Similarities and misconceptions about Tawhid and the Holy Trinity
First, we have to clear up a big misunderstanding....Is the uniqueness of God simpler to understand that the Trinity? Is the complexity a valid criterion for Truth? Could an “abstruse” concept as the Trinity being man-made? Who is so foolish to invent it?
Let’s start with the basic (and very simple to understand) tenet that Islam is based on the concept of Tawhid (=making one), supposedly the most pure form of Monotheism. Let us now consider that the Qur’an is not only God’s word, but that it is as well uncreated (it is written since the beginning of time on golden tablets that are in heaven, following Islamic orthodoxy), created (sent down to Muhammad) and co-eternal (it was with Allah since the beginning of time and is now in “our hands”). The Qur’an has thus two characteristics: it is eternal and temporal.
The one that we have now, is a copy of the original, thus, co-eternal. Here we have the big questions: How can God be one? If the Qur’an is co-existent and not created, is it like God? Is it even God? It is eternal and temporal: how can a “created” book contain the Word of God that is uncreated? Can the finite contain the infinite? Who dares to say that the concept of Tawhid is still simple? And that Islam is a simple faith?
If the Qur'an is not Allah, then how can it be eternal? How can Allah still be one if the Qur'an is other than him? If it isn’t other than Allah, how can it be distinct from Allah? How many Allahs are there? More importantly, how can something be and not be a specific thing at the same time, e.g. how can the Qur'an be Allah and not be Allah without this being a logical contradiction? Worse: the Qur'an narrates episodes that have occurred within time and space. Since it is eternal, this means that all of these events and speeches were foreordained, which means that players in these episodes did not have free will but were programmed to say and act in accord with what Allah’s uncreated word had already predestined. Thus, whereas Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Word who became flesh, the Qur'an is the eternal Word that became a book! On what logically consistent basis can we reject the Christian belief in the doctrines of the Holy Trinity and the blessed Incarnation as irrational?
When Muslims ask if Jesus is God, we should then ask if the Qur’an is created or uncreated, and what’s the relationship between Qur’an and Allah, and his uniqueness. If the eternal word of God becomes a book (something finite), then it can become as well a human being, can’t it? Can we find in the Qur’an that the Qur’an itself is not God or something else of God? Can our dear Muslim brothers explain more about the essence and the attributes of Tawhid?
In fact, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Trinity and the concept of Tawhid are both complex and simple.
Muslims say that Islam prohibits images and idols, and that Muhammad has come to root out idolatry (Sahih al-Bukhari 005.059.583). But actually, Muhammad revered and kissed the Black Stone as other followers of him did (is this not a kind of idolatry? (Bukhari 002.026.667; 02.026.673; 675, 676, 679-680). What is left of the supposed pure form of Uniqueness of God, of Tawhid? Islam actually doesn’t seem to have eradicated idolatry, ma to have replaced it with an own version of polytheism.
In the Qur’an we find some (wrong) notions of the Trinity: For example, the Qura’nic Trinity seems to be: Mary (sic), God and Jesus Christ. If actually the Qur’an is the last revelation, how could it be so wrong on that? Nowhere and nobody ever told in Christianity that Mary was part of the Holy Trinity! Might be, Allah or Muhammad were confused? Or did Muhammad get into contact with an unknown heretical Christian Arabic sect?
Jews, Christians and Muslims agree that there is one God. Of course, about the characteristics...we disagree. And this depends on the Revelation that has been given, and should not depend on human imagination or philosophical speculation, as that’s the case in Shintoism, Hinduism and Buddhism (however it should be said that this shows how the hunger for God is THE main characteristics of all humans, independent of race and culture).
However, just one religion tells us one important and unique fact: that God came on earth, visited us, and showed and revealed us a lot about him (and lots more of course, he showed us the SUPREME act of love). Jesus confessed to Pilate that He was son of a King, that He was King (not of an earthy kingdom of course) (Marc 14:61-64). This was blasphemy for the Jews. If he hadn’t dared to say that He was God, why then should the Jewish Priests want him to be crucified? But this is not all of the story: he resurrected, and with that He gave again live to his disciples. So they had to ask themselves: who is Jesus? What is his relationship to God? After 50 days we had Pentecost (Whit Sunday, that comes 10 days after Jesus’ Ascension), with the descent of the Holy Spirit. And with that, everything got clear in the mind of the disciples (Mat 16:9-10). Note that this was as well according to the prophecies (Is 52:13-53:12: they had to wait for the Holy Spirit). With Pentecost, they were assured that they were not left alone, and that God would stay with them. In fact Peter (called from Jesus “Khefas” (the rock), the “main” apostle, and first Pope) said explicitly that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. Thomas, the disciple that didn’t believe that Jesus had come physically to visit the apostles while they were barricading themselves full of fear for their future, when he put his fingers in Jesus’ ribs wound said: “oh my Lord and my God” (John 20, 26-29).
Actually, the Holy Spirit is already present in the Creation (Genesis 1:2), even the Prophets spoke of Him (Joel 2:28-29), and there are as well some references to the Old Testament (i.e. the Jewish Bible): Psalm 110:1: “the Lord says to my Lord”. Jesus Christ as well already anticipated His coming (John 14-16), telling to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ would still stay with us till the end of time (Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 8:9, 15-9). This let already the first believers think that although God is one, he had some “extra” features. Through these revelations, God revealed a little of Him to us. For Muslims God is “absolute power”. For Christians it is Holiness and Love.
Important note: the Holy Trinity Is not three-deism (like Osiris, Isis, Horus-Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu (Trimurti)). God does not procreate. He creates. He is neither man nor woman, he doesn’t need to be married or to have a sexual relationship to create something. Too often Muslims tell us about their submission to Allah, and that he’s omnipotent, but then, strangely they permit themselves to tell Him what he can do and what he cannot (of course God cannot do a lot of things…but on that later on (one hint: he cannot be unjust). This believe was already there during the early Church, but was fully recognized during the Council of Nicea 325 AD.
To our dear Muslim brothers: The Holy Trinity is not even so difficult to grasp:
- 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?
- Light has no colour…but let it go through a prism….