I went round to Matt’s house yesterday evening and explained to him that the imam had told to me that the Holy Spirit is the Archangel Gabriel.
“I don’t think that’s right,” he said, taking a book down from one of his shelves. He flipped over a few pages and held it out to me. “Read that.”
This is what I read:
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
“See,” said Matt, “Gabriel tells Mary that the Holy Spirit is going to come upon her. Doesn’t that show that he’s a completely separate person to Gabriel?”
“Is this is book the Bible?” I asked.
“We respect the Bible, Matt, but we also believe that Christians have altered it to suit themselves. I mean, look here, it also says that Mary’s baby will be called the Son of God. But we know perfectly well that there’s only one God – Allah – and He has no son. What this says here is wrong!”
“Is it, Sami? Look, take the Bible home. I’ve got another somewhere. Have a good read of it, then come back and tell me what you think.”
I was doubtful.
“I will,” I said, “if you’ll read the Quran. I’ll get you one and bring it round tomorrow.”
And he agreed.