Letter 3: It is written – and it happened

Dear Abdallah


Thank you for your frank letter. Thank you also for sharing with me your understanding of Nabi Isa, as you name Jesus in your devotional language. It is not only the somewhat different name but also the different role ascribed to Him in the Qur’an and the Bible that makes your perception and subsequent understanding of Jesus different from ours. You made me aware of your sometimes rather strong feelings about the biblical narrative regarding Him. Naturally, everyone’s perception is largely determined by the information one has. We will do well to diligently check on the reliability of our respective sources of information to enable us to differentiate between what is fact – and what is myth.


I suggest we first of all look for a token that can assure us of the divine origin of our ‘holy Books’. It is unlikely for either of us to question that out respective Scriptures are inspired by God and consequently revelation from Him. But since your Book and my Book differ on crucial matters, they cannot really both be from the same source, you will admit. Take for example the crucifixion and death of Jesus. This event is explicitly and abundantly testified to in the Bible, but, for some reason, denied by Islam. Both views cannot possibly be true. I would like you to approach this topic with an open, though not uncritical, mind. It is likely that I will introduce to you something you are not familiar with.


How on earth can anyone be sure whether a Book comes from God, or whether it is perhaps a well meant writing of a concerned man who wants to reform a decadent society?


Christians believe in what God revealed in the Bible, because it carries an undeniable imprint of His authorship. I am speaking here about absolutely unpredictable events, which were foretold by the biblical prophets, and which were fulfilled hundreds of years later. We are, in fact, told over and over again and in no uncertain terms, that a prophet whose prophecies do not come true is not to be believed or trusted: