sgttomas wrote:Jim B. wrote:I'm starting to suspect that you might know something about this topic. In a Youtube interview, Winter said that Islam could be thought of as "the word become book," whereas Xianity is "the word become flesh."
I'm a total Dr. Winter fanboyJim B. wrote:It sounds like you're saying that this word becoming book is not as foundational as other tenets, like God is one. In Xianity, it is pretty foundational and has been subject to endless disputes of meaning and interpretation. And there are self-described Christians who don't hold the incarnation, even understood metaphorically, as necessary to their faith. Heck, some are even atheists.
Not as foundational is probably the right way to put it. It is a necessary belief, but with caveats.
(Q2:2, WK transl) "This is the Book; there is no doubt in it. It is a guide for those who are mindful of God,"
It's not a hidden or obscure matter that the Quran claims to be revelation from God. Denying that it is "from God" is pretty inexcusable for Muslim...I mean that one would not be considered a Muslim by stating such a denial. But in terms of the Quran as the "word incarnate", well let's use an illustration from, hmmm.....basically the equivalent of the Nicene Creed.
Aqidah At-Tahawiyyah (The Creed of Imam Tahawiyyah)
1. We say about Allah's unity believing by Allah's help - that Allah is One, without any partners.
2. There is nothing like Him.
3. There is nothing that can overwhelm Him.
4. There is no god other than Him.
29. And we are certain that Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is His chosen servant and selected Prophet and His Messenger with whom He is well pleased.
33. The Qur'an is the word of Allah. It came from Him as speech without it being possible to say how. He sent it down on His Messenger as revelation. The believers accept it, as absolute truth.
Give it long enough and a person will have to reconcile with, not just the message, but the Messenger, and then the *thing* itself. If a person were to say it is something invented by a human...that's essentially committing an act of disbelief and it is specifically mentioned in the Quran itself. (Q74:25) But the "how" of it. The "in itself" of the symbol. ....that's not accessible to us in any direct way. (primacy of symbol is a proving a fruitful discussion)
You'll find much in terms of disputes of the meaning of the "incarnation" of the Quran. The Mu'tazilah, or Mutazilites, are probably the most well known and significant. The Tahawiyyah says only that it is necessary to believe it is God's speech, but not necessary to believe the *how* of it. Nor is the physical book itself what is meant by the Quran and God's speech. The physical book is a creation. The vocalization is a creation. The Arabic words??....well, now we're getting at least tangential to the matter.
How about this: the concept of the word being book extends out the universe at large. The entire cosmos is the book of God's signs, in a literal way. It isn't matter at all. It isn't light at all. It's all meaningful signs of God and nothing other than that. When we see a tree and we think of the material functions it has and the economic value it might bring, we haven't seen the tree, we have seen our ego imprinted on something. But it wouldn't take a person outside the fold of Islam to fail to recognize everything in this manner. I mean....we basically all fail at this most of the time. Now, the same is true of the Quran. It is the epitome of signs. But if we aren't overwhelmed by consciousness of God whenever we hear it we don't worry about the state of the heart in that way. But if a person were to say that the Quran is not from God and that it was invented by a man, this is analogous to saying the same thing about the book of the universe and denying a Creator brought all of it forth. God has given us enough in our faculties of comprehension to reach this conclusion. ....though with God is the final affair and God is the best of judges.
One meaning of "logos" that meta told me about years ago stuck with me; "ordering principle." Christ as the eternal ordering principle of God that the man Jesus Christ is the manifestation of. So all of creation can be understood as the expression of this aspect of God, just as you are saying that all of creation is a book of signs, all flows from the same ordering principle that the earthly Quran is a manifestation of. Not meant to reduce the Second Person or the Quran to a principle, which sounds pretty dry and abstract; this is just a possible way to approach it.