Sunday, 5 April 2009

Is it reasonable to believe in the Holy Trinity?

We don't know the mystery of "stuff", imagine the mystery of God! About the controversy surrounding the Holy Trinity

Many Muslims want to believe that the most clear passage that establishes the Holy Trinity is John 5:7. (of course a verse, that a lot of later scholars presume that it is an interposition of a copyist). But the Holy Trinity is based on the overall teaching of the Bible and not on isolated sequencies ( We have for example:

- John 1.1 (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning) is one of the passagges where it showes more clearly the deity of Jesus Christ.
- The Baptism of Jesus Christ (Matt 3:16-7: As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased), where Jesus Christ said to baptize in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (and not just in "their names"). (Matt 28:18-9: Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit).
- (2 Cor 13:14: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all., Ephes 4:4: There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all).
- Saint Paul affirms the doctrine in 2, Cor 1 (Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ), and 1, Peter 1:2: who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood).

The word “Trinity” does not exist directly in the Bible, but who wrote the Bible presupposed the reality of the Holy Trinity. The Doctrine has been developed, but not invented, by Athanasius (296-373), Saint Augustine (354-430). Don’t forget that as well the word tawhid (uniqueness) of God does not exist in the Qur’an, as doesn’t exist the word “shahada” (we have the concept in Q 3:18 (but not the word tawhid). The Qur’an nowhere commands to Muslims to make their shahada…

The concept of the Holy Trinity
There are three persons, distinct but with the same essence. These are not three different gods, because they share the same essence in complete unity. As already shown here:

• Aren’t’ you 1, but made of 3 dimensions?
• Aren’t you at the same time with one leg in the past, one in the future and one in the present?
• Every point in the universe is unique, but to be defined needs 3 references (even 4 allowing the Relativity Concept of Einstein)?
• The Holy Trinity is not a mathematical formula but…everyone knows that 1+1+1=3. But 1*1*1=1?
• Just think about the three possible conditions of water

• 1*1*1=1, or• infinity + infinity + infinity = infinity. Actually, Infinity is a mystery, as like believing in the Holy Trinity.

Our dear Muslim brothers , of course, might have some difficulties in understanding this concept. And because of that they dismiss the Christian belief as irrational. But actually there are lots of religious concept in Islam that are the same way mysterious as the concept of the Holy Trinity. Let’s take for example the concept of resurrection of the death. Is it not more irrational to think that a “lost” corpse already with worms or even eaten by animals or fishes can resurrect and regain his body? If everything should be comprehensible to us, than we could forget not just all religions but reality as well. To believe in the Holy Trinity is not irrational, it is trans-rational. It is not always right to ask for easy things. Even real things, actually, are not simple. They seem, but are not. Let’s take the example put forward by C.S. Lewis: a table: it seems simple, but if we get a deeper look into the material that builds it, actually, it is very complicated.

God is a mystery. Thus we should be prepared to accept some kind of mystery around him. Are we really prepared to accept all this truth?

The concept of the Holy Trinity is actually too complex for someone that would have invented it with the aim to convert the whole world. That would be foolish. The concept of the Holy Trinity, rightly understood, cannot be found in any mythology, (see Osiris, Isis, Horus-Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu (Trimurti) here) or other groups of gods. They do not share the same attributes of perfect uniqueness of God. The Holy Trinity has nothing to do with a family of gods. This would be polytheism, that Christianity refuses. It is important to remember that the Holy Trinity cannot be taken away, it is a core belief of Christianity. Otherwise, the doctrine of Atonement would fall away (Jesus Christ died for all our sins on the cross). If Jesus Christ would just be a creature, he could not have saved us, He himself even would need to be saved. You can take as an analogy the relationship between a lover, a loved and love (Saint Agustin De Trinitate 8.14 9.2 e 15.10)

Jesus Christ has never said that he was God explicitly. But the question was not that he didn’t want to make it clear to everyone: if He would have said that He was God, actually, we would not have the concept o the Holy Trinity. It would have been counterproductive. Nobody would have asked for more comprehension. But He made it understandable to his disciples, but not in a way to make him identical to the Father. Actually, you have the utilisation of the word God just after the resurrection and in the Letters of Paul (see John 5:16; John 20:28 and letters of Paul (written around 55-58 A.D.)

All Christians (Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox) believe in the Holy Trinity, the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ, his virginal conception, his crucifixion and death for our sins, the resurrection of the deaths, his venue at the end of times, the divinity of the Holy Spirit, the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible, the necessity of God’s grace for our salvation, the day of judgement, the eternal life (actually all what is in the Nicean Credo).

There are some minor differences, for example, between the Orthodox and the Catholic faith in regard to the Holy Trinity (the issue if the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (the “filioque” querelle)). These are minor theological issue, that most of the faithful normally ignore. However, this had some implications in the “normal language “ used. For that reason you might say that someone is converting to Catholicism and not to Methodism or Presbyterianism.

God is infinite in His love towards us, and it is impossible for men to earn their salvation through finite works and deeds. Only God can make it possible. He actually takes the role of the sinner, in order to pay for all our insults and sins, because only He can pay this enormous price. Only Through the suffering of the Just, justice can be.

In the Old Scriptures (the Old Testament), God revealed himself as the Only God. But to have practical value for the humanity, it was necessary  that God reveals himself in order to be loved and known. Otherwise, just to believe in the uniqueness of God has not a lot of worth. It is as if you believe that there is one sun. Jinns and demons as well believe in the only God. But this is not enough to let them be saved. (James 2:19: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble). This is because they don’t know and love them.

The holy Trinity is not against human reason. Actually, it is Islam that risks faithful people be taken towards a kind of agnosticism.


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