Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sura 112 and the Trinity, part 4

Part 1 is here, part 2 here, part 3 here.

The first claim, that the Christian Trinity is really God the Father, Jesus, and Mary, is wholly unsupported by Scripture but claimed to be true by the Qur’an (5:116; 4:171). This allegation likely originated from “ignorant ‘Christians’ in Muhammad’s time” who committed what is termed Mariolatry, or asking Mary to “intercede with her Son” (“Islam”). Muhammad, seeing this, reasoned as any human would and put one and one and one together, so to speak. Ahmed and Saifullah deduce from these misunderstandings that “whether the ‘Holy’ Trinity composed [sic] of the Father, Jesus(P), and the Mary(P) or the Father, Jesus(P) and the Holy Spirit are equally condemned in the Qur’an,” effectively dismissing the entire doctrine as some silly Christian notion.

The second major accusation is that Christians made up the doctrine out of thin air, and that there is no clear Biblical support. Granted, the word ‘Trinity’ is mentioned nowhere in the text of the Bible. But, one can counter, neither is the word ‘Tawhid’ (Arabic for the concept of God’s oneness) in the actual Qur’anic text. If one accepts that a concept can be strongly present even if it is not mentioned by its exact name, then demonstrating the Trinity from both the Old and New Testaments becomes much easier. Ediger logically demonstrates this humanly incomprehensible doctrine thus: There is one God (Deut. 4:35; 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; and 1 Tim. 2:5). The Father is God, from John 17:1-3; 1 Cor. 8:6; 2 Cor. 1:3; Gal. 1:1; Phil. 2:11; Col. 1:3; and 1 Peter 1:2, to name a few. A notion abhorrent to Muslims, the Son is also God (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-18; 5:18; 8:58; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Col., 2:9; Titus 2:13; Heb. 1:8-12; and 2 Peter 1:1). Finally, the Holy Spirit is also God, explicitly stated in Acts 5:3-4 and 2 Cor. 3:17-18; implied in Mark 3:29; John 15:26; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; and Heb. 9:14.

Leading on from this, Ediger gives passages in both Testaments strongly implying that God is three in one: Gen. 1:1-3; 12:7; 48:15-16; Ex. 31:3; Isaiah 48:12-16; and many other Old Testament passages. New Testament references include Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19 (singular ‘name’ with three persons); Luke 1:35; John 3:6-16; 15:26; Acts 2:32-33; 5:29-32; Rom. 8:16-17, 26ff; Eph. 1:1-14; 2:17-22; 1 Thess. 1:2-5; Heb. 9:14; 1 John 3:21-24; and Jude 20-21, naming only a few. In addition, there are allusions in Isaiah 63:7-11, 6:3 and Rev. 4:8, especially in the triple “Holy.” The above references demonstrate that the God of the Bible is beyond human logic – since, as Muslims contend and Christians partially agree, God cannot be known, why should they expect Him to fit inside the mind of a human?
This is, I think, a fairly good treatment of the first issue. In the very last sentence the author raises a good point. I would complain about the source imbalance; however, the author is not concerned with proving that Allah (of Islam) fulfills the criteria, since it is unstated that he does. The author is rather concentrating on God (of Christianity) and proving that case, which I have not seen addressed. We are getting into weighty material here; I hope you look forward to the upcoming posts in this series.

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