One of my subsidiary arguments in response to Islam is that, in my opinion, it provides a less compelling ‘meta-narrative’ than the Bible. The Bible provides a richer overarching storyline of fall and redemption, which in the Qur’an is transformed into a repetitive cycle of homogenised prophetic cycles. Where the Qur’an gains simplicity, a feature greatly appreciated by Muslims, it does so at the cost of the beauty and dramatic resolution that the complexity of the Bible affords.
To supplement this ‘argument from narrative beauty’ as we might call it, it should be noted that at least one of the New Testament teachings that is integral to this ‘narrative beauty’ is denied by the Qur’an. I was recently listening to a discussion by Doug Wilson who phrased the Gospel in an intriguing way (I believe others have put it similarly); that the sin of the first Adam in eating the fruit of the tree was undone by the obedience of the second Adam (i.e. Christ, cf. Romans 5) dying on a tree (for the association between the wooden cross and the tree, cf. e.g. Galatians 3:13). Fall and redemption both occur through the same medium, the tree. Centuries (over a millenia?) before the incarnation Genesis 3 spoke of the disobedience of Adam and Eve regarding the fruit of the tree, a point on which the Qur’an concurs (e.g. Q 2:35). Given the numerous ways that human beings have died over the millenia, what are the odds that Jesus should have been said to have died on a cross/tree, thus providing a reverse parallel of Adam, unless this was part of God’s plan?
By contrast, the mainstream Muslim interpretation of Q 4:157 (‘They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him’, Abdel Haleem), an outright denial that Jews killed Jesus, just sees this claimed parallelism as coincidental. The key point of the verse is that the Jews didn’t kill him; the way in which they attempted but failed to kill him is rather besides the point.
I do not present this as an absolute proof; coincidences do happen. But it does fit in to a cumulative case, which will hopefully be built over time in my articles.
Dear Muslim reader, do you think this parallelism has any significance to it? Or is it simply a coincidence? Please do share your thoughts in the comments below.