The God of Jesus Christ: meditations on the Triune God

· Agnosticism, Judaism
Authors

People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion, and say not of Allah anything but the truth. Indeed, the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah and

a fulfillment ofHis word which He sent down to Mary, and a mercy from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers, and say not ‘They arethree.’ Desist,it will bebetter for you. Indeed, Allah is the only One God. Far is it from His Holiness that He should have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as a Guardian. (Al Quran 4:172)

The title of this article is a book by the Pope Benedict XVI. This article is meant to be a review and a polite refutation. Trinitarians say that since God is eternal, so the son of God is eternal. But how can a person be a son and at the same time be as old as his father? Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Hebrew Scriptures: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4). [i] When Jesus was asked what is the most important commandment, he replied in the exact words of the Old Testament. It is noted several times in the New Testament in the synoptic Gospels and as is usually the case Gospel of John takes an exception and does not mention it. [ii] Allow me to quote it from Mark 12:

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:28-34)

Pope Benedict XVI

Note in the above verses Jesus is promising the questioner kingdom of God without any mention of Christology or him dying on the cross or Trinity for that matter. There are several subtle confessions in the present day Christianity that the dogma of Trinityis a fallacy. For example, the Encyclopedia Britannica states, “By the end of the 4th century, under the leadership of Basil of Caesarea, … the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since. It is accepted in all of the historic confessions of Christianity, even though the impact of the Enlightenment decreased its importance.” [iii] Since the European Enlightenment the Church has subtly reduced the stress on Trinity but not given it up completely. Britannica states about Trinity:

“The earliest Christians, however, had to cope with the implications of the coming of Jesus Christ and of the presumed presence and power of God among them—i.e., the Holy Spirit, whose coming was connected with the celebration of the Pentecost. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were associated in such New Testament passages as the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19); and in the apostolic benediction: ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Corinthians 13:14). Thus, the New Testament established the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity.

The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies. Initially, both the requirements of monotheism inherited from the Hebrew Scriptures and the implications of the need to interpret the biblical teaching to Greco-Roman religions seemed to demand that the divine in Christ as the Word, or Logos, be interpreted as subordinate to the Supreme Being. An alternative solution was to interpret Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three modes of the self-disclosure of the one God but not as distinct within the being of God itself. The first tendency recognized the distinctness among the three, but at the cost of their equality and hence of their unity (subordinationism); the second came to terms with their unity, but at the cost of their distinctness as ‘persons’ (modalism). It was not until the 4th century that the distinctness of the three and their unity were brought together in a single orthodox doctrine of one essence and three persons.

The Council of Nicaea in 325 stated the crucial formula for that doctrine in its confession that the Son is ‘of the same substance [homoousios] as the Father,’ even though it said very little about the Holy Spirit. Over the next half century, Athanasius defended and refined the Nicene formula.” [iv]

God is incomprehensible and subtle in both the Islamic and Christian tradition. God is beyond full comprehension. The Holy Quran says:

Eyes cannot reach Him but He reaches the eyes. And He is the Incomprehensible, the All-Aware. (Al Quran 6:104)

The Subtlety and Transcendence of God does not mean that it is okay to make Him self-contradictory, irrational and against the Jewish and other religious traditions that preceded Christianity.In Christians’ enthusiasm to make a man God lies the dilemma of Trinity, in it the Christians have thrown contradictions at what was supposed to be subtle, mysterious and incomprehensible but not contradictory or irrational, the Church fathers mired the incomprehensible God into different nonsensical ideas, for example, the thought of incomprehensible begetting of the son of god! Unreasonability of literal son of God has been examined in a companion article

Maria: Mother of God, along with theparadox par excellencearising from the idea of Jesus being a perfect man and a perfect god, in December 2010, Alislam-eGazette.

In his book,

Introduction to Christianity, His Holiness, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger has a chapter titledBelief in the Triune God,but unfortunately he has not offered a single proof or reason for the Triune God. The chapter is a masterpiece in circular reasoning asproof he offersthe claim that Jesus is god but chooses not to offer any reason for this irrational claim that Jesus, who walked, talked andlived like a man is a god. An American saying goes: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. Additionally, extra-ordinary claims require extra-ordinary proofs and none are offered for Jesus’ divinity!

In the self contradictory doctrine of the Trinity, the Catholic Church has not only gone against Jewish tradition and later understanding of Islam but also against many Unitarian Christian traditions. Jehovah witnesses also have elaborate literature quoting the Bible against the dogma of Trinity.

Early Christianities

Sometimes, the ordinary Christians assume that their beliefs represent the monolithic early Christian community. This is very far from the reality on ground that existed in the first few centuries after Jesus, may peace be on him, was put on the cross. Prof. Bart Ehrman and others have exposed the error of this assumption. A review of his book

Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew,states:

The diversity of Christian beliefs today is extraordinary – but it is matched, if not exceeded, by the diversity of beliefs among the earliest Christians. As much as Christians today may not be aware of how much diversity there is among their contemporaries, they are quite ignorant of what it was like in the earliest days of Christianity. Recently, however, there has arisen a cottage industry of books attempting to tease out a history of early Christians. Ehrman provides a very readable introduction to the debates behind the formation of orthodox Christianity. He offers insight into what theologies drove the early Christian movements that were lost For many of the world’s two billion-plus Christians, history dictates the form of religion they adhere to. But upon reading Bart D. Ehrman’s brilliantly researched Lost Christianities: The Battle for Scriptures and the Faiths We Never Knew, one realizes that history does not always tell the whole story. In fact, upon intense examination, modern-day Christianity is discovered to be but one facet of a multi-faceted religion that at one time, long ago, was at the mercy of influences determined to shape the church, its doctrine, and its future. [v]

Among the Christians during the first and the second centuries there were those who were Unitarians, Trinitarians and believers in two gods. The history of Arius is discussed in another Google-Knol. [vi] The Catholic Encyclopedia has preserved some of this early history for us also. It states under the heading Monarchians:

“The founder of the sect was a leather-seller of Byzantium named Theodotus. He came to Rome under Pope Victor (c. 190-200) or earlier. He taught (Philosophumena, VII, xxxv) that Jesus was a man born of a virgin according to the counsel of the Father, that He lived like other men, and was most pious; that at His baptism in the Jordan the Christ came down upon Him in the likeness of a dove, and therefore wonders (dynameis) were not wrought in Him until the Spirit (which Theodotus called Christ) came down and was manifested in Him. They did not admit that this made Him God; but some of them said He was God after His resurrection. It was reported that Theodotus had been seized, with others, at Byzantium as a Christian, and that he had denied Christ, whereas his companions had been martyred; he had fled to Rome, and had invented his heresy in order to excuse his fall, saying that it was but a man and not God that he had denied. Pope Victor excommunicated him, and he gathered together a sect in which we are told much secular study was carried on. Hippolytus says that they argued on Holy Scripture in syllogistic form.” [vii]

A gold mine of information on this issue is a book by Walter Bauer titled,

Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity. I am making a Google knol about that book:

http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/orthodoxy-and-heresy-in-earliest/1qhnnhcumbuyp/307 #

The First Six Ecumenical Councils and Trinity

The Christian masses, in general have very limited understanding of the doctrine of ‘Trinity,’ and how it came about. All of us will do ourselves a great favor if we are to learn about the history of early Catholic Church, I recently did. Some of the salient points have been highlighted in the quotes from Encyclopedia Britannica above. It took at least four centuries and six Ecumenical Councils to enunciate the present position on Trinity. In a Teaching Company course titled the Catholic Church: A History, Prof. William R Cook very eloquently describes the role of the first four Ecumenical Councils in the creation of the doctrine of ‘Trinity.’ Even the very basic concept of ‘Trinity,’ was not formulated until the second Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople in 381. Prof. Cook writes, “The Council of Constantinople reaffirmed the Nicene formula and emphasized that the Holy Spirit was indeed God–an unequivocal affirmation of the Trinity.” [viii] The last of these Councils was the Council of Chalcedon. It is considered by the Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, the Old Catholics, and various other Western Christian groups to have been the Fourth Ecumenical Council. It was held in October and November of 451 AD at Chalcedon. Prof. William R Cook writes in the booklet of this course, “The Council of Chalcedon met to deal with the question of the nature(s) of Christ. The Council condemned the Monophysite position, declaring that Christ has two complete natures, human and divine.” The Encyclopedia Britannica states about the attempts to systematize the mystery of Trinity:

“By the 3rd century it was already apparent that all attempts to systematize the mystery of the divine Trinity with the theories of Neoplatonic hypostases metaphysics were unsatisfying and led to a series of new conflicts. The high point of these conflicts was the so-called Arian controversy. In his interpretation of the idea of God, Arius sought to maintain a formal understanding of the oneness of God. In defense of that oneness, he was obliged to dispute the sameness of essence of the Son and the Holy Spirit with God the Father, as stressed by other theologians of his day. From the outset, the controversy between both parties took place upon the common basis of the Neoplatonic concept of substance, which was foreign to the New Testament itself. It is no wonder that the continuation of the dispute on the basis of the metaphysics of substance likewise led to concepts that have no foundation in the New Testament—such as the question of the sameness of essence (homoousia) or similarity of essence (homoiousia) of the divine persons.

The basic concern of Arius was and remained disputing the oneness of essence of the Son and the Holy Spirit with God the Father, in order to preserve the oneness of God. The Son, thus, became a ‘second God, under God the Father’—i.e., he is a divine figure begotten by God. The Son is not himself God, a creature that was willed by God, made like God by divine grace, and sent as a mediator between God and humankind. Arius’s teaching was intended to defend the idea of the oneness of the Christian concept of God against all reproaches that Christianity introduces a new, more sublime form of polytheism.” [ix]

Arius was closer to Judaism and Islam than the Trinitarian Christians. I have several different Google-Knols examining the history of different Ecumenical Councils and the role they played in articulating the present day dogma of Trinity. [x][xi][xii] Dr. Amtul Qadoos Farhat has examined the history of the first Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in some details in one of her articles for Alislam-eGazette. [xiii]

Unitarian Christianity and a great Unitarian: Joseph Priestly

The dogma of Trinity is not only bad religion but also bad history. The word Trinity is not even mentioned in the New Testament, it was formulated in the second century by Tertullian. It is stated in 1890 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, “The Trinitarians and the Unitarians continued to confront each other, the latter at the beginning of the third century still forming the large majority.” In The Encyclopedia Americana we read, “Unitarianism as a theological movement began much earlier in history; indeed it antedated Trinitarianism by many decades. Christianity derived from Judaism and Judaism was strictly Unitarian [believing that God is one person]. The Road which led from Jerusalem to the Council of Nicaea was scarcely a straight one. Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching.”

Now let me present to you a great man Joseph Priestly, a friend of President Thomas Jefferson and also of Benjamin Franklin. Without further adoo, here comes, Joseph Priestly! According to Encyclopedia Britannica, Joseph Priestley discovered 10 new gases including oxygen and a gas later identified as carbon monoxide. Just like his contributions to science his writings on religion are masterly and earned him the friendship and tutorship of President Thomas Jefferson. Priestley argued, for example, that the real ‘mystery’ of the Trinity was that so many Christians believed it. For Jesus did not teach it, the Bible did not proclaim it, and Reason could not honor it. Jesus lived as a human being, claimed to be nothing more than the ‘son of man,’ whose mission was to show all humankind how they should live and what God expected of them. The Old Testament honored monotheism, as did the New Testament, rightly read. [xiv] Priestly further writes:

“Now I ask, wherein the doctrine of Trinity differs from a contradiction? It asserts, in effect, that nothing is wanting to either the Father, the Son, or the Spirit, to constitute each of them truly and properly God; each being equal in eternity and all divine perfections; and yet that these three are not three Gods, but only one God. They are, therefore, both one and many in the same respect, in each being perfect God. This is certainly as much a contradiction as to say that Peter, James and John, having each of them everything that is requisite to constitute a complete man, are yet, all together, not three men, but only one man.” [xv]

Very extensive literature has been created by the Unitarian Christians and I am sure His Holiness is well aware of that and will try to find time to review some of that. [1]

Jehovah Witnesses

Allow me to quote several references from the Church fathers here from the official website of Jehovah Witnesses, which reject the doctrine of Trinity:

“The ante-Nicene Fathers were acknowledged to have been leading religious teachers in the early centuries after Christ’s birth. What they taught is of interest.

Justin Martyr, who died about 165 C.E., called the prehuman Jesus a created angel who is ‘other than the God who made all things.’ He said that Jesus was inferior to God and ‘never did anything except what the Creator . . . willed him to do and say.’

Irenaeus, who died about 200 C.E., said that the prehuman Jesus had a separate existence from God and was inferior to him. He showed that Jesus is not equal to the ‘One true and only God,’ who is ‘supreme over all, and besides whom there is no other.’

Clement of Alexandria, who died about 215 C.E., called Jesus in his prehuman existence “a creature” but called God ‘the uncreated and imperishable and only true God.’ He said that the Son ‘is next to the only omnipotent Father’ but not equal to him.

Tertullian, who died about 230 C.E., taught the supremacy of God. He observed: ‘The Father is different from the Son (another), as he is greater; as he who begets is different from him who is begotten; he who sends, different from him who is sent.’ He also said: ‘There was a time when the Son was not. . . . Before all things, God was alone.’

Hippolytus, who died about 235 C.E., said that God is ‘the one God, the first and the only One, the Maker and Lord of all,’ who ‘had nothing co-eval [of equal age] with him . . . But he was One, alone by himself; who, willing it, called into being what had no being before,’ such as the created prehuman Jesus.

“There is no evidence that any sacred writer even suspected the existence of a [Trinity] within the Godhead.”—The Triune God

Origen, who died about 250 C.E., said that ‘the Father and Son are two substances . . . two things as to their essence,’ and that ‘compared with the Father, [the Son] is a very small light.’

Summing up the historical evidence, Alvan Lamson says in The Church of the First Three Centuries: ‘The modern popular doctrine of the Trinity . . . derives no support from the language of Justin [Martyr]: and this observation may be extended to all the ante-Nicene Fathers; that is, to all Christian writers for three centuries after the birth of Christ. It is true, they speak of the Father, Son, and . . . holy Spirit, but not as co-equal, not as one numerical essence, not as Three in One, in any sense now admitted by Trinitarians. The very reverse is the fact.’

Thus, the testimony of the Bible and of history makes clear that the Trinity was unknown throughout Biblical times and for several centuries thereafter.” [xvi]

Children of GodAll humans are children of God and this expression was in common use among the Jews before and after Jesus. It is very unfortunate that some chose to use the expression literally when it came to Jesus. One cannot help being amazed at the acrobatics of the Pope as he tries to weld the common knowledge of all of us being children of God in metaphorical sense with the Church’s obsession with the Triune God. He writes:

“Every individual is known to him. In this sense, by virtue of creation itself man is the ‘child’ of God in a special way, and God is his true Father. To describe man as God’s image is another way of expressing this idea.

This brings us to the second dimension of God’s Father­hood. There is a unique sense in which Christ is the ‘image of God’ (2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15). The Fathers of the Church therefore say that when God created man ‘in his image;’ he looked toward the Christ who was to come, and created man according to the image of the ‘new Adam;’ the man who is the criterion of the human. Above all, though, Jesus is ‘the Son’ in the strict sense-he is of one substance with the Father. …

This gives the concept of being God’s children a dynamic quality: We are not ready-made children of God from the start, but we are meant to become so increasingly by growing more and more deeply in communion with Jesus. Our son­ship turns out to be identical with following Christ. To name God as Father thus becomes a summons to us: to live as a ‘child;’ as a son or daughter.” [xvii]

God is as loving to the humans as a mother and at times very literal language is used, yet it is interpreted in a metaphorical sense. Why should any expression of love or closeness between God the Father and Jesus be taken literally by the Trinitarians will always remain an enigma. The Pope writes:

“One last question remains: Is God also mother? The Bible does compare God’s love with the love of a mother: ‘As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you” (Is 66:13). “Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you’ (Is 49:15). The mystery of God’s maternal love is expressed with particular power in the Hebrew word rahamim. Etymologically, this word means ‘womb,’ but it was later used to mean divine compassion for man, God’s mercy. The Old Testament constantly uses the names of organs of the human body to describe basic human attitudes or inner dispositions of God, just as today we use heart or brain when referring to some aspect of our own exis­tence. In this way the Old Testament portrays the basic atti­tudes of our existence, not with abstract concepts, but in the image language of the body. The womb is the most concrete expression for the intimate interrelatedness of two lives and of loving concern for the dependent, helpless creature whose whole being, body and soul, nestles in the mother’s womb. The image language of the body furnishes us, then, with a deeper understanding of God’s dispositions toward man than any conceptual language could.” [xviii]

The Arabic word for womb is very close to the Hebrew word that the Pope has cited. The root word of the attribute of Allah, Al Rehman and Al Raheem (the Gracious and the Merciful) is the same as for womb of a mother, highlighting the care and love of a devoted mother. Not-withstanding all this motherly love by the Divine the Muslims find no reason to associate literal sons or daughters to Him. In a different context, the Pope helps us in understanding the metamorphosis of image of Jesus in the Trinitarian Christianity:

“Already during Jesus’ lifetime, people tried to interpret his mysterious figure by applying to him categories that were familiar to them and that were therefore considered apt for deciphering his mystery: He is seen as John the Baptist, as Elijah or Jeremiah returning, or as the Prophet (cf. Mt 16:14; Mk 8:28; Lk 9:19). In his confession, Peter uses-as we have seen-other, loftier titles: Messiah, Son of the living God. The effort to express the mystery of Jesus in titles that explained his mission, indeed, his essence, continued after Easter. Increasingly, three fundamental titles began to emerge: ‘Christ’ (Messiah), ‘Kyrios’ (Lord), and ‘Son of God.’” [xix]

To someone who is not indoctrinated in the mysteries of dogma of Christianity, this strikes as very odd, almost mind boggling that a prophet of God, possibly God himself, according to Trinitarian ideology, spent his lifetime on the planet earth, exhausted his ministry and yet did not leave a clear message of his essence.The fact of the matter is thatJesus continued to call himself ‘son of man,’ all his life. The Pope agrees that Jesus preferred self-designation is ‘son of man.’ Now this is very interesting that Jesus all his life strove hard to emphasize his humanity and yet the followers especially St. Paul were able to hijack the monotheism of Jesus into a Trinitarian Christology.Let us move on, now, His Holiness espouses the mystery of Trinity in these words:

“Of course, the question as to exactly what sort of ontological connection this might be inevitably became the object of strenuous debate from that moment on, as faith strove to prove, and to understand clearly, its own rational content. Is he “Son” in a derivative sense, referring to some special closeness to God, or does the term “Son” imply that within God himself there is Father and Son, that the Son is truly ‘equal to God,’ true God from true God? The First Council of Nicea (325) summed up the result of this fierce debate over Jesus’ Sonship in the word homoousios, “of the same substance’–the only philosophical term that was incorpo­rated into the Creed. This philosophical term serves, how­ever, to safeguard the reliability of the biblical term. It tells us that when Jesus’ witnesses call him ‘the Son,’ this statement is not meant in a mythological or political sense-those being the two most obvious interpretations given the context of the time. Rather, it is meant to be understood quite liter­ally: Yes, in God himself there is an eternal dialogue between Father and Son, who are both truly one and the same God in the Holy Spirit.” [xx]

He adds paradox to paradox, in a hope that they may cancel each other in some magical way. The Father and the Son are both truly one and the same, yet there is an eternal dialogue between them. This is indeed the eternal mystery of Christianity that makes no sense to anyone except those who are indoctrinated, as both are Omniscient as well, what can they possibly communicate? Søren Kierkegaard, who crossing the boundaries of philosophy, theology, psychology, and literature, had come to be regarded as a highly significant and influential figure in contemporary thought, had suggested:

“It is not the business of any Christian writer or preacher to dilute Christianity to suit the general educated public. The doctrine of the incarnation was to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, and so will it always be, for the doctrine not only transcends reason; it the paradox par excellence; and it can be affirmed only by faith, with passionate inwardness and interest. The substitution of reason for faith means the death of Christianity.”

His Holiness has violated Kierkegaard’s advice in writing this book and has tried to argue the case for Trinity; in so doing he has opened the flood gates of logic and reason against himself and the Catholic Church. He writes in another book,

Introduction to Christianity:

“Our previous reflections have brought us to the point at which the Christian profession of faith in the one God passes over by a kind of inner necessity to the profession of faith in the triune God. On the other hand, we cannot overlook the fact that we are now touching a realm in which Christian theology must be more aware of its limits than it has often been in the past; a realm in which any false forthrightness in the attempt to gain too precise a knowledge is bound to end in disastrous fool­ishness; a realm in which only the humble admission of igno­rance can be true knowledge and only wondering attendance before the incomprehensible mystery can be the right profes­sion of faith in God. Love is always mysterium–more than one can reckon or grasp by subsequent reckoning. Love itself ­the uncreated, eternal God-must therefore be in the highest degree a mystery–‘the’ mysterium itself.” [xxi]

He has confessed the limitations of Trinity in a round about way.His confession continues, inthe following paragraphhe confesses the fact that one should study the Triune god in the historical perspective, as it took 5 centuries for the Church to weave this mysterious mystery. He writes in continuation of the previous quote:

“Yet-despite the necessary moderation of reason, which here is the only way in which thinking can remain true to itself and to its task-the question must be posed: What is really meant by the profession of faith in the triune God? We cannot here attempt-as we really should in order to reach a satisfactory answer-to trace the individual stages by which it developed or even to display the individual formulas in which faith strove to protect it from misinterpretation. A few indications must suffice.” [xxii]

Despite his confession, at least in this book and perhaps in none of the other books, His Holiness examines the history of the Ecumenical Councils, lest it give away the irrationality of the Christian dogma completely. We have examined some of this history above and provided links for the inquisitive minds.

The Holy Spirit was not divine either

The human condition is, as Plato would make Socrates say in the Republic (7.514a ff.), comparable to that of prisoners of an underground cave, whose unfortunate fate is to confuse reality with passing shadows created by a fire inside their miserable abode and kept in motion by clever manipulators, who in the name of politics, religion, science, and tradition control the human herd. The charater of Macedonius is another area rought in confusion in the long and convoluted history of Trinity, which has kept billions of Christians away from better theology. Here is what Encyclopedia Britannica has to say about him:

“Greek bishop of Constantinople (Istanbul) and a leading moderate Arian theologian in the 4th-century Trinitarian controversy. His teaching concerning the Son, or Logos (Greek: “the Word”), oscillated between attributing to him an “identity of essence” (Greek: homoousios) and “perfect similarity” with the divinity of the Father, or Godhead. After Macedonius’ death about 362, a heretical Christian sect that rejected the divinity of the Holy Spirit arose; because of the similarity of their teaching to Macedonius’ doctrine of the Son, they were called Macedonians (see Macedonianism).

About 339 Macedonius usurped the episcopal throne of Constantinople from the orthodox incumbent with the support of the Arian faction, a heretical group that denied the absolute divinity of the Son. Except for the conservative, or orthodox, ascendancy (346–351), he held office until 360. Although he maintained an ambiguous theological stance, he repressed the orthodox Nicene element in Constantinople. Owing to his semi-Arian orientation or to political differences, he lost favour with the Roman emperor Constantius II (reigned 337–361) and, at a local church council in 360, was deposed and exiled.” [xxiii]

If, instead of, readingMonarchianism as a heresy, we read it as a competing understanding of Jesus in the first and second century after Jesus. as an alternative to what Paul was preaching, that became the official position of the Catholic Church, new doors of understanding open up for us. One should never forget that Unitarians continued to be the majority as opposed to the Trinitarians until the fourth century. Let us read the account about Monarchianism, in this light from Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Monarchianism is a Christian heresy that developed during the 2nd and 3rd centuries. It opposed the doctrine of an independent, personal subsistence of the Logos, affirmed the sole deity of God the Father, and thus represented the extreme monotheistic view. Though it regarded Christ as Redeemer, it clung to the numerical unity of the Deity. Two types of Monarchianism developed: the Dynamic (or Adoptionist) and the Modalistic (or Sabellian).

Dynamic Monarchianism held that Christ was a mere man, miraculously conceived, but constituted the Son of God simply by the infinitely high degree in which he had been filled with divine wisdom and power. This view was taught at Rome about the end of the 2nd century by Theodotus, who was excommunicated by Pope Victor, and taught somewhat later by Artemon, who was excommunicated by Pope Zephyrinus. About 260 it was again taught by Paul of Samosata. It is the belief of many modern Unitarians.

Modalistic Monarchianism took exception to the “subordinationism” of some of the Church Fathers and maintained that the names Father and Son were only different designations of the same subject, the one God, who “with reference to the relations in which He had previously stood to the world is called the Father, but in reference to His appearance in humanity is called the Son.” It was taught by Praxeas, a priest from Asia Minor, in Rome c. 206 and was opposed by Tertullian in the tract Adversus Praxean (c. 213), an important contribution to the doctrine of the Trinity.” [xxiv]

I have a Google-Knol examining the issues pertaining to the Holy Spirit in Christianity in some details, it is titled The Holy Ghost: The mysteries of Trinity:

http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/the-holy-ghost-the-mysteries-of-trinity/1qhnnhcumbuyp/261 #

The context of Judaism

The Pope Benedict XVI writes in his book Jesus of Nazareth:

“Now, it is true that this leads to the great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought?

The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God. He has brought the God who formerly unveiled his counte­nance gradually, first to Abraham, then to Moses and the Prophets, and then in the Wisdom Literature–the God who revealed his face only in Israel, even though he was also hon­ored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the true God, whom he has brought to the nations of the earth.

He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about our origin and destiny: faith, hope, and love. It is only because of our hardness of heart that we think this is too little. Yes indeed, God’s power works quietly in this world, but it is the true and lasting power. Again and again, God’s cause seems to be in its death throes. Yet over and over again it proves to be the thing that truly endures and saves. The earthly kingdoms that Satan was able to put before the Lord at that time have all passed away. Their glory, their doxa, has proven to be a mere semblance. But the glory of Christ, the humble, self-sacrificing glory of his love, has not passed away, nor will it ever do so.

Jesus has emerged victorious from his battle with Satan. To the tempter’s lying divinization of power and prosperity, to his lying promise of a future that offers all things to all men through power and through wealth-he responds with the fact that God is God, that God is mans true Good. To the invitation to worship power, the Lord answers with a pas­sage from Deuteronomy, the same book that the devil him­self had cited: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’ (Mt 4:10; cf. Deut 6:13). The funda­mental commandment of Israel is also the fundamental com­mandment for Christians: God alone is to be worshiped. When we come to consider the Sermon on the Mount, we will see that precisely this unconditional Yes to the first tablet of the Ten Commandments also includes the Yes to the second tablet-reverence for man, love of neighbor. Matthew, like Mark, concludes the narrative of the temptations with the statement that” angels came and ministered to him” (Mt 4:11; Mk 1:13). Psalm 91:11 now comes to fulfillment: The angels serve him, he has proven himself to be the Son, and heaven therefore stands open above him, the new Jacob, the Patriarch of a universalized Israel ( cf.. Jn 1:51; Gen 28:12).” [xxv]

Unfortunately, this seems to be a case of bait and switch. His Holiness starts off with the mention of, ‘Abraham, then to Moses and the Prophets,’ and then moves to his belief in Trinity. All these prophets were strict Unitarians unlike the Catholic Church. His Holiness, the Pope presents the analogy of all these prophets and then suggests that Jesus brought forth the concept of God and assumes a Triune God. Jesus did not bring Triune god, it was a later invention of Paul, and it took several centuries to precisely articulate it, as described in the history of the Ecumenical Councils, some of which is covered in this knol. His Holiness also knows it at some level in some sense as in the same book as the above quote,

Jesus of Nazareth, he writes, “We pray with Christ through the Holy Spirit to the Father.” [xxvi]It is not only Judaism that defies Trinity but also the history of Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and all the religions of the world. In studying the history of the Founding Fathers of USA, we find that the adulterated accounts of the Bible did not satisfy President Thomas Jefferson. After extensive studies of different books Jefferson concluded:

“Christianity had traditionally rested not upon reason or experience but upon mystery and miracle. The Bible, moreover, portrayed a deity quite different from that revealed in nature, a deity that reason could neither explain nor defend. How rational could it possibly be for the God of the whole universe to reveal himself solely to one small nation in the eastern Mediterranean and to leave the rest of the world in utter ignorance of his existence? It seemed even more irrational to believe that the Supreme Being of the cosmos had ‘sent his only begotten son’, who had not offended him, to be sacrificed by men, who had offended him that he might expiate their sins, and satisfy his own anger.” [xxvii]

I find this one paragraph written by President Thomas Jefferson to be more useful than some three hundred pages of beating around the bush in the

God of Jesus Christ: meditations on the Triune God. A detailed article was published in the Review of Religions about the Unitarian beliefs of President Thomas Jefferson, which should be a good source of information for any enlightened soul not stubborn about the dogma of Trinity. [xxviii]The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s literature is pregnant with information to refute the dogma of Triune God and Alislam-eGazette will, God willing, keep bringing it out biannually in new colors.

Below is a quote from the Pope, and perhaps several could be offered, where he offers Jesus bringing out a Triune God in continuity of Abrahamic tradition. Patriach Abraham lived 1800 years before Jesus, King David almost 800 BC and Babylonian exile was 500 BC. So, there is centuries of Jewish literature and not a trace of Trinity. Would any rational and sensible Trinitarian Christian please make a case for Trinity from the Jewish literature and if they do, would my Jewish friends cross examine that here, please, in the comment section for the benefit of non-Semites. Pope Benedict XVI writes in his book,

Jesus of Nazareth:

“Now, it is true that this leads to the great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought?

The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God. He has brought the God who formerly unveiled his countenance gradually, first to Abraham, then to Moses and the Prophets, and then in the Wisdom Literature–the God who revealed his face only in Israel, even though he was also honored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the true God, whom he has brought to the nations of the earth.

He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about our origin and destiny: faith, hope, and love. It is only because of our hardness of heart that we think this is too little. Yes indeed, God’s power works quietly in this world, but it is the true and lasting power. Again and again, God’s cause seems to be in its death throes. Yet over and over again it proves to be the thing that truly endures and saves. The earthly kingdoms that Satan was able to put before the Lord at that time have all passed away.” [xxix]

If we study Jesus in the context of Judaism as Pope has suggested in the above quotes then trinity disappears in thin air. This argument that I have brought forth inhighlighting the context ofJudaismis not my original. I borrowed it from the Holy Quran:

And the Jews say, ‘The Christians stand on nothing;’ and the Christians say, ‘The Jews stand on nothing;’ while they both read the same Book. Even thus said those who had no knowledge, like what they say. But Allah shall judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they disagree. (Al Quran 2:114)

Another question that is raised here is if God is a Jew? According to Pope’s claim, ‘the God who revealed his face only in Israel,’ did He not reveal Himself to Ram, Krishan, Tao, Zoroaster and Confucius? If He did and the Muslim believe that most definitely He did so, for He cannot be accused of discrimination, then the history of all these religions despite all the distortions that they have gone through becomes another powerful testimony against Trinity.

Christians, use the Jewish or the Islamic concept of One Transcendent God Read on and in the words of Sir Francis Bacon, “Read not to contradict … but to weigh and consider.” Trinity has been called a mystery. It is not possible to adequately conceptualize a Triune God, how would you imagine a three faced person like the one depicted in the picture of a coin from the sixteenth century, so in day to day life the Trinitarian Christians use the Jewish or the Islamic concept of One Transcendent God, without acknowledging it.

Italy. Trinity, c. 15th century C.E. [xxx]

The Founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Messiah of this age, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad mentions that the non-Muslims especially the Christians have borrowed the concept of God from Islam. This reminds us of the saying, ‘imitation is the best form of flattery.’ The Messiah stated:

“The Holy Quran is replete with wisdom and insights and does not contain any portion of babble or frivolous. It explains every necessary detail and provides for all human needs. It is a miracle from every aspect. I am ever ready to demonstrate the miracle and beauty of the Holy Quran to anyone who denies it. These days, concept of God and genuine understanding of monotheism are under fire. The Christians have written a lot about God, but, whatever genuine account they have given is about the true and the living God of Islam and not about a dead, crucified and a humble god. I can declare it with fullest confidence that whoever, will attempt to write about the attributes of God, his or her hand will be forced to come to the God of Islam. This is because each and every particle of our universe gives testimony of this God and the imprint of the God of Islam is also in every human heart and conscience. So, whenever humans endeavor to find God, they are lead to the concepts of Islam. This also is indeed an amazing miracle.” [xxxi]

If you are not convinced yet, let me share with you another picture from the thirteenth century from the official website of Jehovah witnesses.It highlights the difficulty we have in conceptualizing Triune God, who is Transcendent at the same time. The picture makes Him appear like a conjoined triplet:

Trinity or a Tetrad! The old story is that Jesus has two parts, perfect man and perfect God,those are welded together somehow in a fashion never known in human history before or since and those two parts are married to two additional parts, God the Father and the Holy Ghost, which are not different from the first two parts andyet are different. These four parts are called Trinity and not a Tetrad? But, who is counting!

This triad or tetrad is a Unity and should be called one and not three or four? This is the old story and in this age of information it is logical to examine this and share new as well as oldinformation. The abovehas been the essence of Christian theology when examined from a Muslim or Jewish perspective.

Theology is defined in Dictionary.com as, “The field of study and analysis that treats of god and of God’s attributes and relations to the universe; study of divine things or religious truth; divinity.” What is particularly characteristic of the Christian theology is an attitude towards faith marked with the absence of any great concern for establishing external criteria of truth—a carefree attitude that has dominated Western Christian thought since the Middle Ages. According to Encyclopedia Britannica:

In the 17th century, as a counterpart to the various ‘confessions’ of the Reformation, there appeared several “Orthodox confessions,” endorsed by local councils but in fact associated with individual authors (e.g., Metrophanes Critopoulos, 1625; Petro Mohyla, 1638; Dosítheos of Jerusalem, 1672). None of these confessions would be recognized today as having anything but historical importance. Orthodox theologians, rather than seeking literal conformity with any particular confession, will look for consistency with Scripture and tradition, as it has been expressed in the ancient councils, in the works of the Church Fathers (the early theological authorities of the church), and in the uninterrupted life of the liturgy. Most theologians will not shy away from new formulations if consistency and continuity of tradition are preserved.

What is particularly characteristic of this attitude toward the faith is the absence of any great concern for establishing external criteria of truth—a concern that has dominated Western Christian thought since the Middle Ages.Truth appears as a living experience accessible in the communion of the church and of which the Scriptures, the councils, and theology are the normal expressions. Even ecumenical councils, in the Orthodox perspective, must be accepted by the body of the church in order to be recognized as truly ecumenical. Ultimately, therefore, truth is viewed as its own criterion: there are signs that point to it, but none of those signs is a substitute for a free and personal experience of truth, which is made accessible in the sacramental fellowship of the church. [xxxii]

The Holy Quran on the other hand constantly grounds its theology in the study of nature. There are almost 800 verses in the Holy Quran that inspire the believer to study nature and reflect. the Muslim scripture argues from the tangible or physical to the intangible and spiritual. A few examples are cited here:

Allah is He Who raised up the heavens without any pillars that you can see. Then He settled Himself on the Throne. And He pressed the sun and the moon into service: each pursues its course until an appointed term. He regulates it all. He clearly explains the Signs, that you may have a firm belief in the meeting with your Lord. (Al Quran 13:3)

He has created the heavens without any pillars that you can see, and He has placed in the earth firm mountains that it may not quake with you, and He has scattered therein all kinds of creatures; and We have sent down water from the clouds, and caused to grow therein every noble species. This is the creation of Allah. Now show me what others beside Him have created. Nay, but the wrongdoers are in manifest error. (Al Quran 31:11-12)

Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass, then We (Allah) opened them out? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? And We have made in the earth firm mountains lest it should quake with them; and We have made therein wide pathways, that they may be rightly guided. And We have made the heaven a roof, well protected; yet they turn away from its Signs. And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, each gliding along in its orbit. We granted not everlasting life to any human being before thee. If then thou shouldst die, shall they live here forever? (Al Quran 21:31-35)

Have they taken gods from the earth who raise the dead? If there had been in them (the heavens and the earth) other gods besides Allah, then surely both would have gone to ruin. Glorified then be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, above what they attribute. (Al Quran 21:22-23)

Rev. Elwood Morris Wherry (1843- 1927) was an American Presbyterian missionary to India who wrote a number of books, as a Christian apologist.He acknowledges the beauty of Unity of God in Islam by writing:

“A few passages, like the oases in the deserts of Arabia, stand out as truly beautiful both in their setting and in their thought. Take the first chapter, the Fatihat:

‘In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful. Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds! The compassionate, the merciful! King on the Day of Judgment! Thee do we worship, and to thee do we cry for help! Guide then us in the right way! The path of those to whom thou art gracious! Not of those with whom thou art angered, nor of those who go astray.’

The celebrated throne verse in Chap. II., 255, is as follows: ‘God! there is no God but he; the living, the self-subsisting: neither slumber nor sleep seizeth him; to him belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth. Who is he that can intercede with him, but through his good pleasure? He knoweth that which is past, and that which is to come unto them, and they shall not comprehend anything of his knowledge, but so far as he pleaseth. His throne is extended over heaven and earth, and the preservation of both is no burden unto him. He is high, the Mighty.’

The question is often asked why a book of such singular composition should hold such sway over the millions of the Moslem world. In reply two reasons may be given: first, the beautiful rhythm, and often sweet cadences of the original language, which like some enchanting song hold multitudes with rapt attention who understand scarcely a word they hear; secondly, there is a vast amount of truth contained in the book, especially the truth of the divine unity and of man’s dependence upon God, as seen in the throne verse just now quoted.” [xxxiii]

Once we begin to genuinely examine the Christian theology under the microscope of reason then in accordance with Kierkgaard’s prophecy, ‘the substitution of reason for faith means the death of Christianity.’ In the paper jacket of the hard cover a tall claim is made about the book under consideration. It says:

“Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, presents his profound meditations on the nature and person of God, building a bridge between theology and spirituality as he makes wide use of the Sacred Scriptures to reveal the beauty and mystery of who God is. He writes about each of the three persons in the Holy Trinity, showing the different attributes of each person, and that ‘God is three and God is one.'”

Now this may be a profound lesson in arithmetic, but the Pope sparingly quotes the Sacred Scriptures, makes no attempt in establishing their authenticity and hardly offers any proof for the Triune God in the whole of his 113 pages book.The bookmay have some emotional appeal to those indoctrinated in dogma of Christianity but offers no solace for the divine gift of reason to the humans!

Epilogue

The mystery of Trinity can make sense only to one indoctrinated in a Christian society from early childhood. The official website of Jehovah Witnesses states:

“Catholic theologian Hans Küng observes in his book

Christianity and the World Religionsthat the Trinity is one reason why the churches have been unable to make any significant headway with non-Christian peoples. He states: ‘Even well-informed Muslims simply cannot follow, as the Jews thus far have likewise failed to grasp, the idea of the Trinity. . . . The distinctions made by the doctrine of the Trinity between one God and three hypostases do not satisfy Muslims, who are confused, rather than enlightened, by theological terms derived from Syriac, Greek, and Latin. Muslims find it all a word game. . . . Why should anyone want to add anything to the notion of God’s oneness and uniqueness that can only dilute or nullify that oneness and uniqueness?'” [xxxiv]

Are Christians to believe that centuries after Jesus crucifixion, God having inspired some of the writings of the Bible, He would back the formulation of a doctrine that was unknown to his prophets for thousands of years, one that has been called ‘inscrutable mystery’ and ‘beyond the grasp of human reason, one that admittedly had a pagan background and was largely a matter of church politics?’

Why, for thousands of years, did none of God’s prophets teach his people about the Trinity? At the latest, would Jesus not use his ability as the Great Teacher to make the Trinity clear to his followers? Would God inspire hundreds of pages of Scripture and yet not use any of this instruction to teach the Trinity if it were the ‘central doctrine’ of faith?

I note in one of Pope’s other books about ‘Original Sin’ that he is slowly retracting the doctrine of the Original Sin that the Church had preached for 2 millennia. We want to thank the Pope for his flexibility but invite him to renounce the dogma of Trinity also. In the words of Andrew Norton, “When we look back through the long ages of the reign of the Trinity — we shall perceive that few doctrines have produced more unmixed evil.” [xxxv] The testimony of history is clear: the Trinity teaching is a deviation from the truth and rationality. In relinquishing Trinity the Pope will bring 1.3 billion Catholics remarkably closer to the Islamic doctrine, ‘There is no God but Allah.’ Let me invite the Pope to call an Ecumenical Council to formally deemphasize the dogma of Trinity that according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Church has already done by her actions, since the Enlightenment. If Pope does that he will be making history and putting the Nicene Creed behind, accepting the creed of Jews and of the Muslims of One God, Who has no partner. It will then be up to a later Pope to declare the second part of the Muslim creed that ‘Muhammad is the Prophet of God!’ I conclude in the words of the Holy Quran:

O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion, and say not of Allah anything but the truth. Indeed, the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah and a fulfillment of His word which He sent down to Mary, and a mercy from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers, and say not ‘They are three.’ Desist, it will be better for you. Verily, Allah is the only One God. Far is it from His Holiness that He should have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as a Guardian. Surely, the Messiah will never disdain to be a servant of Allah, nor will the angels near unto God; and whoso disdains to worship Him and feels proud, He will gather them all to Himself. Then as for those who believed and did good works, He will give them their rewards in full and will give them more out of His bounty; but as for those who disdained and were proud, He will punish them with a painful punishment. And they shall find for themselves besides Allah no friend nor helper. O ye people, a manifest proof has indeed come to you from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light. (Al Quran 4:172-175)

And:

They are surely disbelievers who say, ‘Allah is the third of three;’ there is no God but the One God. And if they do not desist from what they say, a grievous punishment shall surely befall those of them that disbelieve. (Al Quran 5:74)

Let me conclude in the words of the Messiah of this age and the lead follower of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad:

As I have been sent to reform the evils of the doctrine of Trinity, my heart is grieved beyond measure at the contemplation of the painful fact that there are more than four hundred million people who deem Jesus, may peace be on him, to be God. I do not believe that I have ever been hurt or grieved by anything in my whole life as I have been hurt and grieved by this doctrine. Had it been possible for me to expire under a load of grief and sorrow, I would have died grieving over the question why people abandon God Who has no associate, and worship a humble man, and why do they not believe in the Prophet who had come into the world with true guidance and the straight path. I have always been apprehensive lest I should die through the shock of this sorrow… Where other people seek heaven, the heaven that I seek, in the face of this agony, is that I might witness in my lifetime mankind being rescued from this idolatry and that the glory of God be made manifest. My soul supplicates constantly: Lord, if I am from Thee and the shade of Thy grace accompanies me, then let me witness the day when this calumny—that, God forbid, the Messiah claimed to be God—will be proven false. For a long time, I have been praying five times a day that God might bestow inner sight upon these people so that they should believe in His Unity and should recognize His Messenger and should discard the doctrine of Trinity. [2][3]

[i] “Trinity.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 31 Jul. 2010 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/605512/Trinity&gt;.

[ii] Matthew 22:34-40, Luke 10:25-28, Luke 20:41-44.

[iii] “Trinity.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 31 Jul. 2010 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/605512/Trinity&gt;.

[iv] “Trinity.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 31 Jul. 2010 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/605512/Trinity&gt;.

[v] http://atheism.about.com/od/bookreviews/fr/LostChristian.htm

[vi] http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/the-council-of-nicaea-and-three-others/1qhnnhcumbuyp/76#

[vii] http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10448a.htm

[viii] Prof. William R Cook. The Catholic Church: A History. The Teaching Company, 2009. Page 20.

[ix] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/115240/Christianity/67483/The-Holy-Trinity?anchor=ref301070

[x] http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/the-council-of-nicaea-and-three-others/1qhnnhcumbuyp/76#

[xi] http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/the-concept-of-trinity-has-no-legs-to/1qhnnhcumbuyp/38#

[xii] http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/second-council-of-constantinople/1qhnnhcumbuyp/193#

[xiii] https://www.alislam.org/egazette/articles/Trinity-First-Council-201006.pdf

[xiv] Edwin S

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  1. Zia Shah

    Origen and Origenism

    The official Catholic website has the following to say about Origen and Origenism:

    The three Persons of the Trinity are distinguished from all creatures by the three following characteristics: absolute immateriality, omniscience, and substantial sanctity. As is well known many ancient ecclesiastical writers attributed to created spirits an aerial or ethereal envelope without which they could not act. Though he does not venture to decide categorically, Origen inclines to this view, but, as soon as there is a question of the Divine Persons, he is perfectly sure that they have no body and are not in a body; and this characteristic belongs to the Trinity alone (De Principiis IV.27, I.6, II.2.2, II.4.3, etc.). Again the knowledge of every creature, being essentially limited, is always imperfect and capable of being increased. But it would be repugnant for the Divine Persons to pass from the state of ignorance to knowledge. How could the Son, who is the Wisdom of the Father, be ignorant of anything (Commentary on John I.27; Against Celsus VI.17). Nor can we admit ignorance in the Spirit who “searcheth the deep things of God” (De Principiis I.5.4, I.6.2, I.7.3; “In Num. him.”, XI, 8 etc.). As substantial holiness is the exclusive privilege of the Trinity so also is it the only source of all created holiness. Sin is forgiven only by the simultaneous concurrence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; no one is sanctified at baptism save through their common action; the soul in which the Holy Ghost indwells possesses likewise the Son and the Father. In a word the three Persons of the Trinity are indivisible in their being, their presence, and their operation.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11306b.htm

  2. Zia Shah

    Polytheism was in the air as the Christianity was being formulated under Paul’s directions

    Many of us do not appreciate that Judaism was a small minority in the Roman Empire, forming perhaps 7% of the population. Majority of the Empire was polytheist and it was in those circumstances that Paul was trying to create a politically correct religion and we were given ‘three in one’ rather than multiple gods!What caused the monotheism of Judaism be distorted into Trinity can perhaps be imagined from a few verses in Genesis:When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.(Genesis 6:1-4)

  3. Zia Shah

    Apollonius of Tyana: Another man-god from the time of Jesus — It seems that in the first century Roman Empire the use of divine metaphors for humans was not uncommon. In the case of Jesus Christ the Church took these metaphors too seriously and literally.Prof. Bart Ehrman says:”Apollonius lived at about the same time as Jesus, although they never knew each other. Their followers, though, knew each other and had heated debates about who was superior.These were not the only two men believed to be divine. Jesus may be the only miracle-working Son of God that we know about in our world, but he was not at all the only one talked about in his world.”http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/apollonius-of-tyana-another-man-god/1qhnnhcumbuyp/220#

  4. Zia Shah

    Pope calls for religious freedom in Muslim states — By Philip Pullella Philip Pullella – Thu Nov 11, 9:44 am ETVATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict Thursday said all states must guarantee the freedom for everyone to practice their faith publicly, a clear criticism of some Muslim countries where religious rights are restricted.The pope issued the call in a document of nearly 200 pages called an “apostolic exhortation,” in which he offered his reflections on a synod of bishops that met in the Vatican in 2008 on the theme the “Word of God.”He said the Catholic Church respected all religions and a separate section of the document was dedicated to relations with Muslims.”All the same, dialogue would not prove fruitful unless it included authentic respect for each person and the ability of all freely to practice their religion,” he said.”Respect and dialogue require reciprocity in all spheres,” he said, adding that this had to include the right to profess religion “privately and publicly and (for) freedom of conscience to be effectively guaranteed to all believers.””Reciprocity” is the term the Roman Catholic Church uses in demanding full rights for Christians in Islamic states where laws prohibit them from practicing their faith openly. It has often asked for reciprocity with Saudi Arabia.At least 3.5 million Christians of all denominations live in the Gulf Arab region, the birthplace of Islam and home to some of the most conservative Arab Muslim societies in the world.The freedom to practice Christianity, or any religion other than Islam, is not always permitted in the Gulf and varies from country to country. Saudi Arabia, which observes an austere form of Sunni Islam, has the tightest restrictions.The Vatican says Christians in predominantly Muslim countries should be allowed to practice their faith openly, just as Muslims can in predominantly Christian countries in Europe.http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101111/wl_nm/us_pope_islamIn this I fully support Pope’s vision. There should be complete religious freedom in every country of the world.

  5. Zia Shah

    The Messiah of this age and Trinity — The Messiah of this age and the lead follower of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes:As I have been sent to reform the evils of the doctrine of Trinity, my heart is grieved beyond measure at the contemplation of the painful fact that there are more than four hundred million people who deem Jesus, may peace be on him, to be God. I do not believe that I have ever been hurt or grieved by anything in my whole life as I have been hurt and grieved by this doctrine. Had it been possible for me to expire under a load of grief and sorrow, I would have died grieving over the question why people abandon God Who has no associate, and worship a humble man, and why do they not believe in the Prophet who had come into the world with true guidance and the straight path. I have always been apprehensive lest I should die through the shock of this sorrow… Where other people seek heaven, the heaven that I seek, in the face of this agony, is that I might witness in my lifetime mankind being rescued from this idolatry and that the glory of God be made manifest. My soul supplicates constantly: Lord, if I am from Thee and the shade of Thy grace accompanies me, then let me witness the day when this calumny—that, God forbid, the Messiah claimed to be God—will be proven false. For a long time, I have been praying five times a day that God might bestow inner sight upon these people so that they should believe in His Unity and should recognize His Messenger and should discard the doctrine of Trinity.For some additional excerpts by him on the doctrine of Trinity go to:http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Essence-4.pdf

  6. Zia Shah

    Prof. Bart Ehrman explaining Trinity — He writes:No Christian doctrine is more distinctive or historically significant than the doctrine of the Trinity. Like other doctrines that became central to the faith, however, belief in the Trinity was a historical development, not a “given” from the early years of the faith.The basic notion of the Trinity is that there are three persons in the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are all equally God and of the same substance, but despite the fact that there are three persons, together, they comprise only one God, indivisible in nature.This doctrine does not appear to be a doctrine pronounced by the historical Jesus, Paul, or any other Christian writer during the first hundred years or so of Christianity.It cannot be found explicitly stated in the earliest Christian writings. The only passage of the New Testament that declares the doctrine (1 John 5:7-8) was not originally part of the text but was added by doctrinally astute scribes at a later date (it is not found in any Greek manuscript until the 11th century).The easiest way to explain the emergence of the doctrine of the Trinity is to consider developments in the understanding of Christ in the early years of Christianity.Even though there were Christians who continued to insist that Jesus was human but not divine from the beginning, there were Christians who claimed that he was, in some sense, divine.This can be seen at the very earliest stage, in the writings of Paul, especially in one passage that he appears to be quoting from an earlier author, Phil. 2:6-11. This belief, then, was around even before our earliest Christian writings.Other books of the New Testament (for example, Matthew and Mark) consider Jesus to be the “Son” of God but do not appear to assert that this means he was himself divine. He was God’s Son in the way the kings of Israel were God’s sons¬ his representatives on Earth (cf. 2 Sam. 7:14).But some books near the end of the New Testament period become yet more explicit that Jesus was actually himself divine, for example, the Gospel of John (cf. 1: 1-3; 8:58; 10:30; 20:31).Eventually, it became common to refer to Christ as God (e.g., Ignatius Eph. 1:1; 7:2).These early writers, however, never worked out the implications of how Jesus could be God if God was God (cf. the loose statement of Ignatius Eph. 18:2).It was also thought that the Spirit of God was, in some sense, distinct from God and from Jesus (cf. John 14).Prof. Bart Ehrman. From Jesus to Constantine: A history of early Christianity. Teaching Company Course Guidebook, 2004. Page 109-110.

  7. Zia Shah

    Zoroaster: A Witness against Pauline Dogma — As all humans are God’s creation, it stands to reason that God not only guided people in the Middle East through Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Jesus, but, He also guided other people through prophets like Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster. If this be true there should be some common theme between their teachings, a common thread, a clue that these teachings are all emanating from a common source, the same glacier feeds all these rivers of wisdom. The gulf between Pauline Christianity and all the other world religions is an illuminating testimony to the fact that St. Paul changed Christianity from the religion of Jesus to a religion about his death and imagined resurrection.http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/zoroaster-a-witness-against-pauline/1qhnnhcumbuyp/316#

  8. Zia Shah

    Buddha: A Witness against Pauline Dogma — As all humans are God’s creation, it stands to reason that God not only guided people in the Middle East through Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Jesus, but, He also guided other people through prophets like Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster. If this be true there should be some common theme between their teachings, a common thread, a clue that these teachings are all emanating from a common source, the same glacier feeds all these rivers of wisdom. The gulf between Pauline Christianity and all the other world religions is an illuminating testimony to the fact that St. Paul changed Christianity from the religion of Jesus to a religion about his death and imagined resurrection.http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/buddha-a-witness-against-pauline-dogma/1qhnnhcumbuyp/315#

  9. Zia Shah

    Confucius: A Witness against Pauline Dogma — As all humans are God’s creation, it stands to reason that God not only guided people in the Middle East through Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and Jesus, but, He also guided other people through prophets like Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster. If this be true there should be some common theme between their teachings, a common thread, a clue that these teachings are all emanating from a common source, the same glacier feeds all these rivers of wisdom. The gulf between Pauline Christianity and all the other world religions is an illuminating testimony to the fact that St. Paul changed Christianity from the religion of Jesus to a religion about his death and imagined resurrection.http://knol.google.com/k/zia-shah/confucius-a-witness-against-pauline/1qhnnhcumbuyp/314#

  10. Zia Shah

    Pope Benedict Urges Pakistan to Repeal Blasphemy Law — On this issue I completely and whole heartedly agree with the Pope.MILAN. Jan 2011 — In a forceful appeal for religious freedom, Pope Benedict XVI urged Pakistan on Monday to repeal contentious blasphemy laws as he called on governments worldwide to do more to enable Christians to practice their faith without violence, intolerance or restriction. The pope was speaking in an annual address to diplomats accredited to the Vatican, a long-scheduled event. But this year his words came after bomb attacks in Iraq and Egypt — the most recent in the Egyptian city of Alexandria less than two weeks ago — and the assassination last week of a leading Pakistani politician who had opposed his country’s law that makes blasphemy against Islam punishable by death. The politician, Salman Taseer, had campaigned against the law and had petitioned the government to re-examine the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was sentenced to death last November under the legislation. Mr. Taseer’s “tragic murder,” the pope said, “shows the urgent need to make progress in this direction: the worship of God furthers fraternity and love, not hatred and division.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/11/world/europe/11pope.html?scp=5&sq=salman%20taseer%20and%20editorial&st=cse

  11. Zia Shah

    King David glorifying God the Creator, without knowing an iota about Jesus

    In the Psalms we can read time and again, how the King or the Prophet David glorifies, God the Creator or God the Father, without knowing anything about Jesus, as he preceded him by seven centuries. David prays:
    LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?(Psalm 8:1-4, New International Version)

    To know God, we do not need to necessarily know about Jesus Christ and he forms no part of Divinity, as we can see His Majesty in the prayers of David, without any reference to Jesus!

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