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The Muslim God is a bit more like the Jewish God.
There is no Trinity in Muslim tradition. Jesus was a prophet, but no more divine than other prophets.
God has never has had anything like physical attributes and has no gender. (Some Muslim commentators say that the noun “Allah” is masculine, but only in the way that all nouns in some languages include gender.)
Muslim tradition holds that God wants one thing from humans: Submission. The word “Islam” is defined as “submission to the will of God.”
For Muslims, all true prophets in Jewish and Christian traditions were actually Muslim because they knew to submit correctly to God. Differences between Muslim, Jewish and Christian interpretations of God are due to errors that crept into the other two faiths, Islam teaches.
The Muslim God, like the other two, initially demanded that Abraham sacrifice a son. But the Muslim God wanted Abraham’s son Ishmael, not Isaac, who Jewish tradition holds was offered as a the sacrifice.
The Muslim God also designated, from before the world began, a perfect man to be his final prophet: Muhammad. God’s perfect truths are found only in the Quran and in the sayings of Muhammad, the hadiths.
And the Muslim God, like the Christian God but unlike the Jewish God, will welcome believers to paradise and condemn many non-Muslims -- exactly which ones is a matter of much discussion -- to eternal torment.
So do Christians Muslims, and Jews, really all worship the same God?
In two major volumes on the subject recently published by scholars from various faiths and traditions, including Volf’s, the most inclusive response from these scholars is basically: Yes, and it’s our God.
This is not a new way of answering the question.
In 1076, Pope Gregory VII wrote this to a Muslim leader: “We believe in and confess one God, admittedly, in a different way…”
But like many other religious leaders on all sides of the argument, Gregory insisted that his version of the Almighty is the one whom the others are unknowingly and incompletely worshiping.
A less exclusivist set of religions might shrug off the differences. But all three claim to have the only “True Faith.”
So do all three faiths actually worship the same deity, whether they call him God or Allah or Adonai?
God only knows.
Jeffrey Weiss is an award-winning religion reporter in Dallas.The views expressed in this column belong to Weiss.