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Islam vs Trinity

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by TheWhat?, Nov 5, 2021.

  1. Jesus is YHWH

    Jesus is YHWH my Lord and my God ! Supporter

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    Correct it does not
     
  2. TheWhat?

    TheWhat? Ate all the treats

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    I don't approach scripture the same way as you do and I'm not a sola scripturist. I'm a prima scripturist. I treat scripture as foundational and authoritative but when push comes to shove, finding the truth is more important to me than rigid adherence to the written word.

    It's ok to speak of the Church, as a whole, figuratively as the bride of Christ. Israel was referred to in feminine terms as well. It is poetic and maybe Paul saw something of more significance than that, but I'm not sure it was much more.

    I don't think it's intended to be applied to the believer, individually, as a model for mystical union or anything similar.

    And it by far is not even related to the topic of this thread.
     
  3. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    I think this is a very orthodox idea.

    Many Christians and Jews were strong Platonists and they did not see contradiction. Philo, Clement, and Origen are examples. Icons of Plato are found in old EO churches. John Chrysostom actually interpreted Php 2:6 in Platonic terms and used that interpretation against Arianism. However, based on my readings, I think it is more likely that the Apostle Paul meant the word "form" in a traditional rather than platonic way.

    Scripture usually speaks of God the Father when talking about God. The word "theotes" or "theiotes" which means Deity or Godhood in general is used only 2 times in the NT. Perhaps this is what you mean by saying that God transcends hypostases? But it is not a 4th hypostasis. I guess if this is what you mean, then I'm beginning to understand you.

    Not sure what you mean. I think you missed 'not' in your 1st sentence.

    I think of God the Father as transcending the other hypostases who originate from His Being.

    I have a feeling that we're in agreement and the only question is which way of expression is more simple and easier to understand :).
     
  4. TheWhat?

    TheWhat? Ate all the treats

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    The NT's treatment of the Father as, primarily, God, is related in my reading of it to Jesus being shown to be a theist and not an atheist -- another point Muslims like to draw from the NT to use against Christians in debate. Like I said previously, however, I sometimes consider the Son to be comparable to the Form of humanity, faith and love being in Him (1 Timothy 1:14), implying that there is something perfect and divine about the faith in Jesus, rather than imperfect and not fully divine. As was mentioned earlier, we don't need to take the Abrahamic theophany to be a 1-to-1 representation of the Trinity in reality. It's relevant to my points to consider it to be a 1-to-1 representation of all the pertinent details of trinitarian monotheism.


    Which sentence? I'm not seeing a typo. Recall that, if any of our ousias were altered or lost, we would at the least lose our identities if not cease to exist. My point here is that it is inherent in the logic of what an ousia is. Therefore...

    Of course, the following arguments proceed to establish that homousianism denies that this is the case.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2021
  5. TheWhat?

    TheWhat? Ate all the treats

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    Your attention to the fact that the Father is treated primarily as the one God in the NT does raise an interesting point though.

    If the Father is the ousia of the Son, considering what an ousia is, it would seem that the Son could rightly claim to be the Father, but this would seem to confuse the Persons.

    I'm not certain this is a real problem, but if it is, that the "I AM" is the Ousia of the three would seem to pass this logic -- the Father is the one God, so too is the Son, and the Spirit, individually and collectively.
     
  6. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    [​IMG]

    I have to go out and will comment on this later. Does it remind you of a picture you posted :)?
     
  7. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

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    The doctrine of the Trinity affords us the opportunity to think about God very differently than other models of theism; namely that the portrait we get of God isn't a super-powerful sky entity. We don't just take Zeus, or Jupiter, or Odin and then change their name to YHWH. As though God is just a really, really, really big person with really really really big power.

    Instead, for example, we see in the baptism of Jesus the Father loving and pointing to His Son, we see the Son loving and responding to His Father, and we see the Spirit descending upon the Son. We see the reciprocity of love, between One and Another.

    St. John tells us that "God is love".

    For St. Augustine love makes no sense unless there are three components to love: That which loves, that which is loved, and the love itself. Sometimes shortened to the lover, the beloved, and the love itself. If we take away any of these, we don't have love. Without a Lover, there can be nothing from which loves proceeds; and without Beloved there can be nothing which receives love. And so on. But in the Trinity we see the fullness of love taking place: We have that which loves, that which is loved, and the love itself. The Father loves His Son, calling Him "My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased", the Father gives Himself away in love to His Son, and the Son likewise gives Himself away in love to His Father. For this reason Christ continually points back to His Father, and glorifies His Father, even as the Father glorifies His Son. And we have the Holy Spirit, He is Spirit of both the Father and the Son, and is a bond of love between Father and Son; love which is shared with us by grace. It is the Spirit who makes us sons and daughters, joined to Christ in His Sonship, so that we can call Christ's Father "Abba, Father".

    So not only does the Trinity provide us with a radically different portrait of God than all the other theisms out there; it also provides us with powerful context in which to understand just how profound God's grace and love given to us is. The love we have from God is the same love which God has in Himself--a love that does not hold itself back, contain itself, but overflows in abundance. The Father does not store up His love in a fortress, but His love is abundantly plain in His Son, whom He has sent into the world, for the sake of the world. And thus the Father's love for the world is also the same love which He has for His Son, the world is reconciled to God in the Son. The Father gives the world His Son, the world responds violently, putting Him to death; but through this the Son gives the world to the Father, redeeming it. He suffers our death, He suffers the death of the whole world, He bears the entire weight of the world upon His shoulders--and when He declares it is finished, He destroys the bonds of death and hell.

    And so Christ sums up all things in Himself.

    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth." - Ephesians 1:3-10

    -CryptoLutheran
     
  8. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    I was waiting for your comments in this thread. Do you have specific observations on what has been communicated so far?
     
  9. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    You allow yourself a "freedom" with Scripture which I do not allow myself.

    And the union of husband and wife, as well as the union of Christ and the believer (church), where in both unions the persons remain separate, is most related to the topic of union with separation in the Trinity.
     
  10. TheWhat?

    TheWhat? Ate all the treats

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    That's interesting.

    I'm not the most familiar with Taoism. I've spent more time watching the Tao of Steve before turning it off half way through than reading much of anything to do with Taoism, so whatever parallels there may be here I can assure are purely coincidental.

    Although it does remind me of the old Jesuit translation of the gospel of John rendering Logos as Tao, which, if I'm right, seems like it's a slight mistranslation. I wonder if something like "In the beginning was the [Jīngbǎo/Treasure of the Law/Scripture], and the [Jīngbǎo] was with [the Tao] and the [Jīngbǎo] was [the Tao]" might be more appropriate/sensical to a Taoist mind, but of course this is all conjecture.

    Interesting food for thought anyways.
     
  11. Bruce Leiter

    Bruce Leiter A sinner saved by God's astounding grace and love

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    Why do you want to debate? In my experience, debates just get people's anger up. My approach would be to discuss the more fundamental question of the inspiration of Scripture by presenting my beliefs about that definite historical proof and then going to the Gospel of John to show why that book clearly shows that God is mysteriously three Persons in one God, whose nature is beyond human reasoning.

    In my experience, also, we need a friendly personal relationship with that person of a different faith. In a "debate," we seldom have such a relationship.
     
  12. TheWhat?

    TheWhat? Ate all the treats

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    I agree with most of what you say here but while debate can be an argumentative, disruptive thing, it isn't always. If you want to have a better idea of the kind of debates I'm talking about, do a search on youtube for speaker's corner. In my experience this is merely a microcosm for what is happening elsewhere, and around the world. Sadly, usually it seems to me that muslims are mostly winning these debates against christians. But I think we can do better.
     
  13. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    One of the best Christian books I every read is an EO book titled "Christ the Eternal Tao" by Hieromonk Damascene. It reviews the Tao Te Ching in view of the Gospel and advocates for the translation of Logos into Tao, among other things.

    But Tao philosophy and Tao religion are different things. I posted a picture of the Three Pure Ones who represent the Taoist Trinity, the three highest gods in the Taoist pantheon. They are regarded as pure manifestation of the Tao and the origin of all sentient beings. In this view, the Tao is a non-personal Force (kind of like the "force" in Star Wars") that "can be roughly thought of as the flow of the Universe, or as some essence or pattern behind the natural world that keeps the Universe balanced and ordered." It is perhaps similar of the Hindu concept of the Brahman (ultimate being).

    I would agree with Islam on this point and I think it is clearly stated in the beginning of the Nicene Creed:

    We believe in one God,
    the Father
    , the Almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all that is, seen and unseen.

    The Father is not the ousia of the Son. The Father and the Son have the same ousia. They are 2 hypostases of the same ousia. You and I are 2 hypostases of the human ousia. But we are different in reason, will, and appetites. So, we are different human beings. The Father and the Son are distinguished only because the Father is unoriginate while the Son is born or begotten. So, they are not 2 separate individuals.

    The reason I got into talking about oriental religions is precisely because I don't think that believing in one ultimate being implies monotheism. If the ultimate being is one, you call it ousia or God and George Lucas calls it the force, but this ultimate being is perceived in 3 forms then this is pantheism. Your model results in polytheism.

    This is not a problem. The Logos originated from the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and they are one Being.

    Sorry, it's a long message, but now you know why I could not write it yesterday :).
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
  14. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Additional notes:

    Hiermonk Damascene is currently abbot of St Herman of Alaska Monastery, Platina, California. The book is based on studies by the late hieromonk Seraphim Rose.

    I may find Buddhist philosophy interesting and many non-Christians like Jesus' teaching in the Gospels. But following the religion is a different issue.

    Your model of the Trinity may be suitable for reaching Hindus or Chinese but Jews and Muslims will certainly call it polytheism.

    Would you recommend a certain video as an example where the Muslim seems to win the debate?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
  15. TheWhat?

    TheWhat? Ate all the treats

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    I'm sorry, but how is that any different that what I've stated above? They are three distinct Persons, same in being, homoousion. That's Christianity as derived from scripture and established since the first council of Nicaea.

    And, I disagree that it results in pantheism. I am very much a panentheist, God is immanent, and this is one of the major things that separates my spirituality from that of modern Judaism and Islam.

    I do think there is a uniting being, namely the Holy Spirit, and that christianity does promote ideas such as being "born from above," a supernatural unity of believers and a change of identity which must necessarily involve a change in each believer's ousia, however to what extent is not made clear and I think the EO make a good case that it cannot be the very same as the ousia of the Persons of the Trinity, else we each could claim to be God, which is not what I think this implies. It does imply that not all living beings are united to one Being in the sense you seem to be taking it as.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
  16. TheWhat?

    TheWhat? Ate all the treats

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    This is the debate I was watching



    Edit: Part 2 of the debate is in the following video

     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
  17. TheWhat?

    TheWhat? Ate all the treats

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    The glaringly obvious concept, in its most basic form, as demonstrated by the Abrahamic theophany, remains that three distinct persons visit Abraham, Abraham greets one Lord, and one God speaks.

    We can take that further to represent three distinct Persons who are each the one God, individually and collectively.

    Not three gods. Not three Lords. Not three Almighties. Each is the one God, Lord and Almighty.
     
  18. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    I watched the whole video. Thank you. Joshua kept trying to change the subject to deep theology instead of answering simple questions and addressing the ridiculous Quranic verse that was quoted. The Muslim understood Christian doctrine better than the Christians. If the average church-going Christian cannot answer these simple questions, we are doomed. Lord have mercy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
  19. Hawkins

    Hawkins Member Supporter

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    Trinity is how humans trying to understand the nature of who (rather what) God is. It's more or less like how ants trying to understand human anatomy.

    We humans can (can only) get to a truth, especially a past truth, by means of human witnessing through human testimonies from eyewitness accounts. Without the testimonies from those eyewitnesses we basically know nothing!

    Just like how a history book stands a testimony on what humans did in the past, our Bible stands a testimony on what God did in the past. The testimony is thus not fixed in one generation. God lived through generations to be witnessed by the Jews in order for his historical deeds to be recorded down. A one generation testimony from Islam (if it's a testimony at all) means nothing.

    A history book is supposed to be stories (history = his story) claimed by eyewitnesses gathered by a historian. The historian examines the credibility and gives credits to the stories claimed. Subsequently the public and/or a government give credits to this historian by means of a credibility check. This is to ensure that the historian is sincerely recording down what he believes (to his best knowledge) to be info from eyewitness accounts. Humans rely on such a chain of credibility checks to ensure (to humans' best capability) that the stories are factual. History is thus on a "it is credible such that we believe it by faith" manner. Satan on the other hand, would like humans to adapt a criteria that "it's evidenced such that we take it by proof" manner (this is closely related to the Tree of Knowledge story in Eden).

    Similarly the Bible is a story gathering by a person or persons whose credibility is examined by God's chosen people Israel. The Jews are responsible for checking the credibility of the authors of the books together with the stories supposedly from eyewitness accounts. To put it short, the Jews gave credits to the authors to record down what had been witnessed by God's chosen eyewitnesses the prophets and for their testimonies to be written down in the Bible. It is a chain of credibility checks for historical facts to be written down.

    Jesus' case is rather a "failure detected" case in this chain of credibility checks. The Jews (i.e., Jewish authority such as the Pharisees and the Great Sanhedrin) failed to give credits to the apostles as eyewitnesses. As a result, in order to compensate for this "failure" in the chain of credibility checks, God /Jesus has to ask the apostles (10 out of them plus Paul) to martyr (in Greek martyr = witness) themselves as a better alternative to complete the chain of credibility check.


    Now take a look at Islam. Mohammed is not an eyewitness of God. The eyewitness is "an angel" instead, whose credibility however is unable to be examined by humans. The chain of credibility checks is broken. The second handed credibility check is on Mohammed himself. However there's not an Israel behind to perform the credibility check on Mohammed. That is, even the second handed credibility check is broken.

    Moreover, in the absence of God incarnated Jesus, a valid chosen eyewitness or prophet is authenticated by prophecies and miracles. This is so because basically humans lack the ability to do two things, 1) to tell a future, and 2) to break our law of physics governing our universe. God thus use prophecies and miracles to 1) tell a future, and 2) to break our rules governing our physical world. He employs prophecies and miracles to 1) identify Himself (as at least not a humankind), and 2) to authenticate a prophet by allowing them to prophesy and to perform miracles, and 3) to confirm His own messages.

    Acts 14:3
    So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.

    Mohammed doesn't have these to back himself up as a valid witness or prophet.

    In a nutshell, we can only get facts from the chosen eyewitnesses out of which, Thomas is one. He called Jesus God. We can't know better than a chosen witness under most circumstances.

    Jesus on the other hand, prayed to God. So Jesus is God (by His chosen witness Thomas), and God is not limited to Himself. Trinity thus is the only approach for us to have a better understanding on what have been witnessed.

    We can also see some traces on OT. Not only Jesus pointed out that David ever said that "Lord said to my lord" as a trace of His Trinity, but also to me that His Trinity is well prophesied by Isaiah. Naturally the Jews may remain clueless today as well as in Jesus' days.

    Isaiah 9:6
    For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

    He (the child, thus Jesus) will be called God, while God the Holy Spirit is a counselor, God the Father is an everlasting Father and God the Son a Prince of peace. This is basically the message the verse is trying to prophesy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
  20. TheWhat?

    TheWhat? Ate all the treats

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    I agree, though, I still do not see exactly why my attempt at a correct, but simple articulation establishing that orthdox trinitarianism is monotheistic, is somehow not in line with orthodoxy.

    Further, Do you think Occam's Razor has much if any applicability here?

    I am, obviously, not a Ph.D. in theology, however, as a software engineer, I have the experience of walking into projects many years old, having grown to such level of complexity it practically seems to require a comparable depth of understanding just to have a functional understanding of that one, singular project.

    This is usually the result of a collaborative effort, gone awry. In contrast, I've created comparable projects, and when the groundwork is done with a singular mind, a singular understanding of how to properly organize the the structure of the remaining project, the overall result is far simpler and does not require a Ph.D. to understand.

    Now, granted, reality is not so simple and I understand that it has a tendency to introduce complexity into systems, but I can't help but see unnecessary complexity in the provided debate, at work in an attempt to explain what the idea is, in its simplest terms.
     
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