“Muslims say that the original scriptures sent down by God, the Torah and the Bible, are lost! And I do not think that anyone can tell us where, when or how they were lost?” This is what Father Swaggart has said in his response to Muslims. Now, is this response scientifically correct or is it only deception and playing around with words and nothing else?
What Muslim scholars say and reiterate is that the books and scriptures, which are in the hands of Jews and Christians today, had been distorted, changed and added to before the beginning of Islam and the start of Prophet Muhammad’s mission (Peace be upon him and his pure family). None of the Muslim scholars say that all that Moses and Jesus brought has been lost, but that the scripture that Jews and Christians have combines true and false parts.
As for Swaggart’s response, we do not intend to catch whoever carried out the distortion. We are not interested in knowing the time or place of such distortion either. The important thing in this concern is to show that distortion took place and find examples that prove this beyond doubt. Non-biased scholars who studied the Bible have found the proof. These are issues which seem to contradict divine revelation, as well as mistakes and incompatibilities which are characteristic of human discourse.
Suppose a person holds the hand of a priest, walks outside the church and says: Look at this murdered person right in front of you! According to Swaggart’s logic, the priest has to say: No, I cannot believe he has been killed unless you tell me when and how he was killed, who killed him, and why?
Is this plausible? Of course not, but it is exactly the same as the position of the Christian scholars on the issue of the distortion of the bible. You can provide them with hundreds of examples showing them concrete instances of distortion and incompatibilities between different Bibles, and issues of Bibles, but they will only say: No, we will not believe it! Tell us where, how and why this has occurred?
Some Christians, who ignore the proof of the distortion of their holy book, say: When God gives a book to man, do you think He cannot preserve it from human distortion? The answer is: Yes, God can preserve His word. But He chose to assign the mission of preserving His word to the Jewish scholars and men of religion as a test. He did not take it upon Himself to preserve His word Himself and left this task in their hands by way of commandment. By its very nature, a commandment can be obeyed or disobeyed by those concerned.
In Deuteronomy [4: 2], God says: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Also in Deuteronomy [12: 32], God says: "What thing so ever I command you, observe to do it. Thou shalt not add thereto nor diminish from it. In Proverbs [30:5-6], God says: “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee and thou be found a liar.”
We also have this strong warning in Revelation [22: 18-19] where God says: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book.
The above quotes warn the Jews against altering the word of God, either by addition or subtraction. This means that distortion was probable especially since the writer states what the punishment of addition and that of subtraction is. God’s injunction to them not to change the Commandments (not to distort them) is the best proof that it is not only possible but will certainly occur. How is that?
If man cannot distort the word of God, why would God warn them against altering His words? Does God’s injunction to the Israelites mean that it is impossible to change the Commandments? Of course not. God sent so many injunctions to the Israelites such as "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image”, [Exodus, 20: 3-4]. Does this mean that the Jews did not worship any deity other than God or that they did not make statues or images to worship?
The Torah is permeated with examples of how the Israelites left their religion to worship a cow and other idols. In the Quran, the Muslim Holy book, God Almighty says about the Torah, the religious constitution of Moses (Peace be upon him) as well as of prophets who followed him until the time of Jesus (Peace be upon him): “It was We who revealed the law (to Moses): therein was guidance and light. By its standard have been judged the Jews, by the prophets who bowed (as in Islam) to Allah’s will, by the rabbis and the monks: for to them was entrusted the protection of Allah’s book, and they were witnesses thereto: therefore fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers.” (Quran, Surat Al-Maidah, verse: 44) (Abdullah Yousef Ali translation).
The phrase ‘to them was entrusted the protection of God's book’ means that it was an obligation on them to preserve it. The fact that later rabbis and monks did not do that but changed and distorted the scripture does not mean that God was unable to preserve His book. It means that He did not take it upon Himself to protect His word and entrusted this task to the Jews.
It is known that hundreds of prophets and messengers came after Noah (Peace be upon him) whose scriptures, oral or written, God did not take it upon Himself to protect. Otherwise, where are they? For example, Abraham’s scriptures, which are mentioned in the Quran, do not exist today.
Finally, why do we think it is unbelievable that Jews at that time had carried out the distortion? Were they not unjustifiably hostile to many of God’s prophets? Did they not make a cow and worship it rather than God? Did they not accuse the pure virgin Mary (Peace be upon her) of committing adultery? Did they not refuse to believe in Christ (Peace be upon him) despite all the miracles he brought to them?
The Torah had explicitly stated that Jews will cause havoc and repel against God and His words. This is what Moses said in the Torah after having told the Jews to place it [the Torah] by the Ark of the Covenant: “for I know thy rebellion and thy stiff neck. Behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD. And how much more after my death? [Deuteronomy, 31:27]
As for the contradictions within the Bible, there are scores of them and hundreds of mistakes. This proves that it is not the true word of God but the word of God which had been distorted by the hand of man. Here are some concise examples:
• Both Matthew (21:18) and Mark (11:12) relate the story of Jesus’s cursing of a fig tree. However, there is a clear discrepancy between the two stories. Matthew says that Jesus cursed the fig tree [after] cleaning the temple and turning away those who traded there. Contrary to this, Mark says that Jesus cursed the fig tree [before] cleaning the temple and turning away those who traded there.
The story of cleaning the temple, which is told by Matthew in [21:12] and by Mark in [11:15], is a story of the same event but told differently by Matthew and Mark. How can God’s words contradict each other?
• According to the Gospel of Mark [11:12], Christ cursed the fig tree and his disciples, including Peter, knew [the day after] that it had dried up when they saw it dry up on their way back to town [11:20].
The opposite is to be found in the Gospel of Matthew. He tells that all the events took place in [the same day]; the tree dried up immediately and the disciples saw what happened and said: how did the fig tree dry up immediately? When? [21: 18-20]. Can this contradiction be called inspiration from the Lord?
• According to the Gospel of Mark [14: 32-43], Jesus was caught in a place called Gethsemane. However, in Luca’s bible [22: 29-47], Jesus was caught on the Mount of Olives! How come there is such contradictory information concerning the place where Christ (Peace be upon him) was caught?
To see how geographically different Gethsemane and Mount of Olives are, look at (Matthew, 26: 30; Mark, 14: 26 and 32; and John, 18: 1). Also look at the map of Jerusalem during the days of Jesus which is to be found in the end of the New Testament. Do this so that no one can claim that Gethsemane = Mount of Olives like Christian scholars who kid us by saying that 3=1 (trinity)!!
• Matthew [16:17-19] writes that Jesus rewarded Peter by giving him absolute authority and told him: “"Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in Heaven. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven."
This is certainly a great honour and privilege for Peter from Jesus (Peace be upon him). Jesus could have never said this without deliberation or understanding of its meaning. Unfortunately, and as proof of the distortion of different bibles, right after this text in the same book, another quote affiliated to Jesus contradicts the previous one. In this quote Jesus says to Peter: “Get thee behind Me, Satan! Thou art an offence unto Me" [16:23].
Matthew has forgotten to harmonise what he wrote in the same book, one in which he has made Peter a deputy for Jesus, with all the powers and a devil and an obstacle in front of Jesus!
• John [1:18] writes that no one has seen God at any time. He also confirms this in John 1 [12:4] by saying: “No man hath seen God”. Also, in Exodus [33:20], God says to Moses: “Thou canst not see My face, for there shall no man see Me and live." However, there are verses that contradict this. In Genesis [32: 30], Prophet Jacob saw God face to face since he says: "For I have seen God face to face".
Also in Exodus [24: 9], we read that seventy elderly Israelites, including Moses and Aaron saw God: “Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand. Also they saw God, and ate and drank”.
Which book to believe? The one which confirms that seeing God is impossible or the one which mentions that it is possible? Further, we need to know how is it possible that God would say all these contradictory things?! The only answer to this question is that this “holy book” is not all from God but has been distorted.