Wednesday, February 1, 2012
allah is not God the Father irrespective of the translation
There has been a big brouhaha stirred up this week over whether Bible translators Wycliffe, SIL International and Frontiers are replacing God the Father with allah in some Arabic translations. Wycliffe and SIL have launched a counter campaign pointing people to their websites which reiterate their translation standards that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and great care is exercised to translate the Bible properly. They have also used email and the internet to undermine the credibility of those who oppose this practice. Notwithstanding, Daily Jot sources confirm that these organizations have substituted allah as God in various materials. So is allah God? Or is allah God depending on the translation?
Wycliffe Church Relations Western States Manager Mack Timm wrote a Jot subscriber: "SIL maintains its historic position that Scripture translations must promote the understanding of the term, "Son of God," that includes Jesus' relationship as Son with God the Father. SIL affirms the eternal deity of Jesus Christ and requires that it be preserved in all translations. I can't help but wonder what Mr. Wilson is doing to provide God's Word in a language and form that speaks to the hearts of millions of people, speaking over 2,000 languages, that have not one verse of Scripture in their language?" Despite the personal attack, I will not budge from my position that allah cannot be substituted for God. Two different beings--one is true, the other a lie.
A translator's task is arduous and difficult. Often languages do not have the word to express what is being translated. Irrespective, from the beginning, God has had the name YHVH. It does have many versions, allah is not one of them. To make a Muslim think that allah is the same God of the Bible is error. It actually harms our efforts to evangelize to this people group--I know, I am in ministry in Ghana that is reaching out to Muslims in rural areas. The god of Islam is a war lord of hate, slavery, and death, devoid of love. The God of the Bible is a God of love, forgiveness, and everlasting life, and this is what truly attracts the Muslim to Christianity. If he believes they are the same god, then the contrast is not likely to be made.
To Mr. Timm's point, I am not responsible for providing God's word to millions like Wycliffe, SIL or Frontier. That alone, however, is not reason enough to allow equating the name of God with a non-god. What damage does that do to this generation and those to come? People should not quit giving money to have the Bible translated into other languages. Translators in this case, however, ought to own up to the error and find a better way that does not compromise the identity of God. 1 Corinthians 8:6 says, "But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." Wycliffe says it is so on its website, why then does allah replace God in some of its translations?
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!