The problem for Christianity is acute: why should a loving God have waited for a million years before sending his Son to redeem humanity?

Perhaps one of the most interesting questions which modernity poses to traditional religion has to do with divine providence amid a world which is now unimaginably more ancient than our ancestors suspected. There is no dating by numbers in the Qur’an or the Hadith, but medieval Muslims typically thought that the world was about five thousand years old. Now, whatever view we may take of Darwin, we must accept that our species is tens of thousands of years old. Recognisably human remains have been recovered, and reliably dated by radiocarbon methods, which show the antiquity of humanity – unless we are, by misunderstanding the logic of piety, to deny scientific evidence entirely. In 1997 the world’s oldest cricket bat was dug up in the county of Essex (of course). It is recognisably a bat, designed for some form of game, and is apparently 40,000 years old. Our theological question would therefore be: if Essex Man, in time out of mind, had the self-awareness and the humanity and the sophistication needed to play cricket, surely he was also a creature accountable to his Maker. In other words, the story of salvation is much, much older than we ever suspected. To claim that humanity had to wait for most of its history before learning about its source and destiny requires an intolerable interrogation of the divine justice.

Now, this antiquity of our species fits in with Islamic salvation history very elegantly. The hadith indicates that there have been 124,000 prophets. The Qur’an says, Wa-li-kulli qawmin had – ‘for every nation there has been a guide’. The existence of cricket matches in Chelmsford thirty-eight thousand years before the hijra is not a problem for us: homo religiosus existed then, just as did homo ludens, and presumably had access to a chapter of revelation which has since disappeared.

For Christianity, of course, the problem is more acute. Medieval theologians struggled with the fact that millions lived before the coming of Christ, and hence died without receiving the sacraments or accepting him as saviour. Complicated theories of post-mortem evangelisation, or of the harrowing of hell, were developed to make this challenge to the divine moral coherence less scandalous. Today, with our awareness of humanity’s antiquity, the theology is harder still: why should a loving God have waited for a million years before sending his Son to redeem humanity?

For us, as I have said, this is a non-problem. For every nation there has been a guide. And, as Surat al-Insan says, ‘Has there ever come upon man a time when he was not something remembered?’

Excerpt from Boys will be Boys: Gender identity issues by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

Categories: Christianity, Dr Tim Winter, God, Islam, Salvation


40 replies

  1. A million years. lol

    When did the first islamic prophets go to Africa? Before they made slaves of them or after? Which one of the 124,000 went there?

    At least the bible records the names of its prophets instead of making vague claims about imaginary prophets 1000s of years after they have lived.

    • You expect it to name thousands of names?
      The Qur’an mentions that God send a prophet to each nation. So ofcourse there will be at least tens of thousands of prophets. The Qur’an focuses on jewish prophets since they received revelations coming before us.
      What did your racist god do? Choose a tiny nation on a map and ONLY send prophets to that nation.
      And this phrase is hilarious coming from a xtian:
      “At least the bible records the names of its prophets instead of…”
      Lol your bible can’t even name its authors like those of the so called ‘gospels’.

      If we were to go by what your comicbook says than we’d have a lot less prophets needing to be sent since the mankind apperantly exists for 6000 years XDDDDDDD.

      • @ Atlas

        What the retard doesn’t know is we know of prophets from Africa or debated to have been prophets:

        You can also add people like Luqman. Unlike his racist book, we have clear monotheism demonstrated throughout history from various cultures and people just off the top of my head:

        Agnostos Theos (the unknown god)
        Zoraster (before the rise of Mithra and Mani)

        And this is only people who are explicitly stated because then you still have statements of understanding who God is but they ascribed partners to Him like various indigenous tribes.

        It’s funny how Allah guides/misguides people as for me this was one of the biggest proofs of Islam while it will become a source of regret to people like Erasmus.

    • This is the typical Christian response to this conundrum. Deflect to Islam and don’t answer the question.

  2. Reblogged this on The Quran and Bible Blog and commented:

    A brilliant point by Sheik Abdal Hakim Murad!

  3. “homo religiosus existed then, just as did homo ludens, and presumably had access to a chapter of revelation which has since disappeared.”

    lol, myth making par excellence.

    “which has since disappeared” , lol how convenient

    If you get paid a fat salary to create myths for Islam this guy’s employers are getting their money’s worth.

  4. I suppose it is enough now, according to stewpot, to go to paradise if you are an evolving monotheist.

    The biblical God would not accept this as worship but stewpot says its ok as long as your fantasy god does not flirt with anyone.

    The “heads” of the Leviathan refers more likely to the alpha animals not to the anatomy of the individual animal itself.

    “mythical fire-breathing sea serpent with many heads.”

    You seem to be mixing the dragon with the leviathan here. Where does the fire-breathing come from?

    I still have no evidence that hares do not chew the cud. Apart from Faiz telling me to put a cow next to it, lol.

    • So Iggy is still avoiding answering the question. Should we be surprised? Christians are up the creek with this conundrum.

      And there he goes with his assumptions with no evidence! Leviathan had many heads. There is no indication these were metaphorical you idiot! Where is your evidence? You see how it works is that if you make a claim, you back it up with proof.

      In contrast, what you do is ask to prove a negative. You need to take a class in logic. Asking me to prove that hares don’t chew the cud is like asking me to prove that Bigfoot does NOT exist. You get it Iggy? Try to use your head for once, and don’t talk out of your butt.

      Job 41 talks about fire, dummy. So yeah, your Bible authors believed in a mythical fire-breathing sea monster.

  5. If you can’t prove negatives how does the law of non-contradiction hold?

    • 🤦‍♂️ Oh good Lord…Iggy really needs to think things out before opening his mouth.

      The law of noncontradiction states that 2 statements cannot both be true at the same time. If I say the earth revolves around the sun but also that the earth does NOT revolve around the sun, they both cannot be true. One has to be false.

      In contrast, you want proof that an animal does not do something. That is a ridiculous request. The burden of proof is on you to prove that the Bible is correct, just as you would have to prove that the sun revolves around the earth, if you believed that. I wouldn’t have to prove that the sun does NOT revolve around the earth because I’m not the one making that claim that it does. Get it?

  6. ” If I say the earth revolves around the sun but also that the earth does NOT revolve around the sun, they both cannot be true. One has to be false.”

    But how do you know which statement of the two is true if you can’t prove a negative?

    Some things are more difficult for Muslims than the rest of us I suppose.

  7. Faiz told me to put a hare next to a cow to prove that they don’t chew the cud. But why did he say that if it is impossible to prove a negative?

  8. The question is not about the existence or non-existence of a being but the existence or non-existence of a law or laws.

    It seems hard for Muslims to tell the difference between the two.

  9. “But notice that we don’t try to prove that it doesn’t. We try to prove that it does.”

    My question didn’t demand that the proof be either direct or indirect. It doesn’t matter to me.

    The fact that stewpot made no attempt already answers the question.

  10. Muslims are supposed to have laws that regulate all human behaviour so it should be easy enough to answer my question which was:

    Show me a law or laws from the koran that forbids muslims from attacking, kidnapping, raping, selling and plundering the kuffar.

    Just another question. If it is impossible to prove a negative how can anyone be aquitted in a court of law?

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