I recently attended the Vertias Evangelical Seminary National Apologetics Conference 2014 at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa (technically Santa Ana), CA.
One, Jay Smith spoke, comparing the Qur’an to the Bible. Here are some notes that I pulled from the Veritas conference page:
The Qur’an is not narrative. There is no beginning, no end. It is not a book for Muslims to study, but to memorize. This is the book they do not question; it is above criticism. It’s a capital offense to criticism it in certain countries; penalty is seven years imprisonment.
The radicals have read the Qur’an, they trust it. Don’t we Christians do the same thing? We read our Bible, we trust it? Don’t we start from the same paradigm? We are uniquely positioned to reach Muslims.
Radical Muslims force Christians to convert, pay the tax or die. This is based on the Qur’an.
We are the only ones that can confront their ideology. The government cannot do this. In order to confront violence, we have to confront the Qur’an. When you compare, there is simply no comparison with the Bible.
Muslims always say the Bible has been corrupted. I always ask 2 questions: where and when? But Qur’an says to come to the Christians for answers and don’t even argue with Christians.
Portions of the Qur’an were copied from Jewish commentaries and apocryphal works. This is a problem for the Qur’an. If it were from God why would it borrow from embellished stories and misrepresentations of the biblical stories that the Qur’an actually says to reject? [I wasn’t taking notes on this, but the details shared were fascinating, so this is all I can provide easily from the notes the conference was posting live during the speech]
We have had a real problem with Muslims confronting our manuscripts. We have more than 5000 Greek and when you add the copies into other languages it’s more than 24000 copies. But it is true we do not have the originals.
What manuscript evidence is there for the Qur’an. Muslims claim to have the original manuscripts. It was supposedly given by way of divine revelation to Muhammad who couldn’t read or write, and then passed through a few people. Four copies was made and sent to different cities. Those four copies exist today.
They claim that there is no comparison to any of their Suras but just open Psalm 23 and compare to any Sura.
5 questions to ask:
- Is the Qur’an ETERNAL? (Sura 85:2 says so)
- Was it SENT DOWN to Muhammad via the angel Jibril? (Gabriel)
- Was it compiled COMPLETE at the time of Ithman in 650AD?
- Is the Qur’an UNCHANGED since 650 AD? Every letter, word, sentence, chapter?
- PROVE IT! Provide a complete manuscript
Where are those Uthmanic copies from 650 AD? The claim is that the original copies still exist. Topkapi Mushaf, Sammarqand Mushaf, Shabir Ally and a few more. The challenge is that it’s difficult to get access to these. But in 2002 study was done and released in 2009 concluding: we have none of Uthman’s Mushafs (manuscripts); they date from the early to mid 8th century and are not the originals.
They find over 2000 differences from the cannonical version, is full of grammatical deviations (errors), with spelling mistakes. The Sammarqand Manuscript is the same; only goes up to chapter 43 and the author didn’t use very good Arabic. Ma’ll Qur’an is only 53% and dated late 8th century. Petropolitanus is early 9th century, full of corrections, have obvious corrections and only 26% of the Qur’an. Husseini is early 8th century, full of vairants. Sana manuscript couldn’t be read at first; Sura 20,21 show two different styles of writing from two different time periods showing the Qur’an has evolved; also contains manuscript variants (1000 just in this Quran); they could actually see another version underneath.
Jay Smith sources all of this from Islamic Answers, a Muslim website. He challenged the founder of this website to reveal one original, complete manuscript and the founder walked away.
Jay then projects unpublished research which revealed over 800 textual variants. Since this has not yet been published yet, notes will not be provided here.
It seem to be that THERE WAS NO QUR’AN until somewhere in or after the 8th century, long after Muhammad. He debated the best Muslim debater and he had no refutation.
[All of these notes were taken from the following site on Nov. 9th, 2014: http://defendinginerrancy.com/nac2014/]
Jay Smith closed with the following but the notes weren’t on the Veritas site, so here is a type up of the final comments Jay gave:
Finally! Let’s show what Christians know about the Word of God, that is Jesus Christ, the Word of God who made himself known in the flesh according to John chapter 1.
Jesus, the Word of God is Eternal.
Jesus the Word of God has come down to us.
Jesus the Word of God is the complete revelation of God to us.
Jesus Christ remains unchanged.
Prove it – Jesus lived, died, and rose from the grave for the forgiveness of your sins!
OH, and he shared some amazing stuff that is yet to be published and asked not to be shared yet, but he actually projected the manuscript copies for us to see of this new research.