Friday, 22 August 2014

When My Beloved Became Triune

Encountering Ibn Arabi in the Religion of Love

By Timothy Abraham
My Beloved is my Lord and my Lord is my Beloved. He is the starting point, the Alpha and the Omega. All creatures seek Him and praise Him every day and hundreds of millions praise him every day in thousands of languages. Nobody can monopolize Him to himself and say that He is for me and no one else. God is for everybody and loves everybody, and so He had to be triune in three persons so that I may be privileged to know Him. For if He remains one and only in His heavens and not reaching out to me or running out to meet me in His incarnation, what good does His monotheism do for me? In what way do I really benefit from a theoretically concrete monotheism such as that?

Believing in the unity of God is a de-facto matter, acknowledged by all including the demons. James says in his epistle “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (2:19) However, we need more than belief in one God. We need for this one God to become flesh with us, reach out His hand to us in His Advent. We need more than the doctrine of monotheism as strictly dry as it is. Therefore, our Lord comes, willingly, motivated by intense outpouring love for our sake. He, then, becomes triune without having any qualms about it. At the same time He is the Lord who is One and there is no other. Receiving such a spiritual matter occurs on the level of Faith not the abstraction of ideas, or otherwise we are watching from a distance and remain detached from our God by a big chasm. All that we know then, is that he is just one God. This is like going to the beach, watching the water from a distance and not allowing our feet to get wet. We have to plunge into the water of divine love where there is a deeper level. It is the level of the Trinity.

Within the Muslim world there has been a voice that has proclaimed an intimacy with God that goes far beyond the traditional Islamic understanding of God and the Muslim relationship with Him. Ibn Arabi (1165-1240 AD) was a poet, a sheikh of Islam and a lover of God. He was endowed with spiritual insight as well as beauty of soul in order to see some things, while still remaining in Islam. This Muslim mystic was able to spot such a significant spiritual truth as the Christian doctrine of Trinity in that he ties it in with God’s unconditional love. In a famous poem in his Turjuman, he proceeds to proclaim his love for his God and commune with Him in affectionate, flirting, poetic verses, even though his religion does not allow for such romance with God. Admittedly, the Quran does not state clearly that God is love or that God is our Beloved or the Lover. Never does the Quan state that the Lord will reach out to humanity in his initiative of love, as it is the case with Christianity. Yet Ibn Arabi transcends the obvious cruel, customary rigidity accompanying the Quranic text and proceeds to love with his God. His God is his Beloved; no wonder he is enormously comfortable around Him. No wonder most of the Arab world is universally drawn to Ibn Arabi and chant his romantic poetry and see it as a divine gift and we also see how much his heart was vastly big and tolerant so as to include all people of religions and non-religions, which is in itself incongruent with the spirit of Islam. He showed that he wanted to break free of the restrictions of Islam and love like God loves, loving everyone.

Isn’t every true love emanating directly from the bowels of God?
– Yes, of course!
And do we have any love in us that came from within us ourselves?
– Of course not! For how did we learn to flirt or how did we learn the art of love? And how do our hearts beat with that thrill? Of course this is from our maker, the Lord God Himself! Any love that is not rooted in God or comes from the heart of God is plain deception for its self-seeking nature. True love seeks what is the “other’s”. This means that I get out of myself and pour all my attention on that individual and seek that person’s ultimate good. Often a man loves a young lady because he simply sees his image in her. He sees himself in her, and for the things that she does for him. Such love is narcissism, as when Narcissus saw himself on the face of the water. But when I love someone this should be for her own sake. I should seek with all my energy to make her happy without expecting something in return. Utilitarianism and love do not go hand in hand.

Because we think about love, sex and romance apart from God, we are haunted by the mentality of halal and harram
ذهنية الحلال والحرام , which is what is lawful and unlawful in Islam, the do’s and don’ts. With this taboo mentality, everything is liable to become unclean because the mind is measuring things in a utilitarian, objectifying light. For them, lovemaking has become a legal right governed by the marriage contract, hence the phrase “`Uqdad al-nikah” عقدة النكاح (Intercourse contract). This phrase describes marriage, on the one hand, as nothing more than a contract and, on the other hand, it is this contract which modifies the act of Nikah (intercourse in marriage). The focus of Islam, here, would be on the idea to have a contract to have the right to have sex.

Ibn Arabi saw that Christ was the seal of the Saints while Muhammad was the seal of the prophets.
He doesn’t place Christ on the same level as ordinary prophets, who according to Islamic theology merely convey the message of God passively. He sees Christ as an intimate saint of God, about whom the Hadith qudsi says, “Whoever becomes an enemy to a wali (saint) I have launched war on him.” Ibn Arabi brings to mind the people who came to Jesus under the cover of darkness as they felt and knew deep within themselves who Christ really was. One such person was Nicodemus. It is no surprise that Christ speaks to him from the heart with impatience, “You are a teacher of Israel and you don’t know this?” (John 3:10) Likewise, Ibn Arabi has his own high esteem as an Imam in Islam, in the same fashion that Nicodemus held a place of reverence as Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin.

Our honored sheikh, Ibn Arabi, a Nicodemus in his own Islamic way, has his masterpiece of poetry, Turjuman Al-Ashwaq.
1 In poem 12 he says communing with his Beloved:
My beloved has become triune while He is still One,
In Him the Persons of Trinity have become a Being

The Beloved is one, indeed, in his personhood, and so, we might wonder, how does trinity get to him, our sheikh Ibn Arabi? Ibn Arabi would tell us: It is Love! It is by love and for the sake of love that He becomes triune, otherwise he is closed in upon himself in dire detachment. He is not arrogantly peeking from his heaven on his slaves, as Islam would inform us. The Trinity is contrary to being closed off. For if God becomes veiled from us, this would be, indeed, hell in itself. May He never hide His face from us! Love was, and still is, His initiative, not ours. We might ask Ramon Llull, who was one of the earliest Christians to take the Gospel message to the Muslim world in the 13th century, about paradise and hell. In his book he states:

They asked the Lover: “What is the greatest darkness?” He replied: “The absence of my Beloved.” “And what is the greatest light?” “The presence of my Beloved.”

Closeness of the Beloved is paradise, and the absence of the Beloved is hell. True divine enlightenment comes with the closeness of the Beloved.

As long as we talk about the Trinity or Christianity at large, it cannot be done apart from the encounter of the loving God that we experience. For He is the Beloved who cannot be absent, or else life would be miserable hell as a result of His absence. The Gospel always presents the doctrine of the Trinity in light of the God who is love. Without talking about the Beloved, and here I mean my Own Beloved, I have no way of talking about the Trinity at all. In the Gospel according to Matthew, there is an elucidation of this concept in the baptism of Christ.

When all the people were baptized Jesus was also baptized and while praying the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit came in the form in dove and said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" (Matthew 17:5)

In this incident the Father who sends His Beloved Son for the salvation of the world is present. So is the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit also. He announces as the Spirit comes upon Christ that Christ is, indeed, God’s Beloved Son. In this verse, there is the beautiful presence of the three persons of the Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This Bible passage powerfully and clearly explains the doctrine of the Trinity for our Christian witness. We cannot talk about what is between the Father and Christ the Son without addressing the relationship of love that they have between the two of them. This is the only way to present the doctrine of the Trinity. In talking about the Beloved who has captivated us by His love, what further proof for Christianity do we need more than His own love? They ask for a sign, and yet the sign of love is the only thing offered to them. According to the Bible this doctrine of the Trinity has been present from the beginning, and it isn’t an invention of a church council, as some claim in order to justify their rejection of the triune God of Love. Whenever God the Father and Christ are present in some place, with the Holy Spirit operating in the hearts of people, then you are, indeed, addressing the Trinity. Call it whatever term you wish, for it isn’t about the terminology but the profound theological content that it denotes. It is all about the relationship between God the Father and Christ working together in our hearts and renewing them by the Holy Spirit of God. That is why they call Christianity the religion of Love.

Therefore, I am inclined to go with Ibn Arabi when he says in his Turjuman, “The religion of love shall be my religion and my faith, wherever God’s caravans turn”. Today, still, Ibn Arabi comes again in the person of an enlightened, open-minded Muslim scholar such as Dr. Muhammad Kamel Hussayn in his literary masterpiece. He is appalled by the hardness of hearts that handed Jesus over to the cross. One of his characters in the novel is mouth pieced as saying, “Would you ever kill a man that says that God is love? No criminal would utter such a thing! God is love.”
3 This kind of love was, indeed, the message of Christ who went about proclaiming it, leaving no room for divisive arguments. With love, you simply can’t argue. Love always wins. It is such love that is the most prominent dogma of Christianity, and it is for its sake that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., leave everything behind in order to walk with Christ hand in hand.

There was a Sikh by the name Sadhu Sundar Singh who had decided to follow Jesus. He was asked once by a Hindu professor what it was that he had found in Christianity that he had not found in his old religion. “I have found Christ,” said Sadhu Sundar Singh. “Oh yes, I know,” said the professor rather impatiently. “But what particular doctrine have you found or principle that you did not have before?” “The particular thing I have found,” replied Sadhu Sundar Singh, “is Christ!” It is this Jesus Christ that Ibn Arabi found as precisely characterizing the “religion of love” in his poem, and yet he could not give up all and follow Him. Sundar Singh, on the other hand, made a different choice and decided to be cleansed in His heart by His redemptive love. We may wash the outside as much as we want in ablutions, and all that we are doing is washing the “outside” of the pot. Sadly, the inside of the pot is still dirty (Luke 11:39). This is where Love Divine comes in and purifies us, not a long list of do’s and don’ts, that strict Islamic mentality of the ‘taboo’. That Trinity of Love is what it takes to purge our souls of its ills. What people need primarily is not rigid, dogmatic beliefs, but a Person, the Liberator of the souls, Jesus Christ. On his account, things are done out of deep, compelling love of Christ, not out of fear.

When the Holocaust occurred, people were still dressed in civilized clothes and acted refined. The heart, sadly, still had it own disease, the disease of sin. Western secularism in all of its glory didn't prevent people from committing the barbarism of the Holocaust. What was and is still needed is not an “ideology” but definitely a change of heart, a heart made once again in the image of God in the religion of love, of which Ibn Arabi speaks. Love alone can eradicate evil from man’s heart, and man is no longer, as Hobbes once claimed, a wolf hunting his own brother. Love, beauty of God, will redeem our souls; no more hunters, but instead achieving the highest potential of the humanity of God in Christ and appropriating it to our beings. We have seen and heard terror of Islam on every side. Its peace is nothing more than a lip service as it is more of an ideology than a spirituality of sorts.

For this reason, my God who is omnipotent chose also to be all-humble, all-love in the Trinity. Without the Trinity, he is just a generic deity, direly detached and remote, peeking down from heaven and weighing on people with his severe edicts. In the Trinity, he reaches out with both hand and heart to embrace me. He is no longer an idea to be proven or disproven, but a person to choose or to reject; a God to experience personally as Lord and Savior, but not a ‘concept’ that inferentially prevails upon our minds. His is the ‘love story’ which Fanny Crosby beautifully chants,

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word.
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth.
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”

My friends, please, I would be delighted
to hear from you.

1 Edited by Reynold Alleyne Nicholson and published by The Royal Asiatic Society, London, 1912.
2 Ramón Llull, The Book of the Lover and the Beloved, translated from Catalan by E. Allison, with an introductory essay, 1923; p. 31, stanza 119, online source.
3 قرية ظالمة , Dar Al Shuruq, Cairo, Egypt, p. 19; English translation by Kenneth Craig, City of Wrong: A Friday in Jerusalem.



Friday, 15 August 2014

The Triune God – The Greatest Conceivable Being that Exists, Part 2

Continues form Part 1

Andalusi proceeds to show that he simply doesn’t understand Craig’s argument:

The false premises just pour of this statement by William. Firstly, God knew all of his creation before he created it, would it be not possible for God to love his creation from all eternity even though it hadn’t existed yet? Surely if William had read his Old testament, he would have found the verse where God is reported to have said to Prophet Jeremiah:
‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ Jeremiah 1:5
‘When I (David) was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.’ Psalm 139:13-16

God exists outside time and space, for him, there is no before, present or after, so he had always loved his deserved amongst creation and always hated the undeserving amongst his creation. How narrow of Dr Craig to have limited God’s knowledge and timelessness so.

Once again, Andalusi doesn’t realize that his objection provides tacit support for Dr. Craig’s point since to say that God loved his creation before it existed actually affirms that a loving being must love someone other than himself. However, by positing creation as the object of God’s love Andalusi has now made God dependent upon creation, thereby denying God’s independence and self-sufficiency. Andalusi has turned God into a contingent being since his view makes God’s love dependent upon creatures.

Andalusi is not the only one to turn God into a contingent being who needs creatures in order to express his qualities, since Andalusi’s own prophet did the very same thing when he said the following


Abu Sirma reported that when the time of the death of Abu Ayyub Ansari drew near, he said: I used to conceal from you a thing which I heard from Allah's Messenger and I heard Allah's Messenger as saying:Had you not committed sins, Allah would have brought into existence a creation that would have committed sin (and Allah) would have forgiven them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037,
Number 6620)

Abu Ayyub Ansari reported that Allah's Messenger said: If you were not to commit sins, Allah would have swept you out of existence and would have replaced you by another people who have committed sin, and then asked forgiveness from Allah, and He would have granted them pardon. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037,
Number 6621)

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger having said: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace (you by) those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 037,
Number 6622)
That Allah needed to create sinners whom he could forgive as a way of showing mercy indicates that even Muhammad understood Dr. Craig’s argument! Muhammad seemed to realize that perfect love can only exist between persons who love one another, among a community which gives itself away in love. However, seeing that he didn’t understand the doctrine of the Trinity he was forced to come up with a view that ended up making Allah dependent upon not just creation in general, but upon sinners in particular! (This further shows that Allah had determined beforehand that there would be sin in the world and therefore created people who would actually sin.)

In fact, this next verse shows that Allah also needs creatures to love and worship him:

I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me. S. 51:56 Pickthall

Notice that the reason why Allah created jinn and mankind was so that they could worship him, which shows that Allah had a need which only creatures could meet.

The following narration further confirms Allah’s dependence on creation:

3) Allah says, "I was a hidden treasure, and I wished to be known, so I created a creation (mankind), then made Myself known to them, and they recognised Me." (
An Introduction to the Sciences of Hadith, Shaykh Suhayb Hasan hafidhahullaah (Published by Dar-as-Salam))

The reason why Allah created was because he wanted to be known!
(Side note: This narrative introduces another problem since it says that Allah wanted people to know him and yet he cannot be known since he has refused to reveal his nature to us. The only thing that can be known about Allah is his will as demonstrated by his actions.)

Although the authenticity of the chain of transmission for this report has been questioned by Muslim scholars there are some that accept its veracity on the grounds that its meaning is supported by Q. 51:56:

3) Ibn Taimiyyah says, "It is not from the words of the Prophet, and there is no known isnad for it, neither sahih nor da'if"; al-Zarkashi (d. 794), Ibn Hajar, al-Suyuti and others agreed with him. Al-Qari says, "But its meaning is correct, deduced from the statement of Allah, I have not created the Jinn and Mankind, except to worship Me, i.e. to recognise/know me, as Ibn 'Abbas has explained." These statements are mentioned by al-'Ijlouni, who adds, "This saying occurs often in the words of the Sufis, who have relied on it and built upon it some of their principles."88 (An Introduction to the Sciences of Hadith,

88. Isma'il b. Muhammad al-'Ijlouni, Kashf al- Khafa' (2 vols. in 1, Cairo/Aleppo, N.D.), no. 2016. (Footnotes)

Hence, the Islamic sources testify that Allah needed to be worshiped and loved by others and so he therefore decided to create individuals who would give him what he needed! As such, Allah cannot be a self-sufficient being who is free of all desires and needs. Allah is actually a contingent being who had to create in order to both express and experience love!(1)

Hopefully, this will help Andalusi see all of the problems that his argument and the narrations attributed to Muhammad pose for his monotheistic beliefs. Perhaps he will now realize how Muhammad’s teachings and his own reply actually confirm, rather than refute, Dr. Craig’s argument and show that it is philosophically sound and logically valid.

All glory to the Triune God the Christian conception of God doesn’t suffer from any of these problems! According to God’s inspired Word, God is love and his nature is to give himself away in love:
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God IS love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God IS love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:8-16
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

At the same time the Holy Bible is clear that the Triune God didn’t need any creature to express and receive love from since the distinct Persons of the Godhead have been loving one another before creation existed. For instance, the Father loved his Son before the world existed:
“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.’" Matthew 3:16-17 – cf. 9:7
“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began… Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” John 17:5, 24

And because he loves the Son the Father appointed him Heir of everything that exists:
“Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’ But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said. ‘Let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’” Luke 20:13-14
“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.” John 3:35
For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.” John 5:20

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and FOR him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,” Colossians 1:13-19
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Hebrews 1:1-3

In a similar manner the Lord Jesus perfectly obeys the Father in everything he commands, even to the point of laying his life down for believers, because of his love for the Father:
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:37-40
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:17-18

“but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.” John 14:31
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” John 15:9-10

Thus, God didn’t create because he needed someone or something to love, but out of his own free will. God was already expressing and experiencing perfect love in eternity, long before creation ever came into being. Allah is clearly not like the God of the Holy Bible in this regard, and in many other aspects as well.

Furthermore, Andalusi’s statement here,

God exists outside time and space, for him, there is no before, present or after, so he had always loved his deserved amongst creation and always hated the undeserving amongst his creation. How narrow of Dr Craig to have limited God’s knowledge and timelessness so.

Is simply irrelevant to Craig’s argument and is nothing more than a red herring, since even in Andalusi’s view his god is still dependent on creation in order to express love.

Besides, Andalusi is causing more problems for himself by raising this objection. He seems to imply that whatever God is stated to do at a certain time (like loving those of his creation who deserve it) he has been doing for eternity because God is outside of time and therefore there is no before, after, now etc. On what basis would Andalusi restrict this conclusion only to “loving” and not to other actions of God? Would he also say that God was exhibiting wrath and anger towards sinners even before they existed?

Another problem with his assertion is that his position would inevitably mean that God’s act of creation is timeless and so God must be eternally creating the universe. However, seeing that such is not the case doesn’t the very act of creation imply a moment of time that God began creating the universe at a specific moment and then finished that act at a different moment? If so then weren’t these actions of God moments in time?

Moreover, if there is no present and after with God then does this means that God hasn’t finished with his act of creating the universe. If Andalusi actually believes this then he must accept that God is actually still creating the cosmos and cannot stop creating it since there is no after with God! And if there is no before with God then there can never be a time when he wasn’t creating the universe. However, since Andalusi clearly doesn’t believe that God was always creating the cosmos this means that he must accept that there is a before with God since there was an actual moment before God created anything.

In fact, Andalusi himself admits that there is a before with God since this is what he wrote:

God knew all of his creation BEFORE he created it, would it be not possible for God to love his creation from all eternity even though it hadn’t existed yet?

Not only is Andalusi contradicting himself his statements show that even he doesn’t really buy into his own logic!(2)

Andalusi tries to take a stab at refuting Craig’s position that the Trinity exhibits perfect, selfless love:

Dr Craig asserts, self-destructively, that the Unitarian God is unable to ‘give himself away to another’, and therefore ‘cannot be the most perfect being’, and that only a triad of ‘persons’ in a trinity are the ones who can achieve such a ‘giving away to another’

The most fundamental problem with this conclusion, is not just that Dr Craig denies god can love his creation before he made it, and not on the nature of what love is, but also, interestingly enough, on who God needs to love. Craig says that if God only loves himself, then he is not a ‘perfect being’, but Craig’s Trinitarian doctrine attests that the trinity’s ‘persons’ are all part of God and not separate from his being, thus they do not constitute a ‘OTHER’ to the being of God. Thus, Dr Craig has fell into his own trap, for if he claims that God loves himself, then he admits that his conception of God too, cannot be the ‘perfect being’ as well. The alternative is for Dr Craig to say the trinity is, in reality, a pantheon of three Gods who love each other as a relationship between separate beings, and therefore also able to satisfy the (Dr Craig’s) criteria of love, which demands that God love ‘an-OTHER’.

If Dr Craig were to argue that there is love between the ‘persons’ of the trinity within God’s being, but not without, then, according to his logic, the persons maybe individually ‘perfectly loving’ to each other, but collectively as God, they will not be perfectly loving, since God as a ‘whole’ (!) is not loving another, but merely himself. Although I really don’t understand why Craig’s anthropomorphised God cannot be Unitarian and still love itself, when even human beings can love themselves! But I guess Craig’s concept of God cannot do something a ordinary human can.

Thus, Craig will have become stuck on the contradictory nature of the Trinity fallacy, and he will have no other recourse than to exclaim that his premise, a God who cannot love himself while at the same time be the ‘perfect loving being’, CAN in fact love himself and still be the ‘perfect loving being’ without any contradictions. Once again, the trinitarians, in their desparate attempt to find explanations for contradictory doctrines, have created more contradictions then they solve. Perhaps Craig shall have toexplain that his argument is correct but that the reason we don’t understand it is because it is a great mystery

Andalusi erroneously assumes that since the distinct Persons of the Godhead are not separate Gods, but a single God, this means that God is still essentially loving himself. Thus, according to Andalusi God must express love to another being in order for Craig’s argument to work.

The readers should immediately spot the problem with Andalusi’s reasoning since perfect love doesn’t require that a person love another distinct being. All that is required is that a person loves someone else. Here, once again, is Craig’s argument:

As the greatest conceivable being, God must be perfect. Now a perfect being must be a loving being. For love is a moral perfection; it is better for a person to be loving rather than unloving. God therefore must be a perfectly loving being. Now it is of the very nature of love to give oneself away. Love reaches out to ANOTHER PERSON rather than centering wholly in oneself. So if God is perfectly loving by His very nature, He must be giving Himself in love to another. But who is that other? It cannot be ANY CREATED PERSON, since creation is a result of God’s free will, not a result of His nature. It belongs to God’s very essence to love, but it does not belong to His essence to create. So we can imagine a possible world in which God is perfectly loving and yet NO CREATED PERSONS exist. So CREATED PERSONS cannot sufficiently explain whom God loves. Moreover, contemporary. cosmology makes it plausible that created persons have not always existed. But God is eternally loving. So again CREATED PERSONS alone are insufficient to account for God’s being perfectly loving. It therefore follows that the other to whom God’s love is necessarily directed must be internal to God Himself.

In other words, God is not a single, isolated PERSON, as unitarian forms of theism like Islam hold; rather God is a plurality of PERSONS, as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity affirms. On the unitarian view God is A PERSON who does not give Himself away essentially in love for ANOTHER; He is focused essentially only on Himself. Hence, He cannot be the most perfect being. But on the Christian view, God is a triad of PERSONS in eternal, self-giving love relationships. Thus, since God is essentially loving, the doctrine of the Trinity is more plausible than any unitarian doctrine of God. (Emphasis ours)

Notice that Dr. Craig speaks of persons and of loving another person. He says nothing about beings loving other beings. So Andalusi is basically distorting Craig’s position in order to attack a strawman.

With that said, since there are three distinct Persons of the Godhead who love one another this means that the Christian conception of God meets the conditions for perfect love and therefore the Christian God is the greatest conceivable Being.

Andalusi’s argument further likens God to his creation, albeit implicitly. After all, to say that even the Christian concept has God essentially loving himself is to basically liken God’s mode of existence with that of his creatures. Therefore, just as a human being loving himself would not be a display of perfect love, but would be considered a rather selfish act, God loving himself is also not the greatest demonstration of selfless love.

The problem with this argument is that God’s Being is unlike his creation since he is tri-Personal whereas creatures such as humans are for the most part uni-personal. Thus, whereas a human being loving himself would not be an expression of selfless love God loving himself would be since it is not a single Person loving himself, but rather three distinct Persons loving one another.

In conclusion, we must say that Abdullah Al-Andalusi has failed to show any real flaws in Dr. Craig’s argument. In fact, we have seen that many of his very own objections actually presuppose and confirm that Craig’s reasoning is logically valid.

We have also seen that the Christian conception of God perfectly fits the definition of the greatest conceivable Being since the Christian God perfectly loves and has actually exhibited the greatest display of love imaginable.

We further demonstrated that the Islamic conception of God is both morally inadequate and philosophically objectionable and that the Islamic god is not self-sufficient since he is in need of his creation.

Therefore, the Islamic conception of god should be rejected since it demeans God and turns him into a contingent being. Islam posits an imperfect and inadequate figure whose love is no greater than the love displayed by imperfect sinners according to the words of the Lord Jesus since he only loves those who love him or do good.

The following Christian authors show why the Islamic conception of god is morally and philosophically repugnant whereas the Christian concept is not:
There is something profoundly imperfect and therefore inadequately divine in a solitary divine individual. If such an individual is love, he must share, and sharing with finite beings such as humans is not sharing all of one's nature and so is imperfect sharing. A divine individual's love has to be manifested in a sharing with another divine individual, and that (to keep the divine unity) means (in some sense) within the Godhead, that is, in mutual dependence and support.” (Richard Swinburne, The Christian God [Oxford University Press, USA, November 24, 1994], p. 190)

Of all the gods in all the religions of the world, only the triune God of the Bible is truly and wholly personal. This point is often not recognized, so we will dwell on it briefly. First, consider the non-Christian theism embraced by Jews and Muslims, the belief in a single god who rules the world. By itself, theism will not suffice to give us a truly personal god, for a god who is utterly and simply one – a mere monad– fails to have qualities we know to be essential to personality. Although an absolute monad, like the god of Islam, is the most exalted non-Christian idea of a deity, a monad is a being who is eternally alone – with no other to love, no other with whom to communicate, and no other with whom to have fellowship. In the case of such a solitary god, love, fellowship, and communication cannot be essential to his being. Indeed, they are no part of the monad at all. But without these qualities it is difficult to imagine that the deity so conceived is in any meaningful sense personal. To conceive of a god who does not know love, a god who has never shared, for whom a relationship with another is eternally irrelevant, is to conceive of an abstraction, an idea or a thing more than a person.
“If, to make his god personal, a believer in such a deity suggested that his god loved the world after he created it, the result would be a god who changes in time and who needs the world in order to grow into his self-realization as a god of love – a god who becomes personal only with the help of creation. Suppose one asserted that the monad loved the world from eternity? Then the personality of this deity and his attribute of love would still depend for their existence on the world he created. Creation would be a necessary act of self-becoming. For, unless this deity created the world, he could not realize the love that had been eternally hidden in him, waiting for its time to shine forth.
In either case, we would have theism of a sort. Both cases would be attempts to obtain a monad for whom love had some meaning. However, these attempts succeed in exalting the monad ethically by demoting him ontologically, for he is no longer absolute, no longer transcendent. We would have to admit that he could no longer truly be god, and that a god who varies or a god who is dependent on the world that he creates is not worthy to be regarded as a deity. Be that as it may, in either of these cases, though the idea of love has been imported into an inchoate theism, we are clearly far from the biblical concept of a personal fellowship of love among equals. Of course, neither orthodox Jews nor orthodox Muslims imagine their god as a changing or contingent being. They would not think of revising their views of god to enhance his image and compensate for his lack of personal qualities. It follows that they must be satisfied with a god who exists in an eternal vacuum, even though they will find irresistible the temptation to ascribe personality to the monad.” (Ralph Allan Smith,Trinity and Reality: An Introduction To The Christian Faith [Canon Press, Moscow Idaho 2004], Chapter Two. A Personal God and a Personal Word,
pp. 18-19)

Smith reiterates this point when he elsewhere writes that,
The Triune God of the Bible is the only God who is truly and wholly personal. Consider, for example, how different the Triune God is from the Jewish and Muslim conception of an absolute monad. The most exalted non-Christian idea of deity involves a being who is eternally alone – with no other to love, no other with whom to communicate, and no other with whom to fellowship. In the case of such a solitary god, love, fellowship, and communication cannot be essential to his being. But without these qualities it is difficult to imagine that the deity so conceived is actually personal at all. A god for whom a relationship with another is eternally irrelevant is an abstraction, an idea or a thing more than a person.
“If, to make his god more personal, a believer in such a deity suggested that his god loved the world after he created it, the result would be a god who changes in time. Or, if one asserted that the monad loved the world from eternity, the personality of this deity, or at least his attribute of love, would depend for its existence on the world he created. It is also important to note that the idea of a god loving a world that will someday come into existence is far from the Biblical concept of a personal fellowship of love among equals. In any event, a god who changes, or a god who is dependent on the world that he creates is less than a god. Neither orthodox Jews nor orthodox Muslims imagine their god as changing or dependent on the world. They must resolve, therefore, to believe in a god who exists in an eternal vacuum, even though they will find irresistible the temptation to ascribe personality to the monad.
If Muslims and Jews applied their notion of god consistently to their worldview, man's personality, too, would be found to lack ultimate meaning. That man speaks, laughs, and loves can only be accidental truths at best. There would be nothing in the deity to correspond to such things. And what could it mean for man to be created in the image of such a god? If man is to be like such a god, would that mean that the ideal life in this world is one that lacks these personal qualities? Should man look forward to an eternity of silent self-contemplation?
“Nor can polytheism, which may seem to be personal, really provide a source of personal meaning. For in addition to the fact that the gods tend to vary from place to place and time to time, the personal deities of polytheism are not ultimate. They are themselves determined by a higher principle, whether fate or something similar, which again makes the impersonal ultimate. When the gods themselves are struggling to be personal, they cannot be the source of personal meaning for man.
“Only in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is there a personal absolute. In the Father, Son, and Spirit, Christians worship three equally ultimate Persons who are united in one Being. Since neither God's Oneness nor His Threeness is prior to the other, both His unity and His personal diversity are ultimate. Men – created in God's image as persons – have meaning, both individually and as a race, because they are the image of the Absolute. Indeed, the whole creation can only be understood rightly in terms of the Tripersonal God who created all things to reveal His glory. Ultimate explanation is not to be found in principles, nor in ideas, nor in a final theory, but in the Father, Son, and Spirit – the Personal God. All things in the world are what they are by His will – they were created by Him and for Him and in Him alone they subsist (Col. 1:16-17). The history of the world is nothing other than the outworking of His plan "who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Eph. 1:11b).”
(Smith, Trinity and Covenant: Christian Worldview,
Chapter One. The Covenant Standard)

In light of these facts a person should therefore reject Islam and its god and embrace the Christian conception of God since not only is it morally adequate and philosophically sound, it is also true!

Related Articles

It is interesting to see how these specific Islamic texts actually refute the following assertion made by Andalusi:
Furthermore, to say that God possesses an attribute that “by His very nature, He must be giving Himself in love to another.”, is to claim that God is IN NEED of something else other than his (absolutely indivisible) self. God cannot be in need to do anything, as he is uncreated and independent. Thus he possesses no innate desires, instincts or motivations that CAUSE him to do actions. For if he were to possess instincts, natures or desires that are intrinsically part of himself, the question would arise as to ‘who created those causes that cause the first cause (i.e. God)?

The correct and rational conclusion, is that God possesses no needs or any kind, because he has no ‘nature’ or instincts that motivate him to do actions (i.e. are a first cause before himself). Thus God is not a creature which is moved by its own nature; rather God does not have a defined nature, since no one defined him. But rather, he defines his will by whatever he pleases.

Besides misconstruing Craig’s argument Andalusi is going against the teachings of Muhammad at this point, just as the narratives which we quoted earlier demonstrate. After all, if Allah was really free of any need or desire then why did he create jinn and mankind to worship him? Why did he create for the purpose of wanting to be known by others if Allah is truly free from all desires? It is evident that Andalusi’s view of God has been influenced by Greek philosophy and/or medieval Christian theology rather than by the Quran or Muhammad’s sunna.

Lest the readers misunderstand we are not claiming that God exists in time or that he didn’t create time. What we are saying is that the relationship between God and time is much more complex than Andalusi’s statements suggest. The fact is that God’s relationship to time is one of those paradoxes that finite minds will never be able to fully comprehend or reconcile.



Friday, 8 August 2014

The Triune God – The Greatest Conceivable Being that Exists, Part 1

Sam Shamoun

Evangelical Christian apologist and philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig presents a rather powerful philosophical argument for why the Christian conception of God is vastly superior to the Islamic doctrine of unitarianism that is based on God’s attribute of love. He says:

As the greatest conceivable being, God must be perfect. Now a perfect being must be a loving being. For love is a moral perfection; it is better for a person to be loving rather than unloving. God therefore must be a perfectly loving being. Now it is of the very nature of love to give oneself away. Love reaches out to another person rather than centering wholly in oneself. So if God is perfectly loving by His very nature, He must be giving Himself in love to another. But who is that other? It cannot be any created person, since creation is a result of God’s free will, not a result of His nature. It belongs to God’s very essence to love, but it does not belong to His essence to create. So we can imagine a possible world in which God is perfectly loving and yet no created persons exist. So created persons cannot sufficiently explain whom God loves. Moreover, contemporary. cosmology makes it plausible that created persons have not always existed. But God is eternally loving. So again created persons alone are insufficient to account for God’s being perfectly loving. It therefore follows that the other to whom God’s love is necessarily directed must be internal to God Himself.

In other words, God is not a single, isolated person, as unitarian forms of theism like Islam hold; rather God is a plurality of persons, as the Christian doctrine of the Trinity affirms. On the unitarian view God is a person who does not give Himself away essentially in love for another; He is focused essentially only on Himself. Hence, He cannot be the most perfect being. But on the Christian view, God is a triad of persons in eternal, self-giving love relationships. Thus, since God is essentially loving, the doctrine of the Trinity is more plausible than any unitarian doctrine of God.

A particular Muslim apologist named Abdallah al-Andalusi has written a
reply to Dr. Craig where he tries to show that Craig’s argument is philosophically unsound.

In this article we are going to examine Andalusi’s reply to see whether he was able to refute the soundness of Dr. Craig’s position.

Andalusi begins by arguing that,

Merely possessing love, is not a moral perfection in of itself, because love is just an emotion and even a greedy person possesses love (i.e. love for money). Furthermore, love only becomes incumbent on us because we are created, and our creator ordained upon us that we should love each other as a worship of Him. Since God does not worship anything (since he is God, the only), he is not subject to morals, but rather, he defines the morals which others must follow according to his will.

Furthermore, God is no more ‘likely’ to possess the attribute of ‘loving’ as he would possess the attribute of hating.

Andalusi is distorting Craig’s position and therefore attacking a strawman. Craig didn’t say that the mere possession of love, any kind of “love,” is a moral perfection but rather loving others is, i.e., note Craig’s repeated emphasis that a perfect being must be a loving being. Craig clearly stated that it is the very nature of love itself to give oneself away to another.

What makes this rather ironic is that Andalusi’s analogy actually confirms Craig’s point. Andalusi brings up the example of a greedy person who loves money to illustrate the fact that love in and of itself is not a moral perfection. However, the reason why Andalusi could see that the person’s love for money is greedy is because such love was focused on the person himself and not on others. A person’s love for money may and often does cause him to turn a blind eye to those who are in need, making him selfish and callous towards the pain of those whom he could be of benefit to if he was simply willing to use his money to help others. Thus, Andalusi’s own example confirms Craig’s argument that loving others is better than loving oneself, and since this greedy person’s love was centered towards himself such love was morally objectionable.

Even without looking at the behavior of greedy people towards other people, Andalusi’s attempted counter-example of “love of money” also fails because it is an entirely different “love” (more appropriately called desire or lust rather than love) since it is a “love” that wants to HAVE, to GRAB, to POSSESS and is thus the opposite of the self-giving love which Dr. Craig was speaking about.

The other problem with Andalusi’s claim is his assertion that love is only incumbent upon us because we are created. But that’s not true at all, since he also says:

The Love between people is merely the manifestation of the human species bonding instinct, which normally moves us to have compassion with our fellow human being (and anthropomorphised pet!). God is not part of a genus of species that requires him to possess an instinct which bonds him with other gods – this is because God is unique and the only one, and more importantly, he is not created.

Anyone can see the problem with such statements. How does Andalusi know that this is what love is? Where is he getting this definition from? Did God personally reveal this to him? Is he getting this from the Holy Bible or the Quran? If so where is this stated in the Holy Bible or the Quran? He obviously isn’t getting it from the Quran since, as we shall shortly see, even the false prophet Muhammad agreed with Craig’s argument!

Moreover, Andalusi should have asked himself who placed this instinct to bond within creatures if not God? But then why would God create this instinct within creation if it doesn’t somehow reflect God’s nature in some sense (albeit to a vastly limited extent)?

But let us assume for argument’s sake that his assertion is correct, is Andalusi willing to accept the logical outcome of his position?

For instance, the Quran says that Allah is also a loving being, even though he only loves Muslims who do good:

And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good. S. 2:195

Say: “If you love Allah then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” S. 3:31

Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just. S. 60:8

Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure. S. 61:4

This means that according to Andalusi’s logic Allah must be a creature who is part of a genus of species which requires him to possess an instinct that bonds him with other members of that said species!
Notice the following:

- Loving others is only incumbent upon us because we are creatures whom the Creator has ordered us to love as an act of worship to him.
- Allah is a being who loves others.
- Therefore, Allah is a creature who is subject to another whom he is obligated to worship by loving others.

- Love is an instinct that species possess which binds them together.
- Allah loves others according to the Quran.
- Therefore, Allah must be part of a genus of species that possesses an instinct to love in order to bind him to others.

More importantly, Andalusi’s objections again confirm the validity of Dr. Craig’s argument even though he doesn’t see it. In saying that love is an instinct which moves us to show compassion Andalusi is acknowledging that it is the nature of love to give itself away to another! Besides why would God command creatures to love one another if it is not the very nature of love to do so? And why did God even bother coming up with such a command for his creatures if he himself was not a loving being who also gives himself away in love?

The other mistake in Andalusi’s reasoning is that he erroneously assumes that morals is something that one has to be subject to and since God isn’t subject to anything he is therefore not subject to any morals. It is rather unfortunate that Andalusi does not see that if his reasoning is sound then this means that he is positing a God that is amoral, a being who is neither good nor bad, and is therefore not necessarily holy and doesn’t act righteously because of his nature. Rather, such a God acts righteously simply because he chooses to (assuming, of course, that he has chosen to act righteously)!

Yet such a view means that God is capricious and can decide at any moment to act wickedly or commit immoral acts. After all, there are no morals that such a God is subject to so what’s to stop him from being wicked and deceitful? What prevents such a God from inflicting the greatest harm and cruelty upon his creatures for no other reason than simply because he feels like it? The scary thing about this is that according to Andalusi’s position there is absolutely nothing which prevents him from doing so!

In fact, Andalusi pretty much admits that his god doesn’t have a nature, at least not one that is defined, and can simply do whatever he wants:

The correct and rational conclusion, is that God possesses no needs or any kind, because he has no ‘nature’ or instincts that motivate him to do actions (i.e. are a first cause before himself). Thus God is not a creature which is moved by its own nature; rather God does not have a defined nature, since no one defined him. But rather, he defines his will BY WHATEVER HE PLEASES. (Emphasis ours)

Andalusi’s statements confirm the following observation made by noted Evangelical Christian apologist and philosopher Norman L. Geisler and his co-author:


There is a certain mystery about God’s names. Cragg affirms these names “are to be understood as characteristics of the Divine will rather than laws of His nature. Action, that is, arising from such descriptives may be expected, but not as a matter of necessity.” What gives unity to all God’s actions is that he wills them all. As willer he may be recognized by the descriptions given him, but he does not conform to any. The action of his will may be identified from its effects, but his will of itself is inscrutable. This accounts for antithesis in certain of God’s names that will be discussed below. For example, God is “the One Who leads astray” as well as “the One Who guides.”


Since everything is based on God’s will and since his effects are sometimes contradictory and do not reflect any absolute essence, God’s nature is really unknowable. Indeed, “the Divine will is an ultimate beyond which neither reason nor revelation go. In the Unity of the single will, however, these descriptions co-exist with those that relate to mercy, compassion, and glory.” God is named from his effects, but he is not to be identified with any of them. The relation between the Ultimate Cause (God) and his creatures is extrinsic, not intrinsic. That is, God is called good because he causes good, but goodness is not part of his essence. (Geisler & Abdul Saleeb,Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross [Baker Books, A Division of Baker Book House Co, Grand Rapids, MI, updated and revised 2002], p. 138; bold emphasis ours)

To say that such a view of God is problematic would be a wild understatement. For instance, how can anyone ever love and rely upon such a God when he can’t be truly known, can’t be trusted, who can simply change his mind and decide to harm and lie to his creatures since he doesn’t have a nature which insures that he will always act in a certain righteous manner? How can a person love a God whose nature remains unknowable and whose actions do not reveal his character but only his will? Can a person love someone who is essentially unknowable and doesn’t care enough for his creatures to make his nature known to them?

Notice the marked difference between Andalusi’s god and the God revealed in the Person of the Lord Jesus:
“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.” John 1:18
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word…I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." John 17:3-6, 26
“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ —but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-16
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,” 2 Peter 1:3
We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20
And not only can the God of the Holy Bible be known he also has an immutable nature, and as such he can only act in accord with it:
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.” Galatians 4:8

This presupposes that the true God has a Divine nature, unlike the false gods who do not.

And seeing that God by nature is perfect, loving, merciful, holy, righteous, pure etc.
“I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44-45 – cf. 19:2; 1 Pt. 1:15-16
Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” Deuteronomy 7:9
“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4
“This God — his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.” Psalm 86:15
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate.” Psalm 116:5
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.” Psalm 145:17
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” Isaiah 6:1-4 – cf. Rev. 4:1-8
For this is what the high and lofty One says— he who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15 – cf. Rev. 15:4; 16:5
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” Habakkuk 1:13
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 – cf. Isaiah 49:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:24
“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure… But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin… Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.” 1 John 3:3, 5, 7

He therefore cannot lie, cheat, be tempted by evil etc.

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.” Hebrews 6:17-18
if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;” James 1:13

Moreover, Andalusi’s view pretty much destroys moral absolutes since morality is whatever this god arbitrarily decides and chooses. This means that such a god could have easily decided to command adultery, lying, murdering, stealing etc. and decreed that such acts are morally good while classifying virtues such as honesty, fidelity, self-sacrificial love etc., as morally objectionable.

Andalusi continues to say:

How does Dr Craig know that God is not the perfect hating being? Dr Craig would probably retort ‘but what need would God have to hate if he has no rival?’, thus the same could be said of love.

In the first place, the reason Dr. Craig knows that God is a perfectly loving Being is because the Holy Bible says that, a) God is perfect (cf. Deuteronomy 32:4; Matthew 5:48; Acts 17:25; 1 Corinthians 13:10) and that, b) he is love meaning that it his nature to love (cf. 1 John 4:8, 16). The Holy Bible, on the other hand, never says that God is hate.

Secondly, this is nothing more than a false analogy since God’s hate is not an attribute in the same sense that love and holiness are. In fact, hate is actually a manifestation of God’s qualities of justice and holiness. According to the Holy Bible sin is breaking God’s law which was given to reveal God’s everlasting righteousness, goodness etc.
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.” Psalm 19:7-9
Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules.” Psalm 119:37
Your word is very pure, Therefore Your servant loves it… Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth… Your testimonies are righteous forever; Give me understanding that I may live… The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” Psalm 119:140, 142, 144, 160
“So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good… But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.” Romans 7:12, 16

Therefore, every time a person sins s/he is breaking God’s law which is an assault against God’s own character. And because God is righteous and just he hates all violations of his law and will therefore punish the wicked:
The LORD judges the peoples; Vindicate me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me. O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds. My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day. If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready.” Psalm 7:8-12
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” Psalm 11:4-7

The foregoing makes it clear that God’s hatred is a manifestation of his characteristics of justice and holiness, and as such God is not required to hate if there are no sinners who violate his law. In other words, God doesn’t have to express hate in order to be perfectly holy and just. And since all three Persons of the Godhead are perfectly just and holy there was never a need for God to exhibit hatred towards anyone before creation existed.

Perfect love, however, is different in that it doesn’t wait for someone to do something deserving of love in order for it be expressed towards another. This point is perfectly illustrated by Jesus’ teaching on God loving even those who are unworthy and commanding his followers to do the same:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends his rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:27-36

Thus, the very nature of love as explained by the Lord Jesus is to love even those who are undeserving.

Continues on Part 2