The Story of God with Morgan Freeman S01E03 | Who is God
God of Islam: God of Nature and the Creator of our Universe
Allah 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)
Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
The Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, wrote that Islam has presented a God that is reflected in the mirror of nature. God of Islam is visible in nature and is perceived by human hearts. He wrote:
The God of Islam is the same God Who is visible in the mirror of the law of nature and is discernible in the book of nature. Islam has not presented a new God but has presented the same God Who is presented by the light of man’s heart, by the conscience of man, and by heaven and earth.
Teachings of Judaism, Unitarian Christianity and Sikhism, on the subject of Monotheism, can be considered, to be fairly similar to Islam.
In many polytheist traditions, one can find a Supreme God, who can be equated with God of nature and the Creator God of Islam.
However, the Trinitarian Christian tradition presents a strange paradox and a dilemma. God the Father of the Trinitarian Christianity is certainly Allah as understood by the Muslim tradition. But, Jesus according to the Christian tradition has two natures and is perfect man and fully divine. Now, the non-Christians cannot conceptualize man-God or God-man. Their reason and imagination just does not allow conceptualizing a hybrid. A stone cannot be a rock and an apple at the same time.
We can certainly understand man-Jesus, sometimes described as the ‘historical Jesus’ by the Christian university scholars of history and religion. If you were living in the first century AD, you could perhaps conceive the man-God hybrid as there were thousands of Gods as you looked around, in a society, which was 90% pagan. But, in the 21st century, one fails to conceptualize a hybrid or the divine part of the man named Jesus, just like one will not be able to imagine with any verifiable details, Roman Emperor Augustus to be divine.
At any rate, everyone, whether a Christian or a non-Christian, will have to agree that Jesus was born of Mother Mary around 1 AD and he had no part in the creation of our universe. Those of us who are theists, we all imagine Transcendent God, who is beyond time, space and matter and is Eternal, to be the Creator of our universe.
This is precisely the argument presented in the verses of the Holy Quran that I have quoted as epigraph to this article.
God of the Christian dogma is counter-intuitive, against laws of nature and human conscience. With the Christian mysteries of Trinity, Resurrection and Eucharist, Christian understanding of God, never offers human mind and heart full satisfaction. The unadulterated human nature revolts against wafer being body of Jesus and God by extension and wine being blood of Jesus or God, as in the Catholic understanding of Eucharist.
No wonder, many a Christian apologists have applauded the Islamic understanding of pure Monotheism.
Rev. Elwood Morris Wherry (1843- 1927) was an American Presbyterian missionary to India, who wrote a number of books and was a famous Christian apologist and Orientalist in his time. He wrote acknowledging the beauty of Unity of God in Islam:
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.
Now, I quote, what the Jehovah witness’ site has to say about Old Testament and Trinity:
WHILE the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, is at least the idea of the Trinity taught clearly in it? For instance, what do the Hebrew Scriptures (“Old Testament”) reveal?
The Encyclopedia of Religion admits: “Theologians today are in agreement that the Hebrew Bible does not contain a doctrine of the Trinity.” And the New Catholic Encyclopedia also says: “The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not taught in the O[ld] T[estament].”
Similarly, in his book The Triune God, Jesuit Edmund Fortman admits: “The Old Testament . . . tells us nothing explicitly or by necessary implication of a Triune God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. . . . There is no evidence that any sacred writer even suspected the existence of a [Trinity] within the Godhead. . . . Even to see in [the “Old Testament”] suggestions or foreshadowings or ‘veiled signs’ of the trinity of persons, is to go beyond the words and intent of the sacred writers.”—Italics ours.
An examination of the Hebrew Scriptures themselves will bear out these comments. Thus, there is no clear teaching of a Trinity in the first 39 books of the Bible that make up the true canon of the inspired Hebrew Scriptures.
William Montgomery Watt (14 March 1909 – 24 October 2006) was a Scottish historian, an Emeritus Professor in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Watt was one of the foremost non-Muslim interpreters of Islam in the West, was an enormously influential scholar in the field of Islamic studies and a much-revered name for manyMuslims all over the world.” Watt’s comprehensive biography of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, Muhammad at Mecca (1953) and Muhammad at Medina (1956), are considered to be classics in the field.
He was not afraid to express rather radical theological opinions – controversial ones in some Christian ecclesiastical circles. He often pondered on the question of what influence his study of Islam had exerted on him in his own Christian faith. As a direct result, he came to argue that the Islamic emphasis on the uncompromising oneness of God had caused him to reconsider the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, which is vigorously attacked in the Koran as undermining true monotheism.
Influenced by Islam, with its 99 names of God, each expressing special attributes of God, Watt returned to the Latin word “persona” – which meant a “face” or “mask”, and not “individual”, as it now means in English – and he formulated the view that a true interpretation of Trinity would not signify that God comprises three individuals. For him, Trinity represents three different “faces” of the one and the same God.
Jesus, may peace be on him, should be understood as a manifestation of God, as a ‘face’ of God, like all the Prophets of God and according to the Islamic tradition, God sent prophets to all parts of world over the ages.
With 2 billion Christians in the world, different economic and other interests have kept Christian dogma entrenched in human society in one form or another over the millennia. The Christian apologists like Montgomery Watt keep redefining the Christian dogma and obsessions rather than going freely, where ever the truth leads them.
The Trinitarian Christians with their obsession with the person of Jesus of Nazareth are not willing to give up the mysteries of Trinity easily, but, here we need to be reminded of insightful saying of a 19th century German philosopher, George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, “Once the world of ideas has been transformed, reality cannot hold out for long.” In our age of information, this profound observation may soon become true in favor of Islam, as the Western readers begin to see through the distortions of Christian dogma.
Now let me quote what the Jehovah witness’ site has to say about New Testament and Trinity:
WELL, then, do the Christian Greek Scriptures (“New Testament”) speak clearly of a Trinity?
The Encyclopedia of Religion says: “Theologians agree that the New Testament also does not contain an explicit doctrine of the Trinity.”
Jesuit Fortman states: “The New Testament writers . . . give us no formal or formulated doctrine of the Trinity, no explicit teaching that in one God there are three co-equal divine persons. . . . Nowhere do we find any trinitarian doctrine of three distinct subjects of divine life and activity in the same Godhead.”
The New Encyclopædia Britannica observes: “Neither the word Trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament.”
Bernhard Lohse says in A Short History of Christian Doctrine: “As far as the New Testament is concerned, one does not find in it an actual doctrine of the Trinity.”
The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology similarly states: “The N[ew] T[estament] does not contain the developed doctrine of the Trinity. ‘The Bible lacks the express declaration that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are of equal essence’ [said Protestant theologian Karl Barth].”
Yale University professor E. Washburn Hopkins affirmed: “To Jesus and Paul the doctrine of the trinity was apparently unknown; . . . they say nothing about it.”—Origin and Evolution of Religion.
Historian Arthur Weigall notes: “Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon, and nowhere in the New Testament does the word ‘Trinity’ appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord.”—The Paganism in Our Christianity.
Thus, neither the 39 books of the Hebrew Scriptures nor the canon of 27 inspired books of the Christian Greek Scriptures provide any clear teaching of the Trinity.
Due to the near impossibility for human mind to comprehend a Triune God, as presented by Trinitarian Christianity, the day to day usage, of the concept of God, by the Christian masses, reminds us of Judaism and Islam and the saying, ‘imitation is the best form of flattery.’
The Messiah , Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani explained that 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 humiliated god:
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 humiliated 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 led to the concepts of Islam. This also is indeed an amazing miracle.
Today, if anyone denies the miracle of the Holy Quran, we can put forward a challenge to him. If anyone denies the Holy Quran to be revealed word of God, he should, in this age of learning and science, write arguments about God and I will demonstrate all those from the Holy Quran. Likewise, if he writes on the Unity of God, I will be able to bring those out from the Quran. We challenge, that if anyone writes about wonderful teachings for humanity and religious truths and claims that these are not mentioned in the Holy Book of Islam, we will demonstrate to him the Quranic claims فِيْهَا كُتُبٌ قَيِّمَةٌؕ ‘Therein are lasting commandments,’ (Al Quran 98:4) is how true and manifest. If anyone wants to write arguments for the religion of nature or the orthodox religion, I will demonstrate the miracle of the Holy Quran from every angle and show that all truths and essential teachings are in the Holy Quran. In short, the Quran is a book that has all the essential insights and subtleties. But, I assert again that to understand all these teachings one needs a pious soul as is stated by God Himself, لَّا يَمَسُّهٗۤ اِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُوْنَؕ ‘Which none shall touch except those who are purified’ (Al Quran 56:80).
1. Majmu‘a Ishtiharat, Vol. II, pp. 310-311.
2. Islam and Christianity in India and the Far East By Elwood Morris Wherry. Fleming H Revell Company, 1907. Page 25-26.
4. Malfoozat volume I. Page 51-52. Published in Rabwah.