Dear Pastor Andy, Why does the Koran state that Jesus wasn’t really crucified? I’m Christian and I also respect the Muslim following. I’ve been developing large respect for the Koran since I’ve been studying it, but my mind is baffled by this disparity. If Jesus wasn’t really crucified, as the Koran states, then that pretty much makes Christianity null and void. But I’ve had such powerfully undeniable experiences as a Christian, so I’m not about to turn away from that belief system. Sometimes I want to throw religion out the window because there are so many contradictions, but I really do value the depth and intellectual value of it all. Care to contribute some (peaceful, non-inflammatory) insights?
You’re absolutely correct in saying that if Jesus hadn’t died on the cross, then Christianity would be void. I too have done some studies on Islam, and I have also had many discussions with both Sunni and Shiite Muslims on this topic, and I have found that Islam’s take on the crucifixion contradicts itself with their beliefs about who Jesus was/is.
For instance, Muslims say Jesus didn’t die on the cross, but instead set up a buddy to take the fall for him. The Muslims even have a name made up for the supposed guy. But there are several problems with saying this:
- In order to be a “prophet” in the eyes of Muslims, one must be blameless, sinless, and worthy of being in the direct presence of God. Now, though they deny Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, they do acknowledge that Jesus returned later, that Jesus claimed that He had died and was resurrected, and that Jesus later ascended into the clouds, promising to one day return to judge the world. But you see, the problem with this belief is that, if Jesus claimed to have died on the cross, but really didn’t, then Jesus would be a liar, and thus would disqualify Himself as being a prophet of God. And if Jesus is not a prophet of God, then Islam would also be void, because Muhammad claimed Jesus to be a prophet.
- If Muhammad claimed Jesus to be a prophet, but it turned out that Jesus wasn’t, then that would also void Muhammad’s credibility as a prophet of God.
Their point of explaining away Jesus as being the Messiah, and claiming Him as being only a prophet, allows Muhammad to claim to be God’s final prophet, even giving him permission to correct (or change) Jesus’ teachings.
Bottom line: If Islam is to continue to revere Muhammad as God’s final prophet, then they must recognize Jesus as nothing more than a prophet. And if they are to insist that Jesus is nothing more than a prophet, then they must also continue to deny the that He was crucified, died, and buried, for otherwise, they would not be able to explain the part about Jesus walking around after the cross, raising up into Heaven 40 days later, and returning one day to kill off everybody who is not Muslim. So they have to deny that Jesus was crucified. But as you can see from the example above, this denial only punched more holes in their theology.
Most religions and religious cults build off of Christianity in one form or another. They change the faith, alter God and His character (ultimately making their god different from the God of Israel), take away the relationship part of Christianity, making salvation something you may be able to earn (if you’re lucky) through good works and deeds, they are led by somebody who claims the authority to do so, either change the Scriptures, explain them away when the contradict their beliefs, or write their own, and promote that their way is the only and/or correct way. Islam is no different in this respect.
Jesus was crucified, died, and buried. On the third day, God raised Him from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!