A common argument made by Christian apologists to try and confuse Muslims is the following: If the Bible is indeed corrupt, then why didn’t Allah preserve it? Why didn’t he preserve his words, and why did he allow his own books to become corrupt?
The argument is meant to try and cast doubt on Allah’s all knowing wisdom, and in turn, to cast doubt on whether Allah can be a true God due to this supposed deficiency. The irony is that this argument backfires completely on the Christian apologist, because the argument is an actual REALITY with their own god, and their own book.
Let me explain, Christians already believe the God of Islam is a false God, so there’s no need for now to try and go on the defensive, let us simply play along. All right, so according to the Christian apologist, Allah wasn’t displaying wisdom or strength by allowing his words to get corrupted and for the originals to be lost etc.
Now comes the big irony, it is a fact, an undisputed fact, that we do NOT have the original books of the Bible. We don’t have a single ORIGINAL AUTHENTIC book of the Bible, not only don’t we have an original authentic book of the Bible, we don’t even have a single authentic original copy of the Bible! What we have instead, are none original books of the Bible, and the none original books of the Bible were in fact copies of the copies of the copies of the copies of the copies of the supposed original Bible that we don’t even have! So the real question now is, why didn’t YAHWEH, the God of the Bible, preserve his own original inspired writings? Why are we instead left with unoriginal copies? Unoriginal copies that have been ALTERED, as well as CHANGED?
Just go take a look at the manuscripts, they are filled with differences amongst each other, as is often said, no two manuscripts agree with one another, and as is also said, there are more textual variants between the manuscripts than there are actual words in the Bible! As a result of these textual variants with one another, scholars have been left but to try and figure out which passage and manuscript has the actual original reading, and even if they manage to agree on which is the original reading (in many cases they don’t), there is no certainty that it is actually the original reading because the reading itself is not based on an original copy, but a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy! So you’re still no nearer to the actual original text you’re trying to reach at. And this is also why many textual scholars of the Bible say that the original actual text of the Bible is forever lost, and even trying to get close to an original reading of the Bible is a mute discussion.
So as one can see, the argument can be used much more forcefully against the Christian apologist, because they already believe Allah is a false God, so you can just play along and say all right I accept your argument, BUT now if we apply the consistency of your argument, then you’re in much bigger trouble, and if we apply the actual logic of the argument, then your God must be disregarded as well.
I will end this article with a question I already asked, as the Christian apologist often asks, why didn’t Allah preserve his words, my question to you is: Why didn’t Yahweh preserve his original inspired words?
A good summary of the double standards and hypocrisy of Christian apologists. Here’s a question: what is the date of the very earliest copy of the gospel of Mark in existence?
Why should the originals of the Bible have survived to modern times? If by chance the original Mark’s gospel was preserved how would we know that it was the original? We could not prove it anyway. So what’s the big deal about not having the original autograph?
to answer my own question above, the very earliest copy of the gospel of Mark in existence is dated to around 300AD, well over 2 centuries after Mark wrote his gospel.
It should be obvious erasmus that we cannot know for sure what was in the original text as it left the pen of Mark as the text has been copied and recopied, and copied again many times, accumulating errors and alterations on the way, some deliberate and some accidental.
Scholars try to ascertain as far as possible what the first gospel actually contained.
I recommend this brilliant study by Bart D. Ehrman
The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament
Though it is definitely not aimed at the average lay reader this work is well worth reading if you want an advanced introduction to how and why the Biblical text has been corrupted by Christian scribes.
The victors not only write the history, they also reproduce the texts. In a study that explores the close relationship between the social history of early Christianity and the textual tradition of the emerging New Testament, Ehrman examines how early struggles between Christian “heresy” and “orthodoxy” affected the transmission of the documents over which, in part, the debates were waged. His thesis is that proto-orthodox scribes of the second and third centuries occasionally altered their sacred texts for polemical reasons–for example, to oppose adoptionists like the Ebionites, who claimed that Christ was a man but not God, or docetists like Marcion, who claimed that he was God but not a man, or Gnostics like the Ptolemaeans, who claimed that he was two beings, one divine and one human. Ehrman’s analysis makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the social and intellectual history of early Christianity and raises intriguing questions about the relationship of readers to their texts, especially in an age when scribes could transform the documents they reproduced to make them say what they were already thought to mean, effecting thereby the orthodox corruption of Scripture.
“This detailed, carefully argued, and thoroughly documented study should be purchased for collections serving faculty and graduate students in New Testament studies and church history.”–Choice
“Ehrman’s arguments throughout deserve our attention; they are frequently compelling….Clearly set out and persuasively presented….Variants that treat of Christ’s person and function must from now on always be considered with reference to Ehrman’s thesis.”–Novum Testamentum
“This book is highly recommended as an excellent work of scholarship that is of great importance in the development of New Testament studies. Here is a new voice that addresses some of the central theological and historical issues.”-Journal of Theological Studies
“Bart D. Ehrman has written a book which will stimulate the casual reader and intrigue the academic or professional reader of the New Testament….An excellent work and definitely invaluable for lay or scholars.”–Anglican Theological Review
How does anyone know that it is beyond the powers of man to preserve the text intact during the process of copying? This is what Ehrmann assumes but can not prove.
It’s not an assumption but a well known problem. Have you ever copied a block of text?
I believe professional scribes could find ways and means to deal with the problem and check the text as they were going along. If it was someone’s full time job and they were working as a team I don’t believe we should consider it to be an impossible task. After all there are examples in the OT where Jehovah commands his prophets to write down his words. God also commanded his people to pass his words on for future generations with the simple means available at the time . I am sure the Holy Spirit helped and providence played it’s part but of course this can not be proven.
‘professional scribes’? in the early centuries they were not used.
Anyway, check out the evidence of textual corruption in The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament
Blind statements such as “as is also said, there are more textual variants between the manuscripts than there are actual words in the Bible!” simply invalidate any argument you may have. If you really want to have an understanding on why the Biblical text is valid, and can be trusted, I strongly suggest reading A BOOK TO DIE FOR by Dr. William McRae. I believe you are right in saying that no original manuscript has yet been found, but all you other arguments are illogical and without foundation.