Uncreated Qur’an

constantinople

Malise Ruthven writes:

In the early ‘Abbasid period there arose a controversy among the scholars as to whether or not the Quran had been ‘created’. For a period, victory in the dispute went to the Mu’tzailis or ‘rationalists’, who believed in the ‘created’ Quran, until, following a populist reaction led by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the opposite doctrine became the orthodoxy, remaining so among Sunni Muslims until the present century.
[…]
The advocates of predestination argued that the Quran was the ‘uncreated’ speech of God because it refers to certain specific events which God in His omnipotence and omniscience must have willed and known about. The advocates of free will replied that the Quran clearly insists on human responsibility, as implied in the doctrine of the Day of Judgment; the Quran is thus God’s speech, ‘created’ under certain circumstances – a view which implied that God could have created a different Quran should the circumstances have been different.

The advocates of the ‘created’ Quran emphasized the references to an ‘Arabic’ Quran which occur in the divine text; they accused their opponents of a form of shirk or bi-theism in allowing that an eternal being – the Quran – coexisted with God. The controversy ranged around the interpretation of the Quran as well as its status An ‘uncreated’ Quran, being, as it were, an aspect of the Godhead, was absolutely unchangeable. The decrees of a ‘created’ Quran, on the other hand, were evidently subject to time and place, and might possibly be overruled by a divinely inspired Imam or caliph.

Lutheran Prayer

From the 1958 Service Book and Hymnal (Lutheran Church):


Let us pray.
Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: We give you praise and hearty thanks for all your goodness and tender mercies. We bless you for the love which has created and does sustain us from day to day. We praise you for the gift of your Son, our Savior, through whom you have made known your will and grace. We thank you for the Holy Spirit, the Comforter; and for your holy Church, for the Means of Grace, for the lives of all faithful and godly men, and for the hope of the life to come. Help us to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has done for us; and enable us to show our thankfulness by lives that are given wholly to your service;
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Saved and defend your Church Universal, purchased with the precious Blood of Christ. Give it pastors and ministers according to your Spirit, and strengthen it through the Word and the holy Sacraments. Make it perfect in love and in all good works, and establish it in the faith delivered to the saints. Sanctify and unite your people in all the world, that the one holy Church may bear witness to you, the God and Father of all;
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Upon all in any holy office in your Church bestow your wisdom and heavenly grace, and enable them to fulfill their duties in your fear and in purity of heart. Let your gracious benediction rest upon our clergy and people, and upon all who are set over us in the Lord; that faith may abound, and your kingdom increase;
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Send forth your light and your truth into all the earth, O Lord. Raise up, we pray you, faithful servants of Christ to labor in the Gospel at home and in distant lands;
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
According to your merciful goodness, O God, extend your saving health and strength to the younger Churches. Grant that they may rejoice in a rich harvest of souls for your kingdom. Support them in times of trial and weakness, and make them stedfast, abounding in the work of the Lord.
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Preserve our Nation in righteousness and honor, and continue your blessings to us as a people, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty. Grant health and favor to all who bear office in our land (especially to the President and the Congress, the Governor and Legislature of this State), and help them to acknowledge and obey your holy will;
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Give to all men the mind of Christ, and dispose our days in your peace, O God. Take from us all hatred and prejudice, and whatever may hinder unity of spirit and concord. Prosper the labors of those who take counsel for the nations of the world, that mutual understanding and common endeavor may be increased among all peoples;
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Bless, we pray you, the schools of the Church, universities and centers of research, all institutions of learning, and those who exercise the care of souls therein. Withhold not, we pray you, your Word and Wisdom, but bestow it in such measure that men may serve you in Church and State, and our common life be brought under the rule of your truth and righteousness;
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
We pray you especially heavenly Father, to sanctify our homes with your light and joy. Keep our children in the covenant of their baptism, and enable their parents to rear them in a life of faith and godliness. By the spirit of affection and service unite the members of all Christian families, that they may show forth your praise in our land and in all the world.
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
God of mercies, we pray you to comfort with the grace of your Holy Spirit all who are in sorrow or need, sickness or adversity. Remember those who suffer persecution for the faith. Have mercy upon those to whom draws near. Bring consolation to those in sorrow or mourning. And to all grant a measure of your love, taking them into your tender care;
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Let your blessing rest upon the seed-time and harvest, the commerce and industry, the leisure and rest, and the arts and culture of our people. Take under your special protection those whose toil is difficult or dangerous, and be with all who lay their hands to any useful task. Give them just rewards for their labor, and the knowledge that all their work is good in your sight, who are the Maker and Sustainer of all things;
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
We remember with thanksgiving those who have loved and served you in your Church on earth, who now rest from their labors (especially those most dear to us, whom we name in our hearts before You). Keep us in fellowship with all your saints, and bring us at length to the joy of your heavenly kingdom;
We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Here special supplications, intercessions and thanksgivings may be made.
All these things, and whatever else you see that we need, grant us, O Father, for his sake who died and rose again, and now lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.
Amen.

umm al-kitab

Are the Gospels, the Psalms and the Torah authoritative for Muslims? It doesn’t seem like it. Nevertheless, the Qur’an is supposedly only one part of the larger canon in Islamic thought. Malise Ruthven puts it this way:

At the same time it raises a difficulty about which parts of the scriptures (usually referred to as al-kitab, ‘book’ or ‘writ’, and sometimes umm al-kitab, ‘the mother of scriptures’) are true and which are false. Is the kitab coextensive with the Quran, a kind of divine Ur-text, form which the Quran, like other recognized scriptures (including the Torah of the Jews and the Christian Gospel) derives? A ‘created’ Quran, as a divine artifact, would place the Arabic scripture on the same ontological level as the ‘uncorrupted’ versions of the divine messages delivered to other peoples.

The Anglican Benedict Option

I’ve written a bit about creating an Anglican community by like-minded Anglicans moving to the same location. Steve has put down some great thoughts about what educational praxis could look like in an Anglican setting. I’d like to see all of this come together in an Anglican Benedict Option – fleeing the collapsing modern state and “preserving the remnants of Christian and classical virtues and laying the groundwork for the rebirth of a new civilization.” If you have any interest in really doing this and not just thinking about it, please contact me!

It seems to me that this would require some agricultural know-how. Working the land might be necessary in a small town with no big job-provider around. I am presuming that the internet and modern communication will persist, but that the permanent things will be left behind by a reckless culture. So I speculate on other trades that could provide income in a situation where a new community attempts to carve out a place and survive on the outskirts of the empire. I wonder if typography in the form of a type foundry could work in a small town? Fonts are distributed globally so perhaps that is a flexible enough craft to be performed from anywhere. Book binding is a niche market that would seem logical for the people of the book. Publishing in general would be desirable, and creating lasting editions of works like the Book of Common Prayer, the Bible, and the Church Fathers would be essential to a Benedict option for Anglicans. Depending on proximity to the ocean or lakes, some type of boat building / repair might be profitable. Establishing a school and a university would seem to be necessary to perpetuate learning in the face of global ignorance and the bankrupt university system of the United States.

We can cultivate a different way of life in the face of the moral miasma that is the air we breathe. Formed by the cycle of the Church year and daily prayer, devoted to alms giving and works of mercy, fearless in proclaiming the Gospel and practicing the liturgy that has undergird the Church since her earliest days, we can begin again.

The Anglican Benedict Option

I’ve written a bit about creating an Anglican community by like-minded Anglicans moving to the same location. Steve has put down some great thoughts about what educational praxis could look like in an Anglican setting. I’d like to see all of this come together in an Anglican Benedict Option – fleeing the collapsing modern state and “preserving the remnants of Christian and classical virtues and laying the groundwork for the rebirth of a new civilization.” If you have any interest in really doing this and not just thinking about it, please contact me!
It seems to me that this would require some agricultural know-how. Working the land might be necessary in a small town with no big job-provider around. I am presuming that the internet and modern communication will persist, but that the permanent things will be left behind by a reckless culture. So I speculate on other trades that could provide income in a situation where a new community attempts to carve out a place and survive on the outskirts of the empire. I wonder if typography in the form of a type foundry could work in a small town? Fonts are distributed globally so perhaps that is a flexible enough craft to be performed from anywhere. Book binding is a niche market that would seem logical for the people of the book. Publishing in general would be desirable, and creating lasting editions of works like the Book of Common Prayer, the Bible, and the Church Fathers would be essential to a Benedict option for Anglicans. Depending on proximity to the ocean or lakes, some type of boat building / repair might be profitable. Establishing a school and a university would seem to be necessary to perpetuate learning in the face of global ignorance and the bankrupt university system of the United States.
We can cultivate a different way of life in the face of the moral miasma that is the air we breathe. Formed by the cycle of the Church year and daily prayer, devoted to alms giving and works of mercy, fearless in proclaiming the Gospel and practicing the liturgy that has undergird the Church since her earliest days, we can begin again.

Jeremiah and the Nations

Christians in America often make the mistake of viewing the United States as a chosen people on a par with old covenant Israel. This American exceptionalism is untrue and certainly un-Biblical. God’s nation today is the Church, which is the Israel of God.

So can we speak with any certainty of God’s judgements on individual nations, now that no particular nation is chosen by him? Is it right to consider if 9/11, Katrina or the financial meltdown might be judgements of God on our nation if we are not a chosen nation?

Jeremiah 25 indicates that God does indeed deal with nations other than just His chosen people. In this chapter, God’s word comes to Jeremiah and tells many nations that God is sending a sword against them. The group of nations mentioned is numerous. These nations will be recompensed ‘according to their deeds and the work of their hands.’

So even in the age when Israel was God’s chosen nation on the earth, the Gentile nations were held to account for their deeds. Given this, I think it is entirely appropriate to hold nations to account in our day when they embrace evil and reject the rule of Jesus the Messiah.

OT in NT

In the book of Joshua, God speaks to Joshua and tells him, “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.”

Christian exegesis can take the Old Testament and apply it to believers in the new covenant. That is what the author of Hebrews does. He takes the verse from Joshua and says: “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you…” The promise to Joshua is now a promise to all of us with (surprisingly) financial implications.

Al Qaeda and Dreams

Given the strict adherence to the fixed text of the Qur’an on the part of the Al Qaeda Wahabbis, I am surprised at the role of dreams in the practice of these Muslims. A startling example of this appears in this transcript of a conversation between Osama Bin Laden and a Saudi which took place after the sneak attack on America. Several apparent dreams of the attacks are noted. For example, Bin Laden relates a dream another man had:

“I saw in a dream, we were playing a soccer game against the Americans. When our team showed up in the field, they were all pilots!” He said: “So I wondered if that was a soccer game or a pilot game? Our players were pilots.” He (Abu-Al-Hasan) didn’t know anything about the operation until he heard it on the radio. He said the game went on and we defeated them. That was a good omen for us.”

There’s more of this:

“Abd Al Rahman Al-(Ghamri) said he saw a vision, before the operation, a plane crashed into a tall building. He knew nothing about it.”

Shaykh (Referring to dreams and visions): The plane that he saw crashing into the building was seen before by more than one person. One of the good religious people has left everything and come here. He told me, “I saw a vision, I was in a huge plane, long and wide. I was carrying it on my shoulders and I walked from the road to the desert for half a kilometer. I was dragging the plane.” I listened to him and I prayed to Allah to help him. Another person told me that last year he saw, but I didn’t understand and I told him I don’t understand. He said, “I saw people who left for jihad…and they found themselves in New York…in Washington and New York.” I said, “What is this?” He told me the plane hit the building. That was last year. We haven’t thought much about it. But, when the incidents happened he came to me and said, “Did you see…this is strange.” I have another man…my god…he said and swore by Allah that his wife had seen the incident a week earlier. She saw the plane crashing into a building…that was unbelievable, my god.

Bin Laden relates:

We were at a camp of one of the brother’s guards in Qandahar. This brother belonged to the majority of the group. He came close and told me that he saw, in a dream, a tall building in America, and in the same dream he saw Mukhtar teaching them how to play karate. At that point, I was worried that maybe the secret would be revealed if everyone starts seeing it in their dream. So I closed the subject. I told him if he sees another dream, not to tell anybody, because people will be upset with him.

For a people who believe that revelation is closed it seems rather startling to me that they have such a respect for dreams that reminds me (if anything) of Christian Pentecostals and Charismatics. I’m sure that the Wahabbis would never call this prophecy or revelation, but it seems to function in that way. It also seems a little suspect to me, like some of these dreams are invented after the fact or are concocted based on loose lips and rumors of impending actions, but Satan has power, and perhaps this falls into that category.

LDS Inclusion ~ LDS Exclusion

A straightforward reading of the Book of Mormon appears to endorse eternal punishment in hell for many people. A random example of this is found in 2 Nephi 28.15:

O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell!

Passages like that from the Book of Mormon (BOM) could be multiplied, but you get the picture. Now, if the BOM was allowed to stand alone as a text and govern the LDS church, things would look very different. But in essence, the book simply establishes the authority of Joseph Smith: “for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation” (2 Nephi 3.15). Once Smith was established in his role of authority by the book he produced, he started improvising new theological viewpoints almost immediately.
In fact, a vision given to the false prophet in March, 1830 said that “Endless” is one of God’s names, therefore ‘endless’ punishment simply means ‘God’s punishment’ or punishment from God (Doctrine and Covenants 19). Mormon doctrine developed away from the Book of Mormon on many points and, by extension, away from the Bible. Mormon Professor James McLachlan writes:

With respect to life after death, the LDS church is a universalist religion. All beings have immortality through the atonement of Christ. Joseph Smith claimed that not only humans but animals and plants have eternal spirits (Moses 3:5, 19; 7:48-49; Abraham 3:18-19). Every creature is immortal, having everlasting life, but “eternal life” is interpreted as deification…all will attain immortality, but only those who learn to love perfectly will attain godhood, eternal life” (Musser and Paulsen, 2007).

Essentially almost everyone is ‘safe’ in the Mormon scheme of things – we’ll all end up in one of the three kingdoms. Craig Hazen has summarized things accurately:

Everyone in the next life (except for the small handful of “sons of perdition”) would ultimately enter (perhaps after a limited time in a purgatorial setting) one of the “three degrees of glory” of which even the lowest level (the telestial) has a glory that “surpasses all understanding” (D&C 76:89). [this revelation]…provided the answer to another important question that was probably being asked by early seekers: Why must I join the church if in the end all are going to be saved anyway? Answer: to have a shot at the highest state of glory” (Beckwith, Mosser, Owen 2002).

There is only one category of people in the LDS scheme of things that are in trouble: the sons of perdition. Who are the sons of perdition? Basically they are apostate Mormons:

“Those in this life who gain a perfect knowledge of the divinity of the gospel cause, a knowledge that comes only by revelation from the Holy Ghost, and who then link themselves with Lucifer and come out in open rebellion, also become sons of perdition” (McConkie 1966).

The bottom line seems to be that you are better off living any way you choose than in joining the LDS church and then leaving it. All of mankind will experience some sort of enjoyable eternal life with the exception of those who betray the LDS church.