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The Authenticity of the Bible Compared to the Koran
By Todd Strandberg
The Bible has been under attack from the secular world for a very long time. The attacks have only grown stronger with the passing of time. The enemies of the Bible are so convinced of its error, they seek to ban it from all public places.
One of the most repeated attacks against the Bible is the notion that it is just a collection of stories that have evolved over time. The claim is that a group of unknown writers got together and wrote down a series of legendary tales; as the Bible was copied, the narrative changed with each translation.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls should have silenced these critics. With the 1940s discovery, we suddenly had biblical text going back as far as 200 B.C., that perfectly matched modern Old Testament passages.
There is even bonus evidence of the Bible’s authenticity. In 1979, two tiny silver scrolls were found in a tomb from the 7th century B.C. that were inscribed with portions of the well-known prophylactic Priestly Blessing from the book of Numbers. The scrolls show that some of the material found in the Five Books of Moses existed in the First Temple period.
The more recent establishment of the Muslim faith should give the Koran a much easier track record. Since Muhammad’s death was in 632 A.D., there should be better records of his revelations. As it turns out, the Koran’s documentation trail is incredibly vague.
The prophet Muhammad did not write any part of the Koran. The teachings of Islam were first based on oral tradition. Over time, bits and pieces of Muhammad’s sayings were written down on the Bronze Age version of Post-It notes. For example, one Quranic verse was inscribed on the shoulder blade of a camel while others were written on stones. Because Islam’s teachings were so disorganized, a decision was made to compile all their sources into one document.
Over a twenty-year period, a series of people had a free hand in creating their version of the Koran. According to Islamic tradition, the standardization of the text of the Koran was seamless. In reality, there were conflicting accounts of Muhammad’s words, meaning there is more than one Koran. History also shows that on one occasion, a man named Uthman decided for himself what was correct, and then had all other records destroyed.
The Koran also has a problem with some glaring errors. There are numerous scientific and historical errors in the Koran. In several passages, Muhammad claimed that the sun and the moon orbit each other. He also said there was a time when the moon split into two.
The Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese and Indians were all avid astronomers. They would have likely recorded this event:
“The moon has split and the hour has drawn closer.” —The Quran, 54:1
“That the Meccan people requested Allah’s apostle to show them a miracle, and so he showed them the splitting of the moon.” —Sahih Bukhari 4:56:83
In 1972, during the restoration of the Great Mosque of Sana’a, in Yemen, laborers found old parchment and paper documents—damaged books and individual pages of Arabic text. In this mash was the oldest Koran in existence; dated to around 700 A.D.
A team of German scholars pried apart the pages and made several shocking discoveries. The Yemeni Koran was written in a kind of shorthand that allowed an individual word to have up to thirty different means. In light of this discovery, suicide bombers that expected to get “72 wide-eyed virgins,” may in fact receive “a modest bunch of grapes.” The pages also show signs of embellishment where versions were clearly written over even earlier, washed-off versions.
Since the early 1980s more than 15,000 sheets of the Yemeni Korans have painstakingly been flattened, cleaned, treated, sorted, and assembled. Yemeni authorities have been reluctant to allow the documents to be seen by the public. It is very telling that the Dead Sea Scrolls have their own museum for public view, while the Islamic world’s version is kept under lock and key.
If someone found a Bible that was based on variable text, the academic world would question its reliability. If a biblical manuscript had been found where the text was disjointed and rewritten (as discovered with the content of the Koran), the entire Bible would be conclusively declared a work of fiction.
The Koran doesn’t need authenticity. It gets by on a cult of mythology. It’s not what the Koran says, it’s what Muslim’s believe it says. They boldly claim that Islam is the “religion of peace” and if you say otherwise—they will kill you.
Muslims will boast that Arabic is used so eloquently in the Quran that it must have been created by a god. In Fact, the Koran is so special, a person needs to learn Arabic in order to fully understand the “holy” text. The problems of the Yemeni Korans can be dismissed because they were uncovered by Western scholars who had a “Christian mindset.”
The simple reason why the world hates the Bible and gives the Koran a free pass is because the Word of God is true. The realization of this reality should give comfort to all believers in Christ.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5 ESV).