Friday, January 19, 2007

It should come as no surprise that I believe in miracles. Reading the Koran has gotten me interested specifically in the miracles of Jesus. Most Christians can discount the Koranic accounts of miracles of Jesus because they are not Biblical. I can't give myself that luxury. I believe that Jesus appeared to the Nephites shortly after his resurrection, and I believe that Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith in upstate New York. It leaves my mind quite open to the question of what else Jesus did.

The Koran mentions three miracles of Jesus that are not found in the Bible or for that matter in the Book of Mormon.

1) "Jesus... remember... when thou createst out of clay, by My leave, as the likeness of a bird, and thou breathest into it, and it is a bird..." (Surah 5:110 TKI)

This is the easiest of the three miracles for me to both comprehend and accept. It does not dramatically alter the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus if it is true, and even if the Koran is in error about it, it hardly seems a point worth arguing. I respect the Koran's interpretation of Jesus so I'll believe this account without further consideration.

2) "'I (Mary) have vowed to the All-merciful a fast, and today I will not speak to any man'... Mary pointed to the child then; but they (her folk) said, 'How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?' He (Jesus) said 'Lo, I am God's servant;...'" (Surah 19:25-30 TKI)

This second miracle is more difficult to reconcile with the Gospel accounts of Jesus' first days. I am left to wonder where is Joseph? Why did he not speak for Mary if she vowed a fast? While I can not completely discount the possibility that Jesus spoke shortly after his birth, it seems that such a miracle wouldn't be left out of the Gospel if it had occurred. I find myself unconvinced by the Koranic account this miracle.

3) "'We (unbelievers) slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God' -- yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them." (Surah 4:155 TKI)

This is perhaps one of the most difficult passages in the Koran for me to understand and accept. If another miracle occurred on the cross than the one I've been taught all my life to believe in then it is of monumental importance to grasp it. But the Koranic account is far more brief than the account of the Gospel so it is very unsatisfying. The claim that Jesus wasn't actually crucified needs further evidence which the Koran does not to my knowledge provide. Without the preconceived notion that the Koran is infallible which I of course do not adhere to, this last miracle is to my mind untenable. If I had to point to proof that the Koran was not perfect I would feel confident that this passage which utterly refutes the Gospel demonstrates a mistake made by Mohamed. I find some of the assertions that the Koran makes about Jesus thought provoking and believable but this one I simply do not.

My respect for the Koran has not been diminish by these inconsistancies, but my assertion that Scripture is an imperfect representation of the mind and will of God is strengthened by them. I guess I will just have to wait to meet Jesus to find out exactly what he did and didn't do.

-markezuma

4 Comments:

At 5:40 PM, Blogger small town girl said...

God Bless you Mark --

Thank you for your wisdom and knowledge of all scriptures from all faiths.

Are there not books in the Koran that were considered for the bible but left out by the early roman empire?

They say it is because of them being against Christ, but I question politics?????

 
At 5:03 PM, Blogger David Schantz said...

Mark,

When I told my Wife about your post she said that she had heard about the first miracle you mentioned. "1) "Jesus... remember... when thou createst out of clay, by My leave, as the likeness of a bird, and thou breathest into it, and it is a bird..." (Surah 5:110 TKI)". She can't remember were she heard about it, she has never read the Koran. I can not bring myself to believe the second one could have happened and not be mentioned in the Bible. "2) "'I (Mary) have vowed to the All-merciful a fast, and today I will not speak to any man'... Mary pointed to the child then; but they (her folk) said, 'How shall we speak to one who is still in the cradle, a little child?' He (Jesus) said 'Lo, I am God's servant;...'" (Surah 19:25-30 TKI)". The third one sounds to me like someone is trying to say Jesus did not die for my sins, "3) "'We (unbelievers) slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God' -- yet they did not slay him, neither crucified him, only a likeness of that was shown to them." (Surah 4:155 TKI)". That goes against most everything I've ever been taught. Could it be an attempt to get Christians to convert?
It won't work on me.

Some time since you started reading the Koran I think I told you that I thought it was great that you had such a desire to learn. If I didn't I should have. Are you reading it on-line or do you have a printed copy? If on-line could you tell me where to find it (a good true/correct version). You've just about got me interested enough to start reading.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Hi Small Town Girl,
The Koran was revealed in its entirety during the life of Mohamed (about 600 AD). None of the Surahs are lost books of the Bible though many Biblical stories are retold in the Koran. The books from the time of Christ that didn't make it into the canon of the Bible are were often left out for political reasons. I don't know how much those books influenced the revelation of the Koran, but early Christian thought certainly left its mark on both Mohamed and his recital.

David,
I am currently reading The Koran Interpreted (trans.: A. J. Arberry) in printed book form. The cover says it is "Certainly the most beautiful English version, and among those by non-Muslim translators the one that comes closest to conveying the impression made on Muslims by the original." But it is not a 'true' translation in the LDS sense. It has long been believed by Muslims that the Arabic Koran can not be authoritatively translated into any other language. This is because it has been meticulously preserved in Arabic. To the best of my knowledge every Arabic Koran reads exactly the same, so they are prefered to tranlations. All English versions are considered merely interpretation and not actually scripture in and of themselves. This leaves us with the choice of learning Arabic to read the original or to settle for a mere interpretation. Either way I keep hoping for an inspired English translation.

God Bless you both.

 
At 6:36 AM, Blogger edward kelly said...

perhaps the third miracle suggests that the jesus as presented in the physical body (ie the body that was crucified) was not the entirety of jesus. ie that he was not just the body but a metaphysical being.

and perhaps the miracle was that he transcended physical death to be reborn.

of course it's hard to read something fairly out of context :)

 

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