Friday, November 3, 2017

Jesus and Trinity

Many of the World's religions, have, at least, some kind of monotheistic view on God, but it's a complicated multiplicity. God may have several personifications or manifestations, even when only one and the same god and creator is referred to. People have tried it, but haven't found out, whether their definition or concept was right. I'll try to give some kind of comparative parable and start with Christianity.

The Bible defines God as one true god, made up of three individuals: God the Father, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Here's a compilation of relevant Biblical verses: Genesis 1:1-2; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Colossians 1:15-17; Colossians 2:9; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 44:6; John 1:14; John 10:30; John 10:30-36; John 14:9-11; John 14:16-17;  1 John 5:7-8; Luke 1:35; Luke 3:21-22; Matthew 1:23; Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19; Romans 14:17-18; 1 Peter 1:1-2; Ephesians 4:4-6; and Philippians 2:5-8. God the Son, the Lord Jesus, wasn't just Prophet Jesus during his lifetime. The Bible says, there's 'one God, the Father from whom all things came and for whom we live', and there's 'one Lord, Jesus Christ, from whom all things came and for whom we live':

'For there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are in agreement.'
(1 John 5:7-8)

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

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’[a]? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?' (John 10:30-36)

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

According Christianity, Jesus now sits at God the Father's right hand, next to His throne:

And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. (Luke 24:50-51)

(He) who has gone into heaven and xis at the right hand of God, ywith angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (Peter: 3:22)

If I may take some liberty, while avoiding dogmatism ~ I'd say, Christian Trinity may best be explained as the devine force, the devine wisdom, and the devine creation, if we see devine creation as perpetual matter, and God as living and working within creation, with His wisdom. In this case, it's impossible to separate God, devine force, and devine creation from each other. The Son, the Father, and the holy Spirit are the same and forever. Also Jesus is forever, and, also today, very much alive. For me, it makes sense to see Jesus as creation as a whole, the universe. Then, also Eucharist makes sense, because the bread and the wine are part of Jesus, as much as is the rest of creation.

Jesus will return, says the Bible, and at His arrival, Resurrection starts:

'For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.' (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

'... and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.' (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)

Islam doesn't recognize Trinity. Islam sees God as the perpetual creative force behind creation and the holy Spirit. This, because creation is a systematic structure of separate items, each with a temporary lifespan; they all are, directly or indirectly, made by God, even if people, or other creatures, function as productive intermediaries. They are God's protected property. God doesn't resemble creation in any way imaginable. To humans, and other creatures, creation and the holy spirit are tools, and a tool has to answer to God the same way as that humans have to.  Qur'an looks at creation as Allah SWT's immediate property, directly linked to Him. Thus, it's not possible to worship creation. Creatures are created to serve, not worship, each other. Reality is, that people are inclined to worship one item, or a person in creation, as a God, or manifestation of God. This would injustly favor one creature over other creatures, or a human-made concept, and that would create chaos, unjustified competition that's bound to be lost by the human-made god figure, or distortion. It would cause a wound to it all. Jesus was elavated alive, towards Allah, in heaven, without being crucified. Note well, that Jesus, Isa, is the only living prophet, now. The Holy Spirit is God's wisdom, which is revealed in the scriptures, including Qur'an; to the prophets, including Mohammad; and to the faithful. Qur'an al Kerim says:

'Allah! There is no God save Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him. Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He will. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.' (2:255)

'And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah's messenger - they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain. But Allah took him up unto Himself. Allah was ever Mighty, Wise. There is not one of the People of the Scripture but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them -' (4:157-159)

'O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three" - Cease! (it is) better for you! - Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that He should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender. The Messiah will never scorn to be a slave unto Allah, nor will the favoured angels. Whoso scorneth His service and is proud, all such will He assemble unto Him; ...' (4:171-172)

'They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. The Messiah (himself) said: O Children of Israel, worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Lo! whoso ascribeth partners unto Allah, for him Allah hath forbidden paradise. His abode is the Fire. For evil-doers there will be no helpers. They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve. Will they not rather turn unto Allah and seek forgiveness of Him? For Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. See how We make the revelations clear for them, and see how they are turned away! Say: Serve ye in place of Allah that which possesseth for you neither hurt nor use? Allah it is Who is the Hearer, the Knower. Say: O People of the Scripture! Stress not in your religion other than the truth, and follow not the vain desires of folk who erred of old and led many astray, and erred from a plain road.' (5:72-77)

'Say: The holy Spirit hath revealed it from thy Lord with truth, that it may confirm (the faith of) those who believe, and as guidance and good tidings for those who have surrendered (to Allah). (102) And We know well that they say: Only a man teacheth him. The speech of him at whom they falsely hint is outlandish, and this is clear Arabic speech.' (16:102-103)

'They will ask thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little. (85) And if We willed We could withdraw that which We have revealed unto thee, then wouldst thou find no guardian for thee against Us in respect thereof. (86) (It is naught) save mercy from thy Lord. Lo! His kindness unto thee was ever great. (87) Say: Verily, though mankind and the jinn should assemble to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof though they were helpers one of another.' (17:85-90)
'And she (Maryam) who was chaste, therefor We breathed into her (something) of Our Spirit and made her and her son a token for (all) peoples.' (21:91)

Allah hath not chosen any son, nor is there any God along with Him; else would each God have assuredly championed that which he created, and some of them would assuredly have overcome others. Glorified be Allah above all that they allege. Knower of the Invisible and the Visible! and Exalted be He over all that they ascribe as partners (unto Him)! (23:90-91)

Lo! Allah is the Knower of the Unseen of the heavens and the earth. Lo! He is Aware of the secret of (men's) breasts. He it is Who hath made you regents in the earth; so he who disbelieveth, his disbelief be on his own head. Their disbelief increaseth for the disbelievers, in their Lord's sight, naught save abhorrence. Their disbelief increaseth for the disbelievers naught save loss. Say: Have ye seen your partner-gods to whom ye pray beside Allah? Show me what they created of the earth! Or have they any portion in the heavens? Or have We given them a scripture so they act on clear proof therefrom? Nay, the evil-doers promise one another only to deceive. Lo! Allah graspeth the heavens and the earth that they deviate not, and if they were to deviate there is not one that could grasp them after Him. Lo! He is ever Clement, Forgiving. (35:38-41)

'When thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to create a mortal out of mire, (71) And when I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My Spirit, then fall down before him prostrate,' (38:72)

'The Exalter of Ranks, the Lord of the Throne. He casteth the Spirit of His command upon whom He will of His slaves, that He may warn of the Day of Meeting, ...' (40:15)

'And thus have We inspired in thee (Muhammad) a Spirit of Our command. Thou knewest not what the Scripture was, nor what the Faith. But We have made it a light whereby We guide whom We will of Our bondmen. And lo! thou verily dost guide unto a right path, (52) The path of Allah, unto Whom belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Do not all things reach Allah at last.' (42:52-53)

'Were We then worn out by the first creation? Yet they are in doubt about a new creation. We verily created man and We know what his soul whispereth to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein. When the two Receivers receive (him), seated on the right hand and on the left, He uttereth no word but there is with him an observer ready.' (50:15-18)

'Thou wilt not find folk who believe in Allah and the Last Day loving those who oppose Allah and His messenger, even though they be their fathers or their sons or their brethren or their clan. As for such, He hath written faith upon their hearts and hath strengthened them with a Spirit from Him, and He will bring them into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide. Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him. They are Allah's party. Lo! is it not Allah's party who are the successful?' (58:22)

'On the day when the angels and the Spirit stand arrayed, they speak not, saving him whom the Beneficent alloweth and who speaketh right. That is the True Day. So whoso will should seek recourse unto his Lord.' (78:38-39)

'Say: He is Allah, the One! Allah, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him.' (112:1-4)

There is a disclaimer ~ Thank God, it's not up to us, to decide whether the difference between Bible and Quran is only words and naming, or whether there's a genuine difference in meaning. I'd say, Qur'an and Bible describe God and His creation as one cluster, created in wisdom, but the Bible gives a bigger place to Jesus, 'Isa. There's no compulsion in religion, because we can't picture or perceive God. Allah SWT knows, and we don't. We can let loose reason on the unseen, but miss observation to back up our reasoning. This isn't always necessary, when logic is used properly. But in this case, our logic can't reach far enough to get to the truth. And, it's better to live and let live, instead of trying to falsify religious teachings about their very core. Nevertheless, what's my conclusion? Islam, accepts only one, unambiguous God. God has defined creation, but not the other way round.

Both the Bible and Qur'an say, Jesus is alive and in heaven now and, at the Day of Resurrection, Jesus will testify for, or against, all of us. Jesus' present and future role matters, to those who believe. Qur'an and Bible resemble, and should be taken at heart, though we may question Trinity.

Sources:
Bible Study Tools https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-the-trinity/
Quran Explorer http://www.quranexplorer.com/quran/
GotQuestions.org https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-in-Heaven.html
BibleInfo.com http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/topics/second-coming-jesus#when
BibleGateway.com https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Thessalonians+1%3A7-10