Remarkably, despite the major differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the three religions have a comparatively similar idea of the nature of God as one of the cornerstone aspects of any religious philosophy. Specifically, despite the presence of obvious intricate and unique details in determining the nature of the Almighty, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism alike represent the origin and nature of God as the omnipotent and omnipresent force that is the sole creator of the Universe (McConville, 2019).
At the same time, the slight differences in the perceptions of the specified religious philosophies defined, in turn, by the complex and nuanced cultural relationships, allow for slight incongruences between the definitions of God in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. For instance, while in the latter two, god is represented as the power that is not only omnipotent but also all-forgiving and full of Grace, the Islamic interpretation of God paints a much less merciful picture of the deity (Manurung, 2019; Martin, 2021). Indeed, Molloy (2020, p. 336) specifies that “the nature of God is essentially a relationship of love.” Therefore, the nature of Christian God can be perceived as that one of grace and Love. A similar trend can be observed in the perception of God as it is represented in Judaism. Namely, in the specified religious philosophy, the idea of God and the all-powerful creature is dominant, yet the omnibenevolent characteristics of God are also emphasized expressively (Molloy, 2020).
Also representing the same family of religions, Islam similarly interprets the essence of God, outlining the enormous power that the lord holds over humanity and the grace that He exerts over His creations. Namely, Molloy explains that “Islam is thus a cousin to the other monotheistic religions of Judaism and Christianity, and all three religions worship the same God” (Molloy, 2020, p. 397). At the same time, a nuance in the Islamic interpretation of God is quite noteworthy (Kuhn, 2019). Specifically, though also belonging to the Abrahamic faith, Islam often represents God as a significantly more impersonal and abstract force, which slightly dehumanizes Him as opposed to His portrayal in Judaism and Christianity, rendering His image slightly less compassionate. Specifically, Molloy (2020) posits that
It is possible, however, that the notion of God’s power and transcendence receives the greatest emphasis in Islam. Some observers have commented that in Islam, prostration of the entire body during prayer fittingly indicates a belief in divine power and the believer’s submission to it. (Molloy, 2020, p. 397)
Therefore, there are evident differences in the portrayal of the nature of God in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Though the three perspectives have certain aspects to share along with fundamental principles, details in the depiction of God and His origin introduce uniqueness to each religious philosophy (Latifa et al., 2019). A similar series of discrepancies can be observed in the exploration of the nature of Christ. Though the general concept of the Son of God being born as a son of man and being sacrificed to absolve humankind of its sins is ubiquitous across the three religions, the nuances in the portrayal of the nature of Jesus are also quite evident.
Specifically, in Christianity, the nature of Jesus is linked to the concept of the Divine inherently despite the materialistic embodiment of God in Jesus Christ. Particularly, the complexity of the specified relationships is contemplated profusely in the Gospel of John: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, New International Version, 1984). At the same time, Molloy (2020) claims that John’s interpretation of Jesus is shrouded in mystery and that John “speaks in cosmic tones” (Molloy, 2020, p. 334) Therefore, the intricate manner in which the secular and the Holy are combined in Jesus has reflected in the Bible accurately. A similar idea can be observed in Judaism, though the emphasis on holiness is much stronger in the specified religious philosophy. However, in Islam, the nature of Christ is seen from a radically different perspective. Namely, Jesus is seen neither as God nor as the son of God, which contradicts the idea of Jesus both in Christianity and Judaism. (). Instead, Jesus is represented as the prophet, which relegates His role to that of one of the Herald of God instead (). The described incongruence between the interpretations of the origins and nature of Christ can be considered the fundamental difference that sets apart Islam from Christianity and Judaism.
Two Challenges That Affect How All Three Religions Currently Relate to Each Other
Examining the relationships between the three religions in question, one will realize that Judaism, Islam., and Christianity share quite a several characteristics and ideas. However, given the existing differences between a range of perspectives and nuances of interpreting some religious issues, such as the nature of Good, it is expected to observe certain differences in how the specified phenomena are defined as represented. Although the described incongruences are to be expected, they are still quite frustrating. Therefore, being exacerbated by certain external factors, these impediments to reconciling the three religions become particularly unfortunate.
Namely, the first challenge concerns reaching an agreement concerning the role of Jesus in the Biblical narrative, particularly, in the process of reaching salvation for believers. Since Islam represents Jesus merely as one of the prophets, it relegates His role to that of one of the heralds of god’s will, which affects Jesus’s representation as the Savior.
Another contentious issue that needs to be resolved for the three religions to finally coexist peacefully, the interpretation of the principal Biblical theses needs to be mentioned. Admittedly, the described concern is a much broader issue than the mere disagreement on a specific issue since it implies redefining the fundamental approach toward reading and interpreting the Biblical text. However, the specified step needs to be taken so that the three religions could eventually represent a single entity.
Nonetheless, even with the specified discrepancy in the portrayal of the three religions, among many other incongruences, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity represent a single entity. The connection between the three religious philosophies becomes obvious when considering their principal values, the ideas that they purport, and the goals that they seek to obtain. Namely, the idea of reaching salvation as the ultimate goal of each of the three religions shines through the core teachings. Similarly, the importance of spiritual growth by building a personal dialogue with God is outlined in Judaism, Islam, and Christianity equally strongly.
Globalization plays a particularly important role in advancing the connections between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Namely, defined as the process of expanding cultural, economic, and political connections globally and actively sharing information on a cross-cultural level, globalization leads to the more active dissemination of ideas and beliefs across the globe (). Therefore, by encouraging people from different religious backgrounds to consider the religious perspectives of others, globalization contributes to further reconciliation between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As “Spirituality, Suffering, and Illness: Conversations for Healing” (Wright & Insync Communications, 2007) shows, the specified dispersion of culture-specific ideas allows experts in different areas, such as healthcare, to understand the needs of target audiences better. In the healthcare context, the specified outcome improves the quality of care tremendously (). Therefore, active knowledge and experience sharing between members of different religious groups are vital for effective and fruitful communication in most workplace contexts, particularly, that of healthcare.
Despite the seeming differences between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, the three religions have a range of characteristics and perspectives in common, which creates premises for future reconciliation. Thus, the focus on the union and the development of spiritual and cultural tests should be seen as essential goals. Though the nature of god and the nature of Jesus remain some of the most contentious points in dispute in the specified religion, a compromise remains a possibility.
Kuhn, M. (2019). Allāh: Internalized relationality: Awwaḍ Simʽān on the Trinitarian nature of God. Transformation, 36(3), 173-183.
Latifa, R., Hidayat, K., & Sodiq, A. (2019). Commentary on place spirituality: An Islamic perspective. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 41(1), 38-42.
Manurung, P. (2019). The whole nature of God in the predestination dilemma. Journal Didaskalia, 2(2), 14-31.
Martin, P. C. (2021). The picture of language in seeing the nature of god in Kabbalah and Tantra. Religion and the Arts, 25(1-2), 5-34.
McConville, J. G. (2019). Neither male nor female: Poetic imagery and the nature of God in the Old Testament. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 44(1), 166-181.
Molloy, M. (2009). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (8th ed.). McGraw Hill.
The Bible. New International Version. Zondervan, 1984.
Wright, L., & Insync Communications (Producers). (2007). Spirituality, suffering, and illness: conversations for healing. [Video/DVD]. Web.