The Meaning and Uses of Allah Akbar

Muslims often proclaim, “Allah Akbar.” Allah Akbar can be translated “God is Great”, “God is the Greatest”, or “God is Greater”. It is spelled in various ways (Allahoo Akbar; Allahu Akber, Allahoo Akber). This phrase is one of the most significant utterances in Islam and is called the Takbir.

Muslim belief in God’s greatness is one of the reasons they do not believe Jesus died on the cross.

Christians believe God's Greatness Necessitates His Condescension

Christian belief in God’s greatness is one of the reasons they believe in Jesus’ death on the cross. Christians believe God is so great that His relationship to creation involves some form of condescension. God condescends in order to:

God’s condescension does not diminish His glory but manifests it. The Christian Scriptures speak of God giving His Law to Moses in the context of His greatness and His condescension.

Exodus 19:18-20 (see also Exodus 34:5-7)
Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because Yahweh descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him. Yahweh descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up

The Most High God is so great that He humbles Himself – He figuratively bends down – in order to look at the stars in heaven! The exalted God manifests His greatness by raising the poor from the dust and the needy from the ash heap. God demonstrates His exaltedness by enthroning the barren woman in her home as a joyful mother of children.

Psalm 113:4-9
Yahweh is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like Yahweh our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise Yahweh.

God's Greatness is Revealed in His Condescension

Christians believe God’s exaltedness is revealed in His condescension. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), a Christian preacher and theologian, wrote about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

leads us to love God as an infinitely condescending God. The gospel, above all things in the world, holds forth the exceeding condescension of God. No other manifestation that ever God made of himself exhibits such wonderful condescension as the Christian revelation does. The gospel teaches how God, who humbles himself to behold things that are in heaven and earth, stooped so low as to take an infinitely gracious notice of poor vile worms of the dust, and to concern himself for their salvation, and so as to send his only-begotten Son to die for them, that they might be forgiven, and elevated, and honoured, and brought into eternal fellowship with him, and to the perfect enjoyment of himself in heaven for ever (Charity and Its Fruits).

God’s holiness and justice is so great that His condescension is necessary for our salvation. His condescension is central to the virgin birth of Jesus, Jesus’ forgiveness of sins, and His death on the cross. Will you confess God’s greatness by receiving Jesus’ invitation to believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of everlasting life?

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