Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Jesus
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AsSalamu Alaikum and welcome once again to asylum focus.
Today's program will be our 35th series Jesus, the beloved messenger of Allah. And our topic tonight will be our second on Trinity, atonement and sacrifice. I'm your host, Shannon Nish. here once again with us from St. Mary's University, is Dr. Joe Vitale. So
we started off with a summary of last week's program. Okay, last week, we were trying to bring together the basic and common theme in the writing of the Unitarian Christians, whose contribution we discussed previously. And we indicated that they all agree on some basic issues, the negation of the deification of Jesus, negation of the Trinity and negation of the doctrine of atonement through the blood sacrifice. And we indicate that all of them have used as the base, the bible history and reason which they did not see as contrary to faith, not necessarily.
We began to summarize then the most important objection they had on the question of Trinity. And to expand that.
In the beginning, we made a reference to the athanasian Creed, which defines what truancy is.
And then we indicated that according to the new Catholic Encyclopedia, the basic problem is the difficulty of reconciling the distinctness of the three persons in the Trinity, and their quality or unity. And then if we emphasize one aspect, it has to be at the expense of the others. And we explained how.
And then the main problem we said is that if we really are speaking about the Trinity, and spiritual sense, in the spiritual communion between the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and so on, well, then it is not limited to these three. And really, we're talking allegorically. But that's quite different from the definition of Trinity, which is just that each one of them is called God. And that's quite, quite different.
And then we
started to examine some of the illustrations that explanation given to Trinity.
One, the fact that the first one could be a husband, father and son at the same time, and we indicated that when you cannot be the father and the son of yourself are the same person. On the other hand, if a person dies, he cannot choose to die as the son only but not as the father and the husband, for example. And that is a question as to what happened in crucifixion. We discussed also the other example, usually given of water taking three different forms. But then the basic point here is that we are really talking about subdividing the water into three parts. And that's quite different from the definition of Trinity. Because even in the definition of Trinity, there is
nothing called one third of a god.
Because that doesn't really.
And then we began to discuss the other analogy given that the human being may have an identity, but he may also have a soul and have a human body. And we indicated that these are not really relevant. We refer to the writings of socionics, that the body and the Spirit are so conjoined, that a man is neither soul or body because neither of them really constitute a person. But in the case of Trinity, we're really talking about three persons, each of whom is fully God, according to the athanasian Creed. And in addition to this, there is also a relationship of dependency between the soul and the body, which is not analogous to the Trinity. emergent dependency maybe I'd asked you to elaborate on
this and specifically what we mean by dependency, by depends on it I mean, that the human body depends for its existence as a living body, of course, as a living entity on the soul. In other words, if there is no soul, there is no living body as such. But when we speak of the Trinity, we speak about three persons, each of whom is fully God is independent in his existence in one sense, and we all know that God or the father does not depend on his existence for others because he
Who is dependent on others for his existence, of course cannot be divine. So what I'm saying is that the that relationship of dependency between the body and the soul has nothing to do with the question of Trinity. It's not really a good illustration on either. Are you aware of documentary, other illustrations of Trinity?
I cannot claim to be aware of each and every possible explanation. But
there are some additional common answers. One of which, of course, is that the Trinity is a mystery that should be taken as isn't just accepted to be believed in. But this will discuss a little later
in the series would be called issue of mystery because it applies to the Trinity and applies also to the notion of blood sacrifice and an attorney. So we've come to that.
But there are some other attempts to explain the Trinity, which are not that drastically different from the example we have given before and give you a couple of points that either I read about, or heard during my involvement in the Muslim Christian dialogue in a variety of places, from clergy or theologians. One explanation, for example, and presented in a dialogue was that if you have a line, which is 10 inches long,
if you look at it as one dimension, it is a 10 inch long line. If you look at it as two dimensional thing, then you're really talking about a squared, which is 10 by 10.
And if you're looking on three dimensional level, then you're talking about a cube which may be 10 by 10, by 10.
Now, in my humble understanding, this example has nothing to do with the Trinity. Because the square is composed actually of not one line of fold lines, 10 inches each, and the cube is composed of six sides are six squares. All right, 10 by 10. And as such, we cannot say that these are the same thing really, because we're really talking about components of the cube, the cube is composed of this component, the square is composed of these lines, as as components. Now, if we're speaking about the Trinity, this is not relevant, because in Trinity, we don't say that God is composed of one third father, one third Son, and Holy Spirit, which is the case with the cubes, the analogy doesn't,
doesn't seem to stand. Another example I read about is the sun, that you have the sun. However, the light, fully revealed the sun, and there is also heat involved. So the sun, the heat, and the light, are all basically the same thing. Again, I see that this example really is not a very good one doesn't give any better understanding of the challenge or explanation for it.
Because after all,
analogy with three persons and trial and godhood, who are quote, uttered, none independent and equal, doesn't apply here, we cannot say that the three components we're talking about are equal to each other or independent, you cannot say that the light, for example, exists independently of the sun. nor can we say that the heat exists independently of the light, or, or the sun. So the analogy here doesn't stand, let alone Of course, the fact that scientists tell us that, at one point of time, they will only be the sun, but no light, and no heat. Because in about four and a half billion years, the the sun was cooled down so there'll be no heat, no light, but the sun will still be
there. Of course, nobody ever says that.
Any persons in godhood will perish or come to an end some time or the other.
In fact, I have yet to find any explanation, any explanation of the Trinity, which is reasonably rational, not say free, reasonably rational and cogent. Well, Are you hopeful that one day, we may hear of an explanation for Trinity, which is rational, as a person, as an individual trying to be fair, I'm open, I'm ready to listen and read an explanation that will be better.
But that preparedness does not mean that I'm really hopeful. I don't think I'm that hopeful for a simple reason. That the people who devoted their lives to studying these issues who are much more educated than myself on the issue came up to the conclusion that there is possibly
No explanation of the Trinity. Let me quote an evangelist and a missionary, by the name of Jay Christensen.
In a word called the practical approach to Muslims published by North Africa mission in 1977. On page 384, he says, quote, there is nothing in men in nature's in the skies above us, or in the earth, below us, which obliges us to think of a tribe of God. If the question had not come through the Bible, it simply would not exist. That's an interesting testimony of an evangelist, who supposedly knows what he's talking about. That could be no explanation. It's simply if the Bible didn't mention it, it would not exist.
But the only observation I have on that quotation is that in several previous programs, we have shown quite clearly that the Bible really does not provide the basis for Trinity, it's a matter of interpretation. And the interpretation is very weak, really to say that divinity is based on the Bible. Just
for a reminder, one of the the most I should say, not one, the most important verse that has been quoted frequently to support the Trinity. The first epistle of john, chapter five, verse seven, has proven to be really not authentic, not in existence in the older manuscript. There are many other examples of this. So definitely, the
any evidence from the Bible is far from conclusive. And if it's not proven by the reason, not from the Bible, then I think it's very difficult really to expect anyone to be able to give an explanation.
I'm sure, Dr. Beverly, that many of our viewers would be very interested to know how the proponents of Trinity respond to all these objections
of Trinity, when there are answers that perhaps might be classified as apologies, I'll give you a few examples. Let's say pick five examples of how the issues are raised and how the response if you, for example, raise the question and say, how come in such an important issue like the Trinity, but there is no clear indication of it in the Old Testament? The answer, usually given when God wanted to reveal himself in a gradual manner, he wanted to hide that or guard that secret until God entered into history himself in a unique way in the form of God incarnate or in the form of Jesus peace be upon him. Well, that sounds nice politically, but that's me a conjunction there is no support for
that at all. There is no clear basis of that statement told from the Bible that it was hidden. In fact, the contrary is true. The basic theme in the Old Testament is not the Trinity, but the absolute monotheistic faith that was taught by all of the prophets. Another answer,
if you ask, why didn't Jesus peace be upon him? If Trinity were to be the truth? Why didn't he teach that clearly? And obviously, so that people would not get confused, especially that many spellers were simple people? Why didn't he just explain it?
Clearly, usually, the answer is no, he didn't want that his mission and the nature of what he's up to, should be known so that nobody would abort that mission.
But again, we all know that Jesus peace be upon him was a very courageous person he never feared anyone in the Bible itself shows how he attacked, those who spoke falsehoods. And we all know that it is the basic sacred mission of any prophet to say the truth regardless of the consequences. Many prophets even paved the lives in defense for the for the truth. Why should he leave his followers confused for hundreds and hundreds of years arguing about Trinity and arguing about his his nature? A third issue? If you ask, why was not the Trinity formulated Clearly, the word Trinity never appears even in the New Testament, let alone the words of Jesus in the rest of the New Testament,
even by the early disciples of Jesus, the answer comes that well, it is implied
and when examples are given, usually the reference is made to Paul, who was not a disciple of Jesus, as we all know. No, he never met him during his ministry.
lessons, for example, need to the second Corinthians chapter 13, verse 14, where the
Paul is greeting the people of Corinthians. And he says, The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship or participation of the Holy Spirit be with you all. But even if you take that kind of text, it doesn't say that these three are equal. Nor does it say that these three are one, just like when I say, would
maybe made the mercy of God be with you, the blessing of the angels,
or the blessing of the Prophet and the fellowship of the angels, it doesn't mean that this art to be to be equated
some people, for example,
as a fourth kind of
answer, they say, well,
it is it was not important for the disciples, in the early days, to speak plainly about Trinity are formulated, they lead to experience. Just like some say, you can admire a beautiful flower without necessarily knowing how the flower grew from the seed. Well, but in fundamental aspects of belief, like the nature of deity, is not the same, like just admiring a flower. I mean, one cannot take it lightly like that. And you cannot leave fundamentals of faith, to experience alone. Experience could be unguided. Sometimes even misguided is not the sole source of fundamental, religious truth. people's experiences also vary. They have been lots of sincerely believing Christians throughout
history, and they have given examples were faithful, but they never really accepted the Trinity. And some even believed in Jesus as a human being, and a great prophet, but not God Himself, Son of God in the literal sense. Now, if you repeat the question a second time, for example, say right, but why did they not mention it? Why even poured himself and swear? Like First Corinthians, chapter eight, verse six, says that there is only one God the Father, and one Lord or teacher that is Jesus. And he made a clear distinction between between both of them, then some people would answer like Bucknell, for example, an exposition of the 39 articles, he says, Trinity. And many, by the way, hold this in
view, they say Trinity actually, is a result of the efforts made by the church to express this new truth that they discovered about God, which they learned through the first one and teaching of Jesus. But again, if we say that, then we're really talking about interpretation, the church is interpreting. Exactly. And when humans made interpretations, obviously, it could also be right. And this could be erroneous, it could be wrong. So it's a matter of interpretation. You cannot condemn others, interpretive, definitely. Some respond to that said, No, but the church was guided in this effort by the Holy Spirit. But again, if this is if this work to be true, we know that the church
throughout history has changed its mind on many issues, have even revoked decisions that were taken beforehand. And in our previous discussion of the development of various dogmas, it was quite clear
what happened in many of those councils and the infighting that was taking place, one cannot really say, the Holy Spirit has always guided on decisions. And nor does it explain why they have been so many seconds, past and present even who did not necessarily accept the challenge as explanation.
attempts at apology, take a very interesting form, and just give you a couple of more finish.
Some, for example, would say yes, but there are so many intelligent people throughout history who accept a change. But that's begging the question. We have also been so many intelligent and will not not have not. We talked about services, which talked about john Locke, we're talking about Isaac Newton, we talk about john priest Joseph Priestley. And this were well known scientists and inventors and, and there are people also who are very intelligent to believe in sex.
So I'm going to use that as an argument really is not very convincing. Others say No, you cannot really explain the Trinity to anyone who has a bias or supposition that is false. That is basically like saying you have to believe in it first in order to understand it. So you've put ingredients
The cart before the horse, really I mean, it says you have to believe in it in order to understand it.
You read one time also somebody's trying to make a different argument. He said, Well, what was important for the disciples was not the dry definition of adoption, like Trinity. What was more important was the knowledge of God.
But a few lines later, he says, but that knowledge of God is based on the Trinity. In other words, you know, doctrine is not important. The important thing is to have the knowledge about God. But that's not a joke that is based on Trinity. So again, it's what you might call a secular type of argument. So these are examples of the kinds of responses that are definitely far from satisfactory in giving good answers to the very legitimate objections based on scripture and based on reason as well. What would you say to those who still uphold that Trinity and monotheism are not contrary to one another. And those who hold for example, the Muslim point of view with a Muslim objection to
Trinity, the object because they don't really understand why this has been a familiar type of argument, one of the famous ciphers on that Kenneth crag, for example, holds that Trinity is one form of the expression of monotheism, my humble understanding that this is fifth time in history tied to say that it is few times to try and reconcile the pure monotheistic faith that was preached by all prophets before Jesus and by Prophet Muhammad after Jesus and by Jesus Himself, if you look carefully, at his words, with the concept of Trinity, now, if we as mentioned before, if we mean by the Trinity, a spiritual union, allegorical type of Trinity, but not really a real one, then if it's
not really Trinity, because definition of Trinity would preclude this allegorical understanding, because once you admit the allegory of the Trinity, it means that the door is open for other human beings, and that there is no innate or inherent necessity to defy Jesus in order to, to speak about this relationship, especially a loving spiritual relationship between Jesus and God or between Jesus and the Holy Spirit, whichever interpretation is given to that. So
that would not solve the problem. But if we mean by the Trinity, RI and Trinity, V and not allegorical, then it may leave of necessity,
to try theism that believe in three gods. Now, let me refer to a Christian reference Catholic biblical encyclopedia published in 66, which shows that the theologians still insist or most of them insist on reiterating and not allegorical, and that it says the son proceeds eternally from the Father, by through generation, this generation must be understood not in the sense of metaphorical generation, or a special privilege, but of a true, eternal generation.
That kind of insistence that Trinity is real, that we'll talk about 3%, just like last year's defined it is the thing that led to a great deal of confusion for 2000 years, and there is no prospect even that confusion could ever be removed.
As far as the claim that Muslims do not really understand the Trinity, and that's why they rejected, I think, in the previous programs in this series, we have given ample documentation, that it is not just Muslims, that there are lots of very world learn Christian Christian theologians, who rejected the Trinity and we cannot accuse them of you know, being Muslim, not Muslims.
Just for reminder, when we were discussing socionics, very famous theologian and writer, he emphasized that the essence of God is one, not only in kind, kind, but also in number, that if we speak about one essence, then we speak really about one person and one God, but the moment we speak of three numerical persons, he says, We are speaking about three individual essences, three beings, entities, and he says, ultimately, we will end up imagining three gods. Now this is a Christian theologian, not a Muslim who said that, this kind of thinking while it is not originally try theism leads
of necessity, if you stick to the definition of Trinity to try, theism will give examples of many others. JOHN Britton who negated the deity of the Holy Spirit, we're talking about servetus, Joseph Priestley chanting,
chanting sorry, Channing and Lindsey, many others. We have discussed this before. I believe that the notion that Muslims simply do not understand Trinity, or have an understanding of not really the true Trinity as Christians, or Christian theologians presented,
is based on erroneous assumptions about the Koran and the Prophet
Mary, I'll pick up on that last point and actually explain what you mean by the factual errors that could be pointed out to in the crowd. Well, perhaps a cross reference at this point might be useful. I believe it was in the fourth program in this series, we discussed, for example, the notion
that some people help especially among Christian theologian and missionaries, that
a prophet Mohammed might have confused
the Christian concept of Trinity with the notion that Mary was part of that Trinity, or Mary was the Goddess, so the Father, the wife and the son rather than the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
All that he was only familiar with the heretical Christian sects in the early days, quote, unquote, which believed in not really the true kind of Trinity, but a different sort of Trinity.
But to answer that, I think we mentioned in a different series, a complete series on the miracle of the Quran, that evidence is overwhelming, including scientific evidence that the content of the Quran is not from the mind of Prophet Muhammad or his own words, he never claimed to be the author and the evidence seems to support that. And as such, you cannot say if it's Mohammed, Prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him. And his own confusion that resulted in the information in the Quran is divine revelation, not the thoughts of prophets. But leaving that aside, even
It is true that the Quran disapproves of ideas that some Christian brethren consider heretical sects. But it's also in addition to that disapproves of things which are still in the mainstream of understanding about Christianity.
For example, yes, in the Quran, we find the reference or disapproval, you might say, of those who believe that Jesus was himself.
God, like defined in 575, sort of five, verse 75.
But again, that's when it says that it could either be a reference to the heretical sect or even to the mainstream that believes that Jesus is God, because in that national definition, his whole gospels,
others say that the Quran owns only negates those who believe that Mary was divine and they refer to Surah five, verse 119 years this might apply to marry amides or correlate color regions who they fight married. But the Quran In addition, also in two crucial references, in chapter four, verse 171, in chapter five, verse 76, it speaks also about serenity directly. It says lots of kudos Aleta, don't say three, they're saying the gods but say three, that could also mean three persons and Chiron godhood. And when the Quran say that they display those who say that God is a third of the three, it doesn't mean third in the order 123 in terms of the first person, second person, but in
the Arabic usage. A third, the three could be any of the three.
I'm not saying however, that some Muslims may not necessarily understand Trinity as Christians understand it. But what I'm saying that as far as the Quran is concerned, is not only theoretical understanding that is negated. But even the concept of Trinity as understood, generally. I think, if there's any conclusion to that issue, really, that from my standpoint, as a Muslim,
the only solution for that big problem is to go back to the pure Christian monotheistic faith that was taught by all of the prophets, that there is only one God that Jesus called my father, a new father, that Jesus was a great prophet and messenger of God, that the Holy Spirit is the engine Gabrielle, the engine of Revelation. Thank you very much doctor earlier. concludes our program are very good, interesting note. And thank you all for joining us. Once again, here.
Understand and focus. As always, we'd appreciate any questions or any comments that you may have our phone number and our address will be appearing on your screen. From all of us.