The biggest error that Muslims make and the main reason they do not believe in Jesus is due to their mis- intrepretation of the Trinity in the Bible. Muslims think that Christians believe in three gods. Nothing could be further from the truth. The trinity is God the father, Jesus the Son, and The Holy Spirit. It is three entities in the form of one god. Muslims however, mistakenly think that the Trinity is God, Jesus, and Jesus’ mother Mary.
This should be enough to prove that the Quran was not divinely inspired. It should prove that Muhammad is the writer/speaker of the Quran. Apparently Islam’s God does not know everything. The God I worship does know everything. He wouldn’t make such a blatant mistake.
I realize that it is hard to comprehend for many people, that God can be God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all at once as one entity. But just because we don’t have the intellect of God doesn’t mean it isn’t true. We, as humans sometimes try to put our intelligence and understanding on God’s level. We are not God. We shouldn’t try to understand everything He does.
What is amazing about the fact that Islam has a problem with Christians because of the Trinity and say that proves that Christians are polytheists (Has more than one God) is the fact that at one time Muhammad said that Allah had a wife and two daughters. Muhammad later recanted and said that it was Satan who had misguided him to say that Allah had a wife and two daughters. If he misunderstood Satan, thinking it was the angel Gabriel, how can anybody say that the entire Quran was not spoken to him from Satan? Muhammad makes up “Revelations” to fit into the situation he is in.
The facts about the trinity are extremely important to the truth and how Muhammad and the entire Islam “Religion” is misguided, based on lies or errors and not following the “REAL” God, so I am including several articles from a few different sources here so you can have an in depth truth about it.
The following is from beholdthebeast.com
A time came in Islamic history when the Muslims faced severe persecution (this has been proven to be a myth) from the unyielding Meccans, so severe in fact, that eighty three of Muhammad’s followers had to flee to Abyssinia (Ethiopia). When the persecution grew worse, Muhammad underwent a moment of despair and made compromising “revelations.” He declared the possibility of Allah having a wife, Al-Lat and two daughters, Al-Uzza and Mannat, asrecorded in Surat an-Najim:
“For truly did he see, the signs of his Lord, the greatest! Have ye
seen Lat, and Uzza, and another, the third [goddess] Manat?
What! For you the male sex, and for him, the female? Behold,
such would be indeed a division most unfair!”
This indirect confession of polytheism made the Meccan pagans
happy. Their bone of contention had been done away with (earlier, he
had fearlessly lashed out against polytheism). The Meccans immediately
lifted the boycott, stopped the persecution, and peace again reigned in
Mecca. The Muslims who had migrated to Ethiopia heard the good news
and returned home. But by then, Muhammad had withdrawn his
confession. It appears that Muhammad realized the far reaching negative
effect his compromise with the polytheists would have on his ministry.
So on at least this one occasion, he admitted that he was actually
inspired by Satan, as we read in Surat al-Hajj:
“Never did we send an Apostle or a prophet before thee but
when he frame a desire, Satan threw some [vanity] into his
desire. But God will cancel anything [vain] that Satan throws in.
And God will confirm [and establish] his signs. For God is full of
knowledge and wisdom, that he may make the suggestions
thrown in by Satan, but a trial. For those in whose hearts is a
disease and who are hardened of heart: Verily the wrong doers
are in a schism far [from truth]”
(Surat al-Hajj 22:52,53).
The Al-Jalalayn interpretation is that after Muhammad recited Surat
an-Najim (Sura 53) before a Council, the angel Gabriel informed him
that the verses were put in his tongue by Satan. Muhammad felt sorry and
confessed his mistakes, supposing a similar fate befell preceding apostles.
Later on Allah annulled these Satanic verses with better “revela-
tions.” As the last part of verse 53 suggests, Allah supposedly permitted
Satanic utterances to be in the Koran to test weak Muslims or to cut off
those who had hardened hearts. Thus, Islam itself regards Sura 53:18-22
to be Satanic, and Muhammad did indeed reject them later.
In this section, we are putting several explanations of the trinity from different sources to help more people understand exactly what it is.
The truth is, this one gross factual error in the Quran should be enough to convince most Muslims that the Quran is a fabrication.
Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son
1 John 2:22
And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?'”…
The trinity is the biggest reason that Muslims do not believe in Jesus Christ. But it is also the easiest way to prove that Muhammad was a false prophet and that the Quran was NOT divinely inspired. Muhammad was illiterate and did not know how to read or write or as proven in the Quran, how to do math. As the above verse from the Quran states, Muhammad thought that the trinity was God, Jesus and Jesus’ mother, Mary.
Christians know that this is inaccurate. The trinity is God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This one verse alone should be able to prove to Muslims that they are following a false religion. But when you take all the other errors and lies in the Quran, it becomes really easy to see that the Quran was written (Transcribed) by Muhammad and nobody else. God, the one who created the universe is NOT illiterate and therefore He would not have made ANY mistakes, let alone probably hundreds that are in the Quran.
This also is the easiest way to prove the fact that Jesus Christ is the one, the only way to Heaven. How do I know that? How can it be proven? What happens to anybody that converts to Islam (or any other religion) When someone says I am going to convert to Islam and become a Muslim, what happens to them? What happens to their soul? Do they feel different? Do they change? Are they bursting with love? The answer to any of those questions is no, nothing changes, except maybe they are filled with hatred and want to hurt people and be involved with Jihad. Now, I am not saying that everybody feels that way but a lot do. Who is the father of hatred? Who is the root of all sins? The only answer to that is Satan. So, it should be very easy to rule out any religion, any belief system that is rooted in hate.
On the other hand, what happens when someone becomes a Christian and prays; “Lord, please forgive me of my sins and please come into my heart and change me. Live within me and lead me to follow your will.” What happens when someone does that? They change and they feel it within their bodies and souls. They feel love for others. They become happier. That is the only way that people will feel that way, feel that change within their souls. I have done a lot of research and watched a lot of videos of former Muslims and people raised in other faiths talking about the change they felt within their souls, How they were filled with LOVE for others, not hatred. Even former terrorists are suddenly filled with love. Their hatred disappears. How do you explain that? The only way to explain it is that Jesus is the son of God. Even the Quran says as much, but most Muslims have never read the Quran and those that have selectively pick the verses they want to make people aware of..
The best resource I found that explains the trinity in a way that I never could is the book, “Understanding Muhammad” by Ali Sina. I recommend very highly that if you want to search for the truth, you buy that book right now. If you don’t have the money, he will probably even give you a copy. Ali Sina is an Iranian who was raised Muslim but when he actually studied the Quran and the Bible, he, like many other Muslims realized that Islam was a false doctrine written by a false prophet. He found that there were no inaccuracies in the Bible as he had been taught while he was being raised as a Muslim.
That is the real reason why Muslims are encouraged to not read the Quran. Because a lot of Muslims will realize that it is full of lies and inaccuracies and turn away from Islam.
Explaining the trinity will be needed at some point when sharing the Gospel to Muslims, who equate trinity with polytheism (having more than one god), as well as to other non-Christians. Explaining the trinity can start with Bible verses that unequivocally declare monotheism:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!”
This declaration from the Old Testament was affirmed by Jesus Himself in the New Testament:
“Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.'”
When Muslims ask why then Christians believe in the trinity, reply by presenting and explaining the verses that declare the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and their oneness with God the Father:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
“Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”
“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me… I and my Father are one.”
Muslims typically raise two objections. Firstly, they cannot comprehend how there is one God in three persons.
Acknowledge that there being one God in three persons is hard to grasp, but ask them if they should believe what God said or what they can comprehend. The former honors God as God; the latter reduces God to what fits into the limited human mind.
If a two-year old boy in an airplane asks how such a big machine can remain in the air and then fails to comprehend the aeronautics explained by an adult, should the boy accept the reality or reject it because it is beyond his comprehension? The gap in intelligence is far greater between God and human beings than between two human beings of different ages.
Secondly, when Muslims protest that their Quran explicitly denies the Christian doctrine of trinity, advise them that Muhammad, who dictated the Quran, was illiterate, had only a vague notion of the Bible and did not even understand correctly what the Bible says about the Trinity: instead of God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, Muhammad mistakenly thought that the Biblical trinity refers to God the Father, Mary and Jesus:
And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?’’
Did Jesus ever tell anyone to treat Mary as a deity?
Of course not. To the contrary, Jesus told people that Mary had nothing to do spiritually with Him and God the Father:
“While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
The Trinity for Dummies
14th May 2014
A Muslim asked me regarding the Trinity. The concept of trinity is one that Muslims can’t get their heads around. It is not because it is difficult to understand but because Muhammad could not understand it. If Muslims understand it, then it becomes evident that they are smarter than their prophet, which proves he was not a prophet of God. Since for them such an idea is inconceivable, they will do everything in their power to not understand. Knowing Muslims I also am sure they will stop reading further as soon as things start making sense and “click.” Because if it clicks they will have no option but to agree that Muhammad was a liar. Few Muslims will read this book to the end and if they do they will do their best not to understand it.
Muhammad’s inability to comprehend the concept of Trinity is evident in the Quran.
“People of the Book, … Do not say that there are three gods. It is better for you to stop believing in the Trinity. There is only One God.”
(Q. 4: 171)
He also made up a conversation between God and Jesus where God Asks Jesus whether he has claimed to be God.
“When God asked Jesus, son of Mary “Did you tell men to consider you and your mother as their god besides me he replied, “Glory be to you!” How could I say what I have no right to say? Had I ever said it, you would have certainly known about it.”
Any rational person will agree that such conversation that would show God’s ignorance of what Jesus was doing and saying behind his back is not likely. Can possibly God be the author of the above verse? Shouldn’t Muslims have at least this much integrity to agree that this verse cannot be possibly a revelation from God? Even Muhammad seems to have been aware of the absurdity of his hair brained story. Why would he then make it up and attribute it to God making the Almighty look like a nut? He repeats his ignorance of the Trinity again:
“Those people who say that God is the third of three are defying [the truth]: there is only One God. If they persist in what they are saying, a painful punishment will afflict those of them who persist. Why do they not turn to God and ask his forgiveness, when God is most forgiving, most merciful? The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a messenger; other messengers had come and gone before him; his mother was a virtuous woman; both ate food. See how clear we make these signs for them; see how deluded they are.”
Apparently Muhammad was quite impressed by himself. In this chapter I am going to make things clear for Muslims to show that the one who was deluded was Muhammad. This chapter is not to prove the Trinity, but to explain the concept of it and show that it is not absurd and contrary to science and reason.
Before explaining the concept of Trinity let me dispel the mystery behind this word. The truth is that everyone is a trinity. Is it not true that each person consists of a mind, a body and a soul? So are you one or three? Your soul, your mind and your body are different dimensions of you. The three is one. Does your trinity challenge your oneness? Another example is space. The width, the height and the depth of space do not contradict its integrity and oneness.
We can understand complex ideas with simple examples. Sun shines on all things. Things become visible when they reflect the light of the sun. All objects absorb some of the light and reflect some. Depending what frequencies they absorb, we see them colorful. There is one object that reflects light in its entirety. That object is the mirror. If you hold a mirror in front of the sun you can see the sun inside the mirror. You can point at the mirror and say that is the sun, and you would be right. You are not talking about the mirror which is made of glass. You are talking of the reflection of the sun in it. This does not mean that the sun is divided in two or has descended physically to enter the mirror. The sun remains intact, while at the same time it can be viewed in the mirror.
Now compare God to the sun and the immaculate soul of Jesus to the mirror. If God is present in the soul of every human, can’t He appear in all His glory in the soul of a sinless man such as Jesus?
We all carry the spirit of God in us. Our soul is the breath of God. Where there is life there is consciousness and all consciousness is from God. There is a piece of God in every living being. All life forms are divine. Since God’s consciousness is present in every creature, to the extent of the perfection of that creature, is it not possible that a perfect man could reflect God’s consciousness more faithfully than others?
When we say Jesus was God, we are not talking about his physical body. We know that he ate and drank like everyone else. So his body was made of the same molecules and atoms that make any other person. We also know that the molecules composing a human body are recycled constantly. Old cells die and new ones are born every day. In seven years, not a single atom in your body will remain the same. So clearly we are not talking about the physical body of Jesus. (Unfortunately many Christians make this mistake, which Muslims take advantage of.) We are talking of his soul, which became the mirror, upon which the spirit of God shined. This example although easy to understand has its flaws, because Jesus was not a reflection of God, He was God walking on earth without God descending from his throne or setting foot on earth. When you copy a file on your hard drive, the copy is the same as the original.
“I and the Father are one.”
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father.”
“He who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me.”
What is the Holy Spirit? In the above example we compared God to sun and Jesus to a mirror. The Holy Spirit can be compared to the rays of the sun that reflect on the mirror. The Holy Spirit made God reflect on Jesus.
Now let us move to science and reason. An object made of matter cannot be divided and maintain its integrity at the same time. If you divide an apple in two, it is no longer one. Objects that are smaller than atom are not subject to this law. Particles are subject to a different set of laws called quantum physics. A Particle can be split in two and still be one. And it can be in the past and the present at once. Particles are not affected by space and time. Space and time are properties of matter and are essentially the same. This means that if you are a particle, you are timeless and all over places, popping in and out of now and here. This is observable. Einstein showed that matter gives birth to time and space. Where there is no matter, there is no space-time.
If consciousness is structured information in the form of energy independent from body, which I believe to be the case, as I have shown here and here, (Follow these Links) it also can’t be subject to the time-space quantum. If the behavior of particles are any clue as to how a timeless and space less world works, then we should assume that our consciousness will be ubiquitous as well as eternal, just like electrons and photons. If particles can be in multiple places, why can’t consciousness? Although it is hard to imagine, it can be understood logically that where there is no time and space, past and future are the same, and here is just as near as the edge of the universe. This means our consciousness can be in two places at the same time, much like the way our thoughts can be in two places at the same time. If this is possible for us, why it should not be so for God?
Another example is information. A teacher can share his knowledge with his students and while the students experience an increase in their knowledge the teacher does not lose any of his. You can’t do that with physical objects. If you give some of your money to another person, in the same proportion that he is enriched you are impoverished.
The essence of God is consciousness. God is not subject to time and space. Once we leave this physical body we also won’t be subject to them. Future and past are present and present is eternity. It is all the same. Here and there will have no meaning. As a spirit you can be in two different places at once. In fact it is not unlikely that you may be in another body at this very moment, living an entirely different life. You may be of different gender, of different age and belong to different race, or even live in a different planet in another galaxy. You may even see yourself in the street and not recognize yourself. Past and future reincarnations are also meaningless. In the spiritual world, there is no past and future. Everything is happening now. This is the weirdness of a world not bound by space-time quantum. We know this through our knowledge of quantum mechanics. Consciousness is also a form of energy that is not subject to the space-time.
If the above is within the realm of possibilities for us, how can God not be able to be in different places at once? How can He be subject to time and space when He is the one who has made them?
The world that you see is a mirage. It is not real. The foundation of this visible world is the sub atomic world. Particles form the matter, and matter gives birth to space and time. God is not made of matter. He is pure consciousness. He can deposit His essence in His creatures without losing any of His own. God is in all of us and yet, He is not diminished. Consciousness, like knowledge, can be shared and given away without being reduced. Therefore, if God is said to be in Jesus, the oneness of God is not affected. He is not split in two nor is He diminished. God is one and at the same time He can be three, and even millions. In fact God is infinite. Every life form is a manifestation of God. If you see the sun reflected in millions of mirrors, it does not mean the sun is divided in pieces. This should also make clear the concept of multitudes of deities in Hinduism. Despite believing in two million gods, Hindus are monotheists. But Muslims will never understand this mystery, even when it is so simple.
Consciousness is another term for spirit. All living beings are conscious because they have the spirit of God in them. The difference between Jesus and us is only in degrees. We can say he was like a mirror, reflecting God’s consciousness in its full glory, while we are like other objects reflecting Him partially.
With this explanation, it is clear that Muhammad did not know the nature of God. Had he known that God is consciousness he would not have had any difficulty understanding the concept of Trinity. If God were a person made of matter like us, then Muhammad would have been right. This proves he had no spiritual insight. Despite being a superbly cunning man, spiritually he was a dunce. Muslims who bring up the argument of Trinity to beat up Christians are just showing their own spiritual ignorance.
Not only Muhammad did not understand the concept of Trinity, he was also confused about the doctrine itself. He thought the three persons representing the Trinity are Jesus, Mary and God. That is because his knowledge of the Bible was second hand. Being an illiterate man he had not read the Bible himself. He just passed on stories from people who claimed to be Christian but did not know or understand Christianity.
The above is my understanding of the Trinity. I am not speaking on behalf of Christians. I know many Christians are also confused about the Trinity and they believe in it as a dogma. I am a rationalist not a dogmatic. I rejected God for lack of reason and now I believe in God through reason. Therefore my views of God may differ from those who have blind faith.
More evidence from the weird world of quantum entanglement
Another peculiarity of a world that is not subject to space and time can be seen in quantum entanglement. One particle can split and the two parts can become intertwined so that they always share the same properties, even if they’re separated by billions of light years. If you then affect a change of status in one of them, its counterpart will be affected instantly even if it is on the other side of the universe. This is what Einstein called the spooky action at a distance.
Since our notion of reality is based on space and time it is difficult for us to make sense of it. However, quantum entanglement opens a new door to the understanding of the subatomic world. This so called spooky action is not the property of particles; it is rather a characteristic of the timeless and spaceless world.
Particles are energy. Thoughts and consciousness are also energy. Since they are not subject to space and time, they must behave similarly. Therefore, it is not irrational to say that consciousness/spirit can split in two, like particles, and remain entangled. One part can come to Earth as Jesus and the other part remain in the immaterial world as God. They are not half of each other. Each part is whole and undivided and both are one.
We have no way of understanding the spiritual world, but quantum physics is a window into a different world that does not follow the Newtonian laws of physics. This allows us to think differently, unrestrained by the constraints of the atomic world of matter. And when we do that, we don’t have to base our belief in God on faith but on reason and science. Quantum physics is the science of the immaterial and spiritual world. The world we learn about quantum physics the more we know about our spiritual reality.
The Quran and the Holy Trinity
Islam’s Mistaken Views of Basic Christian Doctrines
As the readers may already know, a cursory reading of the Islamic scripture shows that the author of the Quran distorted or was grossly mistaken about the beliefs of Jews and Christians. For example, the author accuses Christians of holding certain theological and christological beliefs that do not correspond to the facts. The Quran erroneously assumes and condemns Christians for believing in three gods consisting of the Father, Mary his wife, and Jesus their offspring. Thus, the Quran erroneously assumes that the implication of Christian beliefs is that God acquired a son through procreation, that God and Mary had sexual relations in order to have Jesus their Son (God forbid such horrendous blasphemy!).
These distortions of biblical teaching and historic Christian beliefs are well known and often commented on by Christian writers, evangelists, apologists, polemicists, scholars etc. They are even admitted by secular writers and sources.
One such writer was the late Christian scholar and Islamicist E.M. Wherry, who commented on the Quran’s distortion of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in his A Comprehensive Commentary of the Quran. In reference to Sura 4:169 Wherry wrote:
Say not… three, “Namely, God, Jesus, Mary. For the Eastern writers mention a sect of Christians which held the Trinity to be composed of those three; but it is allowed that this heresy has been long since extinct (Elmacin, p. 227). The passage, however, is equally levelled against the Holy Trinity, according to the doctrine of the orthodox Christians, who, as Al Baidhawi acknowledges, believe the divine nature to consist of three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; by the Father, understanding God’s essence; by the Son, his knowledge; and by the Holy Ghost, his life.” – Sale.
See also Prelim. Disc., p. 64.
The commentators Baidhawi, Jalaluddin, and Yahya agree in interpreting the three to mean “God, Jesus, and Mary,” in the relation of Father, Mother, and Son. This misrepresentation of the Scripture doctrine again stamps the Qur’an as a fabrication, and furnishes the evidence of its being such on the ground of its own claims. The history of the Church, as well as the Bible, proves the statement of the text, as interpreted by authoritative commentators, to be false; for even granting that some obscure Christian sect did hold such a doctrine of the Trinity (of which statement we have yet to learn the truth), yet the spirit of Muhammad’s inspiration represents it as the faith of the Christians generally. In almost every case where the Qur’an refers to the Christian faith, it is to inveigh against the idea that God has a son. See chap. ix. 31, xix. 31, xliii. 59. (Source)
Christian author and apologist Dr. Robert A. Morey noted that:
The Quran contains many errors about what Christians believe and practice.
One of the most significant is that the Quran misrepresents the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
Muhammad mistakenly thought that Christians worshiped three gods: the Father, the Mother (Mary), and the Son (Jesus), (Sura 5:73-75,116).
As Richard Bell pointed out:
[Muhammad] never understood the doctrine of the Trinity.
Encyclopedia Britannica states:
[There are] mistaken concepts of the Trinity in the Quran.
… In reality, Christians believe only in one God who is in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They do not believe that Mary is a part of the Trinity.
Even the Concise Dictionary of Islam admits:
In some cases the “material” which forms the substance of Quranic narrative, details of the creeds of Christianity and Judaism for example, does not correspond to those religion’s own understanding of their beliefs. This could be said, for example, of the notion of the Trinity found in the Quran, the story of Satan’s refusal to bow down to Adam, the Docetist view of the crucifixion, all of which can be traced to the dogmas of Gnostic sects, which are heretical in relationship to orthodox Christianity and Judaism. The Trinity “seen” in the Quran is not the Trinity of the Apostles Creed, or of the Nicene Creed. (Morey, The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World’s Fastest Growing Religion [Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 1992], pp. 152-153)
Noted Protestant Church historian and Patristic expert Philip Schaff wrote regarding Muhammad’s mistaken views:
In rude misconception or wilful perversion, Mohammed seems to have understood the Christian doctrine of the trinity to be a trinity of Father, Mary, and Jesus. The Holy Spirit is identified with Gabriel. “God is only one God! Far be it from his glory that he should have a son!” Sura 4, ver. 169; comp. 5, ver. 77. The designation and worship of Mary as “the mother of God” may have occasioned this strange mistake. There was in Arabia in the fourth century a sect of fanatical women called Collyridians (Kollurivde”), who rendered divine worship to Mary. Epiphanius, Haer. 79. (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume IV, Chapter III, “Mohammedanism in its Relation to Christianity”, fn. 188; source)
Another Christian Islamicist named Richard Bell stated:
On the other hand, there are considerable differences between the Qur’an and the New Testament. It should be noted, however, that so far as the actual statements of the Qur’an are concerned, the differences are not so great as they are sometimes supposed to be. Modern scholars, Christian and Muslim, tend to read later controversies into the wording of the Qur’an. Thus the rejection of the doctrine that ‘God is one of three’ [5.73/7] is usually taken to be a denial of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity; yet strictly speaking what is rejected is a doctrine of tritheism which orthodox Christianity also rejects. Similarly the rejection of the fatherhood of God the Father and the sonship of God the Son is strictly speaking a rejection of fatherhood and sonship in a physical sense; and this Christianity would also reject. The Virgin Birth is taught [19.16-33/4], but is interpreted simply as a miracle. The denial that Jesus died on the cross [4.157/6-159/7] is primarily a denial that the crucifixion was a Jewish victory; but, in line with the absence of the conception of sacrifice, it means that the Qur’an never speaks of the atonement or saving work of Jesus. (Bell’s Introduction to the Quran, revised by Montgomery Watt, Chapter 9, “The Doctrines of the Qur’an”; source; underline emphasis ours)
Before we begin looking at what the Quran teaches regarding the Christian Trinity, it needs to be mentioned that the precise theological term used at the time by Arabic speaking Christians for the blessed Trinity was(is) Al-Aqanim-Al-Thalatha (lit., “the Hypostases, the Three”, or “the Three Hypostases”).
The Quran neither mentions this expression nor comes remotely close to accurately defining what Christians meant by it. As we shall now see, the Quran erroneously claims that Christians believe God is “the third of three,” with Jesus and Mary comprising the other two:
O followers of the Book! do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not speak (lies) against Allah, but (speak) the truth; the Messiah, Isa son of Marium is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Marium and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His apostles, and say not, Three (thalathatun). Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one God; far be It from His glory that He should have a son, whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His, and Allah is sufficient for a Protector. S. 4:171
They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say: Who then can do aught against Allah, if He had willed to destroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his motherand everyone on earth? Allah’s is the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He createth what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things. S. 5:17
They are unbelievers who say, ‘God is the Messiah, Mary’s son.’ For the Messiah said, ‘Children of Israel, serve God, my Lord and your Lord. Verily whoso associates with God anything, God shall prohibit him entrance to Paradise, and his refuge shall be the Fire; and wrongdoers shall have no helpers.’ They are unbelievers who say, ‘God is the Third of Three (thalithu thalathatin). No god is there but One God. If they refrain not from what they say, there shall afflict those of them that disbelieve a painful chastisement. Will they not turn to God and pray His forgiveness? God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. The Messiah, son of Mary, was only a Messenger; Messengers before him passed away; his mother was a just woman; they both ate food. Behold, how We make clear the signs to them; then behold, how they perverted are! S. 5:70-75
The above passages presuppose that when Christians say God is three they meant God, Jesus and Mary. After all, why bother mentioning that Mary ate food and that Allah could destroy her if he wanted? Doesn’t this assume that she cannot be a god or goddess if she had to eat and could be annihilated? The next passage should help erase any doubts that this is what the Quran means by all this:
And when God said, ‘O Jesus son of Mary, didst thou say unto men, “Take me and my mother as gods, apart from God“?’ He said, ‘To Thee be glory! It is not mine to say what I have no right to. If I indeed said it, Thou knowest it, knowing what is within my soul, and I know not what is within Thy soul; Thou knowest the things unseen I only said to them what Thou didst command me: “Serve God, my Lord and your Lord.” And I was a witness over them, while I remained among them; but when Thou didst take me to Thyself, Thou wast Thyself the watcher over them; Thou Thyself art witness of everything.’ S. 5:116-117
In fact, according to the earliest Muslim biographer Ibn Ishaq the Quran was specifically correcting this erroneous belief in God, Mary and Jesus as three separate divinities. In his work, Sirat Rasulullah, Ishaq states that a Christian deputation from Najran came to debate Muhammad on the person of Jesus. Accordingly, these Christians allegedly believed that Jesus,
“is God; and He is the son of God; and He is the third Person of the Trinity, which is the doctrine of Christianity.” (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, tenth impression 1995], p. 271; bold emphasis ours)
He goes on to say that,
“They argue that he is the third of three in that God says: We have done, We have commanded, We have created and We have decreed, and they say, If He were one He would have said I have done, I have created, and so on, but He is He and Jesus and Mary. Concerning all these assertions the Quran came down.” (Ibid., pp. 271-272; bold emphasis ours)
Another renowned Muslim commentator al-Zamakhshari candidly admitted that this passage was attacking the belief in Father, Mary and Jesus as three gods:
The (word) three is the predicate to an understood subject. If one accepts the Christian view that God exists in one nature (jauhar) with three divine persons, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and (if one accept) the opinion that the person of the Father represents (God’s) being (dhat), the person of the Son represents (his) knowledge (‘ilm), and the person of the Holy Spirit represents (his) life (hayat), then one must supply the subject as follows: ‘God is three(fold).’ Otherwise, one must supply (the subject) thus: ‘The gods are three.’ ACCORDING TO THE EVIDENCE OF THE QUR’AN, the Christians maintain that God, Christ, and Mary are three gods, and that Christ is the child of God by Mary, AS GOD SAYS (in the Qur’an): ‘O Jesus son of Mary, didst thou say unto men: “Take me and my mother as gods, apart from God”?’ (Sura 5:116), or: ‘The Christians say: “The Messiah is the Son of God”’ (Sura 9:30). Moreover, it is well known that the Christians maintain that in Jesus are (combined) a divine nature derived from the Father and a human nature derived from his mother… At the same time these words [Sura 4:171] exclude (the Christian view) that Jesus had with God the usual relationship between sons and (their) fathers… (Helmut Gätje, The Qur’an and its Exegesis [Oneworld Publications, 1996], pp. 126-127; bold, capital and underline emphasis and words within brackets ours)
The errors made by Ibn Ishaq and al-Zamakhshari regarding what Christians truly believe becomes apparent to anyone familiar with the basics of the Christian faith. In the first place, orthodox Christians have never taken Mary as a goddess alongside God. If the Quran were referring to a heretical group of Christians known as the Maryamites this would then serve to strengthen the position that these verses do not address Trinitarians, but apostates that deviated from the true faith. More on this shortly.
This also calls into question the whole episode of Ibn Ishaq’s report on the Christians from Najran and their beliefs. These Christians were either heretics, and if so then Ibn Ishaq is wrong for claiming that their belief that Jesus was the third of three is the doctrine of Christianity since these Christians do not speak on behalf of all of Christendom. Or the whole story was fabricated in order to present Muhammad and the Muslims in a favorable light, as well as to present the Christians very negatively.
Second, we have already indicated that the historic Christian teaching has never been that God is three or the third of three, which would be tritheism (three separate gods forming a unity) as opposed to Trinity (Tri-unity), ONE God who exists in Three distinct yet inseparable Persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).
Third, orthodox Christians have never taught as part of their doctrine that Jesus is the third Person of the Trinity. Rather, he is the Second Person, with the Holy Spirit being the third Person of the Godhead (cf. Matthew 28:19).
Fourth, Muslims believe that Allah of the Quran is the same as God the Father of the Holy Bible since they do not believe in God the Son, Jesus Christ, or in God the Holy Spirit (whom Muslims believe is the angel Gabriel). This again causes a problem since if Allah is indeed the same Person as God the Father then the Quran is wrong in saying that Christians believe that the Father is the third of three. Christians teach that the Father is the First Person of the One True Godhead, not the third deity of three gods.
These errors of the Quran are so egregious and embarrassing that some Muslims end up deliberately distorting the translation in order to hide them. The late Abdullah Yusuf Ali is a case in point:
… Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for God is one God… S. 4:171
… They do blaspheme who say: God is one of three in a Trinity: for there is no god except One God… S. 5:73
As Dr. Morey noted regarding Ali’s deliberate distortion of these texts:
The Quran is so clearly erroneous at this point that Muslims such as Yusuf Ali must mistranslate the Quran to get away from it! (Ibid., p. 153)
The late Muhammad Asad followed this tradition of Quranic distortion:
FOLLOWERS of the Gospel! Do not overstep the bounds [of truth] in your religious beliefs, and do not say of God anything but the truth. The Christ Jesus, son of Mary, was but God’s Apostle – [the fulfilment of] His promise which He had conveyed unto Mary – and a soul created by Him (wa ruhun minhu). Believe, then, in God and His apostles, and do not say, “[God is] a trinity”. Desist [from this assertion] for your own good. God is but One God; utterly remote is He, in His glory, from having a son: unto Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth; and none is as worthy of trust as God. S. 4:171
Here, Asad distorts the text in two ways. First, he rendered the Arabic expression ruhin minhu as “a soul created by Him” in order to mask the fact that Jesus is said to be a Spirit which proceeded from Allah. The text says nothing about Jesus being created. Second he renders the Arabic word thalathatun as trinity, much like Ali had done. The translation of the next passage is even worse than the above:
Indeed, the truth deny they who say, “Behold, God is the third of a trinity” – seeing that there is no deity whatever save the One God. And unless they desist from this their assertion, grievous suffering is bound to befall such of them as are bent on denying the truth. S. 5:73
As we clearly proved, historic Christianity has never taught that God (in this case the Father) is the third of a trinity! God is one eternal Being, and the Father is the first Person of the Trinity.
Fifth, the Quran also distorts Christian beliefs regarding the Person of Christ when it accuses Christians of saying that God, or Allah, is the Christ. The historic Christian position is that Jesus is God, which is not the same as saying that God is Jesus. The former implies that Christ is fully God in essence; that he has the entire essential attributes of Deity and is all that God is, whereas the latter suggests that Christ is the only one that is God. In other words, saying that God is Jesus means that the entire Godhead is instantiated in Christ alone to the exclusion of the Father and the Holy Spirit, or that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are nothing more than manifestations of a single Divine Person. This latter understanding would imply that Christ is all three manifestations, which is a form of an ancient heresy known as Sabellianism which was condemned by the early Church.
This precision in theological language is not a modern invention or polemic, nor is it simply a matter of splitting hairs, but an essential difference and position held by orthodox Christians even before Muhammad’s time. As Muslim author Neal Robinson noted in reference to an ancient Nestorian reference:
… The text which dates from around 550 CE. concludes a discussion of the Trinity with the words ‘The Messiah is God but God is not the Messiah’. The Qur’an echoes only the latter half of the statement. C. Schedl, Muhammad and Jesus (Vienna: Herder, 1978), p. 531. (Robinson, Christ In Islam and Christianity [State University of New York Press, Albany 1991], p. 197; bold emphasis ours)
Finally, the Quran assumes that Jesus could only be the offspring of God and Mary if God had physically sired him. The Quran’s basic argument is that God cannot have a son since he has no wife, which means Jesus could only be his Son if Mary was God’s wife:
And they make the jinn associates with Allah, while He created them, and they falsely attribute to Him sons and daughters without knowledge; glory be to Him, and highly exalted is He above what they ascribe (to Him). Wonderful Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a son when He has no consort, and He (Himself) created everything, and He is the Knower of all things. S. 6:100-101
The truth is that – exalted be the Majesty of our Lord – HE has taken unto Himself neither wife nor son, S. 72:3
Anyone reading the Holy Bible and who has studied Christian teaching already knows that this claim is just as blasphemous and insulting to Christians as it is to Muslims. Christ’s relationship with the Father has absolutely nothing to do with physical procreation, but refers to an eternal and purely eternal spiritual relationship between them.
Norman Geisler and Abdul Saleeb stated regarding this gross distortion of biblical teaching:
The Bible refers to Christ as the “only begotten” Son of God (John 1:18; cf. 3:16). However, Muslim scholars often misconstrue this in a fleshly, carnal sense of someone literally begetting children. For them, to beget implies a physical act. This they believe is absurd, since God is a Spirit with no body. As the noted Muslim apologist Deedat contends, “He [God] does not beget because begetting is an animal act. It belongs to the lower animal act of sex. We do not attribute such an act to God.” For the Islamic mind begetting is creating and “God cannot create another God. … He cannot create another uncreated.” The foregoing statements reveal the degree to which the biblical concept of Christ’s son ship is misunderstood by Muslim scholars. For no orthodox Christian scholar believes that “begat” is to be equated with “made” or “create.” No wonder Dawud concludes that from a “Muslim point of belief the Christian dogma concerning the eternal birth or generation of the Son is blasphemy.”
However, this extreme reaction to Christ’s eternal Son ship is both unnecessary and unfounded. The phrase “only begotten” does not refer to physical generation but to a special relationship with the Father. Like the biblical phrase “Firstborn” (Col. 1:15), it means priority in rank, not in time (cf. vs. 16-17). It could be translated, as the New International Version does, God’s “One and Only” Son. It does not imply creation by the Father but unique relation to him. Just as an earthly father and son have a special filial relationship, even so the eternal Father and his eternal Son are uniquely related. It does not refer to any physical generation but to an eternal procession from the Father. Just as for Muslims the Word of God (Qur’an) is not identical to God but eternally proceeds from him, even so for Christians, Christ, as God’s “Word” (4:171) eternally proceeds from him. Words like “generation” and “procession” are used by Christians of Christ in a filial and relational sense, not in a carnal and physical sense.
Misunderstanding of Christ’s sonship reaches an apex when some Muslim scholars confuse it with the virgin Birth. Nazir-Ali notes that “in the Muslim mind the generation of the Son often means his birth of the Virgin Mary.” … With such a carnal misrepresentation of a spiritual reality, little wonder Muslims reject the Christian concept of eternal Father and Son. (Geisler & Saleeb,Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross [Baker Books, Grand Rapids MI; updated and revised, second edition 2002], pp. 263-264)
For more on why the Quran’s reasoning regarding God needing a wife in order to have a son is simply fallacious please read this article.
As it stands, the Quran nowhere addresses or condemns the historic Christian doctrine of the Trinity or the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, but badly distorts Christian beliefs. In light of these facts, why do Muslims bother attacking the Trinity when their own religious text gives them no warrant to do so?
The Quran and the Collyridian Connection
Some Muslims try to look for a Christian group that they can connect with the Quran’s attacks so as to avoid having to admit that the Quran is in error. By appealing to certain Christian authors and sources, Muslims think that they have found such a group. Among the fourth century heretics there was one particular Arabian sect known as the Collyridians who were infamous for their worship of Mary as a goddess. Muslims feel that this may in fact be the sect which the Quran is addressing.
There are several immediate problems with this position. In the first place, this was an early sect which was already condemned by the Church at large. Second, there is no evidence that this group flourished till the time of Muhammad.
As Roman Catholic writer and apologist Patrick Madrid writes:
Most of the early heresies were Trinitarian and christological in nature, but there was, early on, a now obscure heresy that sought to deify the Blessed Virgin Mary. This movement was known as Collyridianism.
Little is known about Collyridian theology – few of the early Church Fathers mention the sect, even indirectly – and what little we do know is sketchy and very general. Not even the names of the group’s leaders are mentioned by writers of the time. But one thing we do know for sure from the evidence that does exist: The early Church was horrified by the very idea of a Christian worshipping Mary or in any way rendering to her the adoration (Greek: latria) due to God alone. Such horror should be the reaction of any Catholic today when faced with a similar problem. An examination of the Collyridian heresy will serve as a reminder for us today the Catholic Church’s strenuous teaching that we should honor and venerate Mary, but never adore her (or any other creature).
The Collyridians were known for their excessive Marian devotion which developed into the outright idolatry of “Mary worship.” This aberration grew out of the Church’s rightful veneration of Mary as ever-virgin, Mother of God, and powerful heavenly intercessor, but it crossed the line of orthodoxy when certain Christians began to worship Mary as divine.
Details about the Collyridians are so scanty that one of the few specifics we know of them is that at their liturgical service bread was offered as a sacrifice to Mary. The historical evidence shows that a strong and widespread practice of orthodox devotion to Mary (described by the theologians of that day as hyper-dulia: a Greek term meaning the highest form of veneration that can be offered to a creature) by the 300s, but its remarkable that very few disputes arose on issues pertaining directly to her or her role in the Church… The Collyridians heresy was very simple: They worshiped Mary. This was in direct conflict with the Catholic Church’s condemnation of idolatry, as well as the Lord’s condemnation (Ex. 20:3-5). This proscription applied not just to statue worship but to the worship of anything besides God… It’s ironic that the most diligent opponent of the Collyridians was Epiphanius (315-403), the bishop of Salamis… The vehemence of his opposition to the Collyridians’ idolatry was rivaled by his fanatical opposition to icons…
Epiphanius wrote against the Collyridians in his apologetics work, Panarion (Greek: Medicine Box [A.D. 374-377]), a tour de force refutation of over eighty heresies he was aware of. Interestingly, he refuted the two extreme and diametrically opposed Marian heresies of his day, Collyridianism (which overly exalted Mary) and Antidicomarianitism, an Arabian movement that debased Mary’s status and virtues, to the point of claiming “that holy Mary had intercourse with a man, that is to say, Joseph, after the birth of Christ.”
The Collyridians were mainly women, who developed a syncretistic combination of Catholicism and pagan Goddess cults customs. After describing the “awful and blasphemous ceremony” in which these women would adorn a chair or a square throne and spread a linen cloth over it for their ritual, Epiphanius writes,
“Certain women there in Arabia have introduced this absurd teaching from Thracia: how they offer up a sacrifice of bread roles in the name of the Ever-Virgin Mary, and all partake of this bread.”
He emphasizes the difference between Mary (the holiest, most perfect creature, but a creature nonetheless), and God:
“It is not right to honor the saints beyond their due … Now the body of Mary was indeed holy, but it was not God; the Virgin was indeed virgin and revered, but she was not given to us [by God] for worship, but she herself worshipped Him who was born in the flesh from her…. Honor Mary, but let the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be worshipped, but let no one worship Mary, … even though Mary is most beautiful and holy and venerable, yet she is not to be worshipped.”
The bottom line is this: Anyone who worships Mary or any other creature is committing idolatry and must be rebuked. We should look to Scripture, at the case of the angel who rebuked John for his temptation to idolatry, to see how to admonish modern-day Collyridians:
“At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God!’” (Rev. 19:10).
Our Lady herself would say this to any who would seek to worship her. (Madrid, Any Friend of God’s Is a Friend of Mine: A biblical and historical explanation of the Catholic doctrine of the Communion of the Saints [Basilica Press, San Diego, CA 1996], pp. 108-113)
Philip Schaff wrote regarding this marginal sect:
Epiphanius, in his seventy-eighth Heresy, combats the advocates of the opposite view in Arabia toward the end of the fourth century (367), as heretics under the title of Antidikomarianites, opposers of the dignity of Mary, i.e., of her perpetual virginity. But, on the other hand, he condemns, in the seventy-ninth Heresy, the contemporaneous sect of the Collyridians in Arabia, a set of fanatical women, who, as priestesses, rendered divine worship to Mary, and, perhaps in imitation of the worship of Ceres, offered little cakes (kollurivde”) to her; he claims adoration for God and Christ alone. Jerome wrote, about 383, with indignation and bitterness against Helvidius and Jovinian, who, citing Scripture passages and earlier church teachers, like Tertullian, maintained that Mary bore children to Joseph after the birth of Christ. He saw in this doctrine a desecration of the temple of the Holy Ghost, and he even compares Helvidius to Erostratus, the destroyer of the temple at Ephesus. The bishop Bonosus of Sardica was condemned for the same view by the Illyrican bishops, and the Roman bishop Siricius approved the sentence, a.d. 392…
The first instance of the formal invocation of Mary occurs in the prayers of Ephraim Syrus († 379), addressed to Mary and the saints, and attributed by the tradition of the Syrian church, though perhaps in part incorrectly, to that author. The first more certain example appears in Gregory Nazianzen († 389), who, in his eulogy on Cyprian, relates of Justina that she besought the virgin Mary to protect her threatened virginity, and at the same time disfigured her beauty by ascetic self-tortures, and thus fortunately escaped the amours of a youthful lover (Cyprian before his conversion). But, on the other hand, the numerous writings of Athanasius, Basil, Chrysostom, and Augustine, furnish no example of an invocation of Mary. Epiphanius even condemned the adoration of Mary, and calls the practice of making offerings to her by the Collyridian women, blasphemous and dangerous to the soul. The entire silence of history respecting the worship of the Virgin down to the end of the fourth century, proves clearly that it was foreign to the original spirit of Christianity, and belongs among the many innovations of the post-Nicene age. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume III, Chapter VII, “PUBLIC WORSHIP AND RELIGIOUS CUSTOMS AND CEREMONIES.”; source)
The Christians belonged mostly to the various heretical sects which were expelled from the Roman empire during the violent doctrinal controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries. We find there traces of Arians, Sabellians, Ebionites, Nestorians, Eutychians, Monophysites, Marianites, and Collyridians or worshippers of Mary. Anchorets and monks settled in large numbers in Wady Feiran around Mount Serbal, and Justinian laid the foundation of the Convent of St. Catharine at the foot of Mount Sinai, which till the year 1859 harbored the oldest and most complete uncial manuscript of the Greek Scriptures of both Testaments from the age of Constantine. But it was a very superficial and corrupt Christianity which had found a home in those desert regions, where even the apostle Paul spent three years after his conversion in silent preparation for his great mission. (Schaff, Volume IV, Chapter III, “Mohammedanism in its Relation to Christianity”: source)
More importantly, even if such a group did exist during Muhammad’s time this still provides no justification for the Quran spending most of its focus on such an insignificant, marginal sect that had already been condemned by the Church universal. This is especially problematic when we realize that the Quran nowhere defines and/or condemns what the official historic doctrine of the Trinity teaches, or at least acknowledge that this is what the majority of Christians believed at that time.
As Geisler and Saleeb put it:
Islamic misunderstanding of the Trinity is encouraged by the words of Muhammad who said, “O Jesus, son of Mary! didst thou say unto mankind: Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?” (5:119).
Even Christians living hundreds of years before Muhammad condemned such a gross misunderstanding of the sonship of Christ. The Christian writer Lactantius, writing about A.D. 306, said: “He who hears the words ‘Son of God’ spoken must not conceive in his mind such great wickedness as to fancy that God procreated through marriage and union with any female, – a thing which is not done except by an animal possessed of a body and subject to death.” Furthermore, “since God is alone with whom could He unite? or [sic], since He was of such great might as to be able to accomplish whatever He wished, He certainly had no need for the comradeship of another for the purpose of creating.” In summation, the Muslim rejection of the eternal sonship of Christ is based on a serious misunderstanding of the Christian concept of what it means for Christ to be God’s Son. “Son” should be understood in a figurative sense (like the Arabic word, ibn), not in a physical sense (as in the Arabic word, walad). (Answering Islam, pp. 264-265)
It is equivalent to a person today writing about Muslims and Islam and accusing them of believing that Allah is actually a black man that appeared as a white man named Master Fard Muhammad, with the whites being a devil race created by an evil scientist named Yakub (the official beliefs of the Nation of Islam) without ever addressing what orthodox Islam officially teaches.
Finally, if the Quran were in fact refuting such a marginalized group then this only proves that the Islamic scripture nowhere condemns the doctrine of the Blessed and Holy Trinity.
The Quran and the Adoptionist Heresy
Another Muslim gentleman tried to deny that the Quran erroneously teaches that Christians believe that God had relations with Mary in order to physically beget Jesus as his Son. One Muslim named Tiger Chan, in his response to Christian apologist and writer Matt Slick’s paper on the Quran’s understanding of Christian beliefs stated:
Does the Qur’an teach that Christians believe as such; that Jesus as “Son of God” in the literal and biological sense? Lets take a look at some verses of the Qur’an …
Note that the Qur’an says:
wa qalu ittakhaza Ar-Rahmanu walad(an)
And they say “The Most Gracious had taken a son”.
The Arabic verb form of the singular tense is “ittakhaza” which means, to take, adopt (according to Hans-Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary). There is no meaning that “ittakhaza” also mean “to beget”.
The Arabic-Arabic Dictionary “Al-Mu’tamad” which is an adaptation of “Lisan-ul-Arab”, an Arabic lexicon, has “ittakhaza” to mean as “ittakhaza fulan(an) Sadeeq(an)” i.e., he has taken so and so as a friend. That means “ittakhaza” in the Arabic usage is “has taken”, not “has begotten”.
What the Qur’an says is that Christians who believe in the doctrine of Trinity are saying that God “had taken a son”. The doctrine of Trinity has it that the 3 Persons of the Godhead are..God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The 3 Persons of the Godhead are co-equal in essence and attributes. God the Father “takes” Jesus as “the Son”, that’s why Jesus is called the Son, God the Father is called the Father. This is a divine relationship calling (that “taking”) the 3 Persons as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In the Qur’anic sense, the term “ittakhaza” is pointing out that there is no such thing as God taking anything as having the status of sonship. The verse Qur’an 19:88 negates such a doctrine as in the doctrine of Trinity. It rejects just any form of sonship. The Qur’an doesn’t say that Christians believe Jesus is the literal biological son of God, it rejects just any inkling to relating sonship to God. Another verse in the Qur’an confirms this,
wa qaalat Al-Yahoud wa An-Nasara nahnu abna’ullahi wa ahibba’uh.
and the Jews and Christians say that “we are the sons of God and His beloved”
Does the verse Qur’an 5:18 mean to say that the Jews and Christrians[sic] believe that they are literal and biological sons of God? Surely not!! The Qur’an finds that such a claim attributing just any form of sonship to God is repugnant and erroneous. Just as saying that Jesus as “Son of God” is erroneous, which belies God’s divine majesty. God has no need of any sonship. Except that He needs all his creatures to be his slaves/servants as we have “Abdullah” i.e., the slave/servant of God. The term “Ibnullah” i.e., son of God is not acceptable to God.
Mr. Chan’s argument only reinforces our earlier claim that the Quran nowhere condemns the historic Christian view of the Trinity. The author has basically proven that the Quran only condemns another Christian heresy known as adoptionism. This heresy and biblical perversion taught(teaches) that Christ only became God’s Son at some point in time by adoption. God basically adopted, or “took”, Christ as a Son during his earthly life, with the most popular view teaching that this occurred during Jesus’ baptism by John.
There is a Quranic verse that seems to support Mr. Chan’s position:
What! has He taken daughters out of what He himself creates, and granted to you sons for choice? S. 43:16 Y. Ali
The text denies that Allah has taken female creatures to be his daughters, which presupposes that the verb “taken” refers to the act of God adopting persons from creation. The author’s quote of Sura 5:18 further supports this view since Jews and Christians believed they were God’s children via adoption, through their covenant relationship with God. They do not believe that they are God’s children as a result of a sexual union between God and a wife.
This may be one reason why Allah is against Muslims adopting children:
God has not assigned to any man two hearts within his breast; nor has He made your wives, when you divorce, saying, ‘Be as my mother’s back,’ truly your mothers, neither has He made your adopted sons your sons in fact. That is your own saying, the words of your mouths; but God speaks the truth, and guides on the way. Call them after their true fathers; that is more equitable in the sight of God. If you know not who their fathers were, then they are your brothers in religion, and your clients. There is no fault in you if you make mistakes, but only in what your hearts premeditate. God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. S. 33:4-5
It seems that the author is basing this on the position that since Allah doesn’t adopt neither should Muslims!
But since historic Christianity does not teach that God took Jesus to be his Son via adoption, but that Christ has always been God’s Son, Mr. Chan has only managed to prove that the Quran is simply condemning Christian heretics who erroneously believed that Jesus was a human creature whom God had adopted at some point in time! Thus, if Chan is correct then there is nothing in the Quran that refutes or denies the historic Christian doctrine of the Blessed and Holy Trinity. It only condemns heretical views of this blessed truth.
Yet unfortunately for Mr. Chan, we shall now see that his assertion regarding the verb ittakhaza not referring to biological procreation doesn’t bear out. He writes next:
Should the meaning of “ittakhaza” also mean “begotten”, then in the Qur’an itself we have a verse like …
wa annahu ta’alaa jaddu Rabbina ma ittakhaza sahibat(an) wa la walad(an)
Which when taking “ittakhaza” as “begotten”, the verse above will be translated as “and exalted is the Majesty of our Lord! He has not begotten either a wife or a son” which in this sense, the Arabic “ittakhaza” translated as begotten is VERY ABSURD !!! The correct translation should be, “and exalted is the Majesty of our Lord! He has not taken either a wife or a son”.
The bottom line is, the Qur’an does not teach that Christians believe that Jesus is literal biological Son of God. It rejects any form of sonship related to God. Sometimes its the problem with dubious translations and many Muslims make this kind of mistakes by relying too much on a translation without looking at the Arabic sense.
Mr. Chan’s argument backfires against him. He is essentially saying that it is nonsensical to assume that the verb “taken” means “begotten” since this would imply that Allah begot a wife as well. But Mr. Chan forgot to realize that it is equally nonsensical to assume that the verb refers to adoption since this would mean that Allah took a wife by adopting her!
In English one can say, “First I took my final exam, then I took a camera and took some pictures, then I took the bus to the court house where I took my highschool love to be my wife”, or even use only one instance of the word “take” and say, “I took a wife and my final exam on the same day”. This does not mean that the verb “to take” means the exact same thing each time it is used. It is a very general verb with a broad meaning, in both English and Arabic. The meaning is determined by the context and the object that “is taken”.
Therefore, the example provided by Mr. Chan doesn’t rule out the possibility that Allah acquired a son through sexual procreation. After all, we know that the only way that Allah could take a wife is by marrying a woman. Likewise, the Quran assumes that the only way Allah could take a son is by having a wife, which means that the verb shouldn’t be understood as denying a sexual act occurred. Rather, the context of the Quran shows that the verb “taken” refers to Allah acquiring a son by sexual intercourse, i.e. that Allah could only take a son by sexual procreation with a consort. But since Allah has no wife and doesn’t have sex he therefore could not have taken and can never take a son.
We do agree with Mr. Chan on one thing. The Quran does deny that Allah can have sons in any sense, whether in a biological or in a purely spiritual manner, since it erroneously assumes that Allah could only have a son if he has sex with a consort.
|Understanding the Biblical Doctrine
of the Trinity (Godhead)
By Cooper P. Abrams, III
All Rights Reserved
|INTRODUCTION: From the Second Century to our present age, many people have found the biblical doctrine of the Trinity hard to understand. The doctrine of the Trinity recognizes that God is one God, co-existing in three distinct Persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In our material existence, the concept that God is One God, yet exists as three distinct persons, is foreign to us. However, the doctrine of the Godhead (Trinity) is without question revealed in God’s word.
The biblical term “Godhead” (theiotes) is used three times in Scripture, Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9. The word “Trinity,” which is the theological word Christians use to refer to the Godhead, is not found in Scripture.
“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:29).
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20)
“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)
The doctrine states that the Godhead, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, consists of three distinct Persons, yet these three are one God. There are many arguments espoused by those that deny the Trinity, but the most prevalent is: How can God be One God and at the same time be three Persons?
The problem with that question is that it is based in ignorance of what God has said about Himself. The Bible, the Word of God, plainly states the plurality of God and that God is One God. To accept His Word means to believe what God has revealed. The truth of the Trinity is a revealed truth that is established in the credibility of God Himself.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, stating that they were to teach and baptize in the names of the Godhead, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Further 1 John 5:7 states “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” The fact God did not inspire the writers of Scripture to use the modern word “Trinity” does imply that it is not a biblical truth. However, there are many words and phrases that Christians use to express biblical doctrines that are not found in the Bible. One is the word “rapture.” This word also is not found in Scripture, but the phrase “shall be caught up” (harpagēsometha) is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and means to “catch away” or in Latin “rapiēmur”meaning to be snatched away. In fact, the word “Bible” is also not found in the Scriptures. Would we dismiss the existence of the Bible because the word is not found in Scripture?
Those that deny the Trinity are denying the Godhead. They argue that it is physically impossible for three distinct persons to be only one. This article will show that they are both right and wrong. They are right in the sense that it is impossible for us to explain how this can be a reality in our physical/material world. But they are wrong in denying that God is a Triune God. The approach of this paper will be first to authenticate the biblical doctrine by presenting biblical statements attesting to this truth.
One reason those who deny the Trinity do so is the Bible clearly teaches monotheism, meaning that God is One God. (Deut. 4:35-36, 6:4)
“Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him. Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire; and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.” (Deuteronomy 4:35-36)
“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:” (Deuteronomy 6:5-6)
“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6)
“I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” (Isaiah 43:11)
The Scriptures unmistakably refer to the plurality of God in the He as exists in Three Persons. Secondly, this paper will present a practical explanation of the doctrine in human terms.
Overwhelmingly, the Bible teaches the Trinitarian concept of one God existing as three persons. The Bible does not teach polytheism, which says that there are three separate Gods called the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nor does the Bible say God is one person who took three forms or that the God the Father became the Son, who then became the Holy Spirit, as is taught by some false churches. The Bible does not teach that God is only one person or that Jesus is not God, but only God’s procreated son. The word of God does not teach that Jesus was created.
The Bible specifically states that God is Spirit and was never a man.
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)
“And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.” (1 Samuel 15:29)
The Bible further plainly states that Jesus Christ, being God, is eternal, as is the Father. The Apostle John states clearly that Jesus, the Word, was with God in the beginning of the Universe. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4) This passage will be explained in detail later in the article.
Jesus Himself plainly refers to eternity.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
Alfa and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In the following verse the term Alpha and Omega are defined by God Himself by the phrase “the beginning and the end” (verse 8) and “the first and the last” (verse 11).
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. . . . Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:8, 11)
“And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is at thirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” (Revelation 21:6)
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Revelation 22:13)
How Does the Bible Teach the Doctrine of the Trinity?
The following chart shows some of the many passages in the Bible from which the doctrine of the Trinity is derived. Note that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all called God and all have the same attributes, which are attributes that only God has.
THE TRIUNE GODHEAD PRESENTED IN SCRIPTURE
Passages in the Old Testament that Teach Plurality in the Oneness of God.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD”
The Bible, in this verse, emphatically states there is only one God. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4, Mark 12:29). Literally, the verse says, “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our Elohim is a united Jehovah.” The Bible is the inerrant inspired Word of God and this statement can only be understood in that God is telling us He is One God. (See 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21). Yet, this does not mean that within the Godhead there is not a plurality. Scripturally, plurality means, that God is One God existing in three distinct Persons.
The Hebrew word for one is Echad and “stresses unity while recognizing diversity with that oneness.” This same word is used in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one (Echad) flesh.” Therefore, God says that two individuals, Adam and Eve, were one flesh. Exodus 24:3 states ” . . . All the people answered with one (Echad) voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.” Note that all the people, which were a great multitude, replied with one voice. There are many other instances where the word is used to show the oneness of many individuals. In other words, the Hebrew word Echad allows for plurality within oneness, allowing God, who is emphatically described as one God, to be three Persons who are One God.
There is another Hebrew word that means “one” which is “Yahad.” This word is always singular and can only mean one and so its use allows no plurality. God could have used this word in Deuteronomy 6:4, but chose Echad instead, which allows the concept of God being One God who is in essence is three individual Persons. Thiessen says, “A unity is, however, not inconsistent with the conception of the trinity; for a unity is not the same as a unit.”
This concept can be further seen in the descriptions of the Person of God in the Old Testament:
The Person of God no one is allowed to see. “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Ex. 33:20).
The Person of God we can see. “And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day” (Genesis 18:1, See 2-33). (This is a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ)
The Person of God that cannot be seen. “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:2). (The Holy Spirit is in essence a spirit and cannot be seen by physical beings)
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
The Old Testament begins by teaching that God is One in three Persons. In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew name for God is “Elohim” which is used more than two thousand times in the plural form in the Bible. Further, the name “Elohim” occurs only in Hebrew and in no other Semitic language. This is a plural noun, but the verb is singular which is not a normal use of grammar. Normally a plural noun would have a plural verb. But, if you wanted to teach that God is one and also a plurality, using the unique grammatical construction of using of a plural noun with a singular verb would be used. Therefore, this passage teaches that there is one God who exists in a plurality.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness . . . ”
Again in Genesis 1:26, God is spoken of as plural. “And God said, Let us make man in our image . . . ” The word “man” is the word “Adam” and refers to a human being both man and female. The same word for “one” (Echad) is used in Genesis 2:24, speaking of the oneness of a husband and wife. God sees a husband and wife spiritually as being one. This is another verse that helps to establish that two or more can spiritually be one.
“Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.”
Genesis 11:7-8 says the LORD scattered the antediluvians abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. God is spoken of in the plural (let “us” go down) and in the singular (Jehovah = “the existing One”) at the same time. This passage summarizes the Bible’s teaching that God is one, but exists in a plurality of three Persons.
“Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
According to Hebrews 1:8-9, God the Father is speaking in Psalm 45, and He is referring to the Son as God. “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows “(Heb. 1:8-9).
The question is: If the Son Himself was God, why did He address the Father as God? The Son addressed the Father as God for the same reason that the Father addressed the Son as God: because they are both God!
“Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”
God the Father states He is the “Lord GOD; I am the Lord thy God.” He then unmistakably further says He is thy “Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 44:24 proclaims the Redeemer made Israel and the heavens, “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” Both verses refer to the promised Messiah who is both Jesus and God. Jesus is the Redeemer. The LORD (Jehovah) states that He is the Creator. Therefore, the Bible is saying that it is God (Jehovah) the Father who is the Creator. At the same time, the Bible is stating that Jesus Christ is the Creator. (See John 1:3-4, Eph. 3:9, Col. 1: 16)
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
The verse identifies the person speaking as being “the Lord” (Jehovah) and Jehovah is talking about another person who, in the future, will come to earth. David’s descendent, a King who will reign, prosper and will judge the earth. Jehovah then gives His name as “JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” This is a reference to the promised Messiah, who will be a man and a descendant of David. God the Father identifies Himself in the Old Testament as “Jehovah” and here He says the Messiah’s name is also called “Jehovah” (insert comma) which is the sacred name of God. It would be blasphemy to call any man “Jehovah” yet this is plainly the name by which the Messiah would be called. There can be no mistake that God the Father is saying the Messiah Jesus is God.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
This is another prophecy foretelling the birth of the Messiah. Note that the Messiah is called “The mighty God, The everlasting Father.” There can be no doubt that this passage is saying a human child would be born who is identified as God and the Father. Why would God the Father state that the Messiah, a man, is God and the Father if He was not? Proverbs 30:4-5 states God’s word are pure, “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell? Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” God is saying His words are pure and that He is the Creator and He has a Son. Clearly this passage is saying that Jesus Christ (Christ = Messiah) is God incarnate in man.
NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES THAT TEACH THE TRINITY
The New Testament clearly states that Jesus is God (John 1:1, 14); the Father is God (Phil. 1:2); and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). Since the Son speaks to the Father, they are separate persons (John 17). Since the Holy Spirit speaks also (Acts 13:2), He, too, is a separate person. There can be no question that the New Testament proclaims there is only One God and that He exists in three distinct persons.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. . . .And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.”
The verse emphatically states that the “Word” (Logos) was God. John 1:14-15 unmistakably proclaims that the “Word” was made flesh and this establishes the incarnation of God. God came to earth as a man. The passage unquestionably identifies Jesus Christ as the Word, who was God, stating that John the Baptist bare witness of Him.
John 1:3 teaches that it was Jesus Christ, the Word (Logos) who created all things. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3) However, Genesis 1:1 states “In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth.” This passage without a doubt establishes the deity of Jesus Christ, affirming that He is God and that He created all things. Speaking of Christ Colossians 1:16 states, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Further, Colossians 1:17 adds”And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” (See Heb. 1:3, 10)
God plainly states in Exodus 34:14 that man is not to worship any other God. “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Colossians 1:18 states that Jesus is to have the preeminence in all things. “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). Further, Jesus was worshiped many times while on earth. (See Matt. 2:11, 15:25, 28:17; Mark 3:11, 5:6, 33, 14:33 15:19; Luke 5:8; 8:28, 41, 17:16, 24:52; John 9:38; Rev. 5:14) Jesus accepted the worship of men because He is God.
Obviously, there is a pattern presented by these Scriptures. God the Father is emphatically said to have created the heavens and the earth and at the same time Jesus is proclaimed to be the Creator. In Genesis 1:2, the Holy Spirit is shown as having “moved” upon the face of the waters.” (Also see Psalms 104:30) The only way these are true because is if God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are one God.
“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”
In John 8:58 Jesus ended a confrontational discourse with the religious Jews and proclaimed that He was “I am,” a name that only applies to God the Father. The Jews then rioted and took up stones to kill Jesus, but He eluded them and passed through the midst of them unharmed. What caused them to riot was that Jesus said plainly that He was Jehovah God, the “Self-Existent One.” (Exodus 3:14) Using the name “I am,” He identified Himself as the One who sent Moses to the children of Israel when they were in captivity in Egypt. The Jews fully understood what He had said and were so angry with Him making the statement that they rushed to kill Him. There can be no mistake that Jesus stated He was Jehovah God, which certainly confirms the biblical doctrine of the Trinity.
“I and my Father are one.”
In John 10:30, Jesus said that “I and my Father are one.” The word “One” is in the neuter gender. This statement rules out the meaning that they are only one in purpose as some misinterpret this verse to say. It affirms that Jesus and God are separate persons, but one God, with the Holy Spirit. The verse says they are in perfect unity in their natures and actions. Jesus emphatically stated on this occasion that He was God. The Jews who heard Him saw a man standing before them and they fully understood what He had just stated. They were so offended at His statement that they took up stones to put Him to death, “because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 20:33b) These Jews fully understood that God presents Himself in the Old Testament as monotheistic, which in their minds precluded that Jesus could be God also. Here again the Bible unmistakably tells us from Christ’s own words that God the Father and Jesus Christ are One.
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
The angel announced to Joseph that Mary was with child and the Son she would give birth to would be called “Emmanuel,” meaning God with us. Matthew clearly claimed not only that Christ was born of a virgin, but that this was anticipated by the prophecy of Isaiah as being the method by which God would become a man.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
This passage begins with “without controversy” as if anticipating those who would deny the Trinity. It then soundly affirms the doctrine. The phrase “without controversy” means simply “obviously” or “beyond all question.” The next statement “The mystery of Godliness is great” denotes the importance and magnitude of this now revealed mystery or truth that was not revealed in the Old Testament. A mystery in the Bible is simply a previously unrevealed truth. In other words, in the Old Testament this truth was not stated.
The mystery is that “God was manifest in the flesh!” This is as straightforward a statement as can be made on the matter. This verse says that God is manifested in the flesh or God is incarnate in flesh. The Greek word is “phneroo” meaning, “to make visible.” (See John 1:1-14, 14:7, Col. 1:15, 1 Tim. 1:17) Jesus was “justified in the Spirit” proclaiming that it was not the flesh that justified, but the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ was thus vindicated in the Spirit at His resurrection. Some believe this means Jesus was “seen of angels” but the word is “angelos” which means a messenger. Contextually, it is referring to the Apostles who saw the Lord in the flesh and preached the Gospel to the Gentiles. That Jesus was”preached among the Gentiles” refers to the scope of His ministry that He came to save all nations, not just the Jews. He was more than the Jewish Messiah, but was the Savior of the world. Jesus was “believed on in the world” being proven to be the Redeemer and is believed on and accepted as Savior by those who seek after God. He was then “received up into glory when His work was finished. Today Christ is at the right hand of God, making intercession for those who by faith are trusting in Him.
There can be no mistake that this verse reveals that Jesus Christ is God and attests to the fact that Jesus and God are One.
The verses presented and many others clearly teach that God is One God. These passages state that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are also God. Thus the Bible affirms one of the most important doctrines in Scripture that God is one God existing in a unity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The full importance of understanding and accepting this truth is found in the Epistle of 1 John:
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:1-3).
It must be noted that the phrase “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” is a direct reference to His deity and that GOD came to the earth in flesh. All men are “born in the flesh,” therefore this verse has no significance unless it is referring to God coming in the flesh. John says those that deny this revealed truth of the Trinity are not of God and the denial of this doctrine comes from the spirit of the antichrist who is directed by Satan.
The biblical doctrine of the Trinity was not invented by man or any church. Its origin is in the plain and unmistaken statements made throughout the Bible. It is revealed truth and a part of salvation. When a person comes to God he must accept who He is and what is His revealed nature.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. “ (Hebrews 11:6)
How Can We Understand that God is One God Existing in Three Distinct Persons?
How can we understand that God can be One God, yet be three distinct persons? The answer is really quite simple and easy to understand if we accept that the Bible is the very word of God and what we are reading is God’s revelation to man about Himself. Thiessen states, “His (God) being is simple; man’s is compound, having both a material and an immaterial part. But God is spirit and is not susceptible of such division.”
Is it reasonable for us to demand that we understand perfectly everything about our Magnificent and Almighty God? Do we understand fully everything we believe and know to be true? Do we fully understand our own selves or most of the things in the world in which we live? How can we expect fully to understand the eternal, wholly spiritual, Almighty God?
The answer is “No.” Man knows very little about the world in which he exists. 2 Timothy 2:23 rightly warns us to avoid foolish and unlearned questions. A foolish question is one that is used to attempt to overthrow a plain Bible teaching, such as questions about the Trinity, or the resurrection, or the incarnation of Christ, or the condition of man after death.
The false teacher asks foolish questions, which causes people to doubt the Word of God. The true teacher encourages people to believe the Word of God despite whether its teachings seem perfectly reasonable to human understanding or not. The problem is not with what the Bible reveals, but with man’s unwillingness to accept and understand what God has stated as fact.
The following illustration is not a perfect example, but helps illustrate a point. We all believe in gravity but we cannot explain it. Our inability to explain or even understand what gravity is does not mean there is no gravity. It exists and we can see what it does. We cannot see it or touch it or in any way explain what it is. Gravity is the most important force in the universe and affects everything in it. The physicist tells us even the smallest particle of subatomic matter is held in place by the force of gravity, yet no one knows what gravity is or what makes it work.
Wouldn’t it be reasonable and logical to accept, that although we do not understand with human reasoning how it is possible, that God is three Persons and One God? If we deny the possibility of the Trinity then we must also declare that we are omniscient, which means our knowledge is infinite and absolute. Do we know everything there is to know about everything? Do we even know everything about our physical world? How then can we honestly proclaim we know everything in the realm of the spiritual world where God exists? We are in essence a spiritual being, but physical. When we consider, as this paper shows, that the Bible, that is God’s own word on the matter, plainly establishes Trinity, how can we set ourselves up as judges of God’s word and declare that God is not a Trinity with your limited knowledge of the universe? How can any man set himself up as an authority on something he cannot explain? Is it logical to say because I cannot explain or understand the Trinity in physical terms that it does not exists? The answer is obvious.
Do we deny the existence of gravity, atoms, electrons, protons, and the atomic particles of the Universe because we do not know how they exist or can explain them? We accept it by faith because scientists, who we trust, tell us they exist and we accept their statements. They reveal to us the existence of atomic and subatomic particles that we cannot see. Do we call the scientists, who have knowledge of these things, liars because we cannot understand or see what they reveal to us? In a similar way we accept the truth of the Trinity, although not being able to fully understand it or explain it, because God, who certainly knows who He is, has revealed it to us in His written word.
It is a fact that those who deny the Trinity also deny the clear teachings of God’s word. The cults and false religions deny the deity of Jesus Christ, and the cardinal doctrines of Bible. The basic flaw in their theology is although they proclaim to have God’s truth, the in fact deny God’s statements about Himself and truth. Can such as these have any credibility in having any knowledge of God? If they did not get their knowledge from God’s word, where could it come from except faulty human reasoning?
Why then is it so hard for some men to accept the biblical truth of the Trinity? The key to this misunderstanding lays in man’s microfying our infinite Creator. In other words, making Him finite like us? This act demeans and debases our omnipotent and glorious God and brings Him down to the level of man. God is not man and the immensity of His being is so far beyond our finite understanding that we cannot even begin comprehend who He truly is. However, He has revealed to us through His word the Bible; all we need to know about Him and thereby to fully believe and trust in Him.
John 3:19 says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” The verse says that “light,” referring to God’s revealed truth of Jesus Christ the Savior, has been given to us by God, but because of his sin man refuses to accept it.
We must understand that man lives in a material universe and is subject to physical limitations of this world and to time and space. However, God exists in a spiritual world outside our universe that is not material nor subject to time and space. God says He is Spirit (John 4:24), which is simply revealed truth from God about Himself. God does not explain what a Spirit is because we cannot understand it. There is nothing in our material world to compare with the spiritual realm of God. But we do know that it is different from the material universe that we live in, and that God’s essence as spirit is different ours.
In our physical world we can only describe something by using words, terms or things that are familiar to us. If I try to tell someone what a house is, I have the advantage of that person having seen other houses. Therefore, even though there are many different kinds of houses, it is understand what the word “house” is generally referring to. Yet, when we try to describe God as a Spirit or the Trinity, we have no such advantage. There is nothing in our material world with which we can compare a Spirit or the spiritual realm wherein God exists.
God exists outside the universe and in a spiritual dimension beyond our human ability to perceive. The physical laws of our universe do not apply. Our world is material, not spiritual, and therefore the concept is foreign to us. This is why God does not attempt to explain the Trinity to us in His word. We cannot understand it because we are material beings and only know material things. Yet, the doctrine is true because God has revealed it to us as fact in His word. The Bible teaches that God is one God existing in three distinct persons; God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Those who believe and trust God believe this doctrine because it is revealed truth from God, who cannot lie.
The Bible also reveals that God is eternal, yet some of the same people who deny the Trinity, will accept that God is eternal and infinite. Yet, the idea that God is an eternal God is just as foreign to our understanding as the Trinity. In our world nothing is eternal and everything has a beginning and will have an end, but not so with God, who is not subject to time and exists in a realm in which there is no time. Psalm 90:2, states, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” The term “everlasting to everlasting” means that God is infinite in time, having no beginning or end. This is another revealed truth that we cannot comprehend. Man, is as a material being, is limited by time and space. Being limited by time, we cannot conceive of an infinite God that exists outside time. This universe, including you and me, had a physical beginning and we will have a physical end. Yet, says He is eternal, having no beginning or ending. God reveals Himself in His word saying “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Rev. 22:13).
Many who deny the doctrine of the Trinity also deny other clear teachings of the Bible such as the deity of Jesus Christ, salvation by grace apart from works, the miracles, the prophecies, and a host of other cardinal doctrines God has revealed to us. These truths are the supernatural works of God. Man is not able mentally to perceive of God’s unity, spirituality, independence, immutability, eternity and immensity. Drawing from man’s limited material existence and prejudice, those that deny these carnal doctrines conclude that these things are impossible in a material world and therefore illogically proclaim they do not exist. Humanly speaking, the supernatural acts of God are impossible for mortals in a material universe to understand.
What so many fail to understand is that God is a supernatural Being. He is not limited to the restrictions of a material universe. God is Spirit and thus a supernatural Being that exists outside the universe. He, from the realm of His spiritual dimension called Heaven, drawing from His infinite power, created our material universe “exhilo,” which means out of nothing. Being supernatural, which means being beyond material limitations, God, simply spoke the universe into being. That, too, is a reality we cannot comprehend. In our material world it is impossible to create something out of absolutely nothing. Yet, with God all things are possible.
No one can mistake that the Bible is a supernatural Book which reveals the supernatural works of God in creating and working with man through the ages. The Bible presents mankind with God’s ultimate and supernatural plan; that man, by simple faith in Jesus Christ the Savior, can have forgiveness for sins from his Creator, receive eternal life, and receive the spiritual nature of God. Those who believe and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior become a part of Heaven.
True Christians should not be frustrated because the world does not understand the clear teachings of the Bible. It is the ministry of God, the Holy Spirit, to reveal truth, but one cannot understand spiritual things until they are spiritually reborn. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. (See Prov. 9:10) That means accepting that He is who He is and humbling oneself to before Him as one’s maker.
The unbeliever, by his unbelief, rejects God and does not submit himself to God. He cannot understand the things of God because he does not have the capacity to do so. He has not truly accepted God and he is bound to his earthly and carnal understanding because he has not received the new nature of God and thereby has not become a “new man” in Christ Jesus. (See Eph. 4:24, Col. 3:10)
God explains this in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
The carnal man has a false idea of God because he tries to liken God to being like himself and his material world. This limits one from understanding the reality of who God is. Further, man, instead of believing in our infinite Creator, invents degraded gods that are like himself.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” (Romans 1:20-23)
The mark of cults or false religions is that they all have gods who are made in man’s image and are limited in power and existence to material limitations. (Also see Isa. 44:9-18)
That is what Romans 1:21-23 says: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” (Underline added)
The false gods that men invent are always patterned after man himself or things he sees in nature. Some false religions go as far as to teach that God was a man or that men can become gods. In other words, they deify man. Deify means to make something a god and worship it. God says He created man . . . and it is foolishness to suggest that man created God. Yet, this is plainly what is done when Almighty God is said to be a man or that a finite man could become God. The perfect example of this absurd idea in found in Mormonism. How could a man, born into the universe that existed before he did, be the creator of himself and the universe? God, as Genesis 1 and 2 states, created all things. Man was created on the sixth day of the Creation week and was very last act of creation. It was God who created man.
Most of mankind has no real idea of who God really is. The gods of unbelieving men are small and do not take into account the immensity of Almighty God as He is presented in the Bible. J.B. Phillips wrote a book in 1952 called, “Your God Is Too Small.” He exposed the misconceptions that many have about God, in that their understanding of God superimposed upon Him human characteristics. In His greatness and power the Bible says He spoke the universe into existence. God affirms this truth saying, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. “ (Hebrews 11:3)
Believing that God is a man or any material being shows one does not comprehend the true omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (present everywhere), omniscient (knows all things) nature of our sovereign God and Creator, nor does he bow in humility to his Creator. Like Satan, the lost man seeks to elevate himself to God’s level and above. A man in denying the truth of the Trinity sets himself as God’s judge and foolishly declares God cannot be what He says He is.
Therefore, many men miss the truth and reality of God’s essence because they ignorantly try to perceive Him as being as a physical being, as are they. God has revealed Himself to all men in His word, the Bible, and it would behoove all men to believe what their Creator has said about Himself. Paul stated God’s mandate when addressing the unbelieving Athenians as recorded in Acts 17:30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.”
The Psalmist declared the unlimited greatest of God “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.” (Psalms 33:6-7)
A person must understand the immensity of God and His power. Seeking to comprehend God one must take into account that he is not trying to understand that which is physical or material, but supernatural and beyond man’s ability to comprehend. Not being able to comprehend God we must simply take Him at His word as to who He is.
John said, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:1-3 ).
The Bible without question affirms the plurality of God and the only way to understand God’s plurality is to accept that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One God which establishes the Trinity. John’s statement makes it absolutely vital that a person fully believe in the Trinity, which means to accept who and what God really truly is. To believe anything else is to believe in a false god that does not exist.
Because all men are lost in sin, only our supernatural Creator can save this lost and dying world. Only by fully believing in our Creator and God’s promise of salvation can one be saved and receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The truth of the Trinity is unconditionally tied to accepting Him as He is.
(December 2001, September 2005, February, 2012, August 2013, January 2014)
 1 John 5:7 says, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” Some Bible critics have stated that this passage is not authentic because it is not found in some older manuscripts. This verse is found in mss, 61, 88mg, 629, 634mg, 636mg, omega 110, 429mg, 221, and 2318) along with two lectionaries (60, 173) and four fathers, Tertullian, Cyprian, Augustine, and Jerome mention it. However, the biblical doctrine of the Trinity does not rest on one verse of Scripture, but is found throughout the Old and New Testaments. This verse accurately states the doctrine of the Trinity that God is One God in three Persons.
 The word “scripture” graphe is found fifty-three times in the Bible.
 This is the teaching of “monotheism” which means “one God.”
 R. Laird Harris; Gleason L. Archer; Jr; Bruce K Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Chicago:Moody Press, 1980, p30.
 Henry Clarence Thiessen, Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology, Eerdmans:Grand Rapids, 1949, p134.
 Renald E. Showers, Israel My Glory, God is Triune, Friends of Israel, January/February 2002, p37.
 The name “Elohim” the Bible calls God occurs only in Hebrew and in no other Semitic language.
 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me(insert period)” (Exodus 20:3)
 . John F. Walvoord, Matthew Thy Kingdom Come, Chicago:Moody Press, 1974, p20
 Thiessen, p134.
 “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” (2 Timothy 2:23)
 David Cloud, Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible and Christianity, Computer Version 4.0, 2000. “Trinity.”
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
 “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
 J.B. Phillips, “Your God is Too Small”, New York:Touchstone, 1997.