|Dr. Couch, does the Reformed doctrine of predestination differ from the Islamic view of predestination? And what about Islamic fatalism?|
ANSWER: The doctrine of predestination did not begin with the Reformed movement. It may have been further explained and fleshed out, but it was a doctrine of the church well before Augustine. Augustine taught it along with the sovereignty of God. Many Catholic divines of the Middle Ages, who I believe could have been born again, also expounded on it.
Muslims get their views of the absolute sovereignty of God from both the Old and New Testaments. (Is it not strange that the Muslims believe this but many Evangelical Christians do not!)
Remember that the Koran is a blender full of truths and half-truths from our Bible. Islamic fatalism is different from the sovereignty of God in the Bible, in that our Scriptures speak of a plan that has distinct purposes in it. Salvation to the Muslim is very capricious and uncertain. It is based on works and an uncertain hope that Allah will be capriciously gracious—though they will never know they will get to heaven until passing through the judgment for their works. Our Bible gives absolute certainty of salvation by faith in Christ. This would be foreign to the Muslim. While some Muslim sects have animal sacrifices they are not as an expatiation for taking care of the sin issue that separates man from God. only Christianity really addresses the issue of human sin and the love of God for the sinner.
Our Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit "intercedes for the [Christian] saints according to the will of God" (Rom. 8:27) and that God "causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (v. 28). This kind of language is foreign to the Muslim.
By the way, some years ago I asked an Iranian engineer to tell me of any prophecies that were in the Koran. He looked puzzled and could not answer. I told him that this was one of the big differences between Islam and Christianity. Our Bible has thousands of prophecies with about half that have already come to pass. He could not name one from the Koran!
Thanks for asking.
Mal Couch, Ph.D., Th.D.