In a culture that frequently confuses disagreement with hatred it is tempting to be silent when confronted with a person who has a sincerely held belief that Muslims, Jews and Christians all worship the same God. It is also tempting to be silent when an adequate response seems beyond our grasp. But there is a gracious and truthful response to the assertion that “Muslims, Jews and Christians all worship the same god.”
Christianity, Islam and Judaism are known as monotheistic and Abrahamic religions. Basically, the followers of each of these faiths do believe that there is not a multiplicity of gods, but there is only one God. They also maintain that Abraham holds an important role in their story.
The commonality goes even further than the labels "monotheistic and Abrahamic" would indicate, as all three have a god who created Adam and Eve, rescued Noah from a flood and delivered Moses from Egypt. So, is this the same God for all three faiths? Do we just have some minor differences but are essentially speaking about the same person?
The answer to both of these is unequivocally “No”. The fundamental difference, between all three of the major Abrahamic religions, is the identity of God. It is logically impossible that Muslims, Jews and Christians all worship the same God.
"The fundamental difference, between all three of the major Abrahamic religions, is the identity of God."
We will briefly consider two essential Christian beliefs, not held by Islam or Judaism, that support this statement.
1. God is three persons in one
Every Christian believes that God is one in essence but He is three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are all equally God and not a part of God. None of them is ever less than God and each of them has all the attributes of deity. There is not one God who appears sometimes as the Father, then as the Son and then as the Holy Spirit.
Although the word “Trinity” cannot be found in the inspired text, the Bible frequently mentions the different persons of God, at the same time, fulfilling different roles. The term "Trinity" is thus a helpful term to speak of the Godhead.
At the start of Jesus’ public ministry, we can read how all three persons of the Godhead were involved.
"When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'" (Matthew 3:16-17)
God the Son, Jesus, was baptised. God, The Holy Spirit, descended like a dove and rested on Jesus. God. The Father, spoke from heaven.
Just before His ascension the Lord Jesus commanded His followers.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)
This command shows that equal authority comes from the three persons of the Trinity. Disciples are made in the name of all three persons of the Godhead. It is true that all three persons of the Godhead do have different roles but that does not mean inequality. For example, The Father has given people to the Son, Jesus (John 6:37), the Son has given His life for the sheep (John 10:11) and the Holy Spirit brings new birth (John 3:7-8). Each of these are unique roles within the Trinity.
The Trinity is not a contradiction but it is certainly a mystery. Just because I cannot fully comprehend a matter does not mean it is not so. Whilst it is tempting to use analogies and illustrations from creation, such as Water (Ice, Water, Steam) or a Flower (Bulb, Leaves, Scent), to understand the Trinity all of them are inadequate and do lead to heretical error if thought through. The best and safest option is to state what the Bible says about all three persons and understand that we cannot fully comprehend this mystery.
In summary, the God of the Bible, the God who Christians worship, is a triune God. He is the one true God.
2. Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father
A second critical belief of every Christian is that there is only way to God the Father, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.
‘Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ (John 14:6)
The text quoted above is not incoherent but it may well be inconvenient. The claim of the Lord Jesus Christ is of an exclusive way to God the Father, not that He was one of many ways. Earlier in John chapter 14 Jesus had spoken about the Father’s house, referring to heaven. So, coming to the Father does include within it the promise of heaven, with Him. Knowing God as your Father is not just a promise for the future but a present reality for every Christian.
Through the Lord Jesus Christ and His completed work on the cross there is forgiveness of sins and adoption into the family of God for everyone who trusts in His work and confesses Him as Lord. There is now a nearness to a Holy God and intimacy with Him that can only be known because of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" (Galatians 4:6)
As Islam specifically denies that Allah is a father the very fact that Christians refer to God as their father means that the God of Islam is not the same God of the Bible.
Judaism although believing that God can be known as a Father does not believe that adherents need personal salvation, as Christians believe. However Jewish belief is that, for salvation, individual people must observe and practise the ethical pattern of behaviour as summarised in the Ten Commandments.
It is true that there are many ways to God but there is only one way to the Father. Everyone will see God, either as their Judge or their Saviour. To see Him as your judge will mean you will face the consequences for your sin. To see Him as your Saviour means that you have trusted in the Lord Jesus who bore the punishment for sin at the cross.
In our short consideration of these two essential Christian beliefs it is plain that Muslims, Jews and Christians do not all worship the same God. Although there are similarities the critical differences in their identity mean they are not the same.
May each and every Christian boldly and graciously proclaim the truth about God, as contained in the Bible.