombings, and stabbings in recent years. When one actually looks into Islam there is actually some common ground with Christianity. It talks about the Old and New Testaments. It mentions Jesus, but it says he is not the Son of God. They actually teach that God has no Son. It mentions other characters in the Bible like Aaron, Mary, Moses, and etc. The Quran also claims, like the Bible, that it is inerrant. It says the Bible and the Torah came from God. It also makes some claims against Christianity. It makes serious historical claims on Christianity and Islam presents itself as the true religion and Muhammad as the true and final prophet. With all of these issues at stake, one has to ask the question. Is the Bible true and infallible or is the Quran true and infallible? There is a way to test this. It is in examining which books correlate with reality. In asserting false and historically inaccurate claims on the Christian faith, Islam fails not only in attacking Christianity, but also in establishing itself as a credible worldview.
Analysis of Islam’s Inerrancy and Historical Claims of Christianity
The Quran claims to be without error. It says, “Praise be to Allah! Who revealed the Book to His servant, and allowed not therein any crookedness” (18:1). This is a key text in the author of the Quran believing that God had not allowed any corruption to his revealed word. It also says, “Will they not then meditate on the Qur’an? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy” (4:82). This shows that the author of the Qur’an believed it was without error. If there was found any error in the Qur’an, then its message should not be taken as coming from God. This provides a test to see whether the Quran is from God or a mere man.
The Quran claims Christians believe that Mary is a part of the Trinity (5:73-75). The Quran argues that God is exclusively one and to add partners makes him not one. The Quran says that Mary is just a blessed woman but she is not God, which Christians actually agree with. Yet it says that Mary was seen by Christians as a “partner” with God, thereby making her a part of the Trinity.
The Quran makes a second historical statement against Christianity. The Quran claims Jesus was not crucified.
and for their denial and outrageous accusation against Mary, and for boasting, “We killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” But they neither killed nor crucified him—it was only made to appear so. Even those who argue for this ˹crucifixion˺ are in doubt. They have no knowledge whatsoever—only making assumptions. They certainly did not kill him. Rather, Allah raised him up to Himself. And Allah is Almighty, All-Wise. (4:156-158).
Despite what the Bible and the other early accounts say, the Quran claims that Jesus was not crucified but immediately taken into heaven.
The Quran claims God gave the Torah and the Gospels but they were corrupted to hide that they were pointing to Muhammad being God’s prophet (2:79, 3:3, 79, 5:44, 46, 48). The Arabic dictionary says, “The Qur’an declares that the Gospel was taught to and revealed to Jesus; in the same way that the Torah was revealed to Moses.” The Quran says,
So woe to those who distort the Scripture with their own hands then say, “This is from Allah”— seeking a fleeting gain! So woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for what they have earned.” (2:79).
The claim that the Quran says is hidden from the words of Jesus is,
And when Jesus, son of Mary, said: O Children of Israel, surely I am the messenger from Allah to you, verifying which is before me of the Torah and giving the good news of a Messenger who will come after me, his name being Amad. But when he came to them with clear arguments, they said this is clear enchantment (61:6).
The one giving the clear arguments is supposed to be Muhammad.
The Quran claims Jesus’ mother was the sister of Aaron (3:35). “Oh sister of Aaron, thy father was not a wicked man, nor was thy mother an unchaste woman” (19:28). “And Mary the daughter of Amran, who guarded her chastity…” (66:12). These verses prove that Muhammad believed that Mary was the sister of the first high priest. He believed that they shared the same father. This is probably one of the biggest historical claims that Muhammad made about the mother of Jesus.
Critique of Islam’s Historical Claims of Christianity
The Quran fails its own test of “discrepancy”, proving it is not from God. To say that something is without error, means that it cannot even contain historical errors. The Bible claims inerrancy and has been held to every test historically, scientifically, and internal consistency. The Quran fails to be consistent with historical statements about the Christian faith and thereby fails its own test.
The Quran was wrong about Christians believing Mary was part of the Trinity (Matthew 28:18-20). Christians have always believed that Jesus is God (John 1:1-5). Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is God “The words of Yahweh in the Old Testament are at times attributed to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. Thus, the Holy Spirit like Yahweh is God” Three hundred years before Muhammad, the earliest documents on Trinity say that the Trinity is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; one God in three distinct, eternal, persons.
Mark’s gospel provides historical evidence against the Quran that Jesus was not crucified (Mark 15:39). There are many historical evidences including eyewitness testimony of his death and resurrection. This also includes testimony from Josephus. Josephus said,
About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.
While Josephus was a Jewish historian at the end of the first century, he was not a Christian, and some people claimed that there was some early Christian insertions in this quote; however, the point is that Josephus really did testify that Jesus performed miracles, died on a cross and his followers believed that Jesus rose from the dead.
The Talmud includes the testimony of Jesus’ enemies, “But since they did not find anything in his defense, they hanged him on (Sabbath eve and) the eve of the Passover.” This is significant because this was the very point that enemies of Christianity could have said that Jesus didn’t exist, or he wasn’t crucified. Of course the Quran says the Jews believed that they had killed the messenger of Allah, but from any standpoint this is additional testimony that Jesus was crucified.
There is no reason to believe that Muhammad was spoken of in the collection of the New Testament. It is entirely about Jesus. Textual Criticism has provided strong, undeniable evidences that the Torah and the Gospels have not been corrupted, and no manuscripts ever mention Muhammad. There are about six thousand Greek manuscripts of the New Testament and over twenty thousand manuscripts that are translated in other languages. While there are thousands of differences between the manuscripts, only one percent of those differences are meaningful. There are no doctrines from Christianity, including the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that rest on these variants. The Bible that we have today is over ninety-nine present accurate. Muhammad lived over six hundred years after these events took place. It is unreasonable to believe early Christians hid prophesies of Muhammad in their earliest manuscripts over four hundred years before the false prophet was born. The New Testament is the most textually accurate book of ancient antiquity.
Mary descended from the tribe of Judah and she is 1,400 years removed from Aaron (Luke 3:23-38). This can be clearly seen by looking at the time of Moses and Aaron which according to Solomon was approximately 1440 BC and comparing those events the time of Christ (Numbers 20:28; Luke 1:1-38). It is impossible for Aaron and his father to have died before Marry was conceived 1,400 years later and still be his sister. This shows that not only did this not come from God, but Muhammad did not do his research.
Defense of the Historical Claims by Christianity
Unlike Islam, Christianity does hold true to history. It mentions real people in real places and is corroborated by eyewitness accounts. Jesus really did die on the cross. He was seen crucified by the apostles. He was seen for forty days after his resurrection, and his disciples died for something that they claimed to have saw, heard, and touched (1 John 1:1-2). When the Bible claims to be without error, it delivers; at least it does historically.
The Bible’s greatest test of historicity is the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection. The Bible claims not only to have been revealed by God, like the Quran, but also to have been written by eyewitnesses of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (John 21:24, 2 Peter 1:16). They, during their lifetime, also could point to five hundred eye witnesses that would corroborate their story (1 Corinthians 15:6). The good evidence for believing this is eyewitness testimony is:
Given that the accounts claim to be eyewitness testimony or derived from eyewitness` testimony, the fact that many of the accounts clearly date well within the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses, and the fact that the reporting of facts are tied to real people, real locations, at real times provides good evidence to believe that these accounts are indeed genuine eyewitness testimony.
Muhammad does not give good grounds for rejecting eyewitness testimony concerning the crucifixion. He wrote six hundred years after the fact and he had nothing to lose by proposing it. The eyewitnesses, on the other hand, had everything to lose for what they claimed to have saw. Many of them lost their lives; none the least of which were Peter and Paul who died under the persecution of Nero in the mid to late sixties.
It has already been discussed above that credibility of the New Testament, eyewitness statements. Yet, it is important to see the evidence in light of the historical claims that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead. It is one thing to say that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead then actually have it recorded six hundred years afterward. It is another thing to have ancient documents that date within decades of the original text say that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead. This gives further evidence that these are documents of eyewitness testimony.
Even people who did not believe in Jesus confirmed that he died and his disciples claimed to have seen him rise from the dead, as confirmed by Josephus and Talmud in the quotes above. No serious scholar in light of the evidence would ever say that Jesus did not die on a cross. Many do reject that Jesus actually rose from the dead but their rejection is not based upon eyewitness testimony.
The significance of Jesus dying on a cross and rising from the dead are best recorded by the apostle Paul,
which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ (Romans 1:2-6, ESV).
Islam says that God has no son. It says that Jesus did not die on a cross. Yet, the substitutionary death of the Messiah was promised hundreds of years before Jesus was crucified (Isaiah 53). The crucifixion was promised before it was invented (Psalm 23). Jesus claimed to be the Son of God several times. The resurrection is God’s testimony that Jesus is God’s Son, all nations must be obedient to him, and anyone who repents of their sin and believes in him will have forgiveness of sin. That is the main reason why people reject or accept this eyewitness testimony. It demands obedience and faith in the risen Lord.
Islam has been tried and weighed according to its own test. There has been found in it many a discrepancy concerning the historical statements of Christianity. That shows it is not from Allah. It claims Christians believe that Mary is a part of the Trinity, Jesus was not crucified, the Bible has been corrupted, and Mary is the sister of Aaron. The evidence shows the Quran errs historically on these points. The Quran is not inerrant. It has not only proved itself to not only be errant but also completely false as a worldview. It is not from God. Christianity, on the other hand, has passed the test of historicity concerning the point that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead. Since this is true, that point demands the recipient of that testimony to place obedient faith in Jesus Christ and accept Him as God’s Son.
 Elsaid Badawi and Muhammed Abdel Haleem. Arabic-English Dictionary of Qurʾanic Usage. (Danvers, Massachusetts, Brill). 57.
 Ravi Zacharias, Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson, 2007). 66.
 John MacArthur, and Richard Mayhue. Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Biblical Truth (Wheaton, Illinois. Crossway, 2017). 342.
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1994). 251.
 Josephus, Flavius, and Siwart Haverkamp. Complete Works of Josephus; Antiquities of the Jews, The Wars of the Jews, Against Apion (New York: Bigelow, Brown, 1900). 18 3.3.
 Peter Schäfer, Jesus in the Talmud (Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 2007). 57.
 Paul M. Gould, Travis Dickinson, and R. Keith Loftin, Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel (Nashville, Tennessee, B&H Academic, 2018). 82.
 Ibid. 85.
 Ibid. 85.
 Ibid. 80.
 Henry Chadwick, The Early Church: The Story of Emergent Christianity from the Apostolic Age to the Dividing of the Ways Between the Greek East and the Latin West (Strand, London, Penguin Books, 1993). 18.
Ali Maulana Muhammad. The Holy Quran English Translation and Commentary. Dublin, Ohio. Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore Inc. 2011.
Chadwick, Henry. The Early Church: The Story of Emergent Christianity from the Apostolic Age to the Dividing of the Ways Between the Greek East and the Latin West. Strand, London, England. Penguin Books. 1993.
Elsaid Badawi and Muhammed Abdel Haleem. Arabic-English Dictionary of Qurʾanic Usage. Danvers, Massachusetts. Brill.
Gould, Paul, M., Dickinson, Travis, and Loftin, Keith, R. Stand Firm: Apologetics and the Brilliance of the Gospel. Nashville, Tennessee. B&H Academic, 2018.
Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan. 1994.
Josephus, Flavius, and Siwart Haverkamp. Complete Works of Josephus ; Antiquities of the Jews, The Wars of the Jews, Against Apion. New York: Bigelow, Brown. 1900.
MacArthur, John, and Mayhue Richard. Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Biblical Truth. Wheaton, Illinois. Crossway, 2017.
Porter, Stanely E. How We Got the New Testament: Text, Transmission, and Translation. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Baker Publishing Group. 2013.
Strobel, Lee. The Case For Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan. 1998.
Schäfer, Peter. Jesus in the Talmud. Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton University Press. 2007.
Zacharias, Ravi. Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend. Nashville, Tennessee. Thomas Nelson. 2007.