The original question was:  Can a Christian use allah as the word for God, because in many cultures influenced by Arabic, allah is actually the word for god as well as the name of the Muslim god?

Answer by John Mackay

Let’s start by asking what do we know about the English word God? Genesis 1 starts; “In the beginning God,” where the English word ‘God’ is a translation of the Hebrew ‘elohim’. But you need to understand that the English word God is not a name. It is a title, or a positional word, used in a similar way when it was announced recently that a new prince had been born in the UK. It was much more informative when authorities added the prince’s name, and told us Prince George had been born. Prince is a title related to the word principal, or important, in the same way God is a word related by association with the concept of the chief god. But it is much more helpful when you know which God is being referred to, i.e. what name does this God have?

When a Muslim states; ‘There is no God but Allah,’ he or she is using the Arabic word for god converted to a name for this god. In the same way Genesis uses the Hebrew description of the first male, adam, a word related to the meaning “from the red earth,” and by association makes it his Name, i.e. the first man was named Adam. But the funny thing is we never do this with the English word God. So when we use the word god, we need to know if the god being talked about is Zeus, Biami, Jehovah or Allah?

This shows most pronouncedly when a Christian walks down the main street of Bagdad shouting: “We believe God made the heavens and the earth, and the atheist Dawkins is a fool”… to which every Muslim could add their version of “Amen Brother!” But if you are a Christian, you actually have at least one name for this God which you can add to your statement to clarify who you are talking about which helps us answer this question.

Since the New Testament is emphatic that “All things were created by Jesus” (see John 1:1-15 and Colossians 1:1-16 and Revelation 4:11-5:9), you could now turn around and march back up the main street shouting: “It was the God, Jesus Christ, who made the heavens and the earth,” to which every fundamentalist Imam would add their hearty “off with his head!” Why? Because the word allah for god which has become the name for the god Allah, is not the same being as the God Jesus, who is a member of the Triune Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, spoken about from Genesis 1 – Revelation 22.

How can you solve this problem for those in Arabic lands where the word for god is ‘allah’? Simply by adding a descriptive name that distinguishes which ‘allah’ you are talking about. Therefore, one people group we know of states that they serve allah Baba – Baba being a descriptive term derived from the same word as Papa meaning ‘Father’. Why does this work? Simply because the Koran is emphatic that the allah Allah has no son, and therefore he is never a father to either Jesus or Man. So can a Christian use the word allah for god? Yes, but no one will know who you are talking about unless you add at least one name or descriptive term that distinguishes allah Baba, or allah Jesus, from the moon allah or Allah.

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