4-2-10 The Quran As A Miracle
Final Statement From Duncan Heaster
My friend has drawn a parallel between the miracles of Jesus and what he considers to be the ‘miracle’ of the mathematical code that supposedly underlies the Qur’an. But I submit that this parallel is invalid for the following reasons:
- The miracles of Jesus and His apostles were for all to see. Nobody could doubt that a great prophet had arisen (Lk. 7:16; Acts 4:16). Even His enemies had to admit that He “did many miracles” (Jn. 11:47). The worst they could do was to criticize Him for healing a lame man on the sabbath, arguing that the ‘work’ of doing such a miracle should have been performed on another day (Lk. 13:14). He gave His disciples power to perform the same kind of miracles as He did (Jn. 14:12). Their miracles likewise were accepted as such even by their opponents (Acts 4:16).
- The ‘miracle’ of Qur’an numerology is hotly denied by many who have studied it, and even many Moslems deny it, as I evidenced in my previous statement. So it is hardly in the same order of ‘miracle’ as the miracles of Jesus.
- The arguments for numerology ‘proving’ the Qur’an have only recently appeared. They supposedly depend upon an unspecified computer program to discover. The implication is that there was no ‘miracle’ to support the Qur’an until recent times. Are we supposed to conclude that for centuries Moslems without access to computers and the numerological arguments ‘believed’ the Qur’an on the basis of an unreasoned faith, merely due to tradition? And are we to conclude that those many Moslems today without such access, or who simply reject it (as I do) as scientifically invalid, are likewise following a book in which there is no concrete reason to believe ? This may in fact be the case, but I pose this as a rhetorical question.
- For numerology to prove the Qur’an as a miracle would require that the evidence was “easy to understand”, to use my friend’s words. But it isn’t. It requires a computer to discern them, so my friend has claimed. Many intelligent Moslems do not understand it nor agree with it. And I know no case of where someone has converted to Islam because of the numerological arguments presented. Yet if numerology is the definitive proof that the Qur’an is miraculous, then I would have expected that many would convert to it because of this.
- From where does my friend know that Jesus did miracles that proved that He spoke the truth? From where does he know that Jesus did actually speak truth? The only source of evidence is the New Testament. And yet he claims this document is hopelessly corrupted. He seems to me to have argued himself into intellectual and logical self-defeat. But it is not my intention to capitalize on this fact. Let the seeker after truth simply reflect upon it.
- A similar tautology is found in the claim that: “It is ignorance of …the miracle of the Qur’an which makes people compare it with other reported similar patterns in the Ancient literature”. Isn’t this circular reasoning? You don’t accept it’s a miracle, so, you find fault with the gematria that ‘proves’ it is a miracle? I am not unwilling to accept a miracle. But I want to see the evidence. It’s the same with claims to perform miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit. I am open to persuasion, but I compare them against Bible teaching and also analyze what is claimed to have happened. And I, along with many others, reject those claims. To say ‘You don’t accept the miracle because you don’t accept the evidence’ is not really saying anything- indeed, it implies that we are somehow to be bullied into accepting a miracle. Therefore the miracle itself, clearly enough, isn’t a miracle. It falls down under investigation.
- Following on from this, I am in agreement with Qur’an 17:36 which says: “You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight and the brain, and you are responsible for using them”. The generations of largely illiterate, computer-less people who have lived since the production of the Qur’an could never have verified the Qur’an using the [pseudo] mathematical techniques my friend has suggested. Therefore, on his logic, are we to conclude that those Moslems never verified their faith in the Qur’an, but merely accepted Islam as the unverified faith of their fathers? According to the presentation made by my friend, this would seem an inescapable conclusion.
To claim that Qur’an 74:31 teaches that the number 19 is “to convince the Christians and Jews [that this is a Divine scripture”] actually falsifies the Qur’an. For the arguments based on gematria are rejected by many Moslems too. Does this mean that Moslems are unconvinced even by their own Qur’an? Therefore their faith in Islam must rest purely on tradition and upbringing. And why were the numerological arguments not used more often down the centuries? And why is it that the argument about the number 19 has not convinced hardly any Christians nor Jews…?
You ask: “You must believe that [the numerical patterns in the Bible] have some meaning”. I tried to make it clear that I do not believe that those patterns have any real meaning, at least in terms of persuading anyone that the Bible is the word of God. I am then totally confused by the statement that “Gematria is by no means the basis for the miracle of the Qur’an”. Well if so, what other evidence is there? And why has this debate focused, from the Moslem side, almost exclusively on explaining and justifying this line of ‘evidence’? I find it incredible that in a debate about the Qur’an being the word of God, and whether or not the Bible is the unaltered word of God, the Islamic position has almost solely focused on proving the Qur’an to be Divine by gematria. And then, at the conclusion of the debate [after the arguments have been answered or at least exposed as needing far more proof], we are told that gematria is in fact no basis at all for believing the ‘miracle’ of the Qur’an. I submit that no real evidence has been placed before you that the Qur’an is the word of God, and the arguments which I have given as to why the Bible is the unaltered word of God have not been answered.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. “Taste and see, that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8). The ultimate proof that the Bible is God’s word comes through reading it. I want to suggest that you read it for yourself. I can recommend a little plan which I have used almost every day of my life since early childhood. It’s called The Bible Companion. It contains no teaching, no dogma. It’s just a list of Bible chapters to be read each day, and in this way you can systematically read the whole Bible through in the course of a year- something very few people on this earth [professing Christians amongst them] have actually achieved. Send me an e-mail and I’ll get a free copy sent to you. And it is the Bible’s message which is what clinches the argument.