Rebuttal to Answering Islam's Article "On The Philosophical Necessity of the Trinity Based On The Attributes Of God"

  by 

Bassam Zawadi

 

 

The article could be located here

 

Answering Islam said:

Muslims often argue for the unity of God from the viewpoint that more than one God would bring chaos and fighting between the gods.

This is true if we think of many separate gods, but Christians only believe in ONE God, not many gods. But we believe that there is more "inner structure" to the Godhead that a unitary one.

My Response:

No we don't, we argue that there is only true God just like how Jesus made it clear that the Father is the only true God...

John 17:3

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Therefore, when you call Jesus God you associate partners with God. That is our problem. It is the problem of polytheism. Islam is a monotheistic faith. The trinity is not. Christians THINK that they believe in one God, but they really don't. 

 

Answering Islam said:

The following explanation is actually a very classical one used by St. Augustine in his book "On the Trinity" [De Trinitate] in the 5th century.

We read in the Word of God, in 1 John 4:8 that "God is Love".

What are the necessary conditions that this can be a true statement?

For any event of "love" we do need the subject who loves, we need an object which is loved, and we need an expression of this love in some way, i.e. an interaction between the first two.

I cannot love when I am "just by myself". Focussing only on myself is egotism, not love.

Now, how can God BE Love if he was solitary in "unitary aloneness" from eternity past? None of the attributes of God are dependent on his creation. If God could only start loving after he had created us then his attribute of love would be dependent on us. He would not be self-sufficient in his attributes. But if he is unitary as Muslims believe, then love necessarily cannot be an attribute of his [nor can justice or mercy or any other relational attribute] because he is not in any relationship for eternity before he creates.

If God is not relational, how would he come to the idea to create anything ? How would he come to the desire to have an extension of his relationality beyond the Godhead if relationality is not part of his nature/attributes?

No, we all believe God created and he communicates with his creation. God is a communicator. God is love. But this can only be if he is love from eternity and hence there must be some relationality and expression and exchange of love within God himself.

That is where the trinity [or some kind of plurality] becomes philosophically necessary for God. Yes there is one God only but this God is love and is relational. And hence there needs to be "interaction of giving and receiving within the Godhead". That is why we need something like the Trinity.

Augustine then says that Father and Son are eternally in love with each other, giving and receiving, and that the Spirit is maybe like the personalization of this 'dynamic relationship', the transporting the love of the one to the other.

Note again: This is a model, an analogy again. No analogy is perfect. But think about it, and let me know how you think God can have relational attributes if he was a solitary unity from eternity past.

 

My Response:

Allah describes himself in the Quran as all loving...

Surah 85:14

and He is the All-forgiving, the All-loving

Answering Islam said:

God is love. But this can only be if he is love from eternity and hence there must be some relationality and expression and exchange of love within God himself. 

This logic is very weak. Because then I could argue the following:-

There was no one for the Unitarian God to love in the beginning and therefore he was not All Loving. But also, there was no one for God to forgive before he created us, so that also means that God is not All Forgiving!

Anyone can see this fallacious argument crumbling already. Are Christians trying to also say that since God is triune then that means that each member of the God head forgave the other so that God could be All Forgiving? Of course not. For someone to be forgiven he would have had to commit a sin right? Well does any member of the Godhead commit sins? Christian will respond back and say no. 

Answering Islam said...

For any event of "love" we do need the subject who loves, we need an object which is loved, and we need an expression of this love in some way, i.e. an interaction between the first two.

 
Similarly:-

For any event of "forgiveness" we do need the subject who forgives, we need an object which is forgiven, and we need an expression of this forgiveness in some way, i.e. an interaction between the first two.

I could also argue that God was not a creator before He created anything. I could also argue that God was not many things before He created anything if I were to use this fallacious and illogical missionary way of thinking. 

 

SO JUST BECAUSE GOD DID NOT EXHIBIT OR IMPLEMENT HIS ATTRIBUTES BEFORE HIS CREATION THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT HE DID NOT HAVE THOSE ATTRIBUTES. SO JUST BECAUSE GOD HAD NO CREATION TO LOVE BEFORE HE CREATED THEM THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT HE DID NOT HAVE THE ATTRIBUTE OF BEING ALL LOVING. IT IS JUST THAT HE DID NOT EXHIBIT OR IMPLEMENT IT YET.

 

Answering Islam said:

[This was a very quick and sketchy few paragraphes, any of my Christian brothers and sisters who would like to improve on this, is most welcome to do so. Just send me the article and I will put it up.]

My Response:

It is very obvious that you wrote it quickly because you did not even think about what you were saying.

 

Appendix

Sam Shamoun wrote two separate articles in response to mine. The first one could be found here http://www.answeringislam.net/Responses/Osama/zawadi_allah_needs_sinners.htm 

Sam Shamoun quotes some hadith from Sahih Muslim and then concludes that the hadith say that Allah MUST create human sinners in order to display His attribute of forgiveness. 

This is absurd; the hadith in no way says that God needed to create sinners. First of all, God has the power to forgive and it is His gift to us. He does not lose anything or gain anything from His Kingdom if people were to reject Him for He is not in need of us. The following hadith makes this clear...

Narrated Abi Dhar:
Allaah, the Exalted, says, "My servants, all of you are misguided except whoever I have guided, so ask Me for guidance and I will guide you. And all of you are poor except whoever I have made rich, so ask Me for sustenance. All of you are sinners except whoever I have pardoned, so whoever of you knows that I possess the power of forgiveness, then asked Me for forgiveness, then I have forgiven him, and I do not mind. And if the first of you and the last of you and your living and your dead and your strong and your weak were all to unite on the heart of the most pious slave of My slaves, this would not have added to My kingdom the wing of a mosquito. And if the first of you and the last of you and your living and your dead and your strong and your weak were all to unite on the heart of the most wretched slave of My slaves, this would not have subtracted from My kingdom the wing of a mosquito. And if the first of you and the last of you and your living and your dead and your strong and your weak were all to come together in one clearing, then each person of you asked for what would fulfill his desires, then I gave to each asker of you what he asked for, this would not have diminished My kingdom except as if one of you passed by the sea then dipped a needle into it then lifted it to himself. This is because I am Generous (jawwaad), Exalted, I do whatever I wish. My gift is nothing but My command, My punishment is nothing but My command. Rather, My command to something if I willed it is to say 'Be', so it becomes."(At-tirmidhi, Kitaab Sifat Al-Qiyaama wa Ar-raqaa'iq wal-war3, Number 2419: A reference is found in the following hadeeth which al-Uthaimeen says is hasan:, Source)

The reason God creates human sinners is so that they can come back and repent to Allah, for Allah loves those who repent...  

Saheeh Muslim

Book 037, Number 6611:

Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His servant when he turns penitently towards Him than one of you would be on finding the lost camel.

So Shamoun needs to stop imposing his false interpretation unto the text of the hadith.  

The Qur'an makes it absolutely clear that Allah is in no need of His creation and wants...

Surah 14:8

And Moses said: "If ye show ingratitude, ye and all on earth together, yet is God free of all wants, worthy of all praise.

Surah 64:6

That was because there came to them their Messengers with clear proofs (signs), but they said: "Shall mere men guide us?" So they disbelieved and turned away (from the truth), and Allah was not in need (of them). And Allah is Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise.

Surah 3:97

In it are clear signs, the standing place of Ibrahim, and whoever enters it shall be secure, and pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, (upon) every one who is able to undertake the journey to it; and whoever disbelieves, then surely Allah is Self-sufficient, above any need of the worlds.

Surah 35:15

O mankind! it is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of all praise.

It even comes in a qudsi hadith...

Allah (SWT) said: `I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having an associate. Thus he who does an action for someone else's sake as well as Mine shall have that action renounced by Me to the one whom he associated with Me." (Sahih Muslim, 18/115, Kitab al-zuhd, bab tahrim al-riya', cited here)

Allah is clearly in no need of an associate, however Shamoun believes that God does need an associate to love from eternity. This shows how weak Shamoun's concept of God is.

As for Shamoun's second article, which could be found here http://www.answeringislam.net/Responses/Osama/zawadi_trinity_love.htm

Shamoun says...

For instance, being able to create doesn't necessitate a relationship between two parties. After all, God doesn't have to create something in order to be all-powerful or self-sufficient since his ability to create doesn't depend on the existence of more than one entity. It merely depends on his having enough power to create whatever he pleases.

I never said that God was not eternally All Powerful, but that He is not eternally having the title of "The Creator" if we were to remain consistent. That means that before creation, it would be incorrect of us to say that God was "The Creator". But then in this way you're denying that God is "The Creator" from all eternity, which is false. Shamoun fails to escape my refutation.

He continues on to say...

Yet forgiveness is not required for God to be perfectly loving provided that those he loves are living in perfect union and fellowship with him. It is only when such persons sin that God would need to show forgiveness, provided that he does love them. Thus, Zawadi's counter-arguments fall to the ground and fail to refute anything.

Just as forgiveness is not a requirement for God to exhibit and can choose to do so when He wills, similarly with love God can choose to exhibit His attribute of love whenever He wills. I challenge Shamoun to show me a single verse from the Bible that says that God was exhibiting His attribute of love even before creation. He cannot. Why is it that God can choose to exhibit his attribute of forgiveness and ability to create at a specific point in time but that He has to exhibit His attribute of love from eternity? The statement "God is love" does not prove that God was exhibiting his attribute of love before creation. It means that He is the source of love and his love is infinite in abundance. The Bible also says that God is a merciful God (Deuteronomy 4:31) but whom was He being merciful to before creation? Does that mean that he was not eternally Merciful? Of course not. He had the attribute but just never exhibited it. The same thing is with love.

Christians are not being consistent in their arguments; therefore they need to drop it.

 

After quoting the following forged hadith...

 

3. Allah says, "I was a hidden treasure, and I wished to be known, so I created a creation (mankind), then made Myself known to them, and they recognised Me." (Source)

 

Shamoun says...

Thus, here we find additional corroboration that Allah was in dire need of creatures that could love and worship him! Allah is clearly not like the God of the Holy Bible in this regard, and in many other aspects as well.

This is absolutely absurd. Nowhere does the forged hadith even say that God NEEDED to be known but WISHED to be known. Shamoun needs to stop twisting the meaning of statements.

 

 

 

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