Adam, where are you?

What is the fundamental difference between the nature or character of God in the Bible and in the Qur'an?

In the Bible God "draws near", "comes down" and seeks after us in order to enter into an intimate relationship with us. The whole Bible is the story of God seeking man.

In the first chapters of the Bible about the creation and the fall of mankind we read that after the first sin/disobedience of Adam and Eve they are plagued by their conscience and try to hide from God. God comes to them in the garden and calls out to them, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9)

Man is on the run before God because he knows that he is guilty before God. However, God comes and seeks us and wants to reestablish a relationship of mutual love. It is God who takes all necessary steps to make this possible again. That is the story of the Bible from the first to the last book where we finally read about the new heaven and the new earth: "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people and God himself will be with them and be their God." (Revelation 21:3)

Finally the desire of God has been established. Read all of Revelation 21, it is a marvelous chapter.

Indeed God is a God who seeks after us, who comes down to be near us. He reveals his character, his heart and his desire to establish a loving relationship with his creation. Will you be part of his people that are mentioned in Revelation 21:3? That is the topic of the Bible, it reveals God to you so that you can respond to him and become part of his people.

In contrast, the Qur'an portrays God as one who is "far", who is transcendent only. As a Muslim theologian has said, "God reveals only his will, not himself. He remains forever hidden". Even though he is near as the jugular vein as the Qur'an states, but this is a "technical" nearness, since just as we are not "aware" of our jugular vein most of the time and don't have a personal relationship with it this only conveys that God is "everywhere" (far and near) like the air that is around us, but in the Bible God doesn't want to be with us only on the basis of his omnipresence and omniscience because being God he is "everywhere" anyway. No, he wants to be near to us like someone we love.

Islam is about man trying to please God by obeying his will. The Bible reveals God as taking the initiative and coming down to seek after us. The movement is in the opposite direction.

More about this topic in The Qur'an & the Bible on God's Love, "The Love of God in the Qur'an and in the Bible", and in Steven Masood's article God so loved the world ....

Answering Islam Home Page