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Trinity In Unity

For the reader to be well-informed about the Christian doctrine of the Unity of God and the Trinity, I shall now present in detail the first doctrine of the Christian Faith.

There is no god but God the One; Living, True, Eternal, Everlasting, without body, parts or emotions. Whose might and wisdom and goodness know no limits, Creator of all things visible and invisible. In this One God are three Persons of the same substance, the same might and the same eternal existence, they are The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit.

This creed is well supported by verses in the Torah and Gospel. Therefore it is not an invention of the Christians. However, whether it was first realised, or arrived at by logical discussion, will be answered from what follows.

It is not fully understood because it is beyond the perception of the sons of Adam. However, it is a reality and an accepted fact even though the majority of Muslim enquirers have failed to comprehend it, in accordance with the Islamic doctrine which says, Investigation regarding the essence of God is infidelity (Hadith).

I shall not, at present, attempt to explain a doctrine which the ancients failed to explain, and whose essence the moderns cannot grasp, because it is an enquiry into the nature of God, the Creator of all beings. Since scholars cannot comprehend the secret of any of these beings, how then can they comprehend the nature of the First Cause, the Creator? I want to demonstrate firstly that we have to accept this concept by faith, with our heart, even though our minds do not comprehend it. The reason is that we have it given in detail in God's inspired Book which is for mankind's guidance; I mean by it the Torah and Gospel. Secondly, I would like to point out to my Muslim brethren that they themselves have many basic fundamental beliefs which are not logical. Of these and foremost among them is the belief in God. Why then do they require us to prove what they themselves cannot prove?

First of all, all believers in God whether Jews, Christians or Muslims know nothing about God except what he has revealed about himself. Anything beyond that is the imagination or speculation of scholars. It cannot be relied on by the God-fearing nor used to convince the sceptics.

Our own perceptions are incapable of comprehending their creator. If we could, he would cease to be God. Only God can understand God. Although God is the ultimate being yet, unlike other beings he fills the heavens and the worlds, without having length, breadth, height, depth or origin. Because he is boundless and incomprehensible, he has soared way above analogy and representation. Whatever your mind can conceive, God is something other. Therefore we should not overreach ourselves in trying to fathom what our minds are incapable of fathoming. Let us instead accept what God has revealed to us of himself without probing or debate. That is closer to godliness.

The important thing is to find out: Does the Book (the Torah and Gospel) come from God or not? If we answer in the affirmative (and thank God it is so), we have to believe all that we read in it whether it agrees or disagrees with our own opinion. For we are not permitted to believe some of the Book which we understand and disbelieve other parts due to lack of understanding. In the Qur'an such folk are blamed as we see from Sura al-Baqara 2:79, What, do you believe in part of the Book, and disbelieve in part? What shall be the recompense of those of you who do that, but degradation in the present life, and on the Day of Resurrection to be returned unto the most terrible of chastisement?

Quite often our Muslim brethren attack the Torah and Gospel for mentioning that God spoke, heard, wrote with his finger, was sad, sorry and other human-like expressions.

In order to remove any doubts in their hearts we would remind them that the Qur'an too uses similar statements. Here are some of them:

Hast thou received the story of Moses? When he saw a fire, and said to his family, 'Tarry you here; I observe a fire. Perhaps I shall bring you a brand from it, or I shall find at the fire guidance.' When he came to it, a voice cried,' Moses, I am thy Lord; put off thy shoes' (Sura Taha 20:8-12).

God is the Light of the heavens and the earth; the likeness of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp (the lamp in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star)... (Sura al-Nur 24:35).

God's hand is over their hands (Sura al-Fath 48:10).

He said, (Abraham) I am going to my Lord (Sura al-Saffat 37:97).

Whoso emigrates in the way of God... (Sura al-Nisa' 4:101).

...and for their saying, 'We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of God...' (Sura al-Nisa' 4:156).

...and unto God all matters are returned (Sura al-Baqara 2:206).

...then sat Himself upon the Throne (Sura al-A'raf 7:52).

...then He lifted Himself to heaven... (Sura al-Baqara 2:27).

When God said, Jesus I will take thee to Me and will raise thee to Me, and I will purify thee of those who believe not (Sura Al Imran 3:48).

All that dwells upon the earth is perishing, yet still abides the Face of thy Lord, majestic, splendid (Sura al-Rahman 55:27).

All things perish, except His Face (Sura al-Qasas 28:88).

In the Qur'an we have sayings which attribute to God love, anger and pleasure which are emotional reactions; also regret and forgetfulness: Therefore today We forget them... (Sura al-A'raf 7:49).

If you accept the foregoing verses at face value you would have to admit that God was represented by fire or was inside it. But if you say he wasn't fire nor was he in it but it was in order to direct Moses to something, I would reply that the end of the verse, put off thy shoes; thou art in the Holy Valley, Towa, contradicts you and proves me right. If you admit God is light and that this light is, as a niche, wherein is a lamp, etc., this is what is known as 'yes and no' (hulul and hasr) - a dilemma. Then you are bound to admit that God has a place and a face, and so on. And this, no Muslim would accept.

Secondly, you say, my Muslim brother, that you do not believe the doctrine of the Trinity (i.e. that God is one in three Persons), because you are unable to understand it and no one can prove it to you. What you forget is that you as a Muslim believe many things in common with the Jew and the Christian. However, if disbelievers in inspiration ask you to prove one of these beliefs you and the ablest scholars could not do so nor respond with an answer supported by proof.

Every believer in God believes that he has created the heavens and all that is in them of suns and moons and planets and stars. He fashioned the world and all that is therein of plant and animal life in six days and created living rational man with a word from his mouth. Now every believer believes that the noble prophets and the good apostles performed miracles such as raising the dead, healing the dumb and paralytic, and so on. Every believer believes in the Resurrection, namely that every being from Adam to the last person on earth will be resurrected, those who have died natural deaths as well as those whom the fish have eaten. Also those eaten by beasts of the field shall have their spirits return to their bodies which have decomposed into various forms of earth, plant, animal and matter; and this for the purpose of reckoning and judgement.

Supposing an infidel challenged you regarding these truths and denied them. Would you be able to defend your beliefs by logical reasoning, sound proof and intellectual arguments without the inspired books? You know better than I do that you would not be able to furnish proofs establishing the foregoing beliefs.

You believe in God and trust him. But if I ask you: what is God, and where is he? You would fail to give a convincing answer. You also know you have a spirit and believe in that. However, you are ignorant of what the spirit is or of where it exists. Furthermore, you know and believe you have a mind and intellectual capacities but you do not understand their nature. You do not even understand much of intangible things. Learned men have stated that we do not understand the essence of material things, but only know their properties and characteristics. How much more can this be said of intangible things!

I know and you know, and the Jews, Christians and Muslims all know that we and they believe statements about creation, miracles, the resurrection, the judgement and immortality of the soul. We also believe in God, not because we are capable of proving these doctrines but because they are mentioned in books we regard as sent down from God and infallible. Thus the Jew believes in obedience to his Book, the Torah, the Christian on the authority of the Torah and Gospel, and the Muslim in submission to the Qur'an.

If it is valid to deny the Trinity because we have no way to prove it, we must deny all other doctrines, in fact denying all revelations which we cannot prove; such as God's self-existence and eternal nature, his being the first cause of everything, omnipresent and omniscient, knowing all that has happened from eternity to eternity at every moment in time, and that his knowledge does not allow any additions or omissions.

God is one in essence, three in person. Since he is unique in the universe in his nature and attributes it is no wonder that he is superior to all else in the mode of his being, even as he excels in his supreme attributes. It is said that one essence having three hypostases is impossible. We would say this is an unsupported claim and that our finite minds cannot measure of what is possible and what is not beyond its limits of comprehension. The persons of the Trinity are in essence one, not in generic or qualitative essence. Therefore plurality in trinity does not affect the essence, and does not involve essential dichotomy since God's essence is not material but spiritual. Spirit does not, under any circumstances, permit division. Thus the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are in respect to their hypostasis of the same essence. Each of them enjoys the essence of one deity without division or separation. In our language there is no equivalent to the meaning of hypostasis in order to be able to describe the Holy Trinity more easily.

After what I have said, do you still insist that the Christian's belief in the Trinity belies ignorance? Do you insist, after all these examples that you do not accept the Trinity, because you do not find an intellectual proof for it? Don't you know that to every matter there is proof of a certain kind? For instance, in the historic realm, you cannot prove Alexander of Macedon and all his campaigns in Egypt, Syria, Persia, India and others by means of a chemical, geometrical or a logical proof. No, because these events pertain to history and nothing else! Or can you demonstrate to me that the whole is greater than its part by chemical means? If this principle is true, we conclude that everything has a demonstration of its own kind. Thus religious things are demonstrated from revealed (or inspired) books, mathematical problems by mathematical proofs such as in arithmetic, algebra and geometry, astronomical matters from the science of astronomy, and so on and so forth. Therefore, my Muslim brother, do not try to prove religious doctrines by means of scientific proofs, lest you go far astray. And why do you disagree with me on the question of Trinity? It may be that we are basically in agreement. For you say: God and his Word and his Spirit, that makes three. And I say: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not, 'Three,' Refrain; better is it for you. God is only One God. Glory be to Him (Sura al-Nisa' 4:169). We believe that God has a Word and Spirit and he is one with his Word and Spirit. Everything which is in God is God according to you. Therefore God's Word is God having all his attributes such as being and infinity and much else. Also God's Spirit is God, and is partner with him in being from eternity to eternity.

In closing I would beseech God, who is one in substance and triune in number, to grant you his Holy Spirit and convince you in your heart of the truth of this doctrine. In this way, you will believe in it even as you have believed that he is able to do all things and is worthy of your response.

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