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Forum LockedMuslim Theology and the Word.

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    Posted: 25-Dec-2007 at 05:58
Okay, as of late I've had a thought going on in my head in my attempts to reconcile the Great Religions. What I want to know is, is there a reason that Muslim theology cannot accept the Trinity. Now hold on obviously I don't want the simplified saying that God is complete unto himself or anything like that. Specifically I want to know where exactly the Incarnation of Christ (the Son or the Word) becomes incompatible with Muslim belief.

1. I understand that for God to have a natural son would be incompatible with most muslim teaching. However Christ is the Incarnation of God in human form. Which means that Christ is only God's son inasmuch as he was born from a human mother (Mary). However is it incompatible for God to enshroud himself in human flesh and be on earth in a physical form?

2.If not is God unable or unwilling to do this? If he is unwilling, why?

3. I understand God looks like nothing else in creation according to Islam. However if this is true is God unable to appear as anything else? According to Christian belief man cannot fully comprehend the vision that is God the Father, yet we are taught that as man (the Son) other men and women could experience him. Is any of this incompatible with Islam?

I don't know much about Islam but I like to think I know enough of Christian theology to compare the two if enough information is given. That's why I'm asking for some of are better versed muslim members to help me figure out this theological questions. I await your guys' responses.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Dec-2007 at 07:27
Jesus in Christian theology died *he is God in human form,* the unity and supremacy of God in Islamic theology would be incompatibale with the concept of God dying or taking on an inferior form.


God is obviously not unable. He is infinite and supreme. However, why would God the supreme take on a inferior form?

In Islamic theology man cannot fully grasp the concept of God, in Islamic Mysticism too man can only get a glimpse of God's glory the full to be only experienced through reunion with God. Well the whole son part is incompatible, through prayer one can get closer to God, however, one cannot fully understand something that is beyond him.

"
[4:171] O people of the scripture, do not transgress the limits of your religion, and do not say about GOD except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was a messenger of GOD, and His word that He had sent to Mary, and a revelation from Him. Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messengers. You shall not say, "Trinity." You shall refrain from this for your own good. GOD is only one god. Be He glorified; He is much too glorious to have a son. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. GOD suffices as Lord and Master."


"
[2:136] Say, "We believe in GOD, and in what was sent down to us, and in what was sent down to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the Patriarchs; and in what was given to Moses and Jesus, and all the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction among any of them. To Him alone we are submitters.""

Affirms the continuation of prophethood, and also the humanity of Jesus therefore not being able to reconcile the son as part of theology.

"
[3:45] The angels said, "O Mary, GOD gives you good news: a Word from Him whose name is `The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary. He will be prominent in this life and in the Hereafter, and one of those closest to Me.'"

Confirms Jesus' propethood, while close to God as the Messiah he is not God.

"
[4:172] The Messiah would never disdain from being a servant of GOD, nor would the closest angels. Those who disdain from worshipping Him, and are too arrogant to submit, He will summon them all before Him."


"
[6:102] Such is GOD your Lord, there is no god except He, the Creator of all things. You shall worship Him alone. He is in control of all things.

[6:103] No visions can encompass Him, but He encompasses all visions. He is the Compassionate, the Cognizant."



"[30:30] Therefore, you shall devote yourself to the religion of strict monotheism. Such is the natural instinct placed into the people by GOD. Such creation of GOD will never change. This is the perfect religion, but most people do not know."

"[39:67] They can never fathom the greatness of GOD. The whole earth is within His fist on the Day of Resurrection. In fact, the universes are folded within His right hand. Be He glorified; He is much too high above needing any partners."

"[2:107] Do you not recognize the fact that GOD possesses the kingship of the heavens and the earth; that you have none besides GOD as your Lord and Master?"

[2:163] Your god is one god; there is no god but He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

[39:4] If GOD wanted to have a son, He could have chosen whomever He willed from among His creations. Be He glorified; He is GOD, the One, the Supreme.

[112:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

[112:1] Proclaim, "He is the One and only GOD.

[112:2] "The Absolute GOD.

[112:3] "Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten.

[112:4] "None equals Him."


[4:171] O people of the scripture, do not transgress the limits of your religion, and do not say about GOD except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was a messenger of GOD, and His word that He had sent to Mary, and a revelation from Him. Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messengers. You shall not say, "Trinity." You shall refrain from this for your own good. GOD is only one god. Be He glorified; He is much too glorious to have a son. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. GOD suffices as Lord and Master.

[4:172] The Messiah would never disdain from being a servant of GOD, nor would the closest angels. Those who disdain from worshipping Him, and are too arrogant to submit, He will summon them all before Him.


[5:75] The Messiah, son of Mary, is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate!

[2:116] They said, "GOD has begotten a son!" Be He glorified; never! To Him belongs everything in the heavens and the earth; all are subservient to Him.


[19:92] It is not befitting the Most Gracious that He should beget a son.

[6:101] The Initiator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have a son, when He never had a mate? He created all things, and He is fully aware of all things.
\

[23:91] GOD has never begotten a son. Nor was there ever any other god beside Him. Otherwise, each god would have declared independence with his creations, and they would have competed with each other for dominance. GOD be glorified; far above their claims.

[23:92] The Knower of all secrets and declarations; be He exalted, far above having a partner.

[25:2] The One to whom belongs all sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. He never had a son, nor does He have any partners in sovereignty. He created everything in exact measure; He precisely designed everything.













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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Dec-2007 at 03:05
Quote He is infinite and supreme. However, why would God the supreme take on a inferior form?


Who's to say that Jesus was an inferior form, as Jesus had no sin, he would be the most "superior" human that ever existed. And as such would be the most perfect human form God could inhabit.

According to Christianity God humbled himself by coming into the world as Christ so that he himself could remove the sins of mankind from the world. This is the reasoning behind God taking an "inferior" form. So in Muslim theology, if God chose to take on the sins of mankind would that be a good enough reason to limit himself for a time.

Quote
In Islamic theology man cannot fully grasp the concept of God, in Islamic Mysticism too man can only get a glimpse of God's glory the full to be only experienced through reunion with God. Well the whole son part is incompatible, through prayer one can get closer to God, however, one cannot fully understand something that is beyond him.


Well experiencing the Son would not be experiencing nearly the fullness of God, and no one understood Jesus fully back then, obviously as this is reflected in countless debates on what the Bible truly means even to this day. So couldn't the Son be merely "glimpsing the glory" of God and thus make it compatible?

Quote . The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was a messenger of GOD, and His word that He had sent to Mary, and a revelation from Him.


Does not contradict the fact that Jesus is the Word (or the Son) which is one of the persons of God.

Quote
You shall not say, "Trinity." You shall refrain from this for your own good. GOD is only one god.


Now does this mean that God cannot have separate persons as in Christianity or that you shouldn't believe that God is a collection of separate deities, because in Christianity God is most certainly a united singular deity unto himself whose glory is manifested in the different persons.

From this quote:
Quote
[23:91] GOD has never begotten a son. Nor was there ever any other god beside Him. Otherwise, each god would have declared independence with his creations, and they would have competed with each other for dominance. GOD be glorified; far above their claims.


I would say that the previous is due to a confusion about the true nature of the trinity and as such does not dispute the fact that Christianity believes in one God who has no equals nor partners.

Quote Be He glorified; He is much too glorious to have a son.


Now again if this is reference to a biological son of course Jesus is not his biological son. To put a rather crude and somewhat inaccurate depiction, Jesus is the glove of God's hand, rather than a separate being in Christianity.

Quote
Affirms the continuation of prophethood, and also the humanity of Jesus therefore not being able to reconcile the son as part of theology.


But since God is not unable to become human, why could Jesus not be fully human and still God? I know God would not become inferior without a good reason but if there was a good reason he could do this right?

Quote
Confirms Jesus' propethood, while close to God as the Messiah he is not God.


The Messiah doesn't mean he can't also be God. The Messiah just means that he (Jesus) is to be anointed as a King, specifically the King who will save the chosen people of God. What this means is that God is saying that the time for earthly king's is over and that the only King is to be the King in Heaven (himself).

Quote The Messiah would never disdain from being a servant of GOD, nor would the closest angels. Those who disdain from worshipping Him, and are too arrogant to submit, He will summon them all before Him."


The Son was quite adamant about worshiping and glorifying the Father. In fact it is the utmost submission, God submits to his own wiser self.

Quote

[112:3] "Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten.


....Now this one is trickier but I believe it can be worked with. In Christianity we believe that God was never created nor will he ever be destroyed. So the second half is accurate, now the first part needs to be worked around in a more legal manner with translations to come into accord, whereas I could say that Christ proceeds from the Father rather than being merely begotten by the Father (as the Nicene Creed states.)

From the wording of this I am led to believe that this is a direct counter on the wording of the Nicene or Apostle's Creed that Muhammad would have been familiar with. Which means that this certainly had an agenda on it that would make it in direct opposition to Christianity which I feel is outside of the spirit of Islam. However I as it is ridiculous for me to try to reconcile two faiths while disputing the authoritativeness of the Koran and Islamic tradition while maintaining those of the Bible and Christian tradition I will merely state that the same original (Arabic) words in the Koran differ subtly from the original (Greek) words in the Creed, then the difference in the word "begotten" can be forgotten. I know it's a bit of a cop out but unlike the Koran, the Nicene Creed is not authoritative, it is in fact a summary of Christian belief and as such can be changed in order to incorporate new revealation.

I would say that all of the proscriptions about the fact that God (Allah) is one being without a mate and without children is more in line to distance itself from the pagan Arabic past, than to distance itself from Christianity. As the pagan Arabic Allah was the head of a rich pantheon which had wife-Gods and children-Gods, this was done to maintain that this Allah was not the same as the pagan Allah, much in the same way the Jewish El was not the same as the Phoenician El.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Dec-2007 at 06:27
Well equality of humanity would take care of that. Jesus had no sin, yes very true, however, all of the prophets in Islam were without sin. Jesus being the Messiah, and Muhammad the seal of the Prophets, alongside Ibrahim they make up 3 of the most important prophets. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Dec-2007 at 06:31
Trinity as in three persons coexisting that make up one God or however it is defined. The singularity of God is stressed in that. God is one, no mates, no son; we have the 99 names of God, which simply put are different attributes of God. God has attributes in Islam not personalties.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Dec-2007 at 06:42
If Jesus was God then God died, and God is no more. To me that simply does not make sense. And the Qu'ranic verses here confirm the supremacy of God, and that very supremacy is the fact that God would not take an inferior form. It is below him, and Jesus therefore is a special messenger of God, as is Muhammad and Ibrahim. This is also reaffirmed in the Miraj.

Also from the Qu'ran

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, Jesus son of Mary is only a messenger of Allah and His Word which He communicated to Mary and a spirit from Him; believe therefore in Allah and His messengers, and say not, "Trinity". Desist, it is better for you; Allah is only one Allah; 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.

This confirms the humanity of Jesus, and his propethood, and furthermore it confirms that he is neither a god nor divine.

There are numerious points of concurence. However, on the Trinity there are two opposing views.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2007 at 04:31
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God has attributes in Islam not personalties.


Ah, but the separate persons are not separate personalities, it is here sadly that the English language is lacking to provide a proper word. To give an example of the trinity think of God as a human mind, made up of the ego, superego and the id. In it you may think of the Holy Spirit as the id, impulsive in it's total and unrestrained love in this world, however that love can be detrimental for beings that cannot comprehend God, so that means that we must have the superego, who acts as the conscience, this is the Father who creates the laws that all beings must follow or be destroyed. This is obviously a bit harsh and thus we have the ego or the Son who mediates between the other two and maintains the proper harmony on earth.

No remember just as a normal human mind has one personality split into the ego,superego and id. So God has one being separated into the three separate persons. If you separate any of the parts you do not have a true human mind and if you separate the persons you do not have a true God.

Quote If Jesus was God then God died, and God is no more. To me that simply does not make sense.


His human body died, Jesus (God's) spirit cannot be destroyed. This is why Jesus is fully human but God the Father and the Holy Spirit are not, and why the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (somewhere Akolouthos just had an aneurism. ).

Quote It is below him, and Jesus therefore is a special messenger of God, as is Muhammad and Ibrahim.


Isn't it up to God's own divine will what is below him, and not up to the intuition of man?

Quote Jesus son of Mary is only a messenger of Allah and His Word


Actually this verse is pretty ironic considering that in the Gospel of John, Jesus is referred to as "the Word made Flesh". Thus the humanity of Jesus could quite easily be merely a messenger of "the Word (of God)", and still be acceptable to Christian ears.

Sorry I don't mean to be as trite as that but I got a smile out of that line. I also do not mean to be difficult, but the matters in the discussion force me responses to be difficult, as for the Centuries Islam and Christianity have been trying to create a rift between each other instead of trying to build upon common ground.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2007 at 15:07
It is a difficult subject. Nothing wrong with trying to build a common ground. The pope has prayed the other day, and the previous pope Paul acknowledged the Quran as word of God. Additionally there was a letter signed by numerous Islamic scholars and Imams worldwide asking for cooperation and understanding between the great religions a few months ago. I am not sure if it was discussed here, but you can google.com it I am at work right now on my pda and it would be time consuming to search for it. Yes the message of Jesus and Muhammad alongside others are the word of God.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Akolouthos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Dec-2007 at 23:17
Originally posted by es_bih es_bih wrote:

Additionally there was a letter signed by numerous Islamic scholars and Imams worldwide asking for cooperation and understanding between the great religions a few months ago. I am not sure if it was discussed here, but you can google.com it I am at work right now on my pda and it would be time consuming to search for it.
 
If it wasn't discussed, it certainly should be. As should the comments of the Egyptian (I think) Grand Mufti, in which he explicitily condemned suicide bombings in the strongest terms. That is precisely the sort of stuff that is needed to prevent such madness.
 
Originally posted by Janus Rook Janus Rook wrote:

His human body died, Jesus (God's) spirit cannot be destroyed. This is why Jesus is fully human but God the Father and the Holy Spirit are not, and why the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (somewhere Akolouthos just had an aneurism. ).
 
I haven't expired yet, Janus, despite your manifest heresy. I do feel a bit lightheaded though, so perhaps a sharp statement of the Roman concept of Purgatory would push me over the edge, and into death. Wink
 
On a serious note, the double procession of the Holy Spirit is a separate issue entirely from that which is here, so in lieu of any lengthy response, I will simply note that the East holds the Creed -- sans filioque -- as it was delivered at Nicaea, with the additions of Constantinople, and the confirmation of Ephesus and Chalcedon -- and subsequent councils.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Dec-2007 at 18:25
I can't see much point in debating what Muslim theology might have been. It could have been anything.
 
It is what it is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote xi_tujue Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Dec-2007 at 18:54
Christians say we are the Childern of God. Muslims don't say that.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Dec-2007 at 21:15
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I can't see much point in debating what Muslim theology might have been. It could have been anything.
 
It is what it is.


I'm not debating what muslim theology might be, I'm trying to pick apart the religion to find out what it is. And if what it is, is able to be reconciled with Christianity. Basically I'm trying to figure out what Islam isn't.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Dec-2007 at 20:24
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

I can't see much point in debating what Muslim theology might have been. It could have been anything.
 
It is what it is.


And what is it?

The point of the thread is to discuss the compatibility of the Trinity to Islamic concept of oneness of God, and as a form of dialouge.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Dec-2007 at 04:36
Hey es_bih I was thinking if you take out Jesus as man from the Trinity, and merely have the Word*, acting as one of the Persons of God. Would that contradict anything in Islam per se.

If by Persons you take what I said earlier on the Trinity, i.e. they are not separate individuals, separate minds or separate personalities but:

Quote
Ah, but the separate persons are not separate personalities, it is here sadly that the English language is lacking to provide a proper word. To give an example of the trinity think of God as a human mind, made up of the ego, superego and the id. In it you may think of the Holy Spirit as the id, impulsive in it's total and unrestrained love in this world, however that love can be detrimental for beings that cannot comprehend God, so that means that we must have the superego, who acts as the conscience, this is the Father who creates the laws that all beings must follow or be destroyed. This is obviously a bit harsh and thus we have the ego or the Son who mediates between the other two and maintains the proper harmony on earth.

No remember just as a normal human mind has one personality split into the ego,superego and id. So God has one being separated into the three separate persons. If you separate any of the parts you do not have a true human mind and if you separate the persons you do not have a true God.


*This is actually how Christian theology perceives God at the moment of creation since God had not become incarnated yet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Dec-2007 at 06:28
Going Bahai are we Janus? Wink

The concept of the trinity and islam are for all purposes completely irreconcilable. The Quran makes it clear, that God is indivisible, inseparable. Without returning Christianity to an earlier state (ie Islam) the two religions are fundamentally different.

Jesus is a messenger specially created to deliver Gods word. He is not a superior human being to Muhammed, Ibrahim, Moses, or Ismael. It is wrong to draw distinctions between prophets. (pbut)
Quote
From the wording of this I am led to believe that this is a direct counter on the wording of the Nicene or Apostle's Creed that Muhammad would have been familiar with. Which means that this certainly had an agenda on it that would make it in direct opposition to Christianity which I feel is outside of the spirit of Islam.

That is very interesting indeed. I would consider it highly unlikely that Muhammed knew of the wording of the Nicean creed, but the author of the Quran certainly did.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Dec-2007 at 11:09
I thought this was at least interesting as an approach to the same subject: http://muhammad.net/biblelp/biblelp1.html
 
I'd be interested in knowing how people here view the medieval argument over whether the Koran was created by God or coeval with him. It seems relevant to Janus' question.
 
I don't have any view on the subject, just interested in the arguments of the schism (if that's not too strong a word).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Dec-2007 at 12:41
Originally posted by xi_tujue xi_tujue wrote:

Christians say we are the Childern of God. Muslims don't say that.
 
So what?
 
I don't see the point. If you enter to the Christian Social Club y have to say, as a norm "Human beings are the Children of God" (Curious, they talk about humans in general not only believers)
 
But if you decide instead to apply for admition in the Muslim Social Club you has to declare "Allah is the only God".
 
As we can see, it is just a matter of definitions and requirements of admissions to enter religions. Definitions are arbitrary, of course, so I can't see what it is the point of comparing theologies. If a person is religious it will keep its believes and embrace hard its own theology and downplay the others. If a person is not religious, it will simple forget about theology. So, there is no point in comparing them, I believe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JanusRook Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Dec-2007 at 17:30
Quote Going Bahai are we Janus? Wink


Well the churches do look pretty cool..........

Quote The Quran makes it clear, that God is indivisible, inseparable.


Except that he has 99 separate attributes?

Quote
That is very interesting indeed. I would consider it highly unlikely that Muhammed knew of the wording of the Nicean creed, but the author of the Quran certainly did.


I always thought that the story was the Quran was recited word for word to Muhammad from the Angel Gabriel in some cave and that he put the words into writing?




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2008 at 00:29
Yes, except the Prophet himself did not put the words into writing, however, his followers did, then later on the collections were collected into the Qu'ran.

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Joined: 05-Jan-2006
Location: Snowy-Highlands
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jan-2008 at 01:24
Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

I thought this was at least interesting as an approach to the same subject: http://muhammad.net/biblelp/biblelp1.html

I agree. That is actually a very good take on the subject in my opinion. I believe this answers Janus's questions about the 99 names better than I could.
(The 99 names is really just commentry on theology anyway)

Quote I'd be interested in knowing how people here view the medieval argument over whether the Koran was created by God or coeval with him. It seems relevant to Janus' question.
 
I don't have any view on the subject, just interested in the arguments of the schism (if that's not too strong a word).

Essentially it was a medieval heresy that has died out. It was only important because a (few?) caliphs held the belief, the ulema and populace didn't share it.
"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor
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