Sunday, June 2, 2024

THE HOLY TRINITY ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE AND THE QURAN


**THE HOLY TRINITY ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE**


First of all, it should be understood that Almighty God is very exalted, and we, as His creatures, find it difficult to comprehend Him as we wish. God is omnipotent; we cannot limit Him by saying He can do this and that He cannot do that. We cannot fully comprehend God until He fits into our understanding; we cannot know His limits and boundaries. The day a human being can fully understand God, He will cease to be God.


What we can understand is how He has revealed Himself to us through His Holy Scriptures. It would be strange to start denying how God wants us to understand Him through His Word. Therefore, it is my intention to present the Scriptures as God wants us to understand Him.


The Bible teaches that God is One but in Three Eternal Personalities.


In the Book of Genesis 1:1-3, we read:

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."


We can say there is 1. God and 2. His Spirit. Then the scriptures continue to say:


"And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light" (Genesis 1:3).


So, we see that according to these scriptures, there is God, His Spirit, and His Word.


These are living Personalities, each independently functioning according to God's will.


There is ample evidence in the Scriptures showing that these Persons of God have been active throughout human history.


For example, in Genesis 6:3, we read:

"Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit will not contend with humans forever…'." So, the Spirit of God can contend.


Isaiah 44:3:

“…I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring….”


The Spirit of God, as a living Person, can be grieved or offended by humans.


Matthew 12:31:

"And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."


Ephesians 4:30:

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."


The Holy Spirit preached the gospel in the Old Testament through the prophets.


The prophets spoke the Word of God under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


1 Peter 1:11:

"They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven…."


2 Peter 1:21:

"For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."


In Romans 8:26, we see that:

“…the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”


All these attributes of the Spirit tell us that the Holy Spirit of God is the living Person of God's operation. In other words, the Holy Spirit is God Himself.


Jesus Himself said:

"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).


Who is the Word of God in the Bible?


The Holy Scriptures (the Bible) tell us that God created the heavens and the earth by His Word. When you read Genesis 1:4-31, you will find that God spoke the Word of creation, and it came into being. Psalm 33:6 says:

"By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth."


When we carefully examine the scriptures, we discover that the Word of God is alive and powerful (read Hebrews 4:12) and has the power to give life. In this sense, we can conclude that, just as the Spirit of God is a living Personality, so is the Word of God.


As we saw, the act of creation was carried out by the Word of God, the second Person of the Godhead. Throughout the Bible, there is evidence of this cooperation between God, His Word, and His Spirit in creation. The Word Himself says in Proverbs 8:22-30 about His participation in the work of creation:


"The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be…then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence."


The Bible is very clear that this Word who created the heavens and the earth is also God. This is because you cannot separate God from His Word and say God is God and His Word is not God but something different. God and His Word are One. We read in John 1:1-3 that:


"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."


Throughout the Bible, we see the Word actively working and being given the attribute of a living Personality of God.


Now the time comes to fulfill another great work of redeeming fallen humanity. As always in God's work, the principal actor is “His Word.” So, God sent His Word to complete the work of redemption.


The Word became flesh to accomplish human redemption.


God's principle regarding redemption is that:

"Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).


Thus, we see that:

“…since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).


Therefore, to redeem humanity:

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).


This act of the Word agreeing to become flesh is what led to Him being called the "Son of God." As we saw in the above scripture, it is not in a physical sense as humans procreate. God Himself declared after the Word became flesh that:

“You are my Son; today I have become your Father.” And again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” (Hebrews 1:5).


"And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased'" (Matthew 3:17).


By the Word becoming flesh, we then have the title of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This is due to the fact that the act of the Word becoming flesh does not strip Him of His divinity. What we can see here is that the Word of God took on flesh, leading to a union of the Word (God) and flesh (Man). In Jesus, there is the fullness of God in His divinity and the fullness of humanity in His human body. The Word (Jesus) Himself says:

"...sacrifices and offerings you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.'" (Hebrews 10:5-7).


We see that the Word was given a body, took on humanity, and we saw Him with all the attributes of humanity. But by His nature:

“…being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:6-7).


In this union, He was born of a woman, and the angel told Mary, who was to bear the Son, that:

"You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High (that is, God)…The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:31-32, 35).


Later, the angel Gabriel told Joseph, Mary's fiancé, the same words he told Mary:

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).


What confuses many is when the Word became flesh and appeared in the form of a human. In that form, Jesus had all the human needs, such as hunger, thirst, sleep, circumcision on the eighth day, tears, fatigue, etc., like any other human being.


We need to understand that Jesus came to show us how to live a victorious life against sin by relying on God as human beings. The scriptures testify that He was tempted as we are tempted, yet without sin. He had no blemish throughout His life. The Holy Scriptures say:

"But we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin" (Hebrews 4:15).


"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth" (1 Peter 2:22).


In His human state, He relied on God for everything. This is why you will see that He prayed to God the Father, and you will also see that He made statements like:

"...do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father


. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'" (John 20:17).


In the state of divinity that was within Him (the Word of God), He said statements such as:

"I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).


"Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).


"Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves" (John 14:11).


How was the Father in Jesus? By the Word that took on the human body; the Word of God was in the flesh, and the flesh was in the Word of God. That is Jesus.


In this state, it is not surprising to call Jesus God, and indeed, He is not only God but:

"...Christ Jesus, our great God and Savior" (Titus 2:13).


Thus, the concept of the Holy Trinity (one God in three Persons) is very evident within the Holy Scriptures, and there is no need for much argument, except to deny the scriptures. As I said earlier, we humans should not dictate to God how He should be and how He should not be. What we can do is to receive by faith how He has revealed Himself to us and what He has shown us. The scriptures say:

"The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever..." (Deuteronomy 29:29).


Up to this point, we have seen in the Bible that God is One but has revealed Himself to us in three Persons of His operation. In the Old Testament, these Persons are God, His Word, and His Spirit, and in the New Testament, after the Word became flesh, these Persons take on the title of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Now let us turn to the Noble Quran and see if, 600 years later, God would change His revelations and teach otherwise.


**THE HOLY TRINITY ACCORDING TO THE NOBLE QURAN**


Since in examining the Holy Trinity in the Bible, we started from the beginning during creation, we must follow the same approach for this subject.


The Holy Spirit according to the Noble Quran.


Just as in the Bible, the Noble Quran agrees that God created the heavens and the earth in six days.

"It is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days—and His Throne was upon the water—that He might test you as to which of you is best in deed. But if you were to say, 'You are indeed to be raised up after death,' those who disbelieve would surely say, 'This is not but obvious magic'" (Surah 11:7, HUD).


Abdalla Farsy, a Swahili commentator of the Quran, explains in his commentary on this verse:

“And saying that the heavens and the earth were created in six days, God knows Himself, what exactly those six days are according to His own calculation. And that Throne of God we do not know nor do we know about the WATER upon which the Throne was” (Abdalla Farsy, Tafsiri ya Quran Tukufu, Surah 11:7).


It appears that the interpreters of the Quran fail to understand these words about God's creation. But they should not struggle; what they need to do is follow the advice given within the Noble Quran itself. In Surah 10:94, we read:

"So if you are in doubt about what We have revealed to you, then ask those who have been reading the Scripture before you (the Jews and the Christians)" (Surah 10:94).


To understand those days of creation and how the Throne of God was upon the water at that time of creation, one needs to read the Bible as we saw earlier. The Bible states that the days consist of "evening and morning," making up a day (read Genesis 1). Morning and evening can only occur within a 24-hour period. Thus, those six days are days of 24 hours each. The Bible also says:

"For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy" (Exodus 20:11).


"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work" (Genesis 2:1-2).


The Quran also agrees with the Bible that God was upon the water during creation. According to the Bible, it was the Spirit of God that was hovering over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:2).


Many verses in the Quran show that the Spirit of God is sent from God to strengthen His servants (Prophets), for example:

"He sends down the angels with the Spirit by His command upon whom He wills of His servants, (saying), 'Warn that there is no deity except Me; so fear Me'" (Surah 16:2, An-Nahl).


"Exalted above (all) degrees, (He is) the Possessor of the Throne. He places the Spirit of His command upon whom He wills of His servants to warn of the Day of Meeting" (Surah 40:15, Al-Mu'min).


Many Quranic commentators like Abdalla Farsy interpret the word “spirit” (rooh) used in these verses of the Quran to mean Revelation or Message or Prophethood that God gives to His prophets. This verse of Surah 40:15 in Abdalla Farsy's commentary reads:

"He is the Exalted in ranks, the Possessor of the Throne. He sends down the Revelation of His command upon whom He wills of His servants to warn of the Day of Meeting" (Abdalla Farsy, Tafsiri ya Quran Tukufu, Surah 40:15).


Here, the Arabic word "rooh" (spirit) is interpreted as "wahyi" (revelation). Perhaps to avoid the direct understanding that God sends His Holy Spirit to the prophets and messengers to give the warning messages. However, this still agrees with the concept we saw in the Bible that prophets delivered their messages under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


"For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21).


Jesus Himself, after becoming flesh (in His humanity), both the Bible and the Quran testify that He was strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit to perform many miracles.

"And We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of messengers. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Holy Spirit. But is it (not) that every time a messenger came to you (Israelites) with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party (of messengers) you denied and another party you killed" (Surah 2:87, Al-Baqara).


"When Allah will say, 'O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay (what was) like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from (killing) you when you came to them with clear proofs, and those who disbelieved among them said, 'This is nothing but obvious magic'" (Surah 5:110, Al-Ma'ida).


These words are also found in the Bible, that Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free" (Luke 4:18).


The lack of detailed explanations about the Holy Spirit and His work in the Quran does not mean that there is no Person of God called the Holy Spirit. This absence might be because the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself was revealed to:

"And they ask you, (O Muhammad), about the Spirit. Say, 'The Spirit is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind has not been given of knowledge except a little'" (Surah 17:85, Al-Israa).


According to this verse, Allah (SWT) says that Muhammad was given only a little knowledge about the matters concerning the Holy Spirit. However, even this little knowledge, when read in the light of the Holy Bible, we can see the consistent chain of teaching about the Holy Spirit.


After seeing the presence of the Holy Spirit from God within the Noble Quran, let us now look at the "Word of God" and His work within the Quran.


**The Word from Almighty God according to the Noble Quran**


In the Bible, we saw that the Word of God created the heavens and the earth. Is there any difference in the Quran? No, we read in Surah 2:117:

"The Originator of the heavens and the earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is" (Surah 2:117, Al-Baqara).


These words completely align with


 the words in the Holy Bible that:

"By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth ... For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm" (Psalm 33:6,9).


Thus, we see that both the Bible and the Quran agree that the heavens and the earth were created by the Word of God. In the Bible, we saw that this Word became flesh and lived among us. Can we find evidence in the Quran that the Word became flesh?


**The Word that became flesh according to the Noble Quran**


In Surah 3:45, we read:

"(Remember) when the angels said, 'O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near (to Allah)."


In this verse, we are told that Prophet Jesus (Isa) is a Word from God, and He has honor in this world and the Hereafter. As He Himself said in Matthew 28:19, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."


Throughout the Quran, Prophet Jesus (Isa) is described as the Word from God.


Why then do Muslims deny the divinity of Jesus or the Holy Trinity, despite the abundant evidence within the Quran?


To be truthful, there are no scriptures within the Quran that directly deny that Jesus or Prophet Isa is not God, or that reject the concept of the Holy Trinity, i.e., One God in three Persons (note that when the Quran says that God is One, it does not mean denying the Holy Trinity. The Bible also teaches that God is One, but this oneness is in three Persons as we saw in this study).


Many explanations within the Quranic interpretations that deny the divinity of Jesus are enhanced by the explanations or teachings of the interpreters of the Quran. It is evident that these explanations by the interpreters contradict the Quran itself.


Here, I will provide an example of a verse within the Quran that is often used to deny the divinity of Jesus or the Holy Trinity. I will present four (4) Swahili translations of this verse to show how Islamic scholars struggle to conceal the divinity of Jesus. The verse is Surah 4:171.


Translation by Aliy Muhsin Barwaani (Sunni):

"O People of the Scripture! Do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a Messenger of Allah and His Word which He directed to Mary and a soul (created at a command) from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, 'Three'; desist—it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs."


The Holy Quran (Along with Translation and Commentary in Swahili) (Ahmadiyya):

(O here it is made verse 172)

"O People of the Scripture! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a Messenger of Allah and His Word which He directed to Mary and a soul (created at a command) from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, 'Three'; desist—it is better for you: for Allah is only one God. Far exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. And Allah is sufficient as a Disposer of affairs."


Translation by Ali bin Jumaa bin Mayunga (Shia):

"O People of the Scripture! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a Messenger of Allah and His Word which He directed to Mary and a soul (created at a command) from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, 'Three'; desist—it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is only one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and Allah is sufficient as a Disposer of affairs."


Translation by Abdallah Farsy (Sunni):

"O People of the Scripture! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a Messenger of Allah and (a creature created by) His command (of Allah) which He directed to Mary, and a soul (created at a command) from Him (Allah like any other soul). So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, 'Three'; desist (from that belief); it will be better for you. For Allah is only one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and Allah is sufficient as a Disposer of affairs."


**Analysis of These Translations:**


I have brought this verse in different translations of the Quran to illustrate the intended meaning of this verse. When you carefully read the translation by Sheikh Balwaniy, you will find that this verse informs us of three attributes of Prophet Jesus (Isa), namely:

1. Prophet Jesus is a Messenger of Allah (meaning he was sent by God).

2. Prophet Jesus is the Word from Allah directed to Mary.

3. Prophet Jesus is a soul from Allah.


The attribute of being sent by God the Father.

The attribute that Jesus is the Word from God the Father.

The attribute that Jesus is the Spirit of God.


These three attributes of Jesus are not denied by the Holy Bible as follows:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:16-17).


"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).


"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).


It is impossible to separate God from His Spirit and His Word. If God is Spirit, then it is correct to say that the Word is also Spirit.


All three translations of the Quran I presented here—Sheikh Balwaniy, Ahmadiyya, and Mayunga—agree in the explanation of this verse. These three translators have translated word for word from Arabic in this Surah 4:171. Now let's also examine the translation of Sheikh Abdallah Farsy.


"O People of the Scripture! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a Messenger of Allah and (a creature created by) His command (of Allah) which He directed to Mary, and a soul (created at a command) from Him (Allah like any other soul). So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, 'Three'; desist (from that belief); it will be better for you. For Allah is only one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and Allah is sufficient as a Disposer of affairs."


At first glance, when you analyze this translation, you will find that Sheikh Abdallah Farsy plays a word game. All the words he placed in parentheses ( ) are his additions to guide the reader to understand what he wants it to be. You will find that this translation is intentionally made to protect the Islamic belief that Allah is one, He neither begets nor is He begotten.


"(Saying: 'He is Allah, [who is] One. Allah, the Eternal Refuge. He neither begets nor is born, nor is there to Him any equivalent')" (Surah 112:1-4, Al-Ikhlas).


This Surah is the most important Surah in the Quran for Muslims. It seems that from childhood, they are required to memorize this Surah. The first pillar in Islam is the Shahada, which is to testify that "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger."

It seems that the entire Islamic system is built on denying the concept of the Holy Trinity.


Unfortunately, Muslims oppose this without having a thorough understanding of this concept of the Holy Trinity. Sometimes they have created a belief that does not even exist among Christians themselves and implanted it in their followers, making Christians appear as they are not, i.e., that Christians believe in three gods.


As we have seen in this study, this belief is entirely contrary to Christianity; Christians do not believe in three gods, and this teaching is not from the Bible, but Christians believe in one God who exists in Three Living Persons, and this is what we call the HOLY TRINITY.


Let's return to the translation of Abdallah Farsy. Let's look at these words he placed in parentheses ( ).


"The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a Messenger of Allah and (a creature created by) His command (of Allah) which He directed to Mary."


Abdallah Farsy here is creating his own sentence by mixing the words of the Noble Quran to call them the Words of Allah. These words mean something completely different from the words of the Quran, which are:

"The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a Messenger of Allah


 and His Word which He directed to Mary, and a soul from Him."


He continues to add his words to distort the translation by saying:

"And a soul from Him (Allah like any other soul)."


Abdallah Farsy wants us to understand here that there are other souls that have come from Allah, so it is not surprising for Prophet Isa. In other words, this Sheikh wants to teach us that God has a “store” or warehouse of human souls which He releases and implants in humans. These words he placed in parentheses are not in the Arabic language in that verse, which is why you will find that the Sheikhs who translated word for word did not include those words.


As in the Bible, the word itself, the Holy Trinity, does not appear in the entire Quran, but by carefully examining the Bible and the Quran, we can see that this concept of the Holy Trinity is a teaching of the Holy Books. Both books agree that there is One Unique God who has no partner in all His works, and He exists in Three Living Persons of His operation: God, the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit of God. When it came time to redeem humanity, the Word became flesh, and thus we receive the titles of these Three Persons of God, namely, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.


Shalom,


Dr. Max Shimba

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