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In Whose God Do We Trust?
by Dannie Hawley
4/15/2016 / World Affairs
The familiar jingling coming from Daddy's pocket never failed to catch my young ear. One-by-one I drew out the American coins, searching for my favoritea nickel. While the year of the minting and specific images differentiate the coins, every coin and banknote contain these four words, IN GOD WE TRUST. Considering all the changes in the Twenty-First Century, I wonder, in whose God do we trust?
As a blind person, I use touch to identify coins. Yesterday as my fingertip searched for the ribbed edge to separate the quarter from the nickel, my thoughts drifted. How long will our coins even contain the centuries-old national motto?
History of motto
In searching the U.S. Treasury records, I discovered the origins of the motto placed on the American coins and currency. In a letter dated November 20, 1861, Secretary of the Treasury Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare coins with the motto, IN GOD WE TRUST. The reason he gave: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.
Later, banknotes bore these same four words in response to a law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956. The Joint Resolution declared the motto of the United States to be, IN GOD WE TRUST.
From the start of the Civil War to the years following the Korean Conflict, our legislators had it on their hearts that the American people should be reminded to put their trust in God. But, in whose God do we trust?
Many think the God of Muslims is the same as the God of the Jews and Christians, so one might find my question unnecessary. Though the practice of religions in America may vary, everyone trusts in the same God, the God of father Abraham, right?
Let's take a look at the basics to determine the answer.
The Abraham of the Jews and Christians is the same man. He wed Sarah, by whom he fathered Isaac. The Bible calls Isaac the son of the promise. The promise being that God would make a nation for Himself, His Chosen Peoplethe Jews. (Gen. 17:19, 21:1-5)
Impatience drove the couple to try to accelerate God's timetable. Enter Hagar, who bore Ishmael for Abraham. Ishmael is not the son of the promise, but God said He would also make a great nation from Ishmaelthe Arabs. The Bible said that Ishmael's descendants will be at enmity with his brother Isaac's descendants, which explains the continual conflict.
Abraham obeyed God's order
All three religious groups agree that Abraham took his son up to the mountain in response to God's order to sacrifice him on an altar. Everyone agrees that the command tested Abraham but didn't end in the death of the son. God provided a ram to replace the son just at the moment Abraham started to bring down the knife. (Genesis Chapter 22)
The disparity in the account separates the Judeo-Christian belief from the Muslim. The Muslims believe Abraham had only one son. The son on the mountain was Ishmael, not Isaac. They agree that God provided a substitute, so Ishmael didn't die--a lamb.
The Muslim holiday, Eid-ul-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice) celebrates this event. Either a ram or bull is sacrificed though poorer families may use a goat. While this holiday is second only to Ramadan in importance for Muslims, the Jews and Christians have no equivalent festival.
Mary and the virgin birth
In the Old Testament, Isaiah records that the Jewish Messiah will be born of a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14) While the Jews are still waiting for their Messiah, the Christians and Jewish believers in Jesus understand this has already happened. Young Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit, giving birth to Jesus. (Luke 1:28-38 and 2:6-7)
The Koran recorded the virgin birth of Jesus, by a young woman named Mary. She is the only woman mentioned in the Koran, even having an entire chapter bearing her name. While the Christian Bible says that Mary became pregnant when the Holy Spirit came upon her, the Muslim Koran says the pregnancy happened because Allah commanded the virgin to be pregnant. There is no indication of paternity.
Muslims don't believe Jesus was the Son of God, but a prophet who performed many miracles. As such, they celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
Jesus is the Son of God
While other issues may seem like differing social practices or minor inconsistencies between Muslims and Christians, just ask a Muslim if Allah had a son.
"No! Only your God had a son," the Muslim man explained to me. "Mohamed, our great prophet, is Allah's messenger, not his son."
God is love
One day my colleague asked our language helper to teach us how to say, "Jesus loves me," in the tribal language. The dear woman shrieked as though stung by a scorpion. "Never! I can't do that. No! I can't say those words."
In truth, there's no connection between Allah and love. The concept of sacrifice to please Allah permeates the Koran, but their god offers them neither his love nor any possible way to have their transgressions forgiven on earth. If the Muslim lives an obedient life before Allah, keeping to every verse in the Koran, he may find forgiveness in the afterlife--Paradise.
The Holy Bible is saturated with proof of God's love for His people. John 3:16 clearly states that God loves us and made a way for us to have our sins forgiven through His Son, Jesus. The forgiveness is for today, not waiting to manifest after we die.
The above are only a few examples indicating that while Abraham is the same person, a key figure in both the Islamic and Judeo-Christian history, therein lies the unique connection. The God of Abraham worshiped by the two are not the same God.
How can they be the same God when
one demands annual sacrifices, and the other has already provided it Himself through His son?
one has no son while the other declared his son lived at the beginning of all creation?
one is known for his hatred of Jews and Christians, demanding Muslims kill them while the other calls the Jews and Christians His people and urges them to love their enemies?
one demands the people offer their lives to die, sacrificing for Islam, while the other offered His own Son to be the final sacrifice?
Truly, can Allah be Yahweh/Jehovah? As Americans, can we look at our currencyIN GOD WE TRUSTand believe the legislators and President wanted us to put our trust in a god who demands we submit to Islam or die? That's in the Muslim's holy book; it's not a matter of being a moderate or a radical.
Since government records list 1934 as the date of the first American mosque, we can be certain that our leaders had only one answer to the question, in whose God do we trust? The God of the Torah and the Bible is the One central to the national motto: IN GOD WE TRUST.
Let's not let political correctness lead us to believe that the Islamic statement of faith-- There's no God but Allah and Mohamed is His Messengeris the heart's cry of all Americans who put their trust in God. Allah is not another name for Yahweh/Jehovah.
The statement on American currency may soon be a moot issue. The financial leaders of the world are heavily leaning toward a change to all digital currency. Will our government leaders also dissolve any notion that Americans should trust in God to run the country established as one nation under God?
Take a moment to look at the coins in your pocket, or pull out a banknote from your wallet. As you focus on the national motto, let your mind scroll back to the details of everything Almighty God has done for America over these 240 years.
Not that familiar with American history? You'll find some amazing details in Peter Marshall's book, The Light and the Glory. Netflix also has some fantastic movies of America's beginning.
It won't take long to discover that the men and women who pioneered America did well to put their trust in God. May today's leaders do likewise.
Dannie Hawley has served in the foreign mission field since May 1984. Her experiences around the world have challenged her to boldly live as a Christian under the spreading reach of Islam. Dannie's blog: www.goldennuggetsandsilvermusings.com
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