October 27, 2007: Sakshi: An Apologetics Network in India had a dialog with the Islamic Academy of Comparative Religions (IACR) on the topic ‘The Concept of Sin and Salvation in Christianity and Islam’ at Rukumeni Rivera, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Sakshi was represented by Mr. Jerry Thomas and IACR was represented by Mr. Asifuddin Muhammad. Initially both the speakers presented their case followed by two rounds of rebuttals. The dialog concluded with a lively question and answer session. Following is the note of the first presentation by Bro. Asifuddin Muhammad. The dialog happened to be very fruitful and the veracity of Christian doctrine was clearly demonstrated while refuting the counterfeit gospel.
Respected dignitaries on the dais, my dear elders and my dear brothers, I welcome you all to this evening’s debate with the universal greetings “Assalaam aalaikkum” meaning “May peace be on you all”. This is the same greeting which was offered by Prophet Jesus (PBUH) as recorded in the Gospel of Luke 24:36 “Shalom aleikhem”, meaning the same “may peace be on you all”. The topic of today’s debate is sin and salvation in Islam and Christianity. Before I go in to the talk, I want to first say what is the Islamic standpoint about Prophet Jesus (PBUH). Islam is the only non-Christian faith on the face of the earth which makes it an article of faith to believe in prophet Jesus (PBUH). No Muslim is a Muslim who does not believe in Prophet Jesus(PBUH). We believe that He was born miraculously to virgin mother Mary, without any male intervention which many modern day Christians are not believing. We believe that He was one of the mightiest messengers of Almighty God. We believe that He was Messiah, translated Christ. We believe that He healed blind, and lepers , with God’s permission. We believe that He gave life to the dead by God’s permission. We believe that He received the revelation from Almighty God by the name Injil, translated, Gospel. We believe that He ascended to heaven physically. And we believe that He will come back to the world before the Day of Judgement. We believe. But we don’t believe that He is the begotten Son of God. We don’t believe that He is one of the Trinity or one of the three Gods, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. We don’t believe that He was crucified. Differences are there. But let me talk about similarities.
In principle, in general, I am a strong advocate of theism, that is to believe that there is God as opposed to atheism, that is the belief that there is no God because generally a theist believes that there is God and hence, he avoids committing sins, with the conscience that God is watching me and will punish me. Whereas an atheist does not have this fear. So he is likely to commit more sins than a theist. But this is only a general impression. There is an exception to this. The exception is Christianity. I am sorry!. In spite of being theists, in spite of believing that there is God, the Christians all over the world commit sins without any sorry for that because they believe as a whole that Christ died for their sins long ago and whatever they do, God can do nothing to that. I am not saying that Bush is a butcher because of Christianity. No! I am not talking about one individual or two individual. I am talking about the whole western world, the whole Christian world. Look at the kind of sins people are committing without any sense of sorry. Alcoholism, drug addiction, adultery, rape, loot, homosexuality, lesbianism, what not, and incest. Incest, most of you will be knowing, is a sin which means that a person is having sex with a lady who is too closely related to him, like committing sex with his sister, committing sex with his mother or daughter or somebody like that. And according to a survey, at least 12.5% of Americans have committed incest at least once in their lives. Why? They are confident. Confident that God can do nothing. Whatever they commit, it’s been paid long ago. I might hurt you, but I apologise if I hurt you. But this is the forum of discussing all the hard facts of religion without any hard feelings. Now, in my understanding, the concept of sin and salvation in the Quran and the Bible are similar. I repeat. In my understanding, the concept of sin and salvation in the Quran and the Bible are similar. And the concept of sin and salvation in Christianity is apart from this. The concept of sin and salvation in Christianity is not supported either by the Quran or by The Bible. Let’s go step by step.
Bro Jerry Thomas has pointed out the first point, the starting point of the discussion of any seminar on sin and salvation, that is, the sin of Adam. The sin of Adam. I have a question. How could Adam (PBUH) commit a sin? How? Did God create Adam to be a sinful person? Did God create Adam with sinful nature? If yes, then obviously the sin is not Adam’s fault. It is , may God forbid, God’s fault because it is God Himself, in the first instance, who had made Adam a sinner. If you create someone a sinner, and he creates a sin, then no wonder that he is just committing the sin.
Point no. 2: suppose you say that Adam (PBUH) was created by God to be sinless, without any sin. Then my question is if God created Adam to be sinless, how could Adam commit sin at all? How? God had created him sinless. Yet he committed sin. That means we are saying that God created inefficiently. Do we believe in an inefficient God? Further, there is a great misunderstanding among most Christian brothers because of Christianity and its teachings that we came to this world because Adam sinned. And Bro Jerry also said the same thing. But I should tell you whether Adam (PBUH) had committed a sin or not, you would have been very well sitting here itself. On the same planet. In the same city. In the same hotel. You may ask me how. The answer is given in the Quran and the Bible, both the books. The Quran says, and you quoted in S2:30 that Almighty God says that I am creating a vicergent on the earth. And when Adam (PBUH) was created, He was created for the purpose of being sent to the earth only. He was not created for the purpose of staying in the heaven forever and ever. No! He was destined to come to this planet. And if you read the Bible, the Book of Genesis 1:28, after God creating Adam and Eve, He tells them “go there, live happily there and multiply and fill the earth.’ Before committing the sin, God said to Adam and Eve, ‘go to earth, live there, and fill the earth and subdue the earth”. That clearly means irrespective of what Adam did in the heaven in the Garden of Eden with the fruit, you would have very well been on the same planet, in the same city in the same hotel now.
Bro Jerry has raised the question of inherited sin. Before I go further into the topic, I want to translate the verse which I quoted in the beginning of my talk in Arabic. In the Holy Quran S 2:111, where Almighty God says waqaloo which means , and they say “nobody will enter paradise, nobody will enter paradise except a Jew, thats what Jews say or a Christian, thats what Christians say. These are their vain desires. Say, “produce your proof if you are truthful. When we ask for proof, Bro Jerry’s lecture will be repeated. Now it’s for me to give a reply to that. About sin and inheritance of sin, Christianity says that all the human beings have inherited the sin of Adam. You are reliable for what
Adam did. So you are destined to be punished by almighty God. The only saving comes from Prophet Jesus (pbuh). But when analysis has taken place, or when Biblical references were taken, as Bro Jerry has quoted, from deut 24:16, where the Bible says that the fathers shall not be put to death for the sins of their sons nor shall the sons be put to death for the sins of their fathers. The righteousness of the righteous will be with him and the wickedness of the wicked will be with him. So the Bible is telling clearly that whatever Adam has done, you won’t be punishes for that. Similarly the book of Ezekiel 18: 20 says that the soul that sinneth shall die. Whoever commits sin, he should face the punishment of the almighty God. Nobody else will be punished. There will not be any substitution for sin.Then the argument from the Christian side came down. “no no, you see…you do not inherit the sin from Adam but you inherit the sinful nature from Adam . You are a sinner by nature”. Let us analyse. Let us analyse.
Almighty god says in S 30:30, that almighty God has created human beings in the innate nature of being truthful. This is how almighty God has created us, without any sin, without any sinful inclination. And similarly when we analyse the Bible, we find that the concept of inheriting the sinful nature does not stand the test.
It is mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew 19:14, where Prophet Jesus (pbuh) is sitting and preaching to his disciples, and suddenly some children want to come close to Jesus. Then the disciples stop them. Then Jesus says, “allow them to come, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Kingdom of heaven is filled with what, sinners or sinless. Sinless! Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is filled with people like children. If children are sinners, why would Jesus say that kingdom of heaven is filled with children or people like children. He would have said, they are sinners, don’t let them come close to me. He said the reverse. He said kingdom of heaven is filled with people like these. This you say, children are sinners only yet kingdom of heaven will be filled with people like them, then automatically you mean to say that kingdom of heaven is filled with sinners. Either way, I want to go to kingdom of heaven. Either way. Further please don’t mind, I have a throat problem because of which my throat gets dried up very fast. I will be having a sip of water every now and then.
Further, if sin had to be inherited or sinful nature had to be inherited, you tell me which generation is supposed to be the first one to get affected: Which Generation? This generation or the children of Adam pbuh? the children of Adam pbuh. Cain and Abel.
And Prophet Jesus (pbuh) says in the Gospel of Matthew 23:35 that Cain was righteous or sinner? Righteous!. So if there was any potential in Adam to pass on the sin or sinful nature of himself into the next generation, then it would have come surely into his immediate son, that is Cain. But actually it did not come. Jesus says he was righteous. Further we find 100s of quotations in the Bible where we find Jesus calls lots of people righteous people, sinless people; lot of prophets are claiming we are sinless, we are righteous.
Take the case of book of Job 33: 9, where Job says “I am without sin. I am innocent.” And Prophet Daniel says in the book of Daniel 6:22 that I am found innocent before God. I am found innocent before God. The concept that you are trying to project that everybody is a sinner , that you are a sinner, I am a sinner, born to be sinner, destined to die, all these things do not actually exist in the Bible. If you see the Bible with a balanced view, this concept is contradicted in the Bible.
Further Christianity says that God’s law is so stringent that nobody can actually prove himself correct in the God’s law. Nobody can really fulfil all the commandments. Nobody can really prove himself righteous in opposition to the law. Let us analyse. Is the God a merciful God, a generous God, a loving God or the God whom we are talking about is a cruel God, an unreasonable God, who deliberately creates a very tough law which no human being can ever fulfil and consequently make it an opportunity to put him in hell. No way. God has given law in order to make our lives smooth and systematic. And doing that we all should try and fall in line. If we try and go against the law then there are other alternatives which we will discuss later in reply to Bro Jerry’s questions gradually as they are coming.
SO this is how God’s law is. And that’s why The Quran says in S 2: 286 where Almighty God says that Almighty God does not burden any soul beyond what it can bear. God’s law is not a harsh law which is destined to punish you. It is a law which can work if you are committed to make it working. If you want to avoid the law and find shortcuts, then you can go outside the teachings of the Bible. You cannot be a follower of the Bible. Further it is mentioned in S 22:78, where Almighty God says that Allah has not placed any difficulty for you in religion. There is no difficulty for you in religion. There is convenience. There is facility for you in religion. And when we go to the Biblical references of the law, where if you violate the law, it is about doing sin.
Sin is of two types: one is sin of omission; second is sin of commission. Sin of omission is to commit by not performing what you are not supposed to do. And sin of commission is to do something which you are actually not supposed to do. For example: you are not supposed to tell a lie. If you tell a lie, it is a sin of commission. So when we talk about sins, the Christian concept says that if you commit a sin, that’s the end of it. Whether you commit a small sin or a large sin, you will be ultimately destined to go to hell. That is not true. That is not true. God is not so, I would not use tough words on this. God is able to decipher, differentiate, distinguish between small sins and great sins. Suppose you steal a pen or a pencil is not equal to killing sixty million Jews. There is a difference. And God knows the difference better than you and me. Saying that God does not know the difference and He will punish you under all circumstances whether you commit a small sin or a large sin is surely an allegation against God and this has results which are very counter productive. For example Suppose somebody is trying to follow the law, from childhood until the age of 30, 40, or whatever and he has not violated any part of the law, but suddenly one day, by mistake, he committed a small sin. Now should he think, oh after effort of 30-40 years, I have ultimately committed a sin. Now what will I do? I am anyway going to die. I am anyway going to be condemned to hell forever. Now let me commit murder. Let me commit rape. Let me loot. Let me murder 6 million Jews. Anyway I am going to get the same punishment. So that is not how God will decide the law. And even if you commit small sins, God almighty will surely forgive you. God almighty will surely forgive you. It is mentioned in the Quran, in S 53: 36, where Almighty God says that those who abstain from major sins and are guilty of only minor sins, they will find their God’s forgiveness. They will find their God’s forgiveness. So God Almighty is promising that if you avoid major sins , do not commit murder, do not commit adultery, do not covet neighbour’s wife, do not disrespect the parents, all these things, if you do this, you will find God’s forgiveness working for you. If you commit major sins, then is a different issue. That we will deal later. Right now we are talking about minor sins. Further, even the Bible distinguishes between the sin, minor sin and major sin as a small sin and a big sin. The first Epistl
e of John chapter 5 verse 16 says that there are 2 types of sins. One is a sin which causes death and second is a sin which does not cause death. If we forget this, we are likely to get confused. And further, the book of Ezekiel chapter 18 verses 1-20 gives a very detailed account of sin and what sins are forgivable by God and what sins are not forgivable by God. It gives you a detailed account of three generations so that nobody should get confused. nobody should get confused. In the 1st generation, the book of Ezekiel chapter 18 says that suppose the father is a righteous man and he does not commit a, b, c, d, e,..7-8 sins are mentioned (does not worship idols, does not commit adultery, etc etc) , then the Bible says that he should surely live. It does not say even in that case he will be committing small sins, sometime or the other, he will be killed anyway. No! It says he should surely live. Further, the verse, the verse in this chapter continues. It says suppose the son of this righteous man commits a sin, commits the above mentioned sins a, b,c,d,e..the major sins, then he should surely die. It is very clear. And then the third generation. The Bible gives another example. Third generation. Suppose this sinner’s son is righteous, he does not commit these sins, a, b, c,d ,e…7 or 8 sins, then the Bible again says that he should surely live. If you say that each one of us is a sinner and God will condemn us by death for every small mistake that we commit, then you are doing two things: 1. Alleging God to be insensible to decipher between sins small and large 2. You are going against the Bible.
Further the Bible tells us that even if you commit big sins, there is no need to panic. You can repent and God will forgive you your sins. It is mentioned in the book of 2Kings 2 Chronicles 7: 14, where it says that Almighty God is saying the people that if my people humble themselves and repent and look for my countenance, then I shall turn towards them, I shall forgive them their sins. So Almighty God says that if people repent and seek God’s countenance, then God will forgive their sins. So where have you got the idea that God can’t forgive or God wont forgive? God Almighty is the most merciful and most forgiving God.
Further in the Gospel of Mark 7:2, there is an interesting reference which many of our Christian brothers use to prove or try to prove that Jesus is God. It says that Jesus is declaring that Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. And before that the Jews are saying “how come He says that I have forgiven your sins?” who can forgive sins except God? The Jews who knew the Law and the Scriptures, Law and the prophets, they were understanding the Law correctly. They were saying that only God can forgive sins. And when the Christian brothers want to argue that Jesus pbuh is God Himself, then they quote this verse and say see, Jesus is forgiving sins. That means Jesus is God. And Peter is also authorised by Jesus to forgive sins. Jesus can forgive sins, Peter can forgive sins, God can’t forgive sins? Where do they get the authority? From God only. If you say Jesus can forgive, Peter can forgive, obviously it means God can forgive a lot more sins.
And God is the most forgiving God. He forgave the sin of Adam as mentioned in the Quran, in chapter no.2,verse No. 37 that God forgave the sin of Adam. So God forgives immensely, enormously. You repent after one sin and commit the same sin again, God will again give you chance. You can repent again and again you repent. Again God will forgive you. You again commit the sin and repent, God will forgive you again. You can do it seventy times a day if you can! God will not get tired of forgiving you as long as you have sincere intention. As long as you don’t deliberately think “today I will deliberately commit a sin and seek forgiveness”. Then God will not forgive. God knows how to judge you according to your intentions.
Further if you have read the articles on Christian websites etc, they normally allege against Islam that Islam says that you do some bad deeds and you do some good deeds, the good deeds will nullify the bad deeds. That is how Islamic concept of salvation is. My dear brother, even the Bible tells the same thing. even the Bible tells the same thing. It is mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew. (Just a minute. How many minutes do I have? 29 over. So i have 15 more) in the gospel of Matthew. Sorry. First I will quote from the Quran, in S 5:45, Almighty God says that if you forgive them, it will work as an act of atonement for you. Almighty God says if you do this , it will work as an act of atonement for you. There are hundreds of references from the Quran which tell you that if you do this, it will work as an act of atonement for you. If you do that, it will work as an act of atonement for you. That not the big deal. The big deal is to do these things in the Bible. What the Bible tells us? The Bible tells us , from several places in the Bible, you can take the information. 1 peter 4:8 which says give fervent charity. For charity covers multitude of sins. For charity covers multitude of sins. You commit 100s and 200s of sins; give one charity God will forgive. It is not that if you commit a small sin, you are condemned forever. No! This concept is not there, according to the Bible and the Quran. That is why I said that the concept of sin and salvation in the Quran and the Bible is similar but the concept of sin and salvation is somehow way different from these two books.
In the Gospel of Luke 11:4, Jesus teaches the people to pray and He says that “you pray like this”. O God, You forgive us our sins as we forgive our debtors. forgive us our sins as we forgive our debtors. So if you forgive your debtors, God will forgive you your sins. You forgive other people who offend you, You forgive other people who offend you, God will forgive you your offenses. In this way there are 100s of alternatives shown in the Bible, which will surely help you in becoming a person of righteousness in the sight of Almighty God. Further don’t think that God is a miser; don’t think that God is a banker that He wants to squeeze every drop of your blood. God is a generous God. You commit a small..suppose you commit a small sin, God will punish you. He will punish you only to that much extent. But if you do a small charity, you do a small act of righteousness, then God will multiply it many times and He will reward you immensely. Because Bro Jerry has quoted from the Hadith also, I also take some liberty to quote from the Hadiths. It is in the Sahih Bukhari that Prophet Mohammad PBUH said that there was a woman who was a prostitute, a woman who was a prostitute, a woman of illegitimate profession. She committed this act for most of her life. And one day when she was passing through a jungle, she saw a well. She took water and drank from the well. And then there was a dog, dog , an ordinary animal, which was thirsty also. But the dog could not go into the well and have water. So the woman helped the dog in having water. God forgave her all her sins. God forgave all her sins. So God wont look for you, so that you commit a small sin and you are pushed into hell. No! God is generous and most forgiving God. The attributive names of God in the Quran are Al-Ghafur, Ar-Rahim, Ar-Rahman As-Sabur, , all these attributive names means He is merciful, He is forgiving; At-Tawwab, the one who accepts repentance. This way there are about 100 attributive names. Al-Wadud, that means Almighty God is loving God. He does not have any vengeance with you that He should kill you or look for an opportunity to sent you to hell forever. Further, even if you do not commit, you do not repent and you do not do good deeds, inspite of that, according to the Quran and the Bible, God may forgive most of the sins except one or two. Most of the sins. The Quran says this and the Bible says this. Th
e Quran says in S 4:48 that surely Almighty God will not forgive that you have set up a partner for Him. You say the Holy Ghost is also God, Jesus Christ is also God, then Almighty God will not forgive you. Remember that is Shirk. Then He may forgive any other sin to whomever He may please. Similarly even Jesus Christ says in the Gospel of Matthew 12:31, that any sin can be forgiven, any blasphemy can be forgiven except the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Any other sin can be forgiven! And who is saying this? Jesus is saying this! You still want to hold on that even a small sin can cause you to go to hell, that is not found in the Bible. Jesus is opposed to this idea. The Bible is opposed to this idea.
Further, the Christian brothers believe in vicarious atonement, that Jesus will die for the sins of mankind. Let us see what is the plan of salvation given by the Quran and the Bible. The Quran says in very clear terms in S 5:9 that those who believe and do righteous deeds , will find forgiveness from their God and an ample reward. Forgiveness from God and ample reward. Believe and do righteous deeds. Similarly the same message is given in S 18:30. But the interesting thing is the same thing is prescribed by Jesus (pbuh) also. Jesus (pbuh) said in very categorical terms in the Gospel of Matthew 5:20 unless your righteousness surpasses the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, you shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven. No option! No other choice! If words have meaning, lets understand it now. Unless your righteousness surpasses the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, you shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus has not shown any shortcuts. He said your righteousness is going to help you.
Similarly, in the Gospel of Matthew 16:27, Jesus says that on the Day of Judgement, people will be judged based on their works, on their righteous deeds. There is no vicarious atonement as prescribed by Jesus PBUH in the Bible and the Quran. Both!. Further, some people are thinking, ok sin is not inherited, ok God can forgive, ok God may not forgive, ok I may repent, I may not repent, in any case, suppose think I want to take Jesus as my Saviour, what is the harm? What is the harm? In spite of other things being available, I can still take Jesus as my Saviour. What’s the harm? My dear brother, first of all, Jesus did not die. He is still alive. So there is no vicarious atonement available so far. You might ask where is the evidence. The Quran says this and the Bible says this! The Quran says this in S 4:557 that they did not kill Him nor did they crucify Him, but it was only made to appear like that. It was not real. People were given illusion at that time.
Almighty God says this in S 4: 158 that Almighty God has raised Jesus unto Himself. Not killed. Still alive! If you read the Bible, even the Bible it says, in the Gospel of Mark 16:11, when Mary Magdalene goes to the sepulchre, she comes bak to the disciples, she says that Jesus is alive. She says that Jesus is alive. You can check any version of the Bible that you have got. And the disciples distrusted that. She did not say Jesus is resurrected. She said Jesus is alive. And in the Gospel of Luke 24:36-43, Jesus comes to the disciples and tells them that ‘No, do not fear. I am Me, Myself. I am not a spirit. Touch, handle Me and see. For a spirit has no flesh and bones.’ And He then took honeycomb and boiled fish to eat and to prove that He is alive. Not dead. So this type there are many many many many more evidences which I can produce. For example, go to letter to Hebrews chapter 5:7, where Paul says that in the days of His flesh, He prayed in tears , in utmost sincerity to God to save Him from death and God heard His prayer. God heard His prayer. And it is the same person, same prophet who taught the people in the gospel of Matthew chapter 7 verse 7-11, that you ask, it shall be given to you; you seek, you shall find it; and knock, it shall be opened unto you. Which of you is a father who gives his son stones when he asks for bread and serpent if he asks for fish? If you know being a sinner how to give good things to your children how much more should your father in heaven know how to give good things to this world! So the same prophet is praying to Almighty God “O Father, take this cup away from Me”. Then you think God will not save Him? God will save Him. And if you look at.. how much time do I have left? 5 mins. And if you look at the scene of the cross according to the Bible, i want to compare this to the death or the punishment of death given to great Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh and the recent death punishment given to Saddam Hussien, the Iraqi President. When they were punished, when they were brought to death sentence, to the noose to be fit in their neck, they received it with courage. Even though they have not seen God, they have not seen heaven, they have not seen hell, they don’t know anything what happens after death, but still they had lots of courage to face death. But you see, what the Bible says that when Jesus was on the cross, He shouted,” My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”. Is this what you expect from a person who supposed to be God Himself, who is supposed to be the only begotten of God, who is supposed to have come to save the entire mankind from the sins to give them salvation, to sacrifice Himself on the cross, is this how He reacts? Absolutely not!. He was not willing to die nor was He mentally prepared to die.
Further if you look at vicarious atonement, it comes at a wrong time. Even if you think He died. To be interpreted like vicarious atonement, still it came at the wrong time. You know why? Because according to the Bible, the time of Jesus (PBUH) is supposed to be very close to the end of the world. Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew 16:28 that even before all the people standing here shall die, you shall see the Son of Man coming down from the kingdom of heaven. That is within 10-15 years, within 20-30-40-50- maximum 100 years, the world will end. 2000Bc, when the world was created according to the Bible, 2000, maximum plus 100. At the end of the world, how does it serve the purpose of atonement? Can atonement be done at the end of the world and there is no more people living after that so that all the people who lived before Jesus have no chance to take atonement even if there is an atonement? It should have come at the beginning of the world so that everybody who comes after atonement will be having chance to take the atonement like confess and to take Jesus as Saviour whatever you wanted to; it should have happened at the beginning. It is happening towards the end. That means there is nothing like an atonement that can work.
And finally, my understanding is that the concept of sin and salvation in Christianity does not wash away any sins of the world; the people who believe in vicarious atonement are committing sins day in and day out, without feeling any guilt for the sins which they are doing and the concept of sin and salvation in the Quran and Bible are similar and you have to have true faith and do righteous deeds o that you will have salvation.
I would like to conclude my talk by giving ayahs of the Quran from S61:10-12, where Almighty God says Shall I tell you a transaction, a deed which will protect you from a painful punishment of Hell, that you should believe in Almighty God, Allah and in His messenger, and you should strive in your life in the way of your Almighty God in your life. That your sins will be forgiven. And you will be entered into the heavens, the gardens of paradise under which rivers flow. And the ayat continues describing heaven but the concept is very clear. But the concept is very clear that if you believe and do righteous deeds, you will have salvation.